Week Eight: Tuesday
Randy Sanders, Tennessee
It is not often that a coordinator gets put in this category (happened only once in the first seven weeks this year), but is Randy Sanders ever feeling the pressure. Phillip Fulmer seems to have a pass for the team's bad offensive efforts, so Sanders seems to be getting most of the heat coming out of Knoxville for the team's downright offensive performances on offense. A team with this much talent should not be struggling this much on offense. A strong performance against a rock solid Alabama defense might be enough to hold off the sharks for a little while longer. He better hope that the Vols execution gets much much better.
Brandon Cox, Auburn
The Tigers quarterback has been doing a good job, but he hasn't faced any really good defense since the Georgia Tech game. He'll be facing at least the most hostile atmosphere in his young career as a starting quarterback when he heads to Baton Rouge this Saturday night. It will be on Saturday night in Baton Rouge, and everyone knows how tough that atmosphere can be. Can he produce with all that will be on the line? The SEC West title will be up for grabs when these two square off. The winner will become the primary challenger to Alabama for the title.
College Gameday Site
The Gameday crew will be in Texas for the Longhorns toughest challenge to date, other than Ohio State. The Longhorns have responded valiantly the past several weeks when tested. This weeks game against Texas Tech ought to be interesting. The Red Raiders offense will pose a very serious challenge to the Longhorns stout defense. If the Red Raiders can begin to slow down Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns offense, then they might have a shot. This ought to be a very enjoyable shootout, and it makes sense that Gameday would be there for a match-up of unbeatens happening in late October.
Thoughts on the Rankings
It's BACK! And this time...well, I guess there's not as much controversy as there has been in the past. USC and Texas sit in the top two spots, which is where most of America has them. Virginia Tech is next in line, which is right where most of America has them.
The most surprising thing could be how highly ranked Texas Tech is. They are number seven in the rankings, which is higher than the Harris or USA Today rankings have them. They are painstakingly close to LSU for the number six spot. That Texas-Texas Tech game this weekend just got bigger, as a Red Raiders win could conceivably jump them all the way to number two or three.
Of course, Notre Dame being ranked number fifteen seems awfully low. But computers can't watch football games, and since margin of victory is not taken into account in any of the computers, those computers really have no idea that Notre Dame played USC so close. The computers have Notre Dame ranked #25.
The biggest beneficiaries of the computers appear to be Oregon and Wisconsin. They are ranked #13 and #14, respectively. Oregon is tied for ninth in the computer rankings, while Wisconsin is ranked number eight.
Four computers vote USC number one, one votes for Texas, and one votes for Georgia. In the rankings where Georgia is number, USC is number two, Alabama is number three, Texas is number four, Penn State is number five, and Virginia Tech is number six. Maybe we can train this computer to watch football...
In general, I do not have problems with the computers being used. They do take bias out of the equation in terms of certain teams. They definitely are not perfect, but I basically think that they accomplish what they are supposed to. My one thought is that I think margin of victory should be factored in, at least up to a point. No, it doesn't matter if you win by 35 or 42 points. However, there is a difference between getting beat by USC by 46 the way Hawaii did and by three the way Notre Dame did. Yet, the computer does not distinguish between these two because they are both home losses to USC. That's my reason for wanting margin of victory included in the computer rankings, with a cap going on at 20 points.
This past weekend was maybe the most exciting weekend anyone has ever seen in college football. It seemed like every game came down to the very last minute. Everywhere you turned, great games were following great games. It was absolutely amazing. Currently, I have five very good teams that are not ranked. Arizona State, Colorado, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Minnesota all remain unranked this week. There is slowly getting to be too many teams that deserve to be ranked right now. Heck, up and down Michigan isn't even on the list. Without further ado, here is the new Top 25, with last week's rank in parentheses.
1. USC 6-0 (1)
2. Texas 6-0 (2)
3. Virginia Tech 6-0 (3)
4. Georgia 6-0 (5)
5. Alabama 6-0 (4)
6. UCLA 6-0 (8)
7. Miami, FL 5-1 (10)
8. LSU 6-1 (12)
9. Notre Dame 4-2 (9)
10. Florida State 5-1 (6)
11. Penn State 6-1 (7)
12. Ohio State 4-2 (13)
13. Texas Tech 6-0 (15)
14. Auburn 5-1 (16)
15. Boston College 6-1 (17)
16. Oregon 6-1 (20)
17. Florida 5-2 (11)
18. Michigan State 4-2 (14)
19. Virginia 4-2 (--)
20. Tennessee 3-2 (19)
21. Oregon State 4-2 (--)
22. West Virginia 6-1 (--)
23. California 5-2 (18)
24. TCU 6-1 (22)
25. Fresno State 4-1 (--)
Dropped Out: Colorado 4-2 (21), Minnesota 5-2 (23), Arizona State 3-3 (24), Louisville 4-2 (25).
The Buffaloes were absolutely humiliated by Texas. Minnesota was stunned in the final seconds by Wisconsin. Louisville still has not proven that they can perform on the road after their loss in Morgantown to West Virginia. Arizona State dropped out because they may not be even the most deserving three loss team (Michigan could be because they have more impressive wins, but Arizona State has played a very tough schedule).
Biggest drop by a team still in the rankings: 6- Florida. The Gators may have taken a 17-14 lead against LSU, but the Gators did not look good doing it. Truly, the Gators have looked so average in their last three games and their one good win (Tennessee) may or may not be a good win, that their ranking may be generous. The Gators have just been very unimpressive as of late.
Smallest drop by a team that lost: 0- Notre Dame. The Irish came so close against USC. How can you drop them for that performance? It is pretty tough. There are questions about the Irish (they are now 0-2 at home), but for this week, it is impossible to question them and their rank.
Biggest drop by a team that won: 2- TCU. Really, the Horned Frogs dropped two spots just because so many other teams performed so well that they had to jump up. Oregon State, Virginia, and West Virginia all had impressive wins over ranked teams, and those were the only teams that jumped them. When you beat Army, I guess you run the risk of falling in a situation like that.
Biggest jump by a team that was in my rankings last week: 4- Oregon. So this may be a bit of a big jump, but the fact is that Oregon has been playing better than Florida, Michigan State, Tennessee, and California in recent weeks. The Ducks deserve to be ahead of all those teams.
So, why is USC still #1? This is a good question. However, if you watched the Notre Dame-USC game, you'd realize that all those ghosts were out in full force. I've never watched a game at Notre Dame where it was so obvious that the Irish had everything going their way and they still lost. This just does not happen in South Bend. I will be watching very closely to see if Texas or Virginia Tech deserves to jump them in the coming weeks.