Monday, November 28, 2005

BCS Predictions

Rose Bowl- Southern Cal 12-0 vs Texas 12-0

Fiesta Bowl- Notre Dame 9-2 vs Ohio State 9-2

Sugar Bowl- Georgia 10-2 vs West Virginia 10-1

Orange Bowl- Virginia Tech 11-1 vs Penn State 10-1

notes: It is pretty simple from this point on. West Virginia is in the Sugar Bowl as the Big East champ. LSU/Georgia winner is in the Sugar and Va Tech/FSU winner is in the Orange. USC and Texas are virtual locks for the Rose. Only the Fiesta can change things around. If the Fiesta chooses Penn State over Notre Dame, then flip flop ND and PSU and substitute Oregon for Ohio State. But, do not rule out a possible Ohio State-Penn State rematch in Tempe.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Week 14 Blogpoll Top 25 Ballot

  1. Southern Cal (1)
  2. Texas (2)
  3. Penn State (3)
  4. Louisiana State (4)
  5. Ohio State (5)
  6. Auburn (6)
  7. Virginia Tech (8)
  8. Oregon (10)
  9. Miami (7)
  10. Georgia (12)
  11. West Virginia (13)
  12. Notre Dame (9)
  13. Alabama (14)
  14. UCLA (15)
  15. Florida (18)
  16. Georgia Tech (16)
  17. Michigan (17)
  18. Fresno State (11)
  19. TCU (19)
  20. Louisville (20)
  21. Clemson (21)
  22. Wisconsin (24)
  23. Boston College (nr)
  24. Texas Tech (nr)
  25. Northwestern (nr)

out- Iowa State(22), Colorado(23), Florida State(25)

just missed- Iowa, Central Florida, South Carolina, Boise State

on the radar- Nebraska, Nevada

last weeks top 25 ballot

last weeks blogpoll

Games I watched: Texas-Texas A&M(3/4), Hawaii-Wisconsin(half), Maryland-NC State(half), Fresno State-Nevada(all) small parts of:N. Ill.-W. Mich, WV-Pitt, Colo-Neb, Ari-ASU, VT- NC


  • Fresno State has lost all national respect, again, for the third time in five years. Every time they get some national respect; it is all lost in conference play.
  • After pondering for some time, I concluded TCU's bad loss at SMU and Louisville's embarrassment at South Florida are far worse than Fresno State's 4 point loss at Nevada. SMU is getting better, but are no where as good as Nevada. South Florida is a decent team but Louisville had no business getting beat by 31 points. Based on those factors Fresno State deserves to be ranked. They played one bad game at an 8-3 Nevada team that is co-WAC champs. Considering the game came after back-to-back games against Boise State and USC, it can be forgiven but not forgotten.
  • Notre Dame has been looking pretty lackluster; do they really deserve a BCS bid?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Week 13 Picks

The short version: its Thanksgiving Weekend forgive me

Biggest Games(ranked by significance)

1. Georgia 20 at Georgia Tech 14

2. Florida State 28 at Florida 24

3. Virginia Tech 34 vs North Carolina 10

4. Miami 29 vs Virginia 13

5. NC State 21 vs Maryland 17

6. Notre Dame 45 at Stanford 31

1 Pontential upset.....

UConn beats South Florida- The cold November weather is not kind to the boys from the Sunshine State.

1 Surefire pick

Fresno State(-15.5) at Nevada- no letdown here

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Backyard Brawl: Pitt at West Virginia

It has become a Thanksgiving tradition and a lot is on the line besides bragging rights. West Virginia is just two wins away from representing the Big East in the Bowl Championship Series. Pittsburgh is on the brink of being eliminated from a bowl eligibility after a much anticipated season that has been anything short of a disappointment.

The Mountaineers have exceeded all preseason expectations and are a -13 point home favorite. The Panthers can turn around their whole season with an upset win over their rival and subsequently earn a bowl bid. A 7-5 season and bowl win is a lot better than 5-6 and home for the Holidays. The extra practice time would be blessing for team that has fallen flat under new head coach Dave Wannestedt.

West Virginia is not just wining against a easy slate, they are very good, and could surprise the SEC champ in the Sugar Bowl. This a first of a tough two game slate for WV, a trip to South Florida awaits them next week. The Mountaineers beat the Panthers on their way to a Sugar Bowl berth. WV 34, Pitt 26.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bowl Picture Becoming Clearer

