November 19, 2002

College Football Wrap-Up, Nov. 19

Top Teams: A quiet weekend on the BCS front, with the exception of Ohio State's too-close-for-comfort win over Illinois. While some folks correctly projected the Buckeyes would lose ground to Miami (who did not play and hosts Pitt on Thursday) in the BCS standings, the difference is so slim it could reverse next week. But beware: the Buckeyes would throw the BCS standings for a loop if they lose to Michigan on Saturday.


  • Big 12: Texas Tech ran Texas out of the Big 12 championship race on Saturday with its spread offense and aims for Oklahoma this weekend. A win would put the Red Raiders in the conference title game on Dec. 7, despite four losses. Their opponent? Colorado, who behind a tremendous running game is also something of a bounce-back team this year. Buff fans might rather a second crack at Oklahoma, but that could be riskier from a bowl standpoint. Staying in the Big 12 for a moment, it has gotten this bad at Nebraska: the school is pushing punter Kyle Larson for all-conference honors. And he's the only NU offensive player that has a shot.
  • Big Ten: Iowa (11-1), the season's newest darling, blasted Minnesota to finish unbeaten in the Big Ten for the first time since 1922, but won't play Ohio State this year -- unless, as Andrew Bagnato points out, they meet in a bowl game. That would require some help from the PAC-10, but it could happen. Also, Michigan has to beat the Buckeyes this weekend (but don't say "spoiler").
  • ACC: Isn't it basketball season? Florida State, despite what October told us.
  • PAC-10: A bizarre attempted coup in Arizona fizzled and the Wildcats got their first conference win this year. The only teams that matter now are Washington State and USC, both of which face rivalry games.

Look Ahead: Aside from Michigan-OSU, this week has some good matchups. There's the Apple Cup, where host Washington State is favored over Washington for just the sixth time in 46 seasons. UCLA's seniors have one last chance to beat USC. Or see how a wounded Auburn team recovers from losing to Georgia when it travels to Birmingham for the Iron Bowl. All Alabama did last week was dominate the nation's top defense against LSU. And all Georgia did was finally win the SEC East.

By the Numbers: Saturday was a big offensive day: Penn State's Larry Johnson ran for 327 against Indiana. It was the third time this year he set the school's single-game record (hello, Heisman voters?). Arizona didn't need the run against California, winning 52-41 despite rushing for -5 yards. "They have an excellent receiving corps," Cal's Jeff Tedford said. Really, coach? But the stat of the week belongs to College of Marin quarterback Geary Davenport, who completed 44 of 64 passes for 781 yards and nine touchdowns. His team lost, 72-69.

posted by thescoop to football at 08:19 AM - 11 comments

I can't stand Ohio State, they are boring, and have gotten lucky all year, I hope Michigan kicks their ass. Miami still has to face Va Tech so we could be talking about two totally different teams in the championship. My team, Syracuse has been a joke, so I've taken up rooting for Georgia, and they've been as lucky as Ohio State, but at least they're not boring. Chris Simms is sad, and Larry Johnson deserves the Heisman.

posted by jbou at 10:17 AM on November 19, 2002

I agree with jbou (congrats to Syracuse on upsetting my Hokies btw). Miami has to get by a pretty darn good Pittsburg team (and I'm not just saying that because they beat Va Tech). If they survive there, then a team that has shown itself to be susceptible to the run has to face one of the best rushing attacks in the nation with the Untouchables. I'm hoping that Georgia plays Iowa or Washington State in the Fiesta Bowl. (Atlanta would be a heckuva fun place that night!)

posted by trox at 11:05 AM on November 19, 2002

Johnson for Heisman? Hmm . . . Vs Iowa: 68 yards Vs Michigan: 78 yards Vs Ohio State: 66 yards Yes, Penn State has had some good backs, so Johnson's records are a factor. But are they more important than his performances against strong teams? What could Banks have racked up against Northwestern if Ferenz thought his numbers needed padding?

posted by jason streed at 02:19 PM on November 19, 2002

jason: but if not Johnson, who? All of the big candidates have had some weak games, as far as I can see.

posted by tieguy at 07:59 PM on November 19, 2002

Well, yeah. Most of the Heisman debates I've followed focus on the absence of a clear favorite, and I'd agree with that. Therefore, I feel comfortable nominating Brad Banks. (Note apparent non sequitur. Full disclosure: I grew up in Iowa City.) If it's a matter of Banks vs. Johnson for the Big 10's candidate, consider: almost exactly half of Johnson's yardage came against Illinois, Northwestern, and Indiana, hardly fearsome teams against the run. His numbers are terrific, but they're skewed by a few anomalous games. Banks has been a more consistent performer, in my view, and in fact he leads the Big 10 in every relevant offensive category--and he's 20th in rushing, to boot, with about 6 yd/att. In the spirit of even-handedness, I'd like to see what Johnson (or for that matter Seneca Wallace) could have achieved behind Iowa's offensive line, which should get a big chunk of the credit for Banks' accomplishments. His numbers would have been even more impressive, I'm sure.

