Monday, October 22, 2007

Doc's Prognosis - Week 9

Finally a weekend that did not provide us with any real earth-shattering moments. USF was always going to have a struggle at Rutgers on a Thursday night (and for all the new USF haters out there, including the pollsters, go crawl back under the same rock you FINALLY crawled out from under last week when you started giving them the respect they deserve), and Vandy beating S. Carolina should not have surprised anyone either. You always knew Vandy was going to pull off a win, and Carolina's offense has been waiting to cost them a game all season. Now I expect to see them get back on track when Spurrier continues his personal rivalry against Tennesee this weekend. Now on with the topics for the week.



Three Up....

1. Oregon - Up 5 spots to #2. The Ducks are now challenging LSU for the top spot in my ranking. But then again, so are about 4 or 5 other very evenly matched teams. A couple of big wins here and there for any of these teams will make the difference at the end of the season.
2. Arkansas - Up 9 spots to #11. The Hogs are probably one of the most controversial teams in my ranking this year. They haven't won any of the big games they have played so far, but they have been competitive. I think they will have something to say in how the SEC divisional races play out over the next few weeks, especially with the big LSU game at the end of the year.
3. Alabama - Up 12 spots to #20. Alabama finally managed to avoid having the game come down to the final play. Now they have two weeks to rest up for the Saban Bowl, a game that will go a long long way towards determining the SEC West champion. No one could've expected Saban would have such an impact in his first season.

Three Down....
1. South Carolina - Down 7 spots to #24. As I mentioned previously, I think the Gamecocks had been playing a little over their heads all season. They need to regroup in time for this week's UT game, because they are still right in the thick of the race for Atlanta.
2. Tennessee - Down 13 spots to #35. Somehow this team defeated Georgia, 35-14. If you look at the entire body of work, it is very unimpressive.
3. Texas Tech - Down 3 spots to #19. Not real sure how they only dropped this far after getting manhandled by Missouri.

Games of the Week
1. BC vs. Va Tech - Just like USF last week, it is now BC's turn to face a very difficult Thursday night game as the new BCS #2. This should be a very good, very entertaining game. My gut tells me Va Tech will win with their defense and special teams, but my computer is saying BC by 1.
2. Ohio St vs Penn St - From this point on, Ohio St actually has a fairly difficult stretch of games to round out the season, culminating with the Michigan game. If they run the table, I think they will be a very deserving national championship game participant.
3. Arizona St vs Cal - This is really the Sun Devils first showcase game, and unfortunately for them, Cal has tanked over the last couple of weeks. A win over the Bears would still be a quality win, though, so this is going to be a key game for the BCS rankings, and in the Pac10 race.
4. Oregon vs. USC - USC showed signs of improvement last week in South Bend, but that's nothing to write home about. As mentioned above, Oregon is my new #2, and as such, my computer has them favored heavily here. My guess is that it's going to be much closer than that. I just can't see a Pete Carroll team getting blown out by anybody.
5. South Carolina vs Tennessee - This is essentially an elimination game in the SEC East. Steve Spurrier has owned Phil Fulmer in the past, and it will be interesting to see if that continues. UT's weakness is the defense, SC's weakness is their offense. This game will come down to who's weakness plays best.

Upset Specials
1. Va Tech over BC - My computer is saying BC by 1 point, but as I mentioned earlier, I expect their to be one fewer undefeated team by the end of the night Thursday.
2. NC State over Virginia - My computer is predicting UVa to win by a TD, but I expect it will be much closer than that. The Cavaliers are winning nailbiters, and this week their luck might finally run out.
3. Penn St over Ohio St - What a weekend it would be if the top 2 teams in the BCS come crashing down. Of course, that kind of thing never happens in college football, right?

That's all for this week. Kind of a short entry, but then again, there aren't that many games here that really get me fired up. The last few times I've felt that way heading into a weekend, there have been tons of upsets and a complete overhaul of the Top 25. I wouldn't be surprised if the same happens this week as well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Doc's Prognosis - Week 8

Well, another week, another rash of upsets for the top teams in the land. At some point, the upsets have to stop. And at some point, people will realize that this year's SEC may be the most difficult conference to play in since the dawn of time. If LSU had managed to make it through their schedule unscathed, they should have given them the title without even making them play anyone else (and honestly, I'm not one of these 'SEC is always the best conference' morons). As it is, they tripped up very, very early in the race. That doesn't mean they aren't a great team though. Anyway, onward we go.

