John Roberts College Football

Friday, December 09, 2005

Week Fifteen: Friday

The Heisman

Who deserves the Heisman Trophy this year?


1) Reggie Bush, USC- It's tough, because Bush did not have a great year returning kicks. Still, to average almost nine yards per carry with how many carries he had is phenomenal. He is exciting, and he deserves the Trophy.
2) Vince Young, Texas- I was ready to put Young second heading into last week, but he nearly vaulted to number one with his performance. He is exciting, and he throws and runs the ball very well. He deserves the Heisman, but this was an unfortunate year for him to earn it.
3) Matt Leinart, USC- Heading into last week, I was ready to vote for Leinart as the winner. However, after struggling early last week, and struggling in many of his big games this year early, it's too hard to vote for him. Almost any other year, Leinart would be winning his second Heisman. This year, it is just too tough.
4) Michael Robinson, Penn State- This guy has done everything that has been asked of him. He should have at least have been invited to New York for the presentation. He has developed into a great leader to go along with his great athletic ability.
5) DeAngelo Williams, Memphis- He's probably the best player from a non-BCS conference, and I normally try to find one of those or a defensive player to go into my Top Five. That's why Williams sneaks in. Plus, he is one of the best running backs in the country.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Week Fifteen: Wednesday

As expected, yesterday's article set off a bit of a firestorm. We'll get to those e-mails in a minute. But first, let's take a closer look at all the different versions of a playoff and who would have been invited.

When in doubt, I turned to the BCS Standings for rankings and who should have been there.

Four Team
(based on BCS standings)

1. USC vs. 4. Ohio State
2. Texas vs. 3. Penn State

Who's ticked off: Oregon, Notre Dame.
Comments: Would Oregon fans be any happier here? Possibly, because, after all, Notre Dame got left out. Still, the same problem exists with Ohio State for the Ducks. For Notre Dame, all I can is don't lose to Michigan State and then you would be in.

Four Team
(only conference champs)

1. USC vs. 4. Notre Dame
2. Texas vs. 3. Penn State

Who's ticked off: Georgia
Comments: Georgia's turned to be ticked off. Notre Dame gets a bid because the Independents have to be able to get in somehow. Under this system, Notre Dame would get the fourth bid, and the Dawgs would be ticked. Ohio State might be a little frustrated too, since they were c0-champs of the Big Ten, but the official champ is Penn State. Sorry Buckeyes.

Eight Team
(based on BCS standings)

1. USC vs. 8. Miami
4. Ohio State vs. 5. Oregon
3. Penn State vs. 6. Notre Dame
2. Texas vs. 7. Georgia

Who's ticked off: Auburn, Virginia Tech, West Virginia.
Comments: Oregon fans should be ticked off for West Virginia in this case. After all, the Mountaineers have only one loss and they have beaten up on teams for the most part this season. Auburn lost at home to Georgia Tech, but so did Miami. Miami's other loss was to Florida State, while Auburn lost to LSU. LSU is ranked ahead of Florida State. Virginia Tech shouldn't have lost to Florida State or Miami. Lose only one of those, and then they could have been ticked.

Eight team
(choosing the six BCS conference winners, top non-BCS conference winner, one at-large)

1. USC vs. 8. Florida State
4. Ohio State vs. 5. Georgia
3. Penn State vs. 6. West Virginia
2. Texas vs. 7. TCU

Who's ticked off: Oregon, Notre Dame
Comments: This produces an interesting set of results. Oregon is still ticked off that Ohio State got in ahead of them. So is Notre Dame. No other non-BCS conference winner really has a claim to the spot that TCU claims this year, but if we look at Fresno State right after the USC loss, then the TCU-Fresno State argument would have been fierce.

