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Tag:Utah
Posted on: November 9, 2010 3:44 pm
 

Utes: TCU better than '09 Frogs, '08 Tide

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's safe to say Utah came away impressed with TCU after the Horned Frogs' emphatic dissolution of what had been the nation's longest home winning streak last Saturday, but how impressed? This impressed :
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham doesn't pull any punches when it comes to TCU. "Hands down, the best football team we've played since I've been at Utah," said Whittingham ...

Starting center Zane Taylor also has high praise for the Frogs.

"They are the best team I've ever gone against."
It's true that you might not expect the Utes to say anything different after their 47-7 humiliation, but it's still worth noting that both Whittingham and Taylor have faced some truly outstanding teams during their Utah tenures. Like, for instance, the 2009 edition of the Horned Frogs, who rolled the Utes 55-28 on their way to what looks very likely to only be the first of back-to-back undefeated regular seasons.

But for the Mountain West skeptics out there, it's also worth pointing out that those teams include the Alabama squad which went 12-0 in the SEC West in 2008 before narrowly losing out to eventual national champion Florida in the SEC championship game and facing the Utes in the Sugar Bowl . The Utes won that game 31-17, and Taylor made a point of mentioning that Tide team as an inferior to this year's version of the Frogs.

Whittingham added that he feels that this TCU team deserves its shot at the national championship. If he's correct that they're even better than two other teams that put together undefeated seasons that landed BCS berths, it'll be awfully hard to say he's not right.

Posted on: November 9, 2010 12:01 am
Edited on: November 9, 2010 12:13 am
 

An uncomfortable truth: TCU is better than Auburn

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The latest BCS rankings are out, and there's not much to be surprised about; Auburn is No. 1, Oregon is No. 2, and TCU is No. 3. In the human polls, Oregon's easily the top-ranked team. and anyone who actually watches the games can see why: the Ducks play football at an undeniably higher level than anybody else in college football. It's that simple.

Ah, but this column is not to argue that Oregon deserves the top spot in the BCS rankings over Auburn; not only is that argument obvious, it's immaterial, because it wouldn't alter the BCS Championship Game in any way. No, the real issue here is that as of right now, Auburn doesn't belong in the national title game; TCU does.

Here's the deal. First off, there is no single-game performance Auburn has under its belt this season that is as impressive as TCU's 47-7 dismantling of Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Yes, Auburn beat LSU by a whole touchdown after rushing for 440 yards. Auburn also played every single non-conference game at home, against Chattanooga, UL-Monroe, Arkansas State, and Clemson (who, not surprisingly, took Auburn to overtime and likely would have won at Clemson). Auburn's best road win? 17-14 over Mississippi State. The fact that Auburn has gotten away with such scaredy-cat scheduling is a testament to the water carried by SEC apologists more than any serious examination of the Tigers' schedule. Auburn's strength of schedule is 40th in the Sagarin ratings. Granted, TCU's is 62nd, but that's not exactly the chasm of competition that any college football fan south of the Mason-Dixon would have you believe.

Second, and more to the point of deserving the No. 2 ranking: TCU would beat Auburn, and maybe by double-digits. Sure, TCU has never seen an offense like Auburn's or a quarterback like Cam Newton. By the same token, the Auburn offense has never seen a defense like TCU's, which is head-and-shoulders above everybody else's -- even LSU's.

In fact, between the two teams' offensive and defensive units, there's only one spot of mediocrity, and that's Auburn's defense. The Tigers gave up 43 points to Arkansas at Auburn -- and most of those points were to the Razorbacks' backup quarterback. The Auburn starters gave up two first-half touchdowns to Chattanooga, 16 first-half points to Arkansas State, 34 points to Kentucky, and 31 to Ole Miss. What's more likely: TCU puts up 30 on the Auburn defense, or Auburn scores 30 on TCU's? There's no way Auburn's the right answer there.

