CONFERENCE AFFILIATION CHART
2013 PRESEASON TOP 10
It's never too early to pick next season's top 10 teams. And after
the conclusion of last week's National Signing Day, we have a pretty
good idea about who's going to be playing where next season, from
returning juniors and seniors to 5-star recruits ready to make a
Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide just won their third national
championship in four years and will be gunning for an unprecedented
three-peat. Will they do it? Well, they certainly have the talent.
But they'll have plenty of competition just in the SEC alone, as no
fewer than five conference teams finished in the top 10 of the 2012
final AP poll.
The 2013 season is still a good six months away. But that's exactly
why you need this fix to help ease the pain of football withdrawal.
Here's our College
Football Preseason Top 10 for
the 2013 season:
ARTICLE @ REAL CLEAR SPORTS)
TE'O'S TALE REALLY IS NO GREAT MYSTERY
The media pundits are confounded (now there's a shock). The talking heads on various sports gab shows expressed utter confusion on the Manti Te'o fake dead girlfriend saga. They want to point fingers, but are too perplexed by all the spin cascading out of Twitter.
That's where we come in. You have questions? We have answers. The 10 things you're just dying to know about the best tale coming out of South Bend since "Rudy" (yeah, that one was mostly fake, too):
1. Why is the Te'o Hoax the best sports story of the year, and maybe all-time?
Because it has all the requisite ingredients for a salacious tale, absent a criminal element. Nobody actually died (Te'o's grandmother did, but she was not part of the hoax). Nobody was seriously traumatized by it (as in the Jerry Sandusky case). And nobody was even defrauded of money or glory (as in the Lance Armstrong case).
Yet, it involves one of the biggest and most iconic brand names of American sports. It really doesn't get much bigger than Notre Dame football and few teams are also so universally loathed outside of its immediate fanbase. Right away, there's enough flood of Schadenfreude to overflow Notre Dame Stadium.
2. Who really got played for fools?
The mainstream media. Almost every major publication from Sports Illustrated to the South Bend Tribune got a crack at this fraud of a story, yet nobody even got remotely suspicious about lots of things that just didn't add up. It took Deadspin - love it or hate it - to come up with the goods to nail this to the wall. And yet, in the immediate aftermath, the media types were still the ones most willingly toeing the Notre Dame company line. Pat Forde, normally a reasonable sort, went as far as not only defending the school, but taking shots at, of all people, Deadspin, for breaking the story.
Sports media has always had a kind of "Liberty Valance" relationship with Notre Dame football. It's just so easy to burn the notes and say, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
POST-SEASON BCS STANDINGS
For the first time, at the urging of a few readers, the Guru is putting together a Simulated BCS Standings
at the conclusion of the postseason. Besides addressing the faux outcry about how Notre Dame still finished first in one of the computer ratings, we also wanted to deal with ineligible teams and where they would've finished in the standings.
* Because the Harris Poll doesn't publish season-ending standings, we used the AP Poll as the stand-in. And also, since Ohio State and Penn State
weren't eligible to be ranked in the Coaches Poll, we mirrored their vote shares in the AP poll in order to obtain their true rankings in the standings.
* The Colley Matrix is getting skewered for still having Notre Dame No. 1 after getting lambasted by Alabama by 28 points - in a game that wasn't really that close. But blame that anomaly on the BCS, which in 2002 decided to mandate that margin of victory can't be part of any BCS computers. So to the computers, all losses are treated as 1-point losses, and most computers don't automatically rank one team higher than another with identical records based
purely on head-to-head results.
* Still, five of the six BCS computers have Alabama finishing at No. 1, coupled with unanimous votes from the AP and Coaches
polls, the Crimson Tide still earned a perfect score in the final standings.
* Ohio State just nudged Notre Dame for No. 3, even though it was ineligible to play in postseason. Likewise for Penn State, which finished at No. 28.
* There is significant agreement between the computers and the polls as to which teams should be in the top 25. After Michigan - the only 5-loss team in the
top 25, though it did lose to teams ranked Nos. 1, 3, 4, 8 and 22 - there is a steep drop to No. 26 Cincinnati.
* The ACC teams - Florida State and Clemson - ended up being the victims of their conference's subpar season. Even though both teams won their bowl games, they both finished outside of the top 10 because of weak computer rankings.
* A total of 42 teams appeared in the final standings, including back-to-back FCS champion North Dakota State, which received a lone vote in the AP
Poll. This practice was allowed by the AP after Appalachian State upset Michigan in the 2007 season opener.
* One more note about the polls. The Coaches Poll had only 56 voters in the final poll, with the explanation that Mike MacIntyre, Sonny Dykes and Ruffin McNeill could not be reached
in time to turn in their final ballots. Is this lame, or what? MacIntyre and Dykes switched jobs, but surely they have cell phones. And what's McNeill's excuse? Last we checked he's still at East Carolina.
