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ASK CFN ... Should Henne & Hart Play vs. UW?

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 8, 2007


Considering it's all about the Ohio State game for Michigan, should Chad Henne and Mike Hart play against Wisconsin? Who are the five worst recent national champions? Is Kansas for real? These questions and more in the latest ASK CFN.

By Pete Fiutak
Fire over your questions to me at pete@collegefootballnews.com. I might not be able to answer them all, but I promise they're all read. Any e-mails sent to this address may be published or edited unless requested otherwise. (Please put ASK CFN in the subject line, and PLEASE keep the questions short ... it makes my life easier.)

If Matt Ryan’s last minute comeback against Virginia Tech made him the leader for the Heisman, did his pick six against Florida State in a similar situation essentially end his chances at the award?  -David

A: Yup. He still might end up as a finalist in this strange season with no killer favorite, but even if he leads the Eagles to the ACC title, it won’t be enough. If I had to guess, he’ll end up fourth behind Darren McFadden, Dennis Dixon and Tim Tebow.

Past ASK CFNs ...  
- The Flakiest Teams
- A little BCS history
- Should USC be in the title hunt?
- The best RB you don't know
- What's wrong with Texas A&M? 
- How bad is the Big Ten?
- Will Miles run to Michigan?
- Supersized Season Premier of ASK CFN
 The most loved & hated teams
- Is Miami still a power?
- CFN's West Virginia ranking
- Is Booty Heisman-worthy?
- The USC Schedule
- The Big Ten Network
- The most underrated head coach
- The Top Ten NFL receiver prospects 

- Why did Brady Quinn slide?
- The Virginia Tech situation

- Creating a MWest-WAC super-league
-
Mid-majors who should be in the bigs
-
The potential new superpower
-
The 5 best coaching jobs
-
March Madness for football?
-
Potential Bowl Shockers
-
Tim Brewster?
-
Fox's BCS broadcasts
- Is Brady really better than Russell?
-
Hot & Cold Bowl Programs
- How ineffective was Reggie Ball?
- A 2007 Top 10 Mock Draft
-
Can Michigan win a national title?
- BCS possibilities for several teams
- West Virginia schedule, BCS rules
- Toughest coaching jobs
- Hidden Heisman 5

- Is Temple worst ever?
- Oklahoma-Oregon fiasco
- Has Bob Stoops lost it?
- Is Colorado done?

So Michigan secured the tie break game with the win over Michigan State so win or lose they still have a shot at the Big Ten title, so now if you're Carr, do you rest Hart and Henne and take your chances with the young talent or do you go ahead and keep your foot on the gas? – JR

A: Interesting take. All Chad Henne and Mike Hart talked about this off-season was how they had to beat Ohio State and win a bowl game after going 0-3 against the Buckeyes and in the post-season, so considering next week means everything to these guys, and considering that Michigan can be no worse than second in the Big Ten pecking order when all is said and done, then why would beating Wisconsin matter? Why shouldn’t everyone rest and get healthy? Imagine the second-guessing if Henne and Hart get hurt further and can’t play next week, but think of it another way. If Michigan beats Wisconsin, It’ll be 9-2, and will obviously finish the season no worse than 9-3 with two of the losses coming to Ohio State and Oregon, two of the top three teams in America, and the possible national champion combatants. A win in Madison might mean the Rose Bowl no matter what happens against Ohio State, while a loss might mean a win next week is a must or it’s off to the Capital One. If you’re Carr, you play your stars and you go for the win over the Badgers at all costs. You can't let up this late in the year.

Why the double standard? Michigan goes undefeated in Big Eleven play and rises from the ashes of a hellish start up to #12. Meanwhile, every talking head in America rates the Big Eleven as one of the worst conference's in the country. Ohio State is ranked #1 but I get the feeling no one really believes it since all the imaginary match ups have them losing to WHOEVER they play in a BCS game. I am confused, please supply psychotherapy ASAP.  – Tim

A: First of all, let’s end this notion that Ohio State is going get to New Orleans and drop trou like it did against Florida last year. No way, no how will the team come in fat, happy and lazy after last year’s performance, and remember, this was an unbeatable bowl team before the Gator debacle with four straight wins and three in the BCS. This year’s version might really be better than last year’s with a better defense, skill players who are all producing, and a fantastic O line that’s dominating everyone. Yes, the Big Ten is no big whoop, but Ohio State is really that good playing in a relatively down year for the conference. Michigan is ranked right around where it’s supposed to be, and it should probably be a little bit higher with the way the defense has come around. We'll finally figure out just how good the rest of the league is after the bowl season.