Sixteen team
(based on BCS standings)

1. USC vs. 16. Texas Tech
8. Miami vs. 9. Auburn
5. Oregon vs. 12. LSU
4. Ohio State vs. 13. Alabama
6. Notre Dame vs. 11. West Virginia
3. Penn State vs. 14. TCU
7. Georgia vs. 10. Virginia Tech
2. Texas vs. 15. UCLA

Who's ticked off: Florida, Wisconsin, Louisville, Florida State
Comments: UCLA and Texas Tech switch spots in the rankings to avoid a first round regular season rematch. Florida is ticked because they are just behind UCLA in the BCS standings. Wisconsin is ticked because they are 9-3. Florida State is ticked because two teams from the ACC who they beat both got in ahead of them. Louisville is ticked because they are number sixteen in both human polls and not in the tournament.

Sixteen team
(six BCS conference champs, top two non-BCS conference champs, eight wildcards)

1. USC vs. 16. Boise State
8. Miami vs. 9. Auburn
5. Oregon vs. 12. LSU
4. Ohio State vs. 13. Alabama
6. Notre Dame vs. 11. West Virginia
3. Penn State vs. 14. TCU
7. Georgia vs. 10. Virginia Tech
2. Texas vs. 15. Florida State

Who's ticked off: Texas Tech, UCLA, Louisville, Tulsa
Comments: Texas Tech and UCLA both have only two losses and yet are getting taken behind two loss Alabama. Louisville is still ranked in the top sixteen in both major polls. Tulsa thinks that they should be in ahead of Boise State because they were Conference USA champs and Boise won the WAC. Obviously, Tulsa believes Conference USA is tougher than the WAC.

Sixteen team
(all eleven conference champs and five wildcards, divided into four regions and checking so that rematches don't happen until the Final Four, similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament)

East
1. Penn State vs. 4. Tulsa
2. Notre Dame vs. 3. Florida State

South
1. Ohio State vs. 4. Boise State
2. Miami vs. 3. Auburn

Midwest
1. Texas vs. 4. Akron
2. Oregon vs. 3. West Virginia

West
1. USC vs. 4. Arkansas State
2. Georgia vs. 3 TCU

Who's ticked off: LSU, Virginia Tech
Comments: LSU and Virginia Tech went from fighting for the final number one seed to out of the tournament by their losses on Saturday. Amazing. However, Virginia Tech lost to Miami head-to-head, and LSU is ranked behind Miami. It is set up to try to keep teams close to their home region, however, due to the teams that aren't allowed to be in the same region (by rule, from the same state, from the same conference, or if they played each other during the regular season), sometimes teams get shipped out. (See Georgia.) Also, the number four seeds are ranked and so are the number one seeds so that the worst number four seed is playing the best number one seed. None of the other seeds are set up like that.

So which one do you think is most fair? Get your answers to me now. I'll post the results of the voting sometime in the near future.

Rant of the Week

I'm going to put a couple of rants out here this week. Here goes.

Maybe Notre Dame and Ohio St both deserve to be in the BCS. I don't think this is the big issue. I think the issue is the fact that both of these teams lost twice and Oregon only lost once. Since when should any 2 loss team be more deserving than a one loss team. All BCS conferences should be treated equal. If Ohio St. had went 10-1 and Oregon 9-2 with loses to USC and Cal and got in over Ohio St. The Big 10 would be in an uproar.
2nd - Most people don't agree with ND because of the way they have been treated this year. Last year Cal was dinged because they didn't win there last game impressively enough against a good Southem Miss team (also went to a bowl that year). ND barely beats Stanford in there last game and they still were praised as if they won 65-0. A Stanford team that got beat 27-3 a week earlier by Cal. Cal played the best game against USC last year and it didn't help them so why should ND playing a great game against USC benefit them so much more.
East coast people have to realize that nobody has beating USC in 3 years besides Cal. Nobody is going to beat them this year. Don't penalize the pac-10 because we haven't beating them yet.


