Saturday, October 30, 2010

Week 8 Football Picks and Power Rankings

And just like that, the Captain turned it around! A good week last week picking college football (8-2), NFL (9-5, not terrific, but I’ll deal with it), and Yahoo! Sports college football picking with the point spread (15-5) brings my record up to 33-17 picking college, 45-31 picking NFL and most impressively, I am currently 1,628th in the country picking college football on Yahoo! Sports. Dr. Lou’s visit is put on hold thank God. This week, I want to go a step further than just discussing every NFL matchup. Since it’s just about mid-season, it’s time for some NFL Power Rankings. And, we are going to dive back into “The Tournament Everybody Has Wanted For Years.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The NFL is exceedingly unpredictable this year. There is not one team that you could go into any week and say, “They are definitely going to win.” This being the case, properly ranking teams is that much harder. After careful evaluation, this is what I came up with. It will be fun to look at these rankings next week and have to completely change them (SARCASM).

Total Crap Teams
32. Buffalo Bills
31. San Francisco 49ers
30. Carolina Panthers

Should they really be here Teams
29. Detroit Lions
28. Cincinnati Bengals
27. Dallas Cowboys

The Not Good but Not Terrible Teams
26. Denver Broncos
25. Cleveland Browns
24. Arizona Cardinals
23. Jacksonville Jaguars
22. St. Louis Rams
21. San Diego Chargers
20. Oakland Raiders

NFC Mediocrity
19. Minnesota Vikings
18. Chicago Bears
17. New Orleans Saints
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
15. Washington Redskins
14. Philadelphia Eagles
13. Green Bay Packers
12. Seattle Seahawks

AFC Teams lost in the Shuffle
11. Miami Dolphins
10. Kansas City Chiefs
9. Houston Texans
The Contenders
8. Baltimore Ravens
7. New York Giants
6. Atlanta Falcons
5. Indianapolis Colts
4. Tennessee Titans
3. New England Patriots
2. New York Jets
1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Notice the contenders. Six of the top eight team are in the AFC. Nine of the top eleven are in the AFC. This is like the NBA Western Conference in the early to mid 2000’s when the Eastern Conference was terrible. Just think of it this way: There is the San Antonio Spurs who are a model of consistency in the west, and a pretty underrated dynasty (Steelers). The Los Angeles Lakers who won three titles early, but then got to the finals in 2004 only to be upset by the Pistons (Patriots). The Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves are the new teams on the block who might make a splash (Jets and Titans). And we have the Dallas Mavericks who put up amazing numbers, have a terrific star, and reached the finals only once despite getting so close so many times (Colts). Then in the Eastern Conference there are teams who for the most part didn’t stand a chance against the West. I give you, the 2010 NFL season.

Now, onto College Football which has somehow been crazier than NFL. Number one has gone down three straight weeks. There are a bunch of teams that have come out of nowhere that have emerged as contenders. Much like the NFL, it seems as if there is no team you could point to that you know is going to win every week. The only thing is, we have seen this story before. Let me take you back to the season where “The Tournament Everybody Has Wanted For Years” should have been born.

Some fun facts on the 2007-2008 Season- The season which saw three weeks where the #1 and #2 teams lost in the same weekend. No dominant teams. No undefeated teams. A two-loss BCS Champion. This was “The Year of the Upset.” 59 lower ranked teams defeated higher ranked teams. #2 Teams lost seven times throughout the season. Thirteen unranked teams defeated top 5 teams.

Here is the telling fact though: South Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, Missouri, Boston College, Oregon, Arizona St., Hawaii, South Carolina all began the season outside of the top 20. All of these teams were at one point were ranked in the top 10. All of these teams but Kentucky and South Carolina made their way into the top 5. So far this season, Arizona, Auburn, Missouri, Utah, South Carolina, Michigan St., Stanford, LSU have all climbed from outside of the top 20 into the top 10.
In a season with so much unpredictability, close games and upsets, the national championship in 2008 was a matchup of two loss LSU and one loss Ohio St. LSU won 38-24. Why was there not a tournament? Wouldn’t my tournament be a much more fitting end to a season where there clearly wasn’t a dominant team much better than this was? Why make this mistake again? I’ll admit, I think that Oregon and Auburn are the two best teams in the country. But three weeks ago, I would have told you Alabama and Boise St. were. In 2005 all year it was Texas and the imaginary USC Trojans that were the top 2 teams all year. But this year there is constant changing and shuffling in the top five. So take the top 16 at the end of the year and find out who is truly the best team. Do I have to keep repeating myself? Here is how it looks right now.

Holiday Bowl- 1. Oregon vs. 16. Arizona
Music City Bowl- 8. Utah vs. 9. Wisconsin
Alamo Bowl- 5. Michigan St. vs. 12. LSU
Outback Bowl- 4. TCU vs. 13. Nebraska
Insight Bowl- 6. Alabama vs. 11. Oklahoma
Independence Bowl- 3. Auburn vs. 14. Stanford
Chick-Fil-A Bowl- 7. Missouri vs. 10. Ohio St.
Liberty Bowl- 2. Boise St. vs. 15. Florida St.

We can only hope that someone important will read this, like it, and make it happen. We can only hope. Anyways, onto the picks

College Football
Kansas St. over Oklahoma St.
Michigan St. over Iowa
Nebraska over Missouri
Georgia over Florida
Auburn over Ole Miss (the streak of number one going down ends)
Stanford over Washington
Mississippi St. over Kentucky
Baylor over Texas
Oregon over USC
Michigan over Penn St.

Washington over Detroit
Jacksonville over Dallas
Miami over Cincinnati
Kansas City over Buffalo
St. Louis over Carolina
Denver over San Francisco
New York Jets over Green Bay
Tennessee over San Diego
Tampa Bay over Arizona
New England over Minnesota
Oakland over Seattle
Pittsburgh over New Orleans
Indianapolis over Houston