Friday, October 06, 2006


Now that Notre Dame has finally passed the brutal test that was the first 5 games of the schedule, the Irish can finally take the chance to feast on the weak part of their schedule, while the other top teams finally start to play people other than Cupcake U.

For example, the mighty Florida State Seminoles played unranked NC State last night, and lost a close game 24-20. Some other top teams finally get their first challenge this week as well. Florida-LSU. Oklahoma-Texas. California-Oregon. Tennessee-Georgia.

Even the top teams that aren't playing ranked teams are finally going against conference opponents that won't just roll over. Auburn plays a spunky Arkansas team. Georgia Tech takes on Maryland. Michigan takes on in-state rival Michigan State.

Now, the Irish just have to play their game, and wait for the teams ahead to fall like flies as they battle through their conference schedules.

Final Score:

Notre Dame 56
Stanford 6

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Week 5 breakdown

Notre Dame handled Purdue, although they looked a little sloppy ding it. We had no pass rush, and did a piss poor job of protecting Brady Quinn. Darius Walker looked good in the win, but we should have been chucking the ball down the field against this porous secondary. Brady threw only one deep pass all game long.

Now, I'm no Coach Weis, and he got the win, so I have to give him some credit. But if I was facing a team ranked 115th in the country against the pass after playing a I-AA school, two MAC schools, and Minnesota, I would have been salivating at the chance to let my Heisman trophy candidate chuck the ball all over the field.

This game should have been 56-21. But Weis played a ridiculously conservative game, getting a safe win rather than an impressive aerial display. While I'm not one for running the score up, the Michigan loss hurt us in the polls, and this was our last chance of the year to show that we are a top team against a quality opponent. There isn't much chance that we can get a big win against SC. We can, and should, beat Southern Cal. But we won't do so by multiple touchdowns. That game will probably come down to whose defense can slow the other team down more.

Which brings me to the real thing that is bugging me this week - the polls. I want to give a big shout-out to the AP poll for making their voters' votes public. This is a HUGE step in favor of fairness in the polls. But to see how anti-ND bias effects the human polls, one need look no further than the poll of Craig James, ND hater and ESPN/ABC "analyst":

1. Ohio State
2. Southern Cal
3. Auburn
4. West Virginia
5. Florida
6. Michigan
7. Louisville
8. LSU (4-1)
Lost to #3 Auburn, beat Louisiana-Lafayette, Arizona, Tulane, Mississippi State
9. Texas (4-1)
Lost to #1 Ohio State, beat North Texas, Rice, Iowa State, Sam Houston State
10. Oregon
11. Tennessee (4-1)
Lost to #5 Florida, beat California, Air Force, Marshall, Memphis
12. Oklahoma (3-1)
Lost to #10 Oregon, beat UAB, Washington, Middle Tennessee
13. Georgia
14. California (4-1)
Lost to #11 Tennessee, beat Minnesota, Portland State, Arizona State, Oregon State
15. Clemson
16. Georgia Tech (4-1)
Lost to #18 Notre Dame, beat Samford, Troy, Virginia, Virginia Tech
17. Rutgers
18. Notre Dame (4-1)
Lost to #6 Michigan, beat #16 Georgia Tech, Purdue, Penn State, Michigan State
19. Nebraska
20. Missouri
21. Iowa
22. Boise State
23. Washington
24. Texas Tech
25. Wake Forest

Now, I understand that this is an opinion poll, but how is it that the only 1-loss team with a win over a currently ranked team, who lost to a top-10 team, is ranked behind a team that they beat, who has no wins over currently ranked opponents?

Also, Notre Dame is the only 1-loss team that has played a full slate of BCS conference teams. Is Notre Dame really the 7th best 1-loss team?

For more proof that Notre Dame is being screwed by biased pollsters, look at Steve Phillips' ballot for weeks 2-5 (thanks to poster Mark on BGS):
Week 2, after beating Georgia Tech: 2
Week 3, after losing to Michigan: 11 (so far so good, now it gets wonky...)
Week 4, after beating 3-0 Michigan State by 3: 16
Week 5, after beating 4-0 Purdue by 14: 19

Now, let's look at what happened the same week that ND beat MSU to Georgia on Philips' ballot. Georgia needed 14 4th quarter points to squeak out a 1-point win over the mighty 0-3 Buffaloes of Colorado (who lost to Div. I-AA Montana State in week 1, and hasn't yet won a game): moved from #8 to #10.

How does that work? Notre Dame barely beats undefeated Michigan State and drops 5 spots, then soundly beats an undefeated Purdue team and drops three more. Then Georgia barely beats winless Colorado, and only drops two spots, then doesn't drop at all after a near miss versus 1-4 Ole Miss? Are Colorado and Ole Miss really that much better than both Michigan State and Purdue?

This kind of bias is the kind of thing that could cost Notre Dame a shot at the National Championship. Hopefully, the increasing transparency of these polls will result in more reasonable voting patterns. I'm not holding my breath, though.