Tuesday, September 08, 2009

My Baby's Back

2Southern Cal 1
3Alabama 2
4Texas 2
5California 4
6Oklahoma State 8
7Penn State 8
8Mississippi 10
9Brigham Young 7
10Georgia Tech 7
11TCU 2
13Oklahoma 9
16Boise State 6
17Notre Dame 7
18Georgia 8
19Ohio State 11
20Texas Tech 1
21LSU 14
24Virginia Tech 18
25Arkansas 2
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Iowa (#11), Oregon (#19), Illinois (#20), Rutgers (#25).

One note: my ballot was affect by the results this weekend as well as the yards per play numbers that I ran last week. For instance, I bumped Georgia Tech up not because of the win against Jacksonville State, but rather because the numbers reflect that my skepticism of the Jackets is very subjective.

Thoughts on the Weekend:

1. I haven't watched the Georgia game yet and I barely caught any of it on Saturday because it was in the Michigan time slot and because parenting intervened. Looking at the box score and talking to friends, it sounds like the Dawgs' offense was totally underwhelming, especially against a defense that was routinely shredded last year. I'm going to guess that it will take Georgia fans about three series against South Carolina to get antsy about Joe Cox. I worry about Cox's arm being insufficient to properly use A.J. Green. (Michigan had an excellent season in 2004 with true freshman Chad Henne throwing deep balls to Braylon Edwards. Any thoughts on Aaron Murray and Green trying to reprise that performance?) Still, let's look on the bright side. The defense appears to be much improved and there is no shame in losing a hard-fought game on the road against a quality opponent.

2. The state of coaching in the Big Ten is horrendous. Any Michigan fans who don't like Rich Rodriguez because he doesn't fit the mold of coaches in the conference is insane. By the end of the afternoon on Saturday, the conference favorite had barely survived against Navy (yards per play: Navy 6.0, Ohio State 5.7), another ranked conference team had been forced to block two potentially game winning field goals against I-AA Northern Iowa (yards per play: Northern Iowa 5.1, Iowa 5.1), and Illinois had been humiliated (yet again) by Missouri. Those three teams, along with Penn State and Michigan State, were supposed to be the upper tier of the conference this season. If the Big Ten is as flush with cash as the SEC as many claim, then where is that money going? It sure as hell isn't going to the product on the field.

3. I have no problem with BYU as a national title contender. OK, Sam Bradford's injury was a big deal. If Bradford and Jermaine Gresham would have gone pro last winter, Oklahoma would have been between #15 and #20 in the rankings. Thus, BYU beating Oklahoma by a point isn't the greatest achievement in recorded history. That said, it is a big win against a good team in a hostile environment. Bradford was only averaging 6.9 yards per pass attempt on 14 passes when he was injured, so it's not as if he was tearing the Cougars up and his shoulder injury changed the direction of the game completely. Also of relevance to BYU: the Mountain West does not look that inferior to the ACC, Big East, or Big Ten. I'll be interested to see how BYU's strength of schedule plays out in comparison to Penn State's.

4. Alabama looked awesome. After a season in which I made fun of John Parker Wilson from start to finish, I can't believe that I didn't make the point over the summer that Alabama could be better on offense with Greg McElroy under center. The offensive line isn't as good, but the skill position players look better. Although Virginia Tech's defense is elite in reputation only, it's still impressive that Bama did whatever they wanted on offense. The expected Hokiepocalypse occurred on the other side of the ball, with the Tide defense allowing 155 yards on three yards per play. Is it me, or has Tyrod Taylor regressed as a passer since his freshman year? I don't remember him being this useless with his arm.

5. LSU did not. So maybe it will take more than one off-season to correct whatever failed the LSU defense last year. Washington gained 478 yards and had 25 first downs. LSU has way too much talent to be shredded like that.

6. As this play unfolded, I shrieked "oh my G-d, we have this guy for four years!"


chg said...

I really hope Michigan gives you and everyone else reason to consider them for next week's rankings. They have always been the one Big Ten power I pretty much always respected, and it's been sad to see Ohio State lording over a diminished big ten the last decade.

As important, the vast majority of Wolverine fans would be much, much more tolerable than the ND "fans" who will mysteriously appear from the ether if the Irish put together a big year. You carry the hopes of a nation this weekend. Good luck.

Caelus said...

I almost burned out my DVR replaying this run. Denard is at least one year away from being an effective QB but I would like to see Michigan use him as a wild card in the interim. Fortier is their QB at least for this year.

And I am with CHG in wanting Michigan to do a job on ND this Saturday.

Ed said...

That is quite impressive, Michael. I believe the last time I saw a run like that I was playing Tecmo Super Bowl and my team was the L.A. Raiders.

Alas, I cannot share chg's good wishes for this weekend. If the hopes of a nation rest on the Wolverines beating ND, then may the nation crumble about our feet.

For, as you and Al Smith well know, ND fans owe no allegiance to America, but rather to the Pope in Rome.