Friday, August 04, 2006

Positional U

There is often argument about which schools are the best school at producing players at a particular position (usually skill positions). For example, some people often call USC Halfback U, and Notre Dame is referred to as Quarterback U. To that end, I decided to do some research into which schools consistently produce the best players at their positions.

To do so, I decided to research the number of players elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, Heisman winners at that position, and how many players have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Also, other notable players at the position are worth noting. Here are my results:

Quarterback U - Notre Dame

College Football Hall of Famers: (9)
Angelo Bertelli, Frank Carideo, Paul Hornung, Johnny Lujack, Harry Stuhlrehder, Bobby Williams, Ralph Guglielmi, Joe Theismann, John Huarte
Runners-up: BYU and Stanford (4)

Pro Football Hall of Famers: (2)
Paul Hornung and Joe Montana
Other teams with 2 Pro Hall of Famers: Alabama, Duke, Georgia, Northwestern, Oregon, Purdue, UCLA

Heisman winners at position: (4)
John Huarte, Paul Hornung, Johnny Lujack, Angelo Bertelli

Notable QBs:
Angelo Bertelli, Frank Carideo, Paul Hornung, Johnny Lujack, Harry Stuhlrehder, Bobby Williams, Ralph Guglielmi, Joe Theismann, John Huarte, Brady Quinn, Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Steve Beurlein, Terry Hanratty, Blair Kiel, Rick Mirer, Ron Powlus, Tom Clements, Jarious Jackson, Tony Rice

Running Back U - Southern California

College Football Hall of Famers: (10)
Mort Kaer, Erny Pinckert, O.J. Simpson, Charlie White, Marcus Allen, Jon Arnett, Frank Gifford, Mike Garrett, Ricky Bell, Anthony Davis
Runners-up: Notre Dame (8), Ohio State (6)

Pro Football Hall of Famers: (3)
Marcus Allen, Frank Gifford, O.J. Simpson

Heisman winners at position: (5)
Reggie Bush, Marcus Allen, Charles White, O.J. Simpson, Mike Garrett

Notable RBs:
Mort Kaer, Erny Pinckert, O.J. Simpson, Charlie White, Marcus Allen, Jon Arnett, Frank Gifford, Mike Garrett, Ricky Bell, Anthony Davis, Reggie Bush, LenDale White

Receiver U - TIE

This one is a little tougher, as fewer players have been elected to the College or Pro Football Hall of Fame as receivers. I included the more generic end position, and tight ends, to calculate this.

I think we need some more time to let a team separate itself from the crowd in this category. Many teams, such as Florida, Miami and Southern Cal are all making some progress in developing an impressive stable of receivers.

Presented are all three teams with a legitimate claim to the title right now. This will likely change as more players become eligible for induction into the halls, and some more receivers win Heismans.

College Football Hall of Famers:
Michigan: Ron Kramer (End), Bennie Oosterbaan (End), Neil Snow (End), Jim Mandich (Tight End), Anthony Carter (WR)
Notre Dame: Leon Hart (End), Wayne Milner (End), Jim Martin (End), Bob Dove (End), Ken McAfee (Tight End)
Florida State: Fred Biletnikoff (WR), Ron Sellers (WR)

Pro Football Hall of Famers:
Notre Dame: Dave Casper (TE), Wayne Milner (End)
Michigan: Bill Hewitt (End), Elroy Hirsch (End)
Florida State: Fred Biletnikoff (WR)

Heisman Winners at position:
Notre Dame: Leon Hart (End), Tim Brown (WR)
Michigan: Desmond Howard (WR), Charles Woodson (DB/WR)

Recent players of note:
Notre Dame: Anthony Fasano, Jeff Samardzija, Maurice Stovall, Derrick Mayes, Rhema McKnight, Tim Brown, Raghib "Rocket" Ismail
Michigan: Desmond Howard, Charles Woodson, Braylon Edwards, David Terrell, Amani Toomer, Marquise Walker, Jason Avant, Tai Streets
Florida State: Anquan Boldin, Laveranues Coles, Peter Warrick, Javon Walker, Craphonso Thorpe, Ron Sellers, Lawrence Dawsey

Note: ND should get some extra credit at the receiver position for revolutionizing the forward pass with a young end named Knute Rockne as the game's first star receiver.

2006 Spring Opponent Preview - Army (West Point) Black Knights

Top player: Caleb Campbell, SS
Make-or-break player: David Pevoto, QB
Biggest offensive strength: Wide Receiver
Biggest offensive weakness: Size
Biggest defensive strength: Safety
Biggest defensive weakness: Speed
Spring Depth Chart

I have great respect for Army. I think they are a high-integrity program that does things the right way - just like Notre Dame.

Problem is, Army sucks at football.

