SEC Football

September 15, 2006

Showdown Saturday

Tomorrow is Showdown Saturday. There are seven games that feature AP Top 25 teams going head-to-head. Teams from seven conferences plus Notre Dame will take part in those games. For some odd reason (or perhaps because it's the best game on ABC tomorrow), ESPN College GameDay is headed to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Nebraska-USC showdown, even though it was voted as the 3rd most popular game this week in an ESPN user poll. I suppose they didn't want to hype a game on CBS (LSU-Auburn) or NBC (Michigan-Notre Dame). It's a shame that they can't go to a better game though. Anyway, here are the games with my score picks (with rankings in parentheses):

(2) Notre Dame 21 - (11) Michigan 20
(3) Auburn 15 - (6) LSU 9
(12) Louisville 27 - (17) Miami 24
(18) Oregon 31 - (15) Oklahoma 17
(20) TCU 38 - (24) Texas Tech 31
(4) USC 42 - (19) Nebraska 21
(7) Florida 20 - (13) Tennessee 14

November 12, 2005

Week 11: GameDay Picks

It's Showdown Saturday in the SEC. Between the hedges tonight, #15 Auburn takes on #9 Georgia for the 109th time in the Deep South's oldest rivalry. But even that's not where the hype is today because earlier in the afternoon #5 LSU comes to Tuscaloosa to face #4 Alabama in a game that may decide control of the SEC West, if not have national championship implications for both teams.

College GameDay is in Tuscaloosa for the big showdown. Following last Saturday's Miami win over VT, the standings through ten weeks are:

Jimbo 6-4
Lee Corso 6-4
Kirk Herbstreit 5-5

Today, Corso picked LSU, while Herbstreit picked home underdog Alabama. I'm with Corso on this one. Alabama has not faced any really tough competition this year, and they've struggled to win some of the games that they have. One offensive touchdown in the last three games is not the confidence you want to have when you go up against #5 LSU if you're a Tide fan. The Tigers will be the only ones rolling today. Their defense shuts out Alabama's meager offense.

Jimbo's Pick: LSU 20 - Alabama 0

October 29, 2005

Week 9: GameDay Picks

Corso, Herbstreit, and I are knotted up at 5-3 after we all correctly picked Texas over Texs Tech last week. This week, I'm looking to take the lead. Corso and Herbstreit both picked underdog Georgia to remain unbeaten when they face Florida later today in Jacksonville. I'm going with the Gators to end the Bulldogs' perfect season. Without DJ Shockley, this is not the same Georgia team.

Jimbo's Pick: Florida 17 - Georgia 13

October 26, 2005

Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville Cries Out Against BCS

While at the Montgomery Touchdown Club earlier this week, Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville spoke out against the BCS system and the national media. He was particularly upset with ESPN for what he claims is predetermining the national championship game as a Texas-USC matchup. He says:

It's done. The national media, led by ESPN, wants to see Vince Young versus Matt Leinart in the championship game. It's going to be those two teams unless Texas or USC get upset. Last year, they wanted to see the two Heisman Trophy quarterbacks, Jason White and Leinart. After six or seven games, we were out of it.

Quite the defeatist attitude! He may have every right to be upset after getting shut out of last year's Orange Bowl, but this is just misdirected anger. Has anyone shown Tuberville this year's BCS formula? News flash: the national media does not get a vote! The Associated Press decided at the end of the 2004 season to not allow its poll to be used in the BCS ranking system.

Therefore, the national media has very little to say in terms of who the top two teams are. Tuberville's counterparts, the coaches, in fact, have more say per capita than any other component that is figured into the standings. Sixty-one coaches compose the USA Today Poll, which bears the same weighting as the 114-member Harris Poll. The third equally-weighted component is the average of a team's best five out of six computer rankings.

So how much influence does ESPN and the rest of the national media really have? I doubt they have any influence over the coaches. They certainly have no influence over six independent and unbiased algorithms that come up with the new computer ratings each week. So what about the Harris Poll? I suppose it could be argued that they have some degree of influence over some of these voters. In fact, 25 of the 114 voters are members of the media. The rest, however, are current college administrators, former players, and former coaches.