posted by jason streed at 12:42 AM on November 20, 2002

Ken Dorsey will win. He's the type of guy they always give it to, the quarterback on the best team.

posted by corpse at 06:52 AM on November 20, 2002

Last week (11/15), LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke touts USC's Carson Palmer. The gist is that Palmer's put up big numbers each week against the nation's 2nd-toughest schedule and the team is 9-2, so why isn't he getting stronger consideration? It is curious that the Heisman hasn't gone to a Pac-10 player since 1981 (Marcus Allen), when the league supplies more NFL players than anyone except maybe the SEC. Plascke's column is a bit of a Western pity party, and finds a way to expand it to all West Coast schools -- bringing up Marshall Faulk and David Faulk -- though the WAC did get a winner in 1990, Ty Detmer. In some instances, like Joey Harrington last year, I think the Pac-10 guy gets screwed. In other cases, it's a matter of timing. In any other year, Troy Aikman and Rodney Peete's head-to-head in 1988 is for the statue, but Barry Sanders was running for 250 yards every week that season. This so happens not to be one of those years, so it is a good idea for Plascke to at least write about it and at least get the thought out there.

posted by jackhererra at 07:27 AM on November 20, 2002

Marshall Faulk lost because he was on an utterly lousy team, not because he was in the west. Miami (Fl) played them that year, and all the talk pregame was about how incredible Faulk was, and Miami won by about 30, if I remember correctly. It's very, very hard to win the Heisman when your team gets its ass handed to it, no matter where you're from. This is particularly true when your senior year the national champs have a spectacular senior QB who has lead his team to victory year after year [in 1992, Torretta, in 1993, Ward.]

When the Pac-10 fields a national champion again, I'm sure they'll get more consideration for the Heisman both that year and the following. But for all their whining about media bias, they can't seem to field teams that beat the best week in and week out. [Maurice Clarett was getting hype because OSU won and won big; had WSU beat them early in the season one of them would have gotten some of that hype, no doubt.]

posted by tieguy at 07:50 AM on November 20, 2002

Correction on the David guy, it was David Carr. "It's very, very hard to win the Heisman when your team gets its ass handed to it, no matter where you're from." SDSU lost the Miami game by 46 in 1992. But I recall a guy last year named Crouch who got the statuette after his team got crunched by 26. "When the Pac-10 fields a national champion again, I'm sure they'll get more consideration for the Heisman both that year and the following." Hmm. In recent years, Ward and Wuerffel -- Miami had its own ass handed to it by 'Bama in Torretta's year -- are the only winners who also won the national title since the 1970s. So I'm not sure that winning a national title helps, especially since Washington split the title with Miami for it in 1991 and that didn't exactly raise the profile.

posted by jackhererra at 12:42 PM on November 20, 2002

Ken Dorsey will win. He's the type of guy they always give it to, the quarterback on the best team. You're totally right, but I still find it saddening that Dorsey is ahead of McGahee. The guy runs a 4.28 or something insane like that. I think McGahee is the most outstanding college football player in the country, ergo he would be my heisman choice. Of course, understanding 'most outstanding player in college football' is a hard statement to understand, and deserves a thread of its own. On the other hand, I'm a lifelong hardcore Iowa fan. This year took me by surprise and it's been great fun. Banks is playing very solid (not spectactular) ball but I doubt he'll crack the top 3. My guess is that he'll finish a strong fifth. Carson Palmer *sounds* like he's playing excellently. But I wouldn't know, I live in the Midwest and hardly ever get to watch west coast games. So yeah, I agree that perhaps Carson is getting screwed. On a side note, I think the Hawks are getting screwed by the BCS. They are currently 7th, with 13.66 points, just behind #6 Notre Dame, who has 13.13. This is due entirely to the lack of love the computer polls are giving Iowa. Iowa's average computer rank is 6.92(!), while ND's is 4.17(!!) If one were to only rank teams according to the computer polls, ND would be 3rd, and Iowa 8th. I'm willing wait until the end of the season to see if the computers sort themselves out, but I feel quite confident in stating that the Hawks would have no problem going up to ND and pounding them worse than the 34-9 walloping they gave Michigan.

posted by chmurray at 03:05 AM on November 21, 2002

best Heisman quote ever: 'Gino Torretta, whose ratio of Heisman trophies to completed passes in the NFL is 1-0,...' [or something pretty close to that] - Chris Berman

posted by Sean Meade at 11:46 AM on November 22, 2002

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