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College Football Recap
Monday, 2006 October 30 - 10:08 am
Michigan 17, Northwestern 3. N.C. State 7, Virginia 14.

Michigan 17, Northwestern 3. Well, Michigan keeps sticking to its script. Grind away at the running game, play stellar defense, and do just enough to win.

I've been reading a bit of fan reaction to mgoblog, and there's a lot of grumbling about the conservativeness of the offense. But one commenter made a very good point: when Michigan played conservatively against Vanderbilt and Central Michigan, it didn't mean they didn't have an offensive can of whoop-ass to unleash against Notre Dame. My suspicion is that Mike Debord is concealing much of the passing game, so as to give Ohio State less to look at on game film.

Still, people are a little disturbed to see Ohio State completely demoralizing its opponents with runaway scores, while Michigan is letting its opponents stay close until late in the game.

Something else is also clear: Michigan lacks a legitimate downfield threat without Mario Manningham. Adrian Arrington is good, and Greg Matthews is improving, but neither of them has the ability to get open deep the way Manningham does. And Steve Breaston, well, he just can't consistently make routine slant and over-the-shoulder receptions.

Grades: Offense B-, Defense A.

N.C. State 7, Virginia 14. Penalties were the key to this game, as N.C. State again played a pretty good game, but shot themselves in the foot. This recap could just about write itself every week.

Grades: Offense C+, Defense B.

Other News

The big story of the day is that #3 USC lost to Oregon State, 33-31. USC scored a touchdown late in the game but failed to make the 2-point conversion to send the game to overtime. That opens up a potentially huge BCS controversy, which I'll discuss in a minute.

Ohio State crushed Minnesota 44-0. Yikes.

Wisconsin beat an improving Illinois team 30-24. Wisconsin still only has one loss, against Michigan.

Texas won another squeaker, beating Texas Tech 35-31.

Auburn also won a close one, beating a not-very-good Mississippi team 23-17.

Tennessee managed to beat Steve Spurrier's South Carolina team 31-24.

Florida beat Georgia 21-14. Georgia has lost three of its last four games after getting off to a 5-0 start. There are now four one-loss SEC teams: Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, and Arkansas.

Virginia Tech walloped Clemson 24-7. Clemson is now a long shot to get to the ACC championship game, as Boston College would have to lose twice.

Notre Dame beat Navy for the 43rd consecutive time, 38-14.

Georgia Tech held on to beat Miami, 30-23.

Wake Forest beat UNC 24-17. UNC's coach John Bunting is officially gone after this season. There's been plenty of press about what a good guy he is, but college football is a revenue-generating business, and a coach who doesn't win is like a CEO who doesn't bring profits.

Rutgers remains unbeaten after beating Connecticut 24-13. There are three unbeaten teams in the Big East (including Louisville and West Virginia), with showdowns coming.

The BCS Controversy

If we get the expected #1 vs #2 matchup with Michigan and Ohio State on November 18th, then there will potentially be a lot of schools who will claim they have the right to play in the national championship game against that game's winner. Let's look at the possibilities among the one-loss and unbeaten teams.


1. Loser of Michigan-Ohio State game. This is an interesting scenario. There are many voters who wouldn't want the loser of this game to go on and play in a rematch for the national championship, but the computers would probably keep the loser of this game ranked very high. And right now, I'd take Michigan and Ohio State to beat any other team in the country. Really, I think the M-OSU game is the true title game anyway, and the BCS bowl game may be more of a formality. That's especially true if OSU wins, as I just can't see any team (except Michigan) with even a chance at beating them.

2. Winner of the SEC. My office-mate at work, who went to Florida, complains that the SEC will always get screwed by the BCS system, because SEC teams tend to knock each other out of national championship contention. (Funny, we always said that about the Big Ten too.) I will say that with four one-loss teams, the SEC is definitely a good conference. But there are knocks against each of those teams. Florida has played well, but haven't looked impressive in their last two games, and their non-conference schedule was softer than Louisville's and West Virginia's. Auburn recently struggled to beat a 2-7 Ole Miss team. Arkansas got walloped 50-14 by USC to open the season. And Tennessee, while they beat a good California team 35-18, only beat Air Force 31-30.

Still, if one of those teams wins out and also wins the SEC championship, I think they'd be the favorite to go on to the title game.

3. Winner of the Big East (West Virginia, Louisville, Rutgers). West Virginia is already ranked 3rd in the BCS despite being ranked 13th by the computers. You can bet that if one of the Big East teams ends up undefeated, they'll have at least a top-four computer ranking, and that might be enough to squeeze them into the championship. I'll say this: we've all underestimated the Big East. We thought they were a soft conference with a soft schedule, but there are three undefeated teams, and they've beaten their non-conference opponents in convincing fashion. The knock against them is that no one has beaten a non-conference team who's currently ranked in the BCS top 25.

4. Notre Dame. Their only loss has come against Michigan, and they've played a pretty tough schedule. They've still got USC coming too, and a convincing win there would bump them up in the standings. But their defense has looked soft in a lot of games, and voters might say, "if we wouldn't send a one-loss Michigan team to the championship, why send a team that got completely demolished by Michigan?"

5. Winner of the Big Twelve (Texas, Texas A&M). Texas is ranked 7th in the BCS, having won all their games since getting stomped by Ohio State. If they can beat Texas A&M and go on to win the Big Twelve championship, that will move them up. But I don't think they can overtake West Virginia or the SEC champion, if those teams win out. Texas A&M has an even longer road. Both teams have cupcake non-conference wins, and that's not helping their cause any.

6. California. This is a good team, and they've gotten better since losing their one game against Tennessee. They've also got USC left to play. But that Tennessee loss makes them an underdog against the SEC teams, so I think their chances aren't very high.

7. Winner of the ACC (Boston College, Wake Forest). Uh-uh. No way. BC's non-conference opponents have been Central Michigan, BYU, Buffalo, and Maine. Wake Forest played Syracuse, Ole Miss, Connecticut, and Liberty. Having weak non-conference opponents is the kiss of death for a conference having a down year.

8. Boise State. They're 8-0. They'll probably end up 12-0. But they won't get into the title game, period. They might get a BCS berth, though.

9. Wisconsin. They've got a good chance of ending up 11-1 with a share of second place in the Big Ten. They're a very good team. But they haven't played Ohio State this year, and they got spanked by Michigan. Along with a soft non-conference schedule, I'd say they have no chance.


My prediction is Arkansas, who looks like the surprise star of the SEC right now. Their computer rankings will go way up after playing three more ranked teams (whereas Florida's will go down), and if they beat Florida in the SEC, I can see them claiming the #2 spot.

I still don't see them beating Michigan or Ohio State, though.
Permalink  2 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: sports


Comment #1 from Steve (Guest)
2006 Oct 30 - 11:11 am : #
I won't argue your point about Manningham. Heck, I won't argue your point about anything given that you pay much more attention to the details of the sport than I do. I just wanted to point out that Saturday was NOT much of a day for passing. I live less than a mile from the stadium and it was nasty out there. Cold, rainy and very windy. Even late in the game when the sun came out, the rain might have gone, but the cold and the windy stayed.
Comment #2 from Ken (realkato)
2006 Oct 30 - 4:02 pm : #
Good point, Steve.

I should also note that USC is still a national title contender, given that if they beat the three ranked opponents in their remaining schedule, they'll likely move back up in the rankings. But short of a miracle, I doubt they'll reach the title game.

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