Tuesday Question - Who's Better, Who's Worse?

Posted Sep 12, 2006

It's only been two weeks, but so far, what teams are better than you thoughts, what teams are worse?

Past TQs
- 10 Greatest Quarterbacks of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Defensive Players of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Regular Season Games of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Playmakers of All-Time
- 10 Worst Heisman Winners 
- 10 Greatest Bowl Games
- All-Time Offensive Team | All-Time Defensive Team

Pete Fiutak     
Q: After two weeks, which teams are better than you thought and which are worse?

A: Better than expected
5. Rice - Fine, so the Owls are 0-2, but I thought this team was going to challenge Temple as the worst in America with none of the parts in place to run an offense like new head coach Todd Graham wanted to. This team plays hard.
4. Pitt - Where did that defensive speed come from? I originally thought Pitt was going to pull off the late season upset against either Louisville or West Virginia, now I'm thinking it could win the Big East title
3. Troy - It's amazing what one good quarterback can do. Because of Omar Haugabook, Troy goes from a possible bottom-half Sun Belt team to a favorite.
2. Ohio - No one noticed, but the win over Northern Illinois was one of the bigger shockers of the young season. For the first time in years, the Bobcats showed off a passing game.
1. San Jose State - The talent isn't close to being good enough to be considered a decent Pac 10 team, but after pushing Washington and beating Stanford, Dick Tomey's group has to be considered the surprise of the young season.

Worse than expected
5. Iowa - I originally thought Iowa was going to beat Ohio State. I might jump back on that pick, but not now.
4. SMU - This was supposed to be the year Phil Bennett's program finally turned a corner. Unfortunately, it turned the wrong way losing to North Texas.
3. Oklahoma - Where's the defense? The offense was supposed to take a little while to come together without Rhett Bomar, but the defense was supposed to be among the best in the country. After two weeks, it hasn't been up to snuff.
2. Virginia - Ugh. There's no offense and not nearly enough overall pop over the first two weeks. It took everything in the bag to beat Wyoming and it got blasted by Pitt.
1. Colorado - The Buffs went to two straight Big 12 title games. Dan Hawkins is a better coach than Gary Barnett. Oops.

Richard Cirminiello  
Q: After two weeks, which teams are better than you thought and which are worse?

Better than expected:

1. Rutgers – Unlike last season, wins over North Carolina and Illinois are a signal the Knights are becoming more than just a product of a weak Big East conference.
2. Boise State – Thursday night’s demolition of Oregon State showed me I had this Bronco team way underrated in the pre-season.
3. Missouri – The post-Brad Smith era in Columbia has started far better than anyone could expected.  Chase Daniel has been a revelation behind center for the Tigers.
4. Pittsburgh – Has Dave Wannstedt turned things around in just his second season on the job? Maybe not, but two resounding wins have the Panthers light years ahead of where they were this time last year.
5. Tennessee – I’m still not completely sold this is an SEC title contending team, but as long as Erik Ainge is playing well, the Vols will be living ahead of expectations.

Worse than expected:

1. Navy – Yeah, the Middies are 2-0, but squeakers over East Carolina and UMass portend bad things when the competition gets tougher.
2. Arkansas – The Hogs have been lackluster offensively and have showed absolutely nothing in a 50-14 loss to USC and a 20-0 win over Utah State.  
3. Colorado – No one expected miracles from Dan Hawkins in Year 1, but then again, no one expected 20 points in back-to-back losses to Montana State and Colorado State either.
4. Oklahoma – We’ll know a lot more after this week’s trip to Oregon, however, the Sooners have not looked championship caliber against UAB or Washington, particularly on defense.
5. Purdue – What has happened to the Purdue defense: The Sequel?  The Boilers are 108th nationally in total defense, and that’s after facing Indiana State and Miami (OH).

John Harris     
Q: After two weeks, which teams are better than you thought and which are worse?

Five Teams better than I thought…

1.  Ohio State – I had them at number one this year, but thought that there was no way they would go undefeated, perhaps a loss at Iowa.  But, that defense is for real – believe it or not they might actually be faster and quicker than last year’s defense, as crazy as that sounds (not as good yet, but very athletic).  If that defense continues to improve, which is scary, they’ll be fast tracking it to Tempe.  Undefeated.

2.  Boise State – Boy, they’re good, really good.  Start all the talk about the Broncos in a BCS game because it’s going to be real talk this year.  Of all of the non-BCS teams, this is the one team that really can make a statement in the Fiesta Bowl.  They didn’t do anything but run basic stuff at Oregon State and pounded them.

3.  Pittsburgh – This year’s start and last year’s start are like night and day different.  They pounded UVA and throttled Cincinnati.  Maybe people expected them to be 2 - 0, but it’s been more definitive and resounding than people predicted.  All facets of the game for Pitt are working and clicking currently.

4.  Missouri – With former QB Brad Smith off to the NFL, it seemed Missouri might be on the down swing, but QB Chase Daniel has been superb and the defense is extremely athletic and physical.  The Tigers could be a major surprise in the Big 12 North.

5.  Rice – The Owls might be 0 – 2, but this team is a lot further along with a first year head ball coach (Todd Graham) and first year offensive coordinator (Major Applewhite) than imaginable.  They lost a heartbreaker to Houston and battled UCLA to a ten point loss in the Rose Bowl.  The Owls may be a definite team on the rise.

Five Teams worse than I thought…

1.  Stanford – Losing to Oregon in Eugene, sure, alright, I’ll bite.  San Jose State?  The Pac-10 isn’t stout this year, but this is not a good sign at all for the Cardinal.

2.  North Carolina and North Carolina State – UNC losing to Virginia Tech is one thing, but not even really being competitive is quite another…and that’s after a loss to Rutgers at home, which many Heels fans didn’t expect.  State lost to Akron after looking putrid offensively against Appalachian State.  I didn’t think that they would win the ACC, but thought they would at least have one win over a D1A team at this point.

3.  Iowa State – They’re 2 – 0, but they’ve struggled mightily with Toledo and UNLV.  What’s going to happen when the Huskers come to Ames?

4.  Colorado – The Buffs have lost to both CSU, without RB Kyle Bell, and Montana State, who couldn’t beat Division II Chadron State?  Yikes.  No one thought that it’d be a walk in the park for head ball coach Dan Hawkins, but you’ve got to think that he’s having second thoughts about leaving Boise.

5.  Mississippi State – Jerious Norwood, where are you?  No one expected miracles, but they did expect at least some points.  The defense is presentable, but they can’t score, evidenced by 0 points in two games

Matthew Zemek     
Q: After two weeks, which teams are better than you thought and which are worse?

Better than previously thought:
1) Tennessee. Subject to change if drubbed by Florida.
2) Oregon. The only true contender USC has in the Pac-10 at this point.
3) USC. A quality opener, more impressive than I ever could have expected.
4) Rutgers. Developing the look of a nasty, take-no-prisoners program. Yes, I just said that about RUTGERS.
5) Missouri. Shows signs of a possible breakthrough in the post-Brad Smith era. Imagine...

Worse than previously thought:
1) Colorado. Duh.
2) California. I fell hard for this team. It didn't play hard in Knoxville.
3) Oklahoma. Unless Mack Brown coaches the way he coached against Ohio State, Texas--on talent alone--should (oil) drill the Sooners into oblivion unless things change really quickly in Norman.
4) Arkansas. Houston Nutt already on the verge of losing this team.
5) A boatload of other teams. We'll draw a ping pong ball from the hopper and say Miami. The Canes get a shot at redemption this Saturday against Louisville.