Sunday, August 20, 2006

"You Stay Classy College Football!" - The Top 24

In an earlier post I referenced Sunday Morning QB and Every Day Should be Saturday, two blogs who inspired me to send my own thoughts and opinions hurtling out into cyberspace. Another big influence was’s Bill Simmons, aka The Sports Guy. Unfortunately Simmons has traveled the circuitous route from “underrated gem”, hidden away on Page 2, to “overrated hype-machine” who gets every column plastered on the front page. Well you know what? The guy deserves it. He’s the most important sports writer to come along in the last 10 years, and his vernacular-style of writing helped blur the line between fan and journalist. As a tribute to Mr. Simmons I have borrowed one of his old columns (and by “borrowed” I mean I totally ripped-off his idea) and applied it to the upcoming college football season. Ladies and Gentlemen – who are we kidding…gentlemen and more gentlemen – I give you my Top 24, as interpreted by “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”!

Now you may wonder, "why the top 24? Everyone else does a Top 25 - what kind of half-assed poll is this???" Well we can't do things a certain way just because USA Today says so. There are currently 119 Div-1A college football programs and the only ones we're concerned with in this post are the elite. I generally consider the term "elite" to encompass the top 10%, but that would leave the poll with only 12 teams and that's too half-assed even for me. So we'll open the doors to the upper-middle-class teams and consider the top 20%, or the best 24 teams.

Before we delve in let me state the assumptions that were made in compiling this poll. In stark contrast to Sunday Morning QB, I feel that the pre-season poll should NOT be a prediction of the final poll. There's simply too many variables in play throughout the course of a four-month season (injuries, emerging youngsters, etc.) to predict the final outcome and to pretend otherwise is ludicrous. Plus, the "final poll" mentality leads directly to the conveyor-belt mindset of the current poll system. I feel that the pre-season poll, like every poll that follows it, should be a snapshot of the nation at that moment. The question is not "where will team A finish in reference to team B?" The question is "if team A and team B played each other who would win?" In this mindset teams can move up or down the poll during the regular season based on their level of performance, regardless of whether or not the teams ranked above them win or lose. Of course, in many cases team A actually does play team B (ex: Texas/Ohio State) and in that case it is right and proper to consider scheduling factors such as location, but otherwise a team's schedule should not play a role in its ranking. Teams are ranked solely on their perceived strength at the moment the poll is created. Okay, enough talk! With many thanks to Mr. Simmons and Mr. Ferrell, I present to you the Best 24 Teams in America...

1. Ron Burgundy: Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast.
Champ Kind: It jumped up a notch.
Ron Burgundy: It did, didn't it?
Brick Tamland: Yeah, I stabbed a man in the heart.
Ron Burgundy: I saw that. Brick killed a guy. Did you throw a trident?
Brick Tamland: Yeah, there were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident.
Ron Burgundy: Brick, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse

To the Ohio State Buckeyes. I know, I know…bold choice. But for eight months I’ve had flashbacks of Ohio State players absolutely killing the Notre Dame defense en route to a old school beat-down in the Fiesta Bowl. I think the Buckeyes are about to go on a murderous rampage through college football, led by the deadly Troy Smith-to-Ted Ginn connection. A dangerous backfield featuring Antonio Pittman and Chris Wells will help inflict maximum pain on the Big 10. The major question mark is the young defense, but it’s a testament to the recruiting and mentality that have been in place since Jim Tressel took over that I think the loss of nine starters can actually be overcome. Last year Texas followed up their tremendous 2004 Rose Bowl performance with an encore National Championship in 2005. Look for Ohio State to follow up their dominant 2005 Fiesta Bowl performance with a return trip to Glendale, AZ - this time to play for the second Sears Trophy in the Tressel Era.

2. Ron Burgundy: I don't know how to put this but I'm kind of a big deal.
Veronica Corningstone: Really.
Ron Burgundy: People know me.
Veronica Corningstone: Well, I'm very happy for you.
Ron Burgundy: I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany

To the LSU Tigers, a program that has set up permanent residence in the Top 5 yet doesn’t seem to be able to convince the nation they deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as USC, Texas, and Notre Dame. What is the problem here? All they have returning is a talented QB, a great WR corp, two experienced RBs (granted, both are coming off injury), and the best safety in the nation in LaRon Landry. Many people point to heavy losses in the trenches as the main culprit for LSU’s expected regression, but I see that Auburn, USC, Florida, and many others suffered similar attrition. Many people point to Les Miles’ supposed inadequacies as head coach, but I see a guy who kept Oklahoma freakin’ State in the Big XII hunt. Looking at the roster this team is absolutely stacked with talent, and in a wide-open year I’m going to give the Tigers the edge based on their embarrassment of riches. LSU #2 – thus it is said, thus it is written.

