Posted by deaconcat08 on October 30, 2011
1. Keenum for Heisman- All year-long I have put Case Keenum in my weekly rankings of Heisman contenders. He was one of the best passers in the country before his injury last season, and I knew he had a great chance to leading this Cougar squad to a magical season. However, for whatever reason, he received no Heisman hype for the first eight weeks of the season, as flavor of the month candidates like Denard Robinson and Russell Wilson shot up the rankings before inevitably falling off the map. Finally, Keenum began appearing on a few Heisman ballots last week, and then after this Thursday’s 9 TD performance against Rice, he is finally being considered a legitimate contender. Keenum has put up great numbers all season and has broken or is about to break every major career passing record in Division 1-A football. This guy has to be the comeback story of the year in college football, and if his team runs the table this season, I will be ranking Keenum near the top of my Heisman ballot and Houston near the top of my top 25. In fact, if Boise were to somehow lose, then the Cougars might be receiving my national title vote on January 9th.
2. Bowl Bound? (Part 2)- In my “Good Thoughts/Bad Thoughts” entry from week 5, I discussed several teams who had winning records at the time and had plausible paths to bowl eligibility. Well, believe it or not, most of those teams are still in line for a bowl bid four weeks later. Next week I will have a full bowl eligibility analysis where I analyze each team’s chances of gaining a bowl bid based on their current record and remaining schedule. Here’s a link to one of those entries from last season: http://sportsentiment.com/2010/11/08/week-10-college-football-bowl-game-bubble-watch/. These bowl game bubble watches will be published on a weekly basis until the final bowl schedule is published on December 4th. In the meantime though, I thought I’d start my bowl eligibility analysis a week early by looking particularly at some surprise teams who may shock everybody and get to a bowl game this season. These teams are listed in order of most likely to least likely to become bowl eligible.
- Cincinnati- has already clinched bowl eligibility following a 4-8 season in 2010.
- UL-Lafayette- has already clinched bowl eligibility
- Wyoming- Record: 5-2; Remaining Schedule: vs. TCU, at Air Force, vs. New Mexico, at Boise State, at Colorado State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 99% (no way this team loses to both New Mexico and Colorado State)
- Rutgers- Record: 5-3; Remaining Schedule: vs. USF, vs. Army, vs. Cincinnati, at UConn; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 95% (my Big East title pick had a disappointing weekend but they’re not out of the title race yet and they’re still a lock to go to a bowl game)
- Virginia- Record: 5-3; Remaining Schedule: at Maryland, vs. Duke, at Florida State, vs. Virginia Tech; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 75%
- Wake Forest- Record: 5-3; Remaining Schedule: vs. Notre Dame, at Clemson, vs. Maryland, vs. Vandy; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 60% (the Deacs will lose the next two but should beat either Maryland or Vandy at home)
- Ball State- Record: 5-4; Remaining Schedule: at Eastern Michigan, at NIU, vs. Toledo; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 48%
- Eastern Michigan- Record: 5-3; Remaining Schedule: vs. Ball State, vs. Buffalo, at Kent State, at NIU; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 45% (hasn’t bowled since 1987 but needs 7 wins)
- Vanderbilt- Record: 4-4; Remaining Schedule: vs. Arizona State, at Utah, vs. Colorado, at USC; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 44% (the Wake/Vandy season finale could be a bowl play-in game)
- Bowling Green- Record: 4-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. NIU, vs. Ohio, at Buffalo; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 38% (this squad was just 2-10 last season!)
- Purdue- Record: 4-4; Remaining Schedule: at Wisconsin, vs. Ohio State, vs. Iowa, at Indiana; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 35% (this team has come out of nowhere to give itself a shot at a bowl berth; if they could have only beaten Rice then they would be in a much better position.)
- UTEP- Record: 4-4; Remaining Schedule: at Rice, vs. ECU, vs. Tulsa, at UCF; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 35%
- UCLA- Record: 4-4; Remaining Schedule: vs. Arizona State, at Utah, vs. Colorado, at USC; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 33% (they’ve alternated wins and losses all season.)
