College Football just around the corner

by Wally

Are you ready for some football??   Not just yet??   That’s okay … we’re still about 4 weeks away.   As you can see, the guys are just getting warmed up.    Anyway, the first poll that counts … the coaches USA Today poll … has been released.  (see below).  

Given the pre-ordained system that unfortunately governs Div 1 college football, it looks like a spot in the national title game is waiting for both Oklahoma and Alabama, assuming they don’t lose and screw it all up.    Interestingly enough, since the “Big 12” almost imploded after last season with the defection of Nebraska to the “Big 10” and near defection of Texas A&M, there is not a Big 12 title game this season and thus one less risk faced by Oklahoma.   But unlike most seasons, the Sooners actually have a tough non-conference tilt as they travel to play #5 Florida State in mid Sept.    I think both of these “red teams” at the top of the rankings will lose at least a game … but if it’s only one, we could still see one of them in the final game. 

Meanwhile, #7 Boise State travels to Atlanta to battle #22 Georgia in Week 1.    No question what I’d like to see happen in that one!     Nothing would make me happier than seeing pretty boy Mark Richt squirming on the sidelines as his always underachieving Bulldogs lose to a “mid major”.    Go Broncos !!!!

Notre Dame is in at #18 off their strong finish last season combined with lots of returning veterans (including Michael Floyd …whew!) and a real good recruiting class.   The only ranked Irish opponents are #6 Stanford and #17 Michigan State.   However, if USuC wasn’t on probation, they’d probably be in the Top 25 as well.   

Auburn at #19???    Really??   Can you lose your “whole team” … Heisman winner Scam Newton and Lombardi winner Nick Fairley to the pros … and still come in that high while playing an SEC schedule?  

Stanford as high as #6 with a new coaching staff after Jim Harbaugh left for the 49ers?   I don’t think so … Andrew Luck is good, but he’s not THAT good.  

1 Oklahoma (42) 0-0 1454
2 Alabama (13) 0-0 1414
3 Oregon (2) 0-0 1309
4 LSU (2) 0-0 1296
5 Florida State 0-0 1116
6 Stanford 0-0 1101
7 Boise State 0-0 1065
8 Oklahoma State 0-0 933
9 Texas A&M 0-0 885
10 Wisconsin 0-0 829
11 Nebraska 0-0 814
12 South Carolina 0-0 779
13 Virginia Tech 0-0 767
14 Arkansas 0-0 750
15 TCU 0-0 687
16 Ohio State 0-0 631
17 Michigan State 0-0 536
18 Notre Dame 0-0 440
19 Auburn 0-0 329
20 Mississippi State 0-0 301
21 Missouri 0-0 266
22 Georgia 0-0 260
23 Florida 0-0 240
24 Texas 0-0 162
25 Penn State 0-0 161


48 Responses to "College Football just around the corner"

  1. bill ribas   August 4, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    That picture looks like a scene from “Gone With The Wind.”

  2. Wally   August 4, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Frankly, my dear Bill, I don’t give a damn!

    Ha! just playing along 🙂

  3. bill ribas   August 4, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    well played, sir!

  4. bill ribas   August 4, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    I should add that’s worth two helmet stckers there, Wally.

  5. Wally   August 5, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Thanks, Bill. You certainly get one for retrieving that great GWtW photo.

  6. Crossword Pete   August 5, 2011 at 9:03 am

    That OU-FSU game will be an early sign of whether Jimbo has brought FSU back to prominence. It will certainly be amazing if Luck IS good enough to overcome Harbaugh’s departure. I think Boise State is a bit underrated at #7, but time will tell. I think Miss St is WAY underrated. Nd belongs where they are in a preseason poll, but we will know early on if they are for real. S Fla/Skip Holtz is a tougher test than you might think. Holtz is returning to his and his old man’s stomping ground and he has a history of upsetting top teams in the early season. However, a 3-0 start and I believe we can accept ND’s finish last year as “real”. My ever cautious cousin in the ND Sports Information Dept. actually said to me a few weeks ago “BCS bowl”. She hasn’t been that optimistic in quite awhile. Fla has the potential to rise significantly in the rankings if Muschamp and Weis live up to their expectations. I would love to see ND v Fla in some bowl and stick it to the UnWeis one!