* Is there any more questions about the SEC's dominance? Half of the conference (seven teams) is ranked in the top 23, including six in the top 13. Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten each placed six teams
in the rankings, and the rest: Big East (3), WAC (3), MAC (3), ACC (2), CUSA (2), MWC (1), Sun Belt (1) and Notre Dame (independent).
BLOGPOLL BALLOT (FINAL)
The Guru's final BlogPoll ballot for 2012, with notes below:
* OK, so Notre Dame was thoroughly exposed as a fraud. In retrospect, that wasn't hard to see. While nine of the Irish's 12 opponents went to a bowl game, they only went 3-6 and five of those teams were pounded - Oklahoma, Purdue, Navy, Pitt and USC. The only "good" win they had turned out to be Stanford, at the time yet to start the more dynamic quarterback Kevin Hogan.
* The SEC is once again the best conference, leading all AQ leagues with a 6-3 bowl record, including New Year's Day (or later) wins by Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Alabama. The only real disappointments were LSU, which lost a nailbiter to Clemson, and Florida, which was inexplicably routed by Louisville in the Sugar Bowl.
* Despite constant harping about the inadequacies of BCS 2.0, it'll be far superior to the current version - IF - it could've included Notre Dame, Alabama, Oregon and another SEC team in the Final Four. We could've had Alabama-Oregon or an all-SEC championship game - and either would've been preferable to the debacle in Miami on Monday night.
* The worst BCS conference once again is the Big Ten, which was lucky to finish 2-5, as Michigan State really should've lost to TCU to make it 1-6. The only B1G team that did its conference proud was surprising Northwestern, which finished the season with a 10-3 record and routed Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl.
* But the most disappointing team of the year has to be USC. My - and many others' - preseason No. 1 team finished 7-6, ending the disastrous year with a desultory loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.
* Conference-by-conference tally: SEC (7), Pac-12 (3), Big Ten (3), Big 12 (3), ACC (2), WAC (2), MWC (1), MAC (1), Big East (1), Sun Belt (1), Independent (1).
COLLEGE FOOTBALL ... NFL-STYLE
What if college football made sense. If it's, say, organized like the National Football League?
With the sport's powers-that-be rapidly moving toward another segregation of the haves and have-nots - just like when Division I football was split into I-A and I-AA in 1978 - the days of the super conferences hoarding just about every last dollar to themselves will be upon us soon enough.
They have the power and the clout to ditch the NCAA if they want to. So what if they did and formed a super division of top echelon college football teams? We can have a balanced schedule, a sensible playoff, and above all, a legitimate champion every season. There will be less griping and more football. Who'd be against that?
It's probably not going to happen, but since we do traffic highly in hypotheticals, let's say it did ...
The divisions, with an eye on preserving and restoring college football's cherished rivalries, would look like this:
- Northeast Division: Boston College, Connecticut, Syracuse, Rutgers, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Ohio State, Cincinnati.
- Great Lakes Division: Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota.
- Northwest Division: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Boise State, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Iowa State.
- Pacific Division: California, Stanford, USC, UCLA, San Diego State, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, BYU.
- Southwest Division: Texas, Texas A&M, Houston, TCU, SMU, Baylor, Texas Tech, Arkansas, LSU.
- Central Division: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt.
- Deep South Division: Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State, Miami (Fla.).
- Atlantic Division: West Virginia, Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke, Wake Forest, South Carolina, Clemson.
BCS RESOURCE CENTER
The Guru is delighted to unveil
the new BCS Resource Center,
which features all sorts of useful information on the BCS, from
statistical database to keeping track of BCS's rules and
BCS standings, from its inception in
1998 through the present, are now hosted on the Guru's site. The
information was previously hosted on FoxSports.com, but since it
severed relations with the BCS after last season, all the data were
taken down and not easily accessible. The Guru was able to locate
weekly standings from 2000-2005 from the National Football
Foundation, which manages the BCS standings starting in the 2000
season, but the weekly standings from the BCS's first two seasons
Requests to the BCS and the Southeastern Conference, which ran the
standings for those first two seasons, went unanswered. No one
seemed particularly bothered that such information should be
permanently unavailable. The Guru finally obtained the weekly
standings through the Los Angeles Times (with some old
fashioned research by going through microfilms of those two years at
the library) and they have now been reconstructed and posted.
The Resource Center hopefully will serve as the one-stop shop for
all your BCS needs, for both number crunching and historical
perspectives. I will finish the annual BCS recaps this offseason -
the series now goes through 2006. And I
welcome your comments and suggestions on improving the Resource
Center, and/or my site in general.