Wednesday Musings

Some random thoughts accumulated since last Saturday:

—Shocking revelation of the day for me: Texas freshman wide receiver Marquise Goodwin can really play!   He made a couple big-time catches against the Sooners and showed he is not just a track guy.  Had I known he was actually going to get meaningful minutes for Texas this year, I would’ve included him on my list of the fastest players in college football earlier this summer.  So, my bad on that one.  Interestingly enough, the TV announcers failed to mention that he is a 26-10 long jumper, which is a really remarkable achievement to gloss over.

Terrelle Pryor’s high school coach has articulated what most astute observers already know:  He’s not being used properly at Ohio State.  Says the coach:  “They’ve put the reins on him and they need to let him go free. When I watch Terrelle play right now, I see a robot.” 

I agree.  How do you mess up a guy with those skills?  Just wind him up and let him go.  Jim Tressel needs to get some advice from Mack Brown on this one.

—The Pac-10 is the top conference in three of the six computer rankings used by the BCS, including Sagarin.  Do you think perhaps that someone, somewhere, will entertain the slightest chance that a conference other than the SEC might be the best this year?   I mean we have some data to support it, no?  We can all assume that a magazine cover like this one for the Pac-10 is pending, right? 

Naaaah.

—You have to give the Sooners credit for being a resilient bunch this season.  Sure, they’ve dropped three games, but the losses have been by a combined five points and have come without the services of Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham

—It’s a wonder more bettors don’t go stark raving mad.  This is what I thought after seeing Minnesota–a 17.5 point underdog to Penn State–getting stuffed on 4th and goal at the Nittany Lion 1-yard line as time expired.  The final score: 20-0, PSU.

—Idaho might be the story of the half-season in college football.  The usually hapless Vandals are 6-1 and bowl eligible for the first time.  Can they beat Boise State?  I think they’ve got a good shot, thanks to an offense that should be able to keep up with the Broncos.

—Bizarre turnaround of the week:  Kansas State goes from being crushed 66-14 by Texas Tech to doing some smashing of its own in a 62-14 romp over Texas A&M.   Can Mike Sherman be long for College Station?

—As good as Ndamukong Suh is, Brian Price of UCLA might be better.  The guy already has 10.5 tackles for loss, which is a crazy number for an interior lineman.

—My BCS Bowl Matchups as of right now:

BCS Title Game–Alabama vs. USC

Rose Bowl–Iowa vs. Oregon

Orange Bowl–Miami vs. Cincinnati 

Fiesta Bowl–Texas vs. TCU

Sugar Bowl–Florida vs. Boise State

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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20 Responses to Wednesday Musings

  1. CloroxingTheGenePool October 21, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    #1 I’m still predicting either Tressel or Pryor will be leaving at the end of the season. November is going to be a very interesting and defining moment for both.

    #2 The SEC’s best, Alabama and Florida, would beat the Pacific 10′s best, Southern Cal and Oregon. Almost every year. And LSU would probably beat the Trojans and Ducks, too.

    #3 Funny to see Oregon being pushed so much by yourself and others; probably has to do with trying to improve USC’s strength of schedule which stinks because Cal, Notre Dame, and Ohio State are underachieving. Oregon will probably get a BCS bowl berth but that shouldn’t be the basis for judging Southern Cal of being worthy of the BCS national title game berth if Texas is the competition.

  2. jeremy October 21, 2009 at 3:32 pm #

    really? You think LSU’s anemic offense would do anything against USC? Have you seen either team play this year?

    No argument on Alabama here – they look solid (if unspectacular) – kinda like Ohio State in 02.

    As for Florida/USC I’m guessing USC would be slightly favored at a neutral site at this point -

  3. CloroxingTheGenePool October 21, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

    Well, LSU scored more against Washington than USC. And won.

  4. jeremy October 21, 2009 at 3:52 pm #

    Fair enough – but has anything you’ve seen out of LSU in the past few games (Florida/Georgia) given you confidence in LSU’s ability to move the ball and score 20-24 points?

  5. Andy October 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm #

    Once the PAC 10 stops losing to the MWC and puts a beat down (not a squeak out) on decent but not excellent teams like ND and OSU, then they’ll have more room to speak. So, the computer’s are our standard to go buy now? So that would have given us Michigan-OSU in the title game a few years ago, and that would also contradict HPs opinion (based on PAC 10 love) that USC is #2 right now. So, which is it…computers or not? Your columns would be so much better if you could stop being so PAC 10 biased/defensive. What was their record against the MWC last year? Was it 1-5? That was just last year! They had a good bowl showing…as they are a good conference, but its hard to make a claim to be the best when you don’t beat the little guys and your basically a one horse show…like the ACC before it expanded. A conference that has one champion 8 years in a row, is not competitive at the top. That is one of the signs of a great conference.

  6. Old Ducker October 21, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    Andy, fair enough. As for USC though, I’d wager their conference champion record this past decade wouldn’t much (if any) different in any other conference, even the SEC. I believe they’re 4-0 vs the SEC in the PC era.