3. Announcer: You're watching Channel 4 News with five-time Emmy award-winning anchor Ron Burgundy and Tits McGee.
Veronica Corningstone: Good evening, San Diego. I'm Veronica Corningstone. Tits McGee is on vacation.

To Notre Dame Fighting Irish coach Charlie Weis and his enormous man-boobs. The only thing larger than Weis’ Mansiere (or is it a Bro?) is his offensive genius. He surpassed the enormous expectations in South Bend and single-handedly transformed the Brady Quinn-led offense into a juggernaut in one season. Whether or not he transforms the ND program into a mini-Patriots dynasty depends on how soon he can infuse the defense with more speed and athletic ability. By the way, do you notice a trend here? Returning star QBs, questions in the trenches, great skill position players, and rebuilding defenses are all the rage among the elite teams. Notre Dame’s offense takes a back seat to no one, but it’s these recurring visions of Ohio State players dancing through the Irish secondary that keep me from ranking them higher.

4. Angry biker: What do you love?
Ron Burgundy: I love poetry, and a glass of scotch, and, of course, my friend Baxter here.
Angry biker: Well, now, guess what, this is happening.
[grabs Baxter]
Ron Burgundy: Excuse me... excuse me... what are you doing?
[biker punts Baxter over bridge]
Angry biker: That's how I roll.

To fans of the Texas Longhorns, who lost star QB/minor deity Vince Young to the NFL. Young overcame halftime deficits, tough road games, the coaching of Mack Brown, and USC’s defense to lead Texas out of the wasteland of unfulfilled potential and into the promised land of college football’s elite. As important as Young was to the offense, Michael Huff’s steady production and versatility was equally vital to the defense. Now both stars must be replaced, but how? A once-in-a-generation talent like Young won’t be replaced any time soon, and since the offense was completely tailored to his strengths a freshman QB must lead a retooled attack. An outstanding running game and stout defense will ease the transition, but Texas won’t be defending their trophy without Young around to offset the Mack Brown effect. Still, there’s too much talent throughout the team, and not enough competition in the watered-down Big XII, to keep them out of the top 5.

5. Brick Tamland: Excuse me, Veronica?
Veronica Corningstone: Yes? What is it, Brick?
Brick Tamland: I would like to extend to you an invitation to the pants party.
Veronica Corningstone: Excuse me?
Brick Tamland: [struggling] The... party. With the... with the pants. Party with pants?
Veronica Corningstone: Brick, are you saying that there's a party in your pants and that I'm invited?
Brick Tamland: That's it.

To Mark Sanchez, one of two candidates to replace Matt Leinart at the helm of the USC Trojans. Sanchez’s arrest on sexual assault charges was just one of the many sideshows involving the Trojans since their defeat at the hands of Texas in the denoument of the 2005 season. Sanchez has since been cleared of the charges, and he and possible serial-killer John David Booty will compete for the right to inherit Leinart’s Heisman-winning legacy. While each of the top squads must deal with replacing multiple key players no team in the history of college football has had to deal with the loss of TWO Heisman winners in the same year. No matter how good Booty, Sanchez, or Stafon Johnson become can they ever hope to match the achievements of Leinart, Reggie Bush, or the underrated LenDale White? Normally I’d say no way in hell, but the talent flowing into USC is astounding. Carson Palmer begat Leinart. Mike Williams begat DeWayne Jarrett. Four-star OL are replaced by five-star studs. Easing the offensive transition will be a veteran defense that has a summer full of Vince Young highlights to motivate them. Pass defense could still be a problem and there will inevitably be an adjustment period while the offense gels. However, based on their recent history and talent level this is the lowest I can put Southern Cal until someone in the Pac-10 knocks them off their lofty perch.

