Tuesday, 17 October 2006

9 Things I Think I Know about College Football

Ok, I realize I'm basically copying Peter King's "10 Things I Think I Think," but I don't think he'll mind. If you're reading this Peter and you do mind, my apologies.

Anyway, here are the 9 things I think I know about college football as of right now. These are probably sure to change within the week, because that's how things are. So sue me.

1) For all the preseason talk, the Big East is better than the ACC.
The ACC has more depth (since they have about twice the teams), I'll grant you that, but the Big East is much stronger up top. With the anemic FSU offense, and the mediocre seasons of Miami and Va. Tech, that leaves Clemson and Georgia Tech as [arguably] the 2 best teams in the ACC. They're solid clubs, but West Virginia and Louisville are both head and shoulders above them. The rest of the Big East isn't so bad either. The 3rd and 4th best teams are Pittsburgh and Rutgers, a combined 12-1. Pitt is playing great with Tyler Palko at the helm, and Rutgers has some fine talent on offense. I'll take the top 4 in the Big East over the top 4 in the ACC, no questions asked.

2) It's a shame Adrian Peterson may never play another college football game.
Let's face it, there's a great chance Peterson will leave Oklahoma for the NFL after this year, and that's probably the right choice. I'm just disappointed that with the broken collarbone, we may not see him run the ball in college anymore. He's carred the load (when healthy) in Norman since he got there, and he was on a Heisman campaign this year. Let's be honest, he is better bit the NFL prospect Reggie Bush was, just a much different style of RB. It was great to watch him for the Sooners, and it's too bad that we may never get to see that again.

3) The new clock rules are bad.
Seriously, a running clock after the change of possession? They thought this was a good idea? Can they at least change it so the clock stops in the last 2 minutes, or maybe the whole 4th quarter? Please?

4) The Heisman is Troy Smith's to lose.
Coming into the year, I thought Brady Quinn and Adrian Peterson were the Heisman favorites. However, Quinn has struggled a bit (especially against Michigan), and Peterson is hurt. Leaving Troy Smith all alone up top. If OSU goes undefeated, there is a 0% chance Smith doesn't win the Heisman as long as he stays healthy. You can quote me on that.

5) All things being equal, Florida is the best team in the SEC.
Yes, I know they lost to Auburn. And Auburn played great. But I think they were helped out a lot by the home crowd. Obviously, that's the advantage of home-field advantage. However, if these teams meet again in the SEC Championship, I'll take Florida. I think they're faster, more athletic, and stronger up front defensively. One thing's for sure, that's definitely a rematch I'd love to see.

6) California is the best team in the Pac-10.
Sure, they got rocked in the opening game against Tennessee, but they're a different team now. Since then, their closest game has been 18 points, and that's including games against ASU (who gave USC all they wanted), and a very talented Oregon team. USC's still a very talented team, and they'll be playing Cal at home, but from what I've seen, Cal is the better team right now. That may change in the next month when they play, but right now Cal is better defensively and more explosive offensively.

7) Michigan (with a healthy Mario Manningham) is the best team in the country.
Ohio St. may have something to say about that, and they obviously have a strong case, but no team has impressed me more than Michigan. Chad Henne has been accurate and is making good decisions, Michael Hart is the best RB in the Big 10, and Mario Manningham is the most explosive player not named Ted Ginn in the conference. But what sets them apart is the defense. They're giving up 13.6 PPG, but that's not against an easy schedule. They held a powerful Irish team to 21 points, a pretty darned good Wisconsin team to 13 points, and no one else in the Big 10 over 14. If they get by Iowa, it looks like pretty smooth sailing for the Wolverines to be heading into Columbus with an undefeated record.

8) There will be more BCS Controversy.
As it stands right now, there are 5 teams near the top of the polls that are undefeated in Ohio St., Michigan, USC, West Virginia, and Louisville. With OSU/Michigan and WVU/Louisville games in the future, that leaves 3 of those teams being possibly undefeated. USC still hs games against Oregon, Cal, and Notre Dame, and I don't really like their chances to come out of that unscathed. Which would leave 2 teams... and odds are, at least one of them will lose. That's what tends to happen. Which would leave a 0-loss team playing a 1-loss team in the BCS Title Game. Which means that...

9) Michigan will play Auburn for the National Championship.
Obviously in this scenario Michigan would beat Ohio St., and as I've mentioned, I think that's entirely possible. Which leaves Auburn as the 1-loss team making it. They have 5 games left on their regular season schedule, and frankly, the game are not that intimidating. Their toughest remaining opponents are Georgia (who has looked pretty bad lately) and @ Alabama (who hasn't been that great either). After that, they may not even make the SEC Title game. For all intents and purposes, they are 2 games back of Arkansas, and the Razorbacks are playing real well behind the running game and solid defense. It's very possible they lose 1 game or less the rest of the way. The biggest crimp in this plan that I see is that I look at West Virginia's remaining schedule and I'm not sure anyone can beat them, especially with Michael Bush being hurt. But it is worth noting that Auburn is above West Virginia in the inaugural BCS Standings.

So there you have... some bold predictions, some not so bold. What do you think?