Posted on: December 18, 2008 10:18 pm
Edited on: December 18, 2008 11:21 pm

Freedom of the Press/Cheat Your Advertisers

Hey I love the First Amendment.  It's one of the things that makes this country great.  Our newspapers don't have to clear what they publish with the government.  Important?  Yes.  Because of this important right, our newspapers constantly promote themselves as "watchdogs", "defenders of the public," and a critical part of a free society.  But it doesn't work both ways.  Not with the Star Ledger anyway.

I always thought that newspapers had a duty (not legal, but moral)  to report the news as news, and keep opinions to the editorial page.  That as defenders of the public's right to know, they had an obligation to report ALL of the news to the public, not just the news they agree with.  Apparently this doesn't apply to the Star Ledger.

Case in point.  Bob Mulcahy, after his firing, stated that he wrote to the Star Ledger after some of their erroneous articles, and informed them that their information was incorrect.  The SL's response?  There was none.  Mulcahy stated that the SL wouldn't even print his letters!  Now, look I'm  not bitter because the Star Ledger has not printed any of the letters I've sent them.  I understand that some of them may not be fit for public perusal.  After all, I'm just another short-sighted Rutgers fan, whose opinion should not be taken seriously.  But Bob Mulcahy?  The Athletic Director of New Jersey's flagship university? You trash an AD's work in your paper, he writes a response and you don't publish it?  I know censorship is traditionally imposed by the government, but aren't these actions a form of censorship as well?  How can you hold yourself out to be a defender of the public if you censor what information you provide?

Funny, but a Rutgers supporter just posted something called, and I kid you not, "The Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics."  It says journalists should:

— Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing

So I'm not the only crazy one.  There's a whole Society out there that thinks this is a good idea.

Oh wait, it gets better.  Not content with slanting their stories, the SL has now stooped to trying to cheat its own advertisers out of the publicity they paid for.  You see, a university as large as Rutgers, that's been around as long as Rutgers, that has the reputation of Rutgers tends to put out some graduates that are much more polished with their prose and debating skills than I am.  As part of the thousands of Rutgers alumni, parents, students, and fans who were outraged about Bob Mulcahy's treatment, these people decided to do something about it.  Having learned from Bob Mulcahy's mistake, they decided they had to make it worth the Star Ledger's time to get their position in the paper.  So they took out an ad.  They called up the SL, negotiated a rate for an ad that set out in language fit for public consumption (unlike mine) all of the misstatements the SL had previously published, along with verifiable facts of what actually happened.  The Star Ledger's price for printing this ad?  According to some of posters involved about $8,915.  What was negotiated?  For the ad to be placed in the front section of the paper.

Now the Star Ledger, especially in its present financial condition, doesn't like to turn down advertising money.  So they agreed to do this.  These Rutgers supporters breathed a sigh of relief.  Finally, there in print in the Star Ledger would be the truth about these oft-repeated allegations.  All of Rutgerdom bedded down for the night, while visions of written redemption danced in their heads.

Until they awoke the next morning and found that the Grinch apparently is in charge of placing ads in the layout of the Star Ledger.  Lo, there was no ad in the front section.  Well, maybe it's in sports because this is about the Rutgers athletic department.  Nope.  The New Jersey section, because Rutgers is the state university?  Nowhere to be found.  Know where it was?  In the County section buried on the third to last page at the bottom.

When the SL was called on this, they first tried to argue that they could put ads anywhere they wanted.  Fortunately, these Rutgers fans had an e-mail trail of exactly what was negotiated.  The SL when confronted with the paper trail acknowleged their error and said they would "try" to rerun the ad this Sunday either in the front or New Jersey section.

For those of you, who like me, have never read the County section of ANY paper in your life, here's a copy of the ad.  And for those of you who advertise in the Star Ledger, BEWARE!


Category: NCAAF
Tags: Rutgers
Posted on: December 17, 2008 8:49 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2008 8:52 pm

Get the Garbage Out of New Jersey

Help send Dick McCormick back to Washington where he was so welcome before.  Kick carpetbagging George Zoffinger out of New Jersey and back to Pennsylvania where he belongs.  On line petitions to can both are listed below.


