Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Week 9 BlogPoll Draft Ballot

Midterms are still persisting (my last is Friday). Until I'm through those, posting will remain light. USC losing to Oregon State and Clemson's surprising loss at Virginia Tech have combined caused my ballot to implode. What you see below is nothing more than my best guess and any input would be much appreciated.

1 Ohio State --
2 Michigan --
3 Tennessee 8
4 California 8
5 Florida 5
6 Texas 2
7 Southern Cal 4
8 Arkansas --
9 Louisville 3
10 Auburn 1
11 Notre Dame 4
12 Rutgers 1
13 West Virginia 1
14 Boston College 3
15 Wisconsin --
16 Clemson 11
17 Georgia Tech 2
18 LSU 2
19 Texas A&M 1
20 Virginia Tech 6
21 Boise State --
22 Wake Forest 1
23 Brigham Young 1
24 Washington State 2
25 Tulsa --

Dropped Out: Nebraska (#18), Missouri (#22).

Some Thoughts:
1. Ohio State - Another blowout.

2. Michigan - Perhaps the most boring team in the country. They keep winning though.

3. Tennessee - I can't put them below Cal so here they go.

4. Cal - Count me back on the Bear's bandwagon.

5. Florida - Probably the best defense not based in Ann Arbor.

6. Texas - Almost blew it in Lubbock, but live to fight another day. I can't wait for T+1.

7. Southern Cal - Finally got caught by an inferior team. Win over Arkansas still looks good.

8. Arkansas - Seems about right until further notice.

9. Louisville - The best all around team in a strong Big East.

10. Auburn - I don't know about Auburn anymore. Here for now.

11. Notre Dame - I can't stand Charlie Weis (and the 60 Minutes piece didn't help) but he has a capable football team.

12. Rutgers - Ray Rice was injured at the end of the UConn game. If he isn't 100% by the time that the big games come, Rutgers could drop in a hurry.

13. West Virginia - Great rushing offense, no defense. Too flawed to be in the top 10.

14. Boston College - Quite possibly the most underrated team in the country. Probably should be higher.

15. Wisconsin - They beat the bad teams and lose to the good ones.

16. Clemson - I took a chance and put them in the top five. Note to self: Tommy Bowden still the coach.

17. Georgia Tech - Another team that I feel a giant meh towards right now.

18. LSU - See Georgia Tech

19. Texas A&M - Win at Baylor is better than it looks on paper. Not a great one loss team, but a one loss team nonetheless. They certainly don't lack exciting finishes.

20. Virginia Tech - I was hasty in dropping them.

21. Boise State - How the human polls have them ahead of Rutgers, I'll never understand.

22. Wake Forest - Yup.

23. BYU - The Arizona loss looks more like a missed opportunity every week.

24. Washington State - Should have been up here last week. 3 losses are to Auburn, USC and Cal.

25. Tulsa - The class of C-USA. Only loss to BYU. This week's game at Houston should be telling.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I'll Take It, Part III

I finally had a chance to watch part of last weeks games against OSU on Thursday. It wasn't particularly pretty, but like the title says, I'll take it. This Aggie team seems to be getting a knack for putting together late games drives. Even if its bad for my heart, A&M sure is a lot of fun to watch.

I'm heading up to Floyd-Casey in Waco this afternoon to see the Baylor-A&M game, so I'll have a report on that sometime next week. Posting will be sporadic again this week, but my last midterm is on Friday so after that I'm pretty much in the clear.

Heroes from the Oklahoma State game:
Offense - Stephen McGee for not losing his cool on the last drive of regulation and guiding a young Aggie team to another road victory.

Defense - Danny Gorrer who had his best game of the season, recording a big interception in the endzone and helping limit Bowman and Woods.

Special Teams - Red Bryant and this one wasn't even close. Nothing like a blocked extra point in overtime to bring home the win.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

BlogPoll Ballot Rough Draft

Sorry for the lack of content this week. I have midterms coming up in both classes I'm taking, plus both professors chose to also assign major projects dues in the next few days. I haven't been sleeping much. I'm throwing up my BlogPoll draft, comments are always welcome. Later this week I'll talk a bit about the OK-State game, but it wasn't televised so I don't have much. This weekend I'm heading up to Waco for the Baylor game so that should be fun and give me plenty to talk about next week.

