Monday, October 31, 2011

weekend review

I said in the game preview that I still have a hard time getting used to the idea of Miami as an every-year opponent.  Maybe I shouldn't: this marks a slightly surprising four wins in the last six games against the Hurricanes.  Even when I was going on about how nobody thinks UVA has a football program, that stat took me aback just a little.  With UVA on a clear upward path and Miami looking down the barrel of a flamethrower, that might tilt even more in our favor in the years to come.

It is now Maryland week.  It really took me until my fourth year at UVA to truly form the proper amount of hatred for Maryland - that was when Maryland's then-president, C.D. Mote, cast idiotic aspersions on the mental state of UVA students (specifically out-of-state ones) who chose UVA, claiming that they "don't know any better."  As an out-of-state student, that planted the seed, and dealings with Maryland fans in the years since have watered and nourished it.  It certainly helps that their new football coach follows perfectly in the steps of the old one in, in declaring that "Maryland doesn't lose to Virginia" right before they do.

To add to the fun, UVA is on the cusp of its goal - or at least, the one I and practically every fan of the program set for it.  Bowl eligibility awaits if the outcome is favorable, and there's no better way to back up Mike London's recruiting message of a program on the rise than by actually being on the rise.  Getting the prize against Maryland would be a nice little cherry on top - the more we beat them, the more they'll be picking through our leftovers in their own state.  (P.S. - And if we win, Maryland is officially shut out of bowl consideration.)

Let's kick off the week's fun by running through the predictions.

- Barring any big plays of 50 yards or more (which are sometimes just random occurrences) none of UVA's running backs exceed their season rushing averages.

Clifton Richardson was the only one for whom this prediction came true, and no, I'm not taking 1/3 of a point.

- UVA runs for fewer than 153 yards total, giving us our second-worst day on the ground of the season.

This failing to come true was a monster reason why we won.  We actually racked up over 200, again.

- Miami gets at least two sacks.

Another reason we won: Miami didn't get a single one.

- Kris Burd and Tim Smith get at least five catches each.

We're passing less than I thought we might, so this failed to come true as well.  Burd and Smith did, however, tie for the team lead with three each, which accounted for half of all receptions, so I'm not taking credit in the final count but I think this one counts as a moral victory.

- Mike Rocco throws for over 250 yards.

No, but again, the only thing that prevented him doing so was the small number of actual attempts.  Perry Jones's halfback pass pushed the total number to 263, and thanks to that 78-yard slant to Jones, Rocco averaged 11+ yards an attempt.  Even taking that out, Rocco well exceeded his previous average of 6.52 YPA; minus the Jones slant, Rocco got to about 7.8.  If we were averaging 7.8 yards per pass attempt, we'd be ranked 38th in nation instead of 83rd.  So that's terrific production, and again I think I deserve a moral victory on this prediction.

- Lamar Miller gets less than 4.5 yards a carry.

He had 4.4, much of that coming after our defense was gearing to stop big plays instead of slamming the door on the run game at the line of scrimmage.  For much of the game he was averaging about 1.5.  Here's what I put in the game preview: " If it takes til the fourth quarter for Miller to get to 80 yards, the defense has done its job and we might even be winning the game."  Check and check.  Actually, he ended up with 70.  Also, on fourth quarter down-and-distances of 4th and 2, Miller averaged exactly negative-1.  Most important stat of the day.

- UVA picks off Jacory Harris at least once, but he throws more TDs than INTs anyway.

I think I'm gonna break this into two predictions and call it 1-for-2.  As expected, Harris wasn't bad at all, but we didn't get an interception off of him.

So I go 2-for-8, which kinda sucks, but moral victories would've gotten me to .500.  Season total is 22 for 59; 4-4 in outcome predictions; and I did win against the spread, thank you, where I'm now 4-4 as well.


Before we get into Senior Seasons it is my sad duty to report that the GP South Blue Devils fell 46-7 in the first round of the state playoffs; they had no answer for Martin Luther King's four-star running back, Cincy-bound Dennis Norfleet, who is ranked 241st in the Rivals 250.  That ends the Blue Devils' season at 6-4, but I think hopes will be high for next year as we're riding a two-season playoff streak - although I think South will be moved up a division (to the second-highest of six) in their conference's biannual realignment, which will make the road a little tougher.

Anyway, here we go - Senior Seasons.

Victory Christian 68, Foundation Academy 0: Demeitre Brim accounted for three total touchdowns and 190 total yards.  VCA is 7-2.

Bayside 31, Cox 8: Anthony Cooper scored once on a reverse and once on a 32-yard TD pass; the pass put Cooper's quarterback Deion Stitt over E.J. Manuel's passing yardage record at Bayside.  Bayside is 8-2.

Landstown 20, Ocean Lakes 14: Eli Harold (Lakes) and Kyle Dockins (Landstown) each had a touchdown catch in the upset win.  Both teams are now 7-2.

Norfolk Christian 35, Greenbrier Christian 0: Kwontie Moore had 112 total yards rushing and receiving, and three touchdowns, two of the former and one of the latter.  Mario Nixon also caught a 65-yard TD pass.  NCS is 7-2 and winners of the Tidewater Conference championship.

Varina 54, Glen Allen 7: Maurice Canady connected on 6 of 7 passes and threw three touchdowns.  Varina is 7-1.

Ware County 39, Wayne County 3 (Greyson Lambert; Wayne is 4-4-1.)
Gonzaga 17, DeMatha 9 (Michael Moore; DeMatha is 6-3.)
St. Joseph 48, Bridgeton 0 (Max Valles; St. Joseph is 7-0.)
Hunterdon Central 35, Franklin 0 (Kye Morgan; Franklin is 5-2.)
Islip 35, Eastport-South Manor 0 (Sean Karl; ESM is 3-5.)
Malvern Prep 14, Episcopal 0 (Michael Mooney; Malvern is 7-1.)
Central Bucks South 28, Pennridge 14 (Matt Johns; CB South is 6-3.)
Stratford 35, Waller 20 (Kelvin Rainey; Stratford is 6-3.)
Hampton 14, Kecoughtan 0 (Jamall Brown; Hampton is 7-2.)
Green Run 34, Kellam 8 (Mark Hall; Green Run is 4-5.)
Hermitage 41, Godwin Mills 7 (Andre Miles-Redmond; Hermitage is 8-0.)

Last week:
Wayne County 21, Liberty County 20: Greyson Lambert was 13-of-21 passing with 108 yards and three touchdowns.

