Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Final Top 25

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

Dropped Out: Texas A&M (#21).

Random thoughts:

I had a hard time with LSU vs. USC for the #2 spot, but I ultimately decided that USC beat a better team in their bowl game. I also think that if they played on a neutral field, USC is one of the few teams in the country with more talent than LSU and I have doubts about Les Miles' ability to beat a more talented team.

I fail to see how the human polls have Wisconsin ahead of Michigan, given that: (1) Michigan beat Wisconsin handily; and (2) Michigan's two losses were to teams that were better than anyone on Wisconsin's schedule. Finally, Wisconsin was more than a little fortunate to win a bowl game in which they were badly outgained. Score one for the human voters relying on recency and record over any other consideration.

I had a final rapprochement with the Big East as I decided to bump Rutgers and West Virginia way up from where I had them before. Ultimately, I don't think there's any rational way to dispute the notion that the Big East was good this year. Their teams all took care of business in their bowl games (admittedly against less than sterling opposition as a result of their weak bowl tie-ins). I gave South Florida some serious consideration for the top 25 before deciding that I didn't have room for them, but depending on what they have returning, they should be an excellent sleeper team next year.

I know that it makes little sense to have Penn State unranked and Tennessee #19 after the bowl games, but I try not to put too much credence into the bowl games and over the course of the season, Tennessee was a little better. Also, the Outback Bowl was totally even until a stroke of luck: a fumble bouncing right to a Penn State defensive back standing next to the pile. Penn State didn't have a win of the quality of Tennessee's thrashing of Cal. That brings me to one of the ironies of the bowl season: during the year, the common wisdom was that the Big Ten was top heavy and the SEC was well-balanced, but the results of the bowl games reflected that the depth of the Big Ten was a little better than we thought and that the top of the SEC was outstanding.

I'm also uncomfortable with the fact that I have Texas ranked after a ho-hum win over a bad Iowa team and I'm not ranking Texas A&M, which beat Texas in Austin and lost a bowl game to a quality opponent.

It amuses me to see voters bump Boise State up to #2 on the backs of an overtime win over a team that most votes are slotting somewhere in the middle of the second ten. Does anyone really think that Boise State could hang with USC or LSU on a neutral field? And if so, shouldn't said voters be bumping Oklahoma up after being a hook-and-ladder away from beating the Broncos?

I punished Virginia Tech severely not so much because they lost to Georgia, but rather because I was unimpressed by their defense, which was my whole reason for ranking them #13. I know that field position was a major factor in Georgia scoring 31 points on them, but there's no excuse for them to leave Georgia's tight end and backs totally uncovered on a number of second half plays. The Peach Bowl left me with the impression that the Hokies' defense was exploitable by any offense with a modicum of creativity.


Fox said...

Va Tech absolutely deserves to be bumped down to the low to mid-20s. Their offense absolutely imploded against Georgia, and their D wilted soon afterwards. I think the flaw in their D you mention is the one that's always been there--their ability to stop the pass depends entirely on how much pressure they get--if they don't get there or at least hurry the throw, they're in trouble. They don't usually give up much in the way of yards after the catch, but on short fields or in the red zone, that doesn't help much.

Michael said...

It looked to me like they apply heavy pressure and rely on their corners to make plays on the receivers, but they don't take backs and tight ends into account in the passing game. If this is true, then UVA's WCO should work against them, although maybe VT changes things up against UVA and didn't expect that they would have to against Georgia.

VT's trip to LSU next year should be interesting.

Fox said...

I think what often happens is that when they blitz, those are the guys left open. Foster actually runs a pretty varied scheme, and blitzes from lots of places, but Richt seems to know how to move the ball against it. Well, he did in the 1999 Sugar Bowl and the 4th quarter of this year's Peach anyway. I don't think UVA's good enough to scheme around anything they do on defense.

Yea, the LSU game should be a doozy. They don't seem to have much of a shot--I just hope their D plays respectably. They're hosed on offense--Glennon will get eaten alive because he sucks, and if they go wit the true freshman guy coming in, he'll get killed because he's too raw.

You do have to be impressed that they've beefed up their non-conference schedule. Not only did they finally schedule this half of the home-and-away, but they play Nebraska the two years after that.

Isolate4Cash said...

That's so true!

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