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Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21


A solemn remembrance of the coaches that are no longer with us after the 2009 football season from the inimitable LSUFreek Colchicine For Sale, .



Video: CFB Coaches 2009-10: In Memoriam


Ashes to ashes...


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Here's my ballot for this week's CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 hosted by -- as you might imagine -- CBS Sports.

Week 9


Through 25 October 2009


Buy Synthroid Without Prescription, Things stabilized a bit this week in the world of college football, but there was still a little shuffling as a few teams took it in the teeth and others managed to hang on when it looked like all was lost.   Thus, below are the changes to my BlogPoll Top 25 ballot for Week 9.  Most of these should be fairly obvious.  Either way, here it is:

My Ballot for the Week











































































































































Rank Team Delta
1 Alabama --
2 Texas --
3 Florida --
4 Southern Cal --
5 TCU --
6 Iowa 2
7 Penn State 1
8 LSU 1
9 Cincinnati --
10 Boise State --
11 Oklahoma State 1
12 Mississippi 1
13 Georgia Tech 1
14 Oregon 1
15 Pittsburgh 1
16 Ohio State 2
17 Virginia Tech --
18 Houston 2
19 Miami (Florida) 8
20 Oklahoma 1
21 Utah 1
22 South Carolina 3
23 Notre Dame --
24 Arizona NR
25 West Virginia NR
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Texas Tech (#19), Kansas (#24).

Explanations after the jump...


Comments, Explanations, and Excuses


Here are the high-points of the week's changes:

bullet Minimal Changes near the top:

Despite nearly getting beat by my Tennessee Volunteers (NR), the Alabama Crimson Tide (1) remains atop my ballot.  The same is true for the Florida Gators (3) who were seriously tested by the Mississippi State Bulldogs (NR).  The only changes near the top of my poll come in the form of the Iowa Hawkeyes (6) jumping both the Penn State Nittany Lions (7) and the LSU Tigers (8).  This is not due to the fact that I think that Penn State or LSU were disappointing this weekend, but rather represents a tip of the hat to the Hawkeyes who are now 8-0 for the first time in school history.  Making it to 8-0 has to count for something (even if it has been ugly).

bullet The Slide and Shuffle:

The only other real changes this week occur as the result of the Miami Hurricanes (19) upset lost to the Clemson Tigers (NR) which never should have happened, and the losses of both the Kansas Jayhawks (NR) and the Texas Tech Red Raiders (NR) to the Oklahoma Sooners (20) and the Texas A&M Aggies (NR) respectively.  And Texas Tech should be ashamed of themselves…

bullet Returners & First Timers:

The new faces this week include the return of the West Virginia Mountaineers (25) and the debut of the Arizona Wildcats (24) for the first time this season.  Why are they the new faces this week?  Well, they, … uhhh … won some games and stuff.  I’m sure you’d be amazed by it, if you knew what it was.  Suffice it to say that I was.

Parting Thoughts

Having taken the time to consider my feeble attempt at ranking the powers in college football, feel free to try and convince me that I am wrong -- which is part of the way the BlogPoll is supposed to work.  I promise that I will consider all insults comments.


You can view the final results of this week's poll over at CBS Sports later this week and check out an analysis of how the collective blogging brain-trust arrived at this week's result. If you're craving even more BlogPoll goodness, japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, Is Synthroid addictive, you can also check out how other bloggers voted and see how your team fared across the Blogosphere.

-- So it goes…About Lawvol


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This Week's Roundtable is hosted by:


Vol Junkies



This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by Vol Junkies Buy Macrobid Without Prescription, , who has served up another installment of questions burning in the minds of the citizens of Orange Nation.


Thus, here are our thoughts for the week:

Week 4


1) What is your thought on Eric Berry’s Heisman chances?  Should he play on offense in-order to increase his chances?  Is Kiffin being to selfish saying Berry will not practice offense?


bullet HSH: I'm not exactly how real Berry's chances of actually winning the Trophy—which I deemed meaningless after the Manning debacle.  Not only does he have the obstacle of being a defensive player, he has to basically beat Colt McCoy from Texas, Sam Bradford from Oklahoma and some guy named Tebow.  I don't think Lane Kiffin should play Berry on offense just to help his Heisman chances.  If our offense is seriously sucking, then sure, desperate times call for desperate measures.


