2009 BCS Musings November 2, 2009Posted by Matt in Football.
Tags: Alabama, BCS Championship, Boise St., Cincinnati, FBS, Florida, Football, Iowa, NCAA, Oregon, TCU, Texas
It is hard to believe that the 2009 college football regular season is already 2/3 of the way finished, but somehow time has gotten away and the finish line is quickly approaching. The third quarter of the season is well underway, the fourth is soon to begin and the field of competitors is narrowing. At this point, there are 7 undefeated teams remaining that are still in contention for a coveted spot in the BCS Championship game. So, as a service to you, I wanted to do a bit of handicapping so that you would know what to look for in the coming weeks.
1. Florida Gators 8-0
The Gators have beaten some decent teams, including then-#4 LSU 13-3, Tennessee 23-13, and Arkansas 23-20, but their win in the previous weekend against Georgia 41-17, was their first convincing one in weeks. Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow may have righted the ship against the Bulldogs and they should be able to coast through the next four games. South Carolina and Florida State may put up a fight, but neither is on the same level as Florida. The Gators can go ahead and reserve their spot in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.
2. Texas 8-0
I haven’t been a big believer in the Longhorns all season, despite their victories over a good Texas Tech team (34-24) and a talented but underachieving Oklahoma (16-13). This past week’s victory, a 41-14 trouncing of then-#13 Oklahoma St, has finally proved them to be contenders in 2009. Texas has a fairly uneventful stretch ahead of them, with the greatest possibility for upset probably being a regular season-ending trip to Texas A&M. With a weak North Division opponent to meet in the conference championship game, the Longhorns are almost a sure thing for the BCS Championship game.
3. Alabama 8-0
With the lone exception of last week’s close call against an improving Tennessee squad, Alabama has been exceptional this season, having posted convincing wins against then-#7 Virginia Tech (34-24), then-#20 Ole Miss (22-3), and then-#22 South Carolina (20-6). Next week’s matchup against #9 LSU will be a nice test for the Crimson Tide and their regular season-ending trip to Auburn could also prove to be problematic. They should be set for Atlanta, but they have a tougher road ahead than the Gators.
4. Cincinnati 8-0
With only one victory against a top 25 opponent, defeating then-#21 South Florida 34-17, the Bearcats have something still to prove in order to move up in the BCS rankings. Their schedule ahead offers what could prove to be tough games against West Virginia and at #14 Pittsburgh, so convincing wins in their last 4 games could help Cincy out some, but they really need one of the top three teams to slip up.
5. Boise St. 8-0
Yes, I know that Boise beat Oregon in the season-opener, but can you think of anybody they’ve beaten since then? With perhaps the exception of Tulsa (who they only beat by a touchdown), my guess would be probably not. Their remaining schedule consists of more teams whose presence would be more appropriate in a high school championship.
6. TCU 8-0
The Horned Frogs have looked great this season in the Mountain West, a strong second-tier conference. They’ve recorded victories against Clemson (14-10) and absolutely trounced then-#16 BYU (38-7). They still have a challenge left on Nov. 14 against #17 Utah, but besides that they should coast through the remainder of their regular season. They will need a lot of help to make it to a Championship game, though.
7. Oregon 7-1
The Ducks are the only team with a loss to make my list for a good reason – they are easily the best team in the Pac-10 Conference. Their one loss to then-#14 Boise State in the season-opener looms large as the Oregon faithful think of what might have been. The Ducks absolutely destroyed two top 10 teams, then-#6 California (42-3) and last week’s rout of then-#4 USC (47-20), so they deserve some kind of consideration. #23 Arizona is probably the only challenge remaining on the schedule, so I expect them to waltz into a BCS game this postseason.
8. Iowa 9-0
I can’t help but feel bad for the Hawkeyes because it is obvious that they are the big losers in this year’s BCS sweepstakes. They have several wins against quality opponents, including then-#5 Penn State (21-10), Michigan (30-28), Wisconsin (20-10), and Arizona (27-17), but because they tend to play down to the level of their competition and rarely record any blow-outs, the AP and Coach’s polls have really shafted the Hawkeyes, despite the fact that the computer polls rank them much higher. Their Nov. 14 matchup with #15 Ohio St will be the measuring stick by which Iowa will be judged. If they win convincingly, they deserve a shot at the title, but in our current system they will most likely be left behind.
It’s Time for Some Football! September 1, 2009Posted by Matt in Football.
Tags: Alabama, arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Football, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, predictions, SEC, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
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The turning of the season from Summer to Fall brings with it a host of happenings – the leaves change colors, the temperatures cool, the holidays grow nearer, and, perhaps greatest of all, its time for football. There is no region of the country that reveres the game like the South, for it is here that mere men become gods and epic gridiron battle become pieces of cultural mythology passed down from generation to generation.
I’m a lifetime Arkansas Razorback fan, one who sticks with them through the good and the bad, so my attention usually remains focused on that greatest of football conferences, the SEC. Below you will find my predictions for the SEC in the coming season. Let me know what you think.
South Carolina 8-4
Ole Mis 10-2
Miss State 3-9
SEC Title Game: Florida def. Alabama
Florida – With QB Tim Tebow and all 12 starters returning on an incredible defense, the Gators look unbeatable…and they just might be. They are the favorites to repeat as national champions for a reason.
Georgia – Despite the losses of Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno, the Bulldogs will field another excellent squad in 2009. If they can effectively replace those two former stars and improve on defense, Georgia could make some noise this season.
South Carolina – Despite the fact that they have had one of the most highly touted coaches of the past 2 decades, the Gamecocks have not been able to raise themselves out of slightly-better-than-average mediocrity and I don’t expect that to change this season.