They are getting better under head coach Bobby Ross. They won four games last year, against Air Force, Arkansas State, Akron and Massachussets. Problem is, Army just doesn't have the talent to be competitive in Division I football. And this pains me. I used to love reading about the Notre Dame - Army game in whcih Knute Rockne and Gus Dorais revolutionized the use of the forward pass. The Notre Dame - Army battles during World War II were epic clashes of the titans.

But, alas, no more. Army may be more competitive this year under Bobby Ross, but they probably still will not make a bowl game, despite a weak schedule, and (more important to Army fans) will not beat Navy.

That said, Army returns an experienced, if undersized, squad this year. Their junior quarterback can make the throws, and they have a talented receiver in Jeremy Trimble, Jr.

Their defense will be solid with an experienced veteran linebacking corps, and an All-American talent at safety in Caleb Campbell.

However, Army just doesn't have the horses to hang with the big boys, and this game should be over by halftime, giving the Irish plenty of opportunity to play all their seniors on Senior Day. In fact, the Irish could probably play with only their seniors against Army, and still win handily.

9/2at Arkansas StateW
9/9Kent StateW
9/16at Texas A&ML
9/23at BaylorL
10/7Virginia Military InstituteW
10/14at ConnecticutL
10/21Texas ChristianL
10/28at TulaneW
11/3Air ForceW
11/18at Notre DameL
12/2vs. NavyL

The season has officially kicked off...

The Coaches Poll was released this morning, which for me marks the start of the football season. The Coaches Poll is the organization that awards the national championship trophy after the BCS bowls, and is the primary component of the BCS formula. Thus, these rankings will be the rankings which we will have to play against all season. Let the games begin.

Below are the preseason predictions for the Coaches Poll, and My preseason rankings. (First place votes are in parentheses)

RankingESPN/USA Today Coaches PollMy Preseason Rankings
1Ohio State (28)Notre Dame
2Texas (11)Auburn
3 (tie)Notre Dame (9)Michigan
3 (tie)Southern Cal (1)Texas
5Oklahoma (13)Southern Cal
6Auburn (1)Ohio State
7West VirginiaFlorida State
10Florida StateWest Virginia
11Miami (FL)Florida
13LouisvilleMiami (FL)
16Virginia TechIowa
17IowaPenn State
18ClemsonGeorgia Tech
19Penn StateTexas Tech
21Texas ChristianAlabama
22NebraskaSouth Carolina
23TennesseeVirginia Tech
25Texas TechTexas Christian


I wonder how many ballots were turned in before Bomar was kicked off the squad at OU - 13 people ranked them #1.

Texas appears to be getting quite a boost from their National Championship - Vince Young is not replaceable, however, and the Horns will be great, but not the best.

SC and Ohio State both were absolutely devastated by the draft, and they are both overrated. On talent alone, they will be very good football teams, but the Ohio State defense returns only 3 starters, and USC lost two Heisman winners from their offensive backfield.

West Virginia is not as good as the other teams around them, but they have a favorable schedule.

In a year where every team has their weaknesses, Auburn is getting very little credit. They are an all-around good team - no weaknesses. They lack the playmakers of the other top teams, but their lack of weaknesses will have them in a position to be able to win every game they play this year. Would they deserve a #2 ranking by me in any other year? Probably not. But this year, there is simply nobody else that doesn't have glaring holes to fill.

Michigan, in my opinion, is immensely underrated in the Coaches Poll. They are loaded with experienced juniors poised for abreakout season. They will probably lose their road opener against the Irish, but they will likely win all of their other games, except perhaps Ohio State.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Oklahoma's Starting QB Bomar released from team

Due to egregious violations of NCAA rules, Oklahoma's starting quarterback Rhett Bomar (and one other player, the starting right guard) was released from the team today. Read the official story here.

Bomar accepted a job at the Bid Red Sports car dealership in Norman (did the name of the dealership throw up any red flags for people? there aren't any fightin' irish lexus dealers here in the Bend...) where he worked approximately 5 hours per week, but was paid over $18,000 last year, largely for hours claimed that he did not work.

This is a classic example of the kind of egregious abuses by major college football teams that have led to SMU's program death penalty and Alabama's major sanctions. Oklahoma's "internal investigation" broke this story and dismissed the two players.

This was the same dealership that almost created some controversy earlier this summer with an unauthorized extended test drive of a lexus to starting tailback and Heisman hopeful Adrian Petersoon (according to rumor on message boards). There is some rumor that Peterson may be implicated in this investigation as well, but there are no confirmed sources that have said anything about Peterson's involvement.

This is the kins of thing that can destroy a football team, and Oklahoma's preseason aspirations to compete for a national title are no longer viable. Adrian Peterson has the talent to carry this team, but cannot win a championship without a viable passing game.

