Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Closer Look at the Coaches Poll - Pac-10 votes

Source: USA Today

Aside from USC, the Pac-10 wasn't too impressive during the regular season. One week early in the season saw four Pac-10 teams fall to Mountain West teams, and despite USC's impressive defense, it's obvious that poll voters discounted their Pac-10 success because of lighter competition. No. 13 Oregon and No. 25 Oregon State (the only team to beat USC) were the other teams making the final Top 25.

Coaches voting from the Pac-10: Mike Bellotti, Oregon; Rick Neuheisel, UCLA; Mike Riley, Oregon State; Jeff Tedford, Cal; Ty Willingham, Washington (lame duck as of midseason)

First-place votes: Florida 3, Oklahoma 1, Texas 1
Oklahoma vs. Texas: Bellotti and Neuheisel had Texas ranked above Oklahoma. Neuheisel was the only coach in the nation to rank Oklahoma outside the Top 3. (Bad feelings from his CU days perhaps?)
Outliers: USC was ranked No. 3 by nine coaches nationally -- four of them coming from the Pac-10 (Bellotti had the Trojans 4th). ... Neuheisel ranked the Oregon State Beavers 17th -- the other Pac-10 voters had OSU 24th. ... Willingham had Missouri ranked 11th in the nation -- no other coach in the country had the Tigers higher than 16th. ... Riley was the only coach in the country that did not rank Georgia at all, but he had Ball State 15th in the nation.

Top 25 according to the Pac-10 voters
(green = higher than national ranking; red = lower than national ranking)
1. Florida, 123
2. Oklahoma, 118
3. Texas, 115
4. USC, 114
5. Alabama, 105
6. Penn State, 100
7. Utah, 92
8. Texas Tech, 91
9. Boise State, 85
10. Ohio State, 81
11. TCU, 69
12. Oregon, 68
13. Cincinnati, 64
14. Georgia Tech, 56
15. Oklahoma State, 55
16. BYU, 50
17. Michigan State, 39
18. Georgia, 36
19t. Northwestern, 28
19t. Missouri, 28
21. Virginia Tech, 24
22. Pitt, 23
23. Ball State, 22
24. Oregon State, 16
25. Boston College, 8 (not ranked in national Top 25)

Other Votes: Cal 6, Florida State 4, Iowa 3, Mississippi 1

A Closer Look at the Coaches Poll - ACC votes

Source: USA Today

By all accounts a down year for the ACC -- with no team ranked higher than 15th (Georgia Tech). Champion Virginia Tech was the only other team ranked, finishing 19th in the final Coaches' Poll. It appears that the ACC coaches felt that Boston College also deserved some credit -- 25 percent of BC's overall votes came from the ACC voters.

Coaches voting from the ACC: Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech; Tommy Bowden, Clemson (fired midseason); Bobby Bowden, FSU; Butch Davis, North Carolina; Jim Grobe, Wake Forest; Tom O'Brien, NC State.

First-place votes: Oklahoma 4, Florida 2
Oklahoma vs. Texas: Only Beamer ranked Texas over Oklahoma.
Outliers: Beamer had his Hokies 23rd in the nation, none of his league colleagues had the Hokies that low (TBowden had them 13th). ... Tommy Bowden has Georgia Tech 10th on his ballot - the next highest ranking of the Ramblin' Wreck by an ACC coach was 13th. ... Bobby Bowden must've been impressed by Michigan State (13th) and Ole Miss (19th) -- in both cases that's five spots higher than the national rankings.

Top 25 according to the ACC voters
(green = higher than national ranking; red = lower than national ranking)
1. Oklahoma, 147
2. Florida, 146
3. Texas, 138
4. Alabama, 132
5. USC, 125
6. Penn State, 119
7. Texas Tech, 115
8. Utah, 109
9. Boise State, 102
10. Ohio State, 96
11. TCU, 88
12. Cincinnati, 80
13. Georgia Tech, 74
14. Oregon, 72
15. Oklahoma State, 66
16. BYU, 57
17. Georgia, 51
18. Michigan State, 49
19. Virginia Tech, 43
20. Pitt, 33
21. Boston College, 24 (not ranked in Coaches' Top 25)
22. Northwestern, 23
23. Mississippi, 22
24. Missouri, 15
25. Ball State, 10

Other votes: Oregon State 9, Florida State 5, Iowa 3, North Carolina 3, East Carolina 3

A Closer Look at the Coaches Poll

One of the coolest online graphics each year is the Coaches' Top 25 breakdown that the USA Today puts together after the final poll of the regular season. It's interesting to see how the 61 coaches vote in this poll -- which accounts for 1/3 of the vaunted BCS formula.