--Eddie Hall
Eugene, Oregon

At the beginning of the season you could've predicted exactly what Notre Dame's record was going to be. They won all the games they were supposed to win and lost the ones they were supposed to lose. On the other hand, most people picked Oregon to finish around .500, yet they battled to a record of 10-1 with a brand new offense and without the most important player on their team for three games. As far as I know a win is a win and a loss is a loss and margin of victory isn't a factor anymore. I can't believe that Oregon would have had to go undefeated and beat the #1 team in the nation for the last 2 1/2 years just to get into a BCS bowl. Doesn't that seem flawed to you? It all boils down to money mostly and the prestige of Notre Dame....but then why play the games at all if record doesn't matter in the end. This Notre Dame team has been getting undeserved recognition all year. Just look at all the praise Weis has gotten when his team wasn't even as good a Willingham's first season (8-0).
It seems to me their is some sort of, dare I say, bias involved with Pac-10 teams. I don't know what else to call it. The majority of the time at the end of the season, if someone is getting the short end of the stick, it ends up being a team from the Pac-10. Just looking back at the last few years:
-This year Oregon gets left out of a deserved BCS at-large bid. -Last year California gets left out of a deserved BCS at-large bid. (And they barely lost to USC!) -A couple years ago, Oregon gets left out of the national championship being #2 in both polls, and then destroys Colorado.
-A couple years ago, Oregon State gets left out of the national championship, and then destroys an undeserving Notre Dame.
I just can't ignore the trend here. I'm not a statistics expert and some of this may have other angles to explore, but then there always seems to be a reason when it comes to the Pac-10, and very rarely do we ever hear a team such as Ohio State or Notre Dame getting snubbed. I mean is there any situation where a 9-2 Oregon team will EVER be ranked ahead of a 10-1 Ohio State team? Probably not.
As for a fix, you are probably right....their isn't one. I would like to see Notre Dame join the Pac-10 or any conference for that matter, but that is a side issue. I would be much more happy with the top 8 teams making the BCS bowls. Would Oregon be #8 then? I'm guessing no, but at least it would be something new to talk about for the underappreciated football teams on this side of the country.

--Ken Rust
Portland, Oregon

Those were the two best e-mails from Oregon fans concerning my articles yesterday. Very well thought out.

Now onto a topic that will interest even more people.

First of all I'm not a ranter or a whiner and I don't liketo argue but I really would like to point out a observation I came up withthis year.It seems that all the college football TV analysts are purposelytrying to look like a - - - - - - s for the sake of winning the ratings war.There is a world of difference between the Pro and College football commentators and/or analysts.Then when you look at the basketballcommentators and analysts its like night and day they present therethoughts and prognostications in a enjoyable and civil manner.

--Michael O'Leary

Well, thanks to everyone for their rants! They are a lot of fun to read!

VOTE NOW!

Everyone says that they want a playoff. So which system would you like to see if a playoff were implemented. There are seven options above. You choose which one you would prefer and send me (at JohnRoberts_CFN@yahoo.com) your preference in an e-mail. I will post the results at a later date!


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Week Fifteen: Tuesday

My Rankings

These are my final rankings of the regular season. I spent a large majority of last week breaking down teams and determining where they should be ranked. I'll get into more details of why some of the jumps took place in a moment. But first, here is my final 2005 Top 25. The previous rank is in parentheses.

1. USC 12-0 (1)
2. Texas 12-0 (2)
3. Penn State 10-1 (3)
4. Ohio State 9-2 (6)
5. Auburn 9-2 (9)
6. Oregon 10-1 (7)
7. Notre Dame 9-2 (8)
8. Georgia 10-2 (12)
9. LSU 10-2 (5)
10. Miami, FL 9-2 (10)
11. Virginia Tech 10-2 (4)
12. West Virginia 10-1 (13)
13. Alabama 9-2 (14)
14. Florida 8-3 (15)
15. Louisville 9-2 (17)
16. TCU 10-1 (16)
17. UCLA 9-2 (11)
18. Texas Tech 9-2 (18)
19. Florida State 8-4 (--)
20. Boston College 8-3 (21)
21. Wisconsin 9-3 (--)
22. Michigan 7-4 (19)
23. Georgia Tech 7-4 (20)
24. Northwestern 7-4 (--)
25. Clemson 7-4 (22)