That said, I have absolutely no problem with the University doing the whole campaign thing.  Berry is obviously a special, once-in-a-while player with a great attitude.  Seeing him in person on and off the field the past two years has been something I'm glad to have been a part of—now if only he might consider staying for his senior year...



bullet Lawvol: I have very mixed (albeit not necessarily negative) feelings on this.


First of all, I personally believe that Eric Berry is more than deserving of a shot at the Heisman Trophy.  In two short years he has pretty much become the man-beast of SEC defenses and is, hands down, the best defensive player in the toughest conference in the country.  I personally believe that he is the best defensive player in any conference, anywhere.  That, however, is just my opinion and I will be the first to admit that I am biased.  Still, there is no arguing with the fact that Eric Berry has earned the right to be considered among the top players in the country this season and to be considered for the Heisman.  I am unequivocally behind the Tennessee’s campaign to promote Berry’s Heisman candidacy.


That said, I am less that optimistic about his chances…


I say that because, since only one truly defensive player has previously won the Heisman—which I am sure every Tennessee fan remembers all too well—the precedent is somewhat weak.  Furthermore, given the national media’s love affair with Tim Tebow, I expect that every possible machination that can occur to ensure Tebow winning the trophy for the second time will be brought to bear, if at all possible.


There is also the fact that exaggerated hype often leads to less-than-stellar performances since, with everyone talking about how great a particular player is, the target on their back gets even bigger when facing opponents.  That is not to say that I doubt Berry’s ability to produce in the same way he has in the past, but recognizes that opposing teams will be gunning for him … and staying away from him.



As for whether I think it is selfish for Lane Kiffin to keep Berry from playing on offense, that one is easy to answer.  No, not one bit.  In fact, I feel the opposite.  To me, changing the way you field a player for the sole purpose of advancing that player’s interests is selfish—even if it adds prominence to the team or the program as a whole.  As the old saying goes, “there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’.”  In my opinion, any coach with a Heisman hopeful should treat that player in exactly the same way he would any other player.  To do anything else not only flies in the face of the team concept, but can be woefully dangerous in terms of its effect on team morale—just ask Heath Shuler and the Tennessee offensive line that played in the 1993-94 Citrus Bowl.


Were Kiffin to decide independent of the Heisman race that Berry needed to play on offense, I would have no problem with it, in fact it might be extremely exciting.  To do so just for the sake of Heisman balloting, however, is simply not something I think is acceptable.


Furthermore, I question whether suddenly playing a player in a new position would actually help or hinder the chances of winning voters’ eyes.  This season is filled with change already—from top to bottom.  Berry, just like everyone else on the Vols’ squad, is busy learning new schemes and concepts from the new coaching staff.  Furthermore, the sheer size and scope of the playbooks for Tennessee is really quite staggering.  I have heard from a reliable source that, up until 1997, no offensive player in the modern era had ever learned the entire offensive playbook until Peyton Manning, and he only accomplished that feat as a senior.


To me, adding a whole new facet—offense—to the game for Berry would likely result in a fall-off in his performance on defense.  It adds one more thing that he has to keep track of in his head and doubles the already considerable pressure that being pumped as a superstar brings with it.  In then end, I think there is probably more to lose than there is to gain.

2) Do you think Kiffin secretly wishes he would have held onto Taj Boyd?


bullet HSH: Nope, not all, for two reasons.  First, as we all know, Kiffin's a confident fellow.  He has his plan, he knows what he wants and how he wants to go about it.  And he believes in what he's doing.


He evaluated Boyd, saw that he might have lacked pure arm strength and that he made have had some issues coming off knee issues.  So he told Boyd what he told him.  I think Tennessee's in good shape with Tyler Bray and they might get Memphis' Barry Brunetti to switch his commitment to West Virginia, and the recent run on WR recruiting, what QB wouldn't want to come to Tennessee and throw to those guys?



bullet Lawvol: Well, whether he does or doesn’t, is really irrelevant now.  What is, is.


