The Ocho

A home away from home for the college football fan who's tired of the talking heads not knowing what they're talking about.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

2006 Pre-Season Predictions

Last year, the team I ranked #8 (Texas) won the title. Admittedly, that was lower than most ranking services had the Longhorns. I had USC, which at least was in the national championship game, beating Miami (FL) for the title.

I did have some spot on picks like Georgia winning the SEC title over LSU, and I jumped on neither the Tennessee bandwagon ranking the Vols much lower (#12) than most rating services where the Vols checked in as high as #3 nor the Florida bandwagon with the Gators at #19. Like all rating services, I overrated Oklahoma and Louisville. My most overrated teams last year were Miami (FL) and Louisville. My most underrated teams were my very own alma mater, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Penn State.

Trends from my recent polls: I generally overrate Miami (FL) and Lousville. Indeed, over the past 3 years, I have ranked Miami (FL) #2 (when Texas won the title), #1 (when USC won the title), and #4 (when USC/LSU won the title). Having said that, Miami has a better record than ANYONE over the past 5 years (53-9 versus USC's 54-10) so maybe I'm not so crazy. This year should be no different -- I'm potentially overrating both Miami and Louisville AGAIN. Miami's defense should be the best in the country, and they have enough offensive skill players to win a national title. They open at home against Florida State, and then has a nasty test, ironically, against Louisville on the road. Other than that, the schedule is rather easy. If Miami does not make the national title game, they should look at this year as a disappointment. As for Louisville, I believe they have enough firepower offensively to make a run for the national title as well. I think they stumble against Miami (FL) at home, but beat West Virginia to finish as a one-loss team this year.

Who will Miami play for the title? The second team is a tricky proposition. Ohio State should overrcome an early season loss at Texas and run the table. They will be rated higher than Louisville if both teams finish with one loss. LSU has a murderous schedule but more talent than anyone in the loaded SEC this year. If LSU makes it to the title game, look for them to win it. I just don't think they can make it through their regular season schedule without a blemish which is likely what it would take for them to play for the title. USC should not go undefeated this year with tests against Notre Dame, California, Arizona State, and a very underrated Arkansas team. Texas lost all-world QB Vince Young, but look for them to lose no more than 2 games this year. The Gators should be much improved in year two of Urban Meyer's campaign, and the schedule is much more favorable this year for them to make a run at the title. I think the Gators shock the world this year, and come through the SEC with only one loss. However, it won't be enough to jump Ohio State in the polls, thus leading to a rematch of the teams involved in the 2002 National Title, Miami (FL) and Ohio State.

I think Ohio State beats an undefeated Hurricanes squad for the title. There will probably be tons of second guessing as to who should have played for the title, as this year bodes well for a plethora of one loss teams. Indeed, I'm predicting that Ohio State (at Texas), Florida (at Auburn), and Louisville (at home against Miami) all finish with one regular season loss. It is very possible either Texas, USC, LSU, Oklahoma, West Virginia, or even Auburn could finish the year with one loss as well. Should be an interesting year.

Without further ado, here are the pre-season rankings for 2006:

College Football Pre-Season Rankings

1) Ohio State
2) Miami (FL)
3) Florida
4) LSU
5) Texas
6) USC
7) Notre Dame
8) Louisville
9) Oklahoma
10) Auburn
11) West Virginia
12) California
13) Florida State
14) Iowa
15) Texas A&M
16) Michigan
17) Arizona State
18) Maryland
19) TCU
20) Alabama
21) Texas Tech
22) Boston College
23) Arkansas
24) Georgia
25) Penn State

Not ranked but considered: South Carolina, Tennessee, Purdue, Michigan State, Minnesota, Clemson, Virginia, Virginia Tech, NC State,Georgia Tech, Oregon, Nebraska, Colorado, UTEP, Boise State, Fresno State, Miami (OH), Utah, BYU

(I expect to take the most flak for #18 Maryland, #15 Texas A&M, and #8 Louisville...)

Conference Predictions:

SEC East:
1) Florida
2) South Carolina
3) Georgia
4) Tennessee
5) Kentucky
6) Vanderbilt

SEC West:
1) LSU
2) Auburn
3) Alabama
tie) Arkansas
5) Ole Miss
6) Mississippi State

Big 12 South:
1) Oklahoma
2) Texas
tie) Texas A&M
tie) Texas Tech
5) Baylor
6) Oklahoma State

Big 12 North:
1) Nebraska
2) Iowa State
3) Kansas
4) Colorado
5) Kansas State
6) Missouri

Big 10:
1) Ohio State
2) Iowa
tie) Michigan
4) Penn State
tie) Michigan State
6) Purdue
7) Minnesota
8) Wisconsion
9) Indiana
10) Northwestern
11) Illinois

Pac 10:
1) USC
2) California
3) Arizona State
5) Oregon
6) Arizona
7) Stanford
8) Washington State
9) Oregon State
10) Washington

Big East:
1) Louisville
2) West Virginia
3) Pitt
4) Syracuse
5) Rutgers
6) USF
7) UConn
8) Cincinnatti

No prediction yet on shaking out the ACC which should have one elite team (Miami) and ten good teams (yes, including UNC and Wake). Duke will not win an ACC game this year...

Monday, July 17, 2006

New York Slimes

Readership of the Ocho:

Do not take my silence on the false and misleading hit piece from last Friday's New York Times to be a tacit acceptance of the Times' conclusion, agenda, or tactics. I am in the process of cataloguing the factual errors, mischaracterizations, inaccurate quotations, violations of journalistic ethics, violations of New York Times policy, and potential violations of federal law that accompanied this article and the Times' subsequent institutional editorial published today. The list of such transgressions is lengthy, and will take time to complete. Additionally, I will have to make sure I'm not interfering with the coordinated response that will come from the Auburn Family.

As soon as I'm done with this, and get the ok, I'll go forward with eviscerating Pete Thammel's work of fiction.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A Rose Bowl by any other name

In addition to the changes in nomenclature of certain schools with Native American nicknames is coming another change: the BCS national championship game has chosen to become anonymous. Though the game will be played in the metro Phoenix area this year, it will not be the Fiesta Bowl (that bowl will, as JoePa notes below, still be a BCS bowl, and will take place a week before the title game). It will simply be called "the BCS National Championship Game."

In a sport that is so rich in tradition, this change should be very unwelcome. Names like Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Sun, and Gator have long been a part of the college football and New Year's Day lexicon. To make the biggest college game of the year a game without a name is a tragedy of epic proportions. The 2 for 1 in the same city was workable: just let each city come up with a new name for a new bowl. Now, college football is without a moniker even to match "The Final Four" or "The College World Series." The sport that invented tradition has now abandoned it.

If the BCS persists in wanting a single name for its title game regardless of city, then I have a modest proposal: call it "The Orrin Hatch Bowl." As JoePa mentoned below, the primary reason for the creation of the 5th BCS bowl game was the fear of Congressional intervention, and Hatch, the meddlesome Mormon from Utah, was the primary agitator in support thereof. So, if we're going to wreck a century of tradition, let's at least pay homage to the man who made us wreck it.