Not much changed this week in my ballot. So many teams survived scares that I chose not to penalize any of them. Georgia Tech looked pretty poor, but some of the teams that will be big movers this week (Clemson and Rutgers come to mind) were already pretty high on my list so they stay put. A big Oregon drop also hurt Oklahoma and I was feeling the love for the mid-majors so BYU and Tulsa take their places. With no further ado:

1 Ohio State --
2 Michigan --
3 Southern Cal --
4 Texas --
5 Clemson --
6 Louisville --
7 Notre Dame --
8 Arkansas --
9 Auburn --
10 Florida --
11 Tennessee --
12 California --
13 Rutgers --
14 West Virginia 1
15 Wisconsin 1
16 LSU 1
17 Boston College 2
18 Nebraska 2
19 Georgia Tech 5
20 Texas A&M 2
21 Boise State 3
22 Missouri 4
23 Wake Forest 2
24 Brigham Young 2
25 Tulsa 1

Dropped Out: Oregon (#18), Oklahoma (#21), Pittsburgh (#23).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Last Look Back at Missouri

Ah, Missouri. At long last the statement win that this Aggie team so desperately needed. I could prattle on about my massive Jorvorskie Lane man-crush or how welcome the return of the vertical passing game is, but this win belongs to one group, the defense.

Four times in the last five games the A&M defense has looked hard at the opposing offense and forced them to give the ball back inside the five yard line. Against Mizzou the word of the day was relentless. Whether it was Jordan Peterson forcing a fumble mere inches from the goal line on a play that the normally stout 12th Man had written off, or the defense swarming to the ball on a key fourth down play in the closing moments of the game, this defense was utterly relentless for the entirety of the paltry 18:30 that the Aggies let the Tigers control the ball. The stats are nearly flawless: 1 for 8 on third downs, 1 for 3 on fourth. 3 forced fumbles and a fearsome running back held to 37 yards. As a team Missouri managed only 2.8 yards per carry and no offensive points in the second half.

Players like the constantly improving Peterson, the dogged Brock Newton and the leader Melvin Bullitt are all coming of age and cementing their place in Aggie lore before our very eyes. Misi Tupe quietly had what was almost certainly his best game this season and Justin Warren and Devin Gregg are the anchors of this defense. Oklahoma State is in a mere three days, but for this one week, it was all about the tenacious defense and for that, I'm proud to be an Aggie.

The Heroes:
-Jorvorskie Lane for another week in which he was the second half offense, racking up 127 yards and another TD. Honorable mention to Mike Goodson who is not only fun to watch, but who scored the game winning TD and to Kerry Franks who seems to have single-handedly revived the vertical passing game.

-The whole defense who played as a team and made the stops when it counted. Special mention to Jordan Peterson, Melvin Bullitt, Devin Gregg, Misi Tupe and Cyril Obiozor.

-Justin Brantly came up big in the punting game again with a 58 yarder and a 48.3 yard average. It doesn't exactly fit here, but I would be remiss if I didn't also bring up Missouri punter Adam Crossett who boomed a 79 yard beauty that was easily the best punt that I've ever witnessed in person. It was a masterpiece, if somewhat painful for the Aggies in attendance.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Midseason BlogPoll Roundtable

This week the rountable is hosted by Oklahoma blogger My Opinion on Sports. Many thanks to him. Speaking of Oklahoma, I bought season tickets this summer expecting to see two legitimate stars in Bomar and Peterson. The fact that neither will be suiting up at Kyle Field this November is a huge disappointment, no matter how much it helps the Aggies' chances. On to the questions:

1. Which coaches are clearly on the hot seat at this point? Who is surprisingly not?

I think that this list begins and ends with John L. Smith. Michigan State seems to be undergoing another monumental collapse down the stretch. Another name that I wouldn't have expected to see here but clearly belongs is Larry Coker. I was surprised that he wasn't fired today, things are even more of a mess than I thought at Miami.

It would seem that Chuck Amato has moved himself out of the fire, and I find that amazing. Houston Nutt always seems one disaster away from getting fired, but his Razorbacks are serious contenders in the SEC.

2. Pick three of the undefeated teams and state your case as to why they wonÂ’t run the table.

West Virginia - they won't get by Louisville, Rutgers AND Pittsburgh. One of those teams will have a good enough day on defense to knock off the Mountaineers.

USC - I think that Cal beats them, and maybe Oregon too.

Ohio State - I thought about going with Rutgers here, but I think that they have the right team to upset Louisville. Instead I'll go with the blatant homerism and pick my alma mater to beat the Buckeyes.

3. Which conference is playing the best football right now?

I think that the ACC and Big XII can be discarded out of hand, both are having down years. I don't think that the Pac-10 has the depth (Stanford, Arizona, WSU, Oregon State and UCLA are all somewhere between terrible and inconsistent). Ditto for the Big Ten (or Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin and everybody else).