- San Jose State- Record: 3-5; Remaining Schedule: vs. Idaho, at Utah State, vs. Navy, at Fresno State; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 33% (the Spartans only won one game last season)
- Western Kentucky- Record: 4-4; Remaining Schedule: vs. FIU, at LSU, at North Texas, vs. Troy; Odds of Bowl Eligibility: 30% (more on this team below)
3. Rising from the Ashes- This week a few teams who started the year among the worst in the country showed signs long showed signs of life by picking up huge victories. The first was Iowa State who woodshedded Texas Tech on the road just a week after the Red Raiders beat Oklahoma. I’ll give some credit to the Cyclones here, but it’s also obvious that Texas Tech played the biggest letdown game of all-time. Minnesota also got a huge upset victory in a rivalry game against Iowa. I have bashed the Gophers on this blog all season-long, but they put forth an inspired effort on Saturday. Maybe their coach’s contract extension got them motivated. However, the biggest “rise from the ashes” so to speak has been Western Kentucky. This squad won a total of four games over the past three seasons and then started this year with a 0-4 record, including a woodshed loss to Indiana State! They were so bad that on October 4th Pat Forde criticized the school’s decision to move the team from FCS to FBS. Nevertheless, the Hilltopppers have since won four straight games, including three on the road, and now find themselves 2nd in the Sun Belt conference with a shot at a bowl game. Talk about a turnaround.
1. Football Stadiums on Tobacco Road- Over the past two weekends, I have attended games at both of North Carolina’s big basketball schools (Duke and UNC). I went to one game at Duke last season (their season opener vs. Elon), but I had never been attended a game at UNC’s Kenan Stadium until last Saturday. After witnessing ACC games at both of these stadiums, I can now conclusively say that these are two of the worst stadiums/game day atmospheres in major college football. I’ll start with the bottom of the barrel which is definitely Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium. If was a member of the Wade family, I’d personally want to get my ancestor’s name removed from this monstrosity. First of all, the Blue Devils fans can’t even fill up half of this dilapidated 30,000 seat venue. Of those 12 or 13 thousand people that do show up, only about 50-100 of them are students (no joke). That just goes to show you how “fair weather” the Cameron Crazies really are. Furthermore, the stadium has the eerie feeling of a high school game with the visiting locker rooms located out in the woods behind the south endzone and with all of the game audio coming from a single boom box located atop one of the scoreboards. To make matters worse, “the brainiacs” at Duke thought it would be cool to number their seats in the most illogical fashion possible. Thus, on one side of the row the seats are numbered 1, 3, 5, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19 and on the other you will find seats, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20. Am I supposed to be impressed that they can successfully differentiate odd numbers from even ones? North Carolina’s Kenan Stadium is of course much larger (over 60,000), and even though the Heels fans did a decent job filling it, the atmosphere was excessively timid. No raucous fans or interesting cheers. Just occasional clapping to random rap songs. I realize that both of these universities are primarily basketball schools, but Kentucky’s Commonwealth Stadium is much nicer and has a much better atmosphere than either of these joints.
2. Overrated Game of the Century- Yes, I am talking about the LSU-Alabama. Everybody in the college football world is salivating-over this game, but I believe it will be one of the most boring matchups of the entire college football season. You have two smash-mouth football teams who have struggled to score against defenses that are not near as good as what they will see on Saturday. Expect a 10-7 slobber knocker that will put most fans to sleep early in the second half. I am not saying that defensive struggles can’t be entertaining, but they typically are when the teams involved have contrasting styles. In this case, you have two equally mediocre offenses who like to control the ball and clock playing against two very good defenses. There’s just no much to like here. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but there’s just no way this game lives up to massive amount of hype it is receiving.
3. Anti-Boise Agenda- I have devoted a separate article to this thought which will posted on this blog in a few hours.