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Monday, November 10, 2008

Walker-Sports Top 25 Poll:Bama Survives

It seems like this college football season just gets better and better every week. This past weekend was no exception. Alabama was taken to the limit down in the Bayou, Utah had to fight to keep their BCS hopes alive and Texas Tech is still proven critics wrong by blowing out a top 10 team. Now let’s take a look and see how the top 25 shakes out as teams are feeling the pressure with crunch time getting closer.

1) Alabama: Nick Saban took his boys into very hostile territory but they stayed focus fought hard and came away with the win. This may have been the most impressive win of the season for Alabama. They locked up the SEC West, but they got a Gator buzz saw waiting for them in the SEC championship game.

2) Texas Tech: The Red Raiders flexed their muscles Saturday night against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys never had a chance. Graham Harrell was simply amazing as was Michael Crabtree. I have a sneaking suspicion that Texas Tech is going to screw something up in the BCS this year.

3) Florida Gators: The best team in football right now. The Ole Miss game is long forgotten and Urban Myers has his team on a mission. If they win out it would be hard to deny this one lost team that is for sure.

4) Oklahoma Sooners: The Sooners were underrated all season and that seems to work for them. Remember they began the season ranked 19th in 2000 when they won a national title. Oklahoma gets a week off, and then they will be thrust into the national spotlight when they take on Texas Tech. A win there and the Sooners will have a major claim to get back into the title hunt.

5) USC: The Trojans fell into this spot simply because they have stuck around long enough. And hopefully that will not be the reason the sneak into the BCS Championship game. Although USC vs. Penn State in the Rose Bowl is not appealing either. This is not Pete Carrols best team and they proved that with another lackluster performance again Cal on Saturday.

6) Utah: They may just be legit this season. Utah survived a tight scare against an upset minded TCU on Thursday night. As a result they live to fight another day, and their BCS hope are a live and well, which actually could spell trouble for fellow BCS buster Boise State.

7) Texas Longhorns: The Texas Longhorns have gotten a lot of love in the BCS Poll and in all honesty it is difficult to dispute that love either. Texas is a very good team and if given a chance they could ruin some ones trip to a bowl game.

8) Boise State: They have done everything right, except they do not have a marquee win. And in the end that could be what cost this team even when they complete the year undefeated. When it’s all said and done Utah will have wins over TCU and BYU both ranked teams. Boise will just have another successful run in the WAC. You cannot live off the success of 2007 for so long.

9) Penn State: I was given the hint to bet Iowa in this game and I should have taken them up on it. Joe Pa’s crew finally found reality on a cold windy Saturday afternoon. So the National Title is out of the question, but Penn State still has the inside track to make the Rose Bowl and they better remain focus if they want to keep that effort up.

10) Ball State: Much like Boise State, Ball State will do everything right this season but still be left sitting on the sidelines. When your marquee wins are against Indiana and Navy there’s just not much to hang your hat on there. Maybe they should create a special “Best of the Rest” Bowl game where Boise State and Ball State can match up.

11) Missouri Tigers: The more I watch this team just hanging out in the Big 12 North the more dangerous I think they are. Missouri got beat up when they had to travel through the Big 12 South, but now they have had easily sailing and they will continue to as they go through the end of the season. The Tigers will be on upset alert when they walk into the Big 12 Championship in a few weeks.

12) Ohio State: The Buckeyes have not had a bad season, their only loses have come against Penn State and USC, plenty of other teams can claim losing to either one of those schools. However, OSU has not done anything exceptional this season either. Even if they manage to blow out Michigan, I doubt anyone will be surprised or impressed.

13) Florida State: I can honestly say I did not expect to see the Florida State Seminoles sitting this high in the rankings this year. Granted they have not done a whole lot to deserve this spot, but they have handled their business. Much like OSU and several other teams this season FSU have not had any impressive victories, but they keep plugging along and racking up the wins. I like this team to make the Orange Bowl.

14) Georgia Bulldogs: When the dust settles, this will be considered a disappointing season for the Bulldogs. They will not play for a national title or an SEC title. However, the rumors and the possibility of losing head coach Mark Richt could prove to be more devastating than any lost on the field.

15) BYU: Just hanging around and waiting to play spoiler to Utah’s BCS party, that is what the Cougars can hang their hat on this season.

16) Michigan State: Michigan State could have a massive year if they can keep their heads on straight. A win against Penn State in a few weeks and MSU can pack their bags for the Rose Bowl. I’m not sure they want to square off against USC, but just making the Rose Bowl would be a massive accomplishment for this team.

17) Oklahoma State: Saturday night was ugly. There’s really no other way to put it. The Cowboys had no answer for Texas Tech. Their defensive line could not get any penetration and the secondary acted like they had never heard of Michael Crabtree. Well, I am sure after three touchdowns, they know who he is now.

