Billy is still in hiding after his Nittany Lions were dismantled by Iowa and Illinois in back-to-back contests so we went out and got Hinkle to fill in for this week's Two Dudes, One Post. Bill, man up and take your medicine. The four people that come to this site to read about Penn State are being deprived of your genius. Give them what they want, GIVE THEM WHAT THEY NEED!
This week's questions center around the BCS. GIDDYUP!
1. The first BCS standings of the year are out. When you took a look at the new rankings what were the two biggest surprises?
Mattare: The obvious answer is Oklahoma, but my biggest surprise is their opponent this weekend: the #11 Missouri Tigers. Sure, they're 6-0 but the only victories of note are over Illinois and Texas A&M who are not exactly lighting the world on fire. Their defensive statistics are solid (2nd in the NCAA in scoring defense), but the rankings are inflated by the fact that they've played cupcakes like McNeese State, Miami (OH), and the Fighting Dan Hawkins. I've yet to see anything that indicates they're legitimate contenders and this weekend the Sooners will expose them as Paper Tigers.
It's tough to pick a team that's surprisingly ranked a little on the low end because I think the standings are relatively accurate. There's so much parity across the board this year--with the exception of Oregon (and to a lesser extent Boise State), every team has shown serious chinks in the armor through the first seven weeks. When pressed though I'll go with Florida State at #17. The Noles haven't gotten much respect from the human voters and that plays a large role in their low placement, but they've been one of the most impressive teams in all of college football for most of the season (the Oklahoma debacle notwithstanding). They're well on their way to a berth in the ACC Championship and have a great shot at landing in the Orange Bowl.
Hinkle: This one is a no-brainer. How in the world is Oklahoma #1? In every single major poll Oregon and Boise State are #1 and #2. I know Oklahoma has been playing well but the losses by Ohio State and Nebraska can have made them the top team in the country. For the first 6 weeks of the season did you hear anyone every mention them in the National Championship picture? Texas beat Nebraska which gave them a boost but this vault was out of no where.
For the biggest surprise of a team that is ranked lower than expected, I would say take your pick between Oregon and Boise State. Oregon is a monster on the offensive side of the ball. They had a bye week and dropped? That's bull. As for Boise, people can say whatever they want about their schedule. When the Broncos suit up, they throttle teams. To open the season they go to VT and pull out the win vs the #5 team in the country at the time. Oregon State was ranked in the top 25 when they visited Boise and got rolled. Until someone else wants to put them on their schedule or the BCS gives them a chance, they will continue to get hosed. Alabama played San Jose State and won 48-13. Boise just shut them out 48-0 after scoring 41 in the first half. Its time for the Broncos to start to BCS teams and run it up since they get no respect.
2. If you were a voter what would your top five be at this point? (give a quick blurb on each)
Mattare 1. Oregon - They've been a juggernaut on offense and whipped a really, REALLY good Stanford team.
2. Boise St - They're going about their business doing exactly what they should. Trust me, that Va Tech win will look good at the end of the season.
3. Oklahoma - They've been Jekyll and Hyde all year. When they show up they roll teams, when they don't they still find ways to win.
4. Auburn - I don't think it'll last but as of right now they deserve the ranking. Cam Newton has catapulted to the top of the Heisman race.
5. Stanford - This spot comes down to Bama and Stanford. I've watched an entire game for every team ranked from #5 to #12 and I think those two are far and away the best teams. I'll give the nod to Stanford because their loss was on the road against the #1team in the country and the Tide should have two losses already (Arkansas and South Carolina).
1. Oregon - Superb offensive with weapons all around. They are dominating the Pac-10 and until someone shows me they are better, the Ducks are my #1.
2. Boise State - They score at will. Their QB should be the Heisman front runner at this point in the season. All they do is win big games. If the BCS thinks they are not for real then give them a shot at the National Championship and see what happens.
3. Auburn - This team is starting to click on all cylinders. Cam Newton is averaging 6 yards per carry and completing 66% of his passes. With only 4 games on the road this year, I see game #12 @ Alabama as their only real threat to not go undefeated as I see them giving it to LSU this weekend.
4. Oklahoma - Two quality wins on their schedule vs Texas and FSU, but look at who else they played. How much more difficult is it than Boise? Beat Air Force by only 3. Were REALLY close to losing to UTAH STATE! Last, Cincy by 2. Overall not that impressive to be #1. This week vs Mizzou and ending vs. OKST. are the Sooners only threats to running the table.
5. LSU - They have 3 wins vs. Top 25 competition. They have been fairly consistent throughout their 7 victories this season. Wins 8 and 9 could be very tough as they are at Auburn this week then home vs Alabama.
3. What top ten teams are pretenders that will ultimately not land in a BCS game (not championship game, just any BCS bowl)? What's a team ranked outside the Top 12 right now that will end up securing a berth?