    Bill you’ve been watching too many movies!

  7. Wally   August 5, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Hey, Pete. Good synopsis. Wondering why all the love for Miss State? Do you really think they’ll end up being one of the top 4 SEC teams? Up there with Bama, LSU, Florida, et al? Cuz that’s what it’ll take to get them into the Top 15, which I think is what you’re inferring.

    Here’s ND’s schedule:
    S10 @ Michigan
    S24 @ Pittsburgh
    O01 @ Purdue
    O29 NAVY
    N05 @ Wake Forest
    N12 MARYLAND (FedEx)
    N26 @ Stanford

    They way things have been going for the Irish over past several seasons early on, I’d be happy to be 2-1 after the first three games, but also worried about going to Pitt for week 4. I’d love to see ND notch a 10-2 mark or better and be in the discussion for a BCS game, BUT a good or great start will be needed and I’m just snake-bit from seasons past where we’ve put ourselves in a hole from the get-go. Now, if the DEFENSE is really as good as they appeared to be at end of 2010, then chances for a great start go way up.

    Interesting that the highest ranked Big 10 team is #10 Wisconsin followed closely by Nebraska. Guess it’s an indication that voters are rightly skeptical about Ohio State and Meeeechigan.

    Also noteworthy that Oklahoma State is getting lots of love at #8. To stay there, there gonna have to play some serious D.

    Well … it’s WAY EARLY, but interesting to see where expectations are before the first games.

  8. Russell   August 5, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    The heat here in Arkansas may be getting to me but If the HAWGS can find a way to upset #2 Alabama on Sept 24th, then the A&M game in Dallas the next week will be a must-see game. Wally – Do you have your tickets?

  9. Wally   August 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Russ, good to hear from you! Nothing like a little CFB talk to bring people out from hiding.

    I think the heat is getting to you. Who’s playing QB for the Razorbacks now that Mallet has gone to NFL??? I think that’s a not-so-little detail you forgot to mention. And do they have the D to stop Bama? Where the game being played?

    We are close to requesting our A&M tickets but I don’t know if we can go to that game in Dallas since we’re also trying to fit in visits to see Boise State and ND, too.

  10. Russell   August 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Tyler Wilson and he is a pretty darn good QB. He filled in well last year when Mallet was injured. I think he will be the key to this years team. Unfortunatley the game against alabama is at bama so that will be a real challenge. Again the heat is real hot so this may be just another sign of my heat stroke. Looking forward to some ND football.

  11. Wally   August 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I hear ya …. it hasn’t exactly cooled off here in Houston. Another day topping 100 degrees with the “feels like heat index” around 109-110. But it sure beats freezin’ our butts off for 5 months a year in Alaska, huh?

    Tyler Wilson?? OK … I’ve got to ask again … will the Hogs have a stout defense?

  12. Rey   August 5, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Another ‘Splinters’ college football preview and no mention of the Mayor’s Cup or the U of R-Fisher face-off in the Flower City? Disappointing. For the record, I’m picking Temple and Fisher.

    These preseason polls serve what purpose again? I don’t see how Alabama is going to be that good after an SEC schedule. And yes, we’ve argued the SEC’s validitiy before on here and it IS the best conference in college football every year. Who else does Boise have that will challenge on the schedule? With Kellen Moore back they have to be poised to walk through their conference (No Kapaernick to deal with either). Surely they will make Richt look like Lovie Smith in a playoff game. My intriguing teams…

    Wisconsin and Texas. The Badgers have former NC State QB Russell Wilson. He is a playmaker but seems like quite the change at QB and for the Badger running system. Maybe the Badgers are going to get a little creative on the offensive side and really challenge. And I say Texas because everyone has written them off but I hear they have an experienced defense returning, albeit from a losing team. As we all know, defense wins championships and if they can just be consistent on the offensive side, might regain their prominence on the college gridiron.

