BlogPoll 2010 Week 1 Ballot

Nothing too off-the-wall to start out the season with my first BlogPoll ballot:

The preseason poll is always a bit of a superficial guess as to where teams stand, but my main overarching thought is that the general love for Boise State in other rankings is a bit overboard.  I have a hard time seeing the Broncos getting out of the first week without a loss (with a de facto road game again Virginia Tech in Landover) and that’s a team that isn’t going to keep a sky-high position in the rankings if they’re not undefeated (even if they beat Oregon State in their third game of the season).

More importantly for me, will the Illini provide me with any type of excuse to submit a semi-justifiable homer vote at any point this season?  Anyone?  Bueller?

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111)


93 thoughts on “BlogPoll 2010 Week 1 Ballot

  1. Wes Haggard

    Here is an interesting article that came up on the Tex Ags site today. Especially for realignment freaks like me.

    Home > Archive > Articles
    Published 08/24/2010
    Texas Independence: Why A&M will go to SEC
    By John P. Lopez – Houston Chronicle

    Everything you need to know about the ambition, greed and arrogance of Texas Longhorns athletic director DeLoss Dodds were spoken by the man himself not too long ago.

    DeLoss Dodds /
    Asked if the Longhorns were trying to keep up with the Joneses, Dodds famously responded, “No … We ARE the Joneses.”

    Not quite, but they’re close. And that’s how Dodds and the Longhorns perceive themselves. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — especially for Aggie purposes.

    The fictional character Gordon Gekko said in Wall Street, “Greed is good.”

    Even in real life, it can be. Greed is why college football experienced its most volatile, ambitious, selfish off-season in its history this year. Every program fought for itself. Every program looked to better the bottom-line. The movement continued even after training camps had begun.

    Ultimately, the Big 12 suffered a pair of casualties, but remained a viable conference that kept its three most coveted programs — the Texas Longhorns, Oklahoma Sooners and the Aggies.

    But greed is why the league will in fact die sooner rather than later. It’s why the Aggies will become a part of the Southeastern Conference if not by the 2013 season, then before.

    Greed — specifically Dodds’ and the UT athletic program’s — is why recent events that seemed relatively innocuous should be considered flashpoints for the next big shakeup in the game.

    The Longhorns will become an independent, at least in football. They will develop their own television network (Bevo TV?) and marketing arm, hence allowing the Aggies to join the SEC and leaving the Big 12 to scramble or crumble.

    How much more obvious could Dodds’ plans be? Within the past month, the Longhorns signed contracts for future football series with Notre Dame and BYU. The Irish, of course, are the most powerful football program in the country. That’s not to say on the football field, but certainly financially. They are the true “Jones,” of which Dodds has spoken. And BYU recently announced that it would become an independent as well.

    Is it mere coincidence that the Longhorns signed football deals with a pair of independents? It could be, of course. But it’s not.

    For the record, Dodds and the Longhorns program contends that the games were added because the Big 12 no longer will have a conference championship game and the ‘Horns needed to bolster its strength of schedule.

    But in this conference shell game, the next time an athletic director tells you exactly what he’s thinking when it comes to conference affiliation, it will be the first. Dodds in fact has mentioned independence as a possibility as recently as last May, saying, “Nothing is off the table.”

    He also sees the possibilities. If BYU can do it, what kind of windfall could the Longhorns have by independence? In 2009, the Longhorns had the most lucrative brand in college sports. Connecting the dots on the recent scheduling developments brings into view a clear picture of how independence is in the Longhorns’ plans.

    Throughout the conference shakeup, the one thing the Longhorns did not want to be was perceived as the bad guys. Sure, universities scrambled for billions of dollars, but neither Texas nor the Aggies wanted to look like money-grubbing serpents. And the last thing they wanted was the state legislature to get involved, which was threatened this summer during the realignment craziness.

    By going independent, the Longhorns can keep traditional games with Texas A&M and Oklahoma, while adding Notre Dame and BYU, and appeasing politicians. The Longhorns also would develop their own TV network and keep advertising dollars in-house. Don’t overlook the significance of the cancelled series with Minnesota over the squabble over ancillary TV rights property ownership netween the BTN and the Bevo Networks.

    Some might argue that such a network would not be viable after football, basketball and football recruiting seasons. But that’s an eight-month stretch of programming. Keep this in mind, too: The Longhorns might be greedy and arrogant, but it is not without good reason.

    They truly do hold most all the cards in the Big 12. If they tell the league that they’re going independent in football, but would be willing to participate in basketball and all other Big 12 sports, commissioner Dan Beebe and the entire league would have to take it and like it. Especially since the Sooners and Aggies would be gone, the Big 12 would have little choice but to accept the Longhorns’ terms and hope Texas and Kansas could keep the league viable as basketball conference.

    When this Longhorns’ move toward independence was brought up to an A&M athletic department official this weekend, he shrugged, “We have a plan.”

    He knew what you should know. The SEC remains an option for the Aggies. Such a move by the Longhorns would be nothing but good for the Aggies and do nothing but solidify a move to the Southeast Conference. The Aggies, too, do not want to deal with political and public relations backlash by moving to the SEC. Texas independence, if you will, keeps every AD’s hands clean politically speaking.