  Zoffinger petition:

McCormick petition: DrMcC/petition.html

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Rutgers, Rutgers
Posted on: December 16, 2008 9:33 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2008 9:53 pm

Sorry Dick, Politicos, and BOG

Since I last wrote when I was less than charitable toward New Jersey politicians, Rutgers President Dick McCormick and the Rutgers Board of Governors over the firing of Rutgers' Athletic Director Robert Mulcahy,  I have reconsidered my position.  I was much too hard on these three, because there is another member of this group that deserves a good share of my ire.  So politicos, Dick, and the BOG, I apologize if you got too much.  The fourth horseman of the apocalypse must bear its share as well.  I speak of the Newark Star Ledger.

This publication, for reasons unknown to me, takes great pride in writing negative articles about Rutgers University.  Remember the great Notre Dame/Rutgers scheduling fiasco?  ND wanted Rutgers to play its "home" games at Giants Stadium and Rutgers said no thanks?  Many noted newspapers weighed in on this supporting Rutgers' postion.  Papers such as The New York Times, The Orlando Sentinel, even the financial mavens at Bloomberg gave a thumbs up to Rutgers' stand.  The local paper, the Star Ledger?  They merely said that the Notre Dame series that Bob Mulcahy had "trumpeted" had collapsed.  Here's my favorite.  A recent preseason Star Ledger headline read, "Rutgers Not in the Top 20."  Rutgers was ranked #21 in the preseason poll at the time.  If "All The News That's Fit to Print" is the New York Times' motto, the Star Ledger's should be "The Most Misleading Headlines That Are Factually Correct."

I won't go into the all of the half-truths, incorrect and misleading info the SL has printed about Bob Mulcahy and the Rutgers football program in the past year.  There's simply not enough time.  But what caused me to put finger to keyboard again is a video published on the "Ledger Live" portion of the SL's homepage today.  The "host" of this production started by referencing an "explosion" of angry opinions about the recent firing of Mulcahy both for and against. (I haven't heard any angry opinions supporting this shameful act, but we'll let that go for now).  The host decided that some "much needed perspective" was needed on this issue.  Good!  An impartial view is always welcome.  Who would he interview?  An athletic director or president of another college?  A political expert to discuss the political realities of running a state college?  No.  He interviewed  (drum roll please) .  .   .  .  .  a columnist for the Star Ledger?  Are you kidding?  Since when is a newspaper reporter interviewing the same newspaper's columnist newsworthy?  

The "much needed perspective"  was provided by columnist Mark DiIonno.  DiIonno's opinion was that the present uproar is due to "a clash of cultures" at Rutgers between Ivy League wannabes and football fans.  Fair enough, although actually it's due to a decent man, who successfully turned around one of the worst football programs in the country, getting fired without being told why.  But it's opinion, ok.  But then DiIonno demonstrated why if the SL wants to interview its own employees, they'd be better off talking to the cleaning crew.  He stated that Rutgers "decision to kill six minor sports" created the problem.  This was a reference to Mulcahy's decision (which was specifically approved by the President and BOG that just fired him) to eliminate six varsity sports at Rutgers.  Then he inferred that the purpose of this was to feed that insatiable monster which is eating all that is pure and noble at Rutgers, the football team.  Not surprisingly this is the same position often espoused by that master of all that is pure and noble, BOG member, George Zoffinger.  (See previous blog for more on GZ's noble adventures)

And right then and there, this "much needed perspective" turned into a major whine-festival about how unfair it was that these sports were cut when football costs so much.  Well here's my perspective, whether it's "much needed" or not.  The six sports were not cut to feed the football program.  These programs have coexisted peacefully since 1869, without the football team evidencing any cannibalistic tendencies.  Why were they cut?  Because of a massive cut in the moneys the State of New Jersey provides to Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.  Left Rutgers just about $80,400,000 short of what they needed to run the place.  At that time, Rutgers fielded 30 varsity sports.  So what was cut?  Men''s heavyweight and lightweight crew, men's and women's fencing, men's swimming and diving, and men's tennis. It left Rutgers with 24 varsity sports, still the most in the Big East.

