Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blogpoll, Week 8

Just for fun.


Top Tier – one of these teams will be in the BCS title game:

1.         Ohio State – still on cruise control.  Shut down a good Michigan State offense and got just enough offense on their own.

2.         USC – I had doubts about Booty, but more about Sanchez.  Beating the crap out of Notre Dame is not that impressive, but they move ahead of…

3.         LSU – The most tenuous of the elite three, not for lack of talent but because their coach has balls where his brains should be, and a giveaway wouldn’t be entirely surprising.


Second Tier – and one of these.

4.         Boston College – idle, have been beating lousy teams regularly.  Next up, Virginia Tech, in perhaps their only big game of the season.  I moved them up a spot, but no higher…

5.         Oklahoma – I said last week that the Colorado loss was looking like a fluke.  I can’t say that after the Iowa State escape.

6.         Oregon – I’m still not entirely convinced that they won’t implode.  USC and Arizona State are coming up, so we’ll know soon.

7.         Florida – This is probably nuts, but…Tim Tebow just doesn’t impress me.  He strikes me as Daunte Culpepper without the decision-making skills.  And Urban, for all his offensive rep – what’s the game plan here?  Tebow left, Tebow center, Tebow right, bubble screen, end around to Percy Harvin, bomb to Percy Harvin.  Am I missing anything?


The rest is just wild-assed guesswork...

8.         Arizona State – I have to say, I’m just not getting it.  I mean, yeah, they’re undefeated, which has to count for something, but they’re yet to beat anyone, other than a 4-4 Colorado team (albeit convincingly).  Until they beat someone, I ain’t signin’ that petition.

9.         Virginia Tech

10.        West Virginia

11.        Kentucky

12.        South Florida

13.        Missouri

14.        Kansas – yeah, undefeated, but until they beat someone…have I said that before?

15.        Michigan – homer.

16.        California

17.        Texas

18.        Georgia

19.        Alabama

20.        Auburn

21.        South Carolina

22.        Virginia

23.        Rutgers

24.        UConn

25.        Hawaii




Saturday, October 13, 2007


Again, not an official blogpoll ballot...

Holy crap, another silly day.

Instead of trying to do the usual "who is the best undefeated team" dance, this is more of a "who is the best team" thing.  Had Cal won tonight - would anyone honestly, truly think that they were the best team in the country.  No way.  Herewith:

1.  Ohio State - Yeah, undefeated, so I'm abandoning my rule pretty early.  But they seem to be as good as anyone else, AND they've come out of their early-season funk when they had trouble scoring.  Currently a buzzsaw.
2.  LSU - Still like them a lot, still highly talented.  They're going to be around at the end.
3.  USC - Some leaks, yeah, especially if Booty is out.  But as likely as anyone to get on a huge, huge run.
4.  Oklahoma - The Colorado loss is looking more and more like nothing more than a bad day.

Those are pretty easy, really - after those four, you've got a group of flawed / unproven teams.

5.  Boston College - not QUITE ready to sign that petition, but they've beaten a couple of good teams.  This week's trip to Va Tech will tell a lot.
6.  Oregon - a brain-lock away from being undefeated heading into USC.
7.  Cal - ditto.
8.  South Florida - this would be West Virginia, but...well, the Bulls beat 'em.  I think West Virginia is actually better, and would have a much better chance to beat a good team, but results are results.
9.  West Virginia - see above.
10.  Florida - another really, really good team, but again, results don't lie.  That said, there's only a couple teams that scare me more.  Could be #5, could be #15.  This seems right.
11.  Kentucky - again, a flawed team (starting with their coach), but some serious big wins.  You could beat them by 20, or vice versa.
12.  South Carolina - I don't know.  Yeah, they beat Kentucky and an OK Georgia team, but LSU handled them.  I can't help but think they're doing it with smoke and mirrors, but they've got a coach that can pull that off.  Interesting sched to go, too, with Tennessee, Florida and Clemson remaining.  They could go 3-0 or 0-3.
13.  Virginia Tech - another 'dunno' team.  They're 6-1, but the loss was an absolute pounding at the hands of LSU. could invert the rest of these guys top to bottom and I probably wouldn't argue with you.

