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Tag:Bowl Championship Series
Posted on: October 25, 2010 7:36 pm
 

TCU defense could be best in 21 years

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Baylor entered the polls this week for the first time since 1993, and they did it with quite the offensive splash : 47 points, a school-record 683 yards of offense (five more than the 678 the Bears gained Week 5 against Kansas ), more than 400 yards passing for quarterback Robert Griffin and 250 yards rushing for tailback Jay Finley , all against a Kansas State defense that had allowed 350 yards or fewer in four of their first five games against FBS competition.

So now seems like a good time to remind college football fans -- and potentially the poll voters that have leapfrogged multiple teams over them in the past several weeks -- that back on Sept. 18, TCU made that same Bears offense look like it needed the phrase "Bad News" appended to it . 263 total yards. More kick return yards (166) than passing yards (164). 2-of-12 third down conversions. And just 10 points in a 35-point demolition. "It's just embarrassing," Griffin said.

Griffin can take heart, though; the Horned Frogs have embarrassed a lot of people since then, most recently an Air Force team that entered their date with TCU leading the nation in rushing (including a 351-yard outing at Oklahoma ) and held them to barely more than half their average.

Even with the Falcons putting up a first-quarter touchdown -- the first given up by TCU in 12 quarters -- the seven points allowed (along wih the zero against Colorado State , the zero against Wyoming , the three against BYU , etc.) was good enough to keep TCU easily atop the national rankings in scoring defense at an even 9.0 points allowed per-game. That mark would match the 9.0 allowed by USC 's 2008 defense as the best since Michigan allowed just 8.9 in 1997.

Even more tantalizing for Gary Patterson 's team is that they still has dates against two horrific offenses in UNLV and New Mexico, currently 114th and 116th in total offense, respectively. Shutouts in both those games combined with strong performances against San Diego State and Utah -- the latter coming on the road in TCU's biggest challenge on the season -- could even propel TCU into the 8.7-8.8 range, the lowest total since Auburn allowed just 7.2 points-per-game back in 1988.

Critics will argue that the Mountain West has served up a whole series of terrible offenses for TCU to feast on, and they won't be entirely wrong. But as that performance against Baylor (and Oregon State , and Air Force) illustrates, the Frogs have brought the goods against the legitimately good offenses on the schedule as well. Numbers this strong don't happen by accident. And if at the end of the season the Frogs find themselves locked in a debate with a one-loss BCS-conference champion for a single berth in the national title game, they'll be the sort of numbers that shouldn't be ignored.

Posted on: October 13, 2010 12:57 am
 

Is it time to overhaul the Coaches Poll?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the most odious aspects of the BCS -- and let's be clear, there are very many -- is the fact that the Coaches Poll constitutes one-third of the voting for the standings. If the poll's involvement weren't already accepted as normal, it would sound absurd: the selected coaches (or their selected assistant who actually fills these things out without attribution), given about 20 hours after the conclusion of their games, are tasked with ranking 25 out of the 120 teams in the FBS. The coach will never gameplan for, or have anything more than a cursory opinion about, the vast majority of these teams. The more time the coaches spend researching the poll, the less time they have to do their job (which isn't one with a great deal of spare time to begin with).

Thus, we get the same win-go-up, lose-go-down lazy polling that we can very well get from the AP already. What's the point? Does adding yet another hastily arranged Top 25 to the BCS add any merit? Moreover, isn't it a waste of what the coaches bring to the table for the BCS? Coaches do have exemplary abilities when it comes to evaluating other teams, after all, but that skill is primarily used in the daily rigmarole of their job, which is to say, on teams that they're actually going to play at some point.

So let's embrace that: have every single coach participate in the new coaches poll by ranking only their 12 opponents. As with traditional polls, a no. 1 gets the highest value (in this case 12), a no. 2 gets 11, and so on down the line. You know, like a normal poll. Now, since this is necessarily grading only FBS play (unless fans really want to see Montana come in at no. 8 in the poll or something similar), the teams with an FCS opponent are only going to be ranked by 11 opponents, so the rankings will be by average value instead of total.

Does this unfairly reward good teams in weak conferences (see: Boise State)? Well, maybe when it comes to their rankings relative to their conference pals. But look at who Boise's opponents are playing. Oregon State also plays TCU and Oregon. Wyoming got Boise, TCU, Utah, and Texas for this season (yes, Texas tanked, but that's an anomaly). Lowly San Jose State? The Spartans see Boise State, Utah, Wisconsin, and Alabama. Boise State may have some control over their schedule, but they certainly have little control over who their opponents play, and that's going to matter in this poll. Meanwhile, Ohio State may play in a tougher conference, but does anyone seriously think any of the Big Ten's coaches would rank another conference member over OSU as long as the Buckeyes stay undefeated? Would anybody have put Alabama second in the SEC before South Carolina pulled the upset?

Also, once the season starts to get into its late stages, coaches will be able to rank these teams based on what they saw first-hand in actual gameplay. Will this result in some coaches ranking teams based largely on how they performed against that coach's team? Sure. That's called rewarding wins and punishing losses. In other words, it's the entire point of polling. And if a coach seriously thinks a team that's, say, 19th in the AP played his team better than the 11th-ranked team, well, that's information that absolutely deserves to be integrated into the poll -- and it's much easier to justify making that adjustment in this format instead of the win-go-up/lose-go-down cookie cutter Top 25s. 

Is this a perfect poll? No, of course not. There's still some value in a straight Top 25 poll, and the computer rankings have their merit. But if we're including coaches in the BCS process -- and we should! -- we should play to their strengths, not make them play pollster. This is how to do it.

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