Blog Entry 120 -- Free Fallin'

Posted on: October 13, 2008 11:43 am
Edited on: October 13, 2008 12:52 pm

How low can you go?

For a handful of teams ranked in the preseason Top 25 we are about to find out.

Preseason favorites Auburn, Wisconsin, Arizona State and Clemson all find themselves falling down the rankings in the 120 with a possibility that it could get worse before the season is over.

Auburn, which we all had in our preseason Top 25, fell to No. 42 this week after losing its third game in the past four.

The Tigers started the season at 3-0 before losing a close game with LSU. They then squeaked out a 14-12 victory against Tennessee before losing 14-13 to Vanderbilt and 25-22 to Arkansas.

Auburn was expected to be alot better offensively with Kodi Burns seeing time at quarterback and a strong rushing attack with the combination of Ben Tate and Brad Lester.

But Burns and Chris Todd have combined for only 1,101 passing yards, five touchdowns and nine interceptions. Tate has had some good games, but had only 32 yards rushing against Arkansas and 45 yards against LSU.

"Offensively, we just don't have an identity and that's what we have to do this week," coach Tommy Tuberville said as Auburn prepares to face West Virginia on Oct. 23.

Now Auburn is looking at other options at quarterback, including freshman Barrett Trotter and scout-team quarterback Neil Caudle, who has three attempts in his career.

"To burn a redshirt this late, we wouldn't play [Trotter] four or five plays. We'd get him ready to go," Tuberville told the Birmingham News. "If we're going to play him, we're going to play him."

If things don't get better in a hurry, Auburn will continue to fall down the rankings. After facing the Mountaineers in two weeks, Auburn still has to play Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama on the schedule.

Another team that finds itself in the same boat as Auburn is Wisconsin. Many expected the Badgers to compete for the Big Ten title and a possible BCS Bowl, but the Badgers have lost three in a row and dropped down to No. 44.

Things have fallen apart since the Michigan loss, where the Badgers had a 19-0 lead at halftime. They followed that up with a close loss to Ohio State and then getting blown out by Penn State.

P.J. Hill is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry (191 yards on 53 carries) in the losses with just one touchdown, while quarterback Allan Evridge has four interceptions and only two touchdowns over that stretch.

Wisconsin's schedule isn't as tough as Auburn's, but the Badgers still have to face Illinois, Michigan State and Minnesota.

Arizona State dropped the lowest of all the preseason favorites, falling to No. 64 this week after losing its fourth in a row. Nobody expected them to beat Georgia or USC at the beginning of the season, but they got manhandled in both.

Add in the losses to California and UNLV and the Sun Devils are now fighting just to be bowl-eligible. They still have to face Oregon and Oregon State and then UCLA and Arizona to close the season.

ACC favorite Clemson has lost two in a row, but holds steady at No. 47 after putting together a four-game winning streak earlier. Just as it looked like the Tigers were turing things around, they lost to Maryland 20-17 and Wake Forest 12-7. And now they go and fire Tommy Bowden!

Poll Notes

-- The lowest-ranked BCS team is Syracuse at No. 109. It is 1-5 with its only victory coming against Northeastern. The 'Cuse play at South Florida this week.

-- Mississippi State is the highest-ranked team with a losing record, checking in at No. 57 at 2-4. The Bulldogs moved up this week after beating Vanderbilt.

-- The lowest-ranked team with at least four wins is Arkansas State at No. 83. Their strength of schedule is 119th out of 120 schools, beating Texas A&M (No. 89), Middle Tennessee State (No. 102), Louisiana-Monroe (No. 114) and Texas Southern (FCS).


Since: Feb 18, 2008
Posted on: October 15, 2008 10:38 pm 120 -- Free Fallin'

Good comments but the flaw is those teams you named in this year and previous had to go outside their conference to find teams they do not crush every year. The SEC beat each other up and go soft to get a break. Your above teams get the break in their conference play every year. Oklahoma has won their conference four out of the last six. Texas and Oklahoma usually dominate the conference until recently. The red river shootout had two teams with no defenses who have not lost to their conference opponents very often . Texas's brutal schedule is against teams they have dominated over the years. When has Texas lost to Texas Tech, Oklahoma State or Missouri last. Texas A&M with a very bad team has beaten them I believe the last two years. So when you talk about Texas, Oklahoma, USC and Ohio State played harder teams out of conference you are "exactly right". You play teams in your conference you don't have any losing records against with consistently the most talent. When you have six QB's throwing for over 300 yards every week it is easy to see the defenses are bad. Texas went into the game rated 100th in the country in pass defense. That was against very weak teams. Oklahoma schedule up to their game was even weaker. Bradford in a losing cause threw for five TD's. No top ten team should give up that many points if they are balanced. Georgia is also one of those teams along with LSU.  Now USC lost to a 1 and two Oregon State that was unranked and dominated them on both sides of the ball. They are ranked sixth ahead of teams who lost to ranked teams. Hype and Media keep teams with weak conferences ranked high. Texas Tech played awful against a 3 and 3 Nebraska but stayed highly ranked. Oklahoma lost to Texas the only good opponent they played ranked in the top 20 and only dropped to four after giving up 45 points.