So here's where we stand after this week's play - the following players have finished with their regular seasons:

C.J. Moore - Buford (GA)
Greyson Lambert - Wayne County (GA)
Sean Karl - Eastport-South Manor (NY)
Anthony Cooper - Bayside (VA)
Moore/Nixon/Wahee/Wynn - Norfolk Christian (VA)

Lambert's and Karl's teams failed to qualify for whatever version of the playoffs their particular state has.  (In Karl's case it's even weirder because Long Island doesn't play with the rest of New York state.)  Lambert and Wayne County finished 4-4-1 and lost a tiebreaker with two other teams in their region.  ESM is a newish team and just isn't very good; they finish 3-5.

The others (Moore, Cooper, and the NCS boys) await as-yet-unknown playoff opponents.  At least I think so in the case of NCS.  Buford is a powerhouse and it'll take a major, major upset for any team in Georgia's AA division to prevent them from winning a fifth straight state title.  Bayside will be on the road in their first playoff week.

The vast majority of the rest of the recruits finish up their regular seasons next week, with only four relevant schools playing the regular season beyond that.  Most of them will make it into some form of playoff, so we still have quite a bit of this feature left in us.


Two conference-carousel stories that bear watching:

-- First is the lawsuit filed by West Virginia in order to get out of the Big East's 27-month notice and hustle on over to the Big 12, because you know that "West Virginia" is always the first thing that pops into your head when you think of the southern Midwest.  I have no idea what leg they think they have to stand on, but obviously, if West Virginia can engineer its way out of the Little East in time for next football season, you know that Syracuse and Pitt can't be far behind.

-- Second is the Teel article from last week that suggests Notre Dame and the ACC aren't such farfetched marriage partners after all.

I've long wanted Notre Dame to either sit on their independent selves forever or join the Big Ten where they belong.  I mean, they're right in the middle of the Big Ten footprint.  They play Big Ten teams all the time.  (Well, Michigan, MSU, and Purdue, mostly.)  So it's with a great deal of surprise that I find myself warming up to the idea of Notre Dame in the ACC.

Geographically speaking, I'd really prefer if ACC expansion meant the only required change to the logo was to add a couple stars.  Notre Dame sits outside that oval.  Plus I like traditional games.  But that particular Rubicon has been crossed so damn hard, and very long ago.  If Notre Dame were the 15th team in the ACC it would hardly matter who the 16th was; the ACC would clearly have cemented its place at the big-boy table.  (Not that we need Notre Dame for that, mind you.  I've been preaching for years that the ACC would not and will not be a target for Big Ten or SEC expansion, and it still won't.)

Still, it makes for a hell of a conference.  I suppose UConn would be the logical 16th team, but they'd have to show the ACC that their graduation issue is on path for recovery.  Right now their 2013 tourney eligibility is in serious jeopardy because of that, thanks to the new rules just implemented.

But what really warms the cockles of my heart is the possibility that a 16-team football conference with a 4x4 pod system would greatly improve the we-never-play-those-guys-any-more problem.  If they did it right.  I don't hold out a great deal of hope that they will.  Remember that one of my largest criticisms of playoff-wanters is that they're confusing wanting a playoff with wanting their playoff.  Just as there will be a lot of disappointed people when a playoff is eventually formed, I imagine I'm likely to be let down by a future 16-team conference and its schedule.  Still, it doesn't stop me from having ideas of my own, which I will let you know about.....tomorrow.

Plus, I mean obviously Notre Dame has decent hoops, and not only that but they'd also be lacrosse team #6.  Hello autobid that we don't need.

-- Oday Aboushi is the ACC lineman of the week.  That makes four times in nine weeks a UVA lineman has been chosen, with Aboushi and Anthony Mihota splitting the honors evenly.  Raise your hand if you saw 4-of-9 coming, and then keep it there if you thought that would happen without Morgan Moses or Austin Pasztor being named.  I don't see any hands.

-- Are you voting for Chase Minnifield every dayWhy not?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

blogpoll ballot, week 9

Here it is this week:

First, lemme let you in on the fixes I had to make.  My trusty system put UNC and Texas A&M 11th and 12th, respectively.  UNC, I sort of get.  They added to their profile this week by beating a previously-strongish Wake Forest.  Their wins over Louisville and UVA and close loss to GT looked better this week, and plus they have no bye week, which latter factor is a big help.  That combined to skyrocket them from like 28th or whatever to 11th.  OK, fine, I can rank them without any qualms, but not 11th.  I think they're much better off where they are.

A&M is more puzzling.  I guess my system just likes all their close losses to good teams too much.  I'd considered cutting all 5-3 teams out of consideration to begin with, and I decided A&M hasn't done enough to impress me that they should stay in.  (I guess UNC's kinda the same way, but at the very least, they're 6-3 with a few more wins by their opponents.)  So A&M bumps to 26th, and look who's the beneficiary: Houston.  Even without having to bump A&M, Houston is only two of my system points out of the rankings this week.  They have a pretty lousy top-to-bottom list of opponents (particularly at the top) but my conscience doesn't let me rank a 5-3 team over an 8-0 one.  Houston's got two lousy opponents next on the docket, which will keep them treading water, but they finish strongish with SMU and Tulsa and if they get through that undefeated, I could see them moving into the top 15.

I also had to switch MSU and Wisconsin.  They're only one system point apart, so it's not like I had any great conflict in doing so.  It's obvious in that case who should be on top now - MSU beat Wisconsin and one of their common opponents as well.

Lastly, I had to switch Alabama and Oklahoma.  That's right - the system gave me Oklahoma #2 this week.  Actually, that's not at all indefensible.  Thanks partly to this weekend, OU's top four of K-State, Texas, FSU, and Mizzou is much stronger than Alabama's of Arkansas, PSU, UF, and Vandy.  If Oklahoma's one loss was to a team that didn't just get blown the fuck out by Iowa State, I might have let it stand.  But that's what went down, so I gave 8-0 the benefit of the doubt over 7-1.  This weekend, Oklahoma plays A&M, and LSU and Alabama, of course, play each other.  So it's well set up for the possibility of Oklahoma (or maybe Okie State vs. K-State) breaking the LSU-Alabama stranglehold on the 1-2 spots.

The other teams under consideration, in order, were:

Texas A&M
Texas Tech
West Virginia
Southern Miss

Friday, October 28, 2011

rodney dangerhoo

Taken from a post on TheSabre's messageboard:
I'm a physician in chicago and one of my patient's spouses had a U hat on today. I told him they were going to lose tonight. His response was "To VIRGINIA?" He didn't know I was from VA. I reminded him that we handed them a couple of recent losses. He seemed to recall that after I reminded him!
To VIRGINIA? No fuckin' way, brah. Fear the tie.

Your tie is cardboard.  It's fucking cardboard.  Or at best it's a clip on.  Michael Irvin's was printed onto a t-shirt.  I wonder if you know how to tie one?

Ayyy.  "UVA fears the tie" indeed.  Congratulations, Miami, what a great new tradition you've conceived of, I bet there's no other school in the ACC who does that sort of thing.  Next time Texas A&M comes into town, Miami fans will all be holding up the number 12.  Al Golden (who coached at Virginia) wears a tie in seven Miami football games and suddenly Miami is the team with the tie tradition.

