Everyone knows that when I talk about sports, I keep my personal opinions out of it and maintain complete and humble objectivity. For instance, when I speak of the great evil that is the Boston Red Sox or the fact that Brady and Belichick are servants of Sauron, I only speak the unvarnished, factually established, truth-beyond-doubt-or-debate. So, I thought I’d take a crack at a brief analysis of the Power football conferences after the opening weekend that was dubbed the “Greatest Ever” by many in the press.
I will stick to the facts and keep my opinions to myself, as is my usual policy. I’m not going to mention the secondary conferences or independents (though taking a shot at Notre Dame is always a possibility). This is simply an analysis of the Power 5 – The Big 10, the Big 12, the ACC, the SEC, and the Pac 12.
Of course, a lot changes between Labor Day and New Years.
1. The Beloved Big 10: 12 Wins, 2 Losses
- 10 wins against varying level of patsies and mid-major talent. There were a couple of these that were closer than expected but none were “upset alert” games.
- 1-1 against Pac-12. One of our worst teams, Rutgers, played #14 Washington and got hammered. Minnesota narrowly beat Oregon St.
- 1-0 against supposed playoff contender from SEC, as Wisconsin sent LSU running south with their tiger tails tucked between their legs.
- 1 bad loss. Northwestern, expected to be at least a bowl team, lost 22-21 to Western Michigan.
The Verdict – B+
The good guys held serve. Northwestern gave away a bad one, but Wisconsin spanked the LSU Fighting Les Miles. That was the game of the week! Rutgers losing to highly ranked UW is not shameful. The rest of the games were just typical opening week fare – getting a win against lesser teams. Nothing spectacular but solid football.
I know everyone is glad to know the Hawkeyes won 45-21 over Miami (the Ohio version).
2. The Puke 12…Er….Pac 12: 7 Wins, 5 Losses
Sorry, a moment of bitterness over the Rose Bowl may have overtaken me.
- They had 4 wins over smaller conference patsies.
- They went 1-1 against the Big 10, their likely leader, Stanford, took out Kansas State from the Big-12,
- The LA area went 0-2 against the SEC, one of those being an absolute beat-down by the Crimson Crud against USC.
- There were 2 bad losses for the conference against smaller schools (if BYU qualifies as such).
The Verdict – C-
Not a great conference, it seems. Stanford is probably going to be the class of the Pac again, but the chance that they will be left out of the tourney is strong. USC didn’t just get beat, they got beat down. That hurts the whole conference.
3. The Big 2….AKA, The ACC: 11 Wins, 3 Losses
- One conference game, which guarantees both a win and a loss.
- 8 wins over patsies from small conferences.
- It appears to me that as many as 5 teams played games against FCS (1-AA) schools.
- There was 1 VERY bad loss. Virginia was not only beaten, but dominated by Richmond, an FCS school.
- ACC teams were 2-1 with the SEC.
- The ACC has two very good teams, assuming that Clemson is better than it showed against Auburn. FSU absolutely beat down Mississippi after falling behind 28-6. One of those schools is going to beat the other, but both may be in the tourney at the end.
The Verdict – C
How good are UNC, Louisville, and other schools? Who knows? But it seems that the ACC is a 2 team race. The winner of the Clemson-FSU game is likely playing in the tourney. It may be too early to give it to them, but FSU was impressive tonight. Spotting 22 points to Ole Miss, they just delivered an absolutely humiliating beating to that team.
4. The Not-So-Big 12: 7 Wins, 3 Losses
- Texas did the entire country a favor by giving the Notre Dame Annoying Annoyances a beating. Now, we can all thank them and go back to cheering for them to lose the rest of their games. That’s pretty much the only game that the Not-So-Big 12 wants to talk about.
- Their other six wins were against a motley collection of nobodies from nowhere. Even the win against the SEC was against Missouri, which couldn’t play because its team kept protesting West Virginia’s micro-aggressions on every play, claiming the football field was no longer a safe place for them.
- Their losses were notable. They gave the Pac-12 it’s only signature win, as Kansas State lost to Stanford. Iowa State lost to FCS Northern Iowa (which is a very good program, but still FCS), and previously #3 Oklahoma (always overrated in preseason) did not just get beaten by Houston, but got smoked by them.