  13. Wally   August 6, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Rey … sorry I forgot the Mayor’s Cup again. My bad. As for pre-season polls, as much as we would like to say they don’t matter, they actually do (unfortunately). Well, at least the USA Today poll does because it’s part of the BCS ranking calculation. Anyone ranked near the top has a good leg up on those who are not. For instance, if Alabama (starting #2) goes 11-1 and TCU (#15) goes 11-1, ‘Bama will almost certainly be ranked higher than TCU at season’s end. Same conclusion if it were Bama and Ohio State (#16). Yes, you still have to win 11 or more games to be in the hunt for the national title game, but it’s much harder for those teams not starting in the Top 5 or 10 to climb over everyone else into one of the top 2 or 3 slots.

    In addition to Georgia, Boise State’s schedule includes #15 TCU, Air Force and Nevada. They are now in the Mountain West, not the WAC.

    Even if you have a GREAT defense, that alone will very likely not win you a national title. Your offense needs to be “at least average” and your running game better be above average. Word has it they are still not quite happy with their QB play. My forecast for Texas this year: 8-4 or 7-5.

    After all the shootouts we’ve seen in national title games and very important conference games, I think it’s foolish to proclaim that “defense wins championships”. Instead, “defense helps win championships”.

  14. Casey   August 6, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Yeah. Defense wins championships.

  15. Wally   August 6, 2011 at 11:10 am

    So does offense.

  16. Chas   August 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Speaking of college football, didn’t I suggest we start a Pickin’ Splinters College Football poll last year. People seemed interested in the idea. Should we discuss specifics?

  17. Wally   August 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I’m game, Chas. I suggest we keep it to the Top 15 so it’s manageable from a time standpoint. Just don’t want to spend a lot of time debating #16-25 when it doesn’t matter much anyway. At least Top 15 covers all the BCS bowl slots plus a few. Thoughts?

  18. Travis Larner   August 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Speaking of offense and a quick mention of St. John Fisher, the Cardinals had one of the best offenses in the national last season. QB Tim Bailey was fifth in individual offensive output per game (324.75 yards per game). But SJFC finished 9-2, outside the top 25, and didn’t make the DIII playoffs. I work for the team and as a witness to last season, I will say it was a lack of defense that kept them from an undefeated season and a shot at the title.

  19. Rey   August 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I’m with Chas. We did the Splinters College football playoff one year and I thought that was cool. Poll would be fun. Wally makes a good point – we could do a top 10 or top 15 and make it easier.

    9-2 and no playoffs, Travis? Ouch. Imagine the uproar if DI had a playoff and a team like that was left out. Maybe the BCS is a good thing after all 🙂

    I forgot Boise switches conferences this year. Still looks like their schedule is similar in terms of having enough challenges to warrant consideration. Just a shame they’ll have to go undefeated to hold on to that.

    Wally – Don’t you find your stance on the “defense” adage strange considering you love baseball? Baseball is the only sport where the defense controls the gameball and a defensive statistic is recorded on the scoreboard. Come on – when it comes down to World Series contenders every year, what does everyone talk about? The best pitching. Defense! Shoot outs in national championship games? This must be excluding the high-powered offenses of Auburn and Oregon shooting it out to 22-19.

  20. Smitty   August 6, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Of course defense wins championships. How else did the Ravens win a Super Bowl? Or the Buccaneers for that matter.

  21. Smitty   August 6, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    I should bring up the year the Pats won the Super Bowl with a marginal offense and beat the Greatest Show on Turf.

  22. Wally   August 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Texas 41 USC 38 in the 2006 Rose Bowl for the title.

    Florida State 46 Va Tech 29 in 1999

  23. Wally   August 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    More BCS title games:

    LSU 38 Ohio State 24

    Alabama 37 Texas 21

    USC 55 Oklahoma 19

    Ohio St 31 Miami 24

    Defense doesn’t always win chan’ships. Sometimes it’s offense and sometimes it’s a well-balanced team that does both.

    I thought Tom Brady was one of the greatest QBs ever? So how could the Pats have a “marginal offense” if that’s true? Oh, that’s right … they had Mr Clutch Adam Vinatieri kick ’em a few Super Bowl wins cuz Tom Terrific couldn’t quite get ’em near the endzone.

    Did we not see the Steelers score at the very end of the Super Bowl to beat the Cardinals with one of the greatest, most unstoppable offensive plays ever?