No respect these days.  None.  I might've predicted a loss but I'm not running around acting surprised we won.  I guess you could chalk up the above sign to what happens when you let n00bs into the conference, but look, before I even applied to UVA I didn't even know who the UVA football coach was but I knew they wore ties to the games.

Maybe some of this is our fault.  We had damn good seasons not that long ago and we don't even act like it, so why should anyone else? Why shouldn't they confuse us with Duke, and think we go to a bowl once every thirty years?  Still, there are some surprised-ass people today.  Miami lost?  To whom?  To VIRGINIA??

When's the last time that happened?

Well guess what.  We goin' bowling.  We got work left to do to get there but we goin' bowling.  That's not a jinx because I said we were gonna do that at the beginning of the season, all I'm doing is not changing my tune like I haven't done all season.  If our offensive line can man the hell up the way it did, and Laroy Reynolds can man way the hell up the way he did on fourth and ballgame, and they can get out there shoving people around, then dammit I ain't gotta apologize for having an attitude.  And gettin' kinda pissed when people act like we're here to watch Miami when frickin' nobody in Miami came to watch Miami.  And after we've produced a winning season maybe I won't have to listen to Thursday night announcers spending the whole second half discussing what Miami has to do to get back in the game.

That's four in six years and two outta the last three in Miami.  We wear the tie in this relationship. Takin' that swag back to Charlottesville, too.  It's goin' on the trophy shelf next to that piece of what used to be the OB.  Come win it back.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

game preview: Miami

Date/Time: Thursday, October 27; 8:00


History against the Canes: 3-5

Last matchup: UVA 24, Miami 19; 10/30/10; Charlottesville

Last weekend: NCSt. 28, UVA 14; Miami 24, GT 7

Line: Miami by 13.5

Opposing blogs: The 7th Floor, Canespace

Injury report:



S Pablo Alvarez, LS Charlie Richards, WR E.J. Scott, WR Bobby Smith, DL Tyler Smith, WR Matt Snyder, LS Michael Terrell, S Joseph Williams


G Luke Bowanko, OT Sean Cascarano, LB Henry Coley, DE Cam Johnson, QB Michael Rocco, DE Billy Schautz



DL Luther Robinson, DL Shayon Green, DL Curtis Porter, WR Rashawn Scott, OL Jon Feliciano, DT Marcus Forston, LB Ramon Buchanan, TE Corey White, LB Erik Lichter, TE Blake Ayles

So: Miami time.  The time of year where I still can't quite get used to the fact that Miami is a regular, every-year opponent like Maryland, and NC State is not.  Maybe when we add Pittsburgh or Syracuse to the division, Miami will feel like an old familiar.  But probably not.  I need a few more years.  Anyway, on the plus side for this matchup, the team had no time to dwell on the ugly showing against NC State, and they go into a place that shouldn't be too hostile.  Miami's only been drawing like 45,000 a game, a crowd that will disappear into the cavernous spaces of the NFL stadium they borrow.  On the down side, this is Miami's first game of the season for which nobody is suspended, so all their talent will be brought to bear this week.

-- UVA run offense vs. Miami run defense

Top backs:
Perry Jones: 113 carries, 576 yards, 5.1 average
Kevin Parks: 74 carries, 386 yards, 5.2 average

UVA offense:
183.14 yards/game, 4.55 yards/attempt
45th of 120 (national), 4th of 12 (ACC)

Miami defense:
179.43 yards/game, 4.35 yards/attempt
74th of 120 (national), 8th of 12 (ACC)

Miami's stats don't impress, but I think they're largely the results of early-season upheaval.  Even without a passing game to back it up, Ohio State's run game was effective, and Kansas State did a real number on them.  But recent results have been much more impressive; Miami held UNC pretty well in check and crushed the Georgia Tech attack.  You thought we did a nice job on GT, but Miami allowed about half the yardage we did.

Meanwhile, what to make of the UVA run game?  Are we the bully that did whatever the hell we liked against GT?  Or the weakling that couldn't muster a peep against a similarly-talented NC State defense?  Unfortunately, I think the possibility exists that NC State exposed the game plan to beat us: eight men in the box and dare the quarterback to throw over their heads.  Watford was able to do that once, but otherwise, the running game was stifled and the passing game played into that scheme by not throwing the ball more than a few yards downfield.  If Miami does this, the run game isn't going to go anywhere.  Strong safety Vaughn Telemaque and linebacker Sean Spence are guys that can fly around the field.  And defensive tackle Darius Smith is the size of a Buick at 360 pounds, so there are obstacles whether you go left, right, or middle.

If I were Bill Lazor, I'd expect the Canes to try eight in the box, and counter with a blocking fullback or an extra tight end.  UNC, even though the run game was slowed down, was still able to slog its way to some decent yardage.  Spence plays on the weak side - the side normally with no tight end - and having him dealing with one might change up his usual look.

Unless there are a few different things up Lazor's sleeve, though, I'd say we'll have a tough time running the ball.  I don't think any of our backs will exceed their season averages.  Our second-worst performance of the year was 153 yards; I think we'll fall short of that.

-- UVA pass offense vs. Miami pass defense

Mike Rocco: 109/182, 59.9%; 1,186 yards, 4 TD, 8 INT; 6.52 yds/attempt

Top receivers:
Kris Burd: 34 rec., 447 yards, 0 TD
Perry Jones: 27 rec., 236 yards, 1 TD

UVA offense:
224 yards/game, 6.1 yards/attempt
104th of 120 (national), 11th of 12 (ACC)

Miami defense:
199.1 yards/game, 7.1 yards/attempt
65th of 120 (national), 7th of 12 (ACC)

The stats again won't really tell the story, but in a good way this time; the per-attempt numbers are down partly because of the now-extinct quarterback platoon.  I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when Rocco has both hands on the reins.  (Hey.  Listen up.  I spelled that last word correctly; those of you who write "reigns," which is 90% of you, are wrong.  It refers to driving a horse and buggy, not reigning over a kingdom.  This has been a special Grammar Nazi bulletin; now, back to your programming.)

What is hopefully a complete unknown is what the coaches do have in store for Watford.  I say "hopefully" because I'm hoping it's not "have Watford go in every so often and run the play Rocco was going to run."  That's just a mini-platoon.  UVA tried one quarterback keeper last week, which was actually effective.  Maybe this week, roll him out of the pocket on a run-pass option.  Who knows?  If the answer is "not Miami" then that's a plus.

As for usual times, though, I think Rocco will look relatively good, as long as the pass rush is kept at bay.  That's a tough call; Marcus Robinson and fellow bookend Anthony Chickillo have combined for seven sacks, and Sean Spence blitzes with some regularity and has three sacks of his own.  Seven other players have collected one, too.  Miami can get after the quarterback and probably gets at least two sacks in this game.

