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The First 2013 BCS Standings and My Analysis

The initial 2013 BCS Standings are out and I was shocked. I never would have guessed the Oregon Ducks would drop below the Florida State Seminoles. Since the beginning of the season I have been impressed with FSU quarterback Jameis Winston but I never would have guessed he would lead his team to a #2 BCS ranking when the first polls were released. Oregon has done nothing but win easily yet they are behind FSU. Even though Oregon is #3 right now they still have the opportunity to move up. The Ducks will play both UCLA and Stanford in the next two weeks so their strength of schedule will increase drastically. The biggest loser in the initial BCS standings is Ohio State as they are stuck between a rock and a hard spot.

Ohio State and the BCS

It is very hard for me to feel sorry for Ohio State because I feel as if they would not be able to compete in the national championship game. Even if they go undefeated they will have beaten nobody. That is correct. They play in the B1G conference which is as weak as ever this year. I saw a tweet recently stating that the B1G Conference had four teams in the top 25. Interestingly, three of those four come in between #21 and #25. This means the B1G Conference has one team in the top 20. Obviously, that one team is Ohio State. Even if Ohio State runs the table and wins the conference championship game their schedule will likely be too weak for them to get into the BCS National Championship game.

I would have sympathy for Ohio State if they would schedule someone outside their conference. I know Ohio State fan will claim they scheduled a decent Cal team from the PAC 12. Give me a break. If you want to schedule a team from the PAC 12 why not schedule Oregon, Stanford, USC or UCLA? Heck, I would even accept Arizona State or Oregon State. Instead you go out and find a Cal team that has been struggling since the Aaron Rodgers days.

Also, the MAC loves you for handing them money but play someone besides Ohio University or Miami (Ohio). There is no reason Ohio State cannot schedule an SEC game. The academic department needs to suck it up and schedule a game at Auburn or at Florida. Even if they scheduled a game at Vanderbilt or Mississippi I would be impressed. Instead they find a way to get directional Michigan on the schedule. In the long run this really doesn’t help Ohio State in any way. If you think it does just go back and look at the BCS games in which they played an SEC school. Ohio State is going to have to step up their level of play in the regular season if they hope to compete with the big boys during the bowl season. That will definitely be the case when the college football playoff starts in 2014.

Does Florida State Deserve the #2 Spot?

When Florida State went into Death Valley and throttled the Clemson Tigers they proved they are one of the best teams in the ACC. That said, some are still wondering if they are really a contender for the national championship. Clemson was #3 heading into that particular game but Clemson has not exactly had a strong reputation for winning big games. Now that Florida State has brought Clemson back to reality it will be interesting to see how they play over the next few weeks. Up next is NC State before the Miami game. The NC State game is a definite trap game as the Miami game could be a top 5 matchup. This will be two top 5 matchups in three weeks for the Seminoles. If they can pull lopsided wins out in each of these games it is safe to say they have their swagger back.

The one concern I have about the Florida State Seminoles is their strength of schedule. Much like Ohio State, it may come down to the end of the season and Florida State has not beat anyone that good. If Clemson spirals downhill and Miami ends the season with a few losses, Florida State will not have had a big win all year. To conclude the season Florida State will take on the Florida Gators. At the beginning of the year this looked like a huge game; not so much now. The Gators have already lost three games and they are reeling. Some believe Will Muschamp is on his way out in Gainesville. Florida State needs to hope Florida gets it together before the end of season game.

The SEC and Alabama Remain Atop the BCS

The Alabama Crimson Tide keep on rolling. It is amazing to see them throttle team after team in the SEC. On Saturday, October 19th they did it again to the Arkansas Razorbacks. Other than the Texas A&M game the Alabama defense has been out of this world. Another shutout against Arkansas on Saturday and it looks like this Alabama team could be better than the team that won the national championship last year. If the offense continues to improve we might as well hand another BCS title to Nick Saban and crew.