DiIonno stated that just by trimming $250,000 off the football budget, Rutgers could have saved the crew team.  Uh Mark, have you ever heard of something called Title IX?  It's that federal statute thing that says you have to provide equal opportunities for both men and women in sports.  Before the cuts, Rutgers had 14 women's sports and 14 men's sports.  Seems fair?  But the feds consider other things besides numbers of teams.  Scholarships, that kind of thing.  So guess what?  If you took $250,000 from football, and gave it to men's crew, you'd probably have to either come up with $250,000 for women's crew and probably more scholarships for the women as well.  Not a good idea when you're trying to save $80,400,000. But I guess you don't have to understand economics to be a newspaper columnist. So if you want to be angry, don't blame the football team.  Blame Title IX.  If it wasn't for the Feds we'd have a men's heavyweight and lightweight crew and probably wouldn't have C. Vivian Stringer's great women's basketball teams.  Or you could blame the State for handling its moneys so poorly that it had to cut support to the state university.

Why not cut money from the football team and replace the six sports?  Once again, Mark, that economics thing gets in the way again.  You see the football program turned a profit last year.  Yeah, hard to believe, something at Rutgers that brings in rather than costs money.  So if Greg Schiano can continue improving the program and going to better bowls, more money will come TO Rutgers rather than going out.  Not a good idea to throw this away, in fact some people (radicals of course) believe we should invest in this money-making idea.

Well that was about it.  The host said goodbye to Mark and his ideas about how to save money by taking money from a program that turns a profit and giving it to a program that will always need money.  And then our host uttered this testimonial in favor of Mark the MacroEconomist.  He recounted how Mark had been "piled on" and "lambasted" by Rutgers' fans after Mark wrote a column about a few Rutgers' students' obscene chants at the Navy game.  The story was picked up nationwide and thanks to Mark, the entire State of New Jersey and Rutgers University got a huge black eye because Mark was personally offended.  The host thought that Rutgers fans posting their comments about Mark's article on a bulletin board set up by the Star Ledger for this very purpose was manifestly unfair.  He then regaled us with the tale that Mark supposedly dared any of these fans who disagreed with his column to meet him at his seat during a Rutgers game.

Wow!  How impressive!  A columnist tells his readers if they don't like his column they can do the old "meet me in the parking lot" routine.  I think Bob Mulcahy should issue the same challenge to all of the "writers" at the Star Ledger who at every turn have bombarded him with half-truths, misrepresentations, and outright false claims, to meet him in the parking lot, say of the Grease Trucks.  Bob since you're over 70 I'm more than happy to stand in for you.  And that includes you DiIonno!

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Rutgers
Posted on: December 14, 2008 8:33 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2008 9:56 am

Politics + Football in the Garden State = Manure

Usually when it comes to  state university football teams and state politicos, the boys in the state capital are very supportive.  Look at Virginia during the ACC/Big East raid.  The University of Virginia had no interest in letting the western boys of Virginia Tech into their little club.  Until the governor of Virginia weighed in and told them of dire consequences unless they voted the Hokies in.  Look at West Virginia during the Rich Rod soap opera.  Whether you agreed with it or not, the governor was squarely on West Virginia's side.

