Friday, December 31, 2004

BCS - Mandel Discusses Alternatives

Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated has a great article (Dec. 30, 2004) at SI.com on the endless controversy over BCS and college football bowl game matchups.

The article is entitled "So, you want an alternative?"

Mandel goes through various proposed alternative systems and shows the potential matchups under each system for this year.

All fine and good, if one agrees with those particular selections of teams.

But what if Boise State is the best team in the country?
What more can they do than win all of their regular season games?
But it is not included in any of Mandel's lists.

Four teams that Boise State beat during the regular season
Oregon State (53-34), UTEP (47-31), Fresno State (33-16) and Hawaii (69-3)

have already played in bowl games to close out this year:

Oregon State (who lost regular season to USC 28-20) beat Notre Dame 38-21
UTEP (who won regular season against Fresno State 24-21) barely lost to Colorado 33-28
Fresno State beat 18th-ranked Virginia 37-34
Hawaii beat UAB 59-40.

Makes Boise State look pretty good.
And makes any system other than a real playoff system involving all unbeaten teams, all conference champions, etc. a matter of opinion.

Friday, December 10, 2004

NCAA Football College Bowl Predictions 2004-2005

NCAA Football College Bowl Predictions 2004-2005

Before we get into the NCAA College Football Bowls, did you know that Number One ranked Division II Pittsburg State (Kansas) is ranked higher by Massey than the major school Pittsburgh (PA), indeed 38th overall? Take a look here. Pittsburg State plays Valdosta State (GA) for the title on December 11 in Florence, AL. (Live radio can be accessed here) We predict a Pittsburg State win, 52-31.

Here are our BOWL PREDICTIONS for the year ending 2004 and starting 2005. The odds we quote are taken from the College Football Prediction Tracker effective December 10, 2004 and may change from that date. These predictions are just for fun, so do not rely on anything you find here for gambling. That would be foolish. This is just our opinion as football punditry.

WYNDHAM NEW ORLEANS BOWL (December 14, 2004, 7:30 p.m.)
Southern Mississippi is favored by 5.5 over North Texas. We call it for Southern Miss 35-28.

CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL (December 21, 2004, 7:45 p.m.)
Georgia Tech (6-5) is favored by 4.5 over Syracuse (6-5). Both teams lost primarily to very strong teams and are stronger than their records indicate. The Orangemen won their last game over Boston College 43-17 while Georgia Tech barely lost to Georgia 19-13. On paper, the Yellowjackets have the strongest team, so we call it Georgia Tech 33 Boston College 27.

GMAC BOWL (December 22, 2004, 8 p.m.)
Bowling Green (8-3) is favored by 4.5 over Memphis (8-3). Memphis has a potent offense combined with a leaky defense. Bowling Green has been able to score on even top teams such as Oklahoma but has also been able to hold its own on defense against teams of similar strength. We think this favors the Falcons over the Tigers 44-37.

PLAINS CAPITAL FORT WORTH BOWL (December 23, 2004, 6:30 p.m.)
Cincinnati (6-5) is favored by 2 over Marshall (6-5). Cincinnati had a number of impressive wins over 3 bowl-bound teams this year but were taken apart by Louisville in the season final 70-7. So they will have something to prove. Marshall lost 4 times to bowl bound teams, barely losing to Troy State, Ohio State and Georgia early in the season and to Bowling Green later in the year. Both beat a good Miami of Ohio team. It's a toss-up, but we give the advantage to Marshall 31-30.

PIONEER PUREVISION LAS VEGAS BOWL (December 23, 2004, 9:45 p.m.)
UCLA (6-5) is favored by 12.5 over Wyoming (6-5). UCLA put up a good show against cross-town rival USC to end the year. Wyoming had a good win over Mississippi during the season and lost to Utah only 28-45. We call it UCLA 32 Wyoming 30.

SHERATON HAWAII BOWL (December 24, 2004, 7 p.m.)
Hawaii is favored by 3.5 over UAB. After being demolished by Boise State and Fresno State, the Rainbow Warriors finished off with wins over two Big 10 teams, Northwestern and Michigan State. UAB has wins over Cincinnati, Memphis and TCU. We see Hawaii winning over UAB 44-35.