Dropped Out: South Carolina 7-4 (23), Iowa 7-4 (24), Fresno State 8-3 (25)

Fresno State dropped out for losing to Louisiana Tech. South Carolina and Iowa dropped out (and Oklahoma got left off) because there are only 25 spots. Florida State had to be ranked (after all, they have beaten two Top Eleven teams and the number 20 team in my rankings), and Wisconsin has a better record than Michigan and beat them on the field. Northwestern (other than a loss to Arizona State) has played very well and won head-to-head against Iowa. Clemson beat South Carolina head-to-head. That was finally how the final two spots were filled, with Oklahoma being on the outside looking in, but just barely. It was very tough to rank just 25 teams when there are at least 28 deserving teams. I didn't even go into the other teams that were considered but quickly dropped from consideration.

The other big jump without playing came from Auburn, who jumped from nine to five. They passed LSU and Virginia Tech, both losers this weekend. Yes, LSU has a head-to-head win over Auburn, but Auburn beat Georgia and Georgia beat LSU. All those teams have the same number of losses, and Auburn played both teams in road games and only lost in overtime. They jumped Notre Dame because I decided that Auburn was a more impressive two loss team than the Irish. They jumped Oregon because...well, I'll get into the Oregon case in a minute.

Thoughts on the Rankings and the BCS Bowls

The situation is this. Notre Dame and Ohio State received automatic at large bids to the BCS this season. Ohio State was the highest ranking team not to get an automatic bid and was ranked in the Top Four. That means they get an automatic bid. Notre Dame was ranked in the Top Six of the BCS, which means (just like it does for all teams not in BCS conferences) that they get an automatic bid.

So who should Oregon be mad at? I understand why Oregon is upset. They feel like they got left out, and the fact that most people thought they were going to be left out before the upsets on Saturday made it possible for those two bids to become automatic does not sit well with them. Still, the team the Ducks should be mad at is Ohio State. They are the team that is ranked ahead of them in the rankings. Notre Dame got in because of the same rule that got Utah into the BCS a year ago, a rule that happens to make a lot of sense for all the non-BCS conference teams except for Notre Dame. But still, it is a rule that is at least somewhat fair. The rule that got Ohio State in was fair too, but if enough people had ranked Oregon ahead of Ohio State, then it wouldn't have been an issue. The villian last year was Texas for sneaking ahead of California in the rankings. The team that pulled "a Texas" this year is Ohio State, not Notre Dame.

Still, the Oregon fans are more mad at Notre Dame. I guess that they feel that losing to Michigan State is an unforgivable sin. They lost in overtime at home. Is that really that much worse than beating California in overtime? Well, maybe. Is that really that much worse than beating Fresno State at home by three...the same Fresno team that just lost to Nevada and Louisiana Tech? Well, maybe. Is that really that much worse than beating a 4-7 Washington State by three? I don't know. Is that really that much worse than only beating a 3-8 Arizona team by seven? Again, I don't know. Oregon beat zero ranked teams this year. Notre Dame beat one. I'll give Oregon that either Fresno State or California can be counted as a ranked team. Still, they have only beaten an equal number of ranked teams to Notre Dame. The complaint against Notre Dame has been their schedule, but where are the Ducks big wins. Houston, Fresno State, Arizona State, and California are all going to bowl games. Michigan, BYU, and Navy are all going to bowl games from Notre Dame's schedule. The schedules are virtually equal in my opinion, with a slight edge going to Oregon. Oregon lost by 32 at home to USC. Notre Dame lost by three at home to USC. Big edge to Notre Dame. Oregon has one loss, Notre Dame has two. Edge to Oregon. Notre Dame pounded opponents, Oregon slipped by them. Edge to Notre Dame. Oregon beat Stanford by 24. Notre Dame beat Stanford by 7. Big edge to Oregon. Oregon beat Washington by 24. Notre Dame beat them by 19. Call that a push. The two teams are fairly equal. That's why they are ranked right next to each other in my rankings. I give the ever so slight edge to Oregon, but the Ducks fans don't have too much of a case against the Irish, despite what they seem to think.

