Sunday, October 6, 2013

College Football: Six Weeks In

Some thoughts about this college football season now that its sixth week has ended and its midway point is upon us:

Do I... 
...get to mention that I went 6-1 in the predictions I made for Week Six's key games? I guess I just did.

But admittedly...
...some of those correct predictions were not exactly spot on. For example, I said Florida State would beat Maryland, and they did -- but I also said Maryland would "put up a good fight," and the final score ended up being 63-0.

Jerry Kill
It is past time for Minnesota's head coach to hang up his whistle. On Saturday a seizure forced him to miss the annual game against Michigan for the Little Brown Jug, and the only thing different was that he missed a whole game instead of half a game.

Kill has epilepsy, and in the last two years has experienced several mid-game seizures that resulted in him leaving in an ambulance while his team and assistants finished without him. The seizures have happened on the sideline, and in the locker room at halftime. It has long been assumed by casual observers, and reported as truth by some media, that these seizures are precipitated by game day stress.

Saturday's happened before Kill even arrived for the game. In my opinion, Minnesota should have found a way to separate him from his post before now, but if they needed any more reason to justify doing that without running afoul of anti-discrimination laws, this event should be it. It is one thing to have a history of not finishing races, but quite another to have a history of not reaching the starting line.

The main issue, however, is one of humanity. Like repeated concussions, repeated seizures can have a deleterious effect on one's brain. Would you want to employ a person when you knew that the nature of you employing him could very predictably result in him losing mental capacity down the road? It is in Kill's best interest for him to no longer be head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and it is in everyone else's best interest as well.

My Auburn Indulgence
Few national commentators are talking about Auburn, but I am thoroughly enjoying the experience of watching this team gel. And since I have always been ten times tougher on them than neutral commentators have been (specifically because I want them to legitimately be better than every other team in the country), I am confident when I say that the positive feelings I have about the 2013 Tigers are not a result of me wearing the rose-colored glasses that usually cloud the judgment of alumni.

Coming off a horrendous 3-9 campaign last year, this team is now 4-1 despite not having faced a single cupcake...The most points Auburn scored last season was 20, and they only did that once, but this year the least they have scored is 21 and they are averaging 29...Last year their defense was a sieve, but last night its front seven slammed the door on a ranked opponent despite being depleted by injuries and playing lots of freshmen and sophomores...They have shown they can win by battling back after being behind, and have shown they can make a lead hold up by knocking down an opponent who is starting to show signs of comeback momentum.

The powers that be have not made them a ranked team, but they should be ranked, and based on what has happened this season I have them at #20.

Other Tigers
How can an SEC team be 5-0 and coming off a 23-point road victory over a conference foe than had won ten of its last twelve, and not be ranked? Damned if I know, but who am I to talk when even I don't have the Missouri Tigers in my Top 20?

Mizzou has not played a tough schedule up to now, and it is that strength-of-schedule differential, not my diploma, that has me feeling definitive about putting Auburn of them. But their 51-28 dismantling of Vanderbilt was a statement game, and when you consider how prolific their offensive numbers were in that game, it is worth noting that defense is the one area in which Vanderbilt has always been strong.

Mizzou already has a strong case for a national ranking. If they play well in Georgia this Saturday poll voters are going to be duty-bound to find a way to put them in the Top 20 or 25, even if they lose.

My rankings
And without further ado, here is the Stanton's Space Top 20, showing little movement from last week:

1.    Alabama
2.    Stanford
3.    Oregon
4.    Clemson
5.    Ohio State
6.    Georgia
7.    Louisville
8.    Florida State
9.    LSU
10.  Texas A&M
11.  UCLA
12.  Miami
13.  Oklahoma
14.  Northwestern
15.  South Carolina
16.  Washington
17.  Virginia Tech
18.  Florida
19.  Baylor
20.  Auburn

No comments: