Monday, September 26, 2005

Blog Poll Ballot

I'm going to try and do double duty today, combining my Blog Poll ballot with some commentary on the games that I watched or caught pieces of. It was somewhat of a predictable weekend with one or two huge upsets, and the truly big boys really came out to play. USC, VT and Florida all just crushed inferior competition (it smarts to say that), and LSU has a chance to make a big statement tonight.

#1 - University of Southern California
Since I had blown the $20 for ESPN gameplan for the GT debacle, I figured I might at least get some enjoyment out of watching this game - and it was fun for about 25 minutes. Leinart never really looked sharp all day, but their running game is just ridiculously good and so is their o-line. LenDale White is going to be a very good NFL back and Reggie Bush does stuff I can't even do on my x-box. Oh, and their defense played very well overall, despite being thinner than I'm sure Pete Carroll would like. Overall, a big win in a rough road environment.

#2 - Virginia Polytechnic Institue and State University
Average offense. Very average offense actually. Despite GT being completely out of the game emotionally and just going through the motions by the second quarter, the VT offense was still basically invisible. VT was a miserable 2-13 on 3rd downs, averaged only 2.2 yards per carry and gave up 3 sacks - against a GT defensive line missing every single projected starter from the beginning of the season by halftime.

Awesome defense and special teams. I don't think I've ever seen a 44 point blowout by special teams, but when GT punted out of their own end-zone 3 possesions in a row, that was it. The VT special teams are just insanely good. Jimmy Williams got abused by Calvin Johnson, but that's not a knock, nobody in college can guard him anyways. Other than that, GT's offense went in reverse most of the game. Totally dominating performance.

However, this team is one Marcus Vick 4 INT game away from losing to somebody they should not - they simply cannot run the ball well enough to make up for him playing poorly, and their offensive line is not good. That defense looks like the 2002 Tampa Bay Bucs out there though, and as long as Vick doesn't melt down they have a very good shot of playing in Pasadena.

#3 - University of Texas
Had the week off to prepare for Missouri - who I fully expect them to smoke. Missouri's defense is B-A-D.

#4 - Florida State University
I have them ranked above Florida and LSU because they have two huge wins under their belts, with Miami and BC. LSU and Florida have one good win each, and I'm biased towards the ACC. Actually, the three teams are basically even but I don't want ties in my ballot. Oh yeah, that defense scares in my dreams too.

#5 - University of Florida
Every Day Should be Saturday has a funny piece up about the College Gameday reaction to the UF win over Kentucky. They did what good teams are supposed to do - they beat Kentucky senseless. Yeah, their backups gave up some points in the second half - wah, wah, wah.

#6 - Louisiana State University
Play tonight - though all the major polls came out yesterday. College football doesn't make sense. The Saints came out flatter than month old Coke the past 2 weeks after that big emotional win in the opening game, lets see if they can avoid the same pitfall. That being said, it's a night game in the bayou, and LSU simply doesn't lose those. I expect Baton Rouge to be absolutely electric.

#7 - Georgia State Penitentiary, Athens.
Won on the road, in the SEC. Doesn't matter how you do it, it's still a good win. Shockley is going to just absolutely sabotage a game this season though, you can feel it.

#8 - Michigan State University
Most people are ranking Miami, OSU and Tennessee in this range - but I just don't feel good ranking teams that have already lost in the top 10. Drew Stanton is the real deal, and Michigan State absolutely destroyed the 'Fighting Zooks this weekend. This is a good football team. I also expect them to lose in the next two weeks and make me look retarded, John L. Smith teams are always bi-polar.

#9 - University of California
Extremely overated here. Or maybe not. Who knows, but they got a load of talent and Ayoob and Lynch look like a monster backfield on paper.

#10 - University of Alabama
I do not expect them to stay here, but they are undefeated, have a nice win on the road over a decent team and took care of business everywhere else. On my premise of "what have you done for me this year" they deserve to be here. Oh, and they have a decent shot of winning the SEC West - which is about two years away from challenging the Big XII North for the worst major college division in the NCAA.

#11 - University of Wisconsin
Ditto Alabama. Good team with good wins so far, but huge question marks. I don't trust Stocco at all (we were yelling at them for even thinking of throwing it on that last drive - he's brutal). But they beat a decent UNC team (not good, but not bad) on the road, and then Michigan at home - sad to say, not sure is more impressive. I don't think they'll finish in my ballot at #11, but right now they deserve to be here.

#12 - The Ohio State University
Cheatypants McSweatervest has finally settled on a QB, though too late for a national championship run most likely. Crushed Iowa yesterday, and look to be in the driver's seat for the Big 11 title - because you know Minnesota is about 2 weeks away from a 4 game losing streak.

