Monday, August 23, 2010



SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

Results for Week 1

# School Points/blog SD Delta
1 Alabama Crimson Tide (77)
24.0 3.49 --
2 Ohio St. Buckeyes (15)
22.5 4.21 --
3 Boise St. Broncos (3)
20.7 3.67 --
4 Florida Gators (1)
20.2 4.10 --
5 Texas Longhorns (3)
20.0 4.52 --
6 Oklahoma Sooners (3)
18.0 6.18 --
7 TCU Horned Frogs
17.8 4.90 --
8 Virginia Tech Hokies
17.4 4.84 --
9 Nebraska Cornhuskers
15.6 4.78 --
10 Iowa Hawkeyes
15.2 4.44 --
11 Oregon Ducks
14.3 4.72 --
12 Miami Hurricanes
12.3 4.54 --
13 Wisconsin Badgers
12.2 5.22 --
14 Pittsburgh Panthers
8.5 5.16 --
15 Penn St. Nittany Lions
7.8 4.65 --
16 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
7.7 5.23 --
17 North Carolina Tar Heels
7.0 5.30 --
18 Arkansas Razorbacks
6.8 4.54 --
19 USC Trojans
6.5 6.65 --
20 LSU Tigers
5.9 4.75 --
21 Georgia Bulldogs
5.9 5.01 --
22 Florida St. Seminoles
5.6 4.64 --
23 Auburn Tigers
5.6 5.35 --
24 Oregon St. Beavers
3.6 4.27 --
25 Utah Utes
2.6 3.52 --

Others Receiving Votes:
West Virginia Mountaineers | Cincinnati Bearcats | Houston Cougars | Connecticut Huskies | Stanford Cardinal | Arizona Wildcats | BYU Cougars | South Carolina Gamecocks | Notre Dame Fighting Irish | Clemson Tigers | Boston College Eagles | Ball St. Cardinals | Baylor Bears | Washington Huskies | Missouri Tigers | California Golden Bears | Arkansas St. Red Wolves | Bowling Green Falcons | Central Florida Knights | Army Black Knights | Texas A&M Aggies | Colorado St. Rams | Colorado Buffaloes | Dixie State Rebels | Buffalo Bulls | Washington St. Cougars | Air Force Falcons | Southern Miss. Golden Eagles | Akron Zips | Navy Midshipmen | Central Michigan Chippewas | Oklahoma St. Cowboys | Arizona St. Sun Devils | UNLV Rebels | Michigan St. Spartans | Troy Trojans | Wyoming Cowboys | Eastern Michigan Eagles | Duke Blue Devils | Texas Tech Red Raiders | Tulane Green Wave | Syracuse Orange | UTEP Miners | Florida Atlantic Owls | South Florida Bulls | Northwestern Wildcats | Nevada Wolf Pack | Mississippi Rebels | SMU Mustangs | Middle Tenn. St. Blue Raiders | East Carolina Pirates | Rutgers Scarlet Knights | San Jose St. Spartans | Temple Owls | Fla. International Golden Panthers | San Diego St. Aztecs | Ohio Bobcats | Idaho Vandals | UAB Blazers
Updated: Aug 23, 2010 10:30 AM EDT

SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Thank Heavens That's Over

Ugh. That wasn’t pretty, was it? To be honest, I’m kinda glad it is over- and I’m pretty sure the Flyers “defense” is too. Whoosh! Heads up Rathje and Desjardins- here the Sabres come again- swarming the Flyers goal like tie-fighters buzzing the Death Star. So yes, Buffalo is better than the Flyers- and yes, not by a little bit either. I give. Accordingly, a fifth beating will not be necessary people.

I can’t really kill the Flyers here. This defeat is ultimately a result of their approach- as opposed to effort, players or coach- that I ringingly endorsed the entire time. When the Flyers announced Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje as the two big pre-season signings- and then added Denis Gauthier as the big in-season acquisition, the organization was gambling. The gamble was that this “new NHL” was an invention of the regular season- and once the play-offs started, the league would revert to the lax enforcement of Rulebook C- and let the players decide who wins the Cup- not obstruction fouls.