Three Up...
1. USF - Up 5 spots to #5. Well, they have finally become a player in my ranking. Up to this point, they've been a good team that's had a couple of big wins, but for the most part they've done exactly what they were expected to do. Now with the way things have fallen over the last few weeks, and with the continued good showings of Auburn and WVU, they find themselves on everybody's list of the best teams in all the land. At least on the list of anyone who actually knows football. Still a very difficult schedule ahead of them though.
2. Kansas St - Up 9 spots to #9. I think this is a little too high for this team. We shall see. They got to this point though because of playing Auburn and Kansas tough, and then throttling Colorado, who in turn had beaten Oklahoma, one of the best 1 loss teams in the country. Yet again, evidence that this is the craziest season of college football in quite some time.
3. Boise St - Up 25 spots to #21. It should be noted that this ranking doesn't include the recent Nevada game. But the point is, last year's cinderella team is rapidly getting back into the discussion as a possible at large team in the BCS. Even with one loss, to a less impressive than originally expected Washington team. At this point, nothing will surprise me.

Three Down...
1. Cal - Down 7 spots to #18. It's not exactly fair that Cal has to be in this position. With Nate Longshore out of action in the Oregon St. game, it wasn't very surprising to see them beaten. But the way that it happened was one of the cruelest endings I've seen. And you could see the frustration at the end of the game from the CAl players and coaches. You've gotta feel sorry for the young QB who put them in that mess, but that's got to be the most boneheaded play of the year.
2. Boston College - Down 6 spots to #23. I didn't see any of the game (why would I watch anymore of Notre Dame this year), but it seemed to be a pretty lackluster performance. They're still unbeaten though, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're any good.
3. Illinois - Down 11 spots to #26. Well, as quick as I was to jump on the Zooker's bandwagon, I'm going to be just as quick to jump off of it. When you lose to Iowa, you lose a lot of respect.

Games of the Week
1. USF vs. Rutgers - Another good Thursday night Big East tilt. This is USF's first game as BCS #2, so the pressure will be on them to keep their unbeaten record alive. Rutgers should be up for this game as they'll have a chance to knock off the Big East frontrunners and keep their hopes of a BCS bid alive.
2. LSU vs Auburn - The recent games in this series have been absolutely epic. For LSU, it's win or go home. With 2 losses, they would be done and dusted as far as the BCS title game is concerned. For Auburn, it's a chance to showcase their outstanding defense once again. Should be a classic, defensive slugfest. I wouldn't miss this one if I were you.
3. Florida vs. Kentucky - As I've said several times before, I still think Florida are the frontrunners for the East division title. I just don't think UK can pull off another upset. They are no doubt a great team, but they played over their heads a little to pull off the upset versus LSU, and I just can't see them doing it once again. They'll probably prove me wrong however.
4. Cal vs. UCLA - Cal needs to right the ship quickly in this game. They are still very much alive in the Pac-10 race, and even have an outside shot at the BCS title game as a one loss team.
5. Tennessee vs. Alabama - The third in a great triumvirate of SEC matchups. This is my favorite game of the year, and my least favorite game of the year, all at the same time. Just another sign of how deep the SEC is this year: 2 storied programs, 2 great rivals, 2 teams that still control their own destiny in the conference. And this game is #3 in the pecking order for SEC television behind LSU-Auburn, and UF-UK. Pretty amazing if you ask me.

Upset Specials
1. Notre DAme over USC - I think for this to happen, USC will have to make a lot of mistakes, and Notre Dame will have to generate at least 14 points from Special Teams/Defense. I honestly can't see them scoring an offensive TD, but 17 points might be just enough to do it. All in all, though, I think this is a worthless game. ND is terrible, USC will lose at least another 2 games and be out of the title picture very soon, so this has absolutely no bearing on anything outside of the two fanbases.
2. Illinois over Michigan - I mentioned earlier that I jumped off the Illini bandwagon as quickly as I got on. But if they pull this one out, I, as well as the rest of the country, will probably be right back on it.
3. UCLA over Cal - If Cal comes out still thinking about last week's loss, their season will pretty much be over by the end of this game. But if they take their frustration out on UCLA, Dorrell's squad had better look out.

That's all for this week. As usual, you can find the full rankings, as well as predictions for all ACC and SEC games, at www.geocities.com/zosofreak2000.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Doc's Prognosis - Week 7

At this point, we should no longer be surprised about anything that happens for the remainder of this season. I have nothing further to say in this section.

Three Up…..
1. Florida – Up 6 spots to #5. Sometimes losing isn’t such a bad thing. I think this is roughly where Florida belongs. The Auburn game was obviously an anomaly. A legitimate Top 5 team in my opinion.
2. Missouri – Up 7 spots to #8. Still undefeated, and following a complete and utter dismantling of Nebraska. Up next is my #2 Oklahoma. If Missouri can pull out a win in this game, there will be many more believers.
3. Kansas – Up 6 spots to #3. This one is a bit of a shock to me. I didn’t expect them to jump this high. Yet another surprising Big 12 North team, who still has a lot to prove.

