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ASK CFN - Will Texas REALLY Go 9-3?
Texas LB/DE Sergio Kindle
Texas LB/DE Sergio Kindle
Posted Aug 14, 2009

Will Texas really finish with three losses? Will Auburn really beat Alabama? Is Boise State great, or is it a good program that always comes up with a great record because of schedule? These questions and a whole bunch more in the season debut of ASK CFN.

ASK CFN ... August 14

By Pete Fiutak

Fire over your questions, comments, and baskets of mini-muffins to

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.)

- Can Ole Miss win the BCS title?
- 2008 ASK CFNs
- 2007 ASK CFNs
2006 ASK CFNs
The average ranking for the Boise State football team from all other rating services is 13th. The worst is 26th. CFN ranks them at 43d. You are either the smartest bunch of analysts, or you're the dumbest. – mcknight77

I’m so sick of your f***ing bulls**t and CFN ranking Boise State low every year only to have the Broncos stick it straight up you’re a**. When are you going to realize that Boise State is as good as anyone in the country. How many more double digit win seasons do they need to have before you get it. You make me sick. – JSL

A: Don’t we always kiss Boise State butt for being the unbelievable model of consistency (check out the CFN Boise State Preview)? Don’t we always praise the program for putting up great records year after year? The Broncos are going to finish with ten-plus wins yet again, and they’re going to be in the mix for the BCS because the great record will mean a high ranking, but that doesn’t mean the team deserves to be among the elite.

It’s not just Boise State when it comes to the ranking vs. team talent discussion. Penn State isn’t nearly as good as it was last year, but it’ll probably be in the national title discussion if it wins all the games it’ll be favored in. The Nittany Lions play no one in non-conference play. The same goes for Texas, who decided to take the year off when it comes to decent non-Big 12 competition, but more on that in a moment. The same goes for Florida, at least until the season-ender against Florida State. That’s why it’s important to not be blinded by the win-loss record and go by what the teams are doing on the field. That goes more for Boise State than it does for almost anyone else because of the weak league it plays in.

The consistency has given the Broncos a certain measure of respect with Sports Illustrated ranking them ninth to start the season (but always take what SI does when it comes to college football rankings with a grain of salt). However, there are reasons we have BSU lower from an average defensive front seven, at least compared to the top 20 teams in America, a decent, but not elite offensive line, and a slightly above-average receiving corps. Of course, it’s all relative. This is a good team, potentially a very good team, but it’ll have to come up with a win against Oregon to start the season to prove it really does belong in the top 15-to-25. And yes, Boise state really does have to prove it.

Yes, Boise beat Oregon last year, but that wasn’t anywhere near the same Duck team that was so dominant late in the season. With quarterback issues and major problems with its overall consistency, Oregon almost lost to an awful Purdue team the week before losing to the Broncos. In the other big tests, Boise State lost last year’s Poinsettia Bowl to TCU, and lost to a bad Washington team, Colt Brennan and Hawaii, and Chris Johnson and East Carolina in the Hawaii Bowl in 2007. Of course, the 2006 season was special, helped by a great win over Oregon State that was glossed over after the win over Oklahoma in the epic Fiesta Bowl, but in 2005, Boise State lost to Georgia, Oregon State, and in the MPC Computers Bowl to Boston College. With a loss to Louisville in the 2004 Liberty Bowl, Boise State has lost four out of its last five bowl games with the one win, the Sooner game, coming when every trick play and every gimmick worked. The point? Beating up the WAC is one thing, but Boise State has to come through when the lights are on. Again, the Oregon game will provide the chance on September 3rd.

I’m a huge college football fan, and in particular the SEC. I’ve been to all the SEC stadiums and most of the league’s big games. But right now, a certain airline has great deals out of Atlanta. So, what games should I try to go to experience the best of college football outside the south?– Scott D.

A: USC at Notre Dame on October 17th. If both teams are unbeaten, the place will be rocking and if you’re a die-hard college football fan you need to experience a game in South Bend when the Irish are actually good. From Atlanta to Chicago O’Hare on Delta (I’m assuming that’s the airline you’re referring to) is just $188. Or, you can get to Dallas that weekend from Atlanta to see the year’s nastiest battle: Texas vs. Oklahoma. The Red River Rivalry will be worth more than the price of admission. If you’re really feeling adventurous, it’s just $641 to go from Atlanta to Honolulu to watch Wisconsin play Hawaii on December 5th. (Wow … that really is a sweet price.) Why? Outside of it being December and Hawaii, I’ve heard UH games provide as unique a college football experience as you can imagine.

