Finally, we had a good weekend of shake ups and surprises. But there were also far too many bland blowouts. Teams should be allowed to face I-AA opponents in Week 1 and Week 1 only. And no team should be allowed to face two (Syracuse played Maine last week, and Colgate on Saturday). So here are the lessons...
1. MIAMI IS THE ONLY GOOD TEAM IN THE ACC
The Hurricanes blew through Pittsburgh, vanquishing their former Big East mates 31-3 on Thursday night. Meanwhile, the rest of the ACC didn't look so hot. Boston College has no offense. Georgia Tech fell to 2-2 and look very drab. Duke lost to Army. Maryland won, but let Florida International score 28. UNC did get a win, though. And I guess Florida State had a decent victory over Wake Forest. But Miami has actually gone out and performed. They're still my pick to win the ACC,
2. TENNESSEE SUCKS
There are very few "middle class" teams in the SEC. You're either Top 15 material, or you're awful. Tennessee needed overtime to beat UAB in Knoxville. That should count as a tie, or even a loss. The Vols play LSU in Baton Rouge next week, and that should be a laugher.
3. ARMY MIGHT MAKE A BOWL GAME
Every year, I root for Army to make it to a bowl game. They haven't been to one since 1996. But it'd be a great story. They already have 3 wins, so only need 3 more. As mentioned above, they beat Duke. They host VMI on October 30th, so that should be win #4. They might be able to beat Tulane. How sweet would it be, though, if win #6 came against Notre Dame in Yankee Stadium on November 20?
4. THE SEC WEST IS RIDICULOUS
In case you didn't know... I'd say that the 4 best teams in the SEC play in the West (Bama, Arkansas, LSU, Auburn). Florida might be ranked 7th, but their schedule has been soft to this point. They play Bama and LSU the next two weeks, and the SEC West will make some statements. Arkansas/Auburn is October 16th. LSU/Auburn is October 23rd. Alabama/LSU is November 6th. Auburn/Alabama is November 6th. LSU/Arkansas is November 27th. These games will all have SEC West, and therefore SEC, and therefore National Title implications.
5. NOTRE DAME REALLY SUCKS
The Irish might not make a bowl game. They're 1-3, and still have to play Pitt, Navy, Utah, and USC. They can't afford to lose at Boston College this upcoming Saturday night. And they just might, as BC usually has their number.
6. TEMPLE IS GOOD
I remember when Temple was purged from the Big East. They were a cupcake team. And although I have yet to see them play, they've been impressive. They beat UConn 30-16, then went to Happy Valley and made it a game against Penn State. They were 9-4 last year and went to a bowl game. I wouldn't be shocked if another 9 win season came again, maybe even a MAC title.
7. THE RED RIVER SHOOTOUT DOESN'T MEAN SO MUCH
Texas embarrassed themselves against UCLA, allowing 264 yards on the ground, and turning the ball over 5 times. The Longhorns may have been looking ahead to their matchup with Oklahoma. But UT also had turnover problems against Texas Tech, and that game was close until the 4th quarter. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is 4-0, but they've not been impressive. Wins are wins, but Cincinnati let the Sooners slide with a mediocre effort. The Bearcats stopped the run, Landry Jones makes arrogant passes, and if Cincy had been able to finish drives and hang on to the ball, they would have won.
Nebraska will win the Big XII. There, I said it.
8. NEVADA SHOULD BE FEARED
The biggest Nevada fans outside of DP and Reno are the good old boys behind the BCS. After a 27-13 victory over BYU in Provo, the Wolf Pack look poised to slice through the WAC, then challenge Boise State on November 26th. That game will be on the green field of Mackay Stadium in Reno.
9. GEORGIA SUCKS
UGA has been overrated for about a decade, and they always seem to get votes in the polls just because they're Georgia. But they really do suck. And to further emphasize how good the SEC West is, it was Mississippi State that beat them 24-12 on Saturday. The Bulldogs are 0-3 in SEC play.
10. WEST VIRGINIA IS THE ONLY GOOD TEAM IN THE BIG EAST
The Mountaineers kept it reasonable against LSU. They dropped from the rankings, but would be 26th in the AP poll, and 28th in the Coaches'. No other Big East team received a vote in either poll. Not even one vote.
Next week we'll learn who'll win the Big XII South (Teas vs. Oklahoma), we'll see just how much better the SEC West really is (Florida @ Alabama), we'll determine the favorite to win the Pac-10 (Stanford @ Oregon), and the Big Ten has two meetings between Top 25 teams.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
What's been unofficial yet well known has now become official. The Red Sox are out of it. The starry eyed optimists out there might point out that the Sox have the 4th best record in the AL, and the 8th best in baseball. They'll point out the games missed by Youkilis and Pedroia.
But would this team have made the playoffs if they hadn't been so ridden with injury? More importantly, would this team have done something in the playoffs?
The answer to question #1 is "maybe." The answer to question #2 is a resounding "no!"
"Run Prevention." That's what the 2010 Sox were supposedly built for. Yet they've scored 794 runs so far, essentially the same as the Rays, and will finish the season either 2nd or 3rd in both the AL and all of baseball. So the Sox scored runs.
They just allowed too many. 715 to be precise. Only four teams in the American League allowed more runs.
Pedroia missed about half a season. Youkilis missed about 50 games. Their absence did cost the Red Sox some runs scored. But I don't think the Sox would have allowed significantly fewer runs had they been around.
The Red Sox were 21st in team ERA, with 4.17. They also had the 4th most Blown Saves with 21. 4th most, in all of baseball. Only the Orioles, Marlins, and Diamondbacks had more.
Clay Buchholz was stunning this season, but even he lost wins due to the Sox' bullpen. Then there was John Lackey, who pitched like a #4 and not a good #3. Then there was Matsuzaka, who once again missed time with injury, and was once again forgettable when healthy. 9-6 with a 4.72 ERA. He made 24 starts, believe it or not. But only 10 of them were Quality Starts. Compare that to Lackey, who made 19.
And finally, there was the "Ace" Josh Beckett. Like in blackjack and poker, Aces go high and low. Very, very low. Beckett is 6-5 with a 5.77 ERA. Thank God the Sox locked down this hot commodity.
The problem was pitching. Pitching wins, pitching loses. It's good pitching that prevents runs, and bad pitching that prevents wins. Apart from two or three guys, the Sox had awful pitching. I remember the optimists touting the "best rotation in baseball" back in March and April. Morons.
And as if to strengthen my argument, the Yankees and Rays both won behind pitching last night. Sabathia went 8.1, allowing only 1 run off 3 hits. For the Rays, David Price tossed 8 shutout innings. Meanwhile, the Sox got a respectable 6 innings and 2 runs from Lackey, but also had 3 different relievers surrender a run.
By the way, Theo, the Sox are 21st in fielding percentage, with the 10th most errors.