    With Texas independent, the annual Thanksgiving affair with the Longhorns could be saved. In fact, annual rivalry games with Texas, LSU, Arkansas and Alabama would bolster the Aggies’ schedule to one of the toughest in college football, but also among the most attractive (i.e. recruiting) and lucrative in the nation. The Aggies would own Texas when it comes to recruits who want to play in the best football conference. The Aggie radio/TV network would expand. Annual TV revenue easily would push $20 million.

    If you were disappointed that Texas A&M did not bolt to the SEC when the opportunity arose, don’t be. Dan Beebe made empty promises. The shakeup continues. And considering the Longhorns’ hungry eyes, they won’t stand idly by as Notre Dame continues to print money, BYU goes independent and the Big 12 crumbles.

    The Longhorns are Jones-ing for independence. And for the Aggies, that’s nothing by a good thing.


    1. duffman


      can we put this on the realignment blog so we do not have overlap between blogs and keep this blog clear for all non realignment talk?


      thanks for the post


    2. schwarm

      “Ultimately, the Big 12 suffered a pair of casualties, but remained a viable conference that kept its three most coveted programs — the Texas Longhorns, Oklahoma Sooners and the Aggies.”

      Tells you all you really need to know about the Big XII.

      On another note, if aTm bails, and UT is independent, I wonder what OU will do.
      They could go to the SEC, but the SEC doesn’t
      seem interested in Okie Lite.


      1. m (Ag)

        It would be interesting what OU would do. If they wanted to stick with OSU then they could rebuild the Big 12, adding BYU, TCU, and 2 other schools. They could also seek to take OSU and a few other Big 12 schools to the Big East.

        Alternatively, they might try independence. They wouldn’t make nearly as much money as UT, but they might be able to get enough money from national cable networks to get as much money as they would in a diminished Big 12. They would be sure of UT and OSU on their schedule every year, and they would have a chance to get Nebraska added in that scenario. They wouldn’t be ‘looking out for OSU’ in that scenario, but they would be able to keep playing both OSU and UT.


        1. Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton

          I’m an OU Alumni..and I know people, that know people, and OU isn’t going any where. The Big 12 has been very good to OU in fact of any school, it’s benefited OU the most.

          OU will not leave Ok. St behind or alone. If Texas goes Indy, and A&M joins the SEC, OU and Missouri, and the other 8 schools are still enough for a conference (hell, the WAC was gutted, and they are still alive with future plans).

          Personally I think A&M will stay as well. If the SEC was an option, A&M would have joined them this summer. Also, Losing UT, actually makes A&M and even bigger player in the state of Texas as UT plays UT-SA and Hawaii for no conference prize.

          OU thinks 10 is the magic number for a conference. If the Big IIX lost Texas and A&M, they would add TCU and another program (Houston, Memphis, BYU, New Mexico, Col. St, UTEP, La. Tech) and keep on truckin’


          1. @Redhawk – Yeah, it’s the Oklahoma States and Texas Techs of the world that are going to exert a ton of political influence here. That’s the best argument for the Big IIX actually surviving in the long-term. Everyone would want to add Texas, A&M or Oklahoma. It’s the second tier schools that are the issue, though.

            This is also why I’ve become extremely skeptical that Texas can go independent in the future. Does it want to? Probably. Can it work out financially? Yes. Will the Texas politicians that butt into everything allow it to happen? NFW. If the Texas legislature has made it clear that it won’t let UT go alone to other conferences, then why the heck would they allow the school to become independent and ditch its fellow in-state schools in a different form? That makes no sense.

            As I stated in my post from a couple of weeks ago, UT is the most desirable school for any conference in the country assuming that it comes BY ITSELF. When UT has to drag along an entire division of rivals and political protectees, though, then they aren’t quite as desirable anymore. Notre Dame can be a lone wolf in a way that Texas can’t because the Irish doesn’t have to answer to state legislators that want to make a name for themselves and a bunch of politically protected in-state schools. That can kill a whole lot of proposals for UT to switch conferences or try to become independent.


          2. Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton

            @Frank – absolutely. The numbers of these super-conferences just don’t add up. The next school usually doesn’t add enough money to the pot to justifying the pie cut. If you make one prize school take a tag-along either because they choose to (like Oklahoma) or are force to (like Texas) it makes it not worth adding even the prize program.

            OU’s AD correctly pointed out when questioned about the future of the Big 12, that they had offers from 2 of the other 5 BCS conferences, and OU choose the Big 12, because OU wanted to be in the BIG 12! if OU wanted to be in the SEC they could have been. If they wanted to be in the Pac-10..they could have been.

            OU is in a conference with similar universities, in a similar region, and share a long history with many of them. Why would they now want to be in a conference with South Carolina or Oregon?

            And conference money payouts are not the end all and be all. OU’s Athletic Department has a budget of near $80 million…they get about $13 million of that from the conference. They are more concerned about the other 4/5ths of the budget than the conference pay-outs which is only a small part of running an Ath. Dept in the black.


          3. bullet

            Redhawk, I’m with you on the non-TV revenues. That is the biggest part of the pie.

            I don’t think UT has any interest in going indy. I think it was just due diligence. I don’t remember Dodds exact words in June, but the gist was that it was the least likely possibliity.

            Do the numbers work on indy-maybe. But I really think BYU has a better chance of making it work than UT. BYU doesn’t have to do much to get a higher profile schedule and more $. I don’t even think it works long term for ND. IMO their fb program would be much better off in B10, ACC or Big East.