Mattare Pretenders: LSU, Auburn, Michigan State
LSU's dumb luck will run out...Auburn eventually is going to run into a team that will stop Cam Newton (the team's name is Alabama) and they don't have the defense to overcome it...I've watched Michigan State. Notre Dame was a failed trick play away from beating them in East Lansing, they aren't that good. Expect two losses down the stretch in games they'll be favored in.
Party Crashers: Virginia Tech, Nebraska
There isn't an ACC school ranked in the Top 12 so obviously someone is guaranteed to find their way into the BCS. I think the #25 Hokies are rolling now after their inauspicious start which has no bearing on their BCS qualification hopes since both losses were non-conference. They'll take down the Seminoles in the ACC Championship and complete an Oregon '09-esque comeback. I also think #16 Big Red will rise back up after the letdown against Texas. Their stifling defense should lead them to the Big 12 Title game for a showdown with Oklahoma and even if they can't beat the Sooners (I think they can) their huge traveling fan base will be more than enough to seduce a BCS bowl to burn an at-large berth on them.
Those that will not land in the BCS
LSU - These next 2 weeks will be brutal to say the least.
Utah - Won't survive the Air Force-TCU-ND stretch unscathed.
TCU - Not impressed with them this year. They will lose at Utah.
Those that will land in the BCS
Wisconsin - If they can win at Iowa this week, they have a great shot to finish 11-1 and grab a BCS bid.
Stanford - They only have Arizona standing in their way of 11-1.
Nebraska - They will learn from Texas and finish strong.
4. Pretend all the major conference teams end up with at least one loss and the national championship game ends up being Boise State and TCU. Would you be excited? Would that matchup be good or bad for college football?
Mattare: Unfortunately no, I would not be excited and it would not be good for college football. There are two reasons for both no's. First of all, we saw this matchup last year so it's not fresh or new. Second--and more importantly--is the fact that the intriguing David vs Goliath dynamic would not exist. Watching Boise or TCU take on the big boys is fun and interesting because it's a fascinating chess match where two worlds collide. On one side is size, speed, and talent; the other has scheme, smarts, and will. That's lost when the two "Davids" match up; there isn't an underdog bandwagon for the casual fan to hitch his wagon to because a true underdog doesn't exist.
If that matchup comes to fruition ratings will plummet (just look at how many viewers a really great MWC showdown like TCU-BYU or TCU-Utah draws against major conference games) and we'd have to hear every major analyst gnashing their teeth over the wretched event for a month straight--and probably the entire offseason. I don't want that. Hell, nobody should want that. Boise State or TCU in the championship game? Fine by me. Both? Absolutely not.
Hinkle: As a Boise fan I would be thrilled for the Broncos to be in the BCS game, but this matchup would be HORRIBLE for college football. Whichever team wins would prove nothing to the nation. People will say they both play soft schedules and should not be there. If Boise won 48-17, people would say yeah yeah but could they play a SEC schedule week in and week out.
On the other hand, if either of these teams gets in vs an Oregon, Oklahoma, or Auburn and steamrolls them, then people would have to sit back and finally give them some credit. Maybe then a playoff would take place. Boise has beaten VT, Oregon, Oregon State, and Oklahoma in recent years. Utah embarrassed Alabama two years ago but people played it off by saying the Tide were not fired up to play the Utes. Until Boise or TCU gets a shot vs a "Big Boy" nothing will be good for college football.
5. Both the Irish and the Nittany Lions are saddled with three losses at this point and miles outside the hunt for a BCS berth. That being said both are huge draws and the major bowls tend to lean toward spending their At-Large selections on eligible teams with fan bases that pack the stands. Take a look at both of their schedules going forward--if each team wins out is there a shot they could sneak into a BCS game? What would you put the odds of your team running the table (a % chance) and if they do what would be the odds they actually get selected?
Mattare: I don't see either team finding a way into the BCS. If we're operating off the assumption that they actually do run the table I still think they'd be too far back to justify a selection, especially because there are equal huge draws that will be available for at-large berths and ranked higher (see: Nebraska, Ohio State, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma). The odds of ND being selected if they run the table are about 10%--and the reason they're that high is Utah and Southern Cal could conceivably be big wins that springboard them into the Top 15.
The odds of PSU being selected are even slimmer: 5%. They still have potential W's over Ohio State and Michigan State to climb the polls, but they already have one terrible loss on their resume (a shellacking at the hands of Illinois at home) which will be too much to overcome when you compare them to the other aforementioned candidates.
What are the odds my Irish find a way to run the table? I place them at 33%. The two biggest obstacles are Utah and Southern Cal. I think it's reasonable to believe ND can find a way to beat the Utes in South Bend, but it's tough to predict a team as inconsistent as Notre Dame to upset the Trojans in Los Angeles. The odds Penn State finishes 9-3 are 10%. They're a mediocre Big 10 team that still has two quality opponents to deal with (Ohio State and Michigan State) along with Michigan (how are they going to stop Denard?). I could see them pulling an upset over Sparty on Senior Day, but there's no chance in hell that they'll beat the Buckeyes in the 'Shoe.