BUT NOT IN NEW JERSEY.  This week Rutgers President Dick McCormick fired AD Bob Mulcahy.  Mulcahy turned Rutgers football from a national laughingstock into a Big East contender by hiring Greg Schiano.  He also expanded Rutgers Stadium to include club seating for 1,000, an additional stadium capacity of 12,500, and upgraded the Athletic Center to one of the best.  Rutgers football team academically is second only to Navy in APR thanks in no small part to the academic programs Mulcahy set up for the athletes.  Recruiting classes have improved yearly, this year's a possible top 25 class. Rutgers will be attending its fourth bowl game in a row despite having gone to just one in its first 135 years.  And miracle of miracles, football turned a profit last year for the first time in history.  Lest you think Mulcahy is a football only guy, he  has supported C. Vivian Stringer who has made the women's basketball team one of the best in the country, and hired Fred Hill who is still at work trying to revive Rutgers basketball team to the glory of Sellers, Dabney, Bailey, and Jordan.  So all in all, let's say Rutgers is headed in the right direction.

Not according to Dick McCormick.  According to the Prez (who was run out of U of Washington on a rail from the same position) Mulcahy did a great job.  In fact he told him at Thanksgiving that he had nothing to worry about.  But this week, with no warning whatsoever, Mulcahy was called on the carpet and dismissed.  Why?  Even Mulcahy doesn't know.  All McCormick told him was that he wanted to go in "another direction."  What other direction? Down?

Well according to NJ Governor Corzine there were "transparency issues."  Supposedly, according to a muckraking campaign by the Newark Star Ledger, there were secret deals in Greg Schiano's contract.  The first there was a supposed clause in the contract that allowed Schiano to walk if the stadium expansion wasn't completed.  Um, Wrong!  Schiano and Mulcahy both confirmed that no such clause was ever executed.  Schiano said he could have had one if he wanted but he had faith that Bob Mulcahy would get the addition completed.  He was right, the club seats are in and last week the Rutgers' Board of Governors voted to complete the additional 12,500 seats by next September (Despite Governor Corzine first renegging on a promise of a $30 million loan from the state, and then a subsequent boast to lead a private fundraising effort to obtain the $30 million.  So far the Gov has raised only about $1M.)  Someone must have had knowledge of the details of contract negotiations and leaked them to the Star Ledger, since this clause never was executed.

Well ok, said the Star Ledger there was also a secret deal to pay Schiano $250,000 a year from Nelligan Sports which was not made public.  But a funny thing happened.  Rutgers fans found a Star Ledger article from 2006, discussing the exact same clause.  Funny how the Star Ledger had deleted this article from their archives too.  Oh, and a guy named George Zoffinger was quoted as saying this wasn't a bad idea.  So the question remains, why was Bob Mulcahy fired?

Rewind back to when Bob Mulcahy got the job in the late 90's.  There was another candidate named George Zoffinger who obviously didn't get the job.  New Jersey Senate President Cody has described Zoffinger as one of the most dishonest people in politics.  Cody says Zoffinger has a habit of leaking confidential info to his buddies in the press.  Mulcahy was Zoffinger's predecessor as the boss of the New Jersey Meadowlands complex.  Grateful employees erected a plaque in Mulcahy's honor when he left.  Zoffinger took over the post after Mulcahy went to Rutgers.  The plaque mysteriously disappeared.  Oh and Zoffinger was later forced out of that job by Governor Corzine because of a conflict of interest.

So what's this have to do with Rutgers?  Well guess who got appointed to the Rutgers Board of Governors during the time period between former Governor McGreevey's announced resignation in disgrace and actual departure?  George Zoffinger.  Guess who was the only negative vote against Mulcahy's stadium expansion plan?  George Zoffinger.  Guess who was the only BOG member who railed against Mulchahy's decision to cut six varsity sports after drastic funding cuts by the state?  (Never mind that Rutgers still has 24 varsity sports, more than any other school in the Big East). George Zoffinger. Guess who moved out of New Jersey because he has stated that he refuses to pay NJ taxes, is a benefactor of Penn State and publicly stated that Greg Schiano, of course, will go to Penn State when Joe Paterno retires.  Yeah, you know who.  George Zoffinger.

What changed McCormick's mind about Mulcahy?  Who knows?  But there have been reports that he went to a meeting with 2-3 Board of Governors members shortly before the announcement.  I wonder who was there?  After Mulcahy was told, McCormick asked him not to say anything to the press for 24 hours.  By the time he got back to his office, the Star-Ledger was on the phone, asking for confirmation that he had been fired.  Yep, another news leak.  McCormick told Mulcahy that he had not told anyone.  Who could have leaked this information?