          4. bullet

            I also don’t think ESPN is interested in breaking up the conference structures. Its one thing when Fox controls the contract. Quite another when ESPN has a big piece. I would think they would like dealing with fewer, not more entities. So I don’t think they go out of their way to encourage independent schools other than a handful.


    3. tt

      if UT goes independent, you can kiss the thought of ND joining the Big Ten good bye for a long time. they’re not going to join a conference right as the age of the independents is restarting…


    4. Playoffs Now!

      By John P. Lopez – Houston Chronicle

      Aka The Bus Driver (IIRC, he started a party bus venture after the Houston Chronicle dropped him, right before the economy tanked.) Author is near universally mocked, but then so is the Houston Comical.


    5. I know I’ve said it before, but i would encourage all posters, for Frank’s sake and Word Press’ sake, to avoid copying and pasting entire articles. It’s becoming quit the serious business out there as publishers seek alternative revenue-enhancing avenues via suing bloggers for posting material just as has been done here.

      A link and a brief excerpt should suffice.

      (PS: Lopez is not merely a joke, as Playoffs points out, but an Aggie grad/joke as well. Not that there’s anything wrong with that in theory, but he is well-known for being as biased against UT as Chip Brown would be biased towards the school. Not the most impartial witness out there, FWIW for the Midwesterners not familiar with him or his writing.)


      1. Ag

        This entire column was posted behind the paysite wall. This is not a public article and I dont think it should be posted here.

        Does this site ever allow fee-based material to be posted in its entirety?

        Lopez is well connected within the A&M community and still hosts the popular afternoon sports radio program on sip…oops 610 radio.


  2. M

    I have serious concerns about Penn State this year. I just think they’ve lost too much.

    USC is playing with about 20 guys on scholarship. They will not finish the season ranked.

    Illinois could start 1-5 without really surprising anyone. That could be an ugly situation by the time the Wrigley game comes around.

    I have questions about Texas and Florida too, but they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt.

    Of course, I am of the opinion that the preseason poll should just be the final result of last year. It’s as good of guess as any.


    1. @M – I’m concerned about PSU, as well. I was a bit surprised that the rest of the BlogPoll voters had them up at #15.

      As for USC, I guess I just need to see them completely slayed regardless of the personnel situation. They’re like Rasputin.


      1. duffman


        good Rasputin reference!

        Anybody else with the “loss of institutional control” across at least 3 sports would have gotten the “death penalty” and yet they live. *sigh*


      2. Search the Web on

        To defend my PSU a little…

        They’re returning 4/5 (pretty sure on that) offensive linemen and have a top notch center on it. Between that and Royster coming back that’ll be enough to win us 4-5 games alone this year. If our QB (whoever it turns out to be) can even make some minimal throws to our returing WR’s (or just tuck and run) to keep the D honest I think the O will be enough to win most games.

        D is going to hurt as we’re replacing most of the front 7. Good news is our D line has plenty of gameday experience, but its going to be hard to replace the likes of Odrick. Bad news is we’re replacing every LB on the field. Typically Bradley’s D’s are solid though (even if I hate how predictable he can be) so I think by the time conference play starts you’ll be seeing another solid, but unspectacular, D unit.

        Long story short…I actually like PSU in the late teens area. Worst case scenario (baring catastrophic injuries) they end the season Top25, but I could really see them crawling their way to Top10…with a big IF they can find a good QB and manage to sneak at least one big game from Iowa or OSU (both away games).


      3. PSUGuy

        I actually have to defend my PSU a bit…

        They are returning 4/5 offensive linemen (pretty sure on that) with a top notch center to boot. That with Royster will mean 4-5 wins this season alone. Plus most of our WR’s are back so really if we can find a QB that can make some minimal throws (or tuck and run) to keep the D honest we should have enough O to win most games.

        Problem is on D of course with having to replace basically our entire front 7. We do have D-linemen with game experience we can plaug, we’ll just see if they can come close to replicating the likes of Odrick (not likely). With totally new starters at LB, that’s going to make me worry, but the secondary should be solid (don’t think we lost many, if anyone). Besides, Bradly always puts together solid defenses.

        Personally, I think the late teens area is probably right. If they stave off injuries I think the worst they end up is Top25, but could sneak into the Top10…admittedly that’s with a couple big IF’s…find a QB, D settles down, and steal at least one game from either Iowa or OSU (both away games).


        1. StvInIL

          Some schools tend to find a position. Penn State always seems to find D- linemen or Linebackers. I would worry after 3 games and this looks like a deficit. Where I think the real problem is for PSU, is at QB. To me it looks like the best QB is their least experienced. And we know Jopa won’t start him. I would start the kid and take my 4 losses this year and have the rest of the BT lookout! for 4 years.


          1. PSUGuy

            I agree about the better QB, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a split backfield as we’ve seen that several times in the past decade.

            TBH though, I’d just like to see a good passer, whether he runs or doesn’t. Clark was better than folks gave him crap for, but he never did rise to the big time moments (in my opinion anyway).


        2. 84Lion

          I’m glad someone took the torch…

          Actually, I’m rather pleased at this point that PSU appears to be flying under the radar. They have no target on their backs, and nothing to lose. They lack experience but have a lot of talent. Experience will come with time. Sure I’d like to see PSU beat Alabama, but if a choice had to be made the Iowa and OSU games are far more important. And Alabama visits Happy Valley next year.


