Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Revolution Was Televised on ABC

1453. 1644. 1917. And now, Halloween 2009.

Like the Byzantine, Ming and Romanov empires, all good things must come to an end. Such was the case for the Trojan Dynasty that has ruled the Pac-10 since 2002.

In retrospect, it was easy to see that this was a rebuilding year for USC. It lost most of its defensive stalwarts, including an entire linebacking corps that went among the first 38 picks in the NFL draft. It lost its star quarterback, who now hot dogs it for the New York Jets. It even lost its offensive coordinator to a rival Pac-10 school.

But because it's USC, it was assumed that it'd go on like business as usual ... until Saturday night, when the Oregon Ducks formally pronounced the fin de siecle with a resounding quack.

Since Pete Carroll's arrival in 2001, the Trojans have never been on the business end of a beatdown ... until Saturday night. Oregon's 47-20 victory was by far the worst loss in the Carroll Era (they have lost by double digits just once previously, by 11 to Notre Dame in 2001). It was also the most points the Trojans have ever allowed under Carroll (and the most since 1996).

The loss to Oregon effectively ends USC's bid for a short ride to Pasadena - either for the Rose Bowl or the BCS title game. The Trojans, of course, are still very much alive for a BCS bowl bid, possibly the Fiesta, but they won't win the Pac-10 this year.

The shame is that while Oregon will go on and claim the Rose Bowl bid, it almost certainly has no chance of claiming a spot in the BCS title game, despite playing better than anyone in the country at the moment. The Ducks, after a difficult season-opening loss at Boise State, have ruled the Pac-10 the way USC used to, outscoring their five conference foes by a score of 208-58.

Meanwhile, Iowa's BCS title hopes are alive and well despite yet another shaky performance. Some voters, however, are bound to elevate the Hawkeyes on their ballots based on that deceiving 42-24 final score over Indiana.

But ask yourself this: Is there any doubt which team is better, has played better, and has played better competition? If Iowa were to meet Oregon on a neutral field next week, who would be a double-digit favorite?

It's not Iowa. And the BCS is most definitely not heaven.

Projected BCS Standings:

1. Florida, 2. Alabama, 3. Texas, 4. Iowa, 5. TCU, 6. Boise State, 7. Cincinnati, 8. Oregon, 9. LSU, 10. Penn State, 11. Georgia Tech, 12. USC, 13. Ohio State, 14. Pittsburgh, 15. Utah.


Scott said...

I'm thinking Cincinnati jumps Boise State this week in the BCS. They were very close last week, and Syracuse was a slightly tougher opponent than San Jose State.

PeteP said...

Boise took a hit to balance out the gain from Oregon's win as its the second best team played so far (Tulsa) lost to SMU. Given that TCU beat SMU, it should mitigate against too much benefit. Added to that a win against one of th nation's worst teams and I think Scott may have it right, with Boise possibly falling down one more.

Dustin said...

This season: who would be the double digit favorite? -Oregon... Who would win? -Iowa

John said...

Oregon has NOT played a tougher schedule than Iowa. First, they were humiliated at Boise State. No first downs or some such in the first half. They have played all other relevant games in comfy home setting. they have beatedn USC, who is looking more and more like the most overrated team in college football in the past 20 years. They beat California, who is at best a #20 to #25 ranked team and did so at home. And please do not tell me about Utah. Meanwhile, Iowa beat Arizona decisively and they might just win the Pac-10, as they get Oregon at home. Iowa beat Penn State on the road, and they are likely going to be in a BCS game (watch), and they beat Wisonsin on road, and they will end up Top 20 and maybe Top 15 after the seaons is over. They are on their way to a 10-2 record.

As for Vegas and the spread, Florida is 3-3-1 ATS and Texas is 3-4-1 serious bettor would take either of those teams in a bet. Iowa is 6-2 ATS.

I would take Iowa straight up against Oregon though.

Anonymous said...

As a degenerate gambler - I would LOVE and Iowa v. Oregon matchup for that reason. Oregon would be favored and Iowa would win straight up!

I'll agree with the "who looks better" part, but it's pretty clear to me that Iowa has played a harder schedule. It's also clear to me that Iowa has the ability to make any team look sloppy and ugly and that would include Oregon.

Anonymous said...