Look again at the Sagarin ratings linked above. TCU is ranked second. Auburn is fourth. In terms of the predictor (which uses point differential, which is strictly verboten in the BCS), TCU is still second. Auburn? 11th. On a neutral field -- like, say, a bowl game -- TCU would be favored in this matchup. Why? Because right now, TCU is better than Auburn.

Of course, this is all academic; as Dennis Dodd has correctly pointed out, if Auburn wins at Alabama two weeks from now then dispatches its SEC East opponent for the conference crown, the Tigers will likely have proven that they deserve the BCS Championship Game berth. Those are both big ifs; Auburn hasn't proven itself as a serious title contender away from Jordan-Hare yet. The Tigers win both of those, and they've earned a top spot. Until then, though, the TCU Horned Frogs deserve the title shot -- not Auburn -- and it would thus be erroneous to act disappointed if the Tigers stumble and "let" TCU into the BCS Championship spot they've earned so far.

Also, it's obviously worth mentioning that the fact that this debate even needs to take place at all is ludicrous; there should be a four-team playoff. A plus-one, if you will. TCU and Auburn deserve to settle this score on the field, and Auburn fans deserve to watch the real title contender through 10 weeks prove its mettle.


Posted on: November 8, 2010 4:53 pm
 

Utah fan gets angry, shoots the ground

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Saturday had to be a pretty painful day for Utah fans.  The Utes hosted TCU in what was probably the biggest game in Mountain West history, as both teams were ranked in the top five in the BCS, and then Utah had to sit and watch the Horned Frogs destroy them 47-7 in its own stadium.  Now the Utes can kiss any possible BCS bid goodbye as they've dropped in the polls.

It's one thing to lose, and have your dreams ripped away from you, but to have it done in such an embarrassing fashion?  When people all over the country are tuning in?  That's got to be painful. Pain that leads to sadness which leads to drinking, and the drunken sadness turns to anger, and the anger then becomes rage.  And there's only one thing you can do when the drunken sad-angry-rage shows up.  Get your gun, and take it out on the Earth.
An angry University of Utah fan expressed his frustration by firing a gun in his yard, according to Salt Lake City police.

The Utes football team lost 47-7 Saturday in a big contest against TCU. Police said a 27-year-old man near 1200 S. Foothill Drive was so angry after the game he drank some alcohol and fired his pistol into the ground in his yard. Officers issued him a citation for discharging a firearm.
The fan had actually been aiming for the sky, but it turns out his accuracy was as good as Jordan Wynn's on Saturday.

Seriously, though, I'm not sure how shooting your lawn earns you a citation.  I mean, it's clear that this angry Utah fan was only trying to aerate his lawn in preparation for the winter, and if you can think of a better way to aerate your lawn than shooting the hell out of it, I'd sure like to hear it.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 1:27 pm
 

Urban Meyer wants the most intense Blue Out ever

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In any other year, having a 4-3 record in the SEC would have you bound for the Chik-Fil-A or Gator Bowl, but not this year.  No, in 2010, thanks to an SEC East division gone ham, 4-3 is good enough to have you playing for a division title.  Which is exactly where Florida finds itself this week, as its game against South Carolina in The Swamp this weekend is for a trip to Atlanta and the SEC Championship.

The Swamp hasn't been as kind to the Gators this season, as Florida is only 3-2 at home, and 1-2 against SEC opponents.  So in other words, there's just something missing from The Swamp's ecosystem, and Urban Meyer has figured out what that is.  The Swamp NEEDS MORE BLUE.

"I've never really done this, but I want to make this the most intense stadium in the history of Florida football this Saturday," said the coach on his weekly television show. "This is for the SEC Championship.

"Get there early. I want everybody to wear blue — head to toe — including our players."

Yes, we all saw how well the Black Out at Rice-Eccles Stadium worked for Utah against TCU, so surely this is exactly what the Gators need to take care of the Gamecocks and get to Atlanta.  I would think that a better option for the Gators would be to kidnap Marcus Lattimore, or have a few cases of Icehouse delivered to Stephen Garcia on Friday night.