    2. StvInIL

      The Illini 1-5? I don’t think so. Watch the early play of the two lines. O and D. If they play well the Illini are in for an up tic. The Illini have a horrid record in opening games over the last 20. Don’t know why they would play Mizzou in St. Louis to start. It’s a better game just before starting conference play unless it’s a sure win. Two individuals to watch are Quarterback Scheelhaase and Middle LB Martez Wilson. The Illini’s success depends greatly on who these perform. For now I’m giving them 6-6 and good bye Mr. Zook if they can’t come up with 7-8 wins.


  3. Doug

    The Big Ten tradition is that Ohio State and Michigan meet in the final game of the season to determine the Big Ten championship. By keeping them in the same division, that tradition is lost, and their game is reduced to a play-in game. Putting them in different divisions allows for that tradition to continue, possibly with the same frequency as before.

    The Nebraska vs Oklahoma rivalry was lost because the Big 12 stopped scheduling their game every year. The Red River Rivalry is as strong as ever, even though it’s mid-season.


  4. duffman


    I am guessing you are going against the grain and picking LSU to beat UNC? I am also guessing you feel with Ponder, that the Jimbo transition will be smooth?

    UC is on the ballot! UC is on the ballot! (in my best impression of Steve Martin in “The Jerk” when the phonebook comes).


    1. StvInIL

      Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, TCU are too high.
      Boisie, Va tech, Wisconsin, and Arkansas too low.
      The poll does not take in to consideration enough the key losses to the rosters or the impact of vetran QB’s enough.


  5. Doug

    And it isn’t just TV people who are advocating separate divisions. The Michigan AD is, also, because he wants to meet OSU in the Championship Game.

    I, too, want to maintain as many rivalries as possible, and I was initially an advocate of KISS. Now I’m 50/50, seeing some advantages in a split of OSU/Mich. I’m willing to accept a collective decision of the universities without threatening to boycott games or refusing to give OSU another penny, as I’ve heard on this site.

    I don’t want to see an ugly campaign by my fellow Buckeyes that embarrasses the university and the BT. Sure, express your opinions, but I think we need to show more respect for the AD’s, etc., and stop calling them morons. We’ve burned enough couches.


    1. Playoffs Now!

      Seems like KISS won’t happen because too many conference schools don’t want it for a variety of reasons and agendas. Delany can’t force it down their throats when they are the ones voting on it.


      1. zeek

        This is a very underrated point. You even have Michigan State saying they see themselves wanting to be in the same division as Northwestern, etc.

        There’s a lot more at play than just Michigan-Ohio St. even though that’s the main focus.

        Every school is trying to preserve their own goals, whether it’s access to population in the East or Chicago or specific rivalries the schools want to maintain.


  6. bullet

    5 overrated teams:

    #1 Alabama-Sure they had the Heisman trophy winner and ran all over schools like Chattanooga, but they had a pedestrian offense that sometimes struggled against good teams. They scored 37 points against Texas with only 2 good drives, only one of which led to points. They scored because their defense kept giving them the ball in Texas territory. They lost 9 of 11 from a great defense. An offense that runs over the little guys and just doesn’t make mistakes won’t be good enough for #1. And probably won’t be good enough to win SEC West. And the intangible of being the national champion means other teams play a little harder against you and your players aren’t quite as hungry. Probably ends up near top of 2nd 10.

    #3. Texas Losing the winningest and most accurate QB in college fb history is a big loss. There’s a reason McCoy got sacked 12 times against UNL. He made good decisions. Gilbert had 5 turnovers against Alabama. It will take time for him to learn to make good decisions. Texas also lost 3 starters on their much maligned but excellent line. Everyone back has experience, but that cohesion takes a while to develop. Finally-receivers. They lost Jordan Shipley who was their only go to guy. 2 Remaining players have enormous speed and may end up being #1 draft picks, but they haven’t learned their routes and holding on to the ball yet. Shipley may be the biggest loss of all. Texas probably wins B12 but is more like a #6 to #10 team.

    #6 Oklahoma. 3 of top 4 draft picks. 4 in 1st round. All from a 7 win team. Too many losses to be #6. Probably top of 2nd 10.

    #7 Nebraska. 19 of 21 starters back. But that is not necessarily good. They had one of the worst offenses in college football. Their defense will be very good and they should win the B12N, but Oh was the type of player who makes everyone else better. Their defense probably won’t be quite as good w/o him. If their move to the B10 fires up KU,MU,KSU and ISU enough, they may not win B12N and end the season unranked.

    #10 TCU. Just as OU had an incredible number of bad breaks last year, TCU has been mostly having good breaks. This is the year they get the bad breaks and their lack of depth relative to the autobid schools shows up. Probably ends up #21 to unranked.


    1. Playoffs Now!

      Bingo. I look at the top 25 and think most of them are overrated. But who do you replace them with?

      TX is good, but with a virtual rookie QB they are almost certainly going to have multiple losses. Same for FL, and AL was a bit of a fluke. Heisman joke winner was shut down in one of their games and AL was getting abused and falling apart until Colt was injured. The SEC Free Pass will definitely be needed by the conference winner this year.