6. Champ Kind: I will smash your face into a car windshield, and then take your mother Dorothy Mantooth out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again.
Wes Mantooth: Dorothy Mantooth is a saint. You understand me? Dorothy Mantooth is a SAINT!
Ron Burgundy: Hey leave the mothers out of this. It's unnecessary. Besides, I'm sure Wes here is just upset about finishing second in the ratings again.
Wes Mantooth: That's completely uncalled for, Burgundy. You know those rating systems are flawed. They don't take in account houses that have... uh... more than two television sets... and other things of that nature.
Ron Burgundy: I guess I have to take you at your word, #2. You have a great day, fellas, we'll see you around the bend.
Wes Mantooth: Son of a bitch.

My bandwagon pick #1 goes to the Louisville Cardinals, who must have been chafing all summer long at the hype surrounding West Virginia after the Cardinals finished 2nd to the Mountaineers in the Big East last year. A baffling loss to South Florida and narrow, unfortunate loss to West Virginia kept Louisville from fulfilling their own massive hype in 2005, when they were the pre-season darlings of the college football world. Look for them to make a return to prominence now that the pressure is off. Brian Brohm and Michael Bush form one of the nation’s best backfields for an explosive offense that averaged 64 points in the three games sandwiched around the 14-point disaster at USF. Experience and talent abound on the defense and there are two showcase games for the Cardinals to use as stepping stones to elite status. Great coaching + great talent + great schedule = possible trip to the Fiesta Bowl.

7. Veronica Corningstone: Mr. Burgundy, you are acting like a baby.
Ron Burgundy: I'm not a baby, I'm a MAN, I am an ANCHORMAN.
Veronica Corningstone: You are not a man. You are a big fat joke.
Ron Burgundy: I'm a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn. That's what kind of man I am.

Bandwagon pick #2 goes to the Clemson Tigers and their bionic receiver Rendrick Taylor. I’m convinced that Taylor - a 6’2” 225-lb beast-man that runs a 4.4-forty - is in fact a cyborg sent back from the future to kill Myron Rolle and bring balance to the Force. I have yet to see evidence to the contrary. The other WR is lightning-quick Chansi Stuckey, merely the returning ACC receptions leader. Reigning ACC Rookie of the Year James Davis will team with uber-freshman CJ Spiller and the league’s best offensive line to form a deadly running attack. The defense? All-American candidate Gaines Adams leads an excellent DL and Anthony Waters has emerged from Clemson’s assembly line of undersized but fierce All-Conference LBs. The glaring weakness is in the secondary where Tye Hill and Jamaal Fudge must be replaced, but the ACC is one of the weakest leagues for QBs so Clemson may be able to overcome their losses. Many pundits will point to the absence of Charlie Whitehurst at QB and Clemson's penchant for underachievement, but fifth-year senior Will Proctor takes over the reins of the offense and Tommy Bowden’s team appears ready to join FSU, Miami, and Virginia Tech atop the ACC. Think 2005 Georgia, when long-time understudy DJ Shockley led the Bulldogs to an SEC Championship and the BCS.

8. Ron Burgundy: [after jumping into the Bear pit at the San Diego Zoo] I IMMEDIATELY regret this decision!

Bandwagon pick #3, and the one I feel is most likely to blow up in my face. Everyone, myself included, likes the California Golden Bears because of RB Marshawn Lynch, the Jeff Tedford-effect on offense, and the returning talent on defense. On paper this appears a contender...until you look at another sheet of paper that shows that once the Golden Bears got into the heart of their Pac-10 schedule the talented defense got run over and the passing game dropped off a cliff. The argument for Cal is the growth of their young stars like DeSean Jackson and the continued excellence of the electrifying Lynch. The argument against the Bears is the QB question and the run defense. Those are two gigantic questions for a so-called contender, and I don't think Cal can answer both this year. But this program-on-the-rise is talented enough to make a serious run at the Pac-10 Title and will be a tough team to beat with the speed and athleticism Tedford has assembled.

9. Ron Burgundy: [looking at his reflection in the mirror] Mmmmm... I look good. I mean really good. Hey everyone... come and see how good I look.

I know the Auburn Tigers grew up faster than predicted last year, morphing from young, nervous team into one of the SEC's top squads by the end of the season. I know Brandon Cox showed a lot of improvement and Kenny Irons proved to be one of the best backs in America. I know everyone thinks Auburn got their growing pains out of the way last year and looks to be poised for a run at the National Title. I'm not so sure. I look at a young, undersized front seven on defense and wonder if they'll hold up throughout a rugged SEC schedule. I look at the rebuilding offensive line and wonder if Irons will be as effective. I look for names I've heard before among the wide receivers and, finding only Courtney Taylor, I wonder if Cox will need time to get acquainted with the guys who are catching his passes. Frankly, this whole situation smacks of Michigan 2005 and I expect the Tigers to experience a similarly disappointing campaign.