Or, if that goes against Urban's moral compass, I guess he could call the New York Times and tell them that Steve Spurrier paid $200,000 for Lattimore.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 12:44 pm
 

BCS computers should not use margin-of-victory

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

What would you say about a Coaches' Poll voter who looked over the college football landscape after Saturday's action and ranked Auburn , undefeated and owner of more top 25 wins than any team in the country, all the way down at No. 11? What would you say if he voted four different teams with two losses ahead of the Tigers, including a Missouri team coming off of a loss to Texas Tech and an Arizona team that lost at home to 4-4 Oregon State ? What would you say if he kept Alabama all the way up at No. 5, ahead of not only the Auburn team two games ahead of it in the SEC West standings but 12 spots ahead of the 8-1 LSU team that just beat it head-to-head?

What you would say is that this voter had lost his damn mind and deserved to have his voting privileges revoked. You would say he deserved no part in a BCS process where so, so much is riding on every ballot. And you would be right.

Then why do so many college football analysts, fans, and statisticians insist that the six computer rankings that enter into the BCS formula -- each of which carries far, far more weight than any single Coaches' Poll or Harris Poll ballot -- be allowed to use margin-of-victory as part of their calculations? Because the hypothetical ballot above is exactly what the computers would spit out; it's the current "Predictor" rankings as produced by ratings guru Jeff Sagarin , where margin-of-victory is all-important and straight wins and losses irrelevant. Sagarin has stated unequivocally that he would prefer submitting the "Predictor" rating to the BCS-mandated margin-of-victory-ignoring "ELO_Chess," for the reasons laid out here by fellow BCS computer rater Kenneth Massey and baseball statistical godfather Bill James :

“You’re asked to rank teams that don’t play each other, that don’t play long seasons, and you can’t include margin of victory?” said Massey, who provides a “better version” on his Web site, masseyratings.com . “It’s a very challenging problem from a data-analysis standpoint. It does require sacrificing a bit of accuracy. It’s not the best way to do it" ... 

“This isn’t a sincere effort to use math to find the answer at all" [according to James.] It’s clearly an effort to use math as a cover for whatever you want to do. I don’t even know if the people who set up the system are aware of that.

“It’s just nonsense math.”

Maybe the math is nonsense. But shouldn't that be weighed against the fact that to virtually everyone else who follows college football, ranking Alabama ahead of LSU is an act of even greater nonsense?

The problem is that ratings system like  the Sagarin "Predictor" and Massey's preferred system (which also ranks the Tide over the Bayou Bengals) aren't even trying to do the same things the BCS rankings are attempting to do. Their goal is to identify which teams are the "best," the most powerful, the most likely to win a given matchup; as its name implies, what "Predictor" wants to do is forecast the future, and there's no doubt it would do a better job of this than "ELO_Chess."

But certain unfortunate tiebreaks (like TCU 's and Boise State 's current predicament) excepted, BCS berths aren't awarded on the basis of hypothetical future results, or guesses at perceived strengths. They're awarded on the basis of achievement, on wins and losses and conference championships. Including margin-of-victory may make the BCS computer rankings "more accurate" when it comes to selecting which teams are playing the best football, but it would make them less accurate when it comes to answering the question the BCS rankings are trying to answer: which teams are most deserving .

That ought to be cause enough to keep the rankings margin-of-victory-free, even before we start wondering whether we really want the BCS nodding in approval as Boise desperately tries to hit the century mark week-in and week-out on the San Jose State s and Wyoming s of the world. (Not to mention it's already a shame when a player injures himself in a game that's well in hand; what happens when LaMichael James or Justin Blackmon tears an ACL trying to tack on a computer-mandated score at the end of a 60-7 blowout?) No, it's not particularly fair for TCU's annihilation of Utah to go in the BCS computers' books as nothing more than a W. But as the Horned Frogs' jump up the human polls shows, it's simply not true to say the BCS doesn't take the impressiveness of their victory into account at all.