The depth behind Bomar is weak. There is one player that has some on-field experience, but he has been practicing at wide receiver since Bomar was named the starter. They have a juco transfer and a freshman as well. Not to mentiion the leadership that this team has lost.

Also, despite this being self-reported by Oklahoma, the almost certain NCAA investigation that would follow will very likely result in some very serious sanctions for the Oklahoma football program. In particular, Oklahoma may get diinged for lack of institutional control, as this was a violation by two starters at an organization that has had problems in the past with alleged violations.

Coming soon...

All of my quiet desperation and long hours of solitary obsession over my blog has finally begun paying dividends in my quest for complete world domination.

I will be added to the blogroll of a new website under construction called Write On Sports. Now, I will be read by 10s of people every year! At this rate, I will have taken over the world media by 3765.

Seriously, I'm excited about being added to this new website, and hope that I can get a little bit more exposure for my writing as a result. I'm also hoping to be part of the ranking poll again this year, but I will let you know more about that as it comes.

As I'm getting ready to wrap up my Spring Previews by the end of the week, I will be working on my massive Notre Dame Season Preview - a multi-part breakdown of the Irish for the 2006-2007 football season. It should be even bigger and better than last year's, with (hopefully) some insights from former players. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Woo-Hoo, Pictures!

I'm going to start playing a little more with pictures from here on out, as I get more and more obsessed with writing about America's Greatest College Football Team Ever.

So, this post is mostly a way for me to start playing with the picture settings on blogger. And what better way to do so than with this beautiful picture of Our Lady perched atop the Golden Dome and a proud pic of the leprechaun. As you see, I am using these pix to pretty up my template for blogging as well.
I'm still not sure what half the stuff in the template editing window means, but I'm starting to get the hang of this.

Bear with me for a little while if my blog starts looking all wonky. I'll try not to goof it up too much.

2006 Spring Opponent Preview - North Carolina Tarheels

Top player: Ronnie McGill, Sr., RB
Make-or-break player coach: Frank Cignetti, Offensive Coordinator
Biggest offensive strength: Running backs
Biggest offensive weakness: Quarterback
Biggest defensive strength: Secondary
Biggest defensive weakness: Defensive Line depth
Spring Depth Chart

North Carolina will be a middling ACC team this year, just like they have been going back forever. The biggest questions in the North Carolina program this spring are all on the offensive side of the ball. Their offensive coordinator for the past several years retired, and replacing him is Fresno State Coordinator Frank Cignetti. Cignetti has a daunting task ahead of him to install his offensive scheme. The quarterback situation is unsettled, as Nebraska transfer Joe Dailey and Redshirt Freshman Cam Sexton battle it out for the vacant starting position left by Matt Baker's graduation. In addition to losing their starting QB, they must replace 4 of their top 5 receivers from a year ago. However, their running game should be solid enough to keep this offense in games, with the tandem of Ronnie McGill and Barrington Edwards leading the charge.
The defense is a little more settled, with some good experience and talent returning to the secondary. Their safeties in particular are worth noting - Kareen Taylor and Trimane Goddard. Last year's leading tackler returns to the linebacking corps in Larry Edwards, but their is little experience behind him. The most precarious part of this defense is the line, which has some solid starters, but very little depth behind them. There is no Julius Peppers in this group, so don't expect too much pass rush.
Overall, this should be a good, physical team. However, their lack of playmakers on either side of the ball will keep them from breaking out this year.
Notre Dame should handle this team easily, unless they come in distracted and unfocused. They need to be disciplined on special teams, with speedy and shifty Brandon Tate toting the ball. As long as the Irish play within themselves and don't get sloppy, this game should be over early in the second half.

9/9Virginia TechL
9/16Furman (Div. I-A)W
9/23at ClemsonL
10/7at MiamiL
10/14South FloridaW
10/19at VirginiaL
10/28Wake ForestW
11/4at Notre DameL
11/11Georgia TechL
11/18North Carolina StateL
11/25at DukeW

Sunday, July 30, 2006

All-Time Greatest College Football Teams

Many fans of other football teams like to claim that their team is the greatest football team of all time. For example, Alabama fans claim they are the best, 'cause they have more national championships than anyone (simply not true outside the state of Alabama). Michigan fans like to point at their total wins and winning percentage as proof that they are the all-time best (although they fail to mention the lack of championships or that the Irish are right on their tails in winning %). Southern Cal fans like to talk about their recent success and the fact that nobody has more Heisman winners than them (although the Irish have the same number - 7).

