What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. There is a rule in the blogosphere that says if you tag more than three posts with “college football,” you are required to do a pre-season ranking. It’s really almost like a chain letter; failing to engage is such willful prognostication can mean your goodies will swell into purple soccer balls before they burst and drop right off. Not only that, but you are forced to sit in front of Lou Holtz without a spit shield. Since I can barely swim…
Teams are rated within their conference, and the conferences are ranked in order of overall strength.
Plus, since here at Dubsism we are believers in the yin and yang of things, we felt it necessary not only to do the obligatory Top 25 list, but a comprehensive list as well. Why? Because for every team that should be admired for its prowess, there is one that should be pitied for its ineptitude.
The special category for Army, Navy, and that school in Indiana that used to mean something. Every year, Notre Dame gets more attention than they deserve; a phenomenon that continues up to that point when the Irish get such a crushing loss that every the most ardent Notre Dame fan has no choice but to admit they simply aren’t very good. Even though the Irish have their typically soft schedule, the hype really should be over by the third quarter of the Purdue game.
Thankfully, there is an Independent worth discussing. The Navy Midshipmen have built a program that is now worthy of a discussion wondering how good they will be rather than if they will be any good. Top that off with quarterback Ricky Dobbs, who is the best player you’ve never heard of. His name would be on all our lips were he at a “traditional” football power rather than preparing to serve his country.
11) Sun Belt Conference
Yeah, this is really Division I football, but it has a way to go to be the little brother of top-flight college football. Right now, it is more like a fetal version of a real conference; there are some signs of life beginning to develop. The Sun Belt has produced 9- and 10-win teams. Sun Belt teams have scored victories over big-conference teams; just a few years ago Louisiana-Monroe beat Alabama, Troy shocked Oklahoma State, and FAU took out a weak, but still BCS conference Minnesota all in the same season. Arkansas State upset Texas A&M in 2008 and in 2009 almost scored a road win over Iowa, falling 24-21.
Another sign that this conference is developing is the fact it has an increasing number of top-quality players; this year’s class includes Middle Tennessee State’s Dwight Dasher, Troy’s Jerrel Jernigan and Florida International’s T.Y. Hilton.
It’s easy to say the MAC is like a mini-me to the Big Ten, except the MAC doesn’t have bloated, over-rated teams that can’t get it done on the field (read that as “Michigan.”) Nine straight wins means there just might be a new “Golden Era” in Philadelphia. These aren’t the Temple Owls that stumbled affably toward, yet never achieving respectability. Now, the goal is to win the conference, which would’ve likely happened in 2009 had it not been for an injury to star running back Bernard Pierce.
Boise State defines the term “big fish in a small pond.” While the Broncos enter the Dubsism pre-season rankings in the Top Ten, you have to scroll all the way to #65 to find the next WAC member. But this fish is no less dangerous just because it comes from a small pond; you wouldn’t fuck with Jaws just because he was in your hot tub.
Don’t look now, but Boise State has won 26 of their last 27 games, including two man-handlings of Oregon and handing a very-good TCU it’s walking papers from the ranks of the undefeated. They finished No. 4 in the AP poll last year, they are returning over 20 starters, and this is a program that has won two BCS Bowl games in the last four years, which means you have to consider this team, goofy blue field and all, a legitimate national championship contender.
8 ) Conference USA
This may as well be the wild-card conference, because there’s just no telling what may happen once these teams hit the field. Houston is long on talent, but short on mental toughness and leadership. Central Florida returns 15 starters, has depth and talent in the receiver ranks, but the running game is suspect and there are questions about the quarterback position. Southern Miss is the model of consistency, yet can’t seem to crack seven wins, and East Carolina may start hijacking merchant ships.
After all, we have a new face of piracy in the world, and perhaps it’s time ECU updated their look to be more in tune with the modern swashbuckler. After all, head coach Ruffin McNeill likely learned a lot about pirates from his last boss.