The bottom line is that by including scoring margin (even one capped at, say, three touchdowns) in their computer rankings, the BCS would officially declare every win numerically judged like a figure skating routine, would give the thumbs-up to coaches like Bob Stoops who'd prefer to quit on a potential win over risking an embarrassing loss, would agree with "Predictor" that Alabama beating Duke by 49 points is more important than LSU beating Alabama by 3. The computer rankings could be better, but the way forward isn't to open a Pandora's box that college football would be much the worse for having opened.

Posted on: November 6, 2010 5:34 pm
 

VIDEO: Andy Dalton hits Josh Boyce for 93-yard TD

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The highly-anticipated matchup between No. 4 TCU and No. 6 Utah has been a surprisingly lopsided affair. TCU rode the hot hand of Andy Dalton to a 23-0 halftime lead, and now lead 30-0. The Utes look completely overmatched.

While the Horned Frogs' opening-drive touchdown certainly set the tone for the game, the play of the day thus far is undoubtedly Dalton's 93-yard score to wideout Josh Boyce on TCU's next possession.

That bomb came on the very first play of TCU's drive after Utah pinned the Horned Frogs back with a punt, and there was still a sense among the Utah fans in attendance that the Utes could put the game back together with a stop. That spirit was effectively broken after this touchdown.

Of course, TCU's demoralization effort was also heavily aided by its defense; Utah QB Jordan Wynn passed for only 10-21 and 71 yards in the first half, and Wynn was pressured into a terrible interception on the Utes' opening drive, a pick that was returned inside Utah's 5-yard line. TCU scored on the next snap. Wynn's going to need a lot of help from his receivers, defense, and special teams, because there's simply no way he brings Utah back by himself.

Posted on: November 5, 2010 4:25 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 10

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

Breakfast

Main Course - #19 Oklahoma State vs. #22 Baylor - 12:30pm - FSN

I don't believe it.  After weeks of barren morning slate after barren morning slate, we actually get a matchup of two ranked teams this Saturday morning.  Surely my complaints have finally been heard and answered by the college football gods.

Granted, a game between Baylor and Oklahoma State doesn't usually carry such cache, but this should turn out to be a very fun way to start your Saturday, and chock full of calories otherwise known as points.  Just do the math.

Both teams have high-powered offenses ranked in the top ten nationally, and both teams have defenses ranked in the lower third of the country.  Which means it's going to look like a tennis match watching Robert Griffin and Brandon Weeden lead their teams back-and-forth down the field.  If the prospect of possibly seeing 100 points scored doesn't do it for you, then I just don't know what I can do for you.

Side Orders:
There's quite a bit of mediocre Big Ten fare on Saturday morning as the conference's power teams beat up on the nerds and goth kids, but one Big Ten game that may deserve your attention is Michigan and Illinois.   The Illini are one of those teams that is a lot better than you think they are, as they're 5-3 and all three of those losses have been close contests against teams currently ranked in the top 15.  Though I suppose you might want to tune in to see Florida destroy Vanderbilt, or see how much money Chattanooga offers Cam Newton to stop running over them.

Lunch

Main Course -#6 Utah vs. #4 TCU - 3:30pm - CBS College Sports

For years, many a college football fan has clamored for a playoff to determine the national championship.  We're not exactly close to getting one, but if ever there was a game that may as well be considered a playoff game, this is it.  Oh, and it also features two teams who happen to be ranked in the top 5 in the BCS right now.

Those games don't come along very often in the regular season.

Whichever team wins this game basically assures itself a BCS bid, and strengthens its case to play for the title once the year is over.  Plus, considering that Utah is bound for the Pac-12 and TCU may be heading east, this may be the last time we get to see these "mid-majors" square off during the regular season.

So take the time on Saturday to figure out where CBS College Sports is on your cable system and enjoy this one.

Side Orders: Now you all have CBS, so if you're not into that whole Mountain West thing, you could always turn to the mothership and watch Alabama take on LSU.   The winner remains alive for the SEC title, and the loser is done.  Oh, and you can watch the game while chatting with yours truly over on our Facebook page.   Football and Tom Fornelli making smart-assed remarks to your honest questions?  What gets better than that?  Certainly not Oregon disemboweling a Jake Locker-less Washington team, or Penn State and Northwestern duking it out for fourth place in the Big Ten.

