Archive for college

Wise to Play it Safe?

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , on September 3, 2008 by nathanjzacharias

Sorry for the delay in getting a new post.  Nate E is currently suffering in New Zealand, and I was temping the wrath of Gustav by spending Labor Day weekend in the Florida panhandle.  So let’s see, what did we miss since our last post? Oh yeah, a lot. 

The wait for football is finally over and the opening weekend didn’t disappoint.  We had our share of upsets, downsets, and Div 1AA teams having the pleasure of being humiliated on national TV.  Gotta love it. 

All of the top 5 teams pretty much demolished their opponents, but the closest of those games was Georgia vs Georgia Southern, with the Bulldogs winning by a “mere” 24 points.  After taking a 38-0 lead, Head Coach Mark Richt pulled his starters, which was a wise move in  my humble opinion.  You don’t want to lose your premier players in a game you already know you’re going to win. As it was they still lost Jeff Owens, which is big.  It was only after the Dawgs started making substitutions that Georgia Southern managed to score 21 points.  But when you look at the box scores at the end of the day, it looks like a number 1 Georgia team had more trouble with their inferior opponent than the other Top 5 teams did.  And that probably factored in why USC leap-frogged them into the number 1 ranking yesterday.

So my question for the day is this: should a team pull their starters in a game they’re assured of winning, or should they keep them in to make the win as convincing as possible?  I think it’s a tough call actually. I’m sure most of the coaches probably did that this weekend. I didn’t get to see most of the games, so I can’t say for sure.  But in Georgia’s case, the final score could have played a role in the change in rankings.  So is it worth it?

I think so.  You don’t want to risk losing the whole season in order to run up the score on a game you’ve already won.  I’m not saying Georgia should still be number 1.  USC is obviously stacked, as are all of the teams in the Top 5.  Any one of them has a strong case for a top ranking.  I’m just saying that when all is said and done, what they need to do to stay in the running for the national championship is beat the many tough teams they’ve got on their schedule, not beat Georgia Southern 50-0. 

And they’ll need their best players to do that.

Are You ‘Nuts’

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , on August 27, 2008 by nathanjzacharias

Two years ago, I probably would have been burned at the stake for saying what I’m about to say: Ohio State is overrated.  However, this year, I’m pretty sure that most people (outside of Columbus, OH, that is) will probably agree with me. 

I’m not saying they don’t have a ton of talent.  They do.  There’s no doubt they are a great team.  But are they the #2 team in the country (according to the AP poll)?

A quick look at the their schedule shows the Buckeyes playing 4 teams that are currently ranked.  The highest ranked opponent is of course USC, who is sitting at the #3 spot.  After that, the next highest teams drops to 13, and then the last two are at 20th and 22nd.  In other years a Big Eleven Ten Conference schedule would have been pretty brutal.  This just isn’t that year. 

And even USC is only scheduled to play 3 ranked teams (again, based on current rankings).

Contrast that to the #1 Bulldogs, who play 6 ranked teams, with three of those being in the top 10.  The SEC schedule is so tough, that it’s highly unlikely for any team in the Conference to come out the regular season unscathed.  And that may cost Georgia a chance to play in the Championship game, depending on if they lose and when.  

In OSU’s case, many analysts are saying the only opponent that could give them a true challenge is USC.  And if they win that they’ll likely end the season as the #1 ranked team.  

But I would argue that a one or two loss team like Georgia, or even Florida as much as it pains me to say it, is a better team than the Buckeyes.  Those teams will have to defeat much tougher competition to even stay in National Championship contention. 

And I think the last two years that an #1 Buckeye team is over matched when they play the SEC Champion. 

OSU is a great program with a great team and a great coach.  But I think their ranking is just too high, and I will join a lot of people in being disappointed if they play in the Championship game this year.