I saw a ranking on a USC site a couple of weeks ago featuring ranking the teams based on how bad their losses were and how many they had. In these rankings, Texas Tech was number ten, and Notre Dame was left off altogether. (It only went through number ten.) Apparently, this was claiming that Texas Tech had better losses than Notre Dame. Now, Texas Tech had lost to Oklahoma State and Texas. Notre Dame had lost to Michigan State and USC. Michigan State is better than Oklahoma State, but let's go ahead and call those two equal losses. So Notre Dame's three point loss to USC was worse than Texas Tech's 35 point loss to Texas? What does this mean? Shockingly, since Texas Tech was ranked ahead of Notre Dame, it should mean that this USC fan thinks that Texas is clearly superior to USC. If a 35 point loss is not as bad as a three point loss, I don't understand the philosophy. Plus, if the Big Twelve is so weak, as many Pac-10 observers like to point out, then the ranking is just as crazy. Of course, he did have USC ahead of Texas in his rankings. I realize that anyone can make a list of rankings and put them on an internet message board. Still, many people out there seem to be overly critical of the Irish and not so quick to judge on other teams.

Imagine that this was a playoff system. We all seem to think that things will get cleared up by having a playoff system. OK, so who is number four in a four team playoff this year? Ohio State? Auburn? Notre Dame? Georgia? Oregon? Suppose we have an eight team system with six BCS conference champs getting in automatically. Who gets left out? Oregon? Auburn? Notre Dame? Ohio State? Suppose it was an eight team system where just the top eight teams get in. Who gets left out? Notre Dame? Georgia? LSU? Virginia Tech? Miami? Auburn? Oregon? It is a messy situation, and unlike in basketball, where the 65th or 66th team in the tournament has little shot to win the whole tournament, the eighth or ninth best team would clearly have a shot to win the tourney in football. I am not necessarily an advocate of this system, but I am also not necessarily an advocate of a playoff.

In conclusion, it may appear today that I am defending the Irish. I am not. If the BCS were awarding bowl picks not based on which match-up will draw the most money, Ohio State, Auburn, or Oregon would be the two picks. But Notre Dame is a solid team that is getting beat on by people left and right. Do they deserve a BCS bid? Probably not. Could they beat Ohio State? Yes, they could. Could Oregon or Auburn beat Ohio State? Yes, they could. Is it fair? Probably not.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Week Fifteen: Monday

WEEKEND IN REVIEW

Game of the Week
Akron 31, Northern Illinois 30

Akron won their first ever MAC title and advanced to their first ever bowl game in thrilling fashion. Trailing 24-10 entering the fourth quarter, the Zips zipped back into the game. Down 30-24 with time winding down, Luke Getsy was intercepted by Phil Brown in Northern Illinois territory. Needing just one first down, the Huskies turned to Garrett Wolfe (who gained 270 rushing yards on the day), who could not get the first down. Akron started from their own 19 with 1:41 left in the game before an 81 yard drive won the game for them in dramatic fashion.

Upset of the Week
Louisiana Tech 40, Fresno State 28

Two weeks ago, Fresno State was the toast of the college football world. They had lost by just eight to USC at USC and had put up one heck of a fight. They needed to only win their final two games to clinch the WAC title and they accepted a Liberty Bowl bid. Today, they have lost two in a row, didn't even win a share of the WAC title, and everyone is wondering what went wrong. Their shockingly lazy 40-28 loss to Louisiana Tech on Friday night in their final game shows yet again why these Bulldogs will drive you nuts. Each year they throw a scare into or beat a BCS team and everyone starts talking about how good they are. Yet, in the end, they can't come up with a WAC title, and they lose games they have no business losing. Don't worry Bulldogs. You've still got the Liberty Bowl.