As if the Alabama dominance is not enough now we have to look at Missouri from the SEC. Missouri and Texas A&M are the newest additions to the conference. Almost every SEC guru felt as if Texas A&M had the best shot to win the SEC as a new member rather than the Missouri Tigers. After seven games it is the Tigers from Columbia, Missouri that are in the drivers seat to head to Atlanta to play in the SEC championship in early December. When looking at their remaining schedule it looks promising that the Tigers will have a shot at the Crimson Tide. Missouri’s two road games are at Kentucky and at Ole Miss. If you know anything about Kentucky you know that should be an easy win; especially with basketball season having started when the game will be played.

The SEC had a weekend of turmoil recently as many of their top teams went down. As I have said many times, the SEC is amazing top to bottom so it should come as no surprise that some of the best teams take a beating. There have been years in which a two loss SEC team has gotten into the BCS National Championship game. I do not think that will happen this year but there is a strong possibility that a two loss SEC team could be better than an undefeated team from another conference. We won’t name conferences.

Early BCS Rankings Don’t Matter

It is very important for all sports fans to recognize that early BCS rankings don’t matter all that much. The BCS will figure itself out by the end of the year. The only thing the BCS is asked to do is to place the #1 and #2 teams in the championship game. When all is said and done that is exactly what will happen. Ohio State, Oregon and Baylor fans have no reason to complain. If we get to the second week in December and they are undefeated and not #2, then they might have a reason to complain.

I find it very interesting that college football fans will find a way to complain about almost anything. If their team were #1 in the country they would complain they did not receive enough first place votes. If a team is not #1 there must be something wrong with all those that are submitting a poll. Unfortunately, college football fans are some of the most biased people in the world. It is best to take off the tinted sunglasses and look at the big picture. While a college football playoff will be fun there is nothing we can do about it right now. Heck, there is nothing you can do about your team going undefeated. Enjoy college football for what it is and stop worrying about all the things you cannot control.

The only thing you can control when it comes to your team is being in the stadium cheering on your alma mater. If you are a diehard college football fan that wants your team to get to the best bowl game possible you should make it a point to attend every game. Teams that get the best bowl bids are often teams that have fan bases that travel well. There is a reason Clemson and Georgia get some of the better bowl bids even when they have not had the best season. Travel with your team, cheer them on and you will find a great location for your January 1st bowl. If you are unhappy with the teams performance do not go to the game and stop donating money. That is the only way a change is going to happen in the athletic department. That is another story for another time.

Does the USC vs Notre Dame Game Matter in 2013?

At one time the USC vs Notre Dame game was one of the biggest games of the year in college football. Unfortunately, in the past 20 years it has often been the case that only one of these two teams is at the top of their game when they clash during the regular season. There have not been many top 10 match ups in recent years. Even when the game is competitive one team usually comes in ranked significantly higher than the other. The same will happen in 2013. In fact, this game will likely get overshadowed by an ACC game. Who would have ever guessed the ACC would rule the primetime ratings of this week’s Saturday slate? Trust me when I tell you many more people are going to be interested in Clemson vs Florida State than USC vs Notre Dame.

USC and the Lane Kiffin Debacle

The Lane Kiffin era did not last very long at USC. After Pete Carroll abruptly left the program to head to the NFL the Trojans felt as if they could replace Carroll with one of his disciples and have the same success. They did not have a problem luring Lane Kiffin away from the University of Tennessee, but it did not work out as planned for either party. Lane Kiffin came in with huge expectations but one issue after another made it difficult for him to lead the Trojans back to national championship status. As soon as Kiffin arrived on campus USC was under investigation. After getting stripped scholarships most USC fans were willing to give Kiffin a few extra years to turn it around.

Whether or not he should have been given these extra few years is an argument for another time. What we know now is that Lane Kiffin was not the man for the job at USC. He was an amazing recruiter but he was not a great coach. I think I saw the writing on the wall very early when Kiffin would go for a two point conversation after about half of his team’s touchdowns. There is absolutely no reason to do this at a big time football program. This is the type of stuff small schools do just to try to get attention. Lane Kiffin was acting immature and that does not lead to success as a Division I college football coach.

USC decided to let Lane Kiffin go earlier this year and it should have happen. Some would argue that it should have happened sooner. Even though USC was hampered by scholarships being reduced they were never the team that lived up to their talent. Year in and year out the team was in the preseason top 25. By the time the season ended they were lucky to finish in the upper half of the Pac 12 conference. Two years ago the Trojans finished the season strong and they were preseason top five last year. That didn’t last long as Matt Barkley actually got worse during his senior season. This was all I needed to know to make my final decision about Lane Kiffin.