#13 - University of Miami
Joel Klatt cannot possibly be in class this morning in Boulder. There is no way the human body can take that much punishment and still function the next couple of days. CU's offensive line will be facing charges next week for attempted murder in allowing the number of free shots that he ended up taking. Then he nearly got himself crushed flat when he tried to foolishly chase down the fumble return at the end of the game. Just ugly.

#14 - University of Tennessee
Phil Fulmer will probably run the ball 40 times tonight against LSU, despite their secondary being the weakness. It'll make up for throwing it 40 times against Florida and their weak d-line. If I was a 'Vol fan, I'd be drinking moonshine too - it'd numb the pain.

#24 - Notre Dame
I'm already tired of hearing about this team.

Memo to the news media - we don't all like Notre Dame, care about Notre Dame, or give a rat's behind about Notre Dame. It's just another decent school with a decent football program these days, there's nothing freaking special about the place. People act like it's Harvard's equilavent in academics, it's the only place that makes their athletes actually measure up in the classroom and that it's Miami on gameday. It's none of those, and anyone with 2 brain cells knows that. So stop blowing your smoke up our behinds and cover them like you do any other middle of the pack top 25 team (i.e about 1/10th of what you do now).


#16 - Arizona State University
This is a fun team to watch, that's for sure.

#17 - University of Minnesota
Other than Purdue (who's not that good) they have beaten absolutely no one. And yes, I realize I ranked 'Bama #10 on the strength of beating USC-East and Arkansas, but those are SEC teams and help towards the conference title game. This sets up perfectly for another mid-season collapse for the Gophers. Lawrence Maroney is a one man wrecking crew, however - and Glen Mason can sure coach a running game.

#18 - Boston College
I don't like this team. I don't like Boston College. I don't like Boston. I don't even like baked beans (ok, that one's a lie). Clemson is a decent football team and Death Valley is a tough place to play, that was a good win.

#19 - University of California, Los Angeles
They have run up a ton of points on bad football teams (here's looking at you, OU).

#20 - University of Virginia
I really don't want to have to rank this team because they've proven nothing yet, but they are undefeated, they do have a win in the conference and they beat a BCS school on the road (how absurd is it that you can call a win over Syracuse - "beating a BCS school on the road").

#21 - Georgia Institute of Technology
This is a homer pick, but GT has played very well this year so far and already beaten 3 bowl teams from last year - including a win at Jordan Hare. Of all the 1 loss teams, we still have one of the stronger resumes. Considering the events leading up to this weekend, a bad loss was somewhat predictable - and losing to one of the top 3 teams in the country on the road isn't the end of the world. This team is going to win 8 games or so this year, and has several future first day NFL draft picks. The difference in talent depth was on display - their special teams players are barely a step down from their starters, a luxury we simply don't have. Our tiny offensive line finally was exploited, completely destroying any ability to run any form of offense. The Chan Gailey haters are jumping all over the play calling - but there are no plays that work when your o-line is getting continually blown up, which is what happened. VT's front seven is as good as F$U's - and that's saying something. Those guys were awesome all day long.

Finally, what was hyped as the "matchup of the day" got no coverage afterwords: Calvin Johnson is a man child. Jimmy Williams couldn't cover him if they put shackles on his ankles and is the one VT defensive player I don't want to hear anything out of in post game remarks - he should be buying his d-line dinner after he gets named All-American, because C.J could have easily hung 200+ and another TD on him if Ball had any time to throw.

#22 - Iowa State University
Fugly, fugly, fugly. God the Big XII North is horrible. Iowa State is probably the best team in that division - and they aren't good.

#23 - Texas Tech University
If Tech beats up a decent KU team this weekend, I'll move them up. Actually - how about this: when Tech beats a true Division 1A team, I'll move them up. This schedule makes Bill Snyder blush, and it's part of what's wrong with college football.

#15 - Vanderbilt University
They have 2 wins in the SEC and are undefeated. This team deserves to be ranked, and as a matter of fact - since it's a better school than Notre Dame, enforces academics on their athletes better than Notre Dame and unlike Notre Dame is also undefeated this year - I'm very tempted to swap their rankings. Actually, I'm going to that.

#25 - West Virginia University
The Big East is still a BCS conference. Someone from there has to be ranked, I think. WVU almost lost to ECU though, and that's not good. At least they didn't get blown out by USF. Man, did I mention how bad the Big East is?

Oh, and I just wanted to point out - has got to be absolutely hopping this week. Getting outcoached by John Bunting is reasonable grounds for firing, and Jay Davis is in no way, shape or form and Division 1A quarterback. NCSU is just a disaster.


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