      Put me on the Boise bandwagon, both by default and for the good of college football as a whole (and the heartburn of the BCS bastards.)


      1. bullet

        Who do you replace them with is a good question. This could be another 2 loss champion year. I’m inclined to think Boise wins its 2 big ones and plays Ohio St. in championship game.

        I think its going to be a fun, unpredictable season.

        I would probably move up Virginia Tech, Miami FL, Oregon and Arkansas. SEC was very weak in QB talent last year. Seems to be an issue this year as well. This might be Arkansas’ year to win the SEC, but they won’t be in the national championship game.


          1. mnfanstc

            StvInIL…Proof of different standards and different priorities in FBS football… to me is a shame…

            I’m for second chances if they’re deserved… this seems pretty sketchy…


        1. StvInIL

          Agreed mnfan. I believe that guy used up his second and third chances at Oregon. But there are so many division I teams looking for an advantage, I am not surprised at all that he will get a 4th or 5th chance somewhere. For the sake of guys doing things the right way. Maybe he should only have been allowed to get is next allotment of chances in Div. II or III.


    2. schwarm

      If the injury bug does not bite again, Nebraska’s offense will be fine. Once they had some time to heal, they didn’t look bad in the Holiday Bowl.


      1. greg

        I had to get some work done today, so I can flake off once the games start in 11 days.

        I’m attending 9 of 12 Iowa games this year. woohoo!


  7. Doug

    Sorry to repeat my comments from the other article, but I’m not sure whether anyone is still reading the old article.

    And the BT might grow as a result of other teams being allowed to shine on the final game of the regular season. I don’t fear the death of the OSU-Mich rivalry because I believe it transcends calendar dates and divisional alignment. I think we need to put the good of the conference as a whole above the fears of OSU-Mich fans. I want to promote the league by displaying all the marquee teams equally, letting people know our league isn’t just about OSU-Mich any more.

    Let Neb, Iowa and Mich fight it out in the West, and OSU, PSU and Wisc in the East, with protected cross-rivalries of OSU vs Mich, PSU vs Neb, and Iowa vs Wisc, so that each team gets three marquee games per year, keeping things relatively equal in terms of both competition and marketing. Spread those games out throughout the season so that the entire country can see that the BT has got game.


    1. Doug

      @Eric and Adam, etc.

      As an OSU fan, I appreciate your passion and your fine arguments in favor of keeping the game as the finale, and to some extent I agree with them. But maybe it’s time for us to take a step back and let others bask in the sunlight.


      1. Eric (ohio1317)

        You are probably right, but you realize you posting this under a different blog entry right? I just posted here for the first time.


      2. StvInIL

        Amen Eric. I am not sure there is even really a choice here but it seems you are walking in the right direction. Think of it as a pie cut 12 ways. Don’t think of it as how many pieces you will give away (anymore) but how many you will earn. I think to a lesser degree, you still win.


  8. Eric (ohio1317)

    Seems like a pretty good ballet. I can’t really judge preseason polls, but Boise State being too high is the one thing I’ve noted several places. As good as last year ended up, they were extremely close to losing to a few very mediocre teams. They ended up deserving a high ranking last year, but I wouldn’t start them up too high on talent level (#3 in the AP is just too high).


  9. So, Frank, let me pin you down on Boise State a little bit.

    Assuming they win at FedEx, the dominant narrative this season nationally will be whether Boise State deserves a chance to play for the championship. The national media who will be driving this narrative will be sympathetic towards Boise.

    I tend to think Boise is a legit Top 5 team. I also think they will play for the championship and, in fact, win it. The prospect of Boise playing for a title, despite their weaker schedule, doesn’t bother me, and both that view and the belief that BSU can and will win it all puts me firmly in the minority over at my home blog.

    I sense that there will be a split between the national media sorts who vote in the AP and the Harris and the bloggers who vote in the polls like those in which you participate. I think the AP voters will favor Boise more than the bloggers.

    So to pin you down, you write ‘that’s a team that isn’t going to keep a sky-high position in the rankings if they’re not undefeated (even if they beat Oregon State in their third game of the season).”

    is there a ceiling for Boise in terms of how highly you’ll vote for them, no matter how impressive they look, because of the weaker conference schedule (even though they’ve gone out and scheduled the toughest OOC game of any preseason Top Ten team)? Or are you open-minded enough to consider them for a Top 2/3 slot if they impress, regardless of the weak conference slate?


    1. Eric (ohio 1317)

      I can’t speak for Frank, but I think in the national media there definitely was a ceiling last year. I don’t think it’s there this year though. They’ve won enough the voters are willing to accept that they could be one of the two best teams.

      I personally think their ranking most of the way last year was justified (there in season performance against the competition level didn’t warrant breaking higher until after the Fiesta Bowl), but I (if I had a vote) would be willing put them in the top if they were blowing away most of the WAC competition. They can have an off game or two, but would need to perform great most games.


    2. mnfanstc

      HH, cheers to you… I think your analysis will likely become reality… My ulitimate selfish, greedy hope is that something disastrous (nah: beautiful) happens—all the so-called major powers have a loss, and Boise (or TCU or Utah,…) go unbeaten. The free-for-all that will follow to push the BsCS towards a playoff will get a MUCH bigger push…

      I like the Bowls, but if we’re going to keep/put so much emphasis on the “M” nat’l (BsCS) title game, then it needs to be won on the playing field, not via the opinion field…

      I’ve seen some great examples of a mini-playoff here on some other posts where the bowls remain intact by being part of the championships.
      All other sports PLAY for titles… it eventually HAS to happen in FBS.