Is Notre Dame Back?

Last year many people thought Notre Dame might be back to their championship ways when they finished the season undefeated. So many people were excited about the BCS National Championship game against Alabama that it was one of the highest selling tickets in the history of the BCS. As we got closer to the national championship game more people began to recognize that Notre Dame did not match up well with the Alabama team that had won two of the last three national championship. Some experts were even predicting a blow out in the national championship game. When all was said and done it was exactly that. About 10 minutes into the game it was quite obvious that Alabama was in a class of its own. They were not going to be challenged by Notre Dame in any way.

Does this mean Notre Dame is not back? Well, maybe or maybe not. Brian Kelly has only been at Notre Dame a handful of years and he is still building the program. Seeing Notre Dame in the top 25 is nice as a college football historian. Unfortunately, Notre Dame fans are not happy with a team that is just in the top 25. They want their team competing for a national championship every year. I honestly don’t think that is going to be possible as the landscape of college football has changed drastically. It is no longer the case that high school football players only see games on NBC, ABC and CBS. In the past, this was the way Penn State, Notre Dame and USC recruited. They were the only teams that were on TV every single weekend. With ESPN and Fox Sports now airing games all day on Saturday high school football players can watch any team play from the comfort of their home.

Growing Up a Notre Dame Fan

I am in my early 30s and I grew up in a very small town. While we did get ESPN we did not get other sports channels. On a Saturday afternoon in the fall I had the option to watch NBC, which always had Notre Dame games. The local ABC and CBS stations had games in the ACC but ACC football has never been great. This meant that I watched Notre Dame week in and week out. I eventually became I diehard fan as I could name all the players on the team. Names like Kevin McDougal, Jerome Bettis and Lee Becton come to mind. With NBC paying millions for these broadcasts it stands to reason they would push the Fighting Irish as much as possible. During my younger years Notre Dame only won a single national championship and that was in 1989. After that they were in the top 10 every single year and challenged for a title.

The change happened when Lou Holtz decided to leave Notre Dame. The coach after Holtz was Bob Davie and it was a steady slide through the Davie years. NBC and Notre Dame still have a very strong relationship but there are so many options for college football fans. At the moment I can watch ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, Fox Sports, Fox Sports 1, the Pac 12 Network, the B1G Network and all the local affiliates. At 3:30 pm on a Saturday there are about seven or eight games that fans have the opportunity to watch. When I was growing up I had the opportunity to watch two or three and one was always Notre Dame.

It is also important to point out that regional games dominated in my younger years. If I wanted to watch Oregon or Texas A&M I was out of luck. We would have to order a special package and it was just too much for my parents to afford. Rather than getting upset about not seeing these teams play I simply let it go and knew nothing about them. I did not have the Internet at the time. The only way I could get score updates was to wait for Sportscenter at the end of the night. This was a time when there were not daily sports shows dedicated to the college football updates.

With so many options available it is obvious that high school football players and athletes do not have to watch only one team. There are dozens of games on every weekend and sports fans can use the Internet to get updates at any time during the day. Finding out insider information in the early to mid 1990s was nearly impossible. Unless you knew someone walking around the campus you had no idea what was going on behind closed doors. Now, every single program has a specific website dedicated to recruiting and analysis of the team.

Ratings for 2013 USC vs Notre Dame

The USC vs Notre Dame game will kick off at 7:30 pm on Saturday, October 19th. As mentioned previously, the Florida State vs Clemson game will likely be much more widely viewed. If all things work out the Clemson vs Florida State game will be a top 5 matchup while the Notre Dame vs USC matchup will feature a team that has recently fired their head coach and another team that is trying to find its identity as a program. I am a diehard college football fan and I love tradition. I would throughly enjoy watching this game if it actually mattered. Notre Dame will not be playing for a championship this year and USC will be playing for a mid level bowl. This makes the game unappealing to me as a fan.