On the flip side, however, their pass defense is awfully eh.  UVA should find room to attack the Miami cornerbacks, none of whom have gathered a single interception on the year.  I'll try again with my Tim Smith prediction: five catches for him, and five for Kris Burd while we're at it.  There's a chance here for our receivers to have a field day if Rocco can find them.  Because of that, and because of not getting pulled from the game at whimsical intervals, I think this is the day Rocco tops 250 yards.  He's only done it once so far - against UNC.

-- Miami run offense vs. UVA run defense

Top backs:
Lamar Miller: 137 carries, 799 yards, 5.8 avg.
Mike James: 50 carries, 186 yards, 3.7 avg.

Miami offense:
154.14 yards/game, 4.51 yards/attempt
46th of 120 (national), 5th of 12 (ACC)

UVA defense:
138.29 yards/game, 3.74 yards/attempt
46th of 120 (national), 4th of 12 (ACC)

If we're gonna win this game, it'll be the defensive effort that stands out.  Despite appearances, it wasn't actually that bad last week.

Lamar Miller is starting to earn national accolades for his running - it's looking like a 1,200 yard season for him.  He's a load to bring down.  But he can be stopped; Georgia Tech(!) held him to 3.4 a carry, and UNC shut him down completely.  (On the other hand, he went nuts on Virginia Tech, which otherwise has the second-best run defense in the league.)  Potentially problematic for Miami is that starting right tackle Jon Feliciano sprained his ankle last week and will miss the game.

Miller will get yards, there's no doubt about it.  You can pen him in for 18-20 carries, minimum, and 80+ yards without thinking too much about it.  The question is, how many carries to get to 80 or 100 yards?  If it takes til the fourth quarter for Miller to get to 80 yards, the defense has done its job and we might even be winning the game.  Lost in the angst of last week was that the defense did a solid job against the run.  I think they can do so again.  Let's put Miller down for 4.5 a carry, tops.

-- Miami pass offense vs. UVA pass defense

Jacory Harris: 90/145, 62.1%; 1,244 yards, 12 TD, 4 INT; 8.58 yds/attempt

Top receivers:
Travis Benjamin: 26 rec., 350 yards, 3 TD
Tommy Streeter: 21 rec., 421 yards, 5 TD

Miami offense:
212.7 yards/game, 8.4 yards/attempt
17th of 120 (national), 4th of 12 (ACC)

UVA defense:
176 yards/game, 5.7 yards/attempt
8th of 120 (national), 1st of 12 (ACC)

I think we've reached a point in the season where respect and props must be given to the pass defense.  Today we've been talking about how stats don't tell the story; in this case, they do.  Another challenger approaches in the Miami offense; Jacory Harris is no longer Jake the Interceptosaurus, and Miami's got some good receivers.  Travis Benjamin is a wily veteran, and Tommy Streeter is huge - dude's 6-foot-5.

However, Miami might be underutilizing the passing game.  They're pretty heavily tilted toward the run, by about 57.5 to 42.5.  They generally eschew the dink and dunk - the passing game is designed to move them downfield quickly.  When they want to move in smaller chunks they hand off.

There's potential for that to play right into our hands.  Not requiring our linebackers to do any pass coverage is partly why the run defense was so successful against GT, and the secondary certainly proved it could handle receivers one on one.  The battle of the game could be Minnifield and Nicholson vs. Streeter and Benjamin.

Still: Harris.  Senior quarterback.  We've seen that movie before and it sucks.  I have an awful feeling that at the end of this game, we'll again be muttering to ourselves about the gap in quarterback play between seniors and sophomores.  That was the Southern Miss game in a nutshell.  I do believe we'll dirty up that interception record - remember, he has only four, and two came in his first game against Ohio State - but I also think Harris would like a measure of revenge after we dinged him up last season.  However many picks he'll throw, he'll throw more touchdowns.

-- Outlook

I tell you what, I almost talked myself into predicting a win here.  Miami's pass defense is exploitable, and our defense has earned the itself enough respect for me to say that they can have a good day themselves.  But you have to remember: this team beat UNC where we didn't, dominated Georgia Tech harder than we did, and totally shut down Ohio State.  They lost to Kansas State, which looked bad, but K-State is undefeated.  That's a pretty legit team.  Miami is talented and they're finally whole.  I think we can keep this respectable.  Last time we went down this way, we gave up 52 points - there won't be any repeat of that debacle.  It should be close enough to keep us interested, but ultimately I have a hard time calling this actually a win.

-- Prediction summary:

- Barring any big plays of 50 yards or more (which are sometimes just random occurrences) none of UVA's running backs exceed their season rushing averages.
- UVA runs for fewer than 153 yards total, giving us our second-worst day on the ground of the season.
- Miami gets at least two sacks.
- Kris Burd and Tim Smith get at least five catches each.
- Mike Rocco throws for over 250 yards.
- Lamar Miller gets less than 4.5 yards a carry.
- UVA picks off Jacory Harris at least once, but he throws more TDs than INTs anyway.

- Final score: Miami 21, UVA 16.

-- Rest of the ACC:

- NC State @ Florida State, 12:00 (I won't be feeling good about things if NC State gets murdered. We have to go to Tallahassee too.)
- Virginia Tech @ Duke, 12:30 (Prepare for a shootout.)
- Boston College @ Maryland, 3:00 (Atlantic Division cripple fight. Also BC's last real shot at a win.)
- Wake Forest @ North Carolina, 3:30 (Can't believe I'm saying this, but Wake needs this win in order to keep up in the Atlantic.)
- Clemson @ Georgia Tech, 8:00 (Groh-haters will enjoy this one.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the hoops schedule

"[If] the Cavs can play their cards right -- and a decent but not insane nonconference schedule ought to allow for that -- they could easily move into the top five of the league. That generally means a ticket to the Dance."
"I believe that Virginia will be able to compete successfully for an NCAA bid this season."
"All signs point to the Cavs reaping the rewards for that "slow and steady wins the race" approach this season. ... The Cavs haven’t reached the NCAA tournament since 2007. That could change this year."

There's good news and bad news.  The good news is that it looks like we'll have a pretty good basketball team this year.  Some very promising talent at the guard positions and a frontcourt beast looking to unleash some fury and frustrations on the rest of the ACC.  The bad news is that our plan to sneak up on the world has more or less failed.  Fourth in the media poll and five votes in the coaches' poll, all of which probably came from ACC coaches because let's face it, is someone in the Big West sitting there going, "You know who I think is gonna surprise?  Virginia."  No.