Monday, November 21, 2005

Week 13 Blogpoll Top 25 Ballot

  1. Southern Cal (1)
  2. Texas (2)
  3. Penn State (4)
  4. LSU (5)
  5. Ohio State (7)
  6. Auburn (10)
  7. Miami (3)
  8. Virginia Tech (8)
  9. Notre Dame (6)
  10. Oregon (11)
  11. Fresno State (14)
  12. Georgia (12)
  13. West Virginia (13)
  14. Alabama (9)
  15. UCLA (16)
  16. Georgia Tech (nr)
  17. Michigan (15)
  18. Florida (18)
  19. TCU (19)
  20. Louisville (20)
  21. Clemson (23)
  22. Iowa State (21)
  23. Colorado (22)
  24. Wisconsin (24)
  25. Florida State (25)

out- South Carolina(17)

just missed- Boston College, Iowa, Texas Tech, Northwestern

on the radar- South Florida, Central Florida

last weeks top 25 ballot

last weeks blogpoll

Games I watched: Virginia-Va Tech(1st half), Michigan -Ohio State(all), Auburn- Alabama(half), Oregon-Oregon State(half), Michigan State-Penn State(half), Fresno State-USC(all) small parts of: ND-Syr, Cal-Stan, SC-Clem, Wash-WSU


  • If Notre Dame's claim to fame is their close loss at home to USC on the "tall" grass, then where does Fresno State fit into the equation? The Bulldogs turned the ball over five times in the second half, Matt Leinart was nearly flawless, Reggie Bush gains a record 513 AP yards, and the Bulldogs still have a chance to win? Fresno State led 42-41 with just about 7 minutes to play in the game, yet USC found a way to win. That is why USC is the two time defending champs, they find ways to win with their backs against the wall. That is why there are still no. 1 because could Vince Young and Texas have been able to do the same? This blogger doesn't think so.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

'Dogs Lose Heartbreaker, 50-42

Coach Pat Hill does not believe in moral victories, but if there was such a thing, Fresno State won the biggest one in the history of college football.

Fresno State hung toe to toe with the best team in the nation for four quarters, and nearly sent the game into overtime. But with less than a minute and a half to play, and the Bulldogs driving for the tying score, Paul Pinegar's pass was intercepted in the end zone. It was Pinegar's fourth of the game, all in the second half, and ended Fresno State's comeback effort. The Bulldogs just did not do enough to contain USC and Heisman Trophy candidate Reggie Bush.

The Bulldogs controlled the tempo for the first half en route to a 21-13 halftime lead. USC would not let their 32 game win streak end so easily. The Trojans bounced back in the third quarter, scoring three touchdowns to take a 34-31 lead.

Fresno State did not lie down like many former Trojan opponents. The Bulldogs fought back, and after a costly Bush fumble on a kickoff return, they regained the lead, 42-41, on a 19 yard touchdown run by Wendell Mathis.

The real of story of the game was Bush. The junior tailback racked up a Pac 10 record 513 all-purpose yards, including a career high 294 yards rushing, and two touchdowns. His record breaking performance might have just locked up USC's third Heisman Trophy winner in the last four years.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Week 12 Picks

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The Biggest Games(ranked by significance)

1. Fresno State at USC- In arguably the Bulldogs biggest game ever the stakes are high for both teams. USC is on a quest to win three national titles in a row, while Fresno State wants to prove they belong among the elite of college football. USC 41, Fresno State 28. Link to Preview.

2. Alabama at Auburn- The Iron Bowl takes a back seat to Fresno State, huh? Well, if Alabama had not lost last week against LSU, the 2005 Iron Bowl would have been the biggest game between the two since 1994 when both schools entered the game without a loss. Auburn 24, Alabama 17.

3. Ohio State at Michigan- If Joe Pa and Penn State loses later in the day, the winner of this historic rivalry will win the Big Ten. Ohio State has rebounded from its early losses in the season and is playing some of the best football of the year. However, Michigan has done the same. Michigan 20, Ohio State 19.

4. Penn State at Michigan State- Penn State can wrap up the Big Ten and a BCS bid with a win in East Lansing. Michigan State could easily pull the shocker and get bowl eligible. Penn State 34, Michigan State 21.

5. Clemson at South Carolina- The Palmetto State has a game to get excited about. There will be no brawl during this year's game, just some good football. South Carolina 31, Clemson 27.

6. Oklahoma at Texas Tech- Oklahoma has quietly rebounded to a respectable 7-3 record. A win over an overrated Texas Tech would almost certainly put the Sooners back in the top 25 and earn them a berth into the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma 38, Texas Tech 31.

7. Virginia Tech at Virginia- The Hokies have fallen off the national radar faster than you can say Wahoo. This is a trap game, if there was ever such a thing. Virginia Tech can not fall victim to its past late season tumbles. A BCS at-large berth is still in the picture. Virginia Tech 16, Virginia 6.

3 Potential Upsets...........

What will happen- Maryland beats Boston College- The game is at College Park, and the Terps are improving each week. A loss by the Eagles might drop them from Peach Bowl consideration.

What might happen- Indiana over Purdue- The Boilermakers are back on track after just stinking it up early on, but for the first time in the Joe Tiller era, the Hoosiers actually have a shot at a win.

What is unlikely to happen- Oregon State upsets Oregon- Even without Kellen Clemons at quarterback the Ducks are huge favorites. The Beavers need a win to get bowl eligible and at the same time spoil their arch rivals shot at a BCS bowl. How sweet rivalries are.

Betting Man? Surefire Picks!

Washington(+3) vs Washington State- Yeah, the Cougars are very close to being 9-1, but the fact remains they fall apart in the 4th quarter. The Huskies own this series and should win straight up.