That said, I doubt that the Blackjack General, has given more than a few seconds thought to the matter considering his staff and this no-holds-barred approach to recruiting.  I am sure that Boyd probably appreciated the honesty from Kiffin in telling him that he simply didn’t feel that Boyd would fit in the Vols’ system.  I know I find it refreshing.  Either way, like HSH, I feel certain that Kiffin will find the right person and it’s not like the Vols haven’t started to get looks from some good players.  After all, though we do not yet know how a Lane Kiffin-coached team will perform on the field, he has made it clear he knows how to recruit.  Furthermore, trying to make a player work when they really are not suited to your system just leads to disappointment for everyone involved.


I say get the right player for Tennessee, even if that means waiting a bit.  I for one am glad to see that Kiffin is willing to do just that.

3) Is this the most excited you have been for a football season to start EVER?


bullet HSH: In recent memory, yes. Maybe 2006, Macrobid over the counter, Purchase Macrobid online, because I had just started school up here in Knoxville and the big opener with Cal and Florida coming in two weeks following that. Perhaps 2005, Macrobid blogs, Macrobid cost, because of all the hype and that defense and the "momentum" from the previous season.


But this is different.  It seems like it's been a year since Kiffin was hired and we went through the staff hiring and the coups on National Signing Day, the verbal slap of Urban Meyer and the secondaries.


Now it's go-time.  Everything's going to be new, fast shipping Macrobid, Macrobid long term, so that adds a bit of intrigue to the whole thing, but the energy Lane, purchase Macrobid for sale, Buy Macrobid online cod, Monte and Coach O have brought certainly have had their effects on the players and us as fans.  Amidst all the energy though, we have to remember that Tennessee's not going to win the SEC this year.  This isn't going to be a one-year turnaround and we have to be a little patient, Macrobid gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release, Macrobid schedule, prepare for some of the usual pains and just enjoy the climb.  The Vols have 8 home games this year, so hopefully the fans are ready to do their part in helping the team.



bullet Lawvol: That’s a tough question to answer.  For me, discount Macrobid, Buy Macrobid without a prescription, the most exciting pre-season run-up to kickoff in my lifetime was getting ready for Peyton Manning’s senior year in 1997.  The Vols were picked to be stellar and were ranked in the pre-season top-3 in all the polls.  It also happened to be my senior year in Knoxville.  I suppose I would still say that there was more “excitement”—in the sense of there being a real belief on the part of everyone that the Vols might win the whole thing—in 1997.  If we are talking about just sheer anticipation because you simply have no idea what to expect, then I would have to say that this year is on top.


Of course, ordering Macrobid online, Macrobid maximum dosage, it is worth noting that in 1998 I had very low expectations of what Tennessee would do prior to the season getting under way.  What with Manning graduating and a virtual unknown named Tee Martin starting his first game at quarterback, I figured that the Vols would probably find rough going for at least the first few games of the season.  That season, get Macrobid, Macrobid use, however, turned out pretty well for the Vols.


Either way, buy cheap Macrobid, Cheap Macrobid no rx, I am always stoked before the first kickoff and it seems to increase exponentially as the first game approaches.  There is so much to be excited about this year and—no matter what happens—I feel like this will be a good year for the Vols as they progress toward the future.


After all, a lousy football season is better than no football season at all…

4) A quick diversion from football and onto Basketball, Macrobid mg. Buy Macrobid from mexico, Do you think that Bruce’s style of basketball is a deterrent to the one and done type players, due to the fact one and done-rs and top recruits are looking for more minutes and to be  the center of attention?


bullet HSH: I don't think it's Bruce Pearl's style as much as it the fact that we're Tennessee.  Just to be brutally honest, taking Macrobid, Where can i cheapest Macrobid online, if you're a a high school kid who has obvious NBA talent, wouldn't you want to showcase that on the biggest stage possible?