If the 2004 Sooners played the 2004 Trojans 10 times, what do you think the outcome would be? – TS

A: I like to think of matchups like this in a best of seven series. For example, I believe Florida comes up with a 4-0 sweep of Ohio State last year, I believe Texas and USC play the full seven in 2005, and in 2004, USC beats OU 4-1, letting down for a game after taking a 3-0 series lead. The better question is how Auburn would’ve done. I’d still go USC, but it’d be something like 4-2. I’d take the Tigers over Oklahoma 4-2.

Settle an argument for me. I say some of the great older teams would beat some of today’s teams without a problem. I’m a Georgia fan, so I’ll take the 1980 Bulldogs, vs. 2007 LSU. I’m sorry, but with the greatest RB of all-time in Herschel Walker pounding the ball, and a good enough defense with good athleticism, I think that team, and others of that era, could battle with some of today’s teams. It’s our lunchtime debate, and I need ammo for my side. Help! – GI

A: Are you freakin’ nuts? You want to match up Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson against an offensive line from an era that considered anyone over 270 pounds a behemoth? Good luck with that. Herschel Walker would be a star in any era, but Dorsey would lift up one of 1980 Georgia’s guards over his head, throw him at No. 34, and make play after play in the backfield. The players are so much bigger, so much faster, and so much more athletic now then they were 25 years ago that it wouldn’t even be remotely close. Back in the day, there were big players, and fast players, but now everyone is big and fast. You could go back around roughly ten years and find teams that could play with the big boys today, but you can't go back too much further.

I happen to think that LSU is highly overrated with one loss, and 3 near loses.  Being a Florida grad I am reminded that last years champions team had even more close calls.  To that I say, last years team, BCS Championship game aside, struggled.  I couldn't watch a single game on replay during the summer outside the BCS and the SEC games because they were sad to watch.  This begs the question of who you think the 5 worst title winners are going back to 1992 (when I started college). – JF

A: You're being way too hard on the 2007 Gators. It was a good team that had an all-timer of a championship performance, but yeah, it has to be in the mix of worst champions since 1992. 1984 BYU and the 1990 combination of Georgia Tech and Colorado are the most recent entries in the worst national champions, but if we’re talking since 1992, my five worst national champions would be ...

1) 1997 Michigan. This was before the Big Ten was a true part of the BCS equation. Michigan didn’t have to play any SEC team in a year with several killers, and it didn’t have to deal with a nasty Nebraska team that would’ve won a true national title game by three touchdowns. This was a very, very good Wolverine team, but there were better in 1997.
2)
2007 Florida. The team rose up to dominate in the national championship, and the defense was a killer, but the offense was too inconsistent. This turned out to be the best team in a lousy overall year for college football.   
3) 1994 Nebraska. The 1995 team was one of the greatest of all-time. The 1994 team was fine, but was basically handed the national title over Penn State because it was Tom Osborne’s turn. The Huskers beat a good Colorado team, and that’s about it.
4) 1998 Tennessee. The Peyton Manning teams were better, but couldn’t get by Florida. A juggernaut of an Ohio State team, that got screwed over by Florida State in the polls, would’ve beaten these Vols.
5) 1996 Florida. Merry Christmas, Spurrier. The only way the Gators were able to win the national title was because it got a rematch against a Florida State team that won the first time around, and got help from Arizona State losing in the last minute to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.  

So, we’ve heard a lot about the “Poor Man’s” Vince Young.  One, Troy Smith won the Heisman.  Another, Dixon may win it this year.  Vince Young, the prototype, never won the award himself, but put his team on his shoulders and beat a team with two Heisman winners.  Do you think it’s possible that Reggie Bush will be stripped of his Heisman and it will be given to Vince?  Any other year that guy would have been the best by far. – JR

A: Is that really how you want Vince Young to get the Heisman? Would all the great things Bush did  on the field and all the memories of that Heisman season go away by giving Young the trophy? I’m still angry at myself for not going with my gut and voting Bush over Young, but I hate the idea of taking away awards and records for something silly like a player getting money. USC didn't win a national title, and Reggie Bush didn't win a Heisman because of money. If you’re talking about steroids or stealing signals by a hidden camera, then I could understand. If Young wanted a Heisman, he could’ve stayed for his senior year. As it turns out, he joins Tommie Frazier and Jim Brown as the greatest college players who’ve never won the Heisman.

