Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Weekend and BlogPoll

Can the BCS trade the ACC for the WAC?

I mean, seriously ACC – can we even consider you one of the “Big Boy” conferences anymore? Clemson, supposedly the toast of your conference, gets rolled by ‘Bama 34-10, surrendering 419 yards while gaining only 188. NC State gets similarly destroyed by South Carolina (putting the SEC up 2-0 in our SEC-ACC Challenge).

Virginia Tech falls to Conference USA foe Eastern Carolina, and Virginia gets picked clean by USC at home. In fact the only BCS conference opponent the ACC defeated this weekend?


Meanwhile in the WAC, Fresno State rips Rutgers, and Louisiana Tech edges the SEC’s own Mississippi State. Can we drop the ACC for the WAC in the BCS?

And while we are talking trading, why does Tennessee keep playing Pac Ten teams in its openers? Does Phil have a secret west coast desire? I suggest the SEC and the Pac Ten engage in a team swap – we will give up the Vols for UCLA. Los Angeles already has another big time college team, and the SEC would get the UCLA cheerleaders. It would be a win-win.

In other action the first weekend, the “upsets” didn’t really feel like upsets. Everyone saw Utah over Michigan coming, I was reading weeks ago that ECU could beat Virginia Tech, and Fresno over Rutgers was touted by several pundits. Let’s put it this way – if Kirk Herbstreit is calling them ahead of time, they aren’t upsets.

As for our own Gators, the game seemed more like a showcase of rising talent than an organized football game. We had 2 TD’s by Brandon James (including a 74 yard punt return), a 33 yard TD run by Chris Rainey, and 62 yard TD run by Jeffrey Demps, arguably the fastest man in college football. Throw in interceptions for TD’s by Major Wright and Ahmad Black, and it looked more like a track meet than contact sport. There was 255 yards rushing, and remember – Percy Harvin didn’t even play!

Tebow was steady if unspectacular, but he wasn’t asked to do very much, passing only 14 times. His QB rating of 170.06 compares favorably with his average for last year (172.47), which was second best in the NCAA in 07’.

As for my BlogPoll after week one, as requested by our moderator I am submitting my poll to you, dear readers, for review before submitting the final tomorrow. Here is what I see –

1 Southern Cal --
2 LSU --
3 Ohio State --
4 Florida --
5 Georgia --
6 Texas --
7 Oklahoma --
8 Alabama 5
9 Auburn 2
10 Penn State 4
11 Miami (Florida) 4
12 Oregon 7
13 UCLA 7
14 California 4
15 Missouri 6
16 South Carolina 8
17 Kansas 5
18 Arizona State 5
19 Utah 7
20 East Carolina 6
21 West Virginia 5
22 South Florida 4
23 Bowling Green 3
24 Tennessee 15
25 Notre Dame 9

Dropped Out: Michigan (#8), Florida State (#10), Clemson (#12), Virginia Tech (#17), Nebraska (#25).

It is really difficult to submit a worthwhile ballot based on so little information at this point. I have decided to base my first week’s voting in part on my preseason ballot, and my top 7 remain the same. The teams in my top 7 beat their overmatched opponents by an average of 49-9 in the first week, and the only team that played anyone worth a damn was USC – and they were mightily impressive in my view. So they easily remain my number 1.

My preseason number 8 was always on shaky ground – Michigan – and they won’t be ranked this week after their 2nd consecutive home opening loss. Instead Alabama takes that spot for their domination of Clemson, up 5 spots from my preseason.

Spots 9 through 18 are filled by similar preseason occupants with the following exceptions –

FSU is out even though they didn’t play. I fully expect the program to be hit with serious sanctions this year. They can play their way back in, if they can, but I think the Noles are headed for a .500 season.

Clemson is simply not ready for primetime, and they are out of my poll.

Likewise Virginia Tech.

My bottom slots are filled with the non-BCS victors of the weekend. And before you scoff, recognize that Utah, ECU and Bowling Green had notably bigger victories than virtually any teams this past weekend. At this point in a poll, recognition is due.

Slot 24 is for Tennessee, though I could easily seem them unranked now. However it was a close game, on the road all the way cross country.

Lastly slot 25 goes to Notre Dame, simply because I don’t know what to do with them at this point.

Once again, comments solicited.


Georgia Buckeye said...

Missouri seems a bit low to me. They did give up a bunch of points to Illinois, but some of that was in garbage time.

Miami seems a bit high. Maybe these could be swapped.

Good practice, having your readers comment. I'm sure someone will say something worthwhile.

dethwing said...

Interesting choice to drop Nebraska after a win. I don't particularly have a problem with it [I agree with the "Too little information at this point" comment], but I was wondering what your justification was for it.

Mergz said...

Georgia Buckeye-

Missouri is a tough call. I was shocked at the amount of yardage they gave up to Illinois. If you have read my blog at all, you know the premium I place on defense. If what we saw was any indication of Mizzou's real D, they are a 3-4 loss team this year. I agree Miami seems a bit high too. We will know more next week for sure.

dethwing -

I see you point on Nebraska, but I simply ran out of room in the poll. Perhaps I should swap them with ND. Can we think of them as 26th?

Georgia Buckeye said...

Fair enough. You may want to consider whether UCLA was really that much better than UT. I would have them both closer to 20.

In any case, this ballot looks defensible.

Robert said...

I think Bama's way too high for this early (even though I'm a fan with a son named Bryant). Beating Clemson is going to look a lot less valuable by the end of the year.

And Missouri is going to have lots of trouble in the conference if they gave up that kind of yardage to Illinois, cause the Big 12 has teams that make the Illini (oh and why is Fighting Irish not racially offensive if Fighting Illini is?) look like they're coached by Woody Hayes.

Anonymous said...

What happened to resume ranking? Last year I seem to recall even into week 2 or 3 you had anyone in a BCS conference who had more wins was above someone with a quality loss. Not that I consider tenn-ucla a quality loss. I still can't understand how tennessee was only up 14-7 after a +3 turnover margin and outgaining ucla at the half.

Anonymous said...


Mergz doesn't believe in garbage time. Neither do I: except in blowout games where you throw in all your second-stringers in the fourth quarter and they give up a few points, a football game is 60 minutes. The Illini were storming back. Ron Zook's team was storming back. Mizzou loses three games easily this season.


I was surprised Tebow's efficiency rating was so high. I watched about half the game (even Florida blowouts can get boring for me) and saw a bunch of incompletions. A couple were not his fault; Deonte Thompson let a TD ball slip off his fingertips. Still, I'm glad you posted that stat...if he's going to repeat in the H-word he'll need solid stats, even if they don't replicate last season's, to go along with championships.

Florida vs. Trojans in MNC...I hope.