My point is if you have teams you beat badly every year in your conference you have to go somewhere else to play better opponents. The SEC does not have teams like Ohio State, USC, Texas or Oklahoma that get all the talent and play teams they own. That is why Tenn. LSU and Florida have won national titles and do not repeat as conference champ every year like the USC's, Ohio State's, Oklahoma etc....

Now we will see how far the conferences like the Big 12 fall when the undefeated teams start losing as LSU, Georgia and Florida did playing their ranked conference teams. We will see if they stay in the top five when they lose a game. When the rankings change before Texas or Oklahoma play them because of conference losses what will the pollsters say about those teams then. We know USC has no one left to play. Ohio State has played terrible all year but remains ranked. Penn State should take care of that and possibly Michigan State. When have those teams and Michigan beaten Ohio State last. 

So yes the SEC has a weak out of confernce schedule. But check the record of Ohio State and Oklahoma have in their latest BCS games(Out of conference opponents). I believe they are 0-6. USC has a great plan, all their national title defenses are in their home state every single year playing with the most talent in a weak conference. Thank God for a 45 point underdog last year.

So yes you have a point. We would love to have the option to play one tough game out of conference knowing we have a winning record against everyone in our conference for many years. Then we too could be ranked and go to BCS games every year and keep our rankings when we get killed. We would love to not fall in the polls or get jumped if we have not lost. We would love to lose to 45 point unranked underdog every year and stay in the top ten. We would love to have all the ten win seasons in a row Oklahoma, USC, Ohio State and Texas have. That says a lot of the quality opponents we could beat every year to get there. Not something balanced conferences have the luxury of.

Check the records of the teams in their conferences who play harder teams outside their conference. Then you will understand why they play teams to have some measuring stick of how good they actually are. If you win your conference every year who are you playing except better teams elsewhere. There is no free falling for those teams. Their cushion is in their conference. The Big 12 has not been this good for a long time. It is no longer a two team race as it has been. Now if we can get the Pac 10 and Big 10 to figure that out. The love will change again as the good teams face each other. Texas is playing no one they have not beaten many times in a row that are  currently ranked. Oklahoma was a surprise but they both had not been tested all year. My wife's family are all born and raised Longhorn fans and coach in Texas and not a one expected texas to win or the game to be close. They were not McCoy fans but were pleasantly surprised and loved it. Now they defend a spot no one's held. Missouri and Texas Tech looked sick so maybe they have a chance.

Since: Oct 6, 2008
Posted on: October 15, 2008 5:02 pm 120 -- Free Fallin'

I agree with you about Wisconsin..if I had to trace back to a point where things fell apart.  I would point to the first half of the Michigan game..where we could have put them away and made it a 3-4 touch down lead, instead we can't cash in and Michigan mounts a comeback.  Good blog.

Since: Sep 9, 2008
Posted on: October 15, 2008 3:15 pm 120 -- Free Fallin'

I will never consider the Pac-10 or the Big-10 an elite conference because they don't play a CG. That is complete BS that USC and Ohio State can pretty much mop up with their conferences and be the conference champion just because they have the best record. When you guys finally get your so-called balls and play a CG I might think differently.

We don't play a CG because we can't.  The Big12 and SEC are required to play a CG because they have too many teams to play everyone else in the conference.

The Pac10 and Big11 don't have enough teams to play a CG, and the Pac10 plays everyone, every season.  Look up the rules.

Without a doubt, top to bottom, teh PAC-10 is the weakest conference.  Just look at the records and lack of scheduling anyone outside of conference unlike the SEC.

What an idiot.  Show me some good OOC games from the SEC.  Some SEC posters are so ignorant.

Since: Sep 14, 2008
Posted on: October 15, 2008 1:40 pm 120 -- Free Fallin'

"I will say also,...if Auburn wins their remaining games and beats GA, they will be ranked again."

For the record, unless Auburn beats West Virginia or Ole Miss on the road, they will not make a bowl game this year.

"Oh and about your point on LSU, so you want the voters to punish LSU for not playing a tough schedule so far? Yes they were NCs last year and IMO whoever wins the NC the year before should remain number 1 until they get beat.  LSU has some very good teams left to play, like SC on the road , Bama and Georgia. So dont judge them on a season half-over."

LSU should be punished for not beating anybody so far.  They've gotten blown out against the only top contender they played.  I'm not saying that they should not be ranked, but you should not automatically get put in the Top 10 in the preseason because of something that happened the previous year. 

This brings about a whole different argument about why the preseason polls are a joke.

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: October 15, 2008 1:27 pm 120 -- Free Fallin'


Of course you drop when you lose. I would hope so. Auburn did drop both times. Keep in mind the teams that they lost to first were both top 15 teams at the time. I'm not sure where you are getting your facts about Auburn still getting votes because you are mistaken sir. Even while Oregon is getting  more votes than any other two loss team in the nation.

