Friday, January 06, 2006

Final College Football Rankings

Before we sum up the Capital One Bowl Week that was, the dirties here at Sports Matters have posted our picks for the NFL Wild Card Weekend. This post keeps getting pushed down the page, so I thought I’d throw up a link here.

As for the college game, first a sidebar:
I got this DVD from my brother for Christmas, and it gives us the quote of the week:

“Without that we’d be just another university, but with that we’re THE Ohio State University
Jim Lachey – former Buckeye Offensive Lineman (1981-84), talking about Ohio Stadium, aka The Horseshoe

Well put. With that said, let’s move on to the final rankings for the 2005 College Football season.

1. Texas
2. USC
3. Penn State
4. The Ohio State University
5. West Virginia
6. Virginia Tech
7. LSU
8. Alabama
9. Georgia
10. Texas Christian University
11. Notre Dame
12. Wisconsin
13. Auburn
14. Florida
15. Oregon
16. UCLA
17. Miami-FL
18. Clemson
19. Wisconsin
20. Boston College
21. Texas Tech
22. Louisville
23. Nebraska
24. Florida State
25. Oklahoma

A few comments on the best and worst of the Bowls:

Teams Whose Bowl Performance Bodes Well for 2006
Texas (if VY returns for his Senior Year), West Virginia, Ohio State, LSU, Utah, Nebraska.

Teams Whose Bowl Performance Doesn’t Bode Well for 2006
Notre Dame (defense?), Miami, South Carolina.

Best Bowl Trend
Exciting BCS games – only OSU-ND wasn’t decided by a field goal, and there wasn’t a dud among the quartet of games.

Worst Bowl Trend
Bad Officiating. Off the top of my head, everything about the Nebraska-Michigan game, the Vince Young lateral while being down and the interception that almost was by Texas at the end of the first half not being reviewed, and Iowa wrongly being flagged for offside on an onside kick are all examples of poor officiating that potentially affected the outcome of the games.

Best Game Instincts
Michigan, for their 8 laterals to keep the last play of the game alive.

Worst Game Instincts
The Michigan guy who picked the ball up and ran by himself after Nebraska (and the crowd) thought the game was over, yet cut to the sidelines with no blockers ahead and didn’t pitch to Wide Receiver Steve Breaston who was running behind him. Dude, you’re a Tight End and you have the fastest guy on the field behind you. It might be a smart move to let him run with the ball instead.

Honorable Mention: I can’t let Matt Leinart get away with his terrible instincts on the final play of the Rose Bowl. With 8 seconds left, he scrambled around, eventually throwing a pass that, if completed, would have left his team 25 yards shy of the end zone. If there’s nothing there, throw it away, or at least throw it to the end zone where you might get some points. Just a bad decision at the worst possible time.

Speaking of bad decisions…

Worst Coaching Move
Pete Carroll, USC, for giving the ball to LenDale White instead of Reggie Bush on 4th and 2. Sure he was having the stronger game, but on important plays you have to try and get the ball in the hands of your best player. Not only did Bush not get to touch the ball, he wasn’t even on the field period. For all the success Pete Carroll has had, he deserves criticism for this decision. Imagine if, in a World Series game, Joe Torre asked Mike Stanton to hold the lead in the bottom of the 9th instead of Mariano Rivera because there were lefties coming up, and Stanton had been hot throughout the series. Same situation here folks. Unbelievable.

Best Coaching Move
Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia, for calling a fake punt in the final two minutes of the Sugar Bowl. The Mountaineers converted, and ran out the clock instead of giving the “Dawgs the ball and a chance to tie or win the game.

Best Performance by a Substitute Quarterback
Brett Ratliff, Utah
He put on a clinic against a good Georgia Tech defense. The Armchair Quarterback does a good job recapping the game, so I won’t say any more, except that Utah seems like an unlikely place for a Quarterback controversy to take place. Who’d a thunk it?

Worst Performance by a Substitute Quarterback
Hunter Cantwell, Louisville
15 of 37 with 3 picks. Even though the freshman also threw for 3 TDs, I doubt Brian Brohm will be looking over his shoulder in spring practice.

And a few final comments:

• Vince Young should go pro, if for no other reason than the fact that his stock cannot possibly get any higher than it is right now – something that experts like Mel Kiper Jr. have pointed out. If he goes back to school, he may win the Heisman and another national title, but it gives the scouts another year to pick his game apart and find reasons to believe that he won’t succeed in the NFL. Sure he’s got some developing to do, but he can do it while sitting on the bench for a year behind Jeff Blake or Jon Kitna or someone like that. And for people who criticize his delivery, unorthodox QBs like Doug Flutie have managed to thrive in the NFL. The scouts who say it will keep him from being an effective pro are probably the same ones who encouraged their teams to spend top draft picks on “prototypical” Quarterbacks like Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, and Dan McGwire. In a related story, they’re probably now scouting these same players for Arena League teams, or the Canadian Football League if they’re lucky.

• Marcus Vick, the younger brother of Michael Vick, has been kicked off the Virginia Tech football team. Marcus has a troubled history in Blacksburg, and the incident where he stomped on Elvis Dumervil’s leg at the end of the Gator Bowl seems to have been the final straw. At least he has big brother to take care of him. There’s a Johnny Drama joke in here somewhere, but I’m afraid to anger Marcus on the remote chance that he’s reading this.

• The Spread Offense is the new Option, which may or may not have been the new Wishbone. I’m not sure how I feel about this development, but I do miss the old option offense. Someone needs to release a ‘Best of Nebraska 1975-2000’ DVD, stat.

• In a move that I'm not pleased with, FOX takes over the BCS starting next year - the Rose Bowl being the lone holdout amongst the big four bowl games. As you can tell by the date on the press release, this is not news by any means, but it's impact will soon be felt. As for the stand-alone championship game that's mentioned, as far as I can tell all it means is that the game will played on January 8th next year, which means TV junkies may have to wait an extra week for the season premier of American Idol. I don't see the point of delaying the title game. It's not like the teams need an extra week of rest after having been off for a month already, and I can't imagine they'll gain viewers with this switch either. I can't stay mad at FOX, however, since they did create the yellow first down line, but this seems like a pointless move to me. Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the days when you could overload your New Year's Day with bowl games, then be done for the year.

• I’m not Pat Forde, but if I had to rank the teams going into next season, I’d have Texas as 1a, since they’re the champs, and Ohio State as 1b, since they’ll be the more talented team. I can’t disagree with most of his other picks, except Notre Dame’s too high, since they’ll be breaking in a number of new starters, as is Miami – who’s blowout loss to LSU plus player turnover tells me that 2006 won’t be the best of years for the Hurricanes. I’d put LSU, West Virginia, and Florida in the Top 5 after the aforementioned 1a and 1b. Don’t count another run by the Trojans either, who will have talented players like Dwayne Jarrett back, and a breezy Pac-10 schedule outside of a matchup with Oregon. If you want a sleeper pick, I’ll say Nebraska, who looked good in the final stretch of the season, and plays in the wretched Big 12 North Division. There’s no reason they can’t roll through the conference and beat Texas or Oklahoma in the title game. You heard it here first.


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