10. Veronica Corningstone: Mr. Burgundy, you have a MASSIVE erection.
Ron Burgundy: Oh, uh, it's the pleats....

Ron’s love affair with Veronica pales in comparison to the creepy man-crush Florida Gator fans have developed for head coach Urban Meyer. Despite his leniency in the Dee Webb shooting spree and his mysterious delays in dealing with Avery Atkins, any UF fan will tell you that Meyer has instituted a level of discipline not seen since the days of the samurai warrior. Despite an anemic offense that struggled against decent defenses UF fans are convinced that the Gators are about to pour on the points in an avalanche of offensive brilliance. Well, I’m not a Gator fan and I’m not convinced. The offensive line and the anemic running game were both anchors weighing down the offense last year and neither has shown any signs of improvement. True, most of the outstanding front seven returns for the defense – including the run-stopping deity known to mortal men as "Brandon Siler" – but the pass defense remains an issue. Teams that can run on the Gators and force their safeties into the box will be in position to administer and Alabama-style beat-down, and it’s going to happen more than once to this young team. While Meyer may yet reach the pedestal Gator Nation has already elevated him to, it won’t be this year.

11. Announcer: Bob Dylan once wrote, “The times, they are a-changin.” Ron Burgundy had never heard that song.

Looking at Michigan on paper I want to put them in the top 10. They have Chad Henne returning at QB, outstanding talent at the skill positions in Michael Hart and Steve Breaston, and are traditionally strong in the trenches. Problem is, they still have Lloyd Carr and an offensive scheme that was all the rage back in the ‘70s. Over and over again the Wolverines have teased me with their cool uniforms and upper-echelon potential, only to leave me ultimately unsatisfied with the end results…kind of like another Will Ferrell vehicle, Old School (come on, the last half of that movie was lame and you know it). Like Texas, this seems to be a program that needs a transcendent player, ala the great Charles Woodson, to overcome the limitations of the coaching staff and allow the team to reach its full potential. Not seeing such a player on the roster, I leave the Wolverines where they always seem to land lately – just outside of the top 10. However, they're within striking distance of the elite should the pieces finally fall into place.

12. Ron Burgundy: You stay classy, San Diego. I'm Ron Burgundy?
Ed Harkin: Dammit! Who typed a question mark on the Teleprompter?

At the end of last season I thought the Florida State Seminoles would rank somewhere around 15th coming into this season. Then an excellent recruiting class fell into place. Then Drew Weatherford had a great spring. Then all of the heralded freshman actually showed up. But then a prominent player had an embarrassing brush with the law...oh wait, that never happened! My growing enthusiasm for the season was due in large part to a sense of good karma that was finally surrounding the team after a five-year absence. I was ready to put them in the top 5, but suddenly I remembered all the question marks that were left over from last year…

1. They lost to Clemson and Florida by a combined score of 69-21.

2. A big factor in both losses was the absence of Leon Washington and Kamerion Wimbley, two players who are now playing on Sundays.

3. The other major factor was a porous offensive line. While the injuries that plagued the unit have yet to return, many of the holes were plugged with unproven players.

4. Antonio Cromartie's move to the NFL left the Seminoles with no seniors in the secondary. Undersized sophomores and inexperienced freshman dominate the two-deep.

5. Wimbley and Broderick Bunkley, the two players that made the DL one of the best in the nation last year, must both be replaced.

That's a lot of questions to answer for such a young team. Helping the cause will be an underrated WR corp and talented RBs Lorenzo Booker and Antone Smith. The offense received a major talent boost from the incoming freshman class, but how much those first-year players are ready to contribute remains to be seen. You don't get better on defense by losing four first-rounders, but the talent is there for Mickey Andrews to put together another fierce unit. However, the young players are going to have to grow up fast to equal the heroics of the 2005 D, and even that unit struggled at times.

The 'Noles are undeniably talented, but they're young and still susceptible to the kind of wtf? losses they've suffered to Maryland, Virginia, and NC State in recent years. And it's not just the players that must show consistency. Jeff Bowden needs to make a better showing in big games and he needs to show more versatility in his play calling. With questions in several key spots the current edition of Florida State may need a year to get back to full-grown badass status, but if the young players step up ahead of schedule the 'Noles will be back in the Championship hunt sooner than expected.

