If conferences had fight songs, then I have a suggestion for the Big Ten:
Matt Hinton had a great comment on Twitter that he often struggles to think of 25 deserving teams to go into his rankings, but this week, there were about 35 good candidates. I had the same feeling this morning. I wanted to rank Texas Tech for getting out to a 4-0 start and showing a good defense, but I decided to punish them for playing a terrible non-conference schedule. I wanted to rank Arizona State, but those wins over Cal and Illinois don’t look especially good right now. I’ll admit that my feelings about those two coaches also played into my reasoning. Baylor is a perfectly rankable team. Miami is 4-1 and getting a lot of production from Stephen Morris. And how much should I punish Michigan for losing to the #1 team in the country and then losing a tight game at top ten Notre Dame, a game in which Michigan outgained the Irish, but took a Gatling Gun to their own feet when they hit the red zone?
Anyway, a few thoughts on the teams that are not dearly departed from my ballot:
- It seems way too predictable and easy that we are headed towards another Alabama-LSU showdown. Neither team is playing especially well right now. I am starting to see why Nick Saban got so annoyed at the media for puffing his team up, as both the Tide and Tigers seem to have significant motivational issues getting up for anything other than big name opponents.
- I really ought to punish Oregon for a comical non-conference schedule. They are truly the exception to the rule that Pac Ten teams play stronger foes outside of the league. However, they are the exception that proves the rule in the sense that Pac Ten teams generally play tougher opponents because their lukewarm fan bases will not turn out to see North Texas. Right now, Oregon has the most inelastic demand for tickets in the league, so it would stand to reason that they think that they can get away with playing tomato cans.
- Don’t think that I didn’t enjoy two separate pieces in ESPN blaming the Big Ten’s current woes at least in part on cheapness with respect to coaching salaries.
- I listened to the Texas radio feed of the fourth quarter of Texas-Oklahoma State on Saturday night driving back from Athens. Shockingly enough, they did not mention Joe Bergeron’s fumble on the winning touchdown. I only learned on the following day that there was controversy concerning the ending of the game. I also listened to the Wisconsin radio feed of the final five minutes of their game with Nebraska and needless to say, their announcers sounded borderline suicidal that the game ended with Monte Ball fumbling/getting stuffed on fourth and one. G-d bless homers.
- So do I make a hat, a brooch, or a Pterodactyl out of Ohio State potentially going unbeaten against a schedule that might not feature a single ranked team? Let’s see how good the pollsters are at evaluating a team with a big name, a gaudy record, and no big wins.
- I will freely admit that my decision to put Louisiana Tech on my ballot and my love of the Sagarin Predictor have irreconcilable differences.