I know this has already been said 2 or 3 times but how has Oregon played a tougher schedule than Iowa? That makes no sense whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

This guy, Guru, is a moron - so PAC 10 biased its not even funny. Last week, the great USC was the best team in the country with one explainable loss. Now that they've been exposed by yet another conference team, that latest team must now be the greatest team in the country. Anybody can predict how the poll numbers will fall out. Don't waste your time wondering if there is any genious in his analysis.

Anonymous said...

USC and Oklahoma are still probably higher than they should be. And why is BYU lower than Oklahoma?

Question, shouldn't Boise state be higher than TCU? Who has TCU beat? If you follow the path- Boise beat Oregon, Oregon beat USC, USC beat Ohio state- doesn't that mean Boise......

I know its not an exact science but just food for thought. The real issue I continue to have with the system is that preseason rankings make it tough for teams to climb. Once a team has a high pre-season ranking- they don't drop- if Florida or Alabama started 10th and Iowa started 1, would they have jumped over Iowa? Not suggesting Iowa should be higher than either- but the way the system seems to work.

While there may be bias for or against the Pac 10- at least everyone plays one another unlike the big 12, SEC, Big 10 etc...

Maybe the Big 10 could cut out the cupcakes Delaware St or New Mexico St and add another big 10 game.

buffalowill said...

Boise's second best win is @ Fresno State NOT @ Tulsa. The Bulldogs are likely to finish the regular season at 9-3 with losses @ Wisconsin in OT, @ Cincinnati by 8 and Boise. Winning in Fresno is no easy one wants to play there.
Hey John...why not talk about Utah? They have been written off this year by the biased media and coaches. Why else would the Utes finish 2008 as 4th and then "magically" fall to 18th in this year's preseason poll while the Alabama team they whipped in the Sugar bowl moves from 6th to 5th. What happened in the off season that we do not know?!? Utah is a VERY good team.

Justin said...

"As for Vegas and the spread, Florida is 3-3-1 ATS and Texas is 3-4-1 serious bettor would take either of those teams in a bet. Iowa is 6-2 ATS.

I would take Iowa straight up against Oregon though."

In season ATS records are not a good indicator of future success/failure. Component modeling systems with offense, defense, and a SOS element is much more meaningful.

Justin said...

"Question, shouldn't Boise state be higher than TCU? Who has TCU beat? If you follow the path- Boise beat Oregon, Oregon beat USC, USC beat Ohio state- doesn't that mean Boise......" that is ridiculous logic.

Anonymous said...

I discount any win Boise gets on that epilepsy inducing field they plan on. Their uniforms match the effing field. That is good for a half-step at least.

Also, a MWC schedule > Pac 10 schedule, not to mention a WAC schedule.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't be that quick to dismiss the logic- For the record- I could care less about either Boise or TCU, but the Oregon Ducks are better than any team TCU has faced. I guess after the TCU/Utah game that will provide a common opponent to compare as Oregon beat them. (and I could care less about Oregon) just debating the bcs

USC lost to washington so I still say they are way overrated at 12 even. Same as Oklahoma- 3 losses-really? still at 20?

And you can't really say with a straight face that the Mountain West conference is better top to bottom than the Pac 10. Thats crazy.

TCU just hasn't played anyone that good. Maybe they will start scheduling some better non conference opponents. Oregon scheduled instead of cupcakes Boise and Utah so give them credit.

Anonymous said...

The Pac-10 is more properly called the PAC 2. The Mountain West has had 3 teams in the Top 25 almost every single week of the season. An early home win over Oregon on the blue turf of Boise is not as quality as on the road in Provo late in the season. Moreover, though the ACC is hardly a power conference (but still an AQ-ha!) on the road in Death Valley isn't exactly Sisters of the Blind. Boise has a single quality win. That's it. At home. On blue fucking turf. They make Iowa look reasonably ranked (also absurd).

Anonymous said...

BYU couldn't even beat Arizona Wildcats last year in the Vegas Bowl.

at least either next year or the year after, the mountain west and Wac I believe will start mixing it up. I think Boise plays both both Utah and BYU. And next year I believe TCU goes to Texas Tech.

As far as the mountain west being better top to bottom than the Pac 10- nuts.

Didn't Utah get beat by Oregon as well?

back to the scheduling- this is where I was looking- it lists future schedules- you just click the team. Not sure when this gets updated

Worldfnchampions said...

Guru, what happened this week? Usually you're spot on. Did the human polls come out much different than you expected? Or was it the computers?

The Guru said...