I also have the opportunity to watch two of the best quarterbacks in college football in Tajh Boyd and Jameis Winston in the Clemson vs Florida State game. This is not a difficult decision at all. Also, the geographic differences in Notre Dame and USC make it unappealing. Neither is in the south and neither is in the hotbed of recruiting. These are just a few of the many reasons the TV ratings for the USC vs Notre Dame game will be subpar.

Why ACC Football Will Never Change

Saturday, October 5th, 2013 was a great illustration as to why the ACC will never change. During the entire summer I made fun of the ACC because of the lack of depth and quality football. There is no arguing the fact that the ACC is one of the best basketball conferences in the nation. In fact, it can be argued it is the best basketball conference because of the number of championships won in the last three decades. That said, football is a much different story. The ACC has been throttled in BCS Bowl Games since the inception of the BCS. The middle to bottom half of the conference is downright bad. We saw more of that in recent weekends which should come as no surprise to most diehard college football fans.

Maryland and UVA Are A Joke

The University of Maryland came into Saturday, October 5th, 2013 undefeated and #25 in the country. Some analysts were predicting an upset of the top 10 Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee. Maryland was coming off a huge win against West Virginia and they had tons of momentum. When all was said and done Maryland had the wood laid to them at Florida State. They left Doak Campbell Stadium with a 63 spot hung on them. To make matters even worse, Maryland couldn’t even get on the scoreboard. While Florida State and Jameis Winston are very good in 2013 they are not so good that the final score should be 63-0. This is all too typical of a subpar ACC team that breaks into the top 25.

Another lackluster performance on the weekend of October 5th took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Cavaliers have not been a good football team in years but most thought they could beat Ball State in Charlottesville today. When the scoreboard read zeros it was Ball State with a total of 48 points and Virginia with 27; absolutely embarrassing. This is no disrespect to Ball State but no ACC team should allow a MAC team to drop 48 points on them in their home stadium. At one point the ACC thought they could be one of the elite BCS football conferences when they added Virginia Tech and Miami in the early 2000s. Nothing could be further from the truth.

While Maryland and Virginia laid eggs today it is important to note that other cellar dwellers sucked it up as well. North Carolina State University lost to Wake Forest in Raleigh and the UNC Tar Heels took another conference loss. These teams are just straight up bad. If they played in the SEC or PAC 12 they would get routed every single week. It is almost basketball season on Tobacco Road so there isn’t too much longer to wait for something exciting to happen. That said, college football season will continue to grind on through the end of the year. Clemson and Florida State are very good college football teams but the rest of the conference is just plain terrible. What is interesting is that both Florida State and Clemson have been rumored to be leaving the conference to head to the SEC. With a few more years of terrible ACC football I believe it would be smart for them to leave.

Should Clemson and FSU Go To The SEC?

When SEC expansion was a hot topic a few years ago two ACC schools continued to come up – Clemson and Florida State. It makes perfect sense that these two schools would jump from the ACC to the SEC. First of all, they are not historically strong in basketball. In fact, Clemson has gone over 50 years without beating UNC in Chapel Hill in round ball. Florida State has been good recently but it has not been a long term trend. The ACC is historically strong in college basketball and they are trying to expand that even more by adding Louisville, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The second reason it would be smart for the Tigers and Seminoles to go to the SEC is because of their football history. We can all agree that the ACC has not been strong in football. In fact, it has been well over a decade since the ACC has had a team in the national championship game in college football.

Part of the reason the ACC does not compete well in big time games is the level of competition. If Florida State and Clemson want to truly step up their level of competition they will go to a better football conference. Florida State’s main rival is Florida which happens to be in the SEC. Clemson’s main rival is South Carolina which happens to be in the SEC. These are just a few more reasons it would make sense to get out of a basketball conference and into a football conference.

The other issue is money. The SEC Network will start in 2014 and that will be a huge revenue generator for the conference. This will put more money in the pockets of all the teams that are in the SEC. Right now, there are no plans for the ACC to start a network. There are deals with the ACC with major networks but they do not have their own cable or satellite network. It would be smart for the ACC to get things in place before some of the bigger players in the conference decide to jump ship for more money. This has already happened with Maryland leaving the ACC to head to the B1G conference. Ten years ago there is no way Maryland would have left but the B1G Network is a huge revenue generator and the Terps want that extra cash. If the ACC continues to stumble it may be the case that it no longer exists as it is today. It might end up being just a basketball conference on Tobacco Road and the northeast.