I know Bruce has taken our program to heights it's never been before and I hope he never leaves Knoxville.  But we're still Tennessee.  I know Michael Beasley went to play in relative obscurity at Kansas State and still managed to be the second pick in the draft, rx free Macrobid, Macrobid trusted pharmacy reviews, but the point still remains, at least in my mind.


We're not near the top of the list of schools a future NBA star and one-year college player is going to go to increase his stock.  On top of that, Macrobid from canadian pharmacy, Macrobid reviews, there are all of two ex-Vols in the Association right now—C.J. Watson now in Orlando and Marcus Haislip just signed by the Spurs.  Watson wasn't drafted and Haislip has spent the last few years in Europe after being a bust of a lottery pick.


The bottom line to me is this: our prestige has gone up exponentially the last four years under Pearl, Macrobid pharmacy, Macrobid dosage, but we're still Tennessee, and we still aren't exactly pumping out NBA players a la places like Carolina, order Macrobid online overnight delivery no prescription, Buy Macrobid online no prescription, Texas, UCLA, effects of Macrobid, Buy generic Macrobid, Kansas, UConn, Macrobid no rx, Macrobid no prescription, Memphis State and so on.



bullet Lawvol: Frankly, I hope it is because I have little tolerance for the one-and-done mentality.


Most of the “in-and-out, australia, uk, us, usa, Where to buy Macrobid, thanks-for-the-cred, see ya!” type of players are not the sort that I want to see Tennessee recruiting.  The whole “student athlete” thing should still mean something.  I am dedicated to Tennessee and have been since the day I decided that I would attend college there.  I expect the players we put on the floor to be not only be great athletes, is Macrobid safe, After Macrobid, but also good representatives for the university, and good people.  I am not naive enough to believe that all the players we recruit are completely free of the ulterior motive of wanting to play professionally and perhaps using the Big Orange as the springboard to making that a reality.  I also will freely acknowledge that I can hardly blame a player for leaving early when they are all but guaranteed to instantly become wealthy.


All I ask is that the players wearing the orange be committed to Tennessee while they are here, online buy Macrobid without a prescription. Order Macrobid from United States pharmacy,   I have no problem with them dreaming of the future or making decisions based upon that future.  What I do have a problem with is when players simply see Tennessee (or any other school for that matter) as little more than a way to get their ticket punched as quickly as possible.


But then again, I am a lawyer and am generally a disagreeable sort…



The Rest of the Roundtable:


Having wasted your time on our largely meaningless and insignificant thoughts for this week, go check out what the other roundtablers (who actually know what they are talking about) have to say (in no particular order):


-- So it goes …Email lawvol No McAlisters and About Home Sweet Home... … to me.

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Should Auld “Lawvol” be Forgot…

Well, Home Sweet Home did such a good job getting all of us into the “New Year” frame of mind, that—as you can see above—Gus went ahead and brought out the Champagne early (may have to hit refresh for header to update).  Given the fact that I have been so lazy this last week, it is probably high time for me to get back up and running here at the Gate.  Once we ring in 2009, I will be back in full swing.

In the meantime, I offer up a few announcements, observations, and rude remarks to close out 2008.

  • First, in case you haven’t noticed, I added a page about our “Ushers” (calling me a writer is simply going a bit too far) which finally recognizes and gives HSH his due as a major contributor here at the Gate.  Along with that came his new badges, signatures, and other goodies which will hopefully make it more obvious (as if the quality of his writing wasn’t enough to make it clear that it wasn’t yours truly) who is saying what around this joint.
  • Second, it is nice to hear that Wayne Chism has survived his battle with the Rajin’ Cajuns.  The last thing the BasketVols need is the loss of one the most productive players on the squad before facing Kansas.  Let’s not do that again…
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="320" caption="Ouch!  "]Wayne Chism on the Floor[/caption]

Oh my!  Things is a gettin’ excitin’!

With all of this going on, it looks like 2009 could really be something special.  So everyone have a Happy New Year, and be safe.

See you in 2009!

-- Go Figure …About Lawvol


Images Courtesy of: Knoxville Radio History

2008 CBS Sports BlogPoll Ballot: Week 10

Here's my ballot for this week's CBS Sports College Football BlogPoll hosted by—as you might imagine—CBS Sports.