So this season, which tips off in less than three weeks, carries with it the weight of Expectations.  You're probably shuddering and crossing yourself at the very idea, because I think we all know what happens to Virginia teams with Expectations.  (In case you don't: this is the answer.)  Still, I'm going to have some fun with it, because when it comes to basketball, Expectations departed the scene about halfway through the Gillen era and ignored Dave Leitao entirely.

So we're going to approach this season like we haven't approached a season in literally ten years: with the idea that this team should probably make the NCAA tournament, and it would be something of a disappointment if they didn't.  If the development trajectories of our players are on track - and Tony Bennett has some proven player-development chops, so they should be - this is a top-half team in the ACC, maybe good enough to earn a bye in the first round of the ACC tournament.  The season preview for basketball is kind of hodgepodge because of some other sport that's going on right now, but we'll kick it off, like last year, with a look at the opponents on this year's schedule.  (The nonconference opponents only.  ACC opponents have to wait til January so I can 1) cheat and see how they've done so far and 2) not overload myself during football season.)

South Carolina State

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Preseason conference poll: 10th of 13

'10-'11 record: 10-22 (5-11)
'10-'11 postseason: none
'10-'11 Pomeroy: .0736 (9th MEAC, 327th national)

Better or worse: Not like you'd notice
Likelihood of winning: Very, very high

The season tips off with a scrimmage actual game against SC State, which is lousy.  Nothing to see here, really, just one of those games that pays the bills for a program with no resources and inflates your record.  I guess if we were going to get into actual analysis, SC State has to replace their leading scorer (the only one who averaged double figures last year), they like to spread the scoring around some, etc. etc.  Whatever.


Big South Conference

Preseason conference poll: 5th of 11

'10-'11 record: 13-17 (9-9)
'10-'11 postseason: None
'10-'11 Pomeroy: .3155 (5th Big South, 229th national)

Better or worse: Probably a little worse
Likelihood of winning: Still very high

This is technically the first game of the Paradise Jam, but it's being played stateside in the friendly JPJA confines.  The Sleepin' Eagles lose their top two scorers, and while this squad wasn't really too bad defensively last year, as long as the team isn't looking forward too much to their Caribbean trip, we'll see win #2.


Mountain West Conference

Preseason conference poll: 7th of 8

'10-'11 record: 11-22 (1-15)
'10-'11 postseason: None
'10-'11 Pomeroy: .4528 (7th MWC, 173rd national)

Better or worse: Probably about the same
Likelihood of winning: High-ish

This is the first actual game of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands, which has the same format as the Maui Invitational we played in last year.  Meaning that there are two games after this one, and the opponent is determined by how we do.  Win and we'll probably get good competition; lose, and we get Norfolk State.  That makes this one of the most important games of the season.  The OOC schedule needs the boost it'd get from playing in the winner's bracket; a neutral-site game against Marquette, the other marquee team in the tourney, would be great for the old RPI.  Fortunately, TCU isn't great.  The MWC has a very clear caste system and TCU is squarely on the bottom rung.  UVA will have to watch out for the combo of Hank Thorns and Garlon Green; Thorns is a semi-familiar name (a former Hokie) who had 7 assists per game last year, and Green is a 6'7" matchup problem who hit on almost 50% of his threes last year.  Also interesting to watch for will be former UVA recruiting target Kyan Anderson, although Thorns gobbles up most of the minutes at the point.  Still, this is a very winnable game, and tournament hopes may hinge upon it.

Wisconsin-Green Bay

Horizon League

Preseason conference poll: 6th of 10

'10-'11 record: 14-18 (8-10)
'10-'11 postseason: none
'10-'11 Pomeroy: .5036 (8th Horizon, 156th national)

Better or worse: Probably worse
Likelihood of winning: High

Tony Bennett's old team!  You know there must be something to it when they specifically announce that we'll be playing Wisconsin-Green Bay instead of letting it just be one of the many bought wins on the schedule.  The challenge here will be: what to do with Green Bay's towering center, Alec Brown.  Brown is 7'1" and preseason second-team all-conference.  As you might guess, he's a block machine, averaging more than two per game last year.  The rest of the team: eh. The Horizon is a reasonably competitive league and Green Bay was reasonably competitive in it, but if you can't chalk this one up as a should-be win, then you have no business thinking tournament.


Big Ten Conference

Preseason conference poll: no poll yet, but, maybe 3rd or 4th

'10-'11 record: 21-14 (9-9)
'10-'11 postseason: NCAA second round**
'10-'11 Pomeroy: .9022 (5th Big Ten, 25th national)

Better or worse: Probably better.....probably
Likelihood of winning: About 1 in 3

ACC/Big Ten challenge, of course.  Now this is a test.  If Darius Morris had come back for his junior year, Michigan would be one of the prime contenders in the Big Ten and a possible Final Four team.  Not even kidding.  As it is, this is a very talented opponent.  Tim Hardaway, Jr. is the real deal.  It's going to be fun watching Mike Scott and Jordan Morgan go at it in the post, or Joe Harris and Gritty McGritterson (Zack Novak) dueling on the wing.  The combination of Bennett's pack-line defense and John Beilein's 3-bomb offense could make for some intriguing situations.  Will the three-point shooting loosen up the interior, or will UVA turn Michigan into a one-dimensional attack?  Well, I'm getting ahead of myself.  If you know me even a little bit you know this isn't just another game.  Michigan is a couple steps ahead of UVA on Rebuilding Road, so the Wolverines will probably be too much.  But we get them at home, so you never know.  Michigan is primed for a trip to consecutive NCAA tournaments for the first time since, I dunno, not that long after the Fab Five was doing their thing, so a win here - reachable but not to be counted on - would be a major feather.

**Just FYI - that's "actual second round" not "actual first round but the NCAA calls it 'second' so all the teams can get precious participation ribbons even if all they did was lose the stupid play-in."  That's the nomenclature we use around here.



Preseason conference poll: N/A

'10-'11 record: 12-19
'10-'11 postseason: None
'10-'11 Pomeroy: .0987 (320th national)

Better or worse: Does it matter?  We'll say better.
Likelihood of winning: Astronomical

I guess we can pretty much count on Longwood to appear here most years.  Why they're even playing D-I, I don't even know.  According to Pomeroy they had the nation's second-worst defense last year, so the end of the bench had better be ready for this one after halftime.

George Mason

Colonial Athletic Association

Preseason conference poll: 2nd of 12

'10-'11 record: 27-7 (16-2)
'10-'11 postseason: NCAA second round
'10-'11 Pomeroy: .8926 (1st CAA, 28th national)

Better or worse: They hired Paul Hewitt. You tell me.
Likelihood of winning: A little better than 50/50.

