bcs_logofox.jpgThe 2nd release of the BCS standings has come out, and as expected, Ohio State and Boston College are #1 and #2.

Things I found interesting:

Despite the overwhelming majority of voters having Ohio State as #1, 4 of the 6 BCS computer rankings have Ohio State #3. All four of those have LSU ranked ahead of Ohio State. I actually don’t have a problem with that — Just because one team is 8-0 and the other is 7-1, that doesn’t mean the 8-0 team is better, especially if the 7-1 team has played a much tougher schedule than the 8-0 team.

The Pac-10 has two teams in the top 5 — neither of which are USC, Cal or UCLA (who the hell would’ve predicted that?). Arizona State’s unbeaten and Oregon’s played a tough schedule, so they both deserve to be there.

Read the rest of this entry »

bearcat_face.jpgbeavers.jpgGAME OF THE DAY:

There’s a big football game today — Oregon State at Cincinnati, 4:30 p.m., nationally televised on ESPN. (If you thought I was referring to the NFL starting, see my next post.)

It’s a matchup of two BCS schools who both won bowl games a year ago and both are 1-0 this season, as they won their first games of the season.

Oregon State had the more impressive opener, beating Utah 24-7. The Beavers will have to continue to play good defense in a tough road game against a Cincinnati team that passes a lot. The Oregonian is reporting that star receiver and punt returner Sammie Stroughter will play tonight.

Cincinnati won its opener 59-3 against Southeastern Missouri State. And at least one guy in Cincinnati knows how to correctly pronounce “Oregon”.

OTHER FOOTBALL GAMES

College football: Middle Tennessee State at #8 Louisville, 4 p.m., nationally televised on ESPN2. MTSU has actually been a solid team from the Sun Belt conference in recent years. It would be fun if they could give Louisville a game. Card Chronicle has the best preview of this game I could find.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Indianapolis Colts, 5:30 p.m., nationally televised on NBC. Both of these teams have star players that get hyped a lot. At least Peyton Manning has a proven track record and has won a Super Bowl. But what the hell has Reggie Bush done? Bush was 42nd in the NFL last year in rushing yards and was 20th in rushing touchdowns. That doesn’t sound like a star player to me.

MLB GAMES

There’s only five baseball games on the schedule today, all of which involve at least one playoff contender. Two of these games stand out:

Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs, 11 a.m., is your baseball game of the day. With an 8-2 win on Wednesday, the Cubs remain in first place by half a game. Which is good for their fans, they were starting to panic. Russell Martin, who has played too many games this year as I’ve said before, is day-to-day after having an MRI done on his left knee. Dodger fans are worried, as they should be, and not just because their team remains three games back in the NL wild card.

Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels, 7 p.m. Two of MLB’s best three teams begin a four-game series at the Big A. Both teams have built big division leads by playing well the last couple of weeks (the Indians are up by 7, the Angels by 7.5).

Both teams are getting boosts from hitters who had been great for them in the past, but were having down years until the last month or so. For the Indians, it’s Travis Hafner, for the Angels, it’s Garret Anderson. Paul Byrd, who I loved when he was on the Angels, gets the start for the Indians. Byrd can win the rest of this starts, just not tonight. Kelvim Escobar starts for the Angels.

The rest of the schedule:

Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers (3.5 out of WC), 10 a.m., nationally televised on WGN.
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals (2 out in NL Central), 11 a.m.
Boston Red Sox (6 up in AL East) at Baltimore Orioles, 4 p.m.

p1682735reg.jpgThe latest USA Today Coaches’ poll has been released. Thankfully, Michigan isn’t ranked, but they still got 132 points — or with 60 voters, an average two points per ballot (equivalent to an average #24 ranking on each ballot).

How do you lose to a Division I-AA team and still be ranked? What has Michigan done to deserve being ranked? Nothing at all.

The sad part is, this poll actually matters. I’m not upset with Michigan getting votes in the AP poll, but the Coaches’ poll is part of the BCS formula. If the voters are stupid enough to give a winless team that lost to a Division I-AA team a ranking, how stupid will their important decisions be later on? This is why we need to get rid of polls as part of the BCS formula, or at the very least, at least get rid of preseason polls.

ncaa.jpgI’m short on time, so here’s just a quick roundup of what you can watch this weekend. I post this because I always look up different sources for this info and combine into one on my own for my use anyway, might as well let it be useful to others. Only national broadcasts included (not the Big Ten Network, since you’re not a network if you show six games at once and I can’t find your channel anywhere). All times Pacific.