      1. bullet

        And the college presidents are always talking about how good it is they are expanding the playoff opportunities for the student athletes by expanding the field, whether it be in track, basketball or division III football. But, of course, in FBS, it would be awful.


      2. StvInIL

        I personally don’t like the BCS co-opting the bowls. Wana start another conversation about tradition? Big Ten vs. Pack 10 in the Rose Bowl. There should be alternate games going on that are specifically for the National Championship. An invited team from the conference should have the option to go to the bowl or go to the top 8 championship series of 4 games.


  10. Hawkeye / Gator Boy

    RE: Boise State and TCU

    I have mixed feeling on the high rankings of these two schools. On one hand it’s great to have a few of the mid-majors in the rankings just for discussion sake. On the other hand it’s hard to tell how a 9-0 Boise or TCU compares to a 9-0 or even a 7-2 SEC school or BT school. Someone on this blog wrote that Notre Dame’s schedule as an independent was “like playing golf without keeping score.” I think the same can be said about the Boise and TCU schedules.

    In my opinion, if you put Boise or TCU in the SEC or Big Ten, they come out no better than 7-5 or 8-4. I just think the tough SEC and BT schedules grind on teams. Florida can lose to Mississippi State or a South Carolina, just like Iowa always seems to lose to Northwestern. You just can’t compare a team with so many easy opponents, playing against schools that aren’t deep with schools that play a SEC type schedule. So, although I think Boise & TCU are ranked too high, it serves the purpose of adding to the college football speculation.

    I think MSU has a shot of getting into the rankings if they can beat ND in their third game of the season. Speaking of ND, I hope Purdue, UM and MSU can post “Ws” in their games against the Irish. If ND wins two of those three games, they’ll be ranked in the top 20….


    1. StvInIL

      I used to be with you on the TCUs’ and Boises’ of the world.
      I am to the point now that people too easily dismiss these teams. I have no attachment either but we have to change our mindset that we should be arbitrarily rooting against these teams that do not belong to a major conference or have a long history. That really has nothing to do with what happens on Saturday or what happens in a bowl game. At least, not until after the game. People tend to give these teams too little credit for winning and want to say I told you so even before the games are over.


      1. Hawkeye / Gator Boy


        I really don’t have a dog in this fight. I’d like to see TCU and Boise do good just to stir up the pot. Unfortunately, we’ll never know how those teams would do if they were in the SEC or BT.

        Although they’ve proven that they can play well and win in big bowl games, I still think that a 11-1 Boise State is just a 8-4 team in the SEC. But, again, unfortunately, we’ll never know, so, let the speculation go on….


        1. Cliff's Notes

          Hawkeye/Gator Boy – I completely agree that Boise St in The Big Ten is at best an 8-4 team.

          There’s a reason top teams seem to slip up against a “mediocre” opponent. It is extremely difficult to rise up emotionally for 10 weeks (I’ll grant that everyone has a few cupcakes).

          It’s one thing to win an early season game or a bowl game when you can spend more than a couple of days preparing for it, and you don’t need to rely on your depth as much.

          But when you have 24-48 hours to install a game plan for an opponent who knows all your tricks, and will physically hurt you week-in and week-out, it’s a completley different story. Add to that, when a top 25 or top 50 team sees you as their rivalry game (or a big revenge game), it’s an added emotional and mental pressure. I’m sure Idaho is a big game for Boise State, but does anyone really want to make the argument that a revved up Idaho is a bigger deal than beating a fired up Big Ten school? Go back over the last few years and watch how intensely Michigan State plays Michigan in a rivalry game. Watch how Purdue has played Michigan, since apparently Purdue has a big grudge against RichRod, or how Purdue plays Notre Dame. Watch how physical Wisconsin plays against Ohio State after some bad blood between those two (accusations of biting or eye gauging), or Iowa plays Penn State. Even with Michigan being bad the last few years, it has been a HUGE deal for Penn State to finally beat Michigan.

          Look at any Big Ten team’s schedule, and you are very likely to find a portion of it that is an absolute meat grinder. Whether it’s 3-4 tough games in a row, or 6 legitimate bowl teams in 8 weeks, the mental and physical grind will wear on you much more than, say, La Tech-Hawaii-Idaho-FresnoSt-Nevada-UtahSt.

          Ohio State plays Penn State, Iowa, and Michigan (yes, UM is down, but this is obviously the most passionate game for the Buckeyes) in three straight games. Someone out there really thinks that Boise State comes out of that stretch with 3 wins and without a bunch of injuries?

          Iowa kicks off the Big Ten season with Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Michigan State (again, a huge revenge game for MSU).

          If either Iowa or Ohio State gets through the Big Ten as champs, they sure as hell earned it.

          Michigan has a stretch of Michigan State, Iowa, and Penn State. As a Michigan Alum, I’ll guarantee we aren’t winning those three games, and I’ll be surprised if we win more than one. I’ll also be surprised if we come out of that stretch with a healthy qb.

          Northwestern closes with Penn State, Iowa, Illinois (Rivalry Game) and Wisconsin.