@Worldfnchampions - To be honest, I'm scratching my head a little bit here on how Texas jumped Alabama. I anticipated the voters making a bit of a shift, but not to the extend it turned out. I'd give them credit for being flexible because that certainly hasn't really been the case in past seasons.

The computer ratings played out about how I projected with the exception of Billingsley. I've always had a harder time projecting his rankings because it behaves quiet differently from the other five.

I'll have a full post mortem on how I screwed this up in a day or so.

Anonymous said...

The "Iowa is awesome" stuff drives me insane. Here is why:

Everyone of these people want to tell me preseason expectations shouldn't matter. Thus a team like UF, who hasn't played up should be docked. But a team like Iowa, that does whatever to get by is incredible.

Does no one see the irony??? You are penalizing UF for not blowing everyone out...the preseason biases you had in your head. The exact same stuff that makes you fall in love with a team that can barely beat Northern Iowa and needs 3 official reviewers to fall asleep vs. Indiana.

It is all about the underdog here it seems to me. If Florida had come out of nowhere to be 8-0 this year with the same circumstances, a lot of you would be jumping on that bandwagon with comments like, "wow, they get challenged but seem to win". But no, save those comments for Iowa because you started this season with certain notions. You're no better than any pollster you rail against.

Todd said...

This season: who would be the double digit favorite? -Oregon... Who would win? -Iowa


I guess it's not about Ws and Ls, defense or playing well when it's necessary. It's about running up the score, not playing down to your opponent's level, flashy quarterbacks and running backs. Oh, and I almost forgot, reputation.

I thought the BCS was designed in part to remove some of the subjectivity. Honestly, unlike the Iowa team that lost against Florida in the Orange Bowl several years ago, I'd take this team to play with any team this year (and yes, I've watched all the undefeated teams a couple times). If Stanzi has a good game this team will be competitive with anyone due to it's defensive capability, particularly in the secondary.

Part of being a champion is overcoming adversity and Iowa has demonstrated that in many ways.

Anonymous said...

Todd, what you are actually saying is Iowa has exceeded your expectations for the year and teams like Texas and UF have not lived up to them (they were supposed to blow everyone out according to the preseason expectations). So, you have concluded Iowa is better than any of those highly regarded teams because of an expectation shift.

That seems to indicate you punish and reward teams based on preseason thoughts in a polar-opposite way pollsters do, but in a typical way, you still use all that horrible preseason judgment to determine who you think is better right now. If Iowa was the unanimous preseason #1 coming into this year and played the games they have...most everyone here would be throwing bricks at their computer screen if someone suggested they are the best team still (ala UF).

If Vandy was 8-0 right now with wins over UF, UGA, etc...most all of you would jump on them as the most incredible thing since sliced bread.

You let emotions and expectations get in your head in exactly the same way you accuse others of doing. I think Iowa has been a great story. Can they beat everyone put in front of them? Heck no! I don't think they'd have a chance vs. Texas or UF. Wanting it to happen is not the same as reality.

Anonymous said...

What's hilarious is a Florida fan being critical of getting favorable officiating calls...

Either way you can see the play here because I'm fairly certain most haven't seen it for themselves but have only heard the pundits: It seems to me, despite the raving of the ESPN folks in the video (controversy means more viewers don't you know), the receiver did not have control of the ball while any part of his body was in contact with the endzone. Indeed, the ESPN video itself clearly shows the foot was not on the ground. Even if it WAS on the ground he did not maintain control and both appear to be conclusive to me.

Even if the call goes the other way Iowa still wins. I don't think that's as easy to say in games in which Florida got calls that were much clearer.

Anonymous said...

I dont expect Iowa to beat Ohio State. Ohio State beats Penn State this weekend, then beats Iowa, then beats Michigan.

Love it or hate it but Ohio State will be at the Rose Bowl to play Oregon.

2 weeks from now Cinderella (Iowa) will have been forgotten.

Anonymous said...

I like how everyone complains about the officiating in the Iowa game. It cost Indiana 4 points (their own fault they couldn't kick a 29 yard field goal) in the middle of the game when most of the scoring hadn't even taken place yet. Did any of you watch the TEXAS game??? The officiating kicked Oklahoma State down early and let Texas score on account of it multiple times, yet no one seems to complain about that...

Todd said...