Stanford(+4.5) vs Cal- See the pattern, take the Pac 10 home dog, they will all be winners.

BYU (-10.5) vs Utah- 10.5 is a lot a points for a rivalry such as the Holy War, but Utah's quarterback Brian Johnson is out and the Cougars will looking for some sweet revenge.

all my other picks at

last week's picks

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fresno State-USC Preview

Read the preview at It All Comes Down to This: USC Preview.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Fresno State-USC

With so much attention about this week's Fresno State-USC game, I have been devoting most of my attention to FS Bulldog Blog. So, MDG CFB will probably not be updated until tomorrow or Friday for picks of the upcoming week. 'Dogs-Trojans preview coming tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

ESPN Gameday Live From East Lansing. What?

I know the Michigan-Ohio State game has lost some luster this year, but it is usually a Gameday stop every year. Tuscaloosa was the stop last week, so I guess the crew did not want to go back to Alabama for the Iron Bowl at Auburn.

How about Los Angeles for the #16 Fresno State at #1 USC game, by far the day's most intriguing game. But, the game is on Fox Sports Net and a 10:15 pm kickoff ET. I guess Gameday will probably make L.A. their final stop on December 3 for UCLA-USC, since UCLA pulled out the win over Arizona State to get to a 9-1 record.

I just do not see why 5-5 Michigan State vs 9-1 Penn State is worthy of the live remote. I guess ESPN wants center stage for their prime time game at 4pm ET, hoping the Nittany Lions will clinch their first Big Ten title since 1994.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Biggest Game of the Week

It is supposed to be rivalry week. The week that hated college football rivals butt heads, but the biggest game this week is not the Iron Bowl of Alabama-Auburn nor the battle at the Bighouse between Michigan-Ohio State. No, the biggest game comes to you from beautiful Southern California, and it is not USC-UCLA, but USC-Fresno State.

Yes, folks Fresno State has hit the big time. The 16th ranked Bulldogs travel to the Coliseum for the first time to battle the two-time defending national champion Trojans, who happened to be ranked no. 1 for like the 1oo straight week.

Fresno State does hold a 1-0 lead in the series, a result of a 24-7 win over USC at the 1992 Freedom Bowl.

for all other pregame notes and stuff read the Fresno State Football Blog

Sunday, November 13, 2005

BCS Predictions

The bowl picture is a mess, from the BCS Bowls down to the New Orleans Bowl. It is very possible 10-1 teams Oregon and Virginia Tech could be shut out of the BCS at-large spots, yet 9-2 Notre Dame and/or 9-2 Ohio State be included as at large teams. Just do not get me started on the South Florida Bulls. I like the little guy just as much as the next guy, but no way does an 8-3 USF team belong in the BCS just because they won the Big East.

The Big East title could come down to a West Virginia at USF game on December 3 in Tampa, thanks to Hurricane Wilma. Both school must win out in order for that to happen, my guess the tropical climate Bulls will stumble in cold Storrs, Connecticut against the Huskies on November 26.

I am not going to do the all the bowl predictions this week because they are just not making sense when you get towards the bottom. But here is my prediction for the BCS:

Rose Bowl- Southern Cal vs Texas

Fiesta Bowl- Notre Dame vs Virginia Tech

Sugar Bowl- Georgia vs West Virginia

Orange Bowl- Miami vs Penn State

notes: The Fiesta will have first at-large selection and that will be Notre Dame, but I would not be surprised to see Oregon selected. Georgia as the projected SEC champ goes to the Sugar and Miami to the Orange as the projected ACC champ. The BCS tries to set the best matches possible and try to accommodate each bowl's request for at-large choice. I project Penn State in the Orange giving that bowl the second most intriguing matchup of the BCS.

Since the Sugar invited Virginia Tech last year and I do not see the benefit of a Georgia-LSU rematch or having Oregon come cross country. West Virginia will more than likely be on the top of their list if Penn State is in Miami and Ohio State is not in the top 12.

This leaves the Fiesta with the last choice and it being a true at-large selection. The Fiesta will be able to choose any team ranked in the BCS top 12. Virginia Tech should be the highest ranked team, but Oregon would bring a lot of fans as would LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, or Auburn from the SEC.

If Ohio State can win at Michigan, it is a no brainer, the Buckeyes will be here or in the Sugar Bowl. If Oregon had Kellen Clemons I think Oregon would get the invite to the Fiesta opposite the Irish, but without their star quarterback the Ducks are just not the same team. That leaves Virginia Tech, LSU and the Auburn/Alabama winner. If Alabama is 10-1, it is the Tide in Tempe, otherwise, I can not see the Fiesta skipping over a 10-1 Virginia Tech team.

