The Mid Majors

In recent years, it has become increasingly trendy for the media to pump up “mid-major” schools. For instance, in 2003, Trev Alberts fell in love with the MAC proclaiming that the MAC should be a BCS conference and gushing over a mediocre Northern Illinois team. Sure N. Illinois beat Maryland, Alabama, and Iowa St.; however, they also lost to Bowling Green and Toledo. By the way, Bama was 4-9 and Iowa St. was 2-10 that year. Miami (Ohio), Marshall, and Bowling Green are the other “quality” teams in this conference, which also includes such giants as Akron, Buffalo, Kent State, UCF, Ball St., and the directional Michigans – sounds like a BCS conference to me.

The rise of the Mid Majors is a myth disproved on the field time and time again. Last year everyone was talking Utah, Louisville, and Boise St. among others. While these teams had good records, the quality wins are few and far between. This year, among the also-rans receiving preseason praise were Louisville, Boise St., Pittsburgh, Fresno St., Utah, Bowling Green, Miami (Ohio), UTEP, and Wyoming. All of these teams received votes in the preseason polls. How did they do yesterday? So far the 2005 results on the field are no different than years past.

Louisville (Late addition) – Kentucky came up one yard short of tying “the greatest offense in the country”. That’s right, top 15 ranked Louisville was one yard better than the worst team in the SEC. Yet another “impressive” win by a mid-major who won’t face a single ranked team all year.

Boise St. – Absolutely hammered. This Boise St. team, a “potential BCS buster”, which was ranked in the top 20 in both major polls and picked even higher by other publications, did exactly what you should expect a WAC team to do against a solid BCS team – they got smoked. Boise St. was so overmatched talent-wise that it looked like Georgia was playing a high school team. Keep in mind this was the Georgia team picked 3rd or 4th in the SEC EAST this year after losing David Greene, David Pollack, Thomas Davis, Odell Thurman, Reggie Brown, and Fred Gibson in the first four rounds of the draft. I see no need to ever speak of the Boise St. football program again. Case Closed.

Pittsburgh – The best program left in what used to be the Big East got embarrassed by a mediocre Notre Dame team. Louisville should walk through this pathetic conference, which not only shouldn’t be a BCS conference, but also likely takes a backseat to MAC, Mountain West, WAC, and Louisville’s old C-USA.

Fresno St. – DNP

Utah – Managed to hold off hapless Arizona 27 – 24. This is an Arizona team that won 3 games last year. No Alex Smith + no Urban Meyer + no tough opponents means they still win 9 or 10 games.

Bowling Green – Another popular upset pick. Not sure if it would really be an upset considering the Wizards in the AP poll awarded Bowling Green 57 votes in its preseason poll to Wisconsin’s 5. Do people like Bowling Green because of Omar Jacob’s hair? Does this team even have a defense? Wisconsin only broke the 25 point mark on offense twice last year but rushed for a whopping 379 yards in this game. That’s just under a quarter of a mile.

Miami (Ohio) – Yet another “powerhouse” MAC team. Destroyed by Ohio State 34 – 14 and did not even score until the 4th quarter.

UTEP – Beat New Mexico State 34 – 17. Not really anything to learn from that.

Wyoming – This team was another popular pick and has also been listed as a “potential BCS buster”. Like many of the other teams on this list, they got an early season reality check. The 32 – 14 final score isn’t reflective of the domination by Florida in this game.

A number of good BCS teams don’t get the attention they deserve because of these over-rated also-rans that are politically correct picks. Drop any of these teams into a real BCS conference – even the Big 12 or Pac 10, and they’ll be mid tier at best. Let’s stop being politically correct and all-inclusive and focus on the teams that actually have good players rather than the ones with easy schedules.

Elsewhere around the country…

Apparently losing key players does hurt. OU lost 11 players to the draft and 2 additional All-Americans. Auburn lost 4 players in the first round alone. Both teams have severe problems at quarterback this year. OU barely completed 40% of its passes, and Auburn threw 4 interceptions. I expected OU to be down, but losing to TCU is a surprise. OU will bounce back in a weak Big 12 and have a decent season, but they should be out of the BCS picture unless they pull some upsets and win the conference. Auburn, on the other hand, has some problems on offense. Their running game was anemic and Cox committed way to many errors throwing the ball. On the plus side, despite its problems, the Tigers defense is decent, and Auburn actually outgained Tech 392 to 313. Auburn will improve, but Georgia Tech was definitely the better team last night.

A Huge Kudos to the ACC. Thanks for playing some real games the first week. The four best games of the week all include at least one ACC team (Clemson, Ga Tech, NC State/VPI, FSU/UM) – obviously an ACC team will or did win each one. Special congrats go to Clemson for putting Dennis Franchione in his place and Ga Tech for whipping Tuberville, two of the most despicable coaches in the NCAA.

Information Overload…

Another reason for a playoff. I watched 14 hours of football yesterday, and I still don’t feel I could put together an accurate poll based on the performance of the teams. It is ridiculous that polls are released so early in the week. They should postpone them until Friday so voters have an opportunity to study game film. Of course, they need to get rid of the coach’s poll altogether as we all know they only follow their team and its opponents.

Geaux Pack…

I think the Pack D will shut down little Vick. His experience running from the Police won’t help him tonight.

Regardless of his last name, he’s still essentially a rookie quarterback. The Pack D is aggressive and experienced and should get to him plenty tonight.

A Correction…

Ron Zook coaches at Illinois. In the recently posted weekend TV schedule, I referred to him as coaching at Indiana whose coach is actually Terry Hoeppner.

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