14.  Kansas - probably premature, as they're yet to beat anyone really good, but they're beating the crap out of people, and the defense is on its second season of being great.  Until they prove otherwise.
15.  Virginia - also still lacking a signature win, but winning games.
16.  Missouri - Lost to Oklahoma, but hung in and played tough.  The Illinois win looks less impressive than it did a few hours ago, and hammered Nebraska a couple weeks ago.  A big time offense and good defense.  Texas Tech looms.
17.  Michigan - yeah, homer pick.  Bite me.
18.  Arizona State - it's still halftime, and they're losing.  Ty Willingham still has plenty of time to gag it.
19.  Auburn - boy, that 9-7 win over Arkansas must have been a real humdinger.  That southern speed, you know.  A loss to South Florida (a loss that looks a lot better than it did at the time) and a close one to much-improved Misssissippi State, or they'd be much more highly regarded.  I wouldn't want them.
20.  Hawaii - I still don't think they're, you know, good.
21.  Cincinnati - a nice defense, an innovative coach, and a mushy Big East - all the ingredients of a superficially impressive record.
22.  Texas Tech - a dynamite offense, as always, but they held a really good Texas A&M offense (that was 24th in the country) to 7 points this week.  I'm willing to see more.
23.  Penn State - one of the worst QBs in the country, but a terrific rush defense.
24.  Alabama - whatever
25.  Michigan State - ditto.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The "All-Michigan-Man" Team.

Since it’s a bye week (ha!), a friend of mine and I decided to name our All-Michigan-Man team, consisting of guys that fit the description of “Michigan Man,” whatever the heck that means.  My first step was to try (and fail) to define what a Michigan Man is.  My list:

  • Since Bo arrived.
  • Guys that maybe weren’t expected to be stars but turned out great – David Harris might be in, Woodson might not.
  • Guys who played stayed for their full eligibility are preferred.  But that’s not a yes / no thing – Woodson left early, but you could hardly blame him.
  • If there’s a picture of the player with a smashed, scratched, gouged helmet, or bloody limbs, that’s a plus.
  • Getting in trouble doesn’t necessarily keep you out, as long as you later distinguish yourself as a good guy (yes, i’m looking at you, Brian Griese)
  • We still want a good team, so we start with the great players and ask if they fit the profile, rather than starting with the premed guys who never saw the field.

Someone like Chuck Winters might actually make it – for as much as I despised him on the field, he was a good guy of some reputation who had come from a truly horrific background and stayed around for four years without getting in trouble.  That’s something to be proud of, I think, whether he COST US THE COLORADO GAME OR NOT! 


Your results may vary.  But without further ado:



A long list of possibilities:

  • Harbaugh is dead to me.  DEAD!
  • Todd Collins was a good player, and carried his teams on some level (the stretch with Jason Carr – yes, that “Carr” - playing for an injured Collins was brutal) but his longterm impact has been minimal.
  • Drew Henson…sigh…what could have been.
  • Tom Brady has had as much impact on the program as anyone simply by being a spectacular pro (nobody every talked about us being a Quarterback U for the NFL until that happened), and seems to always be proud of his pedigree.  But he wasn’t…oh, how should I say this?...he wasn’t all that highly regarded while he was here.  A terrific player, yes, and was clearly the best QB we had while he started, but my memory is that we couldn’t wait to get him out of here and move on to the next guy.
  • Chad Henne could be the guy, too, but he’s yet to truly be “the guy.”  Part of that is who has been around him – Braylon, Mike Hart, even Jason Avant and Stevie Breaston have been the go-to guys.  He just doesn’t have the aura about him.
  • Elvis Grbac.  Nope, even though he WAS the guy for a couple years there.
  • Brian Griese won a national championship and was a standup guy once he got his head screwed on straight.  He learned his lessons and stuck it out, plus he was a walk-on.  That’s gotta count for something, but he’s not quite to the top level.

Which leaves us with…

  • Rick Leach.  Now HERE’S a guy with an aura.  The face of the program while he was here, he’s still talked about with a reverence that few others get.  The game has changed and these days we judge QBs on touchdown passes and yardage, so it’s hard to remember how good he was and how important to the program, but he was the guy.
  • Dennis Franklin.  See Leach, Rick, although he was a notch below him in production and in impact beyond Ann Arbor.  Still, he was “the guy,” as well.

And my total wildcard, Michael Taylor.  Yeah, there’s some “pick an obscure guy” attitude at work here, but…well, he just seems like a good fit to me.  Franklin and Leach probably would have been stars anywhere, but Taylor always seemed to be succeeding on the basis of guts and smarts.  That, to me, is what we’re talking about here.  So he’s my guy.



Mike Hart is clearly in the rotation – a great, great player and a credit to the program.  Small and not a burner, he’s transformed from a jitterbug high school megastar into a tough, get-every-last-inch piledriver who blocks as well as anyone I’ve ever seen, catches passes, leads by example AND by fiery disposition, and demands 110% from every player on the field.  An obvious choice.

And Rob Lytle, if only for this picture:


Also Jamie Morris (see Hart, Mike) and Tshimunga Biakubutuka, for the Ohio State game.  Still get shivers on that one.



Life awaits, more to come.