Week 12 Blogpoll Top 25 Ballot

  1. Southern Cal (1)
  2. Texas (2)
  3. Miami (Florida) (3)
  4. Penn State (5)
  5. LSU (8)
  6. Notre Dame (6)
  7. Ohio State (7)
  8. Virginia Tech (9)
  9. Alabama (4)
  10. Auburn (12)
  11. Oregon (11)
  12. Georgia (10)
  13. West Virginia (13)
  14. Fresno State (15)
  15. Michigan (16)
  16. UCLA (20)
  17. South Carolina (nr)
  18. Florida (14)
  19. TCU (23)
  20. Louisville (24)
  21. Iowa State (nr)
  22. Colorado (17)
  23. Clemson (nr)
  24. Wisconsin (21)
  25. Florida State (18)

out-Texas Tech(19), Northwestern(22), Georgia Tech(25)

just missed- Minnesota, Boston College, Oklahoma, UTEP

on the radar- South Florida, BYU, Central Florida, Iowa

last weeks top 25 ballot

last weeks blogpoll

Games I watched: Fresno State-Boise State(all), Rutgers-Louisville(1st half), Florida State-Clemson(all), LSU-Alabama(all), USC-Cal(2nd TV), Auburn-Georgia(3/4), Arizona State-UCLA(2nd TV), Stanford-Oregon State(1st half), Oregon-Washington State(1/2)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Alabama Loses!!!!

The 16-13 overtime loss to LSU ended the Crimson Tide's Rose Bowl dreams. Alabama could not get going on offense in the second half, and it cost them dearly. LSU outplayed the Tide in the second half, but three missed field goals by Chris Jackson left the game deadlocked at 10.

LSU last miss gave Alabama great field position at their 40 yard line with :47 left to play in the game. The Tide's comeback fell short inside the LSU 10 yard line and sent the game into overtime.

Bama scored first in overtime with a field goal, but LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell's touchdown pass won the game. LSU just needs to win out to play in the SEC championship game. A Georgia-LSU game is likely, which would be a rematch of the 2003 game won by the Bulldogs.

The BCS can quit crapping their pants, as USC and Texas are the only unbeatens left in college football. Not unless Fresno State pulls the unthinkable next week at the Coliseum or Texas A&M quits messing around and actually plays a game against the Longhorns the day after Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Week 11 Picks

The Biggest Games(ranked by significance)

1. LSU at Alabama- What a matchup, two top five teams battling for a spot in the SEC championship game. Alabama's offensive has been anemic since the loss of Tyrone Prothro against Florida. LSU has two solid wins over Florida and Auburn, but both were in Death Valley. Bama will win a close one at home. Alabama 13, LSU 12.

2. Auburn at Georgia- D.J. Shockley's injury cost the 'Dawgs a shot at the Rose Bowl. The offense could not do anything against Florida. Auburn is a lot better than their ranking and record. The visiting team has had great success in the South's Oldest Rivalry. Auburn 17, Georgia 14.

3. Southern Cal at Cal- Does anyone think this game will be close? This was suppose to be USC toughest challenge of the year. Fresno State will give the Trojans a better game next week. Southern Cal 48, Cal 24.

4. Northwestern at Ohio State- Northwestern's magical run at a Big Ten title ends here. Ohio State is on a mission. A win here sets up a big game at the Big House. Ohio State 45, Northwestern 17.

5. Florida at South Carolina- A Florida win coupled by a Georgia loss would put the Gators in the SEC title game. Florida has not shined this season like many thought, but the Gators are still in the BCS picture in mid November. How ironic, Steve Spurrier could prevent Florida from getting to the SEC championship game. A place they have not been since he was the head coach. South Carolina 14, Florida 10.

6. Colorado at Iowa State- Colorado is on a collision course for a rematch with Texas in the Big 12 championship game. Even a loss to the Cyclones will not derail the Buffs. They will still have a one game lead over anyone else in the North. Iowa State is playing their best football since the win over Iowa in September. Iowa State 31, Colorado 27.

7. Arizona State at UCLA- UCLA's dream season was dashed in the desert last week. A win over Arizona State could help ease the pain the next three weeks before the game at USC. The Sun Devils are still not the same team without Sam Keller, but are playing better since his injury. Arizona State 34, UCLA 31.

3 Potential Upsets.........

What will happen- Clemson beats Florida State- Bowden Bowl no. (who cares). Even without a healthy Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson will get two in a row and it might be just enough to keep Tommy in town for one more year.

What might happen- Washington State over Oregon- Dennis Dixon did not impress anyone in Kellen Clemons absence and Brady Leaf had to come in for relief. The Ducks should have just enough to beat the Cougars, but Washington State is capable of blowing out UO, too.

What is unlikely to happen- UNLV upsets TCU- With the Mountain West title already wrapped up, the Frogs could be overlooking their last game against the Rebels. UNLV pulled a big upset over 2002 MWC champ Colorado State in the 15th ranked Ram's last game of the season.

Betting Man? Surefire Picks!

Hawaii(-17) vs Utah State- The Aggies have not played at Hawaii since the mid 1960's. The Island is not kind to teams from the mainland.

Wisconsin(-3) vs Iowa- Barry Alvarez's last game at Camp Randall, the place will be rocking.