    Defense … if you’ve got it, great! It can take you a long way. If not, you better have a great offense … and you can still win.

  24. Travis Larner   August 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm


    DIII football in Western NY is no joke. Alfred, Fisher, Ithaca. The entire Empire 8 conference is tough. Fisher won their ECAC Bowl game, but didn’t win the conference and were left out of the playoffs. We pretty much needed to be 10-1 or 11-0 to make it.

    Fisher lost to Alfred mainly because of an interception return for a TD on the first drive. We lost to Springfield despite outgaining them in offensive yardage and yards per play. Springfield forced more turnovers. Defense won those two games.

  25. Casey   August 6, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    “…with one of the greatest, most unstoppable offensive plays ever?”

    Are you confusing that with the interception and 99 yard return for a touchdown?

    I’d watch tv, but this is more entertaining.

  26. Smitty   August 6, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    How about TCU 21 and Wisconsin 19.

    I believe it was the TCU defense that was the deciding factor in that game.

  27. Smitty   August 6, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Wally – are you talking about the Arizona Cardinal defense that gave up 30+ points 5 times during that season, 40+ points 3 times and 50+ points once. That “… with one of the greatest, most unstoppable offensive plays ever” was against a mediocre defense at best. In fact, I would wager that if that defense had been better – we wouldn”t see Santonio Holmes make that great catch in the touchdown.

    Arizona rode their offense to the Super Bowl. – it was their defense that cost them the championship. Or should I say lack of defense.

  28. Smitty   August 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Also, the year that the Patriots beat the Rams in the Super Bowl – their offense in Brady’s what amounted to his rookie year – was average. In fact Ty Law ran one back for one of their first TD of the game by taking one of Kurt Warner’s passes back to the house.

    And let’s look at the 2007-2008 Pats, where Brady was having quite possibly one of the best seasons a QB has ever had – and becoming by your words – “one of the greatest QBs ever” – it was the Giants defense that absolutely stifled them in the Super Bowl. The Pats rode a high powered offense for most of that year and in the end – when the offense was stopped, their defense couldn’t respond.

  29. Wally   August 7, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Smitty … Those are not my words on Brady, but it’s what some other folks think and write. Not me.

    The Super Bowl play in question … Rothlisberger-to-Holmes …. was indefensible. A perfect throw, an unbelievable catch … there was nothing the defense could do. A great example of terrific OFFENSIVE skills winning a title. Thank you very much.

  30. Wally   August 7, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Oh … and Casey … in the same game … that goal line INT returned 99 yards by Pittsburgh for a TD right before halftime … one of the BIGGEST offensive SCREWUPs in a big game we’ll ever see. Warner will regret that ill-advised throw for the rest of his life … sheer stupidity … and, well, the 99 yard return was just an abberration. But if anything, it was great, albeit flukey, offensive skills displayed by a defensive player. 🙂

  31. Casey   August 7, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Hahaha – that is great how you are going to use one play as your argument when in a past “defense-wins-championships” discussion you argued against the goal line tackle made by the Rams to save their win over the Titans.

    That’s okay. You want to make one play at the end of the game more important than a play that created a 14-point swing in the first half. Go ahead and rationalize.

  32. Smitty   August 7, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Wally – the Rothlisberger to Holmes catch was undefensible. It was the DRIVE that was way too easy to get to that point. If the Cardinals had a better defense – they would have never gotten to that play.

  33. Casey   August 7, 2011 at 11:03 am

    The play was indefensible because Arizona had no pass rush at that point.

  34. Smitty   August 7, 2011 at 11:03 am

    So wait – when an offense scores it is because they are great and undefensible. But when the defense makes a great play – it is a screw-up by the offense?

    How much cake do you want??

  35. Wally   August 7, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Smitty … Hoooooooraaaaaaaaay!! Your comments are indicating that heads are finally being pulled out of butts! All I’ve been trying to say all along is that “sometimes, defense isn’t what wins championships. Sometimes it’s offense that wins ’em. And a lot of the time, it’s a team that has both.” I think you’re finally getting the point that there’s more than one way to look at it. Congrats … it only took a decade.