Florida State and Clemson would like to improve in basketball but it is quite obvious they are more focused on football. For quite some time I have said that universities should focus on something they have been historically good at. NC State does a terrible job of this. They have won two national championships in basketball yet the alumni want a good football program. The NC State football program has never been good over a five year period. Instead of sinking money into Carter Finley Stadium they would be smart to spend money on the basketball program. Duke and UNC are just down the road so it should not be hard for NC State to get recruits that want to play at the highest level of basketball.

Is the ACC Just a Basketball Conference?

In the next two years the ACC is going to add Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Louisville. Louisville is coming off a national championship in college basketball and Syracuse has been one of the best teams in the Big East for several decades. One of the reasons the ACC is adding these schools is to have the ACC Basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden. This will be a huge draw for ACC fans. Most ACC fans are used to going to Atlanta or Greensboro for the ACC Basketball Tournament so this will be something completely different. If they do finalize plans on MSG I think it is safe to say that the ACC is a basketball conference and will always be a basketball conference.

Florida State and Clemson have a little bit of an identity crisis in the ACC. Clemson rarely makes it out of the first round of the ACC Tournament and Florida State has only recently had success in this tournament. That said, they have no problems running up and down the field on ACC teams during the football season. If Clemson and Florida State end up in the top 10 in football this year I predict the SEC will make a strong push to pull them out of the ACC and into a conference that is football centered.

As we continue to move into basketball season most schools in the ACC are gearing up for a huge season. In Chapel Hill they are getting ready for Late Night with Roy. In Durham, Coach K and the boys are hoping to make another Final Four run. Teams like Syracuse and UVA are hoping to make a strong run in the ACC Tournament. These are teams that do not care about college football. They have all been throttled in the last week on the gridiron so the fan bases are looking for revenge on the hardwood.

I can clearly remember being at NC State years ago and hoping college football season would come around because our basketball team could not beat Duke or UNC. I was a little bit short minded in that I should have accepted that the ACC will forever be a basketball conference. This weekend proved that ACC football is not going to change in the near future. The only way it is going to change is if the conference loses the power teams to the SEC or another power conference.

 
By Jesse Wojdylo

Florida State vs Clemson 2013

The biggest regular season game in recent history in the ACC will take place in Death Valley on Saturday, October 19th at 8:00 pm on ABC Sports. The Clemson Tigers and Florida State Seminoles have been very impressive this year as both teams have moved the ball up and down the field on their opponents. There is little argument to be made that these are two of the best teams in college football. Clemson finds a way to score over 40 points even against SEC defenses. Jameis Winston and the Seminoles dropped 63 points on a Maryland team that had one of the better defenses in the country. This makes the matchup on Saturday, October 19th all the more interesting.

Florida States’s Offense

Coming into the season most experts knew the name Jameis Winston but they had no idea how good he was going to be. He is a freshman so the only game tape that was available was from his high school days. When trying to make a prediction as to the success of a young quarterback most cannot make an accurate assessment when looking at high school games. The other issue is the fact that Jameis is a young kid that will likely be rattled during away games, right? Well, that has not been the case. In fact, he has played very well under pressure in the two ACC away games for Florida State this year. At Pittsburgh and at Boston College were no problems for this young quarterback from Tallahassee.

Even when Florida State has been behind in games Jameis Winston remains a cool character and he leads his team back to a huge victory. This happened in the Boston College game that was in Chestnut Hill. Something that makes the Florida State offense very difficult to defend is the fact that Winston can run the ball if he needs to. Prior to this year, Florida State has not had a duel threat quarterback since Charlie Ward in 1993. That 1993 team lead by Charlie Ward went on to win the national championship. If the Seminoles can continue to put points on the board there is a good chance they will have an opportunity to play for the national championship in the final BCS championship game this year.

I have watched Florida State play football since the early 1990s and I have not seen a dominate performance like the Maryland game in a long time There were some mid 1990s Florida State teams that used to roll up the ACC. It was not unheard of for FSU to win games by 40 or 50 points. This has not happened in almost a decade. To see the score Florida State – 63 and Maryland – 0 scrolling across the bottom of sports TV stations brought back memories of the past. Jameis Winston has Florida State Seminoles fans thinking this might be the year the team could make a run.