Memphis(+18.5) at Tennessee- Loser of this game can kiss their bowl hopes goodbye. Memphis will be amped for their in-state rival. Tennessee should win but will not cover.

the rest of my other picks at

previous week

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Boise State at Fresno State

Even David Carr couldn't beat Boise.

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The biggest game of the Western Athletic Conference season is tonight on ESPN HD at 8pm ET. It will not be your average Thursday night ESPN fanfare, expect a great game between two teams that respect each other, but have no love lost between them.

The biggest game on Thursday night this season thus far was Boston College at Virginia Tech. The best game was probably the Utah-TCU overtime game or the N.C. State-Georgia Tech game.

Fresno State-Boise State should surpass them all. The Broncos have had the Bulldogs' number for four straight years and have claimed three straight outright WAC titles in the process.

Will this be the year head coach Pat Hill and Fresno State beats Boise State? Hey, Florida State finally beat Miami and Mack Brown and Texas were finally able to get by Oklahoma. It seems the stars are aligned right for a Bulldog win. For more analysis, stories, series history and my prediction, please check out the Fresno State Football Blog.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bowl Predictions

With the first week of November already behind us the college bowl picture is starting to shake out. In regards to the Bowl Championship Series, Virginia Tech's upset loss at home to Miami was huge, and along with the UCLA embarrassment at Arizona, some of BCS prayers have been answered.

The BCS Bowls

  • Rose Bowl- Southern Cal vs Texas
  • Fiesta Bowl- Notre Dame vs Alabama
  • Sugar Bowl- Georgia vs West Virginia
  • Orange Bowl- Miami vs Penn State

notes: It appears USC and Texas are destined to play in Pasadena. If that holds true, then the Fiesta Bowl would have the first at-large choice. Notre Dame is the likely choice, but a 10-1 Oregon or Texas Tech would be a better geographical fit. Georgia as the projected SEC champ is slotted in the Sugar and Miami is slotted in the Orange as the ACC champ. The BCS tries to set up the most attractive matchups as possible, thus projected Big Ten champ Penn State in the Orange. A one loss Alabama team is a very attractive at-large team, but a one loss Virginia Tech team could be more enticing. I see Alabama getting the nod as the second at-large team over Virginia Tech, as long as the Tide do not lose more than one game. I wouldn't rule out an all SEC Sugar Bowl since Alabama did not play Georgia this year, but more than likely projected Big East champ West Virginia is placed in the Sugar.

Major Bowls

  • Cotton Bowl- Texas Tech vs Auburn
  • Capital One Bowl- LSU vs Wisconsin
  • Holiday Bowl- Oregon vs Colorado
  • Gator Bowl- Virginia Tech vs Louisville
  • Outback Bowl- Michigan vs Florida
  • Peach Bowl- Florida State vs South Carolina

notes: It is pretty self explanatory, no out of conference changes here.

Middle of the Road Bowls

  • Alamo Bowl- Ohio State vs Oklahoma
  • Sun Bowl- UCLA vs Northwestern
  • Liberty Bowl- Southern Miss vs Clemson
  • Insight Bowl- Arizona State vs Rutgers
  • Champs Sports Bowl- North Carolina vs Iowa State
  • Meineke Car Care Bowl- NC State vs South Florida
  • Music City Bowl- Tennessee vs Iowa
  • Independence Bowl- Missouri vs Georgia Tech

notes: The Liberty Bowl has an at-large berth, the Mountain West's TCU is an option vs the Conference USA Champ, as long as the champ is from the South and not Texas, specifically West Texas. I project S. Miss to win CUSA, but I project the Liberty will pluck one the remaining bowl eligible ACC schools left over. I project the SEC to have only 7 bowl eligible teams, and I project two will be in the BCS, thus leaving an open spot in the Independence Bowl. I project another ACC team to play in Shreveport.

Minor Bowls

  • Houston Bowl- Nebraska vs Virginia
  • Las Vegas Bowl- TCU vs Fresno State*
  • Emerald Bowl- California vs Colorado State
  • MPC Computers Bowl- Boise State vs Boston College
  • Motor City Bowl- Toledo vs Minnesota
  • GMAC Bowl- Central Florida vs Miami of Ohio*
  • Fort Worth Bowl- Kansas vs Tulsa
  • Hawaii Bowl- Oregon State vs UTEP*
  • Poinsettia Bowl- BYU vs Navy
  • New Orleans Bowl- Arkansas State vs UAB

*see below

notes: Now here is where it becomes tricky. The Houston will be short an SEC spot, not enough eligible teams, as stated above. I project another ACC team to fill the void, but hometown Houston could be an option if no BCS schools remain . The Pac Ten could have as many 7 bowl eligible teams or as little as 4, I am projecting 6. With six spots and assuming Oregon or UCLA do not make the BCS, then all Pac Ten spots would be filled. TCU is projected to have a 10-1 record and the MWC might want to shop their marquee team if the a 6-5 Pac Ten team awaits in the Las Vegas Bowl. The WAC has a similar problem with the Fresno State-Boise State winner if a 6-5 ACC team is the opponent in Boise. The Hawaii Bowl will be in fiscal trouble since the hometown Warriors will not be bowl eligible. The Fresno State-Boise State loser would probably be the WAC representative in the Hawaii, if no other bowl arrangement can be made. Navy just needs one more win to wrap up a Poinsettia Bowl bid, as the Middies are the leading candidate for the at-large spot.