18) North Carolina Tar Heels: Butch Davis is doing his best to leave his mark on this program. They racked up another impressive win over a conference foe. Now they have to win out and make it to the ACC Championship to make this season a success.

19) TCU: They tried to play spoiler twice this season, and unfortunately they just did not have enough in the tank.

20) Tulsa: Not a whole lot to this Tulsa squad, because of the conference they play in they don’t have many options to reach a big bowl game, and that is a shame. This is a fun team to watch, and everyone should catch them at least once just so they can see what the spread offense looks like when it is run to perfection.

21) Wake Forest: Wake Forest pounded the Virginia Cavaliers early in the first half then held on in the second half to get the win. The important part of this victory is it gave WFU a little bit of life to look forward to going ahead into the season.

22) LSU: It is not LSU’s year. There is really no other way to put it. A young quarterback means a lot of growing pains, especially in a conference like the SEC where teams like to apply pressure and get after you.

23) Cincinnati Bearcats: Two big wins in consecutive weeks and the Bearcats have broken into the Top 25. Not only that, but with the jumble that is the Big East, it is not out of the question for the Bearcats to sneak into a BCS game.

24) Pittsburgh: This Pittsburgh team is playing their ass off right now. Perhaps they are trying to save their coaches job. No matter what it is, they are in the thick of things and have a chance to reach a BCS game as well.

25) Oregon State: How about the Beavers just hanging around out west and with that win over USC they have earned the right to make this list. It would take a bit of luck, but Oregon State could luck up and make the Rose Bowl, now that would be something.

Our Peter King MMBBQ - 11/10/08

I think I've frequently said, its not really part of my element to mock sports writers, especially ones who are significantly more successful than I.

In Peter King's case, I think we'll have to make exception to mock the crap out of him. Its not that I hate Petey, its just that his holier than thou, I am the all knowing NFL writer attitude kills me...and when it spills out beyond football (as you'll see) I just can't take it.

Today's MMBBQ is politically charged:

You see Petey thought it'd be nice to charge his Democratic friends with a nice one pager during the election, something that nary raised an eyebrow in 2000 or 2004...

He focused on the election of a black man to the presidency (to be fair, a historic moment in many ways). He touched on Brandon Marshall's potential touchdown celebration (and black and white "Power Fist") and the status of minorities in the NFL (something I feel is fairly represented with respect to the US population, but not with respect to the NFL population). And of course, he let us know how NFL stars feel. Rather than fight through mindless partisan dribble, I'll leave you with the good quote (pretty much the only one, though Scott Fujita's was ok, though not to insightful), courtesy of Hines Ward: "We'll all remember where we were when our first black president was elected. It used to be that a black coach was unheard of; now I'm playing for one. A black president was certainly unheard of, and now we have one. Martin Luther King talked about having a dream, and now we're all living it."

But that fact of the matter is, Petey chose to focus on the election. Not because it was historic (he claims that was the rational) but because he's a partisan arrogant son of a bitch. It is ridiculous to use your national article as a way to trumpet your political views which, while slightly clouded here, is very clear in retrospect. Its even more offensive that such an illustrious (get it!) magazine's editor would allow for this.

Fire Peter King? That's change I believe in...

And moving on Peter's added a few new sections this year, specifically: What I learned about Football this week that I didn't know last week. Now, I can understand the point, but the title of this one says it all: The NFC Might be the stronger conference at the top right now, but the AFC is decisively better in one area: special teams. Perhaps I'm interpreting the wrong way, but it took you 9 weeks of NFL football (where you continuously ranked the Giants, Redskins, Eagles and Cowboys in your top 10...and that's just one division) to realize the NFC was better...

That's ok, you focus on special're special Petey...very special...

Case of the Mondays - Daily "Linkin' Logs" (11/10/08)

I will accept criticism for the Eagles loss last night now...

Okay, that is all.

Seriously, what a brutal job by Andy Reid and his staff. You can gripe about a stupid reversal of an illegal forward pass (rule was used correctly, though I have reservations regarding the placement of the line of scrimmage), but the fact of the matter is Andy bumbled this one away with 2 challenges (stupid), couldn't manage the clock in the final two Eagles drives and then called two running plays at the end of the game, with 1 T.O. in his pocket and time draining fast...oh and the Eagles couldn't run the ball all game, what makes him think something's changed? This team just pisses me off...

In more interesting news (that is utterly flying under the radar) is the distinct possibility of a second NHL Team in Toronto. This article, from Canada's Globe and Mail suggests that the franchise would become amongst the most valuable NHL franchises and moreover would have to pay some type of fee to the Maple Leafs in order to exist in their fair city. While I'm extremely hesitant of NHL expansion, I believe moving a crappy Florida or Phoenix or perhaps San Jose (a good team, in a bad area for them) team to Toronto may work out...though I believe it deserves its own arena. The prospects are fascinating, though I'm sure the detractors will show up. Still, the first step in improving the NHL will be contractions...something Gary Bettman seems less than willing to even consider.
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