AZ State has lost 3 straight just like Auburn including a loss to UNLV?! Do I have to even mention the losses that UCLA has had? So where is the bias?! The Pac-10 gets love in the polls. They may not get as much as the SEC but they haven't won the last two NC games either.

Oh and about your point on LSU, so you want the voters to punish LSU for not playing a tough schedule so far? Yes they were NCs last year and IMO whoever wins the NC the year before should remain number 1 until they get beat.  LSU has some very good teams left to play, like SC on the road , Bama and Georgia. So dont judge them on a season half-over.

I will say this also, if that makes u mad this will make u furious, if Auburn wins their remaining games and beats GA, they will be ranked again .

Since: Sep 14, 2008
Posted on: October 15, 2008 12:10 pm 120 -- Free Fallin'

I forgot to put this in my last post....

Going into last week LSU was ranked #3 or #4 depending on what poll you looked at. 


Because they won the National Championship last year?

Who have they played?

Then I looked and saw how hard their schedule was:

  • Appalachian State
  • North Texas
  • Auburn
  • Mississippi State
  • And playing Florida this past Saturday

I thought to myself, what the heck? this doesn't make any sense.  Appalachian State is Division 1-AA (or whatever we call is now), North Texas is 0-6 in the Sun Belt Conference, Auburn has two wins over (2-4) teams, and Mississippi State is one of those (2-4) teams.  Then I remembered three letters....S....E....C!

Then finally my opinion was justified when they lost by 30 points (51-21) to Florida.

Since: Sep 14, 2008
Posted on: October 15, 2008 12:01 pm 120 -- Free Fallin'


The point I'm about to make is what you don't understand.

You say that the Pac10 only has two teams in the Top25:

Thats because their teams drop out of the Top 25 when they lose.

Let's go back to the rankings after the first week of the college football season:

  • #1 USC
  • #15 Arizona State
  • #18 Oregon
  • #23 UCLA
  • #25 California

So you see, it is actually five, count them, FIVE teams in the Top 25 at the same time the SEC had 5 teams in the top 25 (#3 Georgia, #5 Florida, #7 LSU, #9 Auburn, and #13 Alabama).

Here's the difference though.  Auburn (4-3) has just lost 3 out of their last 4 games, and is still getting votes for the Top 25.  While Oregon (5-2) has wins over UCLA and Purdue, and whose two losses came against top 15 teams, is not even getting a single vote for the Top 25.

You cannot argue what conference is better because they are 1-1 in head-to-head play this year.  Therefore, arguing which conference is better can only be justified by opinion.  I'm not saying the Pac10 is better, because quite frankly I don't think they are.  All I'm saying is that the Top25 poll in without a doubt SEC biased.

Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: October 15, 2008 11:08 am 120 -- Free Fallin'

Without a doubt, top to bottom, teh PAC-10 is the weakest conference.  Just look at the records and lack of scheduling anyone outside of conference unlike the SEC.

Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: October 15, 2008 11:05 am 120 -- Free Fallin'

No, apparently what you mean is that running the table is a guarantee that any BCS conference team EXCEPT the SEC makes the National Title Game.  At least that is what history tells us.  Everyone knows that Auburn played easily the hardest schedule of teh three undefeated teams in 2004 while USC by far played the easiest.  Simple fact based upon the strength of schedule rating.  The only reason Auburn was not in the game is because USC is perennialy over-ranked to begin (and end) the season.  Just look at this year.  They lose to an absolute nobody and BARELY drop.  LSU loses to a top 5 team on the road and drops like a stone despite playing a better schedule by far than USC.  USC, not the SEC, like Ohio State and Notre Dame, is coddled year in, year out.  Simple facts.

Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: October 15, 2008 11:00 am 120 -- Free Fallin'

Though LSU lost their are many other 1 loss teams with worse losses.  At least LSU lost on the road to a top 5 team.  USC lost to an absolute nobody but somehow are still ranked over LSU.  Florida, even though they beat LSU, lost AT HOME to Ole Miss.  By the standards of who you lose to and wether it is on the road or not then LSU should be ranked higher than USC for sure, but not Florida.  Yeah Auburn was overrated but they are stil better than any team USC has played other than Ohio State.  If you really want to see the teams that have played NO ONE please look to Missouri and Oklahoma.  Both teams have played lesser schedules than LSU but both are ranked higher.  How can Missouri, who has played probably the easiest schedule in the country be ranked higher after losing AT HOME to a much worse team than Florida is?

Its simple.  LSU is paying the price for winning it all last year.  There is no other explanation.  The media continues their dislike of Miles.  How does Florida jump back into the top unless the voters believe that the Gators beat a good LSU team?  Okay, that makes sense.  What doesn't make sense is that LSU, by dropping as much as they did, shows that the voters don't believe that LSU lost to a top 5 team on the road.  Um which is it? 

This is why the AP poll plays no bearing in the national championship race.

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