*Now, the crazy bowl scenario for the week: The WAC trades its spot in the Hawaii bowl to the Pac 10 for their fifth place spot in Las Vegas. The deal will probably be contingent on CUSA sending the loser of its conference championship game to Hawaii. Which is possible, especially if the GMAC wants to invite Central Florida. I doubt Cal or Oregon State want to play the likes of UAB or Central Florida. UTEP or Southern Miss is bad enough, but tolerable considering the game will be on the Islands.

This scenario would give the Las Vegas Bowl a marquee matchup of a 10-2 Fresno State/Boise State vs a 10-1 TCU. The MWC could throw a wrench in this scenario by sending TCU to the Liberty if invited. It is still possible for the WAC to get three teams in bowl games if the Pac 10 fails to get 6 bowl eligible teams or if Oregon is given a BCS bid. In that case Nevada would go to the Hawaii Bowl and Fresno State/Boise State winner and loser would be slotted in the Las Vegas/Emerald or MPC Computers Bowls.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Bruins, Dorrell, and His Job Security

The UCLA Bruins were reeling in the offseason after their 24-21 loss to Wyoming in the Las Vegas Bowl. Head coach Karl Dorrell needed to turn around the program in 2005 or face the fact of losing his job after just three seasons. The consensus thought was Dorrell needed to win 8 regular season games and a bowl game to have job security beyond this season.

After examining the schedule in the preseason only the road game at Southern California and the home game versus Oklahoma were against top 10 teams. Landmine games at San Diego State in the opener and at Washington State were a cause of some concern but not daunting. Fellow 2004 Pac Ten bowl teams California, Arizona State, and Oregon State had to come to the Rose Bowl, and Oregon was off the schedule.

The schedule was conducive for Dorrell and the Bruins to have their most successful season since 1998. The Bruin faithful have endured three seasons of Southern Cal Trojan dominance, not only in the Pac Ten but nationally, as well.

Could Dorrell save Bruin football and his job in 2005? The boys at BruinsNation thought so and after an 8-0 start and number 6 spot in the Bowl Championship Series rankings, most of the nation did too. The hype was building for a top 5 showdown of unbeatens between the Bruins and Trojans, but not anymore.

After this past Saturday's 52-14 embarrassment at the hands of Arizona, what is expected of Dorrell and UCLA now? The "necessary" 8 wins have been attained and three games including a bowl remain. Arizona State comes to Pasadena this Saturday, USC finishes off the regular season schedule December 3 in the Coliseum, and more than likely a Big Twelve or Big Ten team will be the opponent in the bowl game.

Arizona State is a shade of their former selves since the injury to star quarterback Sam Keller, but still pose a serious threat to the Bruins. No one, especially now, expects nothing more than a puncher's chance at USC. Depending on the bowl opponent, is it possible UCLA could finish the season 8-4 and unranked?

In the preseason if one would have said UCLA would blow out Oklahoma, and beat Cal on their way to an 8-0 start and no. 5 ranking in the BCS, Karl Dorrell's job would be safe as Fort Knox. Yes, but that same person would have never thought in his or hers worst nightmare that UCLA would lose by 38 points to Arizona, albeit, an 8-0 Bruin team versus an 2-6 Wildcat team.

Looking back over the first 8 victories there have been some good wins but one could argue there have been no big wins. Oklahoma, only in name, registers as a big, but the way the Sooners are playing now compared to September, whose to say UCLA would not suffer a loss in a rematch. Cal was a big win at the time, but the then top ten Bears have lost 3 of 4 and have dropped from the rankings and face the possibility of finishing 6-5. Throw in close wins over sub .500 teams Washington, Washington State, and Stanford, where 4th quarter comebacks were needed, and the 8-0 start does not look so impressive after all.

UCLA has had a good season, and have exceeded many preseason expectations, including mine. However, the Bruins are loaded with talent and were serious national title contenders. The team was living up to their talent, but unfortunately the coaching has let them down. UCLA has two legitimate Heisman Trophy candidates in Maurice Jones-Drew and Drew Olsen, but face the possibility of falling off the national radar if they lose a consecutive game.

Karl Dorrell has the Bruins set for their best season this decade, but this blogger thinks if UCLA doesn't finish 10-2 with a big bowl win he will be shown the door. The only slip up allowed the rest of the way is USC, to the dismay of the Bruin faithful.

It is not far fetched to think UCLA could win out, win a share of the Pac Ten title and a claim a spot in the BCS. The Bruins hung with USC last year, but getting blown out by Arizona exposed UCLA's poor defense. UCLA learned in 1998 a high powered offense can only take you so far without the help of a good defense.