It's also interesting to see who's voting -- this year's panel of 61 includes 10 coaches no longer employed:

Terry Bowden, Clemson
Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State
Phil Fulmer, Tennessee
Joe Glenn, Wyoming
Rocky Long, New Mexico
Shane Montgomery, Miami of Ohio
Hal Mumme, New Mexico State
Tommy Tuberville, Auburn
Ty Willingham, Washington
and Joe Tiller, Purdue (retired)

The panel of 61 includes seven coaches apiece from the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and MAC (!); six from the ACC; five from the Pac-10 and Conference USA; four from the Sun Belt, Mountain West, Big East and WAC; and good ole Notre Dame. Given that it's uneven, I thought it'd be interesting to see how parochial is voting by the coaches in each conference -- i.e. did the Big 12 coaches elevate Oklahoma and Texas over Florida in the hopes of getting two teams in the title game.

Each conference will be its own post. Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2008

This blog is still alive

It's only been 21 months since my last post -- when I thought I'd be the next Huffington Post. Now I'm just trying to get some photos up online.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Three Strikes

I haven't posted in about ten days -- mostly because I've been trying to secure gainful employment for the coming months. With that job mostly accomplished at this point, I thought I'd dabble in an attempt at writing something semi-regularly. The subject matter will vary, covering three topics in the world of sports that I think deserve another look or make me want to rant.

We'll call it Three Strikes (on The Outside Corner).

Strike One - Ben Curtis Not a One-Hit Wonder After All

Y'all may not remember the 2003 British Open as well as I do, but I assume most of you weren't working for a golf web site at the time.

On that third Sunday in July, some of the biggest names in golf were all lined up with a shot at the oldest championship in the sport when the back nine began. Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia all had their chances on the links of Royal St. George's. But when the sand from Thomas Bjorn's second bunker shot by the 17th green settled, the man who claimed the Claret Jug was a little-known rookie from Kent, Ohio named Ben Curtis. Playing in the Open by way of a T13 finish at the Western Open two weeks earlier to qualify, Curtis became the first golfer to win his first major start since Francis Ouimet won the 1913 U.S. Open at Brookline.

Aside from an NFL apparel deal that forced him to wear Jacksonville Jaguar teal and Denver Bronco orange at events, Curtis quickly fell back into the obscurity that missed cuts provide. He missed 33 cuts in his next 66 starts, finishing in the top 10 just three times and really never threatening his status as a trivia question answer.

Until this past weekend.

Although it took six days to complete, Curtis routed a watered-down field (in terms of rain and star power), going wire-to-wire after an opening 62 to win the Booz Allen Classic in suburban D.C. His five-shot victory was definitely not a back-in job, and while it's hardly a major, it erases the one-hit wonder stigma that was following Curtis out the door of PGA Tour clubhouses each Friday evening.

Strike Two - Which Is Worse, Really

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me-- not if you play in Major League Baseball.

Ozzie Guillen, the outspoken manager of the 2005 world champion Chicago White Sox called Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti a deragatory name for a gay person during one of his tirades recently. I'm not going to add an opinion to this area -- it's been overtalked, overhyped and overanalyzed at this point. But the hoopla surrounding his comments and resulting slap on the wrist from Major League Baseball overshadowed another incident that deserves more attention.

Brett Myers, a star pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, was arrested Friday and charged with hitting his wife in the face not far from Fenway Park in Boston. Police say they found her with a swollen face after responding to a 911 call. Surely, Myers faced a more serious punishment from baseball or his employer, the Phillies, than Guillen, right?


Myers started for the Phillies on Saturday and threw five innings in a 5-3 loss. The Phillies GM Pat Gillick said the team wouldn't punish Myers, manager Charlie Manuel bristled when asked questions about the incident and Myers wasn't exactly contrite according to quotes after the game.

I guess in Major League Baseball, verbal abuse is more dangerous than spousal abuse.

Myers did take a leave of absence from the team until the All-Star Break on Tuesday, and apologized in a written statement, but that doesn't change the fact that the Phillies and MLB missed the boat on this one.