FRIDAY:

4:30 p.m., Navy at Temple (ESPNU)
5 p.m., Washington at Syracuse (ESPN)

SATURDAY:

9 a.m., East Carolina at #9 Virginia Tech (ESPN)
9 a.m., Colorado State at Colorado (FSN)
9 a.m., UAB at Michigan State (ESPN2)
11 a.m., Virginia at Wyoming (Versus)

12:30 p.m., Washington State/#7 Wisconsin OR Nevada/#20 Nebraska OR Wake Forest/Boston College (ABC)
12:30 p.m., Georgia Tech at Notre Dame (NBC)
12:30 p.m., UCLA at Stanford (FSN)
12:30 p.m., Missouri at Illinois (ESPN2)
12:30 p.m., Iowa at Northern Illinois (ESPNU)

2:30 p.m. Arizona at BYU (Versus)
3 p.m., Baylor at #22 TCU (CSTV)
3:45 p.m., Oklahoma State at #13 Georgia (ESPN2)
4 p.m., North Texas at #8 Oklahoma (FSN)
4 p.m., Purdue at Toledo (ESPNU)

5 p.m., #15 Tennessee at #12 California (ABC)
4:45 p.m., Kansas State at #18 Auburn (ESPN)

7:15 p.m., Idaho at #1 USC (FSN)
7 p.m. New Mexico at UTEP (CSTV)

MONDAY:

1 p.m., Texas Tech at Southern Methodist (ESPN)
5 p.m., #19 Florida State at Clemson (ESPN)

annenberg_school_for_communication-usc.jpgI already posted a comment about this topic over at Bruins Nation, but feel strongly enough about it to re-post it here and expand on it.

For those of you who don’t know, the Daily Trojan wrote an editorial (not a column, an editorial by the main editors at the paper) blasting Bruins Nation for reporting that USC assistant coach Todd McNair was arrested and charged for dogfighting-related charges.

This editorial was wrong on so many levels. Most obviously, they said “Tom McNair” instead of “Todd Mcnair”. Good journalists never ever mess up people’s names. The editorial also got many of the facts wrong about how Bruins Nation first uncovered the story, I summed up how it was really done in a previous post on this blog. The Daily Trojan also singled out Bruins Nation, even they weren’t the only journalists to point out the McNair-dogfighting connection. The LA Times and Deadspin, among others, wrote about this. So it wasn’t just Bruins Nation who thought this newsworthy.

As for the rest of my arguments, I’ll just copy and paste what I wrote on Bruins Nation:

***

It’s one thing for average Trojan fans to try and blow this off — but the Daily Trojan is supposed to be run by journalists. This was an editorial, written by the editors who run the paper — not just a column written by a crazy columnist. And they have a journalism school too, which just shows how useless those are.

Real journalists hold the people they report on accountable, and there’s two major issues here they could be investigating and asking:

  1. Should someone who was involved in dogfighting be in charge of mentoring young adults?
  2. The fans who pay a lot of money to go see their team play deserve to know who they’re paying to see — it’s up to them to decide if they want to support a dogfighter or not.

The Daily Trojan doesn’t seem to care about either issue, while here at Bruins Nation, most of us were outraged when we heard about the Eric Scott case. Many of us wanted either Scott gone or Dorrell for hiring him in the first place. Almost all of us at the very least wanted more information about it and demanded transparency. If it came out that any of our coaches were involved with dogfighting, I’d for sure want to know all about it and I’d probably want him fired — I’m guessing most people here at BN would too. In this editorial, The Daily Trojan fails to understand what journalism is. This was the first paragraph:

The purpose of news is to inform its readership of new, relevant events. Good journalists report with progress in mind, but more often than necessary, news organizations beat stories to the ground, serving no good to the public.

That paragraph is so wrong in this situation on so many levels. News doesn’t have to be new (professional newspapers investigate things that happened years ago all the time), it just has to be either relevant or important. Which this was. There is a huge nationwide discussion going on right now about dogfighting, and before Meriones uncovered it, a connection had never been made between Todd McNair’s involvement in dogfighting and the fact that he’s currently a coach at USC.

Good journalists do report with progress in mind, and good journalists would have reported this story because it’s becoming clear that we as a nation despise dogfighting now more than ever and deserve to know who’s been involved, how they were punished, and what’s being done to make sure dogfighting doesn’t happen again.

News organizations beat things to the ground … how did that happen here? It hadn’t been reported that a current USC coach was involved with dogfighting until BN uncovered it — how is breaking a story beating it into the ground?

As has been pointed out already by Tydides and others, the Daily Trojan got a lot of their facts wrong in reporting how the story was broken here. So they don’t do their homework and they don’t even know what journalism is — why are they running a newspaper?

down_entjsp.jpgWhile a college football Thursday isn’t the same as a college football Saturday, I’m still excited about today. College football is an extremely fun sport to follow, even without a playoff system, and the wait for the season to begin is finally over.