I was wrong. That doesn’t matter. Consequently, the Flyers were wrong too- and that unfortunately did matter. Hatcher, Rathje. Gauthier and Desjardins struggled- and the Flyers never once featured consistent, orderly play in their own end. They really missed Johnnson- the one truly world class defensemen on the roster- who could have defended and provided order for 28 minutes a game, aided in transition play for guys outside the top line, and added some offensive confidence and ability at even strength & on the power play. Johnnson is a really good player- and the A-level defenseman can be really missed in the play-offs.

So the Flyers were then forced to try and steal the series. For the most, Esche was pretty okay- but the Flyers realistically needed “amazing” in goal to win here. The top line provided good offense in the games the Flyers were in- but the younger players were pretty bad frankly. Dimitrakos, Carter, Richards, Umberger, Savage and Radivojevic played a total of fifteen games and not insignificant ice time- and contributed three goals and a combined minus 19. Throw in Eager’s and Kapanen’s combined minus eight- and pretty much the Flyers entire forward corps, outside the Forsberg line was literally an inoffensive disaster.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

J. Whyatt Mondesire

The Philadelphia Inquirer runs an interview today with J. Whyatt Mondesire- the Philadelphia Sun editor and local NAACP President who fired some bile at one of the less-troublesome athletes in sports today: Donovan McNabb. Mondesire is no dope surely- but, come on, man. There are only like a thousand million athletes who richly deserve the approbation delivered in his article- and J Whyatt comes up with McNabb?

I think this whole issue is, to quote an untidy high school phrase, about as totally retarded as it gets. I am stunned at the legs it has. I realize it is a slow Eagles season after years and years of bounty- so the press has to find something to write about- and this is a chance for them to do what the press does best- report news while closetly editorializing about how wonderfully enlightened they are. But this is ridiculous.

It is particularly frustrating when you realize that McNabb might be the easiest quarterback in all of pro-football to deconstruct. At this point in his career, he is a clear step behind the two elite quarterbacks in this League: Tom Brady and Manning. But he’s definitely in that next tier. And he’s at the top of that tier too. He is a pro-Bowl player at the most important position in pro-football. With him healthy and productive, the Eagles were a threat to win every NFC Championship for half-a-decade. Without him, they are a threat to win six games.

Is Donovan a stooge for the Eagles’ organization? Should he have backed TO? Does he consciously hide his race in his style of play?

The first question is a canard. The franchise quarterback is always, along with the head coach, the face of any organization. So of course he’s a stooge. He is unofficial spokesman for the entire organization. Should he be more vocal about the play-calling or the talent selection & retention process? I suppose- but it is a narrow window of the excellence. Only one franchise, the New England Patriots, for absolute sure have done the “play football thing year after year” better since Reid arrived. The part about Donovan going to the wall for TO is moronic. If there is a guy in the world #5 owes nothing to, it is TO.

The second question is more esoteric. I honestly don’t know the answer. But if McNabb’s refusal to run the football is your primary evidence that he secretly is embarrassed to be a black quarterback- that is pretty thing gruel. All right, so you think he doesn’t run enough. Fine. But by all accounts he is a fine husband and father, a nice person, gets along with his mom proudly and publicly, kind to the fans, civil to the press, zero problems with the law- and again, a damn good pro-Bowl level player. Even if his style of play is letting his “race” down on Sunday- which I doubt- he sure is doing them proud just about everywhere else.

Lastly, does Donovan run enough? Is it effective NFL strategy to have your quarterback tuck and run at the first opportunity? And I mean run- not roll out, etc. looking for better protection or shortening the throws to your wideouts. Everyone knows that sort of thing helps an offense. I mean: tuck it and go.

I think the answer is two-fold. If your offensive outfit is bad- particularly with wide receivers who can’t get open in the possession game consistently- then I think it does help the quarterback “to look to run”. If you can’t convert 3rd-and-8 the regular way, then it is worth taking a few shots with another approach- running for it. The quarterback’s mobility forces guys out of coverage- giving room to your slot guys and tight ends. Vick’s running with Atlanta two years ago- and McNabb’s with his early Eagles’ teams- were surely pluses. Hey, those teams weren’t getting into the twenties consistently without taking some chances.

