Thursday, October 2, 2008

Snoozing through September

Maybe the Appalachian St. upset last year set the bar too high, but I’ve been completely bored with the college football season this year. The USC and Georgia upsets last weekend finally caught my attention, but I really haven’t watched many games or even looked at the numbers. So as I try to update my own brain, let’s look at the college football results for the last month and see what I’ve missed.

Who's terrible?
So far BCS teams have lost to 20 non-BCS teams.
(Note: I'm counting Notre Dame as a BCS school today.)

BCS teams have lost to BYU (twice), UNLV (twice), Fresno St. (twice), Navy (twice), East Carolina (twice), Boise St., Utah, and TCU. None of these losses seems critically embarassing, (although the East Carolina losses are starting to look a little worse.) Arizona also lost to a New Mexico squad that got crushed by Tulsa, but because of the border rivalry, I'll let that one slide.

That leaves six candidates for most embarassing non-conference loss of the year:

6) Ball St. beat Indiana 42-20. Ball St. seems to have a good team this year. They also beat Navy and Akron who pulled other BCS upsets. (Or perhaps I should say "had a good team". The injury to WR Dante Love was certainly tragic.) But you never want to get crushed by a MAC school in your own state.

5) Louisiana Tech beat Mississippi St. 22-14. Seems like we've been down this road before with Mississippi St.

4) Bowling Green beat Pittsburgh 27-17. It turns out Pittsburgh shouldn't be ranked.

3) Akron beat Syracuse 48-28. What's worse, the quality of opponents Syracuse has lost to? Or the way Washington St. has been blown out this year. Tough call.

2) Middle Tennessee beat Maryland 24-14. The same Middle Tennessee team got blown out by Troy and Arkansas St. After this loss, you had to think Ralph Friedgen was going to lose his job. Then Maryland went and beat California and won at Clemson. Maryland definitely gets the "not showing up" award for this loss.

1) Arkansas St. beat Texas A&M 18-14. The main reason I label this the worst upset of the year is that this was not the way Mike Sherman wanted to start his tenure as head coach. A school with Texas A&M's reputation just can't lose to a Sun Belt squad. Yes Arkansas St. has some talent, but they also lost to Memphis and Souther Miss. Just a horrible start to the year, and this could be the start of an epicly bad season at A&M.

Also terrible:
-Washington is winless but they almost beat BYU, (see excessive celebration flag), so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
-Washington St. is regularly giving up 50 points.
-Virginia just lost to Duke and might have the driver's seat for last place in the ACC.
-Rutgers has been shockingly non-competitive.
-Tennessee is off to a horrible start, but they aren't a terrible team.
-UCLA had injuries to the top 2 QBs, so I'll give them that.

Conference Report Card

5 Weeks into the season, 35% or 23 of 66 BCS teams have 0 wins against BCS teams.

These include: Texas Tech, Kansas, Nebraska, Kansas St., Iowa St., Texas A&M, Boston College, NC State, Virginia, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Rutgers, Tennesse, Arkansas, Mississippi St., Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, Indiana, Washington St., and Washington.

Despite this Texas Tech, Kansas, and Wisconsin are ranked in the AP poll.

Is the Big 12 good or bad this year? Probably good right? They have lots of teams ranked in the AP poll. They must be doing something right. Let's look at the non-conference schedule. The Big 12 is the only conference where the non-conference schedule is completely finished. What have we learned?

Big 12 Resume
Beat Illinois, Arkansas, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Washington, Washington St. (twice)
Lost to USF, Connecticut, Wake Forest, Florida St., Virginia Tech, Louisville, Iowa, Miami, UNLV, and Arkansas St.

Umm, yeah. That sure screams domination to me. Two wins against Washington St. Wow. So do you think Oklahoma is better than LSU or USC or USF? Well, why not. Well let's compare the conferences:

BCS wins, BCS losses, losses to non-BCS teams
2-1-0 Notre Dame
5-4-1 SEC
8-7-3 ACC
7-8-2 Big 12
6-7-2 Big Ten
6-6-5 Big East
5-6-7 Pac10

If you want to look at these numbers and tell me that one conference is definitively better than another, more power to you. Let's look more closely:

Big Ten Resume
Comment: Until Oregon St. beat USC, this looked like a pretty pathetic slate of non-conference victories.
Beat Oregon St., Duke, Iowa St., Syracuse (twice)
Went 1-2 against Notre Dame
Lost to USC, Missouri, California, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Utah, and Ball St.

Pac10 Resume
Comment: The Pac10 lost a slew of games to MWC and WAC teams. Only a dominant effort against the Big 10 prevents the non-conference season from being a total disaster.
Beat Ohio St., Michigan St., Purdue, Tennessee, Virginia
Lost to Oklahoma, Penn St., Georgia, Maryland, Oklahoma St., Baylor, BYU (twice), Boise St., TCU, Fresno St., UNLV, New Mexico
3 Non-Conference BCS games left, all against Notre Dame

Big East Resume
Comments: Plenty of embarrassing non-conference losses. Who would have thought that recent Big East additions UConn and USF would be carrying the league?
Beat Kansas, Kansas St., NC State, Iowa, Baylor, Virginia
Lost to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Penn St., Northwestern, North Carolina, Colorado, Fresno St., Navy, East Carolina, Bowling Green, Akron
4 Non-Conference BCS games left, 2 against Notre Dame, one against Auburn, one against North Carolina.

ACC Resume
Comment: Not nearly as bad as people were saying early in the year when Clemson lost to Alabama and Virginia Tech lost to East Carolina.
Beat California, Nebraska, Colorado, Ole Miss, Mississippi St., Baylor, Texas A&M, Rutgers
Lost to Alabama, Florida, USC, USF, South Carolina, Connecticut, Northwestern, Navy, East Carolina, Middle Tenn.
8 Games Left Including 2 games against Notre Dame, 2 games against Vanderbilt, UConn, and the SEC/ACC rivalries (Florida St. vs Florida, Georgia Tech vs Georgia, anc Clemson vs South Carolina.)

SEC Resume
Comment: Yep, the SEC is the top conference. I guess.
Beat Clemson, Miami, Arizona St., NC State, Louisville
Lost to Texas, Wake Forest, UCLA, Georgia Tech, Lousiana Tech
6 Games Left Including West Virginia, Duke, Wake Forest and the SEC/ACC rivalries.