Team of the Week
Akron Zips

Any time a team finds their way to a bowl game for the first time and to a conference title for the first time, they deserve mention as the Team of the Week. (Plus, who wants to decide between the Texas and USC blowouts?) The Zips played remarkably well this season and proved that they deserved their bowl bid. Their win over Northern Illinois was sensational. As MAC champs (and finally gettting that elusive bowl bid), the Zip fans finally can gloat a little bit.

Player of the Week
Reggie Bush, USC

Vince Young was amazing. So was Reggie Bush. Maybe they should be co-players of the week. Regardless, Bush had 24 carries, 260 yards and two touchdowns. Amazingly, 228 of those yards came in the first half against UCLA. Now the Bruins run defense was anything but stellar, but Bush still took control of the game early. If the Bruins has scored like Fresno State did, Bush would have accounted for another 500 yards.

Stat of the Week
490 rushing yards.

It's always amazing to see Navy at work when their offense is clicking. The problem for Army is that it always seems to be clicking. The amazing 490 rushing yards for the Midshipmen against their archrivals was the most dominating performance by anyone on Saturday. (Yes, I'm even including USC and Texas in their romps.) The physical toughness required to run the ball that effectively could only be displayed by a military academy. The fact that they show that dominance against another military academy is proof of just how physically superior Navy is right now (on the football field) to Army. One more point about the game- in the pregame teaser, why didn't John McCain put on a cap backwards? That would have made my Saturday.

Play of the Week
Willie Reid's 83 yard punt return.

In the ACC Championship Game, there was no offense in sight. The score was tied at three just after halftime. The Hokies were forced to punt to start off the third quarter, and Willie Reid fielded the punt at his own 17 yard line. He was near the sideline, he made a couple of people miss, and then got into a foot race where he outran punter Nic Schmitt. After the 83 yard run, the Seminoles had the lead, and the momentum was on their side. Virginia Tech spent much of the remainder of the game trying to regain some momentum, and by the time they started to, they trailed 27-3 on their way to a 27-22 stunner.

Turnover of the Week
Tim Jennings fifteen yard interception return.

LSU was down 27-7 early in the fourth quarter with JaMarcus Russell (their starting quarterback) out of the game. Matt Flynn was in the game, hoping to pull off a miraculous comeback. However, his second pass was intercepted by Tim Jennings and returned fifteen yards for a Georgia touchdown, putting the Dawgs up 34-7, well on their way to a 34-14 win and the SEC Championship. That was ten points in the span of 22 seconds for the Dawgs, and when a team does that, they normally win the football game.

Key First Half Moment of the Week
Hugh Charles fumble.

Admit it. There was a split second early in the Texas-Colorado game where you thought the Buffaloes really had a shot at the Longhorns. The Buffaloes opened the game with a very nice drive. They were moving the ball, and they looked like the looser team. On second and three from the Texas 36, Joel Klatt hit Hugh Charles with a pass for a one yard gain, but Charles fumbled the football, and it was recovered by Brian Robison. Texas promptly scored. For a few drives after that, Colorado continued to move the football. (Remember they outgained Texas in the first quarter, and then gained less than 75 yards total during the final three quarters.) The game was really over when on those early drives, Colorado could mount no touchdowns and put the pressure on the Longhorns. That first fumble was truly a killer.

Moment of the Week
Domenik Hixon's touchdown catch.

Domenik Hixon had sat out most of the second half with cramps. He was struggling to run and could not be relied on as the big play receiver that he was supposed to be. Still, he managed to be on the field with around 20 seconds left and the Zips trailing 30-24. He managed to get open in the end zone, and Luke Getsy managed to throw a strike. Hixon managed to get his hands underneath the ball and make the catch as he fell down. The 36 yard touchdown pass with ten seconds left in the game gave Akron the 31-30 lead. If this had been Dwayne Jarrett of USC or Jeff Samardzija of Notre Dame, this would be considered right up there with Michael Jordan making the game winning shot against the Jazz in the NBA Finals when he had the flu. It was truly a magical moment, and clinched a bowl bid for Akron.