MPC COMPUTERS BOWL (December 27, 2004, 2 p.m.)
Virginia (8-3) is favored by 5.5 over Fresno State (8-3). This could be one of the most interesting of all the bowls. After a 16-33 loss to undefeated Boise State, the Bulldogs went on a tear and won their last five games 42-0, 52-21, 70-14, 54-17 and 62-28. Virginia lost all the season's big games to Florida State, Miami of Florida and Virginia Tech but the Cavaliers undoubtedly have a superb team which is much stronger on offense than defense and this may be the main problem against the offensive talents of Fresno State. We call an upset for the Bulldogs 38-35.

MOTOR CITY BOWL (December 27, 2004, 5:30 p.m.)
Toledo (9-3) is favored by 3.5 over Connecticut (7-4). Toledo was blitzed by Minnesota and Kansas to start the year but the Rockets came back to win them all except for a loss to Miami of Ohio, closing with three big wins over Northern Illinois, Bowling Green and a loss-avenging win over Miami of Ohio. Connecticut has one quality win over Pittsburgh. We call it 40-30 for the Rockets.

INDEPENDENCE BOWL (December 28, 2004, 6:30 p.m.)
Miami of Ohio (8-4) is favored by 3 over Iowa State (6-5). The Redhawks were weak outside their own conference. We think the Cyclones will manage this one and call it Iowa State 37 Miami of Ohio 26.

INSIGHT BOWL (December 28, 2004, 9:45 p.m.)
Oregon State (6-5) is favored by 3.5 over Notre Dame(6-5). Oregon State finished strong, losing only to USC 28-20 in their last six games, whereas the Irish lost 3 of their last 4. We call it for the Beavers 40-19.

EV1.net HOUSTON BOWL (December 29, 2004, 4:30 p.m.)
Colorado (7-5) is favored by 3 over UTEP (8-3). We call it for the Buffaloes 37-26.

MASTERCARD ALAMO BOWL (December 29, 2004, 8 p.m.)
Oklahoma State (7-4) is favored by 3.5 over Ohio State (7-4). This will most likely be an exciting game. Oklahoma State had some tough losses to close out the year because their defense had a tendency to collapse. This Buckeye team is a shadow of former years, so we call it for the Cowboys 36-33.

CONTINENTAL TIRE BOWL (December 30, 2004, 1 p.m.)
North Carolina (6-5) is favored by 3 over Boston College (8-3). We call it for the Eagles over the Tarheels 24-21.

EMERALD BOWL (December 30, 2004, 4:30 p.m.)
New Mexico (7-4) is favored by 2.5 over Navy (9-2). We think the Midshipmen have a chance and call it Navy 27 New Mexico 24.

PACIFIC LIFE HOLIDAY BOWL (December 30, 2004, 8 p.m.)
California (10-1) is favored by 11.5 over Texas Tech (7-4). California should have beaten USC this year when Aaron Rodgers of Cal completed his first 23 passes, but were denied victory by a last-minute goal-line stand and a USC switch to man-to-man coverage toward game end. In Texas Tech, the Bears will be facing Sonny Cumbie, the nation's most prolific passer in the top NCAA division, with 4222 season passing yards, so we expect a scoring duel, calling an upset for Texas Tech 52-49.

SILICON VALLEY BOWL (December 29, 2004, 11 p.m.)
Northern Illinois (8-3) and Troy State (7-4) are seen as even. We call it for Northern Illinois 21-20.

GAYLORDS HOTELS MUSIC CITY BOWL (December 31, 2004, noon)
Alabama (6-5) is favored by 3.5 over Minnesota (6-5). The strong Minnesota offense has been stymied by its weak defense this year, whereas Alabama is balanced in both respects, without a power offense. We think this gives the edge to Minnesota 21 to 17.

VITALIS SUN BOWL (December 31, 2004, 2 p.m.)
Purdue (7-4) is favored by 7.5 over Arizona State (9-2). The two losses by the Sun Devils to USC and Cal were explainable, the season closing loss to archrival Arizona was not. Purdue started like a house afire this season and then lost four close heartbreakers in a row. With a little luck, the Boilermakers could have been undefeated. Arizona State's top quarterback Andrew Walter was hurt in the last game, so we will go with the Big 10, which is the much stronger conference and call it Purdue 30 Arizona State 20.

AUTO ZONE LIBERTY BOWL (December 31, 2004, 3:30 p.m.)
Louisville (10-1) is favored by 14 over Boise State (11-0). What a game this is bound to be, matching the teams ranked 1st and 2nd in total team offense nationally. Louisville lost only one game, to Miami of Florida 38-41 and otherwise rolled over the opposition with a 56-49 win over Memphis. Boise State had impressive wins over bowl-bound Oregon State, Fresno State and Hawaii. We call it Boise State 52 and Louisville 51. Amazing is that the prolific throwing Louisville quarterback only has two interceptions all year.

CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL (December 31, 2004, 7:30 p.m.)
Miami of Florida (8-3) is favored by 3 over Florida (7-4). We call it for Miami of Florida 38-27. Bring on Urban Meyer.

OUTBACK BOWL (January 1, 2005, 11 a.m.)
Georgia (9-2) is favored by 6.5 over Wisconsin (9-2). Wisconsin fell apart at the end of the season, losing heavily to Michigan State and Iowa after looking like Rose Bowl favorites prior to that. Can the Badgers recover? Georgia lost to Tennessee and Auburn but had quality wins over Marshall and LSU. On paper, the Bulldogs look like the stronger team. We call it Georgia 35 Wisconsin 20.

SBC COTTON BOWL (January 1, 2005, 11 a.m.)
Texas A&M (7-4) is favored by 3 over Tennessee (9-3). Tennessee has been hampered by losing its top quarterbacks to injuries all year long and 2 of its 3 losses are to Auburn with one inexplicable loss to Notre Dame. Texas A&M has losses to Utah, Oklahoma and Texas and one inexplicable loss to Baylor. We do not have any intution about this game but call it for Texas A&M 39-28.

TOYOTA GATOR BOWL (January 1, 2005, 12:30 p.m.)
Florida State (8-3) is favored by 8.5 over West Virginia (8-3). The Seminoles lost to Miami of Florida, Maryland and Florida, beating a
good Virginia team 36-3. The Mountaineers lost to Virginia Tech, Boston College and Pitsburgh, while beating Maryland. We call it a toss-up and go with West Virginia 35-34.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL (January 1, 2005, 1 p.m.)
LSU is favored by 6.5 over Iowa. Iowa lost early to Arizona State and Michigan and have since won seven straight while LSU, after losing to Auburn and Georgia early in the year have won six straight. These are two very strong teams. We call it a toss-up and go with Iowa 24-23.

ROSE BOWL (January 1, 2005, 4:30 p.m.)
Texas (10-1) is favored by 6 over Michigan (9-2). This is the first time these two teams have ever played against each other. How good are the Longhorns? whose only loss was to Oklahoma 12-0. What a defense the Sooners are able to muster against top teams. How good are the Wolverines? who have struggled all year to win regularly and who lost the season final 21-37 to Ohio State. It depends on the matchups. Michigan does not appear to have the defense to stop Cedric Benson, who will probably prove to be the difference. We call it Texas 34 Michigan 24.

TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL (January 1, 2005, 8:30 p.m.)
Utah (11-0), and ranked 3rd in the Massey ratings, is favored by 16 over Pittsburgh, which overcame an early season loss to weak Nebraska to finish 8-3. The loss of coach Urban Meyer to Florida next season should have little effect on the game itself, although this is hard to predict, as the Utes have already regrouped and named defensive coordinator Kyle Whittingham the new head coach for next year. Utah may be motivated to go out in style this year because no one then knows about the coming year at Utah. Pitt has at times allowed a lot of points and Utah's offense is superb, so that we call it Utah 55 Pitt 24.

NOKIA SUGAR BOWL (January 3, 2005, 8 p.m.)
Auburn (12-0) is favored by 6.5 over Virginia Tech (10-2) and will be out to prove it is the true Number One. The Hokies lost by 11 to USC to start out the season and 16-17 to NC State in the 4th game but were coming on strong in late season, beating Virginia and Miami of Florida, both excellent 8-3 teams. Although Auburn is very strong, this may be their toughest game of the year, as the Hokies also have a strong defense, with both teams ranking in the top 10 in the nation in passing defense and among the top 5 in total defense. We call it a toss-up and see Auburn winning 14-10.

FEDEX ORANGE BOWL (January 4, 2005, 8 p.m.)
USC (12-0) is favored by 3 over Oklahoma (12-0). The Massey ratings see the USC offense as better than that of OU but the defenses are ranked 1 an 2 in the nation by Massey, with OU's Nr. 1 defense surely in large part due to the addition of Bo Pelini to the coaching staff, who the Nebraska Cornhuskers were too stupid too keep last year. Oklahoma blew it last year but we think that the OU defense can shut USC down sufficiently and it has enough of an offense with White and Petersen to win. We call it OU 28 USC 24.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

NCAA Records Books Moved to a New Online Location

NCAA Records Books Moved to a New Online Location

The NCAA - Records Books are now found at a new online location.

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