          Michigan State has Notre Dame, Northern Colorado (a cupcake), Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Northwestern, Iowa. ND and UM are enormous bad-blood rivalry games. Iowa is a huge revenge game this year (last year’s Iowa-MSU game was the most exciting Big Ten game I saw). And check out the score of the last five or six MSU-Northwestern games…

          I’m sure the SEC is more or less the same way, and the Pac-10 and Big XII to a lesser extent, too.

          But there really is no comparison to me between a 10-2 Big Ten team and a 12-0 Boise State team. The Big Ten team accomplished far, far more than the Boise State squad.


          1. StvInIL

            All good point Cliff and can’t deny any of them. Here is what you’re missing though. Boise will play a full schedule of the teams they have before them and win. Win as appose to lose most of the games should be given credit no matter what league. By the time a Boise gets to play, fill in the blank, in a bowl they will have quite a few weeks to recover from minor injuries and review film and practice for their specific bowl opponent
            In essence, the bowl game becomes a one and done scenario. If you believe in coaching and a system that wins, this is no disadvantage to the boises of the world. They also have everything to win a little to lose from people who are poised to say, “I told you so”.


      1. Cliff's Notes


        Sadly, we still have no depth. With some luck, we absolutely could start strong, and I somewhat expect a start of (at minimum) 4-1. But the grind of the season will once again wear us down. There’s just too many holes on the roster and not enough experience. I hate to say it, but I expect a 2-5 record to close the season. I just don’t see us keeping up with Iowa, Wisc, Penn St, or Ohio State. And that means we need to take 2 of 3 from MSU, Illinois, and Purdue, which isn’t going to be easy. I hope I’m wrong.

        But this team can’t be worried about rankings at any point in the season. Today, nobody cares where we were ranked after the big win over ND. It’s all about how we finished. And that will be the case this year, too.


    1. Hawkeye / Gator Boy


      Actually, from an Iowa perspective, I’m concerned about the Michigan game. I can see the Hawkeyes beating Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State (all home games for Iowa), but losing to Michigan and Northwestern on the road. And then losing the Big Ten championship to a one loss Ohio State….worse things could happen, but those BT road games could be a killer for Iowa.


      1. jj

        I think NW will be pretty good. Want to beat UM? Just keep throwing the ball and it will happen. They are moving to a 4-2-5 and have no experienced secondary.


  11. zeek

    Iowa/Wisconsin in different divisions…

    Well, seems like its full steam ahead…

    Delany told that a potential benefit of putting rivals like Michigan and Ohio State in different divisions is that the teams can play for a Rose Bowl berth in the new Big Ten championship game, which begins in 2011.

    “If you split teams, whether it’s Purdue and Indiana or Illinois and Northwestern or Michigan-Ohio State or Nebraska and Penn State, if you split them, they can both go [to the championship game],” Delany said. “If you don’t split them, only one can go.”

    It really sucks that it looks like we’re following the ACC logic to this…


    1. zeek

      “Rivals Wisconsin and Iowa will be placed in different divisions when the plan is announced, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told the Wisconsin State Journal on Wednesday. Alvarez also said the Big Ten will adopt a nine-game conference schedule beginning in 2015.”

      This is what’s really important from the article, 9 games and the split…


    2. jj


      A: B:

      1. UM OSU
      2. MSU PSU
      3. NEB WISC
      4. IOWA MN
      5. IL PUR
      6. NW IA

      5-1-2 format

      the 1 is across

      the last game of the year will be the team next to you in the division, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6


      1. cornchild

        I presume #6B is Indiana. I read NEB-PSU will be another crossover, played last game of the year. what are other crossovers? Iowa- WISC?


        1. jj

          Yeah, that’s a little hard to read.

          6B is Indiana.

          I think Barry gets a guaranteed game against Neb in exchange for going east with MN tagging along. I just have a hunch that Iowa/Neb is a bigger sell to the central timezone and they’ll do that for the end of the season.


      2. jj

        A B

        1. UM OSU
        2. MSU PSU
        3. NEB Wisc
        4. Iowa MN
        5. IL Pur
        6. NW IN

        This might be easier to read. The crossover is the number pairs – the 1s play the 1s, 2s the 2s, etc.

        The last game gets you all 3 in-state rivalry games, plus traditional MN/WI and OSU/PSU and the new Iowa/Neb.

        I prefer KISS, but i think this is what they do.


      3. jj

        Updated prediction!

        This accounts for ND and an East Coast School so we don’t do this all over again.

        A B
        1. UM OSU
        2. MSU PSU
        3. Neb Wisc
        4. Iowa MN
        5. Purdue Northwestern
        6. Indiana Illinois
        7. (ND) (MD/Pitt/Syr/Rut)


  12. StvInIL

    @ Michigan fans.
    It looks as if UM is trending towards starting Denard Robinson at Quarterback. Robinson is an exceptional athlete but I believe he has limitations as a QB. I don’t think he’s gonna be Juice Williams on an average day.

    Isn’t it true that UM will be starting their 4th or more quarterback in as many years if its Robinson?
    I think they are better off going with Robert Forcier. Forcier showed some promise as a freshman and now has a year in the position under his belt. But this is not the main reason I favor him at QB. I see far more potential getting a dynamic athlete like Robinson out in space with the ball in his hands. The man should be playing wide receiver. Or running back where they can get the ball in his hands more times per game. This while keeping the experienced Forcier on the field instead of holding a clipboard. This said , starting freshman Devin Gardner would be a step back after investing a freshman year in Forcier and now Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett.

