First of all, I meant to post my Week 1 picks, and I didn’t. This changes what I planned to write such as how absolutely called Washington’s win over Boise St and taking Washington St and the points, and my missing Ole Miss losing to Vanderbilt. I also had Clemson narrowly beating Georgia, Fresno St over Rutgers and Northwestern over Cal in games that looked to be too close to call. The only ones that can verify my picks are those I communicated with over the past few weeks. So, unless they leave comments, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
What a great opening week! More good games than I can remember in an opening week. The Ole Miss game was wonderful! They may be pretty good, too. The winner between Florida State and Clemson should remain in the national conversation all year unless Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech knocks either team out. Most of the teams picked by the mags to win their conferences won convincingly.
On the flip side, there were WAY to many horrible performances by the seven teams that lost to 1-AA teams, and a few others that almost did. North Dakota State will have problems scheduling big boy teams after this season, but Eastern Illinois and McNeese State may not get too many calls after dominating San Diego State and South Florida, respectively. Eastern Washington won again, and it seems like they beat a 1-A team every year.
Regarding the SEC EAST, South Carolina looks for real, and they are my pick to win the division. Georgia is still in the mix if they can replace their kicker and primary wide receiver, but they need to beat SC this weekend. Georgia fans are killing Aaron Murray and Mark Richt this morning. Murray certainly had a lot of poorly thown balls caught in the first half, but he wasn’t the reason they lost. They just couldn’t handle Clemson’s speed. Some callers were saying that Mark Richt could be fired if Georgia starts the season 1-4. Richt won’t be fired after this start, but if this start includes more injuries that add up to 7 or 8 losses, his job could be in jeopardy.
Florida didn’t show too much against Toledo, and they had a bunch of players sitting out. If they beat Miami, they may be for real. Missouri and Tennessee looked good, but it’s tough to tell from that level of competition. Vanderbilt is in a hole after losing to Ole Miss. Kentucky stinks.
A lot of people are jumping off of Texas A&M’s bandwagon after Manziel’s stupidity and LSU’s discovery of offense, but this may be a little premature. A&M struggled early against Rice, but dominated the second half. They can still beat BAMA in week 3 and have a good shot to win it all. Is it possible that Alabama’s new linemen actually need some seasoning before they play up to expectations? This bodes well for A&M, not so well for LSU. Speaking of the Tigers, the new defensive players didn’t miss a beat. The new offensive linemen played well, too. Even the QB played well. A few pundits are looking at his completion percentage. What that doesn’t indicate was how good TCU’s pass defense was throughout the game. Several SEC teams will be a little stronger against the run, but I’m not sure if any will be able to knock away that many passes without getting flagged. Mett put the ball where it needed to go almost every time.
Ole Miss should have a puncher’s chance in every game if their players stay healthy, but they look like they may need a couple more GOOD linemen to compete at the highest level every week. It’s hard to really judge Arkansas, Auburn and Mississippi State right now. Auburn could have lost, but I think the win over Washington State will look better as the season progresses. Leach had the team playing better at the end of last season, and he should win more than 3 this season if he doesn’t get too many guys hurt next week against USC. Mississippi State lost to Oklahoma State as most people expected, and I’m expecting to see the same type of team Mullen’s put out there the last few years. Arkansas controlled the game against a fairly weak Louisiana Lafayette.
The Big 12–Welcome to STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE HELL, BIG 12. This is what happens when 2, TWO, of your teams lose to 1-AA teams. Plus, West Virginia almost lost their game with Bill & Mary. If West Virginia loses this week, some of those couch burners will be longing for the days of Bill Stewart. Oklahoma and Texas won comfortably like they were supposed to, but neither dominated right out the gate. I hope Baylor or Texas Tech rise up this season.
In the Big 10, only Wisconsin and Michigan kicked their 1-A opponents in the head, but these were two MAC teams that are looking up to their leaders.
Several of the PAC 12 teams played well, and Washington did so against a quality opponent in Boise State. UCLA scored more than I expected, even though Nevada isn’t very good. USC scored less than I expected against Hawaii which shouldn’t be very good. Stanford didn’t play.
How about Jameis Winston for Florida State? He looked so good, that the TV announcers didn’t even notice how poor Florida State’s pass was in the first half. This team, like Clemson, could win a LOT of games. Clemson looked good, and is fun to watch unless you’re a fan of solid defense. Virginia’s win over BYU was a good one, but a good game over Oregon this week will get someone to notice. Miami plays Florida, so we may know more about both teams after that. None of the other teams that won played any good teams.
One of the reasons I didn’t get to post my picks was because I was reworking my model. In the past, I had a formula based upon the performance of a team’s conference over the past four years. Though this bias calculation was fine and fairly accurate for the top teams in the top conferences, it skewed the results for middle and lower teams in the top conferences. So, I decided to rework the past year’s results to reflect each team’s performance for the past four years. This is still ongoing, so the rankings today could be restated later.
Unlike the previous couple of years, today’s rankings do not have as many early season possible outliers that were present in the first few weeks. The only one in the top 20 is Western Kentucky, checking in at 19th. This is basically because there were so few dominating wins over decent teams.
My brother and others will question the validity of the rankings this week because LSU comes in at number 1. This objective result came about because of so few good matchups. Next week, LSU should drop a few spots simply because they are playing a historically weak team, UAB.
Like the last few seasons, there are groups of tied teams. These are the teams that didn’t play, the teams that beat their 1-AA opponents by 17 points or worse, the teams that barely beat their 1-AA opponents, the teams that barely lost to their 1-AA opponents and South Florida and San Diego State who got beat badly by their 1-AA opponents. These two teams should forfeit the rest of their games and fold their programs.
|WEEK 1||POINTS||RECORD||LST RNK|
|41||TEXAS SAN ANTONIO||2.658857||1||–||0||1|
|52||SAN JOSE ST||-0.24977||1||–||0||1|
|90||NEW MEXICO ST||-3.608||0||–||1||1|
|125||SAN DIEGO ST||-33.6498||0||–||1||1|
As usual, I’d like to know what you think. What would be unusual is if any of you do leave some comments, or any likes. I’ll have the conference pages updated later.