Ah, George Mason.  Or as it was once known, UVA-Fairfax.  Troof.  Mason was a very, very good team last year and probably would have killed us had we played, which is why a lot of UVA fans are bemoaning the idea of playing them.  Losing to an instate mid-major is bad pub.  However, much like VT, Mason relied very heavily on a six-man rotation, three of whom are up and graduated.  But they remain dangerous.  Ryan Pearson is one of those matchup nightmare types - he hit on better than 51% of his shots last year, including a few threes, and was named to the CAA preaseason first team.  There are still plenty of elements left over from last year's tournament team.  Jim Larranaga is off to Miami, of course, but he's been replaced by Paul Hewitt, which means there's a decent chance that UVA can win simply by coaching circles around the other bench.  Mason is not to be taken lightly, however.  I don't think they'll be as dangerous as last year, but they'll still be tough.


Pacific-12 Conference

Preseason conference poll: no poll yet

'10-'11 record: 21-18 (7-11)
'10-'11 postseason: CBI champions
'10-'11 Pomeroy: .6998 (7th Pac-10, 88th national)

Better or worse: Could go either way
Likelihood of winning: Good-ish

I don't care what people say, I like the pine tree court at Oregon.  And this from someone who despises Oregon's rape of college sports aesthetics.  Anyway, Oregon is a team much like UVA: potentially on the rise but needing to prove it.  They had a surprisingly decent season last year, after looking like they were gonna suck a big one, and then lost a whole bunch of those players.  But they recruited well, and will plug in a whole bunch of transfers too.  This is part 2 of a home-and-home; we had a close game with them last year and then pulled away in the second half.  The bad news is, now we're playing out there.  BUT: last year's game against them was our first without Mike Scott.  Getting Scott back and playing the Ducks early, before they've had a chance to properly mesh, should swing the game in our favor.



Preseason conference poll: N/A

'10-'11 record: 11-20
'10-'11 postseason: none
'10-'11 Pomeroy: .2164 (265th national)

Better or worse: Better
Likelihood of winning: High, I HOPE

Hey, you know what would be a good idea?  Actually winning this game.  Seriously: that wasn't cool, last year.  Not cool at all.  Seattle returns most of their core, so they look like a team at least somewhat on the rise, but there shouldn't even have been any way they were in our league last year let alone this year.  Somehow I doubt the team has forgotten; Mike Scott most of all, since all he could do was stew on the bench.

Maryland-Eastern Shore

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Preseason conference poll: 12th of 13

'10-'11 record: 9-22 (5-11)\
'10-'11 postseason: none
'10-'11 Pomeroy: .0512 (10th MEAC, 337th national)

Better or worse: Makes no difference
Likelihood of a win: Highest of any game on the schedule

Savannah State and NC Central have been D-I members for less than five years each and are brand-new MEAC members this year.  Both were picked higher than UMES in their media poll.  Blow them out of the gym and let's move on.


Colonial Athletic Association

Preseason conference poll: 12th of 12

'10-'11 record: 4-26 (0-18)
'10-'11 postseason: none
'10-'11 Pomeroy: .2246 (12th CAA, 262nd national)

Better or worse: Can't get much worse
Likelihood of winning: Very high

Towson may share a conference with quality basketball schools like ODU, George Mason, Drexel, etc., but they're still in a totally different universe.  Only two players that stepped on the floor from last year's team (which played completely terrible defense) will return - the rest of the roster is dudes who redshirted, dudes who transferred in and are sitting out a year, juco transfers, and freshmen.  Don't expect this to be a competitive game.


Southeastern Conference

Preseason conference poll: 9th of 12

'10-'11 record: 11-21 (3-13)
'10-'11 postseason: none
'10-'11 Pomeroy: .3183 (12th SEC, 227th national)

Better or worse: Better
Likelihood of winning: Good

The third home-and-home that we're finishing up.  LSU was pretty much horrible last year, and we beat them in our place, but they have a ton of continuity from last year and they added seven-foot transfer Justin Hamilton.  You'll remember that Tony Bennett tried like hell to bring Hamilton to UVA; he chose LSU instead and is eligible this year.  Nobody on this team can shoot threes, so they're not well-equipped to take advantage of what has been a weakness of ours in the past; still, they're a good road challenge that, if all goes well, ought to be a nice point in our favor come tournament time.


One thing you'll notice missing from this schedule is any games that I gave up on already.  That's partly a function of us being better and partly a function of having no teams staring us in the face like Washington last year.  Here's a breakdown:


SC State


Wisconsin-Green Bay


George Mason

The last category there is in order of toughness from "easiest" to hardest.  There's two more games I didn't profile; those'd be the rest of the Paradise Jam.  If we don't fall flat against TCU, we'll almost certainly get Drexel, which adds another yardstick game on one side or the other of George Mason on the difficulty scale.  Get past Drexel and we probably get Marquette; if not, Drake or Ole Miss.  Marquette would be a yardstick game; Drake and Ole Miss would go with LSU and them.

In order to go to the tournament, we'll need to go better than 10-4 against this group; ask Seth Greenberg how it goes if you only beat the pinatas on the schedule and fall flat against the good teams.  I think one win against the yardsticks gets us to the bubble, and then we have to make our statements in the ACC.  Two wins and we're a high-bubble or play-in team; three yardstick wins and taking care of business in the conference gets us to the promised land.  It's not impossible, although not bloody likely, that we could go undefeated against this OOC schedule.  If we did, we'd be flying pretty high.

Assuming our upward trajectory continues steadily, you'd like to see a little bit harder of a schedule in following years.  Sweet 16 teams, Final Four teams, they'd handle a schedule like this with no problem.  It's got its challenges but it's not a schedule of doom, either.

Here's the ACC schedule, in order of media poll prediction, and number of games against each in parentheses:

1. North Carolina (2)
2. Duke (1)
3. Florida State (2)
5. Miami (1)
6. Virginia Tech (2)
7. Clemson (2)
8. NC State (1)
9. Maryland (2)
10. Georgia Tech (1)
11. Wake Forest (1)
12. Boston College (1)

As you can see, not a schedule that screams "great success."  Two games each against UNC and FSU, and Duke on the road.  That could be five losses right there, if things go badly.  One game each against the bottom three teams.  No letdowns against the Marylands and NC States and Clemsons of the world are allowed, because there's not much margin for error.  Could we go 9-7 in the conference and 11-3 outside and get into the tournament at 20-10, plus whatever happens in the ACC tourney?  Is that an NCAA resume?  Possibly.  Well, probably, but this is why we're no shoo-in.  But c'mon - it'll be fun to have that much riding on each and every game this year.  Embrace the bubbliness.

Monday, October 24, 2011

weekend review

Cancel the rant.

It was gonna be a good one, too.  I had it all teed up for today, and I was really gonna abandon any pretense of sanity - I made sure to write it all out on Saturday while I was still pissed off.  It was gonna be about the quarterback rotation, see, which I'd had completely up to here.  Did you know that Mike Rocco was 7-for-9 passing before the fourth series of the game, when David Watford was inserted, and 0-for-a-lot afterwards?

