As always, criticism and critique of the ballot go in the comments section. Final draft goes in the hopper Tuesday at midnight.
It was bound to happen. I just didn't think it would happen so soon. I left for a long weekend without Internet access, and I come back to find my precious series of tubes replaced with an Abercrombie & Fitch factory outlet store.
We have been unofficially notified that the Blogpoll is now the CBSSports.com Blog Poll. Brian? Rollin' on dubs, to be sure. But this is how it starts, people. Before you know it, we'll all be acting like Jay Mariotti, starting shit with other bloggers (oh, wait) and taking three minutes to put together our ballot without even bothering to consider the week's results (what, that too? Damn).
Farmed out to prep school:
South Florida, Kentucky, Connecticut, Mississippi, Oregon
Kentucky, South Florida, Arizona, Florida, Florida State, Wake Forest, Notre Dame
Pitt-USF, Iowa-Michigan State, Notre Dame-Stanford, Illinois-Michigan, Nebraska-Mizzou, Texas Tech-Kansas State
As for this week's poll, the resume ranking has broken into five distinct tiers:
-- Alabama, alone at the top
-- Oklahoma, Mizzou, and Penn State, clumped in 2-4.
-- Vanderbilt - yes, Vanderbilt - alone at 5.
-- Thirteen teams, all within 1/2 a resume point per game. The difference between Texas at #6 and Ball State - yes, Ball State - at #18 is miniscule.
-- The same can be said for the final six teams, whose ranking is practically identical.
Clearly, there are a couple of flaws in here. Michigan State is only one spot behind Cal, to whom they lost by seven in week one. Georgia Tech and North Carolina's rankings are inflated by Virginia Tech's, which in turn is inflated by GT and UNC. Northwestern, the worst 5-0 team in the history of organized football, is in the top 15. And Ball State...oh, Ball State. This still doesn't make much sense, but give it time.
As for the actual football, it was a relatively tame week. Ten of the BHGP top eleven survived. South Florida managed to make Iowa's loss to Pitt look much, much better. North Carolina managed to make the Big East look much, much worse. The Mexican Standoff That Is the SEC is back, as Southerners continue their two hundred year tradition of eating their young. Sigh.
So, with nothing else to talk about, let's discuss the Big XII. Specifically, let's talk about Nebraska. In particular, let's discuss gambling on Nebraska. That is to say, let me show you how to make your mortgage payment on the back of Bo Pelini.
I watched the Nebraska-Mizzou game in a sports bar in Omaha. Two hours prior to the game, I'd been told the Vegas line was Missouri -10. I asked one of the degenerates sitting beside me who he had. He said he wanted nothing to do with that line.
"Really? You don't think the Huskers can beat a ten-point spread at home?" I asked.
"Ten? Son, nobody's giving less than 11 1/2."
It took five seconds for my neurons to fire and my brain to compute the amazing, earth-shattering, sportsbook-massacring information I had just been gifted. Here I was in Omaha, the cradle of obnoxious, myopic, entitled Big Red fandom, and the line was two points higher than the outside world was offering. Even with all the crackpot supporters throwing this year's harvest on Nebraska; even with the homerific betting inherent in any locale obsessed with one team (only exaggerated by the fact that it's Omaha, where Tommie Frazier never pays for a meal and there's no other game in town); even with CIA-level intelligence and counterintelligence circulating through the local gambling public (another barfly told me, "This is going to be a lot closer than anyone thinks. I have a source in the program. They've been working on a bunch of trick plays this week. Missouri won't know what hit them." That doesn't even mention Nebraska's "mystery defense" strategy); even with all of this working to drive down the line, you still couldn't get better than NU +11 1/2. Nebraska fans knew far more about this game than anyone else (except for possibly Missouri fans), and they wanted nothing to do with the Huskers at +10.
The rest was an episode of College Football Gambling Memories. A recap, HuskerH8r?
But in the big grand scheme of things, besides all that, the world is really no different than it was last season, or really much after the season before that. However, your indifference and growing apathy does hide the fact well that you truly are further up the proverbial creek than you realize for one reason and one reason only:
There is nobody left to fire and nothing more you can do.
The team in red and white and the fans who cheered for them that surrounded me last night did not look like the machine that once dominated the college football landscape. What I saw was a pathetic facsimile of a storied program in love with itself and completely unable to turn the page into the 21st century. If you people spent half as much time worrying about your complete and total lack of talent and coaching as you did worrying about when Chuck Liddell was going to make an appearance, you’d probably be in far less of a hole today than you are.
I didn't just end Saturday with my credit card balance in hand. I came away from this weekend with that feeling in the cockles of my heart that I hadn't felt since I left Omaha, that intoxicating mix of Schadenfreude and pure joy that comes with a Husker blowout. I'm not proud of it, but it's true: I still hate Nebraska.