Any rational view of the evidence through history has Notre Dame head and shoulders above the rest as the most storied college football program in history. But don't take my word for it - look at the numbers:

SchoolWinning %Recognized ChampionshipsHeisman WinnersAll-time Wins
Notre Dame74.31%127811
Southern Cal70.02%107732
Ohio State71.05%56775
Penn State68.78%21772
Louisiana State63.57%21670

Responses to common arguments from Notre Dame haters:

Notre Dame was only good for a little while way back when; they haven't been good in ages.
Notre Dame has won at least one championship in each decade from 1920s - 1980s (with a near miss in 1993 to miss out on winning a championship in the 90s)
1920s: 1924, 1929
1930s: 1930
1940s: 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949
1950s: 1953
1960s: 1966
1970s: 1973, 1977
1980s: 1988
No other team can even come close to making a similar claim.
USC and Alabama did not win any championships in the 40s, 50s, or 80s.
Michigan didn't win in the 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s.
Oklahoma didn't win in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s or 90s.

But [Miami, Florida State, Washington, Florida, Boise State, Yale, Princeton, Maryland, etc.] aren't even on your list, despite their [championships, winning percentage, Heisman winners, etc.]
I limited the above list to teams that have played at least 1,000 games, have an all-time winning % of at least 60%, have won at least 2 Recognized National Championships (at least one of which occured after 1950), and are still playing college football on the Div. I-A level.
This is an all-time best list, not a "best since they started playing" or "best of the decade" or "best while they were still playing" or "best of their era" list. You're not that cool. Deal with it.

Notre Dame doesn't deserve credit for being good because they didn't play in bowl games for many years.
Bowl games used to be exhibitions and didn't "count" for anything. This is why Alabama claims a 1973 championship despite losing to the Irish in the Sugar Bowl. Notre Dame refused to play in bowl games because they conflicted with final exams. Notre Dame has participated in bowl games for as long as they have had any impact on the national championship. Claiming that Notre Dame doesn't deserve credit for seasons that they didn't participate in bowl games is like claiming that Benjamin Harrison lost the 1892 election because he lost the popular vote. It's just wrong.

"But [Michigan, Southern Cal, Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee] has won more championships than that! Their website says so!" or "Notre Dame's website says you've only won 11 championships, and you're claiming 12!"
The numbers used in the chart above are the recognized championships according to the College Football Data Warehouse. Michigan "claims" 4 more championships than the recognized number. Ohio State and Tennessee claim 2 more, and USC and Alabama claim one more.
Notre Dame claims one less, as they only claim AP national championships after 1936. Therefore, they do not claim the 1953 championship - Maryland won the AP and UP poll that year. Notre Dame was 9-0-1, while Maryland was 10-1-0. Notre Dame was selected by the National Championship Foundation and the Helms Athletic Foundation. The College Football Data Warehouse has decided to recognize Notre Dame as co-champions for that year (due in part to their unbeaten record).
I chose the recognized championships from the College Football Data Warehouse because I felt that it would be less biased (and less confusing) than any other method.
For the record, Notre Dame has won more AP national championships than any other team. If you count all of the major selectors, Notre Dame has been selected as the champion in 21 different seasons.

But my team is really better than your team because of [number of draft picks, all-americans, hall of famers, etc.]
Notre Dame has had 30 unanimous first team All-Americans, more than any other school. They have have 78 different consensus All-Americans as designated by the NCAA, more than any other school. Overall, Notre Dame has had 177 selections on All-America first teams, more than any other school.
Notre Dame has had 41 players elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, more than any other school. We've also had 5 coaches (surprise - more than anyone) elected to the Hall of Fame as well.
Notre Dame has had 9 players elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (although if the person you are talking to is basing their argument on what players did AFTER they left school, they've already devolved into a completely different topic).
Notre Dame has had 132 players drafted into the NFL. I'm not sure if this is more than anyone else, but it is more than Southern Cal (120), Michigan (107), and Alabama (94).I got tired of counting. If you want to go count your school's draft picks, go here.

But my school [graduates players, has better academics, higher GPAs/SATs, more Nobel Prize Winners/Astronauts/Actors, etc.]
Again, this argument is about college football history, not which school is best academically. However, I'd be happy to compare our graduation rates with anyone in the country.

We have a bigger stadium/fanbase!
We have a broadcast deal with NBC to broadcast our home games nationally every week. And we have had 148 consecutive games televised. Now tell me again about your fan base? Notre Dame could sell out a stadium much larger than our current 80,795 capacity, but we don't want a stadium any bigger than we've got. We sell out our stadium every week (179 consecutive home sellouts) and don't need to build a monstrosity to prove our fan base is bigger. Notre Dame developed a national fan base during the Rockne area, and has the largest, broadest fan base of any university. (We also have the largest, broadest group of Notre Dame haters in the country for the same reasons)

In short, when it comes to any argument about the most storied program in college football history, Notre Dame is now, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, the greatest college football program in history.

End of discussion.