No huge games today, unless Mississippi State can keep it close against LSU (5 p.m., ESPN). It isn’t likely, but it could happen.

A lot of big names play today, but unfortunately, not against each other. Your full schedule:

Tulsa at Louisiana-Monroe, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Buffalo at #16 Rutgers, 4 p.m.
Miami (OH) at Ball State, 4 p.m.
SE Missouri State at Cincinnati, 4 p.m.
Murray State at #11 Louisville, 4:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
#2 LSU at Mississippi State, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Kent State at Iowa State, 5 p.m.
UNLV at Utah State, 5 p.m.
SE Louisiana at New Mexico State, 5 p.m.
Weber State at #24 Boise State, 6 p.m.
Utah at Oregon State, 7 p.m.

I’ll have a look at Friday and Saturday’s games later on.

26704689.jpgThis is why you don’t go on to opposing team blogs/message boards and incite their fans.

After a USC fan went on to Bruins Nation and pulled out an Eric Scott reference, a contributor to BN did some research, and discovered that a current USC assistant coach was arrested and charged with the mistreatment of dogs being trained on his property for dogfighting in 1996. In the same thread, Bruins Nation commenters later found that the same assistant, Todd McNair, was a part of the Reggie Bush free house scandal. They also found that McNair’s punishment was only a $16,000 fine and found a gruesome picture of one of the dogs.

I read a lot of sports articles and blogs daily and follow Pac-10 football very closely. I had never heard of this before I saw it on Bruins Nation yesterday. So I’m guessing a lot of people will be seeing this for the first time today, either on Bruins Nation or another blog that will pick up the story (like mine).

It’s unfortunate that we had to learn that another former NFL player was involved in dogfighting. Thanks USC fans, for helping us find yet another flaw with your shady program.

pac-10-usa-states.pngOccasionally, ESPN does some good stuff like real analysis.

Mark Schlabach did some research analyzing the most overrated and underrated teams of the 10 years. He looked at teams preseason rankings in the major polls and where they ended up in the final polls.

Not surprisingly, the Pac-10 was by far the most underrated major conference, not even close to the marks the next conference got.

This just reinforces my belief that the voters of the major polls have anti-West Coast biases. They watch the SEC, the Big Ten, the Big 12, Notre Dame, and the best teams of the ACC and Big East. But not the Pac-10, especially outside of USC.

USC is clearly the most dominant team in the Pac-10, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only team out here. Oregon and Washington State were both among the top-three most underrated teams (Boise State, another western team, was the other).

Unfortunately, these preseason polls do matter. The coaches’ poll and the Harris poll are a part of the BCS formula, and teams ranked low or not ranked at all will have difficulty leapfrogging teams that are ranked if they have similar won-loss records.

This is why we need to get rid of the polls. Ideally, we’d get a playoff system. But until that happens, at least the computer rankings are unbiased. Some may have their flaws, but they don’t just watch the SEC and ignore the Pac-10.

bcs_logofox.jpgOne of the things that bothers me the most about the college football schools in the NCAA is that they always use the student-athletes education as an excuse not to have a playoff system, but at the same time, don’t seem to have a problem with playing more regular season games that go into December. Finals at most schools are in December, at the same time a lot of teams are playing their last game of the season.

So to at least compromise more games (and more money) with their student-athletes’ education, why not start the season a week or two earlier?

Think about it. You can still play 12, 13 or 14-game seasons if you want more money. But starting the season today would mean the college football season would end when it used to — in mid-November.

And if anything, moving the season two weeks earlier can mean more money for college football schools. They have less competition going on right now, with only baseball in season. That’s two fewer weeks where they don’t have to go up against the NFL.

Of course, this would require foresight by the BCS schools. That doesn’t usually happen.

ESPN has no orignality

August 14, 2007

homer.jpgA friend tipped me off to this, a list of 12 ESPN “experts” predicting the upcoming college football season.

All 12 of them picked USC to win the national title. That’s right –¬†all 12.

Are the people at Bristol programming all their talking heads to think alike now?

Now, I’d agree USC is among the favorites to win it all — but a lot can happen on the way to the BCS title, where in a lot of years, you need to be perfect to get in. Then you need to actually win the title game too.

That’s not all.

All 12 picked Virginia Tech to win the ACC. All 12 of them! Keep in mind that the ACC has a conference championship game, so all 12 not only think that the Hokies will win their division, they’ll win the conference title game against a quality team too.

All 12 of them also picked LSU to win the SEC West and for Southern Mississippi to win the Conference USA East.

ESPN — not exactly a hotbed for unique and different ideas.

P.S. — Colin Cowherd was one of the “experts”. What classifies him as an expert?

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