    Plus, if Oregon had Florida’s schedule, we would be 6-0 and at the top of the polls. On a good day (Cal) I think we’d pound the Gators to sawdust.

  7. CloroxingTheGenePool October 21, 2009 at 5:19 pm #

    Pete Caroll’s Southern Cal = no games against Georgia, Alabama, LSU, and Florida, i.e., the SEC’s best.

    The Trojans’ player talent would be matched by those teams. But most importantly, except for LSU, PC wouldn’t be the best coach on the sidelines. Thus, his teams would lose.

    I’d love to see USC facing off against the SEC’s best, whether in pre-season or bowl games. Then, PC might not be quite the genius that he’s alleged to be.

    As for the rest of the Pacific 10, the last national title won by a team other than Southern Cal was almost 2 decades ago. To find the next one won by a team other than Southern Cal, you have to go back over 5 decades. Reality: the Pacific 10 conference has one respectable program, and the rest is hype to bolster SC’s strength of schedule.

  8. slippy October 21, 2009 at 7:09 pm #

    I’m pretty sure USC played and beat Auburn within a year of their undefeated season. These schedules are made years in advance so you never know who is going to be on top. Alabama had been mediocre for 10 years before Saban came.

    The Pac 10 was also undefeated in bowl season.

    A one horse show? Losing to MWC teams? Sounds a bit like the SEC last year…

    I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it a million times over. Having the national champion in your conference does not automatically make you the best conference.

    In ’06 Florida may have won the championship but the other 2 Big 10 matchups were losses (and the B10 is almost always overmatched in their bowl games – should be changing with new bowl affiliations however).

    Outside of Alabama and Florida the SEC is very mediocre…and AWFUL at the bottom.

  9. sandymex October 22, 2009 at 7:12 am #

    I think the Pac 10 is a very good conference, but its hard to take them seriously when they openly oppose playoffs:

    Pac 10 Commissioner Hansen insists:
    “Our presidents have no interest whatsoever in a plus-one model — none… If they continue to push? it, we’ll walk away from the BCS.”

    The Pac 10 has a losing record against BCS conferences this year if you take away their games against the Big 10. But they continue to insist that their best team should play the Big 10 at home instead of a real bowl game. Maybe it would best for college football if the Pac 10 followed through on their threat to take their ball and run home to mommy.

  10. Ed Newman October 22, 2009 at 7:25 am #

    Looking at it as neither a PAC-10 or SEC homer I think the SEC still holds an edge. It is the slightest in maybe 4 years but it is still there. It comes down to the strength of the top 5 or so programs. While I think USC beats everyone including UF or LSU on a neutral bowl game site most years. I don’t think the rest of the PAC 10 wins against 2-5.

    But I’m not sure. It continues to bother me that the SEC rarely travels and even most of their bowl games are in their backyard and almost always contested in perfect football weather. As we saw this year true road games outside the South are not gimmes for the SEC (LSU, Georgia).

  11. Andy October 22, 2009 at 8:19 am #

    Old Ducker,

    If Oregon lost at Boise State, you think they’re going to beat LSU at LSU at night (which UF did). Oregon has rebounded well, and may be a high quality team, but it’s hard to say they would have the same roecrd as UF if they had their schedule. Also, UF had the toughest schedule in the country by almost everyone’s analysis in 2006 when they won the championship and last year’s schedule while not as tough, featured games against Miami, FSU, AL, OU, LSU, GA (with Stafford and Moreno).

    And I also don’t think you’ll find many who would agree with your statement that USC would be SEC champs or BIG 12 champs the last 8 years as they’ve been in the PAC 10. Its not about winning one or two games a year against a UF or AL or TN or GA or LSU its also about having a lot more chances to screw up against an Ole Miss, South Carolina, Auburn, or Arkansa…and there’s a championship game that provides another opportunity to lose to one of the best teams in the conference. This is the same in the BIG 12. Sure you have to beat OU or TX, but there’s also Nebraska, Ok. St., TT, Missouri, KS (depending on the year).

    When the ACC expanded and FSU had to play excellently 5-6 times a year (regular season) as opposed to 2 to 3 times a year you see what happened. Its similar in the PAC 10 with USC. Although, don’t get me wrong, the PAC 10 is certainly stronger than the days of the FSU dominated PAC 10.

  12. Max October 22, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    In past years, I think USC creams any SEC team. This year, a bit of a rebuilding year for the Trojans, I think USC easily beats LSU (who beat Washington, but didn’t have to travel to Columbus the week before…they played a home game against some I-AA squad, which is typical).

    As for Alabama and UF…I think USC would likely narrowly lose to Alabama and probably would narrowly beat UF, who doesn’t have much of an offense this year.

    If we look at the OOC schedules of the SEC’s elite vs. the OOC schedule of USC, I think it’s pretty clear who’s unwilling to play whom. USC has played 4 games against the SEC in the past 6 years (and won all of them, including one against #6 Auburn at Jordan Hare, and on the road against an Arkansas team that ended up champion of the SEC West that year).

