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Monday, November 22, 2010

Big Game and More

Big Game
I do love college football. I was at the Big Game Saturday (Stanford at Cal) and got see old Memorial Stadium before the renovation. Counting Notre Dame, that makes two storied stadiums I've had the privilege of visiting this year. Memorial stadium is beautifully located (dug into a hillside overlooking San Francisco Bay) with a perfect bowl configuration that's fairly close to the field. Unfortunately, its so old there is no concourse, bladder breaks head for the Honey Buckets out back and it's cramped, cramped, cramped.  All 67,000 seats are wooden benches, no backs, and the bench in front of you is so close, you literally must stick your knees between the fans in front of you.

I was impressed with the decorum of the Cal fans.  I expected worse, based on some bad actors last year in Stanford, but the Bears took it well (except for the Cal students who threw water bottles at those three celebrating Stanford students while the cops watched - and who then admonished the Stanford kids).  Too bad the Cal team wasn't as civilized before the game.

Also, too bad the security didn't do the same after the game. They really, REALLY wanted to keep Stanford students off the field and cordoned off the end zone area where we sat with yellow caution tape and three deep in cops and stadium security.  Stanford fans found a way, however, and some Junior G-Men from stadium security were tackling a few of them on the field, including young women.  This is while dozens to hundreds of people streamed by.  Idiots. They finally gave up when the Stanford team came from mid field to gather near the end zone.

The Hit
Gotta love Stanford QB Andrew Luck.  He's got size and he's not afraid to use it. Take a look at him decking Cal DB Sean Cattouse en route to a 58 yard run.  He's a horse. The best part was the way Luck seemed to pause momentarily before resuming his dash.  Admiring his work?

Stanford's Bowl Hopes
Still hoping for the Rose Bowl but the pollsters aren't helping.  Let's see, Stanford demolishes Cal in Berkeley and drops in the polls.  Thank god for the computer rankings. Somehow, folks back east seem to think that since the Big 10-1/2 has three one-loss teams then it must be a strong conference and worthy of high rankings. Of course, they don't all play one another.  For a great analysis on that, read Seattle PI columnist Ted Miller's take which follows.

Ted Miller on PAC-10 v. the World
"Over at the Pac-10, we're grinning. We're about to point out the Pac-10 plays a nine-game conference schedule, which automatically adds five losses to the conference, which, of course, hurts the conference's national perception, not to mention its number of bowl-eligible teams. Every other BCS conference plays eight, other than the eight-team Big East. But that’s not why we're grinning. We're grinning because the Big Ten and the Big 12 will do that soon, and then they'll find out the perception consequence of not giving your entire conference an extra win with a nonconference patsy. Of course, the savvy SEC will continue to play eight conference games, schedule weak nonconference opponents and then trumpet itself as super-awesome.

Why is the Pac-10 No. 2 [conference]? Well, it's got the nation's No. 1 team in Oregon. It's got the nation's No. 6 team in Stanford, which many believe to be the nation's best one-loss team. And four of 10 teams are ranked. Are Iowa and Wisconsin good teams? Absolutely. But Iowa lost to Arizona, which has three Pac-10 defeats, and Wisconsin got a fluky one-point win at home over Arizona State, which is 2-5 in the Pac-10. The Pac-10 is 10-4 overall vs. other BCS conferences. It's ranked No. 1 by the Sagarin ratings, which for some reason don't believe stadium size is a true measure of a team or a conference. Even lowly Washington State is no longer the pushover it was the previous two seasons.

Depth? Let's put it this way: The Pac-10 would love to match the team that ends up second to last in its conference versus the one that ends up in that spot anywhere else."

Well said.  Bottom line, distribute an additional loss to half the teams in the other conferences. Interesting exercise, no?

Here are my rankings using "who would win"(in head-to-head competition) speculation. I'm still unconvinced Boise State and TCU could stay undefeated with a tough conference schedule. Hey, it's an opinion.
(BCS in parentheses):

 1    Oregon  (1)
 2    LSU (5)
 3    Alabama (11)
 4    Auburn  (2)
 5    Stanford (6)
 6    Boise State (4)
 7    Nebraska (15) (assuming a healthy and happy QB Martinez)
 8    Arkansas (12)
 9    TCU (3)
10   Wisconsin (7)
11   South Carolina (18)
12   Oklahoma State  (9)
13   Who cares?

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