That leaves the SEC and the Big East. Everybody knows about the SEC so I'll go with the Big East because I like competitive football. Rutgers, WV, Louisville and Pittsburgh are all quality teams and I think that this is going be a wild conference race coming down the wire. Add in frisky Cincy and always dangerous USF and this is a finish worth watching

4. Which team is playing above and beyond your expectations this season?

I didn't think that Tennessee was particularly good entering this season. That prediction didn't turn out so well.

5. Which team is crashing and burning in regards to your expectations?

This has to be a tie between Miami and Florida State. I had both figured for good defenses with offenses that would be good enough to win 9-10 games. That of course wasn't even close.

6. Is your pre-season BCS championship game prediction still alive?

My top two teams were Auburn and Cal. It would take a minor miracle for this to be the title game matchup. Both are capable of winning out, but I rather suspect that the winner of Ohio State-Michigan will have one of the title game spots. I wouldn't be surprised if either Auburn or Cal grabbed the other spot though. After the Tennessee game I was feeling pretty silly about the Cal pick, but the Bears have really bounced back and a solid stretch run and a victory over USC away from making me look good.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

BlogPoll Draft Ballot

As always, first the draft ballot and then some thoughts. Comments are very much appreciated.

1 Ohio State --
2 Michigan 1
3 Southern Cal 6
4 Texas 4
5 Clemson 1
6 Louisville 2
7 Notre Dame 4
8 Arkansas 4
9 Auburn 4
10 Florida 8
11 Tennessee 6
12 California 5
13 Rutgers 3
14 Georgia Tech --
15 West Virginia 5
16 Wisconsin 10
17 LSU 2
18 Oregon 1
19 Boston College 6
20 Nebraska 2
21 Oklahoma 1
22 Texas A&M 4
23 Pittsburgh 3
24 Boise State --
25 Wake Forest 1

Dropped Out: Missouri (#15), Iowa (#20), Georgia (#21), Washington (#23).

My Thoughts:
1. Ohio State - Another week, another big win.

2. Michigan - I watched the whole game against PSU and it wasn't as close as the score indicates. The sooner Mario Manningham is back, the better.

3. USC - Keep winning, but largely being propped up by Arkansas at this point. I would love to see them lose to Cal or Oregon to break up the transitive rankings.

4. Texas - Giving up 30+ points to Baylor isn't good, but Colt McCoy appears to be getting better.

5. Clemson - Clemson really bothers me. On one hand they have been unstoppable. On the other they lost to Boston College, so do they deserve to be ranked ahead of the Eagles? I've decided that a wonky one point loss on the road very early in the season isn't so bad so here they stay.

6. Louisville - Cincy also gave fits to tOSU so I'm not going to hold last week against Louisville. Brohm is back and I think that this is the best team in the Big East.

7. Notre Dame - I'm not sold on ND here, any suggestions?

8. Arkansas - Only loss is to USC, they are better than they were then and the game against Vandy isn't looked as bad as it did a week ago. Driven up by Auburn.

9. Auburn - Huge win over Florida. The SEC is going to give me headaches.

10. Florida - I think that Florida is actually a better team than Auburn, but the evidence on the field says here they go.

11. Tennessee - Another team that I would like to have higher but are being driven down by Auburn.

12. Cal - See Tennessee.

13. Rutgers - I really like Rutgers, especially after they smoked a good Navy team. The ability to run the ball bodes well.

14. Georgia Tech - Seems just about right, but comments would be appreciated.

15. West Virginia - WV does not have a good defense. Every time I see them on TV I come away unimpressed.

16. Wisconsin - Looking better and better every week. Held tough against a very good Michigan team.

17. LSU - Help?

18. Oregon - Below Cal, above Oklahoma.

19. Boston College - To me BC is the hardest team in the country to rank. Any help would be much appreciated.

20. Nebraska - Ask me again after they come to College Station.

21. Oklahoma - Losing Adrian Peterson is huge, but I'm going to hold off judging them until after we see how the team responds and whether or not the backup is any good.

22. Texas A&M - I'll try this again, although last time it didn't work. Still 6-1 with a win over Missouri isn't too shabby. The offensive is well balanced and specializes in wearing down teams then running all over them late. The defense is much improved from a year ago.

23. Pittsburgh - The MSU loss looks bad, they've been good otherwise.

24. Boise State - I'll admit that I ranked them before I watched last night's game, but this feels about right. The pass defense is a concern.

25. Wake Forest - Another 6-1 team that I'm not sure about.

Last team out: Missouri

Like I said, any help or insight would be welcome.