The Verdict – C-
Not an impressive weekend for the Big 12. Texas got a big win, but I didn’t come away expecting them to appear in the playoff. This may be a down year in the Big !2. If the Sooners win out, though, the fact that they have Oklahoma on their uniforms will cause the committee to ignore just how badly they played and they will be chosen over an undefeated Houston team that beat them. Let’s hope that Boomer Stoops takes 2 or 3 more losses.
5. The Sad, Sorry SEC: 7 Wins, 7 Losses
Clearly, the worst weekend of any conference and still the fans of this conference will say that they are the undisputed best.
- Alabama is the class of this conference – they should probably just give them the conference title now. Stop talking about how deep this conference is. It’s Alabama and the 13 Dwarves.
- The SEC did NOT distinguish itself head to head against the Power 5 conferences. A national title contender (LSU) lost to unranked (Big 10) Wisconsin. While Georgia managed to squeak out a comeback against the Tarheels, Ole Miss absolutely got run off the field by FSU once they got in gear. Auburn gave Clemson a better game than anyone expected but it was still a loss. That’s 0-1 against the Big 10, 1-2 against the ACC. They went 0-1 against the Big 12. Fortunately for the SEC, they did manage to go 2-0 against LA, beating both UCLA and USC. With the 2 wins against the Pac-12, the vaunted SEC was 3-4 against the Power 5. Without the LA schools, the SEC went 1-4 against the other Power 5 conferences.
- As to their other wins…South Carolina won – against another SEC school, Vanderbilt.
- Tennessee managed to pull out an overtime win against that noted football powerhouse known as Appalachian State.
- Florida scored twice in the fourth quarter to beat all-time great Massachusetts ,24-7.
- Arkansas got a late TD to nip Louisiana Tech 21-20.
- The losses? Yes, they lost to Florida State and to Clemson. But they did not lose all their games to powerhouses. Southern Mississippi beat Kentucky and supposed contender Mississippi State was knocked off by…wait for it… South Alabama.
The Verdict – D
Watch the SEC fans make excuses for this and explain how they are really superior after all. This weekend, they were not…except for Lord Voldemort’s team that played in Dallas. They were good enough that we might have to put up with CB Scott’s crowing all year. Let’s hope FSU or OSU or one of the other good schools can rise up and smite them in the playoff.
Classy Moment of the Weekend
My church is about 1/3 or more Nebraska Cornhuskers fans. We accept them because I can’t find a biblical reason to exclude them. If you look at Sioux City on a map, you’ll find we are on the border between Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Our church parking lot is on a Loess Hill overlooking the Missouri River, looking into Nebraska. I really do not like the Nebraska Cornshuckers. But they did something really moving this weekend that brought a tear to the eye even of this hater.
Their punter was killed in a car wreck a few weeks ago. The first time they punted on Saturday, they sent 10 men on the field, got in punt formation, but did not send out a punter, as a tribute to Sam Foltz. It was a really classy move and an emotionally impacting moment.
The Fresno State team declined the penalty, which was also classy.
A Way-Too-Early Final Four Prediction
I love to make fun of ESPN and SI – their preseason predictions are HORRIBLE. I keep the magazines to laugh at later. However, I can change this blog later to make it seem like my picks were actually better than they really were! My best guess today about the Bowl playoff.
- Alabama. You know it pains me to admit this. But who in the weak, pitiful SEC is going to even give them a game?
- FSU. I think they will roll on through. They get Clemson at home.
- Big 10 champ. I think we will get someone in, but there are about 5 choices. Everyone is choosing Michigan which just about guarantees it won’t be them. I’d love to think Iowa will take that next step and sneak in this year, but I’m going with the most logical, easy, likely choice. Ohio State.
- Part of me wants to go with Houston here. They should be able to win out the rest of the year. But if Oklahoma gets it going and wins through the relatively easy Big 12, they may get picked ahead of the team that beat them – as unfair as that seems. I’m going to dance with Cinderella though. Let’s pick Houston, even though I strongly doubt my selection.
No, You Don’t Have to Thank Me
Not everyone is as objective as I am – I keep my opinions to myself. You are welcome!