So why was Bob Mulcahy fired?  We still don't know.   So much for "transparency" Governor Corzine. Rumors that McCormick was sent a letter by two state senators also may have some bearing on his change of heart.  Whatever the reason, it stinks.  Rutgers football this year was four points away from a BCS bowl, despite a 1-5 start.  Now instead of celebrating their courageous comeback  to 7-5, we're stuck with this pile of horse manure.  Thank you Bob Mulcahy.  Rutgers fans and alumni will neither forget, nor roll back the things you have accomplished.  As for the Rutgers Board of Governors, President and politicos  who treated you so shabbily?  New Jersey is the butt of a lot of jokes.  One of these is that New Jersey , in much coarser words, is the sphincter of the United States.  Well gentlemen, if this is true, from your actions you have proven that you all are just passin' through!


Posted on: September 7, 2008 9:26 pm


Here they are.  The monkeys aim and throw for Week #2.

1. USC - The class of the nation.  OSU will not fare well.

2. Georgia - Beat a decent Central Michigan squad.

3. Missouri - First cupcake.

4. Ohio State - Second cupcake, and didn't look good.

5. Texas - Second cupcake.

6. Florida - Miami?

7. Wisconsin - Second cupcake.

8. Louisiana St. - Nothing new.

9. Auburn - A win against a legit team.  How refreshing!

10. Penn St. - Buried Oregon St.  Impressive.

11. Oklahoma - Not much trouble with Cincy.

12. Alabama - Tulane?  Hmmm.

13. East Carolina - Are they for real now?

14. Fresno St. -  Wiscy will be the test

15. Oregon - 66 points? Yeah, that'll do it.

16. South Florida - A rare Big East winner.  And here comes Kansas.

17. Texas Tech - Beat Nevada, yawn.  Wake me up when they play Kansas and Texas.

18. Kansas - Jayhawks play their first and only decent team since Missouri in USF. Will they be Oregon or Auburn?

19. Arizona St. - Smacked Stanford around.  Not bad.

20. Wake Forest - Almost lost to Ole Miss.  Just what we need , another SEC contender.

21. Illinois - After Week 2, their loss to Missouri doesn't look so bad.

22. Virginia Tech - After what East Carolina did to West Virginia, Virginia Tech doesn't look so bad.

23. UCLA - Nothing new.

24. Utah - UNLV hung around for a little while anyway.

25. BYU - Lucky to beat a poor Washington team.

Posted on: September 3, 2008 7:08 pm

Barbarians Begin Siege of BCS

Discarding stealth in all forms, Barbarian tribes (aka non-BCS schools) began their all-out attack on the Holy BCS Empire by burning and pillaging their way to four huge victories in week one.

East Carolina Plunders Virginia Tech 27-22.  This had to be sweet for the Pirates, living just over the border from "civilized" ACC land.  They just stormed the mountain passes and took it to Virginia Tech.  ECU befuddled Tech's anemic offense and scratched out enough points on their own to seal the win.  The deciding play?  ECU ripped the Beamerball sword from V Tech and thrust it through their heart with a blocked punt for a TD with less than two minutes remaining.  The game was close throughout.  No fluke here folks.  The Pirates bested the Hokies in rushing and passing yardage and time of posession.  They even threw away two fumbles, gave up 60 more yards in penalties and messed up an extra point that Tech returned for 2 points.  Next up for the marauding Pirates?  The Kingdom of West Virginia invades the Pirates' Greenville hideout this weekend.  Better bring more than muskets Mountaineers.  It'll take some heavy guns to dislodge the scourge of North Carolina.