Clemson’s Offense

Tajh Boyd has lead the Clemson offense for several years. He has been at Clemson for what seems like decades. Being a senior quarterback means he has been through many difficult situations. Those tough road games in October and November become much easier when a team has an experienced quarterback. This has proven to be true for Clemson with a road win at NC State on a Thursday night. There will be some other tough road games as the year progresses but Tajh Boyd has looked very good thus far. If he can play at 75% of what he has been playing at early in the season the Clemson Tigers will not be challenged by anyone other than Florida State. During the Florida State game Tajh will need to be at his best.

The Clemson offense is one of those new age offenses that likes to get in as many plays as possible. The Clemson offensive coordinator would love to snap the ball 100 times every single game. This is not possible some games but it doesn’t mean they will not try. If Clemson gains some momentum on offense it is very difficult for ACC defenses to slow them down. This is especially true when they play in Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina. When the big crowd starts rocking Death Valley it is almost impossible to slow down the Tigers. The Clemson fans are quite unique for the ACC as they have won a national championship and they know quite a bit about college football. This means they do not cheer loudly when the offense is on the field. This allows Tajh Boyd to get the plays called with ease.

If the Clemson Tigers are able to get off over 80 plays in the game against Florida State I would imagine they will come out on top. If the Tigers offense has to sit on the bench for much of the game I believe Florida State has the opportunity to knock off the #3 team in the country. It will be fun to watch an amazing offense like Clemson take on a top 5 defense such as Florida State.

Florida State’s Defense

Florida State is giving up less than 300 yards per game and they seem to get better every week. Before heading into the Clemson game they will have a bye week which will give them seven extra days to prepare for Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. This will play a huge roll in the game. Giving a great defense extra time to prepare for a fast paced offense can make a huge difference. If the Seminoles are healthy and have done their homework this might be the first time we truly see the Clemson Tigers offense challenged in 2013. It is interesting to see how teams react to a situation that is unique. If Clemson has a couple of drives that stall early it might frustrate them. When an offense gets frustrated they often try to do things out of their comfort zone. This is when turnovers happen.

Clemson is one of the best teams in the country when it comes to turnover margin. They average getting about two more turnovers than they give up. Florida State gets about one more turnover than they give up. With both teams being top 10 in the country there is a good chance that this game will come down to turnovers. Look for Florida State’s defense to put some extra pressure on Tajh Boyd. Tajh has not thrown a lot of interceptions in the first part of the season but he has also not been pressured by a great defensive line. Pay close attention to this matchup when the Tigers take on the Seminoles.

Clemson’s Defense

If there is one weakness for either team in this game it is the Clemson defense. It is not the case that the Clemson defense is bad but they have given up a lot of points in big games. When the Tigers opened against Georgia this year the defense gave up 35 points. This isn’t the first time a Clemson defense has give up over 30 points in a big game. It is important to note that the defense has played much better since that Georgia game. I will also point out that Georgia has one of the best offenses in the country that has yet to be stopped. I would like to see Clemson play well on the defensive side of the ball in a big game and the Florida State game will give them an opportunity to do just that.

Once again, turnovers could play a very large roll in this game so the Clemson defense will need to create a few. This has not been a problem in the first few weeks of the season but the level of competition, minus Georgia, has not been to the level of Florida State. Florida State’s offense is one of the best in the country and Jameis Winston could be the best quarterback in the United States. He has not turned the ball over much. His decision making is that of a senior quarterback. This means the Clemson defense is going to have to rattle him if they want him to throw bad passes or fumble the ball.

Who Will Win?

The Clemson Tigers will be favored in this game because they will be playing at home. That said, the Seminoles will have a week to prepare for the game. Ultimately, it will come down to the quarterback play. Tajh Boyd is the senior leader of the Clemson Tigers and he is the leading passer in ACC history when it comes to TDs. On the other side of the ball Jameis Winston is the new kid of the block but he has been very impressive. I think the Clemson Tigers will end up winning this game close solely because of the home field advantage and the senior at quarterback.