My prediction for the rest of the year rests on the outcome of this Saturday's game against the Sun Devils. If UCLA rebounds and wins, then the game at USC will be for more than just pride. At 9-2 UCLA would be in a good position to claim a spot in the Holiday Bowl if Oregon wins out and somehow gets into the BCS or if the Ducks lose one of their two remaining games. Otherwise, it is hello El Paso.

If UCLA continues to struggle and loses to Arizona State then I do not see the Bruins winning another game this season. An 8-3 record would certainly guarantee a spot in the Sun Bowl, unless Oregon loses its last two games. Right now I peg Northwestern as the opponent for the Pac Ten in El Paso. As good as UCLA is, the defense will not be able to handle a shootout with the Big Ten's Wildcats.

In both scenario's I do not predict a win over USC, and depending on the bowl opponent, UCLA could finish 8-4, 9-3, or 10-2. Dorrell has to win his bowl game this year, no questions asked.

In his first two years, UCLA lost to Fresno State in the Silicon Valley Classic and Wyoming last year. The Bruins will face a BCS opponent in a bowl for the first time in the Dorrell era, that much is guaranteed. Losses to the Bulldogs and Cowboys in the postseason the last two years were not kindly forgiven, and expect the Bruin faithful to demand change even if UCLA loses its bowl to the likes of a Colorado, Texas Tech, Iowa, or Michigan.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Week 11 Blogpoll Top 25

  1. Southern Cal (1)
  2. Texas (3)
  3. Miami (Florida) (9)
  4. Alabama (4)
  5. Penn State (8)
  6. Notre Dame (6)
  7. Ohio State (7)
  8. Louisiana State (5)
  9. Georgia (10)
  10. Virginia Tech (2)
  11. Oregon (13)
  12. Auburn (15)
  13. West Virginia (19)
  14. Florida (15)
  15. Fresno State (18)
  16. Michigan (16)
  17. Colorado (21)
  18. Florida State (11)
  19. Texas Tech (23)
  20. UCLA (12)
  21. Wisconsin (17)
  22. Northwestern (22)
  23. TCU (24)
  24. Louisville (nr)
  25. Georgia Tech(25)

out-Boston College(20)

just missed- South Carolina, Boise State, Minnesota

on the radar- UTEP, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Iowa State

last weeks top 25 ballot

last weeks Blogpoll

Games I watched: UAB-Memphis(1st half), Louisville-Pitt(3/4), Toledo-Ohio(4th quarter), Northwestern-Iowa(3/4), Tennessee-Notre Dame(1/2), Fresno State-San Jose State(all), USC-Stanford(2nd half) small parts of: WV-UConn, Minn-Ind, Cal-Ore, VT-Miami


  • As if USC's offense could not play any better.
  • Texas is setting up the other end of one most anticipated national championship games ever.
  • Miami is a missed field goal from being the odd man out. The Hurricanes surprised the hell out me, and made Marcus Vick look average, 34% completion percentage, ouch!
  • Alabama needs more offense, LSU, at Auburn( and the SEC championship are) very tough games. Alabama will lose at least one.
  • Penn State is playing unbelievable, and I predicted they would finish 9-2 and tie for the Big Ten title.
  • Notre Dame is on its way to the BCS, more than likely the Fiesta Bowl.
  • Ohio State can still tie for the Big Ten and have an outside shot at a BCS at large berth.
  • LSU is slowing looking very overrated. The big wins against Florida and Auburn were at home and close games. Winning at Arizona State is big but since the injury to quarterback Sam Keller, the Sun Devils victory is not looked at the same. A win at Alabama is necessary if the Tigers want a BCS bid.
  • Georgia has a huge game vs Auburn. The South's Oldest Rivalry has been favorable to the road team.
  • Oregon is quietly approaching a 10-1 season even with the loss of starting quarterback Kellen Clemons.
  • West Virginia can bring some respect to the BCS by finishing 10-1 and winning its BCS bowl game.
  • Florida struggled against Vandy, the game at South Carolina will be a grudge match.
  • Fresno State has a huge game with Boise State on Thursday night's ESPN prime time game for the WAC title, and a win will set up a big game at USC.
  • Florida State is headed for likely rematch with Miami in Jacksonville.
  • Texas Tech will not get any respect if they finish 10-1 and will have no shot at BCS game.
  • UCLA finally was exposed at Arizona and may lose out with Arizona State and USC left on the schedule. If so expect Dorrell to be shown the door as well, if the Bruins lose another bowl game. Then a once promising 8-0 start could end in a 8-4 unranked finish.
  • At TCU-Fresno State/Boise State winner bowl game would be great no matter where it can be set up.
  • Louisville shot itself in the foot with the loss at South Florida, and might be shut out of the Big East Bowl picture if they somehow lose to Rutgers.
  • Georgia Tech gets the nod just over South Carolina, I guess I can't punish a 2 loss team and move up a 3 loss team.
  • South Carolina is on a roll. The Ol'Ball Coach will make the folks in Columbia even happier if the Gamecocks close out the season with wins over Florida and rival Clemson.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Week 10 Picks

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The Biggest Games(ranked by significance)

1. Miami at Virginia Tech- Who has Miami played and beaten since their opening season loss to Florida State? The Hurricanes were dominated by a good Seminole defense, and they face an even better defense Saturday in Virginia Tech. Kyle Wright has not become the world beater like Ken Dorsey did as a sophomore, and will be out played by Marcus Vick. Virginia Tech 17, Miami 9.

