Sunday, October 14, 2007

Big Ten, national thoughts

Wow, another great Saturday of college football. These last few weekends clearly illustrate why, in my opinion, the college game is better than the professional game. USC or LSU loses? They may not get a chance to play for the title. They don't have the option of coming back through a playoff to win it all, so they have to be perfect week after week, or hope that the other top teams are as imperfect as they are.

Ohio State will probably be #1 later today, and at the risk of pulling a Craig James, I'll say that the Buckeyes will be the least deserving top-ranked team in my lifetime - not overrated, but undeserving. Their best win so far is at Washington, which is 2-4, 0-3. Having said that, OSU's remaining schedule is, on paper, challenging, and if they get through the regular season unbeaten, they will have earned my respect.

This is one of those years when you can't just blankly stare at records when ranking teams - you have to factor the quality of the wins and losses.

Here's how I would rank the top 10, even after the events of Saturday, October 13:

1. LSU - Les Miles was right about the SEC
2. Cal - he was wrong about the Pac-10, though, which is almost as good
3. Oregon
4. Ohio State
5. Boston College - not a much better resume than OSU
6. South Florida
7. South Carolina
8. Kentucky
9. USC
10. West Virginia

Big Ten thoughts from the weekend
Ohio State: Season starts next week.
Michigan: Would actually be my pick right now to win the Big Ten. Shows you how down the league is this year - UM and OSU are shells of what they were last year, when they were both legit well-rounded beasts.
Illinois: Figured this was bound to happen at some point, just wish it would have been last week. So much for my Mendenhall for Heisman campaign. And Juice is just not consistent enough passing yet.
Indiana: Figured this was bound to happen at some point, hope it happens again in two weeks.
Penn State: Looking like a solid #3, great chance to knock off Ohio State.
Wisconsin: Fading fast, could really use a bye week. A 1-6 Northern Illinois team should be the next best thing, but any of us who were in Vegas can tell you about these sure thing wins.
Northwestern: Give these kids and coaches a lot of credit for gutting out two straight OT wins. Still think they won't get bowl eligible, but if they are, Fitzgerald should be conference coach of the year.
Michigan State: There, our win two weeks ago looks better now. Can beat Ohio State.
Purdue: We've seen this Boilermaker team before. What a tease.
Iowa: Snapped an eight-game Big Ten losing streak with yesterday's win over Illinois. An eight-game Big Ten losing streak. And to think, 20 months ago I was pulling hard for Kirk Ferentz to be the Packers' next coach. The win does show that the Hawkeyes are as competitive, if flawed, as they showed in Madison.
Minnesota: C-A-N-T-S-T-O-P-A-N-Y-O-N-E! Can't stop anyone! Can't stop anyone! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaait 'till next year! We sure as hell had better win that one, will probably be 68-67 in five OTs.

4 comments:

mjschwal said...

Taps,
Do you still have that South Florida t-shirt? I have to say that you were on the Bulls bandwagon well before anyone else (by about five years or more).

Will said...

I remember a friend of mine in Virginia covering the James Madison-South Florida game in Tampa...in 2000. Crazy.

Scott Tappa said...

Not the shirt (ripped it one day while blasting my delts), but still have the hat somehow. Bought in on a family vacation in the early '90s, in Tampa. Always wondered why a school in Tampa, which is West Central Florida, could call itself South Florida. Good for them, though, I hope they win their remaining big games.

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