But eventually in the League, the quarterback must throw- and throw a lot- to win big. This is a passing League. Possess the ball through the air. Make big plays downfield. The team that wins games between good teams is the team that doesn’t turn it over and throws the ball better.

To win eleven-twelve games and make deep play-off runs, you have to be able to generate every Sunday 270-300 yards of offense through the air, generate passing offense in the red zone (few teams run effectively inside the 20) with few turnovers. Michael Vick has a world of talent- but at some point every season (last year Tampa Bay and Philadelphia) he is presented with a very good, quick, disciplined 12-win team defensive front that can keep him from going utterly crazy- and his twelve completions aren’t enough.

So as your offense matures and you produce weapons that can hurt people, the ten snaps you give up to let the quarterback run are increasingly counter-productive- or at least not productive to the point that they compensate for the downsides. McNabb threw for just about 4000 yards in 2004- so you better be something damn good when you take the ball out of his passing hands. And the downsides hurt better teams more. Quarterbacks get hurt- probably ending your season- particularly painful if you are good. You generate sacks too- which I argue are almost like turnovers. You lose ten yards of field position and almost always have to punt- equivilant to an interception 25 yards down the field. Turnovers, or ipso de facto turnovers, keep teams in games with good teams.

Now that Donovan is a pretty polished passer (completion percentage too low, but he doesn’t turn it over much and generates a lot of big plays from the position) I almost always want to see him throw from the pocket. But had he been healthy this year, yeah, I would have liked to see him run more.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Watch Out Miners

In the New York Post this morning, the Miners are -7 over the Wave (so far I am 4-0 outright and 2-1 ATS). I must admit I thought the line would exceed that one score margin. But the Miners backers can't be too greedy! The Wave defense has shown up more often than not, UTEP is a little up-and-down too, and the “Ricard goes nuts and throws for four scores” factor hangs over everything Tulane does. (photo credit)

That Ricard factor is a big thing when picking these games against the points. The Tulane defense is a nice surprise so far- a frankly competent C-USA outfit. If Ricard dumps 28 to 49 points on anyone in the League, which we've all seen him do, Tulane ought to be in any League game they play.

I know it is a television game- and Tulane had to take what was offered. But this short week has to impact a harried club like Tulane- particularly in light of UTEP’s week off.

The Wave defense might do all right in this spot. If you like what Ricard brings, you’ll love Jordan Palmer- capable of anything on any snap: a big play, a brutal turnover, lots of balls sprayed everywhere, but mixed with some "did he just hang 150 yards passing and two scores on us this quarter?"

Much like Tulane, UTEP gets less than it should out if its yards and game plan. If Tulane gets a decent game out of the offense, and the defense is not asked to do an awful lot on this short week, they’ll compete well. I worry about Tulane late on both sides of the ball. I hate short weeks- remember Ne La.?

And for all the howls about the Tulane offense, there were some positive things in the Houston game. They ran the ball pretty well- and the offensive line looked a little better. I’m not killing them like everyone else. Okay, they were bad against Mississippi State- just couldn’t handle that size and the SEC athlete. But they were all right, even good, against SMU, and then blocked the run well- outside of short yardage, which frankly they’ll never do- against Houston. Even the protection wasn’t too bad- if the team you are playing commits to sending people to get the quarterback, they’re going to get there.

In short, I think they’ll be a little better on offense this week. Consequently, between possessing the ball a little more and scoring some more points- the defense will accordingly have a fighting chance.

I tend to believe Tulane will be in this until the fourth quarter. But UTEP is probably better, although not by a ridiculous amount, and that off week is a big deal. I imagine it will be a tired Tulane club by the end. UTEP scores some extra late- so I’ll take the Miners and give the points- but the Wave should play better in this spot than most think. Hard to see them winning though: again, UTEP is somewhat better, short week and the Tulane special teams are a real, serious problem that gives UTEP a probable field position advantage all night long, if not an outright cheap score.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Look at the baby! His blowhole is not infected at all.