Vanderbilt – The Commodores came out of nowhere last season to earn their first bowl trip in more than two decades and, though they will not be an elite team by any stretch of the imagination, they should again play well enough to earn or at least come close to earning a lower-tier bowl invitation.
Tennessee – Lane Kiffin. There’s not much else to say and virtually nothing to be excited about in Knox-Vegas in 2009.
Kentucky – The Wildcats are perennial bottom-dweller in the SEC East and there is nothing that is going to change that this season.
Alabama – They may not do quite as well as last season, but make no mistake about it, the Crimson Tide are an excellent football team. Never doubt the dark powers of Nick Saban.
Ole Miss – It’s no secret that, as a longtime Arkansas fan, I have little regard for the coaching abilities of Houston Nutt. Though the Rebels have been granted one of the easiest schedules around, look for Nutt to mess it up along the way and lose a couple of games at least.
LSU – The Tigers have a good team and could definitely make some major noise this year in the SEC West, perhaps even challenging ‘Bama and Ole Miss for the division, but 8-9 wins seems much more realistic.
Arkansas – In their second season under offensive mastermind Bobby Petrino, the Hogs look to take a big step forward from last season’s underwhelming 5-7 finish. This time around the team will be led by heralded Michigan transfer Ryan Mallet and last year’s top rusher, Michael Smith. Write it down, the Hogs will be bowl game bound…even if its just the Independence Bowl.
Auburn – Head Coach Gene Chizik, along with his career 5-19 record, take the reins of the Tigers this season as Auburn attempts to revive its once-strong program. There isn’t much to cheer about player-wise and not much hope for 2009, but the hiring of offensive guru Gus Malzahn was a good move and could pay nice dividends in the future.
Mississippi State – Sorry State fans, the Bulldogs are just terrible. Again. And nothing is going to change that.
Monday Morning Quarterback 12/01/08 December 1, 2008Posted by Matt in Football.
Tags: Alabama, Arkansas Razorbacks, BCS Title Game, Florida, NCAA football, Oklahoma, Texas
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So, the college football regular season has nearly reached its end, leaving fans with either a feeling of satisfaction or anger at the seeming technological whim of the BCS computer system. As of today, there are four teams remaining with a legitimate shot at a BCS Title Game berth – sorry Utah and Boise State fans, but until you leave your high school conferences and play with the big boys, your undefeated records are near-meaningless.
Contestant number one is sure to come from the SEC, where Alabama and Florida will meet this weekend in Atlanta to engage in a fierce battle that will decide their fates.
Alabama is the lone undefeated team among the top four, having won their twelve games with a hard-nosed, defense-minded style. With the possible exception of Georgia, the Crimson Tide have somehow avoided playing the nation’s toughest teams, and Florida will no doubt be the biggest challenge they have yet faced. So, the question must be asked, will Nick Saban’s squad be up to the task presented them by the powerful Gators?
With only a one point loss to Ole Miss blemishing their record, Florida may be the most dominant team in the country. While their schedule was not much tougher than Alabama’s, their eleven wins have come by an average of over 37 points per game, including a 30 point victory over LSU, 39 points over Georgia, and 30 over in-state rival Florida State. The Gators, though, have been hampered by injuries and may be without two defensive lineman and star receiver Percy Harvin.
The big controversy is not from the south, though, it is emitting straight from America’s Heartland and the incredible teams of the Big 12.
Texas finished their season at 11-1, with only a November 1 loss to Texas Tech blemishing their record. Despite beating Oklahoma by 10 points earlier in the season and destroying in-state rival Texas A&M on Saturday, the Longhorns found themselves being leapfrogged by Oklahoma in the BCS standings, dropping them from the second spot to the third and possibly losing a national title berth, despite winning.
Oklahoma, who also finished 11-1, now has the number two ranking and is on the inside track to the BCS title game, with only 19th ranked Missouri standing in their way. Their surge in the polls is no doubt due to their impressive wins over the past two weeks – a 65-21 shellacking of then-#2 Texas Tech and a 61-41 win over in-state rival Oklahoma State on Saturday.
My prediction: Florida vs. Oklahoma in the BCS Title Game.
Who do you think will make it?
Also, I have to give some props to my home-state Razorbacks and their upset win over LSU on Saturday. Even though they finished the season a disappointing 5-7, it was good to see QB Casey Dick finish his career with a win.
Presidential Write-Ins November 20, 2008Posted by Matt in President 2008.
Tags: Florida, presidential election, write-in votes
One of the many interesting things about our democracy and our voting process is that we are not constrained to only vote for a certain number of candidates. Though our ballots may only list the requisite few, there is also a line reserved for those wanting to truly exercise their freedom – the Write-In. The Write-In vote allows a person to cast their lot for anyone or anything, regardless of how unlikely or preposterous they may be. Well, the state of Florida has just released their write-in votes from our most recent presidential race and they are quite entertaining. Check out some of them below:
234 Hillary Clinton
174 Ron Paul
23 None of the Above
21 Mike Huckabee
14 Mitt Romney
8 Colin Powell
6 Left Blank
4 Steven Colbert
3 Donald Duck
3 Mickey Mouse
2 Bill Cosby
2 Chuck Norris
2 Sarah Palin
2 George W. Bush
2 Tim Tebow
And those receiving one vote included: Bill Clinton, Bill O’Riely, Bobby Bowden, Bugs Bunny, Me, Mr. Bill, None (Anarchy), Oprah, Hilary Bush, Homer Simpson, Joe the Plumber, Jimmy Carter, John Doe, Theodore Roosevelt, They Both Suck ’08, Tommy Chong, Tiger Woods, Weird Al Yankovic, and Willie Nelson
P.S. That was the actual spelling given for Bill O’Riely, which I believe needs no explanation.
P.P.S. If I wrote my name in, could I put “Former Presidential Candidate” on my resume?