7) Mountain West Conference
For a brief, shining moment, the Mountain West was poised to become the uber-“Small” conference. Unfortunately, right after Boise State made the announcement it was leaving the WAC to join, Utah bolted for the brights lights and the big city of the Pac-10. All that does is remind us the tectonic shifting of conferences likely isn’t over yet; TCU is a prime pick to jump over that BCS fence if they were given an opportunity. Despite all that, for as long as it lasts, the Mountain West is still the best non-BCS conference out there.
6) Big East
Honestly, the Big East puzzles me. I never really have any respect for anybody in this conference, but there are always a couple of teams that look good…well, until they get to a bowl game. Since the Big East winner gets an automatic bid to the BCS dance, look for Connecticut to be the sacrificial lamb come January.
Here’s another conference I don’t really understand. With a few exceptions, these teams are really all the same. Take the top seven teams in this conference, toss them up in the air and see which one lands first; North Carolina or Boston College could find themselves on top of this league as easily as one of the Techs. Likewise, the bottom five teams are all equally rancid; it is almost impossible to tell the difference between the level of awful going on at Maryland versus Duke.
As emasculated as Oregon and USC have been by the justice system and the NCAA respectively, they are still better than anybody in either the ACC or the Big East. For those of you east coast people to whom football west of Texas is an unknown world, just wait for the inevitable bowl season when those conferences will give their usual dismal performance, whereas it will likely take the Big 10 winner to handle Oregon.
3) Big 12
Considering the Big 12 is in its swan song as a conference, this might not be the best time to point out Nits lameness. But I must; I may not have another chance. First, there’s the supposedly-dominant Longhorns (yes, the same ones that were manhandled by Alabama) have lost to Kansas State twice in the last five years. Nebraska has been consistenly the class of the Big 12 North, which is really the Kazakhistan of BCS conference football, which qualifies them to be a red, western version of Michigan State once they join the Big Tweleveten. And then there’s Oklahoma. The Sooners are always a darling in August, and that “belle of the ball” status usually dies after the annual loss to Texas.
2) Big 10
Everybody loves to be down on the Big 10; every year we hear stuff about how the conference is really the the Big Three and the Insignificant Eight. Let’s not forget the Big Ten won two BCS bowl games last year, but that this conference produces at least four good football teams each season. Look for depth in this conference; the Big 10 will produce at least 7 bowl teams.
Clearly the best conference in the country, the SEC is the only conference other than the Big 10 that won two BCS games last year and will produce more than 6 bowl teams this year. The bottom line is since its inception in 1998, the SEC has owned the BCS. An SEC team has won 6 of the twelve title games, including the last four. You could have an all SEC title game if it weren’t for the SEC’s own championship game, which you can expect to be a Florida and Alabama affair again.
Not bad, but I disagree with a few points.
– Even in the Sun Belt, there’s no way that Western Kentucky, with a first-year head coach, can rise, phoenix-like, from the ashes of an 0-12 season to finish 3rd. Ain’t gonna happen.
– Your MAC ranking is just plain bizarre. Scheduling pretty well prevents 4 of the top 5 teams from coming from the same division. Also, an awful lot of people have picked Ohio to win the conference, or at least the East division; putting them last is a very bold move that I don’t think will pan out.
– Cincinnati will finish a lot better than 4th in the Big East and 27th overall. Butch Jones has already proven that he could follow the Brian Kelly Show successfully at Central Michigan, and I think he’ll find similar success as Kelly’s successor with the Bearcats.
– Iowa has a very real chance to finish the regular season undefeated. Last year they won by 11 at Happy Valley, and with Stanzi sitting out, playing at the Horseshoe, Ohio State only beat them by 3. This year they get those tough games at home. If they stay healthy all year, they’ll probably be in the BCS Championship Game against the SEC champ (Florida or ‘Bama).
– In the SEC, I think you switched Kentucky and Tennessee. I guess it’s forgivable; they both have first year coaches and the states are right next to each other. But Kentucky’s new coach brings continuity and stability to a program that’s been to 4 consecutive bowl games and won 3 of them, while at Tennessee, the only stability is the hate for Lane Kiffin.
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