Dinner

Main Course - #10 Stanford vs. #13 Arizona - 8pm - ABC

Stanford's chances to win the Pac-10 are somewhat slim at this point considering its already a game behind Oregon, and that its sole conference loss is to Oregon, but hopes are not dead yet.  However, if they lose to Arizona on Saturday night they are.  The same can be said for the Wildcats, who trail Oregon by a game as well but still get to travel to Eugene at the end of the month. 

If Arizona loses this one, it's in the same boat as Stanford, and we may as well crown the Ducks champions on Sunday morning.

The good news for Arizona is that it won't need to rely on its backup quarterback as Nick Foles is expected to return, which means we get a matchup of two of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-10 as Foles squares off with Andrew "Jim Harbaugh's Other Wife" Luck.

Side Orders: There are some other nice choices on Saturday night if you prefer to try something else.  South Carolina looks to keep its lead in the SEC East against the cannon of Ryan Mallett and Arkansas.   Missouri will also look to keep its BCS hopes alive when it travels to Texas Tech, and I suppose you could tune in to see if Texas can lose yet again against Kansas State.

Late Night Snack

Not much to dine on late this week, though if you're desperate for more football at the end of the night, you can tune in to see if Lane Kiffin can distract Matt Barkley a few more times against Arizona State.   If nothing else, you might get some awesome Ace of Base action, and who doesn't want more Ace of Base in their beautiful life?
Posted on: November 4, 2010 2:11 pm
 

Utah A.G. looking for federal help in BCS suit

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff has been gearing up for an antitrust lawsuit aimed at bringing down the Bowl Championship Series for quite some time now, and this week he made his pitch to what could prove to be a very powerful friend in his fight against the BCS: the U.S. Justice Department. The administration of president Barack Obama --- who of course famously stated that he would support a playoff in college football -- has already been mulling over an investigation into the fairness of the BCS system. If Shurtleff has his way, that mulling over will become action and the BCS could be facing federal antitrust violations.

But as this report from the Salt Lake Tribune helps illustrate, if Shurtleff doesn't get federal help, the lawsuit will likely never get off the ground. Finding the funding to bring such a high-profile suit is proving to be difficult:

 

Shurtleff said Utah couldn’t cover the costs of the litigation on its own, which is why he has repeatedly reached out to attorneys general from other states and sent a detailed legal brief to the Justice Department six months ago.

He believes the Justice Department would be in a better position to push the issues because AGs from around the nation often represent the major universities in their states and it is the college presidents who make up the BCS.

“Potentially the defendants are your own clients,” Shurtleff said.

Further, the climate for pursuing such a case is growing harsher by the day. Shurtleff first began his crusade in the wake of his home-state Utah program getting shut out of title consideration after their undefeated 2008 run, but since then the Utes have become part of the BCS's landed gentry themselves by accepting a Pac-12 invitation; his constituency may not support his cause with the fervor they once did, another reason he may need the support of the Justic Department.

Beyond that, with both Boise State and the winner of Saturday's mega-clash between Utah and TCU highly likely to play in BCS bowls (and reap BCS cash) this season, non-AQ access to the BCS has never been greater. Shurtleff claims of a potential non-AQ team playing in the national game that ...

“There is no scenario whatsoever where it can happen under the current regime,” he said. “It can not happen.”
But this is simply, patently false; a scenario in which Oregon loses or the SEC champion has two losses could do the trick before the year is out.

Should the Ducks win out and either undefeated Auburn or a one-loss Alabama squeeze the unblemished Broncos, Frogs, or Utes out of the title game, Shurtleff will have a point. It will not be fair to continue to reward perfect seasons by established non-AQ powers with seats at the metaphorical kiddie table. But fair or not, neither the political climate nor the climate surrounding college football seems conducive right now to forcing BCS change at the point of a knife.

HT: GTP .

 


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com