Football Thoughts: Week 10

Um, WOW. That about sums up my thoughts for week 10 of college football.

Let’s start off in two obvious places for me.

  1. Notre Dame beat Pitt to go to 9-0. If you watched this game you know how ridiculous it was to get an Irish victory. It had all the ingredients of an upset loss. Red zone turnovers, penalties, and Coach Kelly playing Russian Roulette with his QBs. The defense looked mesmerized by Pitt all game– as if this weren’t the team they’d seen on film that lost to lowly Youngstown State to open the season. (As an Irish fan, I know that it’s the NBC factor. For most mediocre teams the Notre Dame game is their only shot at national TV. It’s their de facto bowl game and crappy teams tend to play better.) I thought the game was over when Golson threw a pick in the endzone with 3 minutes to go. But the defense got a stop and 2 plays later Golson somehow tied it up. How far can the Irish go? At this point if they win 1 out of 3 games they are going to a BCS game. Win 2 out of 3 and they go to a BCS game. But win all 3? Mark my words… an undefeated Notre Dame team will not be denied a spot in the National Championship game. They are just too powerful from a fan base perspective. An undefeated Notre Dame team could bump out undefeated Oregon or Alabama. Money talks and everyone in football is poor compared to Notre Dame.
  2. San Diego State beat Boise State in Boise. For those outside of the West you need to know: No one beats Boise State in Boise. Going into the game they were 71-1 at home since 2001. Additionally, SDSU has not beaten a nationally ranked team on the road in the history of the program. (They were 0-31 in road games against ranked teams.) Quite literally, it was the biggest win in team history. Not only did it catapult them into a tie for the Mountain West lead, it also was huge from a recruiting perspective as they head into the Big East alongside Boise State. A lot of Boise State’s talent at the skills positions comes from Southern California, so showing those recruits we can go there and get a win means a ton. Credit for this victory goes to two departments. First, Rocky Long made some ballsy calls down the stretch to run out the clock, including going for it on 4th down with 2:03 to go. (Rocky’s go-for-it chart now has its own Twitter account.) Second, special teams won this game. We opened the game with a 102 yard kickoff return for a TD. And late in the game we blocked a punt to set up the victory.

Still kind of pinching myself about those two games. Wow. 

Notre Dame Opponents Making the Case for the Irish

ND’s schedule was a death sentence. No one… NO ONE predicted they’d be 9-0. But now that we are here we can thank our opponents for helping us with the BCS picture. (In basketball terms we’d call this the RPI) Navy has won 5 in a row. Michigan beat Minnesota in the first post-Robinson era game. Miami beat VaTech. Stanford is on a 3 game winning streak. And BYU went to Atlanta and kicked the crap out of Georgia Tech.

No Upsets in the Top 10

Boy, ESPN was sure hoping for a shake-up yesterday– right? They set it up all week for one of the undefeated teams to lose, but they didn’t. Alabama came back against LSU. Oregon went all video game on USC in the 4th quarter. Kansas State held on despite probably losing their QB. And Notre Dame stole victory from Pitt.

Even in the top 20 teams there wasn’t really a major upset. The day played out with only the SDSU/Boise State game surprising most people. Some ranked  teams lost to lower ranked or unranked conference opponents… but that’s gonna happen this time of year.

Who is For Real?

Is Louisville (10-0) for real? Um, no one seems to think so. I think they are destined for the Orange Bowl to play whichever team loses among the 4 undefeated who isn’t Oregon. All of whom will hammer the Cardinals. While undefeated, they haven’t played any team of significance, which is why no one is giving them love.

Is Rutgers for real? No.

Is the state of Texas for real? Meh. I’ve not been impressed with any of the Texas teams this year. I love that TCU beat West Virginia yesterday. But all the Texas teams just seem to be chewing up one another in 2012 and none of them is emerging. I’ve been impressed with A&M… but I have a feeling they’ll get thrashed by Alabama next weekend. I think that we’ve finally learned what happens when all Texas teams can recruit… they all kind of lose something. (TCU, Texas, A&M, Tech, Baylor are all meh in 2012.)

Is Florida State for real? Yes. No one wants to play them in a BCS bowl game. While their schedule has sucked they have thrashed some teams. If they can get by Florida, expect them to be in a top tier bowl.

Is the Big 10 really this bad? Yes. Other than ineligible Ohio State, none of the Big 10 teams are playing very well. It looks like Nebraska could make it to the Rose Bowl. (If Oregon gets the national championship game we could see a 1 loss Notre Dame vs. Nebraska… which would be a GREAT game.) Don’t forget that the Big 10 was horrible in non-conference games this year.