Strike Three - There's a Draft in Here

The NBA Draft is tomorrow and while I usually don't give a second thought to the NBA, I'm surprised that this draft doesn't get the attention that the NFL Draft receives.

While I'm not wishing a Mel Kiper Jr. clone on NBA fans, the NBA Draft is actually the more relevant of the two events because these picks actually will make a difference for their teams right away.

We all know the turnarounds fostered by the rookie years of Larry Bird (32-game improvement), David Robinson (35-game improvement) and Tim Duncan (36-game improvement), and it's not surprising that the right rookie can make a more immediate impact on a basketball team with five starting spots as opposed to a football team with 22 starters.

And while both drafts have their share of big misses (Brad Daugherty or Aundray Bruce, anyone?), potential NBA stars usually pan out.

Since the 1983-84 season, the 12 men to win the NBA MVP award were all taken in the first round -- none lower than 15th overall (Steve Nash in 1996). Of those, half were No. 1 picks (Shaq, Duncan, Robinson, Olajuwon, Iverson, Magic).

During the same period, eight of the 19 players who have been named NFL MVP weren't even selected in the first round -- including three-time winner Brett Favre (2nd round), two-time winner Joe Montana (4th round) and two-time winner Kurt Warner (undrafted free agent). Just two winners (Peyton Manning and John Elway) were No. 1 overall picks.

Even without a consensus No. 1 in this year's draft, keep an eye on who goes in the lottery. Chances are, a few of those players will become household names sooner than you think.

Foul Tip: June 28th, Game Worth Watching, New York Mets @ Boston Red Sox

The return of Pedro to Fenway Park. Martinez, who left the Sawx after the 2004 World Series and signed with the Mets, will be making his first appearance against his old team. He'll be facing Josh Beckett, who is 9-3 in his first year with Boston and 4-0, 2.58 at Fenway. Aside from the fact that I have both pitchers on my fantasy team, this will be a great pitching matchup.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Whoever Plays The Royals strategy

With the Kansas City Royals setting new standards for ineptitude, it's very tempting to pick up whoever's pitching against the Royals on a daily basis. I've tried it three times and they've burned me twice -- pounding Jake Westbrook to the tune of 8ER in 2 2/3 innings and hitting four dingers off Kenny Rogers.

That said, here's my pick for Saturday, June 17.

Justin Verlander (7-4, 3.32), Detroit Tigers, @ Chicago Cubs (Carlos Marmol)

The folks in my league are slow to embrace the Tigers' success, so might as well ride the hot horse. Verlander can bring it, and the Cubs are locked in a string of games where they're struggling to score more than 3 runs a game. As a Cubs fan, it pains me to pick on the Northsiders, but they're bringing it on themselves.

Friday pick: Nate Robertson (W, 7 IP, 2 ER, 2K) in a 5-3 win over the Cubs

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fantasy Baseball

Men all have fantasies. The ones I'll talk about here revolve around baseball -- fantasy baseball.

I'm in a points league, going on my fifth year in the league, and trying to defend my second of two titles. If I have one weakness, it's trying to find the best pitching matchup of the day out of the pitchers available on waivers.

So I'm going to try to regularly put up my opinion of the best pitching matchup for the next day's game based on the pitchers available in my league. It should be noted that the points setup in my league values wins above all, so I'm looking for a mismatch in terms of opposing starters.

We'll see how I do ...

Friday, June 16

Nate Robertson (6-3, 3.50) at Chicago Cubs (Glendon Rusch)

Robertson is 3-0, 3.10 in 5 starts away from Comerica Park, and has allowed 3 ER or less in 10 of his 13 starts. The Tigers are an MLB-leading 23-10 on the road and the Cubs are 11-22 in day games. On top of that, he's pitching against a Cubs lineup that has scored just six more runs this year than the Royals and a pitcher (Rusch) who has given up 10 HRs in 13.1 innings at the Friendly Confines this year.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Finally, a site of my own

After spending the last ten years working online helping to build two start-ups, I figured it's time to stake a claim of my own on the Internet.

The setup is familiar -- humble beginnings, little funding (currently unemployed) and no exit strategy -- but you can't beat the hours.

Enough for now. My wife and I are off to take our dog, Slider, and Mr. T, our son, for a walk -- it's beautiful today in Chicago.