But Mike London must've seen my cheeky, rude tweet from during the game, and decided I was right.  So you can thank me, obviously, for the apparent end of the rotation.  At least, it sounds like the end of it.  Parse this London quote how you like....
“And if it means dialing back some of David’s opportunities, maybe more plays than series, and allow Michael to hang in there a little bit longer and play the game, then we may have to do that.”
....but it sounds to me like, come the fourth offensive series of the Miami game, Mike Rocco will still trot out to take the snaps.

So my rant about why this QB rotation has been so detrimental will never see the light of day, as it's nothing more than dead-horse beating now.  It's probably for the best.  At any rate, one statistic (I had a bunch of them to back up the craziness) does need to survive the purge, and that's this one: In the seven games we've played so far, Rocco is 47-of-67 passing before the first Watford series, and 62-of-115 after.  That's just over 70% completion before, and just under 54% after.  Combine that with Rocco's superior yards-per-attempt, and you can use your imagine as to how many yards - and maybe points - have been kept off the board by this rotation.  QB development is one thing, but program development is more important, and winning = program development.

So I'm hopeful that what we'll see against Miami is that Rocco will be the quarterback, and that what London means by "more plays than series" is that something will be done about having Watford run some things that are more conducive to his skill set.  Unpredictability is a good thing, and by now the whole world knows the old pattern.

(I don't mean, by the way, to associate "David Watford" with "offense goes down the drain."  That would not be fair.  Rather, "quarterback rotation" should be the evil in your mind.  Simply subbing Rocco out with an unknown possibility of how permanent that is, is what's causing his play to suffer.)

Let's get the prediction roundup out of the way and then never speak of this game again.  Must look forward.

- UVA owns the time of possession battle by about 34-26.
No.  NC State by about 32-28.

- If UVA wins the game, the run-pass split will be about 2-1 again.
This was conditional, so I'm gonna cop out and nullify this one.  Obviously, having to come back from behind caused the pass to become more prevalent.

- Perry Jones carries for about 120 yards and Kevin Parks carries for about 80.

Gawd, no.  Neither came close to happening.  Here's a sorry stat: UVA's average starting field position was their 37.  If you take away the one very well-thrown bomb from Watford to Tim Smith, not one player totaled enough offense during the entire game to score from the 37 on one drive.  (Would've needed 63 yards for that, and the only way anyone made it was that one pass.)

- Clifton Richardson gets minimal or no carries as a precaution.

He got five, which is about normal.  So he's healthy, which is good.  But NO on the prediction.

- Tim Smith catches at least five passes.

He might have if his hands had been better.

- James Washington carries for between 55 and 75 yards.

Washington had 82, averaging 3.9 per carry, so I'm gonna be a bitch and say "close enough."  He would've fallen smack into the middle of the target range if he hadn't been repeatedly handed the ball in an effort to milk clock.  Basically, he was who I thought he was, and that's good enough.  Because otherwise I'm getting a big ol' 0-fer.

- Mike Glennon gets over 250 passing yards, the majority coming in the second half.

He had 231, which is close, but since I bitched out on the last one, I'll hold myself to the letter here and go with no.

So - 20-for-51 on the season, which sux, and even worse, I drop to 4-3 on outcome predictions and 3-4 ATS.  That whole prediction group was predicated on not having a colossal letdown, and a colossal letdown is exactly what happened - particularly from the offensive line which inexplicably could never open a hole to run through.

Chins up, however.  There's a tendency among fans, UVA fans in particular, to let the last game define the whole season.  Anyone who thinks we should put Watford in permanently to "develop for the future" has got their priorities screwed up beyond recognition.  There's still plenty of reason to think we'll go to a bowl, and even more so there's still a huge need to.  Fortunately, football coaches aren't so defeatist as to give up on the season and its goals with five games to go - WE STILL HAVE A WINNING RECORD AFTER ALL - and I can't imagine the message that would send to the team, to start playing for 2012 in the middle of 2011.


Next section is Senior Seasons.  I must impart to you that the GP South Blue Devils lost their final game, to semi-powerhouse Marine City, but it mattered not as they were already qualified for the playoffs.  In the first round they'll host Detroit Martin Luther King this Friday.  Go South.   Now for the part where you give a damn:

St. Joseph 58, Pleasantville 2: Max Valles returned a fumble for a touchdown; this game was over after the first quarter with the score already 44-0.  I ain't makin' that up.  St. Joseph is 6-0.

Franklin 47, North Hunterdon 7: Kye Morgan scored three touchdowns and would've had a fourth if not for a penalty on the play.  Franklin is 5-1.

Malvern Prep 42, Penn Charter 6: Not often I get to put the O-linemen's schools in the upper section, but Michael Mooney came in for individual praise for a pancake block that opened the path for Malvern's second touchdown.  Malvern is 6-1.

Central Bucks South 50, Hatboro-Horsham 21: Matt Johns only threw the ball 16 times, but completed 11 for 197 yards and three touchdowns.  He ran for two more.  CB South is 5-3.

Landstown 19, Green Run 14: Kyle Dockins had 3 catches for 18 yards.  Landstown is 6-2; Green Run is 3-5.

Bayside 38, Princess Anne 0: Anthony Cooper caught two touchdowns - and two passes thrown by the Princess Anne quarterback as well.  Bayside is 7-2.

Norfolk Christian 49, Norfolk Academy 14: Wil Wahee and Mario Nixon each caught a touchdown pass and Kwontie Moore ran for two more in the rout.  NCS is 6-2.

Varina 69, Henrico 28: Maurice Canady only threw the ball six times, but four were for touchdowns, and a total of 138 yards.  Varina is 6-1.

Victory Christian 62, Central Florida Christian 0 (Demeitre Brim - VCA is 6-2.)
Buford 28, Greater Atlanta Christian 0 (C.J. Moore - Buford is 9-0.)
DeMatha 21, Archbishop Carroll 20 (Michael Moore - DeMatha is 5-2.)
Eastport South Manor 13, Harborfields 12 (Sean Karl - ESM is 3-4.)
Stratford 51, Magnolia West 13 (Kelvin Rainey - Stratford is 5-3.)
Choate Rosemary Hall 24, Worcester Academy 21 (Canaan Severin - WA is 3-2.)
Hampton 42, Menchville 3 (Jamall Brown - Hampton is 6-2.)
Hermitage 31, Deep Run 7 (Andre Miles-Redmond - Hermitage is 7-0.)

Last week:
Brunswick 44, Wayne County 13: Greyson Lambert was 20/48 with 1 TD, 1 INT, and 240 yards.

