Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The True Top 10

Every year, especially in this part of the year, we seethe with fury at the football polls. Teams that spend their first three weeks beating up on the local vo-tech schools still get ranked in the top 5 based on nothing but hype and history. Sometimes the rankings hold up; often they flame out as soon as an overranked team faces an opponent that doesn't care what you did in the wing-T era.

So this year we're fixing that. Today we debut The True Top 10 -- a ranking based on one thing only: performance. No credit for running up the score on a bad team. The True Top 10 rewards teams that schedule other good teams and win meaningful games. Yes, the Oklahomas and Alabamas of the world will climb in down the road... but only if they earn it.

And don't worry, fellow Expats... I'm pretty sure the SEC will always be well-represented.

-- Tommy T.

The True Top 10, Week 1

1) LSU. Thumped an Oregon team that might win the rest of its games. Won without its starting quarterback. Looks scary, fast, and deep. And that's just a Les Miles brain scan.

2) Boise State. Beat an SEC team on the road (it was in Atlanta instead of Athens, but when you're playing Georgia* at the Georgia Dome, that's on the road). Also won the battle of the post-modern unis. BEWARE THE HORSEHEAD OF DEATH.

3) Baylor. Beat TCU 50-48 Friday night, meaning the game of the year might've been played before the first Saturday of the season even began. (I think this was the plot of the last "Back to the Future" movie.) Baylor QB Robert Griffin III is your clubhouse leader for the Heisman, although I wouldn't run any more trick plays where he catches a pass over the middle. It's hard to play quarterback without a spleen.

4) South Carolina. So was Steve Spurrier a genius for sitting Stephen Garcia at the beginning against East Carolina? More likely, Spurrier just likes playing Jenga with his quarterbacks' psyches. (By the way, are those tie-dye undershirts the Gamecocks are wearing? And if so, that's got to be Garcia's idea, right?)

5) South Florida. I posted this on Twitter over the weekend: How old do you have to be to remember when Notre Dame was good at football? Still, full marks to South Florida: Notre Dame is better than the cupcakes most of the top teams played last weekend. Although the Irish would probably lose to Utah State. And maybe Sacramento State. And, you know, when you start going down that James Madison roster...

6) Houston. Here's this year's TCU -- they beat UCLA in their opener and that's the toughest game on their schedule. (Next toughest, I think, is East Carolina at home.) Would love to see them play Baylor in a bowl. The game might last three days.

7) Maryland. Beat a Miami team that still looked decent, even though several players were suspended and a couple of linemen are somewhere near the Abacos on "borrowed" Jet Skis.

8) Hawaii. Doubling up Colorado doesn't sound that great. Doubling up THE SHINY NEW MEMBER OF THE PAC-12 sounds much better. Maybe the Pac-12 should have gone west instead of east. Honolulu in December, or Utah? You decide.

9) BYU. Stole one at Ole Miss on a late defensive TD, which led to much despair in Oxford until everybody got back to the bourbon at their tailgates. The Cougars play at Texas next week. If they win that, they might settle in here for awhile. (Cougs, it was nice knowing y'all.)

10) Northwestern. This is the only week of the year when beating Boston College gets you into the top 10 in anything.

In next week: the Alabama-Penn State winner. That's how you schedule a nonconference game, gentlemen.


RICHT: Um, can I help y'all?

AGENT #1: Well, coach, we'd like to come in and look around. Take a few measurements. Maybe have a photographer come by.

RICHT: Excuse me, fellas, but this house is not for sale.

AGENT #2 (after awkward pause): Sure. Of course. We just... you know... in case anything should happen.

RICHT: Y'all know I've won, like, 75 percent of my games, right? Two SEC championships? Anybody remember those?

AGENT #3: Coach, you know how the real-estate market goes. Sometimes you're up, sometimes you get pounded by Boise State. So... do you think you'd want to leave the chandelier?

RICHT: Get out of here! All of you! I need to get my team ready for South Carolina?

AGENT #4 (with hat pulled over eyes, wearing large sunglasses): Coach, how many square feet would you say this house is? And have you thought about running the ball a little more? Say, 50 times a game?

RICHT (startled): Coach Dooley?



Anonymous said...

If UGA wants to beat SC, it better move Boykin to RB. Crowell didnt show much nor did the O-line. This guy is the best chance to give the dawgs a run game.

Anonymous said...

Tommy, you are really reaching. Misipi is going to go 0-8 in the SEC. Beating them doesn't give BYU any points. Neither does beating Notre Dame. Oh, and the answer to your question? If you have to be 5 years old to have a good memory, you have to be 23 years old to remember the last time Notre Dame was any good.

And who is seething about the polls? Certainly not I. Couldn't care less about Auburn dropping out because they needed a magic act to beat Utah State. Means absolutely nothing this early. If we get blown out by Misipi State this week, then we'll talk.

Bama Brother said...

J's point about Auburn and Miss State is a good-un. But it is a home game for the Tigers. I wanna see how they do at Clemson and South Carolina. If they win those two, they will already have defied a lot of pre-season oddsmakers. I know, I know. They've lost people right and left, etc., and the schedule is tougher this year. But I wonder if that Utah State comeback signifies some kind of inner ethos that Auburn may have going for it, after the seven hundred comeback wins it registered last year. Just sayin' ... after examining little more than my own thoughts. But sometimes one year's pattern carries over to the next, and takes on the trappings of a tradition.

Anonymous said...

'Bama Brother - to expand on your thought about this becoming a tradition - that's true. Take Virginia Tech. No matter how good or bad the offense and defense are, they always have the best special teams in the world. Auburn could be establishing itself as the team that can always make a comeback. We'll see how long it lasts.

As bad as our defense was, I still can't see us losing to an overrated Clemson team. They have talent, but I think their coaching is lacking. I'm not expecting much against SC. Garcia, Jeffrey and Lattimore are going to have a field day against our defense. Our only hope is to outscore them.

How are you feeling about your squad? They have much more talent than Penn St, but what about your QBs and their interceptions? I still think you guys are 2 TDs better.

Michael said...


I think we were very ordinary in key positions against Kent State. The same line that couldn't make a dent in big-boy defenses last year didn't exactly blow a MAC team off the ball on Saturday.

If the same holds true this Saturday, on a heavy field, the kid QBs will have much to do to win the game, and I don't think they're ready.

Put me in the camp of this being a much closer game than expected.