Utah Tomahawks Michigan  25-23.  Sweeping down out of the Mountain West Conference like the Mongol tribes of old, the Utes blazed to a 25-10 lead and then hung on for the win.  Michigan's new offense had teething problems as expected.  But the Wolverines defense also succumbed to the Utes' air attack, led by QB Brian Johnson who was 21-34-1 for 305 yards.  Both teams treated the ground as if it was teeming with rattlesnakes and gained only 36 yards apiece.  Kicker Louie Sakoda added to the number of airborne footballs with field goals of 28, 41, 43, and 53 yards.  Sakoda also showed that barbarians can be eloquent on occasion by stating, "Non-BCS teams should get a shot at a championship every year."  Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham noted, "It shouldn't have been as close as it was."  Next up for the Utes? UNLV.  Start running now Rebels.  You'll need all the head start you can get.

Bowling Green Ambushes Pitt 27-17.  ambush n.: a trap in which concealed persons lie in wait to attack by suprise.  Pitt was 24-0 against MAC teams at home.  Surprise!  Not any more.  The Falcons held Panther RB LeSean McCoy to 71 yards rushing and used some razzle-dazzle such as WR Freddie Barnes hitting Jimmy Scheidler with a 5 yd. TD pass.  Pitt was also a generous host, serving up three fumbles and an interception.  So despite dominating statistically, Pitt came up short on the scoreboard.  Falcons coach  Gregg Brandon showed that barbarians can be honest as well.  "We're not supposed to beat those people." said Brandon.  Well Gregg, the times they are a-changing!

Fresno State Goes Transcontinental on Rutgers 24-7.  Fresno flew from California on a charter plane so small, it had to stop in Kansas to refuel.  All seats were taken, and they arrived in New Jersey the Sunday before the Monday 4:00 pm game.  So the fact that Rutgers stuffed their offense the first half makes sense.  Apparently a fire and brimstone speech Coach Pat Hill in the locker room woke up the Bulldogs who outscored Rutgers by 17 after halftime. Solid run defense and rushing offense got the job done for Fresno who converted a 3rd and 23 inside the Rutgers 5 to keep a drive going after Rutgers closed to 10-7 in the fourth quarter.  Two missed field goals and Rutgers' decision to go for it on 4th and goal at the 3 yard line also loomed large in the result.  RB Ryan Matthews ran for 163 yards, mostly after the half.  It's no fun having barbarians come into your house and rip out your heart.  Trust me, I know.  Next target for this barbarian pack of wolves?  The Badgers of Wisconsin make the trip to Fresno on September 13th.  Beware Wisconsin.  I know badgers are vicious but these dogs attack in packs. 


Posted on: September 3, 2008 5:26 pm

TBDPITL Week 1. I really mean it this time.

Ok, in the interest of full disclosure, here are my votes.

1. USC - Trojans don't need a 1AA tuneup.  Ask Virginia.

2. Georgia - Georgia beats cupcake #1

3. Missouri - Tigers move up with big win over Illinois

4. West Virginia - See Georgia

5. Ohio St. - See Georgia

6. Texas - See Georgia

7. Florida - Memo to Hawaii.  Never visit the SEC again.

8. Wisconsin - See Georgia

9. LSU - Appy State learned LSU is not Michigan

10. Oklahoma - See Georgia

11. Auburn - Ok, so it's not a state-wide thing with Louisiana-Monroe

12. Alabama - Alright Saban, you impressed me.

13. Fresno St. - Damn Bulldogs!

14. Oregon - Ducks roll. Or should I say waddle?

15. Penn St. - Big win over Coma Carolina

16. USF - See Georgia

17. Texas Tech - Yeah, you shoulda been here in my preseason poll

18. Kansas - See Georgia

19. Cincinatti - See Georgia

20. Arizona St. - See Georgia

21. UCLA - Not completely convinced but beating TN has to be worth something

22. East Carolina - Note to Big East.  Scoop up the Pirates.  NOW!

23. BYU - Missed you in preseason poll. Sorry Cougs.

24. Utah - Yeah, Michigan's O is new but the Utes beat up their D too.

25. Wake Forest - A rare ACC winner last week.

Barbarian Report on the big week by Utah, East Carolina, and Fresno State on the way!