Three Down….
1. USC – Down 16 spots to #26. It’s been many many years since USC has been this low in my ranking, and it’s hard to argue that they belong any higher than this. The polls have this all wrong, and should’ve dropped the team much further than they have. Michigan lost all credibility they ever had for losing one game, and I think USC should’ve fallen at least outside of the Top 15 for losing a game like this. Yes, you must take into account their ‘full body of work’, but let’s be honest, that body of work is very unimpressive. I see another 3 or 4 losses on the schedule for this team. While we’re on the topic, midway through the USC-Stanford game, I was flipping channels, always expecting USC to put it together and pull away. I was saying to myself that I should mention in this week’s blog that I thought USC would be the next major undefeated team to fall. I just had no confidence whatsoever that Stanford would be the one to do it.
2. Georgia – Down 6 spots to #23. A terrible showing from these guys in Knoxville. I was expecting much more from a Mark Richt coached team. They looked like they were completely unprepared to play, and they made a middle of the pack UT team look like world beaters.
3. Hawaii – Down 18 spots to #32. I’m not sure that they belong this low, but they haven’t been as impressive as everyone was expecting.

Games of the Week
1. LSU vs Kentucky – A chance for Kentucky to prove that they actually do belong in the discussion of who will win the SEC. If they can beat LSU, I would put them near the top of the list. But I just don’t see that happening. LSU’s schedule is full of landmines, but I don’t see this being the one that trips them up.
2. Oklahoma vs. Missouri – This is one of those matchups that we get at this time of season that is a big big game, but 3 weeks ago nobody was looking forward to this game at all. And the really big surprise about this is that the undefeated team isn’t the Sooners. I’ve got OU by 9 in this one, so the Missouri dream run takes a hit here.
3. Cincinnati vs. Louisville – Cincy is another one of those surprising teams. At the beginning of this season, the only reason anyone was looking forward to this game was because Louisville would be in the Big East and national title picture. Not so much anymore. I think the Bearcats win again, and maybe they finally start to get some national attention.
4. Penn St vs. Wisconsin – A chance for the Badgers to get up off the mat and regain some respect. I don’t see it happening though. I think Wisconsin were very overrated coming into this season, and Penn St will win this one.
5. Auburn vs. Arkansas – McFadden can use this game to get back into the national spotlight for his Heisman run. But this is also a game for us to see who might be a stumbling block for LSU. Should be a great game, with Auburn pulling it out at the end. They’ll have just enough defense to keep McFadden and Jones in relative check.

Upset Specials
1. Mississippi St over Tennessee – Georgia’s defense was very accommodating for the Vols last week, and it looked like they were wading through quicksand. I don’t know what was wrong with them, but one thing I know is that they made UT look a whole lot better than they actually are. Vols fans are now booking their trip to Atlanta, but they’ll come crashing down this week. Sylvester Croome will get a big scalp here, and hopefully that will get his critics off his back. He’s worked wonders with this team, but until this year it hasn’t really shown in the record. But this is his week. And just as an aside, I still think 7-5 is about as good as UT can hope for this season.
2. Wake over FSU – A good chance for Wake to pull this one out, and show that even though they’ve been forgotten this year, they’re still lightyears better than the Wake of old.
3. Duke over Virginia Tech – Admittedly, I’m struggling to find upsets on this week’s slate of games, but I’m going to throw this one in there as Upset #3. My computer says Hokies by 9, so that’s a little closer than most folks would expect. VT looked great in thrashing Clemson, but honestly folks, it was a Tommy Bowden team so everyone should’ve expected that. The Hokies struggle scoring points, and Duke seems to be somewhat improved. I guess we’ll just see what happens. Given everything that’s already happened this year, this upset would probably not even ring any alarm bells if it were to happen.

Alright, that’s all for this week. I hope everyone enjoys their college football watching for this weekend.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Doc's Prognosis - Week 6

Every college football season has at least one jaw dropping weekend, and last week was the first of this season. Will it be the last? I doubt it. What we just saw was several of the top teams, the most likely contenders for the national title, all lose early. That tells me that the teams that took their places at the top of the rankings are probably not really worthy of their high-rankings, and they will fall as well (probably as part of another jaw dropping weekend somewhere down the road). My guess is that the Oklahomas and West Virginias of the world will rejoin LSU and USC in the national title picture by season's end. In all honesty, I think this may be a season where no one goes undefeated. Anyway, that's enough useless banter for this week. As usual, the rankings can be found here, and let the incessant beating begin due to me having OU still in the #1 spot.