Is the MAC for real? Yes, but it won’t matter. A 1 loss Ohio/Kent State/Toledo/NIU team will still be in the Motor City Bowl because the MAC is a lower tier mid-major.

Adam’s BCS Bowl Projections

National Championship Game – Notre Dame vs. Oregon

Fiesta Bowl – Florida vs. Kansas State

Sugar Bowl – Alabama vs. Florida State

Orange Bowl – Louisville vs. Clemson

Rose Bowl – Nebraska vs. Georgia


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12 responses to “Football Thoughts: Week 10”

  1. Ben Cook Avatar
    Ben Cook

    Not to be rude, but how do you have Florida State playing in two bowl games? I’m guessing you meant Florida for one of those games.

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      Ha, good catch. I meant to have Florida vs. K-State. I kept toying with the idea of Clemson getting in… but I just don’t think that’ll happen. But it’s also hard to imagine the SEC getting 3 teams.

  2. Paul Turner Avatar
    Paul Turner

    Alabama has a pretty powerful fan base. I’d like to see Irish vs Bama.

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      I’d like to see that, too. But I’m having a hard time seeing them run the table.

  3. Matt Lawson Avatar
    Matt Lawson

    “Mark my words… an undefeated Notre Dame team will not be denied a spot in the National Championship game. They are just too powerful from a fan base perspective. An undefeated Notre Dame team could bump out undefeated Oregon or Alabama.”

    I don’t see it. If Oregon, Alabama, and ND are undefeated at the end of the year, ND will be left out. It’s highly impossible for ND to jump the other two. The other two’s SOS only increases in the next 3 weeks, and especially when they win their conf. championship, ND will long be forgotten. [btw…I’m neither a Bama or Ducks fan or even an SEC homer].
    Thanks for the love for my alma mater, Clemson Tigers. You have more faith than I do that they will be in a BCS game.

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      I’m tellin’ ya. A 12-0 Notre Dame team won’t be overlooked. Too much fan base. (Bigger than most NFL teams.)

      And after yesterday I’m not convinced there will be an unbeaten SEC team… quite likely there will be 3 with 1 loss.

      The conference championship games are dangerous. Let’s say someone beats Alabama in the SEC championship game. A 1-loss team won’t get to the championship game over undefeated Oregon or Notre Dame. (Which is why I’m saying ND vs. Oregon)

      I’d be more concerned about K-State running the table and then lowly Louisville standing their with their AQ status as undefeated.

      The news about Oregon yesterday was that they gave up 50+ points. We know they can score, but defense is a big deal down the stretch.

      And I think Clemson gets there on ticket sales… and the fact that the Big 10 is so horrid.

  4. Todd Porter Avatar

    As for the Big 10… Ohio has looked pathetic. How can you say they are playing well? They have barely beat the bottom teams in the Big 10.

    I am liking the look Michigan will have next year with Devin Gardner. He looked pretty good once he settled into the game. Going to be even better the following year with Shane Morris.

    ND will be overlooked if there is more than one undefeated team. They will lose a lot in the computer rankings with their five wins by single digits. Alabama has one against LSU, Oregon has none, & K-State has two. That will play a major factor into the computer and human rankings. Especially the two single digit wins over woeful Purdue and Pitt. The BCS NC game is not about popularity, but about rankings.

    ND will quite likely get a BCS bowl game, but I doubt they make it to the NC game.

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      They only have to win 1 of the next 3 games to get a BCS berth.
      http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/football/ncaa/11/01/bcs-notre-dame-attractive-option.ap/index.html

      Cracking up that you guys still think this is about rankings and not dollars. It’s not a playoff or even an NCAA issued championship… it’s an exhibition.

      1. Todd Porter Avatar

        The rest of the bowl games are, but the BCS NC game is more about rankings. I agree with Steve that it will be nice when they move to more of a mini playoff system.

  5. Steve Holt Avatar

    Ummm… Rankings have nothing to do with whether or not you get into the national championship. I bummed that we have to wait 2 more years for a playoff system! I’d like to see all 4 of the undefeated lose so we throw the whole thing into a tizzy! Based on strength of schedule if Alabama. Oregon Notre Dame and Kansas Stae go undefeated. Alabama should play Oregon and Notre Dame should play Kansas State. Just my two cents!

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      If history holds true… there will not be 4-5 undefeated teams. There will probably be 2, 3 max.

  6. Tyler V Avatar
    Tyler V

    Thank you for the MAC love! As a NIU alumn, it’s fun watching them beat up people knowing that it won’t end up anywhere. That one point loss to Iowa week 1 will keep us from getting respect…

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