Week 10

Through 01 November 2008

With the “power” teams making their claims with increasing volume, the BCS committee is already exploring the option of entering the witness protection program.  It’s looking like 2007 all over again.  Nonetheless, here is my preliminary BlogPoll Top 25 for this week.  Most of these should be fairly obvious.  Either way, here’s my ballot:

My Ballot for the Week

Rank
Team Delta
1 Alabama 1
2 Texas Tech 4
3 Penn State --
4 Oklahoma --
5 Florida 3
6 Southern Cal 1
7 Texas 6
8 Missouri 2
9 Utah --
10 Oklahoma State 3
11 TCU 1
12 Boise State 1
13 Ohio State 1
14 LSU 1
15 Ball State 1
16 Brigham Young 3
17 North Carolina 3
18 Georgia 11
19 Pittsburgh 5
20 California 6
21 Georgia Tech 5
22 Michigan State 4
23 Northwestern 3
24 Minnesota 7
25 Maryland --

Dropped Out: Oregon (#18), Florida State (#21), Tulsa (#22), South Florida (#23).

Explanations after the jump…

Comments, Explanations, and Excuses

Here are the high-points of the week's changes:

Texas Tech (2) & Southern Cal (6):

I bumped the Texas Tech Red Raiders four spots, past the idle Penn State Nittany Lions (3) and the Oklahoma Sooners (4) who hammered the Nebraska Cornhuskers (NR), into the No. 2 spot for one simple reason—they earned it and impressed the hell out of me in their victory over the Texas Longhorns (7).  In fact, I almost moved the Red Raiders into first place above the Alabama Crimson Tide (1).  Texas Tech is for real, is aggressive, and solid across the board.

I know, however, that some folks from the left coast will be upset that I dropped the Southern Cal Trojans one spot—elevating the Florida Gators (5) right past them—despite the Trojans decimating the Washington Huskies (NR).  The reason for this is two fold:

  1. First, the Gators—admittedly to my dismay—completely manhandled the Georgia Bulldogs (18), beating them at every position and setting the stage fro a showdown against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.  Florida may well be the best team in the SEC at present.
  2. Second, it has become abundantly clear to me that the Pac-10 is anything but strong as a conference this year.  In reality, there is on very good team (Southern Cal) and two above average teams—the California Golden Bears (20) and Arizona Wildcats (NR); the rest are bad to awful.  Thus—in my humble opinion—beating a hapless Washington Huskies (NR) team which is both winless and coachless by 1,000 points simply isn’t as deserving of accolades as downing the Dawgs 49-10.

Utah (9) & Boise State (12):

Both of these teams played schools from New Mexico.  There is a reason few people fear playing schools from the “Land of Enchantment”—it’s because they are not very good.  It’s a big deal to me—you play nobody, you go nowhere.

I personally think both of these teams are highly overrated due to their weak schedules, but am trying not to be such a haughty and arrogant “Ess-Eee-See!!” fan. Thus, I am giving them the benefit of the doubt at present, but that only goes so far.

Sorry…

Returners & First Timers:

This week sees the return of four previously ranked schools to my ballot: the Cal Golden Bears (20), the Michigan State Spartans (22), the Northwestern Wildcats (23) and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (21) who returns on the heels of its 31-28 besting of Florida State (NR) who was No. 21 in my ballot last week.

"Now Departing at Gate 21...":

There was a four-team exodus from my ballot this week as the Oregon Ducks, Florida State Seminoles, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, and South Florida Bulls all cleared out of town and headed for the hills—this is the third departure for Oregon this year.

On the Bubble for Next Week:

Looking ahead to next week, if they keep up their winning ways the South Carolina Gamecocks (NR), Air Force Falcons (NR), Kansas Jayhawks (NR), West Virginia Mountaineers (NR), and Kentucky Wildcats (NR) all look set to jump into my Top 25 at any time.

