Monday, August 28, 2006

Top Ten Football

I have been thinking about my top ten, but I have to make a move since the Deaf Jedi released his list. There are so many questions. I have to agree that Texas is still No. 1 since they earned it. That's my operating policy. You da' champ, until you prove otherwise.

I think Ohio State will eventually emerge as No. 1. Their defense was quite impressive in the bowl game and I don't see them losing that edge. After that, all bets are off. With Notre Dame being Notre Dame, its hard to tell whether they are worth a hill of beans or not. They have a singular gift for hype.

Florida State (or more precisely media darling Bobby Bowden) always get overhyped. They seem to be in or near everyone's top ten, and I have no idea why. On paper they don't look that impressive. USC is in the perfect position to self destruct. West Virginia is always overrated except in the party school rankings, but they have a pitiful schedule other than Louisville.

Auburn looks pretty good, but they have some holes that need to be proven. They have Georgia and 'Bama back to back at the end of the season which could prove challenging. LSU looks pretty strong, but they have Tennessee and Alabama back to back late in the season. Georgia and Florida had great recruiting years, but I am still unconvinced that Florida's new, spread option is going to cut it in the SEC.

I think this is put up or shut up year for Lloyd Carr at Michigan. I don't think anyone is realistically expecting national championship, but if they have another disappointing year given the talent level and Ohio State success, Carr may get the ax by season's end.

And then there's Tennessee. Being a native Knoxvillian, I would be remiss if I did not comment on the home team. Last year was an unmitigated disaster, starting in the top ten and falling to 5-6 and missing a bowl. I drove down from Seabury to see the Vandy loss at the end of the season. I was completely disgusted at an offense that was in complete disarray. The usual way to tell if an offense is in disarray is to watch the sidelines. Usually there are student "gopher" coachs relaying in competing signals and plays at the same time. Only one of them is the actual play, but the players know whom to look at. All the student gophers were relaying the same play, and they were still confused. Luckily, the offensive coordinator quit, and David Cutcliffe, former Offensive line coach during the national championship year is back in action. He was a bit conservative on play calling, but his offenses were always well disciplined. Granted, having talent like Heath Schuler and Peyton Manning make you look good, but I think Tennessee should at least expect and 8+ win season with losses to LSU, Georgia or Florida, and Alabama or South Carolina.

The Vols schedule is hit or miss: California (No. 9), Georgia (No. 15), Florida (No. 7), and LSU (No. 8) and ever-rival Alabama. The key to the season is the first game. The Vols open with No. 9 California. Cal is notoriously flaky, and couldn't tackle a 4 year old with a beach ball. I think if the Vols come and play their A game, they can beat Cal or at least play them close. If Cal wins in a run-away, it could be a long season. LSU will be out for blood this year, since their only early regular season loss last year was to Tennessee after being up by a hefty margin, only to lose control and lose in overtime. What is even more amazing about that win was the fact that Tennessee self-destructed the rest of the season. If not for that loss, LSU would have been in National title contention last year.

I will also have to ponder whether I am going to attempt a weekly top ten list. Since I will be in England except for Bowl Season, I am not going to get to watch any games and will have to rely on other peoples game commentary. I really don't like doing that. I may do a preseason poll and a end-of-regular season pre-bowl poll. We shall see.

1 comment:

Beth said...

I say you do a top ten list every week anyway - just put Ohio State at no. 1 each week and do what you want with the rest of the teams. :)