Any chance the Big XII gets three in the BCS games? I assume that for this to happen Kansas would have to finish 11-1 (with a loss to Mizzou) with Mizzou winning out (and beating Oklahoma in the title game) and Oklahoma winning out (and then losing to Mizzou in the title game). – Mark

A: No. There’s a rule that only two teams from the same conference can play in the BCS. Remember last year when Wisconsin should’ve been able to go, but couldn’t because Ohio State and Michigan were in? The rule is in place so no one conference makes all the coin, but it’s ridiculous. The top ten teams in the BCS standings should be the ones who get in regardless of conference tie ins.

While everyone spends hours debating playoffs vs. BCS, why doesn’t anyone mention the ridiculous nature of pre-season polls?  Here is an idea, how about we let the teams actually play a game (or four) before the “experts” tell us who is good this year. Let ‘em play before they tell us how great Wisconsin, Tennessee, Nebraska and Louisville are. – TN

A: The only problem with the preseason polls is that they don’t change much. If the preseason polls, for example, have USC 1, Ohio State 2 and LSU 3, and let’s say someone like Oklahoma obliterates everything in its path while the Trojans, Buckeyes and Tigers are merely average and just barely get by, the Sooners still wouldn’t move up to one because pollsters don’t like to change from their preconceived notions. Someone will always do a preseason poll, and that’s fine as long the pollsters take what’s happening on the field into account and adapt and adjust accordingly as the season goes on. Don't hate the polls, hate the pollsters.

Is Kansas really that good? – CM

A: Yeah, to a point. It wouldn’t go unbeaten if it played in the SEC, and it hasn’t beaten anyone of note, but it doesn’t screw up, gets phenomenal plays from the lines, and executes with stunning efficiency. Talent-wise, it should get wiped off the map by a LSU, Oklahoma or USC, but as Boise State showed, that doesn’t mean anything. This is a great team, and if it wins at Oklahoma State, beats Missouri, and beats Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, the it’ll have its signature wins, and considering this wild and wacky year, would be an unbeaten BCS conference team deserving of playing for the whole ball of wax. I don’t think this is a better team than LSU, but I’d give it an even shot against Oregon on a neutral field. If they finish unbeaten, then yeah, put them in the national championship.

Are we at the point where being undefeated or a one-loss team has no intrinsic value?  Kansas is undefeated and number 4 in the BCS, and they haven’t beaten anybody of note.  Granted it’s not their fault that the Big XII North is way down, but their non-conference schedule had Central Michigan, SE La., Toledo, and FIU (ha!).  UCONN is in the top 20 at 8-1, and their non-conference schedule includes Temple, Akron, Maine, and Duke.  Will voters ever penalize these teams for their fraudulent records, and consequentially return us to the days of meaningful non-conference games?  Ya know, the days when Tennessee - Cal would have been just a nice game, and not ABC's crown jewel of September? – Chris

A: That’s why I continue to scream that the strength of schedule needs to be the number one factor in the BCS formula. While it’s a plus to play a light schedule since you’ll at least be in the discussion, like Kansas is now, there’s usually a ceiling on how high you can go, and if you're a fraud with a great record because of a bad schedule, you'll eventually get exposed. It took KU being unbeaten to get to where it is now, and as soon as it gets a loss, if it gets a loss, then you’ll see a mega-tumble. An example of the other side is Oregon, who announced it was in for a big season by blasting Michigan early on when everyone was watching, and things rolled from there.

Here’s my rule of thumb for non-conference schedules. If you’re elite, like USC, Ohio State or LSU, you play anyone, anywhere, any time. If you’re a top 25 team, you play one good non-conference schedule and a bunch of cupcakes. If you’re a historically mediocre BCS program, you play all cupcakes to get a base of wins for a possible bowl game.

My friends and I argue constantly about which conference is better, the Big 12 or the SEC. How would you breakdown a comparison of the Big 12 and the SEC, top-to-bottom playing on a neutral field? - Chris (Shawnee, OK)

A: As you wish (but I get to create the matchups) …
1. LSU vs. Oklahoma … LSU
2. Georgia vs. Kansas … Kansas
3. Florida vs. Texas … Florida
4. Auburn vs. Missouri … Missouri
5. Tennessee vs. Oklahoma State … Tennessee
6. Alabama vs. Texas Tech … Alabama
7. Arkansas vs. Kansas State … Arkansas
8. South Carolina vs. Texas A&M … South Carolina
9. Kentucky vs. Colorado … Kentucky
10. Mississippi State vs. Nebraska … Mississippi State
11. Vanderbilt vs. Iowa State … Vanderbilt
12. Ole Miss vs. Baylor … Ole Miss

It’s all my opinion, but I’d be shocked if it wasn’t an SEC slaughter. It might not be 10-2, but I doubt it’d be far off.