    What do you guys think about the QB situation at UM?


    1. Hank

      its Tate Forcier not Robert. and it would be the fourth if Denard were to start but its not likely to be as simple as that. Both Denard and Tate will get playing time, just as they did last year. The talk about Denard as starter was mostly early in camp and was as much due to criticism of Tate having dogged it a bit over the summer. Also early reports were of Denard looking much better in the passing game. As camp has gone on Tate has redeemed himself apparently and some recent commentary has been much better. I suspect RR will do the same as last year and each will get significant playing time based on opponent and situation. Devin Gardner is likely to also be part of the picture and may get some playing time. And from all reports will be a real possibility to start next year so 5 in a row possibly.

      also the year invested in Mallett was Henne’s senior year so he wasn’t a starter but an injury time fill in. And from all reports he was half way out the door before Carr resigned and hiring RR only confirmed it.


      1. HerbieHusker


        This may be opening a whole other can of worms, but say this is the last year of the RR regime (I don’t know about you, but the Michigan Alums I know are hoping it is) who do you see as the next coach at UM? I know the popular answer around the UM Alum in my circle of friends is Jim Harbaugh from Stanford. What are the chances that happens do you think? He seems like a good fit to me, but I obviously don’t know the program like you probably do. Either way, I want Michigan football to be back on the map….College Football is much better when football powers like the Maize’n Blue are at full throttle.


        1. Hank

          Hi Herbie

          asking me those questions probably is opening a can of worms 🙂 I’m a big fan of RR. Its undeniable the performance the last two years has been unacceptable and he need to win. But mitigating that somewhat, at least in my eyes, was the roster situation. Its a long tedious discussion that has been done to death on the Michigan board but the roster that greeted RR was very weak at a number of positions. The most debilitating being quarterback. RR inherited a pro style transfer from Georgia Tech and a walk on at qb. Some want to blame him for supposedly running off Mallett but Mallet was already going strong signals he wanted to head back south before Carr resigned. In any event the quarterback situation year one was abysmal and year two was a pair of true freshman one of which, Robinson, had never played in a read option offense.

          Add to that that Ann Arbor went into full factional war with various factions who should or shouldn’t be allowed to be considered for coach and the atmosphere has been poisonous.

          I still believe RR can succeed but it has to be soon. It would be sad, to me, if all the bs that built up in the program doomed him but that wouldn’t be unheard of.

          Harbaugh is the name you constantly hear brought up. Personally I strongly dislike Harbaugh. I think his name is just a knee jerk response based on the shallow math that he’s a Michigan Man and he upset Pete Carroll a couple of times. He has a sub .500 record at Stanford and I don’t believe that justifies annoiting him the Messiah should we need to make a coaching change. I would much prefer a true unbiased coaching search. Fwiw I doubt we would get it and Harbaugh would wind up getting the job any way. I just wouldn’t like it.


  13. Cliff's Notes


    I am a big Tate Forcier fan after the poise and moxie and leadership he showed on the field last year.

    But everything I’ve heard is that he has been a bit “Flakey” this summer, and hasn’t put the work in. Robinson apparently has been a hard worker and the team is behind him. This was the “rumored talk” all summer, but a few weeks back Troy Woolfolk said this publicly, so there you go. Also, it’s generally accepted that the most talented qb in the program is Devin Gardner, a true freshman who some compare to Terrelle Pryor in playing style (and while Gardner is very talented, let’s be clear that nobody is saying he has Pryor’s talent coming out of HS). Some are calling for RichRod to give the reins to Gardner from day one.

    In two years under Rich Rod, I believe that Steven Threet, Nick Sheridan and Tate Forcier have all started for him. It does look like Robinson will get the start in game one. And it wouldn’t shock anyone if Devin Gardner gets the call by the end of the year.

    So that would be five different starters in three years, which includes: two true freshmen, a true sophomore, a clear square peg in a round hole who transfered (Threet), and a walk-on who came to Michigan to coach, not to play (Sheridan, his dad is an NFL coach and former UM coach).


  14. StvInIL

    But do you think Robinson should be spending time at QB or would he be a bigger asset as a wide-out?
    Caching him in a few games last year, my thoughts are that he should be working towards the Desmond Howard model more than the Juice Williams model. As this would benefit his team better in the long run.


    1. Hank

      based on practice reports DR has shown significant promise as a quarterback. In this offense he can be a very big asset in that role. I would only see switching him, more likely to slot, when and if Devin Gardner progresses to the point of being the clear starter. And that won’t be this year. Until then I think DR has a lot of potential and value at QB.


    1. Playoffs Now

      And for the tinfoilers, TX has now just scheduled series with 3 of the schools most capable of going independent. Gives hope to the concept of an ‘Independence Alliance’ as TX’s potential alternative to a P16 if the B10+? goes to 16 and tips over the expansion dominoes.


    2. StvInIL

      Good for Texas. They really need some brand names in their non conference schedule. The New Big 12 is not chop liver but it more susceptible to losing prestige if one of the traditional winners has a bad year. Its an aggressive and bold move to upgrade their schedule.


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