Absolutely not. Iowa should not be treated favorably because they are perceived to be underdogs and had to overcome more to be undefeated at this point. Iowa should be treated the same as Florida, Alabama, Texas, Cincy, TCU, and BSU. However, the ability to do what's necessary to score more points than your opponent before the end of the fourth quarter should count for something. Overcoming adversity to me means you find a way to win. One thing the national "experts" think about Iowa is it's not "sexy". They're down to their third RB and their QB play has been very inconsistent (to put it nicely). Champions overcome these types of things. They find a way to win. Iowa personifies that.

My point is that some fans, and definitely nearly all "expert commentators" think Iowa doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the others because of the reasons I mentioned. That's unfair. Ferentz and his coaching staff as well as Stanzi, have done what is necessary to win. They've won their bowl games unlike other Big Ten teams. There is a reason they have the second longest winning streak in college football.

Florida is a very good team, maybe even the best team this year. The fact that they play to expectations or not is irrelevant. My point is doing what is necessary is win, even when it means you don't blow out a team that some think you should, is just as much a trait we should look for in a champion as having Mr. ESPN QBing your team well. Winning ugly shouldn't count less than blowing opponents out if the goal ultimately is to leave the game with a W.

Sorry for the ramble. Hopefully I made my point.

Anonymous said...

I'll give up the officiating in the Iowa game rant. Even though I think Indiana probably gave up thinking they could win after a whole 3 quarters of it (that one TD call was only the last in a long series of biased decisions, IMO).

Whatever, nevermind that. Iowa is great and awesome or whatever else you need to hear.

Now, how about addressing the point that you think Iowa is better than everyone because they have exceeded preseason expectations and others have not. I'd like to see someone tackle that issue. Explain to me how you'd be boasting Texas as incredible after beating Northern Iowa and Arky State by a combined 4 points and I might listen to your "logic". You know you'd be slamming them even more for that effort. So don't bother lying to me about it.

Anonymous said...

I can agree to a point with your point Todd. Thanks for the reply. It just seems there is a desire from one week to the next for every BCS basher to come up with a new "greatest team ever, who wasn't considered before" that is going to beat up on those horrible guys at the top...who only got there because they pay the BCS officials (or some such theory). One week Boise State is better than UT, UF and Bama. Then they seem to be getting dropped for Iowa a few weeks later. I have no problem giving Iowa their due for continuing to be unbeaten and finding all kinds of ways to win. But the overzealous belief from people (more aptly called desire) that they can suddenly beat every team on Earth makes the wilingness to give congrats a little less fun.

Todd said...

I give up.

We're making the same point.

Reputation and how a team plays relative thereto should be irrelevant in determining their quality. The reputation Iowa had/has and how they played better than or that Florida has and that they played worse than shouldn't matter. What they should be judged on is Ws and Ls.

If "style points" are something we want from our teams then we need to put scoring margin back into the computer indices. You also invite the thing you're afraid of though. People will begin to judge you against expectations. Honestly, I think many of us see "style points" in something other than tossing bombs against terrible secondaries. I guess it's like those that don't like pitching duels in baseball. I'd love a bowl game where it was tough to score because of two outstanding defenses.

The point I was trying to make about adversity has nothing to do with reputation. When you toss five picks and your team is down multiple possessions in the fourth quarter yet you pick yourself up off the bench and lead your team to a multiple possession victory it says something about your gumption. When you go undefeated against quality foes (Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan State) at their place despite allowing Arkansas State and UNI to have a chance early in the season it says something about your fortitude.

I'm not talking about playing relative to reputation. My point is the very thing "experts" see as a weakness in Iowa is something I see as a strength (even when they themselves (Iowa) was the one that that created the adverse condition it had to overcome).

Todd said...

I agree completely. Sorry for the response. I was responding to the "anonymous" poster before you. I appreciate your thoughts and the civility of your responses.

As much as you think Florida may be being held to a higher standard and discounted because of play not up to a third party's expectations I think Iowa may be getting shafted a bit by some because their Iowa and not Ohio State or Michigan. Just the opposite of what you were suggesting.

All this may be for moot however as the fella that suggested Iowa had already has lost to Ohio State may be right at least in the sense that for Iowa, it may well boil down to that game.

Anonymous said...

do the computers take into account any of the human votes?

The next couple weeks should answer a lot of questions- Iowa and Ohio State- TCU vs Utah, Alabama vs LSU, Oregon vs Arizona.

This just seems like a year where because of the pre slotted bowls the conferences get, some teams will get slighted. I mean does anyone believe Georgia Tech (and they still have to play Georgia) would deserve a BCS bid?