One regular season is now complete: the powerhouse that is Buford has a bye next Friday before the Georgia playoffs begin in two weeks and some poor hapless fool has to start their playoff run by getting destroyed by the Wolves.  Buford hasn't had any trouble with any of its opponents, and the GAC game this week was supposed to be a showdown.  It wasn't.  GAC hasn't been shut out since 2003.  Buford has won the last four Georgia AA titles; no school in Georgia history has ever won five in a row.


Some extras:

-- The recruiting board gets a quick (very quick) update this week after sitting for who knows how long.  Ken Ekanem dropped UVA, is why.

-- So the Maryland game won't be on any ESPN networks.  That sucks.

-- Buuuut, there's the Miami game on Thursday.  There is a possibility I skip class for that.  Either that will be a Twitter game (follow @MaizeNBlueWahoo for that) or it will be a belated Twitter game with me picking up in the second half (still follow @MaizeNBlueWahoo for that.)

-- I've never had to deal with a Thursday night game, so that screws with my schedule.  Here's how I think we're gonna do it this week: game preview Wednesday night, no post on Thursday at all, then reaction on Friday plus maybe a recruit profile, and ballot on Sunday as usual.

-- If you aren't voting for Chase Minnifield every single day, you're doing it wrong.  Lowe's Senior Class award.  Seriously.  Every day.  Do it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

blogpoll ballot: week 8

EDIT: I do try not to be unreasonable. Here is an updated ballot based on the below comment. Such effort was put into that, I'd feel bad if I didn't have some kind of response:

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

From Old Virginia Ballot - Week 9

Rank Team Delta
1 LSU Tigers Arrow_up 1
2 Alabama Crimson Tide Arrow_down -1
3 Clemson Tigers Arrow_up 1
4 Oklahoma Sooners Arrow_down -1
5 Oklahoma St. Cowboys --
6 Boise St. Broncos --
7 Stanford Cardinal Arrow_up 6
8 Texas A&M Aggies Arrow_up 3
9 Oregon Ducks Arrow_up 3
10 Kansas St. Wildcats Arrow_down -3
11 Michigan St. Spartans Arrow_up 7
12 Wisconsin Badgers Arrow_down -4
13 Nebraska Cornhuskers Arrow_down -3
14 Michigan Wolverines Arrow_down -5
15 South Carolina Gamecocks --
16 Texas Tech Red Raiders --
17 Virginia Tech Hokies Arrow_up 2
18 USC Trojans --
19 Penn St. Nittany Lions --
20 Arkansas Razorbacks --
21 Texas Longhorns Arrow_down -1
22 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets --
23 Cincinnati Bearcats --
24 Syracuse Orange --
25 Arizona St. Sun Devils Arrow_down -2
Dropouts: Illinois Fighting Illini, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, North Carolina Tar Heels, Auburn Tigers, Washington Huskies, West Virginia Mountaineers, South Florida Bulls
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

Four main points were made in the comment; my response to each:

- Move Okie State above Oklahoma. Response - no. They are so very very close in the system. Arguments can be made for each. State is undefeated and beat two common opponents by better than what OU did. OU thrashed two other common opponents that State did not. Tiebreaker: Oklahoma has a very solid out of conference win on the road that State doesn't have. So close between the two that we might just have to wait til Bedlam to sort it out.

- Move Nebraska below Wisconsin. Response - OK. This is one of the great challenges of ranking teams.  Team A has done nothing outside of blow out Team B.  Team B got killed by Team A but other than that has a much better resume overall.  Both have the same record.  Seriously, after Nebraska, Wisconsin's next-best game was beating Northern Illinois.  I decided to give in on this one because of Washington's precipitous fall after getting belted by Stanford.

- Move Arkansas above Texas.  Response - I'm an idiot.  Yes, the system gives me Texas above Arkansas because frankly, Arkansas has a giant chasm between their best two wins and the rest of their schedule.  I have their third-best win as New Mexico.  (Sure, Mississippi's a better team - somewhat - but when I rank those games I take into consideration how you looked.  Did you blow out a team you should have blown out?  Or did you almost gag it away?)   Anyway, despite all, a 4-2 team like Texas, with their best win as UCLA, should not be above 6-1 Arkansas that has beaten Auburn and A&M.  This is why Blogpolleteers post their ballot before they're finalized, to fix stupidity like that.

- Replace Cincinnati with Houston.  Response - sorry, not yet.  Cincy, at least, beat a formerly-ranked USF team and squashed 4-3 NC State.  Houston is undefeated, yes, but it's gonna take another couple wins to overcome the fact that the best thing they've done all season is to squeak past shitty UCLA, which just got curb-stomped by even-shittier Arizona.

So that is the new ballot - I'll put changes like this on top of the old one, but leave the old one up so you can compare.  It's all about accountability.


I think it's pretty vanilla this week.

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

From Old Virginia Ballot - Week 9

Rank Team Delta
1 LSU Tigers Arrow_up 1
2 Alabama Crimson Tide Arrow_down -1
3 Clemson Tigers Arrow_up 1
4 Oklahoma Sooners Arrow_down -1
5 Oklahoma St. Cowboys --
6 Boise St. Broncos --
7 Stanford Cardinal Arrow_up 6
8 Texas A&M Aggies Arrow_up 3
9 Oregon Ducks Arrow_up 3
10 Kansas St. Wildcats Arrow_down -3
11 Nebraska Cornhuskers Arrow_down -1
12 Michigan St. Spartans Arrow_up 6
13 Wisconsin Badgers Arrow_down -5
14 Michigan Wolverines Arrow_down -5
15 South Carolina Gamecocks --
16 Texas Tech Red Raiders --
17 Virginia Tech Hokies Arrow_up 2
18 USC Trojans --
19 Penn St. Nittany Lions --
20 Texas Longhorns --
21 Arkansas Razorbacks --
22 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets --
23 Cincinnati Bearcats --
24 Syracuse Orange --
25 Arizona St. Sun Devils Arrow_down -2
Dropouts: Illinois Fighting Illini, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, North Carolina Tar Heels, Auburn Tigers, Washington Huskies, West Virginia Mountaineers, South Florida Bulls
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »
LSU takes the top spot, and deservedly so, I think.  One reason I like my system is that 90% of the time it gives you results like that, that you think it should, and the truth is that until LSU or Alabama lose, nobody's in danger of passing them.

I did decide that the system was wrong to give me Oklahoma above Clemson; at this point in the season, 8-0 is 8-0.

Lot of churn in the bottom.  All those teams that dropped out did so by adding losses to their resume.  Some of them really bad.

Teams that didn't make it, in order: Houston, UNC, Illinois, West Virginia, Southern Miss, Auburn, Washington.

Obviously not gonna have any mention of UVA in this calculation this week.  Or in any future weeks, I'd imagine.  Maybe next year.  Just wait til tomorrow when I get all ranty.  We will definitely talk UVA then.