In fact, then, direct influence by these 25 members of the media account for less than 8% of the overall BCS standings. This is a big difference over last year, when 65 members of the AP accounted for 1/3 of the overall BCS standings.

Even if ESPN has an influence over many of the Harris Poll voters, how big of an influence is it? And is ESPN really biased toward a Texas-USC showdown on January 4th?

And what's with the hate directed toward Lou Holtz? Tuberville went on to say:

ESPN has gotten so much power lately, it's kinda scary. Most of their analysts are coaches who haven't won any games. Lou Holtz gets on there and talks about what a team has to do to win that game and the guy couldn't beat anybody in our conference.

Criticizing ESPN is one thing. And in my opinion that's misdirected enough. There's no need to take a shot at Holtz. Sure the guy struggled at South Carolina. Who wouldn't have? Even Steve Spurrier is having fits there! Holtz won a national championship with Notre Dame in 1988 and had near-misses in 1989 and 1993. Holtz doesn't deserve that cheap shot and Tuberville weakens his case by being so rash.

The bottom line is the system we have is not perfect. Until we move to a playoff, there will be no perfect way to crown a national champion. But it is what it is. Blame the college chancellors and presidents all you want. But laying all the fault on ESPN and the rest of the national media is nonsense. Tuberville will have his chance within this hour to expand on his argument when he appears as a guest on the Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio.

September 11, 2005

Week 2: Sunday Morning Notes

My notes after a college football Saturday that lived up to all the hype:

It is rare that an excessively hyped up early regular season game can live up to its billing. But Texas - Ohio State certainly was a game for the ages as Texas prevailed 25-22. In the week leading up to the game, Buckeye linebacker Bobby Carpenter gave the Longhorns some high grade bulletin board material: “Our goal is when Vince Young leaves here, he won’t be a candidate for the Heisman,” Carpenter said. Well, Mr. Carpenter, you've managed to put Young front and center in this year's Heisman race. The Longhorn quarterback finished with 346 yards of total offense. And his big plays came through the air; he completed 18 of 29 passes for 270 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. His game-winning 24-yard touchdown pass to Limas Sweed all but sealed the game. "Obviously he's a great runner," Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk said. "Tonight he showed us he's a great passer."

Iowa State blew up Iowa 23-3 yesterday. There goes my national championship pick. And it wasn't even close! The Hawkeyes' furthest offensive penetration was the Cyclones' 26-yard line.

Georgia survived a surprisingly close scare from South Carolina yesterday in Athens. The Gamecocks gave the Bulldogs all they could handle but a missed extra point on South Carolina's first touchdown came back to haunt them.. After all that pregame talk about running up the score on Steve Spurrier, Georgia barely held on for a 17-15 win.

Finally, LSU and Arizona State each needed a fourth and 10 conversion to win the game late in the fourth quarter. The difference was LSU converted theirs, as JaMarcus Russell connected with Early Doucet on a 39-yard strike on fourth and 10 with 1:13 remaining. The Sun Devils were unable to respond and the Tigers won 35-31 in a thriller in Tempe.

September 10, 2005

South Carolina Leads UGA at Halftime

Well, maybe Lou Holtz isn't crazy after all. The ESPN analyst picked the Gamecocks to defeat the Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia and at halftime, South Carolina holds a 9-7 lead.

Holtz Likes South Carolina Over Georgia

Did anyone else notice that ESPN analyst Lou Holtz picked South Carolina on SportsCenter to upset the Georgia Bulldogs? That would be some feat after what occured last weekend: South Carolina struggled late against Central Florida (winless in 2004) and Georgia destroyed Boise State. Well, Holtz recruited a lot of those Gamecock upperclassmen and probably would have had a tough time picking against them on national television. Can't blame him for that. Plus, he'll look like a genius if they actually win!