2. Wisconsin at Penn State- The battle for first place in the Big Ten is in State College Saturday. I am sure few thought the conference title would come down to a Nittany Lion-Badger matchup, but the race is not over Michigan and Ohio State still have an outside shot at the title. Michael Robinson is playing his best football at the right time. The winner probably goes to the BCS, while the loser will be headed to Florida come January 1. Penn State 31, Wisconsin 28.

3. Stanford at Southern California- Can Stanford give USC a similar scare they gave UCLA? No! Will USC win by 34? Maybe, but the Cardinal always give the Trojans a fight. In fact Stanford was the last team to beat USC in the Coliseum. USC 52, Stanford 34.

4. Cal at Oregon- The million dollar question is how will Dennis Dixon fare in place of Kellen Clemons? Just ok. But, that should be enough to handle the Bears. Dixon has played like a deer in headlights at times this season, but he is the man this week. His mobility will be a huge factor, but the Ducks can not afford to get into a shootout with Cal. Oregon 26, Cal 24.

5. Tennessee at Notre Dame- In the preseason I said this matchup would look good name wise, but not field wise. I stated the teams would be going in opposite directions, with one aiming for the BCS. Well, I was right about the matchup but wrong about which teams. Notre Dame is well on its way towards a possible BCS game and Tennessee is struggling to get back to .500. Notre Dame 23, Tennessee 13.

6. TCU at Colorado State- The Rams made the amazing comeback last week at New Mexico to set up the game of the year in the Mountain West Conference. TCU can all but wrap up a conference title with a win, but a Ram victory would allow CSU to control their own destiny. It is a shame that this game will not be on TV, as both teams have exceeded their respective preseason expectations. TCU 21, Colorado State 20.

7. Missouri at Colorado- Missouri's collapse last week at Kansas screwed what was going to be the game of the year in the Big 12 North. The game still will have big effect on the outcome of the division, but the Tigers hardly looked like the same challenge as many thought two weeks when they routed Nebraska. Missouri continues their up and down season and makes this game close. Colorado 35, Missouri 34.

3 Potential Upsets........

What will happen- Kansas will beat Nebraska- The Jayhawks are only a one point underdog, but few realize that the Jayhawks are on the same level as the Cornhuskers.

What might happen- Arizona over UCLA- The Bruins are just asking to be upset. The miracle comeback at Stanford was the best yet. The Wildcats are much improved.

What is unlikely to happen- Baylor upset Texas- Texas Tech just shut out the Bears last week, but this is an unlikely scenario. If Young gets hurt or has a bad game, the Longhorns are just a shadow of themselves.

Betting Man? Surefire Picks!

Stanford (+34) at USC- UCLA needed overtime to beat Stanford, USC is much better than the Cardinal but 34 points is stretch.

Nevada (-6) vs Hawaii- Nevada is a good home team and Hawaii is awful away from the Island.

Rutgers (-3) vs South Florida- The Knights are on a roll, and New Jersey in November is not kind to teams from the Sunshine State.

all my other picks at

previous week

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I hate jury duty. From 8:30 this morning until 4:30 this afternoon, I just sat and waited. To make matters even worse, I still have to go back tomorrow.

How does this relate to college football? I missed my first kickoff of a Thursday night game, and it just happened to be one of the wackiest, ever. How does the receiving team (Pitt) fumble a kickoff and have the kicking team (Louisville) recover it in the endzone for a touchdown.

Then the player responsible for the fumble, takes the next kickoff back for a touchdown. The idiot happens to "swan dive" into the endzone and cost Pitt a 15 yard penalty.

I walk into my house turn on ESPN HD with 11:00 plus minutes to play in the first quarter and Louisville is up 14-7. Now, with 2:20 left, the Cards try the fake field goal and fail. That was after Louisville went for it on 4th down and 7.

I wonder of Wannestedt is a fan of Petrino's play calling. Crazy start to what should be a crazy game.

Pitt just made another special teams muff, safety, 16-7, Cards.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Now, that the World Series and baseball season is done. ESPN Tuesday night football is back. Tonight's contest was supposed to a battle for first in the East Division of Conference USA, but both UAB and Memphis have fallen short of preseason expectations.

DeAngelo Williams is worth the price of admission himself. 106 all-purpose yards in the first quarter alone with 4:24 left in the quarter. His 76 yard scamper set up the Tigers second touchdown and a 14-3 lead.

The slim-down Darrell Hackney is poised for the shootout, and it will be fun to watch. I wouldn't care if both of these schools were winless, college football is better viewing than opening night of the NBA. Although, watching the New Orleans Hornets hosting Sacramento in Oklahoma City has some sentimental feel to it.