    If you run into this problem again, keep repeating “Texas 41 USC 38, Texas 41 USC 38 …. “. Or you can always go with “Big Red Machine, Big Red Machine … “.

    My job is done here 🙂

  36. Smitty   August 7, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Apparently you didn’t see the sarcasm dripping on my post.. Sorry.

    I was actually describing your argument. The fact that you are standing on both sides of the fence.

  37. Casey   August 7, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Wally – that is a champion job of convincing yourself.

    Four gold gloves…Four gold gloves…

  38. Chas   August 7, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I think it’s usually defense that wins championships, but only when it’s on a team that’s at least fairly well balanced. But, there will always be exceptions, like the 2009 Yankees, with AJ Burnett as #2 starter.

    So, I guess I’m straddling the fence in this argument. It’s been a good one, though.

  39. Chas   August 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Here’s what I’m thinking for the Pickin’ Splinters CFB poll:

    -I like Wally’s idea for a top 15. Kind of makes it a little different too.
    -We could say eligible voters include everyone who participated in last year’s CFB bowl predictions contest, or the PPP (Peerless Prognosticators Pool). I think that list includes all the frequent contributors, plus a few more. If those other guys are still paying attention, they’re free to participate.
    -For others to be eligible to participate, they have to submit rankings for three consecutive weeks for their rankings to be counted.
    -Any eligible voter who doesn’t participate for three consecutive weeks is dropped from the list and can only become eligible again by satisfying the above criterion.

    These are just my thoughts. Obviously, they’re open for discussion.

    What other considerations are there? How will the voting take place (post comments or via email)? Who will take the lead in this process? I’m willing, but I might need some help at some point, or maybe Wally wants to do it. Maybe we could have rotating responsibilities?

  40. Wally   August 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Chas, I support your thoughts on the weekly CFB poll. And although I certainly want to participate as a voter, I really don’t want to be the administrator. If needed to pinch hit for a week here or there to help you, I could do that.

    Seems like folks could easily submit their 1-15 rankings as comments via the website here. I’d be happy with that arrangement, but if the administrator wanted it via email, I could certainly comply with that.

    I’d think that voters should be required to have their rankings in each week by 5pm every Monday. The results could then be published every Tuesday morning (or earlier).

  41. Wally   August 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    And just to practice what I preach, I would recommend that our first poll be after week 3 so we don’t pre-ordain any undeserving teams or conversely bury teams that are pretty good.

  42. Kyle Soppe   August 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    this would be a very fun idea. id would vote on a weekly bases for sure 🙂

  43. Kyle Soppe   August 7, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    in fact, i like the idea so much, id consider being the one to compile the rankings weekly. id would think we create a weekly column, and everyone posts their rankings as a message. i would then gather all the rankings, and assess points. Assuming we do a top 15 poll, 15 points would be awarded to a team for appearing #1 on a given poll. 2nd place would get 14, and so on. A Pickin Splinters Composite ranking would be a cumulative score, with the top 15 point getters being our top 15 … thoughts?

  44. bill ribas   August 7, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I’ll toss in a free cd to the winner. There’s no way I’ll win (outside of sheer luck). Anyway, we (Chinchillas) just came out with another, so there’s a prize if you guys want it.

  45. Wally   August 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Kyle … You’re hired!! Although I think Chas may have wanted the job. If so, you might have to Rock-paper-scissors him for the “privilege” 🙂

  46. Kyle Soppe   August 7, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Haha. Chas can have it if he wants, ill do it if he doesn’t want it. and tic tac toe is more my game, haha

  47. Chas   August 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I agree with Wally that we should wait until after week three for our first poll, so we’ve got a little time to work out all the details.

    How about this, Kyle? I’ll let you take the lead with the posts, but I’ll be responsible for working out all the final details and for keeping track of who’s eligible to vote.

    Casey, can you send me Kyle’s email, or send mine to him?

  48. Kyle Soppe   August 9, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Works for me Chas. Just so i understand correctly, is this what you are thinkin?

    Ill start a weekly post, highlighting big games and such. Once the games are played, all voters will post there 1-15 ranks. you then accumulate the rankings and send me a final list, that i would post?

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