As an Florida State fan I think the ACC divisional alignment, to put it mildly, sucks. I have my own vision of how the conference should go, but I am interested in how someone with no ACC allegiances thinks it should look.
North – Miami, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Maryland, Virginia
South – Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Duke, NC State, North Carolina

(Fiu Note … right now, the divisions are BC, Clemson, FSU, Maryland, NC State and Wake Forest in the Atlantic, and Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, and Virginia Tech in the Coastal.)

How did they (the ACC) end up with what they have now? Was it a series of compromises and agreements between the ADs and schools or an iron fist ruling from the head honchos in Greensboro. Is it crazy to want to kick out BC and replace them with WVU, TV market share be damned?
– SB

A: Let me get this straight; you want to get rid of Boston College, the program that played in the last two ACC title games? And what’s wrong with the current divisional alignment? The ACC sent ten teams to bowl games, had four teams that went 5-3 in league play, six teams that went 4-4, and Virginia went 3-5 in the most even, unpredictable conference in America. There’s an almost perfect balance between the two divisions, considering Wake Forest and Duke need to be broken up considering they’re small, smart, private schools, and Florida State and Miami need to be broken up just in case they become great again. You don’t want a Texas-Oklahoma thing happening in one division. I’m not exactly sure how your proposal would make anything better for a league that has achieved every conference commissioner’s dream of relatively high-level parity.

You should provide some justification for this VERY bold 9-3 prediction on your Texas Preview.– Ryan M.

You people are f***ing idiots. You picked texas to 8-4 last year and now this year you pick us to go 9-3 with three gaem losing streak and losing to Mizzou. Complete f***ing buffoons. I know most don't like UT but get a f***ing grip. – JoJo

A: Ohhhhhhh, no you don’t. I still get hate mail from USC fans for picking Texas to win the 2006 Rose Bowl even though I was dead-on right. I also get an angry e-mail every other day from Oklahoma fans for arguing the Texas case in the Longhorn-Sooner debate of 2008. So no, we didn’t predict Texas to go 9-3 out of anything other than an educated guess.

So how did we come up with this? To start, Texas going 9-3, when it has the talent to do so much more, isn’t exactly going out on a major limb. Last year was an aberration for a Longhorn program that lost three games in 2007, 2006, 2003, and 2000. Traditionally, Texas rebounds well after losing to Oklahoma, but this year, going to Missouri, who we think will reload in a big hurry, is a nasty trip to take after the Red River Rivalry. With that said, it’s all about momentum. If Texas beats OU, forget about everything else and assume Mack Brown and company gets the job done. No matter what happens against OU and Mizzou, that game at Oklahoma State is as tough as they come in what should be a tremendous shootout. So it’s not too crazy to think that Texas could lose to both Oklahoma schools, considering the Sooners and Cowboys are top-five caliber, and the loss at Mizzou is one of those find-an-upset-that-makes-sense-in-August picks.

Is the Longhorn secondary and running backs going to be appreciably better? Maybe, but I’m a firm believer that teams often press too hard when they’re looking at a season as national-title-or-bust. To me, from everyone I’ve talked to, it seems like Texas is thinking Pasadena instead of the journey it’ll take to get there. By the way, my conversation with Colt McCoy will be up next week.

I love what you do for college football but I couldn’t help but think that you have lost your mind entering the 2009 season. I just noticed that you picked Auburn to beat Alabama. That is a complete joke! It will take a team who can throw the football and is at worst comparable to Alabama on the offensive and defensive lines. Auburn has none of those things. They will have one of the worst offensive lines in the SEC and their QB situation is a joke. They will be lucky to make a bowl and I can promise you that one of their wins won’t be over the Tide. – Michael H.

A: Remember, there are always, always, bizarre upsets that come out of the blue each and every year. When doing the preseason picks, we look for the perfect storm of conditions to predict an upset. Is Auburn better than Alabama? No, but the Tigers should be much better and much sharper by the end of the season, all the pressure will be on the Tide (this could be Auburn's BCS Championship game), and it's at Auburn, where Bama hasn't won since 2001. And then there's the timing. Alabama has just six days between the scrimmage against Chattanooga and the Iron Bowl, while Auburn has close to two weeks off to rest up and prepare. And yes, I have lost my mind.

Out of the schools with slightly lower spotlight (i.e. not USC, Texas, UF), who has the best combo of defense of running game in the country? – Scott G.

A: Going into the season, the top slightly lower BCS teams with the best combination of defense and running game are (and I'm not counting Georgia, who we have at No. 5 overall) ...