I'm not in favor of a playoff but at some point you have to take the 5 major bowls(yes 5) BCS Championship, Rose, Fiesta,Orange, Sugar and simply have 1 vs 2 in the championship and rotating by year which of the others gets 3 vs 4, 5 vs 6 etc etc.

Again no playoffs as I think that takes away from the regular season- but thats atleast what would stop this craziness where you get Illinois at 16 being invited to the Rose bowl a couple years ago.

Anonymous said...

"This just seems like a year where because of the pre slotted bowls the conferences get, some teams will get slighted. I mean does anyone believe Georgia Tech (and they still have to play Georgia) would deserve a BCS bid?"

Of course Georgia Tech deserves a BCS bid (if they win the ACCCG). They have already beaten 2 ranked teams and would have to beat another in the ACCCG. Plus, they will be 3-0 against the SEC after beating Georgia.

They are 2-1 against the Sagarin Top 30, which is better than TCU, Boise St, LSU, and Penn State all being mentioned for BCS bowls.

Ute Fan said...

Intriguing question for you Guru: Is this the year 2 teams from Non-BCS conferences go to BCS bowl games?

I know it's pretty early to speculate, but... If I read the selection process right....and if TCU and Boise State both win out, I'd bet on Boise State being a better fit in the fiesta bowl then the likes of Penn State, USC or Pitt.

It goes something like this:

First the NC game and tie-ins:
NC: Florida-Texas (or Alabamba-Texas, it doesn't much matter for this exercise)
Rose: Pac-10, Big 10 (Iowa, Oregon)
Orange: ACC (Georgia Tech)

Now the tie-in replacements:
Sugar: Alabama (or Florida)
Fiesta: less sure since no Big 12 team is eligible, but probably takes highest ranked AQ (Cinci or TCU)

That leave 3 at large births to choose from a pool of 6:
TCU or Cinci
Boise State
Penn State

Pick goes in this order: Orange, Fiesta Sugar

Orange: shuns the long distant Boise and takes closer TCU or Cinci, Penn State or Pittsburg, or higher profile USC.
Fiesta: Boise State of course (or TCU/Cinci)
Sugar: one of the others (certainly TCU or Cinci if not already picked)

Of note, LSU get's left out as two SEC teams already selected.

Of course there is still a lot of football to be played, but food for thought.

Anonymous said...

I think the GURU is obsessed with Iowa
and wrote his comments before they came back

The Ducks are good - if the GURU wants to bet the rent money, and give more than ten points to Iowa - that's he's business, but the really great thing about the GURU business is that it doesn't cost when you are wrong

Anonymous said...

haha this Iowa idiot posting 5 times, you are a moron. You have one good win, @Penn State. Arizona has done nothing in the pac-10 thus far, they still have the best 3 teams in the conference on their schedule. USC clearly got exposed on Sat, but overrated over the last 5 years? They have singlehandedly ruined your conference. If they were overrated what does that say for all the mediocre big 10 champions that they destroy every year? Oregon has BLOWN OUT every single conference team they have played and the pac-10 is a far tougher conference than yours. They just blew out the USC program that blows out your conference champion every single year. Boise loss hurts them, but that same week ya'll were busy beating Northern Iowa by 1 point. You have like 3 fluke wins against bad big-10 teams and you have somehow been more impressive than the Ducks? God forbid Oregon has to play you in the Rose Bowl, you will find out that good team's wont let that stuff happen. Though, I would bet good money there's no way you guys get out of Ohio State with a win. I don't see how any top-10 team can try and use the Boise game against Oregon when none of them outside of Bama played 1 remotely similar non-conference game.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone has claimed that Iowa is the best team in the country, but everyone's haterid for this is absolutely ridiculous. "OOO Iowa sucks because they almost lost to one of the best I-AA teams in the country that was geared up to play them all summer in the first game of the year." Get over it. Iowa is 9-0.

As for this idiot above me, why does it matter what USC teams have do to Big Ten schools the last couple of years? Really, what does that even remotely have to do with this years Iowa football team? Do I think Iowa would have beaten USC last year? Probably not. Do I think that Iowa would beat USC this year? Yes. Would Iowa beat Oregon? I don't know, but they're the only team in the country I wouldn't have a problem with Iowa playing right now (not saying we'd beat everyone). Does that mean I think we beat OSU and run the table? Absolutely not. At this moment, does Iowa deserve to be #4? 9-0 with a top 10 strength of schedule.

Nick said...

Last year's Iowa team was better