Movers and Shakers

Three Up...
1. USF - Up 17 spots to #8. A great upset win over W. Virginia, coupled with the earlier upset of Auburn, has finally given this program the recognition it deserves. I cannot underestimate the job that Leavitt has done building this program absolutely from scratch. How many years before they win a national championship? Be sure to vote in the poll.
2. Auburn - Up 19 spots to #16. I didn't watch all of the first half of the game against Florida, but best I can tell, they absolutely shut down the Gators. The offense is still a major question mark, and even with a solid defense, I see them struggling to win their remaining big games. Not every opponent will sleepwalk through the first half against them. Still a great win though.
3. Colorado - Up 25 spots to #22. This upset is one of those that I would not have bet on, even if I had been given 100-1 odds. Complete shocker. But to come back from a 24-7 deficit against a team that had been as impressive as anybody through the first month of the year deserves some major shout-outs. Maybe Dan Hawkins won't be a bust after all.

Three Down....
1. Wisconsin - Down 19 spots to #35. This team has got to lose at some point. They can't continue to squeak past inferior opponents. However, they do play in the Big 2 Little 9, so anything is possible I guess. Just ask 2002 Ohio St.
2. Rutgers - Down 25 spots to #38. A complete bellyflop, at home, in their first meaningful game. If they don't step it up soon, they'll return to their old stomping grounds at the foot of the Big East standings. I really did think they were much better than this. We shall see.
3. Texas - Down 23 spots to #44. Everyone saw this one coming all season long. I just had no idea they would get blown away on their own field. It looks like a return to the pre 2005 Texas under Mack Brown, but we won't know for sure until we see them play OU this weekend.

Games of the Week
1. Kentucky vs. South Carolina - I've got Kentucky favored once again in this one. I've been a fan of the SEC for a long long time, and it is nice to see the Wildcats doing well. I knew they would be good going into the season, but I didn't expect them to be this good. With Vandy and Kentucky playing well, and Spurrier at SC, it's going to be exciting for years to come in the SEC East. As for this game, it should be close, but I expect that not even the Gamecocks defense will be able to stop Woodson when the game is on the line.
2. LSU vs Florida - I can't help but wonder if this young Florida team was caught looking ahead last week. I think they will be up for this game, and I expect a true classic here. People will be talking about this game as one of the games of the year by season's end. My computer is predicting LSU by 13, but I'm seeing a 30-27 type of game, with LSU pulling it out in the end. If Florida loses this one though, can they still make it to the SEC title game? I think so. It will be a real slugfest in the East.
3. Illinois vs. Wisconsin - Yep, I think this is where it all ends for Wisconsin. I'm not sure how Illinois isn't ranked, but at this point they should be. And they'll prove it right here.
4. Oklahoma vs Texas - The Red River Shootout. This one won't be as big as it should have been, but it will be a showcase game for OU. They'll get back on track here with a total throttling of the Horns. I wonder if the heat will be back on Mack Brown after this season even with the 2005 championship.
5. Georgia vs Tennessee - Another huge SEC East matchup this weekend. If Florida loses, the winner of this game should be favorites to land in Atlanta in December. But Ithink that's a foolish assumption. Georgia still plays Florida (and we all know how that game usually ends up), and Tennessee has already lost to the Gators. Even if Tennessee wins this game, I think they will drop at least one more along the way, and then they'll lose the head-to-head tiebreaker against Florida. Anyway, this is the kind of game I see Tennessee winning. If not, it could be a long long season in Knoxville.

Upset Specials
1. Kansas over Kansas St - My computer has the Jayhawks ranked very highly, and favored by 7 here. K State is getting alot of attention based off their big win last week and rightly so. The Jayhawks have played a bunch of Northwestern Institutes of Southwestern Community Colleges, so this is their first real test. I think Kansas St starts a little bit flat this week, and KU pulls this one out.
2. Georgia over Tennesee - Tennessee is favored by a couple here, but my computer is saying Georgia by a wide margin.
3. Cincinnati over Rutgers - Another chance for one of the perpetual doormats that I have highly ranked to stand up and be counted. Rutgers is favored, and I think a lot depends on how they respond to the loss last week. But my computer says Cincy by 10. I'll be anxious to see if the Bearcats are as good as I think they are.

And that's all for this week. I know I promised a discussion on conference strength, but it's been a busy last couple of weeks and I just haven't had time. I'll try to put everything together over this weekend. Unfortunately, the games don't have as much hype as what everyone was expecting, but if last weekend showed us anything it's that you can never blink with college football. Anything can happen.