1. Virginia Tech
2. California
3. West Virginia
4. Georgia Tech
5. Clemson
6. Pitt
7. Iowa
8. Colorado
9. Florida State
10. Missouri

Top ten defense-running game combinations among the non-BCS teams.

1. Utah
2. TCU
3. Boise State
4. BYU
5. Fresno State
6. Southern Miss
7. Arkansas State
8. Louisiana Tech
9. Nevada
10. Northern Illinois

Why does a juggernaut like Florida get a pass on their weak OOC schedule yet you try to beat up a Minnesota for similar scheduling? Please don't give me that garbage about the SEC strength of schedule. They miss both Alabama and Ole Miss. – – Vincent T.

A: Did I or anyone at CFN "beat up" Minnesota for scheduling at Syracuse, Air Force, and California? I don't think Florida is getting much of a free pass for its mediocre non-conference schedule, but there is the game against Florida State to close out the regular season. The Troy game isn't anything to worry too much about, but the Trojans should win the BCS and came within a fourth quarter collapse of beating LSU in Baton Rouge last season. No one is questioning how good the No. 1 team in America is, and yes, you might not like me bringing it up, but it matters that UF will get tested in conference play against LSU (in Death Valley) and Georgia, to go along with the rest of the SEC slate. The only thing you can reasonably ask out of any BCS team is one good game against another BCS team, and Florida has it. However, that doesn't mean it doesn't suck that the Gators are playing Charleston Southern and FIU.

Coverage by media of Ohio State v. Oklahoma the past several years.  We here in Buckeye country feel like we’ve been beaten up unfairly.  Appreciate your efforts to lend perspective.  Also seems that no one complains about having to see Oklahoma in the National Championship game (or in any big game for that matter) despite their amazing streak of bowl losses (LSU, USC, Boise State, West Virginia, Florida).  The question is not whether OSU fans are too sensitive (Answer:  Yes, we are), but rather is OU getting a pass? - John S.

A: What was the ruling in Ohio State v. Oklahoma? I thought Justice von Schamann ruled in favor of the Sooners. What's interesting about the phenomenon of OSU getting bashed and OU getting a pass is that the Sooners have been dead dogs in some of these losses. To a man, the 2006 Buckeyes admit they came into the national championship game fat and lazy. They weren't that bad against LSU in the 2008 BCS Championship, they were in it until the fourth quarter, and they pushed Texas to the wall in last year's Fiesta Bowl. Of course, the blowout loss to USC early last year didn't help the national perception, but as I've written before, about 115 other teams would've gotten obliterated that day, too.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma has lost five straight BCS games and isn't getting hammered nearly as hard as the Buckeyes are. Last year's national title game was a war, and there's absolutely no reason to dog OU in any way for losing to the Gators. But OU flat-out quit in the 55-19 loss to USC in the 2005 Orange Bowl, didn't wake up until it was too late in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State, and was inexplicably flat in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl loss to West Virginia even though everyone was talking about the gaffe to the Broncos for 366 days. Style points count. Oklahoma looks like the type of team that can play with anyone in America, while Ohio State slogs its way through win after win. Even so, OSU is getting the benefit of the doubt in the preseason polls considering there's so much turnover. 

Would a one-loss Florida team get the nod for the national title game over an undefeated team from another conference?  I'm going to pick on the Big East.  Even though I think they're stronger than they get credit for, the Big East won't have a preseason top-10 team.  Let's say Florida loses one game to LSU, then beats them like a drum in Atlanta for the SEC Championship, while Texas and West Virginia go undefeated.  Would the Mountaineers be able to break into the fortress that is the pre-season #1 and #2 slots? - Casey

A: That could be the biggest call of the 2009 season. It hasn't happened yet, when a one-loss BCS team got into a BCS Championship over an unbeaten BCS team, but it could happen. What happens if Florida loses a close battle at LSU, but goes on to win the SEC championship in a walk, and Penn State goes undefeated with its cakewalk of a schedule?  And you're right about West Virginia. Let's say Oklahoma, Texas, or USC goes unbeaten; would an unbeaten West Virginia get in over a one-loss Florida? With the way the human polls work, I don't think you'll see any unbeaten BCS program get left out of the dance for another BCS team with a loss. The controversy would be too great, however, that's when the BCS would earn its money. The system is in place to compare apples to oranges, and if that means a one-loss Florida plays for the national title, and an unbeaten West Virginia doesn't, then there would have to be a valid reason.