This week, we jump TCU and Iowa into the top six. Sorry, Boise, but TCU's schedule is 100 times harder and Iowa's close enough to pulling off 12 straight victories by three points or less (well, it feels that way), that we can no longer discount the possibility quite as heavily.
2009 Week 8 Top 25
1. Texas (0)
2. Florida (0)
3. Alabama (0)
4. USC (0)
5. TCU (+1)
6. Iowa (+5)
7. Boise State (-2)
8. Penn State (0)
9. LSU (0)
10. Georgia Tech (+6)
11. Cincinnati (-1)
12. Oregon (+1)
13. Utah (+1)
14. Ohio State (-2)
15. Miami (-8)
16. West Virginia (-1)
17. Notre Dame (+1)
18. Oklahoma State (+1)
19. South Carolina (+2)
20. Virginia Tech (-3)
21. Oklahoma (+2)
22. Pittsburgh (+2)
23. Arizona (+3)
24. Central Michigan (+2)
25. Wisconsin (+1)
Questions, comments, concerns? Dannovi on this site or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Struggling Stanford opponents
As we mentioned in our reaction to the Arizona State win, Stanford is 9-1 at home and just 2-9 on the road in its last 10 home and 11 road games. Stanford catches Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame at home (and the only road opponent, USC, lost at home to Stanford in both 2001 and 2007), so maybe the final four game stretch isn't as grueling as it appears at first blush. Plus, of course, check out these gems from the weekend:
Oregon State's Sean Canfield was 30 of-43 for 329 yards, three touchdowns, 70 percent accuracy and a 157 QB rating at USC. Against Stanford in Corvallis, Canfield was 22-of-32 for 290 yards, one touchdown, 69 percent accuracy and a 155 rating. Slightly better.
Then again, Jimmy Clausen is an absolute beast, standing at 14 touchdowns to just two interceptions. He threw 17 picks last year. His 9.45 yards per attempt and 65 percent completion percentage are equally impressive. He gets my Heisman vote and the Stanford DBs will end the season with the No. 1 passing attack in the country, Michael Floyd or not.
Around the country, both Iowa and Alabama were actually outgained in their narrow escapes last weekend. I'm starting to think Iowa is Ohio State 2002 all over again – making a living off pulling out games they absolutely shouldn't, but for every OSU '02, there are 99 pretenders. My guess is Florida and Texas in the national title game when it's all said and done. Of course, I'm rooting for five undefeated just so the BCS looks absurd and the pressure against it grows, and you should too.
By the way, Wake Forest stands at 4-4, and still plays Miami, Georgia Tech and Florida State in its next three games. I think it's 50/50 for them to make a bowl. Of course, this being the ACC, they might just win the whole conference at 7-5.
More politics and sports…
We had so much fun with it last week, we're back with a vengeance. Barack Obama is Pete Carroll, Mike Leach is Joe Biden, Notre Dame is Afghanistan, Al Davis is Kim Jung-Il. Here are some more analogies with the personalities you love (or love to hate). As always, this is satire and should not be taken seriously.
Ed Orgeron -- Ted Kennedy
Both had formative times with water, with Ed Orgeron supposedly wrestling alligators, and Ted Kennedy and something with a bridge and a woman. (Coach O also has had legal issues involving women, facing domestic abuse charges back in the early ‘90s.) Both are associated with monster nicknames, with Ted Kennedy referred to as the lion of the Senate and Coach O overseeing that great USC D known as the "Wild Things". Both never succeeded on a top level, with Teddy never getting there and Coach O wishing he never did after his failed time at Ole Miss. Still, in their milieu, they were among the best in the business. Kennedy was a master legislator, and that USC D line was arguably the best of all-time. More recently, both have been made larger than life, with Kennedy finding himself eulogized and all his sins whitewashed, like all dead celebrities, and Coach O starring as himself in a Hollywood rendition of Michael Lewis' The Blind Side. Most saliently, of course, both had tremendously thick accents. If you weren't from their corner of the country, good luck understanding them.
Rick Neuheisel – Bill Clinton
Both men had a highly successful run of it in the ‘90s -- with Neuheisel turning Colorado into a national powerhouse, and Clinton serving as No. 42 – only to be interrupted by scandal, with Clinton suffering through Monicagate and Neuheisel costing Colorado five scholarships with 51 rules violations before his departure. Both men suffered a personally devastating setback early in this decade that cost them their jobs, with Clinton term-limited out of office and Neuheisel caught betting in a six-figure NCAA Tournament pool. Now, both men have experienced something of a resurgence, with Clinton's public-health foundation saving millions of lives and Neuheisel starting to turn things around at UCLA. Each man's history paints a similar picture: both figures are darn good at what they do and darn smooth operators, but you can't shake the feeling that they're among the sleaziest men on earth.
