What the Deuce: November 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Top 25 (Week of November 5, 2006)

1. Ohio State (10-0)
2. Michigan (10-0)
3. Louisville (8-0)
4. Texas (9-1)
5. Louisiana State (7-2)
6. Florida (9-1)
7. Auburn (9-1)
8. California (8-1)
9. Southern California (7-1)
10. West Virginia (7-1)
11. Wisconsin (9-1)
12. Tennessee (7-2)
13. Notre Dame (8-1)
14. Rutgers (7-0)
15. Georgia Tech (7-2)
16. Arkansas (8-1)
17. Boise State (9-0)
18. Oklahoma (7-2)
19. Wake Forest (8-1)
20. Oregon (7-2)
21. Boston College (7-2)
22. Virginia Tech (7-2)
23. Maryland (7-2)
24. Texas A&M (7-2)
Nebraska (7-3)

Games Watched: West Virginia v. Louisville, Virginia Tech v. Miami

Observations: Due to programming decisions and recovering from the MPRE, I didn't watch much football this weekend. But from what I did see, I now know why Ohio State and Michigan are well ahead of everyone else in the BCS rankings. Louisville's win isn't as impressive as the media is making it out to be - the Cards' defense gave up 34 points and essentially won because of 2 critical turnovers. Also, let's not forget that Mountaineer defense was terrible. If anything this game showed how one dimensional West Virginia is. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Rutgers shut down the Cards on Thursday night. Don't really have any thoughts from the Miami game except that I enjoy watching them lose.

Top 25 Comments: I'm lost with 5-6-7. I keep going back and forth with Florida, Auburn, and LSU. I'm putting LSU 5 because it seems the most complete team of the three. I put Florida 6 because its offense is better than Auburn's. Personally, I think 3 is too high for Louisville, but I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt - we'll learn more about them this Thursday.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Let the Trash Talk Begin

I've been home since about 2; I didn't go to class because I think I'm coming down with something. I did some work, got some sleep, but now I'm antsy. And since I don't feel like studying for the MPRE or working on my term paper, I'm writing here. Hey, I was supposed to be writing and this makes me feel less guilty than just sitting on my ass.

Herbstreit Blasts Michigan and Steve Breaston: Read his comments, transcribed from an interview with a Columbus radio station, here. I'm going to start by saying that I generally regard Herbstreit one of the better analysts in college football - he's informed, funny, and very likable. Most importantly, in an era where sports personalities are paid to make ridiculous arguments in order to be provocative, Herbstreit seems to refrain from doing so...at least until this past Monday. Predictably, the majority of Michigan backers are brand
ing Herbstreit a Buckeye home and are questioning his journalistic integrity.

Herbstreit's comments were a bit offensive. I was most offended about how he spoke about Breaston. While I agree that Michigan doesn't know how to use Breaston, I don't find him "worthless."
Nevermind that there's plenty of evidence to counter this assertion (see v. PSU '05 and v. Texas in the Rose Bowl), making such a statement is unprofessional for someone in Herbstreit's position. I agree with MGoBlog that unless Breaston improves his hands, he's not going to be anything more than a slot receiver and this makes me wonder why there's such an effort to get him the ball. Yes, there is potential for a big play, but he hasn't proved he's a reliable receiver. I assume Herbstreit feels the same way, and he's entitled to say so, but he could have been more graceful in advancing his argument. Other than that, I'm mainly intrigued by his comments.

I don't think OSU will dominate this game and Herbstreit isn't giving Michigan's defense enough credit. Granted OSU's offensive line is better than any the Wolverines have faced, he cannot deny that Michigan's defense has been dominant this season. I do think that OSU will try and spread Michigan out, but I don't really worry about stopping Antonio Pittman. They played 2 teams that are known for the run and were successful against both.
I do worry about them stopping a scrambling Troy Smith. The key on defense is going to be forcing Smith to Troy and, in the case he scrambles, the secondary being able to hold coverage. The line has been able to get to opposing quarterbacks and even knock them out of games, so that's a positive. For the most part, the corners have done a good job. And let's not forget that players that have played against both teams think that Michigan has the better defense.

On offense, I do agree that if Michigan plays as it has in the past two weeks, it won't win. But the lack of offense is a combination of a missing MM and inimaginative playcalling. I'm confident Mike DeBord will have a more diverse gameplan than he displayed against Iowa, NW, and presumably Ball State. What worries me, as I've mentioned before, is if the offensive will be in synch. Based on what I've seen in the last few weeks, the offense is going to need big plays because its not going to be able to consistenly drive down the field against the OSU defense. This is the main reason I wish DeBord would do more than run against inferior teams - so that the offense would be in synch and have the confidence that it can put together long drives. But as of right now, Herbstreit is right - if the offense can't get going, it won't matter on Novermber 18th.

Finally, I'm not surprised Herbstreit made those comments. I'm pretty sure they were brought on because he was talking with a Columbus radio station. And he is an OSU grad. It was probably a case of hyperbole which was brought on by a his loyalties to the Bucks. Is this right? I don't know; I really don't. Unless there is something that he said that is violation of his contract with ESPN, I don't see it being punishable or even "wrong." Although, if his comments were exaggerated for the sake of the listening audience and Herbstreit refuses to reiterate those thoughts on Game Day, I would seriously question his journalistic credibility.

Update: Herbstreit's comments when asked about them during and ESPN chat. I don't have the link to the chat, but here are the relevant exerpts courtesy MGoBlog. I read Herbstreit's explanation a couple of times and I do believe him. Take it for its worth and let's move on.