Posted on: July 13, 2008 2:08 pm

Barbarians Fare Well in Pre-Season TBDPITL Poll

Well the preseason edition of The Best Damn Poll in the Land has hit the Internet.  Without sounding overly self-congratulatory for the small part I played in it, I thought it was pretty good.  Kudos to the Greek as the driving force and poll-master.  I was especially pleased that two barbarians were listed.  If you didn't know, barbarians are those non-BCS schools that have the audacity to appear in polls and upset the pre-ordained order of the Bowl Championship Series.  My positition has always been that these teams get short shrift from the media and coaches and are openly conspired against by the BCS schools to be kept out of the end of the year bowl money give-aways.  But IMHO, just like the original barbarians storming and eventually sacking Rome, these non-BCS schools will eventually win out and get a playoff so they have a fair shot at a true national championship.

So in addition to my obvious Rutgers/Big East bias which I will try to keep under control, I plan on doing my best to see that these "non-tradtional" schools get a fair shot in the poll.    So here's a brief overview of this year's Huns, Vandals, Visigoths, and Franks.  I'll try to do updates on the teams that appear in the TBDPITL or on the "Receiving Votes" list.

1.  Fresno State - Frankly I didn't know a lot about them until Kansas St. turned yellow and dropped them from their schedule.  Apparently the Wildcats don't like getting stomped by a WAC team.  So Rutgers got them for their opener on Labor Day this year.  After doing a little research on the Bulldogs, I am scared, big time.  Veteran quarterback, solid running game, and a defense that has been described as "chippy."  What that translates to in my book, is a defense that causes problems and beats people.  Coach Pat Hill's motto is any team, any place.  After Rutgers, they play Wisconsin at home.  I'm calling an upset here Badger Ballers, be ready.  Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous team.  If they beat Rutgers, Wiscy, and UCLA this year, expect to see them in the top 10, maybe top 5.

2. BYU - Really happy to see them at #16.  They just missed in my poll.  Two straight 11-1 seasons but you hear nothing about them from the media.  Well you're hear about them from me.  QB Max Hall almost hit 4,000 yards last year with 26 TD's.  Freshman of the year RB Harvey Unga ran for 1,227 yards and 44 catches for 655 yards. 17 total TD's.  Defense hurt by graduation.  Games against Washington and UCLA could put them  on the radar.  My pick for the Mountain West this year.

3. Utah - A major obstacle on BYU's path.  The Moutain West crown will be decided by BYU at Utah this year.  Solid O-line, if senior QB Brian Johnson cuts down on ints, he's a force, and offense has a 1,200 yard rusher in Darrell Mack.  Defense was 18th in the nation and has a veteran secondary.  The Utes will be looking to upset Rich Rod and Michigan in the opener, and could do it.

4. East Carolina - I've been politicking to get them into the Big East.  Love this team and their football tradition.  Last year beat barbarian hero Boise State in the Humanitarian Bowl.  UCF may be the trendy pick for Conference USA.  I like the Pirates.  Skip Holtz' two QB rotation causes problems.  Defense needs to improve over last year.

5.  Boise State - Everyone's non-BCS hero due to their monumental victory over Oklahoma two years ago.  Ian Johnson's still there and is a force at RB.  QB controversy needs to be resolved, and replacing he who blocks out the sun, Ryan Clady will be difficult.  Defense looks solid.  If Fresno State wants to be the big dog in the WAC, this is the team who presently carries around the big bone.  Expect Hawaii to fall off the radar this year.

6. Troy - The real Trojans. Sorry USC but you really should be the Southern Californians.  How do you like this OOC schedule: LSU, Ohio St., and Oklahoma St.  Why do our pollsters like them?  Well they stayed within 10 of Georgia last year for one.  Good receivers but breaking in new QB and RB.

So there they are, this year's favorite Barbarians according The Best Damn Poll in the Land.  Rape, Pilllage, and Plunder boys.  Every time you knock off a BCS team, you get us that much closer to a national playoff.

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