Hinkle: I always wanted to play Oddsmakers on PTI with Kornheiser so thank you for giving me the opportunity.
I givethe Irish a 9% chance of running the table. I will give them victories vs Tulsa and Army and that is it for the "gimmie" category. Navy is a rivalry game and anything can happen when those two meet. The upset just took place and the Middies almost came back when I laid $300 on them 2 years ago at -4 after being down big. Utah will be a fight for sure. It is possible the Utes will be worn out after facing off with the Zoomies and TCCU. Finally, they travel to USC and the only way they pull off that upset is if...ummm...thinking...all of USC becomes ineligible in the 3rd quarter.
I givethe Nittany Lions a 0% chance of running the table. They get Northwestern at home where Dan Persa will put on a show and say FU for not signing him out of Bethlehem and making him travel to the Midwest. Ohio State will be a massacre. Michigan State will be ugly. Denard Robinson will put up 350 yards of offense by himself.
Even if both run the table they have 0% chance of making it to the BCS. Both teams do have promise for the future so it is not out of the question for the 2011-2012 season. Just ask Mattare and Lou Holtz in August...they will both see ND going 12-0...11-1 at worst!
These 5 questions are 100% over. Goodnight Canada.
ON TO THE RAPID FIRE FINISH!
Hinkle: There was a lot of talk from the IBG'ers last week about the disrespect they felt about ND having to play such low lifes in Tulsa and Western Michigan in sacred Notre Dame Stadium. My question to you is how would you feel if a WAC team named Boise State wound up on your schedule next year at home. Tell me how the game goes and the final score.
Mattare: Boise St would get much more respect a la Gonzaga in basketball. BSU loses 10 starters, ND returns all but 3. ND will take a big step forward next year: Irish 34, Broncos 31. Mattare: You spent some time as a walk-on in the Pitt Football program. Do you ever see Dave Wannstedt finding any sustained success during his time there?
Hinkle: No. He recruits Florida heavily which means if you are coming to Pitt from Florida you are passing up UF, FSU, and the U. He gets solid talent from this area of the country as well but he seems to never be able to fully put it together. Maybe it's not meant to be. Hinkle: We met many years ago playing basketball for Coach Jay Radio at East Side Youth Center. Give me your top two memories we had playing hoops for the Huskies and 2 random moments as well.
Mattare: Personally for me one was probably when I hit like ten 3's in the game vs the parents and the second would be the fact that I drew about 1 or 2 over the backs per game because I was 5'1" yet still playing on the bottom of our 2-3 Matchup Zone. I can still hear Mr. Fritchmann bellowing, "GOOD JOOOOB MAAATTT MAAAATTTTAAAARREEEE." Top two random moments would be the moment we were introduced to the J.R. Triple Threat--a life-changing moment for both of us--and when Mr. Barlow got tossed from the stands by that hobbit of a ref. I'm pretty sure the hobbit disappeared forever when he met Mr. B in the parking lot. Mattare: You have never met Dip though thanks to our dynasty fantasy football league you probably text him more than both your parents combined. Re-open oddsmakers: what are the odds you're at his wedding and the odds he's at your wedding?
Hinkle: I would say I average 17.8 texts to Dip per week in the offseason and 32.6 in season. If he is smart and wants a sure to be memorable moment, he will have me sit at your table at his wedding and Irish Carbombs would be available. Imagine the possibilities. I would say there is a 47% chance I get the invite to his wedding. There is a 100% chance he is allowed to come to mine so my wife can put a face to who I am texting 24/7. Hinkle: When you win the Mid-Am and we go to Augusta, what five things are you going to tell Phil and Tiger?
Mattare: Tiger, you could've done better than that Perkins waitress...Phil, stop fist pumping when you make five-foot putts...Tiger, stop eyeing up my girlfriend...Phil, you'd have 10 majors by now if you weren't such an idiot...Both of you, I don't accept checks--straight cash homie.
Mattare: Speaking of golf, you were my main caddy for the 2010 tournament season. What were the top two shots of the year and to two random memories of the year?
Hinkle: First let's set the record straight...I AM YOUR ONLY CADDY/CONDITIONING COACH. If someone else is on your bag they are just a fill in (Yeah I am talking to you Big Gene!).
Most Memorable Shots:
#2 - Making birdie on # 6 in the downpour right before we got taken off of the course at RiverCrest during the Patterson Cup. Talk about momentum.
#1 - Philly Am at Saucon Valley hole #4 at a crucial part of the match. Old man put it about 2 feet from the cup and it looked like your tourney hopes were done. Then POW, you put it one inch away. Unreal.
#2 Watching hole #14 I believe at RiverCrest just beat you to death every time we came across it (+5 in two rounds, -3 the other 34 holes of the tournament). It was not fun at the time but looking back how can you not shake your head and laugh.
#1 This is not even close. Can we talk about the snack bar at RiverCrest. Does that place do weddings? Not the main hall there...the snack bar. The pizza was unreal, the wraps were superb. If that place sold a Yocco's dog I would move next door. FANTASTIC!