The Rest of the BlogPoll

Having taken the time to consider my feeble attempt at ranking the powers in college football, feel free to try and convince me that I am wrong -- which is part of the way the BlogPoll is supposed to work.  I promise that I will consider all comments.

As for the rest of the BlogPoll, well, you can check out how other bloggers voted and how your team fared across the blogosphere over at MGOBlog, and view the BlogPoll Top 25 results each week over at CBS Sports.

-- Go Figure …Email lawvol


On Remote: Just Past Halfway…

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

Last week offered some great in-conference matchups and a couple turned out to be more lopsided than many thought. The great conference games continue this week, as the races begin to take shape.

Indeed, the conference races will continue to take shape as the temperatures drop around the country (it was 86 in Knoxville yesterday) and leaves start falling everywhere. Yes, I'm avoiding mentioning Tennessee's now meaningless season by discussing the weather...

Another larger storyline that's been discussed already this week is the Big 12's apparent attempt to claim itself as the best conference. While the league is pretty good at the top, I still think the SEC has better depth, even with the struggles of Tennessee and Auburn.

Anyways, here's the games to watch, and hopefully this time I'll do a better job picking them - I picked LSU, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and they all lost...


SEC Football | Gate 21 SEC Games

Vanderbilt at Georgia (12:00, RayCom): So much for that little run. Vandy just missed out on a huge opportunity to get to 6 or more wins. There's still chances with games against Kentucky, Tennessee and Duke, but beating Florida, Georgia and Wake Forest may be a tough order. Vandy's offensive struggles were exposed last week against Mississippi State, and Georgia's not the best team to face with an iffy offense...

The questions with Georgia: they left plenty of points to be gotten last week against the Vols, with two picks and kicking four field goals. They better not overlook Vandy, as trips to LSU and the showdown with Jacksonville come in the next two weeks.

Ole Miss at Alabama (3:30, CBS): Alabama comes off the bye looking to continue the momentum from hammering Georgia and edging Kentucky two weeks ago. Ole Miss has been better, yet horribly inconsistent, beating Florida on the road but falling to Vandy and South Carolina at home.

I don't expect Ole Miss to win, but they should keep it close. I'm still expecting Alabama to lose a game, but it won't be Saturday. The matchup to watch is the Tide's offensive line against the Rebels' defensive front. The only way Ole Miss can win is limiting the turnovers that hurt them in their two home SEC losses.

Arkansas at Kentucky (7:00, ESPNU): Give me some credit, last week I didn't explicitly pick Arkansas to upset Auburn, but I did say the Hogs were gonna get somebody at some point this year and they did. Can they follow it up? Kentucky's offense is still struggling, so Arkansas can certainly keep it close. This is a big game for UK's bowl hopes, as they sit at four wins on the year.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="222" caption="This 63-yard TD run by Michael Smith led Arkansas to the upset over Auburn. Can they Hogs get UK this week?"][/caption]

Mississippi State at Tennessee (7:00, PPV): Ugh. Good thing this game is on pay-per-view...who wants to watch these offenses?

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Uh oh...Mississippi State held Vanderbilt to 107 yards of total offense..."][/caption]

Obviously I do, because I'll be there in the fourth row. I'm expecting an ugly game with points few and far between. Tennessee can't really lose at home to Mississippi State, can they? State has played decently the past two games, and no doubt have some momentum coming into Knoxville. How does Tennessee show up with nothing but pride to play for? Is Phil Fulmer the next coach to be Croomed like Ron Zook and Mike Shula?

LSU at South Carolina (8:00, ESPN): Ouch. Didn't see that coming. LSU got crushed by Florida, and now they travel over to Columbia to a Carolina offense that's gained some confidence with SEC road wins in Oxford and Lexington. Whoever's been playing QB for the Gamecocks - Chris Smelley and/or Stephen Garcia - have actually done pretty well.

LSU's defense isn't what it was last year - they're 9th in the league in total defense. Carolina's defense is going up against an inexperienced QB and an offense that got beat physically by Florida last week. How do they respond?

Honestly, I want to say Carolina will win. But this is historically one of those "almost" wins for the South Carolina program. "Almost" as in they "almost" win a huge home game over a better opponent. That said, I think LSU bounces back, setting up that showdown with Georgia next weekend.

