5 Thoughts - The End of Cinderella
Washington QB Jake Locker
Washington QB Jake Locker
Posted Sep 10, 2007

From the irrelevancy of the AP Poll, to the ACC's problems, to the death of Cinderella, helped by Washington's Jake Locker, to punter flopping, to LSU's big win, here are the 5 Thoughts on Week 2.

Five Thoughts: Week 1

But At Least They Noticed the South Florida Win

By Pete Fiutak   

1.  It’s a new year, so welcome to my Third Annual Rant Against The AP Poll. The college football world needs to get this into its head; the AP rankings don't matter anymore, and the media has to quit quoting the poll like it has any relevancy whatsoever.

Oh sure, it’s the one poll that spans the longest time and is the best to look at for historical reference, but ever since the AP powers-that-be decided to take their ball from the BCS equation and go home, it has as much to do with the practical world of college football as someone’s poll blog, CFN’s Top 119, or any other ranking exercise. If you’re not in the BCS formula, you’re on the outside looking in, and you're simply ranking teams for giggles.

Referring to the AP Poll is mainly a problem since it takes away from the rankings that actually do matter. Did the coaches in the USA Today Poll stay up past their bedtime to watch South Florida beat Auburn? Apparently not. Did any coach actually watch the Hawaii defense against Louisiana Tech. Of course not. Can they really compare the Texas A&M defense to what South Carolina did? People, this is how your national champion is being determined, and it’s being handled by voters who know ten times less about what happened on Saturday than you do. I’m not joking. If you’re a big enough fan to be reading this right now, you’re far, far more qualified to vote in a national poll than all the coaches who dealt with their game, handled the media after, went to work on the post-game issues, went home, kissed the wife, and then went back to work to do film work on next week's opponent. Lloyd Carr didn't go back to his office to study the nuances of Arizona State's win over Colorado.

But I digress.

Now, the people who run the AP Poll have gotten even sillier by allowing FCS teams to be ranked, which is the equivalent of The Apprentice trying to boost sagging ratings by adding celebrities. Yes, I dorked it last week by saying something about Michigan being great and about to go on a big run, starting with a win over Oregon, and while I may have been wildly, freakishly wrong about that, I do guarantee that unless you’re from Boone, North Carolina, you, if you had to bet the house, kids, and your virtue, wouldn’t pick Appalachian State to beat Cincinnati (if you had seen the Bearcats stomp Oregon State). You wouldn’t pick Appalachian State to beat Florida State, Kansas, Boise State, or a slew of other teams the Mountaineers were ranked ahead of. That ASU got 19 points in the AP Poll makes the rankings pretentious and even less relevant. And more than that, it makes the poll more wrong than ever before.

How many voters saw the Appalachian State win over Lenoir-Rhyne? Uh huh ... so those 19 votes came from voters who could actually compare and contrast how good ASU is this week to, say, Georgia. Right.

Everyone, please. Focus more on the Coaches Poll. Focus more on all the computer polls and how they tick. Focus on the upcoming Harris Poll. Enjoy the AP Poll for pure folly, and then deal with the reality.

Fiesta Bowl This

By Richard Cirminiello

. You Cinderella fans looking for this year’s Boise State might have to resume your search again in 2008. This past weekend was an absolutely dreadful one for those prominent mid-major programs with realistic dreams of a BCS bowl game and a chance to carry the torch the Broncos held in Arizona eight months ago. TCU ran out of gas in Austin. Southern Miss was exposed in Knoxville. Boise State saw its 15-game winning streak slip away in Seattle. And then there’s Hawaii, winners of a game in Ruston, but likely losers in the all-important court of public opinion. The Warriors labored to defeat Louisiana Tech, one of the worst of the nation’s 120 teams, needing a deflected two-point conversion in overtime to preserve a 45-44 win. The fallout will be significant and unkind for a school that’s already fighting an uphill battle in the area of strength of schedule. You mean, the school that nearly dropped one to Louisiana Tech wants to play in an eight-digit bowl game? Hawaii better hope Washington keeps pulling off upsets leading up to their Dec. 1 showdown on Oahu. It’s going to be the Warriors’ best opportunity to impress a dubious public that got increasingly skeptical Saturday night.

Subtraction by Addition

By John Harris

3. No way was this supposed to happen.  Not like this, anyway.  Four years ago when the ACC decided to expand, the prevailing thought on Tobacco Road was that the SEC had some competition.  Finally.  A 12 team super conference that included two Florida schools and, arguably, New England’s top athletic program.  The talent-rich, fertile Newport Beach/Hampton recruiting areas were going to help the ACC yield top five football programs like Pez dispensers spit out candy.  Well, if yesterday was any indication of how far the ACC has come, we won’t be eating Elvis Pez any time soon.  Losing to an underrated East Carolina team is one thing (not to mention struggling with UAB, a program beaten by Michigan State 55-12 the week prior), but getting run over, completely throttled, by LSU and Oklahoma is quite another.  The aforementioned powers made quick and decisive work of Virginia Tech and Miami (and that’s saying it nicely), respectively, the two programs that had John Swofford and the ACC brass swooning four years ago.  Television may not do the discrepancy justice; just ask anyone in Tiger Stadium last night – the ACC doesn’t belong on the same field with the top teams in the nation.  Sure, LSU is on a completely different level, but four years ago, the ACC was supposed to be in that class.  Unfortunately, being on the elite class wait list doesn’t have the desired effect.

Believe the LSU Hype

By Michael Bradley

4. Believe the Hype: Anybody who watched LSU dismantle Virginia Tech Saturday night had to think that the publicity surrounding the Tigers is justified. It was chic to dismiss LSU as something of an overrated phenomenon, and many believed things would be a little different for Les Miles now that he wasn’t playing with house money – i.e. Nick Saban’s players. But the Tiger defense is overwhelming, and it’s hard to believe anybody on the schedule (including Florida) having enough to keep it off-balance for 60 minutes. As for the questions about Matt Flynn, those seem to be quieted as well. He’s not going to win the Heisman, but he does enough to keep the LSU attack moving forward. Virginia Tech has some serious problems, but not all of them were self-inflicted Saturday night. LSU had a lot to do with that and should make many other teams look bad throughout the ’07 season.

A Bigger Flop Than Evan Almighty

By Matthew Zemek

When certain evils persist in the world, one has to continue to bang the drum until important people take notice.

With that said, then, let's say a little more about Hollywood punters seducing referees and conning the zebras... not just into throwing flags, but into making roughing the kicker interpretations instead of the more benign running-into-the-kicker rulings.

In the South Carolina-Georgia and Notre Dame-Penn State games, Georgia's and Notre Dame's punters engaged in shameful embellishment of non-hits that were supposedly delivered by punt rushers. Both punters kept their kicking legs extended well after booting the ball, and when the opposing players barely touched them, they abruptly "fell" to the ground.

A roughing penalty should be obvious enough that you don't have to wonder about the punter's acting skills. Punters are vulnerable athletes, but it only makes it that much more outrageous when a punter takes advantage of his physical frailty to trick a referee into throwing a 15-yard flag. If referees wanted to get serious on this issue, they would not only refrain from throwing these flags against punt rushers, but they would throw 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct flags against punters who take dives and embellish minimal to nonexistent contact. It's long past time to crack down on this issue. Thankfully, Georgia and Notre Dame lost in spite of the trickery that was (shamefully and successfully) displayed by their respective punters.

Cosmic justice, once in a while, actually does prevail.