    It’s clear that USC is willing to play anyone, anywhere. They have arguable the toughest OOC schedule in the nation over the past 8 years. Oh, and they’re one of 4 I-A teams never to play a I-AA school. Meanwhile, UF and Alabama are beating up on I-AA schools at home every year.

    So who is unwilling to play whom?

  13. HP October 22, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    The main point I was trying to make was that the Pac10 is on top of three computer polls, so how come we have magazine covers constantly touting the SEC as the best? I’m not saying the SEC isn’t the best this year, but how come when other conferences shine, there is never the same kind of validation?

  14. sandymex October 22, 2009 at 12:19 pm #

    Since 1992, UF has played 93 teams ranked in the final AP poll. USC has only played 67. What’s more, USC has played the majority at home while UF has played about 2/3 away from home. Since 1992, UF has played almost twice as many ranked teams away from home as USC!

    Add USC’s opposition to playoffs and it’s pretty hard to pretend USC is the poster child for competition in this picture.

  15. Andy October 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    Max,

    Look at TOTAL strength of schedule…it’s not just about OOC schedule, which is only 4 games a year. Its not correct to focus on 1/3 of the schedule and ignore the much more difficult 2/3, + the conference championship game, which the PAC 10 lacks. In Phil Steele’s 2009 SOS there are 5 SEC teams in the top 10 and the first PAC 10 team is #11 Oregon. The PAC 10s regular season record against the Mountain West Coference last year was 1-6! One of the PAC 10s better teams lost to Boise State this season, who has struggled against some non-BCS competition. LSU, beat Washington at UW this year, and USC didn’t. USC beat two decent teams on the road by 3 and 7 points: ND and OSU. The PAC 10 has to take care of the little guys and do more than squeak by teams like ND and OSU if it wants more respect. Don’t hear me wrong, its a good conference, but I think some of you PAC 10 advocates are being particularly biased in your view of the college football world. Also, the last time USC played for the National Championship, with a team that couldn’t be beaten, one of the best ever, they lost!

    The PAC 10 has had two teams win three National Championships (2 of those were split championships) in 20 years – the SEC has done that in the last 3 years!!

  16. Old Ducker October 22, 2009 at 1:31 pm #

    Max, Oregon was HORRIBLE at Boise State. However I think you would agree that breaking in a new head coach (who had never been a head coach at any level) on the road against a top 10 team is a pretty hard introduction. I will also note that despite not even getting a first down until midway through the third quarter, Oregon had opportunities to still win the game.

    Oregon’s offense depends on QB play. Masoli, when healthy is brilliant. Costa is a better passer but inexperienced and after having three major knee surguries, I doubt he will ever be as mobile as we need. With Masoli healthy, I’d put us against any team in the country. You’ll see that a week and a half from now when USC comes to visit. If he goes down, all bets are off…probably the Holiday Bowl again.

  17. CloroxingTheGenePool October 22, 2009 at 9:52 pm #

    Over the last few years, the Pacific 10 has switched places with the Big 10 in terms of how the conferences rank. Improved but still not better than the SEC. I don’t think either USC or Florida will be deserving of a national title game slot by the end of the season; but I’d love to see them face off in a bowl.

  18. philnotfil October 23, 2009 at 8:31 am #

    Max did bring up a good point, if you ignore all of the ranked teams that Florida plays in their conference, USC’s strength of schedule is way higher. Of course, if you want to look at the entire schedule you get a different picture

    USC vs. Florida strength of schedule (from ncaa.org)
    Year USC Florida
    2000 42 1
    2001 56 15
    2002 1 7
    2003 34 2
    2004 18 32
    2005 9 27
    2006 7 1
    2007 73 3
    2008 38 2

    Average 31 10

  19. Max October 23, 2009 at 11:17 am #

    You SEC boys like to look at the whole schedule. You fail to take into account that all the ranked teams you play in conference are ranked because they beat up on I-AA cupcakes and enter conference play undefeated. So the rankings of SEC teams are inflated for sure.

    I focus on the OOC schedule because it’s the only part of your schedule you can control. When USC is choosing to play much tougher competition on the road while SEC teams are choosing to play I-AA teams at home, then that says something about SOS, don’t you think? Do you think UF or LSU really wants to play USC out of conference? I know USC would accept an invitation to play them.

  20. sandymex October 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    Max -

    Pretending you don’t control who you play is one of the dumbest excuses I’ve ever heard for ignoring 2/3 of the schedule. Teams most certainly control their conference alignment. Teams also collectively control conference structure, expansion, and how champions are determined.

    Since 1992 (SEC expansion) UF has played more 1-A opponents than USC. UF has also played more ranked opponents out of conference. In addition, UF has played 9 SEC championship games! USC’s big claim is that the bottom of their schedule is typically stronger than UF’s.

    USC is certainly a great program, but they should be publicly ridiculed for their cowardly opposition to playoffs. To the rest of the country it looks like USC enjoys the spoils of playing the Big 10 in Pasadena too much to change their ways.