13. Ron Burgundy: It's so damn HOT... milk was a baaaaad choice!

Like everyone else I witnessed the stunning ease with which the West Virginia Mountaineers' Pat White and Steve Slaton galloped through Georgia's highly touted defense. The tremendous Sugar Bowl performance made stars of White and Slaton, and cemented WVU’s place as the “hot” team in the off-season. The offense, which returns almost intact, gets to operate behind a great offensive line featuring All-American C Dan Mozes. The tricky defense returns a wealth of experienced players. Unfortunately, all the hype has left me with the unmistakable feeling that West Virginia peaked in the first half of the Sugar Bowl when nobody, including the Bulldogs, was expecting anything from them. The second half of that game showed that teams can move the ball on WVU’s defense and the offense is fairly one-dimensional. Adding to my mistrust is the weight pollsters are putting on West Virginia’s Charmin-soft schedule. In my experience teams that play a steady stream of pushovers don’t develop the toughness they need in big games and are ultimately doomed to fail (see: West Virginia, 2004). White and Slaton will be back to haunt the dreams of defensive coordinators in 2007, but I think the build-up to 2006 has been too much for this young team.

14. Ron Burgundy: The only way to bag a classy lady is to give her two tickets to the gun show...
[kisses his biceps]
Ron Burgundy: and see if she likes the goods.

Coming off a disappointing 2005, the Miami Hurricanes have experienced one of the more bizarre off-seasons in recent memory (and that's coming from an FSU fan!). Drive-by shootings and retaliatory gunfire from the starting free safety, massive coaching turnover, and the defection of former five-star recruit Willie Williams have given Da U the appearance of a program in turmoil. While the Hurricanes made some astute hires in the off-season there is still a talent gap between this UM team and their great teams of the past. The offensive line that was a constant issue last year must replace four starters without the guidance of long-time assistant Art Kehoe. The OL woes contributed to an anemic running game, which will be exacerbated by the early absence of Tyrone Moss, and the ineffective running game allowed opponents to key on UM's underachieving receivers. With WR Ryan Moore out of action for the start of the season true freshman Sam Shields has moved into a starting spot on the roster, a testament to the need for new blood in the offensive ranks. Until those deficiencies are made up Miami will remain in the "Frustratingly Mediocre" category along with the other Florida schools.

15. Tino the Bartender: We have a saying in my country - the coyote of the desert likes to eat the heart of the young and the blood drips down to his children for breakfast, lunch and dinner and only the ribs will be broken.

I have no idea what to make of that quote, just like I have no idea what to make of the Georgia Bulldogs. Mark Richt has created FSU-North in Athens with a steady stream of quick defenders, steady QBs, and talented skill position players parading through the UGA ranks on their way to the NFL. But this year the Bulldogs face their first true transition year since the beginning of the Richt era. The QB situation is compounded by youth in the WR corps and the OL. Fortunately the well runs deep at RB. The defense must break in a new secondary, but the tremendous front seven will help the transition. While there is still plenty of talent left over from last year’s SEC Champions I think the QB situation will keep the Bulldogs from defending their crown. Or they could win it all. I honestly have no idea…

16. Ron Burgundy: [to Baxter] What? You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole... wheel of cheese? How'd you do that? Heck, I'm not even mad; that's amazing!

To the perennially overachieving Iowa Hawkeyes. I love QB Drew Tate and Head Coach Kirk Ferentz, but this is the team that's been underrated for so long that they've become overrated. Tate and RB Albert Young give them a great backfield, but the receivers won't scare anybody. The DL had a year to develop, but now the LB corps must be replaced. Iowa is still one of the better teams in a weakened Big 10 but they don't match up with the best of the conference, or the best of the nation.

17. Ron Burgundy: Wait, Veronica, please tell me this is some kind of sick tasteless joke.
Veronica Corningstone: You weren't here. Why are you being this way? Why can't you just be proud of me as a peer and my gentleman lover?
Ron Burgundy: I can't believe you did this to me. You read my news.
Veronica Corningstone: I told you that I wanted to be an anchor. I told you that.
Ron Burgundy: I thought you were kidding. I thought it was a joke, I even wrote it down in my diary. “Veronica had a very funny joke today.” I laughed at it later that night.

