Friday, December 28, 2007

This and that

Some assorted thoughts that I've been holding on to:
-Although I was kinda rooting for Central Michigan to pull off the upset over Purdue, I am glad to see the Boilers win, as it could be the only win that the Big Ten gets this bowl season. MSU, Michigan, and Illinois are huge underdogs, with Michigan and Illinois playing against top ten teams with top five talent. Ohio State and Penn State are playing virtual road games. Wisconsin is in a pick'em game, and who knows what to expect from Indiana after a 15 year bowl drought. Part of the problem for the Big Ten, apart from the travel issues (Big Ten teams always travel further than their opponents) is that Big Ten teams are often playing teams that are higher ranked in their conference. Wisconsin, 4th in the Big Ten plays the SEC runner-up Tennessee. #6 MSU plays ACC runner-up Boston College. I would like to see a revision of the bowl selection process that would rectify this problem, and would also vary the match-ups from year to year, so that teams don't go to the same bowls year in and year out. The six BCS conferences choose three bowls as the "second place" bowls (say, Capital One, Cotton, and Holiday), three as the third place bowls, three as the fourth place, etc. Each of the bowls in a particular group gets a chance to select any team in their particular slot. So for instance, the Capital One, Cotton, and Holiday would match-up the top non-BCS teams from the six BCS conferences. The Third place bowls would get the next choice, the fourth place the choice after that and so on.
-I wonder if Texas fans are more happy at their team's 7th straight 10 win season, or disappointed that they appear to underachieve once again. Looking back, there is no way they should have lost to Kansas State or Texas A&M. If they win those two, they could've been in New Orleans instead of San Diego. They are very young, and have a fairly easy schedule next year. They should make a serious push.
-Why the heck did Southern Miss can Jeff Bower? What more do they think their program should be? Bower gave them 17 years, 14 straight winning seasons, 119 wins, nine bowl games in the last ten years, three out of the four last conference championships. He is an alum who married a local beauty queen. He wasn't going anywhere, and he's gotten more out of that program than anyone else could reasonably expect. They're in freakin' Hattiesburg, do they really think there is a coach out there that can take them to the BCS? Within two years, if not sooner, they'll regret their decision.
-Speaking of traveling, the Wizard of Odds has an interesting post about the amount of miles travelled by college football teams for non-conference games in the last ten years (HT: EDSBS) While some of the results are too be expected, BCS conference teams travel less than BCS conference teams, eastern teams travel less than western teams, some of the results are surprising in their degree. We knew that SEC teams rarely traveled outside of the south, but we didn't realize it was so pronounced. In the last ten years Georgia has traveled a total of 358 miles for non-conference regular season games. Compare that to the 23 thousand miles logged by USC, or the 11 thousand Michigan has travelled. When you consider that 8 of the 10 least travelled teams are from the SEC, and only one team in the league, Alabama has averaged more than 1,000 miles a year, and you get some idea of why the SEC has accumulated the non-conference record it has. So the next time you hear someone ramble on about the superiority of the SEC, remind them that the average SEC team has traveled 350 miles per year to non conference games in the last decade, while Big Ten teams went almost 1,000 miles, while PAC Ten teams put in 1,500. And, of course, there's that whole home bowl game thing.
-Not to keep flogging a deceased equine, but I was very interested in the news that Les Miles called Rich Rodriguez to congratulate him on getting the Michigan job. According to Rich Rod's mother Miles thanked him for losing to Pitt but joked that the loss cost him his dream job. There's a little truth in all humor, right? How much do you want to bet that Miles would have given up the chance to coach in the championship game to come to Michigan? He really needs to stop thinking about the Michigan job, or he's going to get killed on the recruiting trail.
-Finally saw HBO's "The Rivalry" the other night. There are certainly some elements that are well done, but I had to agree with most of the criticism I heard from other people: it is definitely told more from the Ohio State perspective than the Michigan perspective; there should have been more about what Schembechler's passing meant to Michigan fans, than what it meant to Buckeye fans; there was no mention of Lloyd Carr, which is ridiculous; they could have included a lot more on Bob Ufer; they left out a number of interesting items from the ten year war, the buckeyes tearing down the M club banner, the Michigan fan dotting the "i", "Save Fuel, Burn Woody bumper stickers", etc. All in all a great show, but with a few tweaks could have been better.
-In all the hubub after the OSU game, Carr's retirement, etc, I forgot to send out an attaboy to our spartan brethern for their two game winning streak to end the season and their invite to the Champs Tangerine Micron PC Sports Bowl. After they lost to Michigan and Coach Dantonio got involved in a pissing match with Mike Hart, they had the look of a typical spartan team about to collapse down the stretch and blow their shot at the post season. But they pulled it together and beat two straight bowl teams to end the season on a winning streak for the first time in forever. Even if they get torched by BC in today's game, this has been a positive first season for Dantonio, and spartan fans should be very pleased with the progress. Now if he can just find a way to beat big brother ;-)