This week's topics are politics and high anxiety. There has been a lot of discussion recently about the bias of the eastern press as directed against Mr. Bush. No, I'm not about to drop an L-bomb on you; we're talking Heisman Trophy here. One of the questions is whether enough of the press saw Reggie Bush pile up 513 all-purpose yards against Fresno State. 513 yards! Surely he wrapped up the Heisman with that performance and his great game against Notre Dame. But, wait, we easterners are a little suspicious of Fresno's defense, and when you return kickoffs for a team that gives up 42 points you have a good chance of racking up a baroque yardage total. The general wisdom is that Bush and Leinart split the USC vote and give the Heisman to Vince Young. Perhaps the more interesting question is why Drew Olson isn't getting more attention. Who? That would be the UCLA quarterback; 67.7% completion rate, 2909 yards passing, 30 TD's, 3 int's, two second-half comebacks from 20+ points behind. The one in Brady Quinn's shadow; you know Brady, 64.9% completion rate, 29 TD's, 5 int's, NOTRE DAME! The biased press. But I'm just being a nattering nabob of negativism.
Between Bush and Olson and their buddies, the USC-UCLA game on December 3 should be a blast. I wonder if we'll see it. I always worry that a TV executive may protect my sheltered area of Virginia from national influences by showing me a good Hampden-Sydney game or something else of local interest. But the real high anxiety of this time of year is being a fan of an ACC team that might go to the Boise Bowl. I've seen three national projections of bowl games, with three different ACC teams in that dreaded slot. What's so bad about Boise? The game's on December 28, not anywhere near Florida, possibly against a good team (Boise State) that can give you an embarrassing loss, on blue artificial turf. I'm thinking that Boston College should get a proper ACC welcome by getting to go to Boise.
This year has given some interesting lessons in how human logic differs from basic numerical analysis. Last week, I felt like I had to defend Virginia Tech over Miami. This week it seems odd that Miami is still right behind Tech. The point differential between them has grown from 0.9 to 4.06, but they still are #5 and #6. Another oddity is 7-4 Michigan at #7. But, if you buy that strength of schedule is important, then you may have just bought into not dropping a team in the rankings when they lose to a higher-ranked team. Personally, I think that this is one reason that my system is better for predicting games than for ranking teams. I do think that a 7-4 team shouldn't be top 10 (unless it's a team that wins 5 of their last 6 including Florida State and South Carolina).
There are several important games this week. The ACC and Big 12 have games to finalize division championships, the Big East continues to work on a champion, and there are two ACC-SEC in-state rivalry games. The following predictions are straight from the ratings with 4 points added for home field.Virginia Tech over North Carolina by 22 (can the Hokies cash in on Miami's holiday gift?)
|68||San Diego St||41.43|
|119||New Mexico St||17.22|