For all those poor Oklahoma Sooners fans who have been the butt of countless jokes among college football fans ever since it was discovered that incumbent QB Rhett Bomar was getting paid exorbitant appearance fees at a local car dealership. Instantly the Sooners' stock dropped faster than Enron’s. To be honest I don’t know that the Sooners are that much worse with Paul Thompson in place of Bomar, I just don’t think Oklahoma’s ceiling was as ever high as many others did. Offensive inconsistency plagued Oklahoma last year despite the presence of Adrian Peterson, and with a talented but young group of WRs returning Peterson was still going to be facing eight- and nine-man fronts all season. Will the retooled offensive line be up to the challenge? Who knows, but it's mostly underclassmen. The defense has flashed serious potential, but isn't as good as the shut-down units of yore. The luster seems to have come off the Stoops era in Norman, at least temporarily, and until OU regains their lost mojo they’re going to be slumming down here in the low teens.

18. Veronica Corningstone: Oh, Ron, there are literally thousands of men that I should be with instead, but I am 72 percent sure that I love you.

This one goes out to Sean Glennon, who was named the new starting QB of the Virginia Tech Hokies. Glennon beat out fellow underclassmen Cory Holt and Ike Whitaker for the starting job, but I have a feeling the race is far from over…especially with five-star prospect Tyrod Taylor coming in next season. Whoever winds up taking over for Marcus Vick will inherit an offense with a wealth of talent at WR but questions at RB and along the offensive line. The defense should be Hokie-caliber with star LBs Xavier Adibi and Vince Hall, but the DL lost a lot of production when Darryl Tapp moved on to the big leagues. New starters at QB, OL, and DL means a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech, but Frank Beamer has put together some of his best teams when expectations were at their lowest. I’m putting the Hokies here for now, but don’t be surprised if they wind up much higher.

19. Ron Burgundy: [singing] Sky rockets in flight / Afternoon delight.

The love song in Anchorman could just as easily have been an ode to the aerieal attack Mike Leach brought to the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Tech has been racking up passing yards at a dizzying pace since Leach's arrival, but there are still holes to be filled. I for one think that the Red Raiders are a solid program and deserve an annual reservation in the top 20, but until they knock off the top teams I have reservations about moving them up. Leach has attracted enough talent to compete in the Big XII but the offense tends to suffer against the speed of Oklahoma or Texas and the D still hasn't reached the elite level of the O. The win against Nebraska last season was a step in the right direction, but Texas Tech is going to have to prove it can consistently hang with the big boys before I’ll move them much higher than this.

20. Wes Mantooth: Nice clothes, gentlemen. I didn't know that the Salvation Army was having a sale.

For those awful, awful jerseys the poor Oregon Ducks are forced to wear every week. Despite the neon-checkerboard ensembles Nike provided, I can’t help but think this may be too low for the Ducks. True, the chances of them repeating last year's unheralded 10-2 campaign are fairly slim, but Mike Bellotti has built up an impressive program in Eugene. He has a back few programs in the nation can match in Jonathan Stewart. If the passing game can offer any relief for Stewart – and Oregon has become a WR factory lately – the offense could be lethal. Haloti Ngata will be sorely missed on defense, especially when Oregon faces Adrian Peterson and Oklahoma early in the year, but with Bellotti’s guidance, a solid talent base, and a great home-field advantage look for Oregon to steadily climb back into their cozy niche on the fringe of the national consciousness.

21. Brian Fantana: People call me the Bry man; I'm the stylish one of the group. I know what you're asking yourself and the answer is yes. I have a nick name for my penis. It’s called the Octagon, but I also nick named my testes - my left one is James Westfall and my right one is Doctor Kenneth Noisewater. You ladies play your cards right you just might get to meet the whole gang.

To Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Bill Callahan, a man who just strikes me as a complete and total dick. His Raiders team mutinied against him a year after reaching the Super Bowl, and so far at Nebraska his post-game antics have already made him a wanted man in Oklahoma. Which is not to say the man can’t coach. Nebraska’s slow and steady turn-around appears to be gaining momentum as Callahan rebuilds the roster with his players. Last year the ‘Huskers made a return to respectability; this year they will seek a return to the top 10. We don’t think they’ve reached those lofty heights just yet, but give Callahan and his MidWest Coast Offense another year or two and Nebraska could find themselves back in familiar territory.

