What the Deuce: September 2006

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Week 4 Top 25

1. Auburn (3-0)
2. Ohio State (3-0)
3. Southern California (3-0)
4. West Virginia (3-0)
5. Florida (3-0)
6. Michigan (3-0)
7. Texas (2-1)
8. Louisiana State (2-1)
9. Notre Dame (2-1)
10. Louisville (3-0)
11. Georgia (3-0)
12. Virginia Tech (3-0)
13. Tennessee (2-1)
14. Oregon (3-0)
15. Iowa (3-0)
16. Florida State (2-1)
17. California (2-1)
18. Oklahoma (2-1)
19. Clemson (2-1)
20. Texas Christian (3-0)
21. Nebraska (2-1)
22. Arizona State (3-0)
23. Penn State (2-1)
24. Rutgers (3-0)
25. Boston College (3-0)

Games Watched: Notre Dame v. Michigan, Louisville v. Miami (20 stats max), Auburn v. LSU (15 snaps max including last 3 plays), Florida v. Tennessee (quarter and half max), TCU v. Texas Tech (quarter max), FSU v. Clemson (quarter max), WVU v. Maryland (on and off while eating dinner), USC v. Nebraska (one half max)

Logic: I like MGoBlog's idea of ranking teams based on who would win on a neutral field. If I understand correctly, this is similar to Bill Simmons' NBA Player Value logic (a team with player X would trade him for any of the players listed higher than player X...for example, a team with the tenth best player would trade him for any of the players ranked 1-9). Here, the number 1 team in the country would beat 2-25 on a neutral field, 2 would beat 3-25, so forth and so on.

Problems: After the top 6, things got difficult for me. I based my rankings using the logic above and for the teams I didn't watch, I looked primarily at 3 factors: opponent, score, and past results (including 1st hand observations if applicable).

At 7-9, I slotted Texas, Notre Dame, and LSU. I moved Texas from 8 to 7 because of it's win, coupled with LSU's loss. Using the neutral field logic, I placed both ahead of Notre Dame.

My other problem spot was the 13-16 block, particularly what to do with Tennessee. The Vols were missing 3 key players and only lost by 1 at home to Florida. I knew Oregon would move up, partly because higher ranked teams losing. Oregon checks in at 14 because I don’t know what to make of Iowa. They barely beat Syracuse without Drew Tate but it appears they are getting better week to week like Iowa teams normally do. Florida State is at 16 because of their defense.

I did my best with the rest. Comments welcome.

Just Like Old Times

I got a call right after Michigan beat CMU. “It’s Notre Dame week.” The words, which would have excited me in the past, did not. What did it matter? The game was in South Bend and Michigan Lloyd Carr was 3-4 against the Irish and 0-2 in the last 2 years. 0-6 in road openers since 1999. 1998 was the last time the Wolverines exited September with a perfect record in tact. My expectations were low and I planned to keep them that way. hadn’t won there since 1994.

I’d keep them low by avoiding reading the newspapers and watching college football news on ESPN. But I couldn’t. See, my head told me that Michigan could win this game. Notre Dame hadn’t looked deserving of their number 2 ranking in the first two weeks. But what about the Leprechauns? They always seem to come out against Michigan. A tipped pass here, a missed call there. Hadn’t it been the story every time Michigan went to South Bend?

Then I made a mistake. I read MGoBlog. I wasn’t the only one who thought Brady Quinn didn’t look like a Heisman winner. I wasn’t the only one who thought Notre Dame’s run defense was average, at best. By Friday I was confident Michigan could win. Nonetheless, I tried to keep my expectations low.

As I left for my friends’ house, I felt calm. I felt like this year was going to be different. Michigan was due. They had new coordinators. The defense was quick and aggressive like it used to be. The waggle was back. The zone blocking was opening up holes for Mike Hart to exploit. Even though Michigan And if Jamar Adams wasn’t afraid of ghosts, I wasn’t going to be either. hadn’t thrown vertically in the first two games, I wanted to believe it was because they were holding back for the Irish.

And then Michigan took care of business. It started with a Prescott Burgess interception return for a TD. It ended with a LaMarr Woodley running back a fumble for a TD. In between it was a mix of Mike Hart running, Mario Manningham catching Chad Henne thrown bombs, the defense bottling up Darius Walker and popping Brady Quinn in the mouth.

What does this mean for the future? I don't know. I don't know if Michigan is back or if they will beat Ohio State. I do know that yesterday reminded me of Michigan football as I had known it. And Michigan football as I had known it was pretty damn good.