Florida is off this week, but I want to give a little shout-out to Brandon Spikes. Now I hate the Gators and hope they fail at everything, but when something's funny, it's funny. Here's Brandon Spikes' attempt at a punt into the stands after a pick-six...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeib4I8hlO4[/youtube]


OTHER CONFERENCES

Some Mountain West love: big game tonight for unbeaten BYU, as they travel to TCU tonight. The unbeaten Cougars essentially have two tests between them and a BCS Bowl: tonight and the season finale at fellow unbeaten Utah. Keep an eye on this game...

The Weekly Duke Update:After a bye week, the 3-2 Blue Devils are back in action with a big game, at home against young Miami. Just 4.5-point dogs, Duke looks for the upset. This game is on ESPNU at 3:30, so if Alabama starts killing Ole Miss (and you actually have ESPNU), switch on over and see if the missed Coach Cut can lead Duke to the upset. The emptiness of Duke's stadium won't have any adverse effects on the Canes - they're used to it...

Big XII

Kansas at Oklahoma (3:30, ABC): Oklahoma and Bob Stoops is going to be pissed off. Poor, poor Kansas. They avoided OU and Texas last year. Er, not this year. How Kansas stops OU I have no clue. Then again, the Sooner defense got worn down watching Texas go up-and-down the field on them in Dallas. Kansas keeps it close - for a half.

Missouri at Texas (8:00, ABC): So much for Missouri beating Oklahoma State by three TDs. The Tigers essentially gave the game away, and now face a make-or-break game at #1 Texas. I say make-or-break because Missouri's schedule is pretty clear sailing after this game, and they obviously have to win to stay relevant in the title race.

Can Texas return to earth after beating their hated rival last week? This should be a pretty high-scoring game (duh, it's the Big XII new Pac 10...), and entertaining. I think Texas wins the game in the fourth quarter.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="279" caption="Javon Ringer faces a tough Ohio State defense Saturday afternoon"][/caption]

Big Ten

Ohio State at Michigan State (3:30, ABC): Yes, people, Michigan State is very much in the Big Ten race. Of course they have to beat Ohio State to stay there. The Spartans are led by HB Javon Ringer, but the Ohio State defense is tough up front.

Ohio State has been overly impressive on offense. They have actually been kinda bad. If Michigan State doesn't give up a special teams or defensive TD to the Buckeyes, I like their chances to keep Ohio State's offense in check. The winner would become the biggest challenger to the dominance Penn State has shown this year.

Michigan at Penn State (4:30, ESPN): I know, I know, Michigan sucks and Penn State is really good. Thought losing to Toledo is bad? The Wolverines better be ready to get blasted Saturday. Penn State is a legit team. Keep in mind two things: (1) Penn State hasn't beaten Michigan since 1996 and (2) they are at Ohio State next weekend.

Outside of these games, there isn't much else. We all know USC will win the Pac 10 and whoever wins the Big East doesn't matter. As it is, enjoy this weekend...


Images Courtesy of: Dave Martin / AP (Daylife)Rogelio V. Solis / AP (Daylife)Nam Y. Huh / AP (Daylife)

2008 CBS Sports BlogPoll Ballot: Week 7

Here's my ballot for this week's CBS Sports College Football BlogPoll which is now—surprise, surprise—hosted by CBS Sports.

Week 7

Through 12 October 2008

Man, oh man, what a weekend of craziness this was!  After all the shake-ups this weekend in the world of college football, there are major changes at the top in my BlogPoll ballot for this week.  Most of these should be fairly obvious.  Either way, here’s my ballot:

My Ballot for the Week

Rank
Team Delta
1
Alabama 1
2
Texas 4
3
Penn State 2
4
Oklahoma 3
5
Southern Cal 2
6
Texas Tech 2
7
Georgia 2
8
Florida 3
9
Missouri 6
10
Ohio State --
11
LSU 7
12
Utah 1
13
Oklahoma State 4
14
Kansas 1
15
Brigham Young 1
16
Boise State --
17
Wake Forest 1
18
North Carolina 2
19
California --
20
Vanderbilt 8
21
Michigan State 4
22
Virginia Tech 1
23
Ball State 3
24
Minnesota 2
25
Oregon 1

Dropped Out: Northwestern (#21), Auburn (#22), Wisconsin (#24).

