Thursday, September 27, 2007

Doc's Prognosis - Week 5

Well, here it is, back by popular demand. A little bit late this week on account of being on vacation through the weekend and a seemingly endless string of busy-ness after returning. If you haven't checked out this week's ratings, you can find them here.

Movers and Shakers

Three Up....
1. South Carolina - Up 23 spots to #17. Sometimes losing isn't such a bad thing. Especially when you are projected to lose by a huge margin, but end up playing somewhat competitively on the road against the #1 team. That may not earn you a lot of respect with the AP voters, but what do they know anyway?
2. Georgia - Up 16 spots to #22. A great win on the road against a highly rated team. Also, the fact that there only loss so far was to S. Carolina, and we just discussed what happened with them.
3. Illinois - Up 31 spots to #24. Wow, where did these guys come from? The Fighting Zooker's might be a factor in the Big 2 Little 9 this year. Unfortunately for him, he'll just have to be fired as coach before we finally realize just how great his team's COULD be.

Three Down....
1. Louisville - Down 40 spots to #67. I generally try to avoid putting teams who were not originally in my top 25 the previous week in this section, but when something like this happens, I've got no choice. I felt Louisville had a decent shot at winning the national title. Now I think they may not even be bowl eligible when all is said and done. The Big East is actually quite strong this year, and Louisville's already lost to one of the worst BCS conference schools I have ever seen (and that includes Duke, Baylor, and the Vandy of old). I didn't see any of this game, but when I heard this result my first thought was that this was a bigger upset than the Appy St-Michigan game. Way bigger. And I'll stand by that. Anyone who wants to argue with me there is free to do so.
2. Utah - Down 42 spots to #62. Yikes. No one could have honestly thought that they were as good as where they showed up in my rankings last week, but, unfortunately for them, what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas as far as my rankings go.
3. Nebraska - Down 16 spots to #39. In the days of my youth, in a time long long ago.....Well, it wasn't really all that long ago. 10 years ago Nebraska were national champs and had one of the most dominant dynasties college football had ever seen. Do you think they regret the Bill Callahan decision? I certainly do, because it used to be fun to watch Nebraska play offensively and defensively. Now it's just a bore, unless of course they need a 4th quarter comeback to beat the mighty Cardinals of Ball St.

Games of the Week
1. West Virginia vs USF - Now this is a rare Friday night game worth watching. W. Virginia will have revenge on their mind, and USF will be out to prove that their win over Auburn was no fluke (and I don't think it was). I think WVU will win the game, but expect USF to give them all they can handle for 3.5 quarters.
2. Florida vs. Auburn - This is an Auburn team that is backed into a corner against a Florida team with dreams of a repeat championship. Tuberville needs a big win this season, I think, to avoid the hot seat. I just don't see it coming from this game, and I'm not sure it will happen period.
3. Oregon vs. Cal - People should wake up. They play some good football out west, and I think this game could help people to realize that. Cal is ranked higher, but I can't see them winning this game. I think Oregon have the potential to be really really good. Think national championship kinda good. They will probably lay an egg and make me look like a fool here though.
4. Florida St. vs. Alabama - In the days of my youth, in a time long long ago....This would've been a monster game. An absolute monster. Now, it's just an entertaining matchup of two teams trying to rediscover the magic. And I think the Crimson Tide are only 1-2 years away from doing just that. The record is the same as last year, but they are lightyears ahead as far as mentality and toughness. In my opinion, Saban has worked a miracle in Tuscaloosa. Also in my humble opinion, FSU won't rediscover the magic as long as Bowden is there. Sad, but true.
5. Wisconsin vs. Michigan St. - Michigan St. is coming off an impressive win over Notre Dame. Wait a minute, I've got ND ranked where? Oh yes, 108th or something like that. Anyway, Wisconsin, frankly, has looked like cow dung, and they seem ripe for a beat down at the hands of a good team (which Iowa is not, and in fact is miles away from ever being). Is Michigan St. that good team to finally expose them? I kinda doubt it, but it is a battle of Little 9 unbeatens. Exciting. I'll be honest, I was having a hard time finding a 5th game.

Upset Specials
Yet again, nothing really jumps out of the page at me. But I'll take a few shots here at calling some games that could be more interesting than expected. You can find all the projections for Top 25 teams, as well as ACC and SEC games, here.

1. Alabama over FSU - For some unknown reason, the bookies have FSU as a 2.5 point favorite. Why is beyond me. They will play good defense in this one, no doubt about it. And yes, Alabama's defense has been suspect at times, so FSU can expect to score a few points. But this will be a true neutral venue, and that will mean alot. I can't see FSU scoring more than 16 points with that offense, and I can't see Alabama scoring fewer than 17. You do the math.
2. Ga Tech over Clemson - I once had a roommate in college that referred to this as the most physical rivalry in college football. To this day, I am still trying to determine what he means by this, but the fact is that this is usually, not always, but usually a great game. That being said, I see blowout written all over this one. I just don't know which way it will go. GT has fallen flat on their face the last 2 games, and Tommy Bowden's Clemson teams are always consistent, right? I'm not ready to make a definite prediction on this one, but it will be a game worth watching, at least for a few minutes. Something impressive will happen, one way or the other. And I wouldn't be surprised in the least if GT wins. Unless they wear their gold jerseys.
3. Miss St over S. Carolina - I wouldn't give this one very good odds, but it could happen. Final score will probably be 19-16, or something like that. You'll see 2 good defenses, and 2 pretty inept offenses, battle it out. And because it will be low scoring and close, Miss St just might pull something out of their hat, you just never know.

OK, that's all for this week. Admittedly, this week doesn't really get me fired up all that much. Maybe it's just because October the 6th is going to be such a huge day for college football. But more on that next week. Of course, who knows, a few big upsets this weekend and those 'big' games next week won't mean nearly as much as we thought. But that's the beauty of the sport. Who needs a playoff? Not college football, I can assure you of that.

Just a thought before I really close this out. My note up above about the Big East being a strong conference got me thinking. Next week I will try to write a little about the relative strength of each conference. But, what makes a good conference? 2 great teams at the top, a strong group of mid ranked teams, or having all 8, 9, 10 teams just being pretty good? In other words, should I take an average rating for each conference to determine the strength, or throwout the top and bottom teams, then average, etc.? Anybody with any thoughts on this, or if you care at all, please be oh so kind and leave a comment for me to read.

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