23. Champ Kind: We need you. Hell, I need you. I'm a mess without you. I miss you so damn much. I miss being with you, I miss being near you. I miss your laugh. I miss your scent; I miss your musk. When this all gets sorted out, I think you and me should get an apartment together.
Brian Fantana: Take it easy, Champ. Why don't you stop talking for a while.

To the Utah Utes, who didn’t exactly fall off the map without Urban Meyer, but didn’t equal their exploits from 2004 either. Granted, losing Alex Smith and an underrated group of WRs might have had something to do with the drop-off, and Utah finished the year strong by trouncing Georgia Tech in the Emerald Bowl. Still, there were enough bumps in the road during Kyle Whittingham’s first year at the helm that Utah was knocked off its perch high above its mid-major brethren. Will the return of QB Brian Johnson and a loaded offense portend the return of Utah to the top 10? Doubtful, but as the Yellow Jackets learned last year it’s not wise to underestimate the Utes.

23. Frank Vitchard: [after having his other arm ripped off by a bear]
[shouts] This is getting to be ri-god-damn-diculous.

Last season was a resurgent effort for the Penn State Nittany Lions, who won the Big 10 and the Orange Bowl after several seasons spent mired in mediocrity. However, few teams in the country must deal with heavier losses than the JoePa's boys. Star QB Michael Robinson, the key player on Galen Hall’s upgraded offense, has moved on as did most of the starting offensive line. Star DE Tamba Hali and the entire secondary are gone as well. What's left is a talented WR corps and one of the best LBs in the country in Paul Posluszny. Heralded QB recruit Anthony Morelli takes over for Robinson, but the Chop Shop puts little faith in new QBs until they show they can win big games. The massive rebuilding efforts on both lines will mean a step back for Penn State, whose 11-1 record included several close calls. I don't think they'll hit the rock-bottom of 2003, though. JoePa has sufficiently stocked the cupboard with enough talent to get them through the next rebuilding phase and hopefully into a rematch with Florida State down the road. Gary Cismesia must have his vengeance!

24. Ron Burgundy: Wow. Never ceases to amaze me. What cologne you gonna go with? London Gentleman, or wait. No, no, no. Hold on. Blackbeard's Delight.
Brian Fantana: No, she gets a special cologne... It's called Sex Panther by Odeon. It's illegal in nine countries... Yep, it's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good.
Ron Burgundy: It's quite pungent.
Brian Fantana: Oh yeah.
Ron Burgundy: It's a formidable scent... It stings the nostrils. In a good way.
Brian Fantana: Yep.
Ron Burgundy: Brian, I'm gonna be honest with you, that smells like pure gasoline.
Brian Fantana: They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.
[cheesy grin]

To Chan Gailey and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. To be honest this has the makings of another bandwagon team with a four-year starter at QB in Reggie Ball and the untouchable Calvin Johnson at WR. The OL is solid, the RBs are talented, and the defense under John Tenuta is always fast and aggressive. So what’s the problem? Well, it starts with Ball, whose three previous years were spent throwing countless bombs beyond the reach of the 6’5” Johnson and running out of bounds on 4th down. Tech has the talent to beat the big boys, as they did last year against Auburn and Miami. They also have the inconsistency to get beat by Duke, a feat they accomplished in 2004. If one applies the famous Chan Gailey Equilibrium (thank you EDSBS) that states that Tech will win seven games regardless of its talent or schedule, that means a 7-5 season, or roughly a 60% win percentage. Sounds about right…

-- Honorable Mention --
Champ Kind: What in the hell's diversity?
Ron Burgundy: [clears throat] Well, I could be wrong, but I believe, uh, diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era

To Fisher DeBerry at Air Force. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.


At 5:47 PM, Blogger Skippy said...

Enjoyed your post. Appears you really did your homework and it was good to see a real world explanation to your picks. Being an 03 Clemson grad its good to see you placed us so favorably. In the bottom of my stomach though I still feel we're too high. I certainly hope the game down there is at least a good one. Hope ya’ll have a good season.

By the way check out the Clemson version of your site. A few friends of mine head it up:

At 7:25 PM, Blogger Galen said...

Ouch, PSU beats FSU, looses less talent to the NFL and the best you could rank them is 23. I'm hurt. Great start, by the way, welcome to the Blogosphere.

At 2:58 AM, Anonymous Veronica Webb said...

wuhooo! nice post here.. :)

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