Explanations after the jump…

Comments, Explanations, and Excuses

Here are the high-points of the week's changes:

Oklahoma (4) & Southern Cal (5) :

I imagine some will think I’m a bit mad for only dropping the Oklahoma Sooners three spots to fourth—leaving them on notch above the Southern Cal Trojans.  Well the reason for this is simple.  Southern Cal’s loss came to a very mediocre Oregon State (NR) team who simply out-played them.  Before that loss, I had written about how I felt the Trojans were beatable because they only seemed to play full-tilt for games that got a lot of national attention.  Furthermore, though the Trojans blanked the Arizona State Sun Devils (NR) this past weekend, it was a very sloppy game on offense for USC.

The Sooners on the other hand played lights-out against a tough Texas (2) team in an absolutely fabulous football game.  Both teams left everything on the field and if you play that game ten times, I bet each team wins it at least 4-5 times.  In short, I applaud Oklahoma for playing a tough schedule and facing top-notch opponents (something to which SEC schools have long been accustomed) poll rankings should not be a disincentive to facing the best you can find.  Though they lost, Oklahoma lost valiantly, and thus they stay in my Top 5.

Ohio State (10):

Despite the fact that my dear wife is a Buckeye, I simply cannot move the Buckeyes up this week allowing them to be jumped by Florida (8).  I realize that Ohio State defeated Purdue.  I realize that they lost their only game to Southern Cal.  I also realize they were—effectively—beaten by Wisconsin (NR) last week, by Ohio U (NR) several weeks ago, and they continue to beat other teams by the narrowest of margins.  Given the fact that they were absolutely back-handed by a Trojans team I continue to feel is a bit overrated, the Buckeyes are going to have show me that they have improved before I give them freebie jumps in my ballot.  That is not to say I don’t think they are good—because I do.  I simply don’t think they are “great.”

Brigham Young (15):

Yes, I realize that I dropped BYU after they defeated New Mexico (NR) and slid both Oklahoma State (13) and Kansas (14) above them.  As was the case above, I simply do not believe that beating New Mexico is nearly as significant as defeating Kansas beating Colorado (NR) and Oklahoma State beating Missouri (9).  There are only so many spaces in the poll each week and I try to rank on who I think is the best team.  That necessarily includes looking at a team’s record and who they play (i.e. simply winning is not always enough).  I’m sorry, Cougars, but the teams around you simply played better against better opponents.

Returners & First Timers:

The Oregon Ducks (25) just keep coming back.  I really think they are a solid team, but they could use a little lesson in consistency.

Meanwhile, both Ball State (23) and Minnesota (24) make their debut in my poll ballot for the first time.  Whether they can keep up their winning ways down the stretch is an unanswered question, but for now they are in.

"Now Departing at Gate 21...":

One week after their debut along with Michigan State (21), Northwestern (NR) lost to Michigan State and thus got their ticket out of the poll.  That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them back if they can keep their focus and stay healthy.

That is much more than I can say for both Auburn (NR) and Wisconsin (NR)—both of whom were in my Top 10 earlier in the season.  Auburn now appears to have an even less productive offense than my Tennessee Volunteers, and Wisconsin—now with 3 straight losses—is a candidate for my 2008 Self-Destruction award.

The Rest of the BlogPoll

Having taken the time to consider my feeble attempt at ranking the powers in college football, feel free to try and convince me that I am out-to-lunch—which is part of the way the BlogPoll is supposed to work.  I promise that I will consider all comments.  After all, I’m hardly unaccustomed to being wrong.

As for the rest of the BlogPoll, well, you can check out how other bloggers voted and how your team fared across the blogosphere over at MGOBlog, and view the BlogPoll Top 25 results each week over at CBS Sports.

-- Go Figure …Email lawvol


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