Larry Craig -- Rick Pitino
There's cheating and then there's just crazy cheating. Both were respected guys – Craig as a Senator, albeit an extreme far-rightest, and Pitino a star coach, albeit one with the wacko idea of having a cup of coffee in the NBA, when he'd been a damn good college coach all along. But, really, both have generated the most headlines for embarrassing sexual encounters in public, with absurd details. Craig's came with foot tapping, a wide stance and in a men's bathroom in Minneapolis' airport, while Pitino's allegedly went down like such: have an affair in a restaurant (in a restaurant!), get the woman pregnant, pay for her abortion as she didn't have health insurance, pay your equipment manager to marry her and then, when the whole thing sees the light of day years later, throw together a press conference in which you berate the media for "reporting those lies." You know, standard, everyday stuff.
Bobby Bowden's Florida State – Fidel Castro's Cuba
Both powers were forces to be reckoned with a generation or two ago, but are now shells of their former selves. Alums of both places (here in US politics, we call them immigrants) exert undue influence over their worlds, with the Cuban community most concentrated in the swing state of Florida and another Floridian, Lee Corso, still drawing eyeballs by the million with his mascot head schtick. Both men have been plagued by questions of succession, with Bowden getting so distracted as to anoint Jimbo Fisher his successor. Both men are apparently attempting to set a record for longevity in office. And, perhaps most of all, both men's dominions have been scarred by questions of nepotism. Raul Castro may well be the next leader of Cuba, and apparently he's worse than Fidel was. Bobby, meanwhile, has inflicted Jeff Bowden, the world's worst offensive coordinator, upon Florida State fans, and Terry Bowden, the world's worst announcer, upon the rest of us.
Ron Zook – George W. Bush
Both men started out promising, with Zook hired to replace Steve Spurrier, one of the all-time greats, at Florida, and showing his talent early as a master recruiter, and George W Bush enjoying an 89 percent approval rating post-9/11 and enjoying enough support to win reelection three years later. To put it charitably, however, ever since, both men have colossally failed to live up to the expectations, and to much of the world, their legacy is one of boneheaded decisions, self-immolation and general failure. Zook never won more than eight games in a season at Florida, and is now 1-5 at Illinois. Benching former All-Conference QB Juice Williams for ineptitude because the coaching messed him up so bad, only to see backup Eddie McGee go 2-of-11 with a pick and get himself benched at halftime was probably the highlight of the Zook era for Illinois fans.
Both men's personas, however, are sufficiently similar to really give this analogy wings. Both are known by diminutives of their names --- W as Dubya, Zook as the Zooker. Neither can talk, with a cottage industry of calendars and birthday cards and the like springing up out of W's tendency to put his foot in his mouth, and Zook firing off such zingers as, "If you sleep five hours really fast it feels like eight." And, of course, Both Dubya and the Zooker (bonus: here) have had their public perception cemented by funny pictures depicting them as horribly out of touch with reality.
John Edwards – Nick Saban
Both men are stars in their profession, but perhaps better known for being sleazy as can be. If that were all though, they'd be lumped in the Bill Clinton/Rick Neuheisel category. Instead, both are most morally despicable for, when caught red-handed, having a sleazier cover-up yet. Saban signs a class of 33, except the class limit, of course, is 25. Conveniently, eight recruits just happen to disappear magically between LOI Day and the start of the season. Edwards is caught with two women, except the married limit, of course, is one. He then shares with the world that he only cheats when wife's terminal cancer is in remission, for which I'm sure God gives him as much credit for as we all do.
Mike Gundy – Richard Nixon
Similarly, both men were quietly pretty darn good at their jobs, but history will remember both best for a colossal meltdown. Richard Nixon was fortunate enough to have 18 minutes of a tape deleted, while Gundy probably wishes this tape had never seen the light of day either.
Stanford -- Michael Steele
Stanford is the token school in big-time football that actually cares about academics, and TV announcers schilling for the NCAA make sure to point out how smart the players are every game. Steele is the token black guy in the GOP, and his party makes sure to point out his race at every opportunity.
Lee Corso – Tucker Carlson
Both men wear goofy costumes on national TV. Best as I can tell, no one takes either man seriously.
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