Quick note Re: Ohio State

The ESPN Gameday crew expressed some outrage that Ohio State is just No. 3 in the BCS computer rankings right now. Outrage, I tell ya! Everybody knows Ohio State is the No. 1 team in the country. But here”s the thing – computers don”t have pre-season rankings. Computers don”t watch SportsCenter. Computers look at facts.

There are a lot of intricacies in how the BCS computers rank teams, but just looking at the obvious facts on the number of wins and losses a team has and the quality of their opponents gives a basic idea of how computers would rank them.

To this point (and that”s important), Ohio State has won 11 games and lost zero. Computers like that. But the teams they”ve played have an average of 5.1 wins and 5.7 losses. They”ve beaten one team with 9 wins, one team with 7 wins, two teams with 6 wins and seven teams with 5 or fewer wins. Not strong.

Having won 11 games and lost zero when only two other major-conference teams are undefeated helps the computer ranking tremendously. And, thus, Ohio State gets to be No. 3 right now.

Michigan has also won 11 games and lost zero. The teams they”ve played have an average of 5.8 wins and 5.1 losses. They”ve beaten one team with 10 wins, one team with 9 wins, two teams with 7 wins, one team with 6 wins and six teams with 5 or fewer wins. Stronger than Ohio State, and the reason Michigan is No. 1 in the BCS computers.

And as much as I don”t believe in Rutgers, the teams they”ve played have an average of 5.2 wins and 4.9 losses. Having won 9 games and lost zero, the computers like Rutgers better than Ohio State (right now).

But oh my God, the computers say Ohio State is No. 3 when we smart humans all know they”re No. 1. Outrageous!

Here”s the thing, though. It doesn”t matter what the computers think right now. They”re not biased toward the status quo. If Ohio State beats Michigan today and Rutgers beats Cincinnati, Ohio State will be No. 1 in tomorrow”s BCS computer rankings. And Michigan might still be No. 2 on the quality of their loss compared to the quality of Rutgers” wins.

Human commentators love to point to the weird things that seemingly go on with the BCS computers during the season as proof that the human polls are the way to go. But there”s logic there, you stupid humans. And the fact is that if you play a good schedule and win all of your games, the computers will love you in the end. And not just because you”re Ohio State or USC.

LSU / SEC Week 12 Picks; Weeks 10-11 Recap

My picks have gone really downhill in the past few weeks; recap of my sucking at the bottom. But to this week …

LSU needs Mississippi State to beat Arkansas and Alabama to beat Auburn in order to turn next Friday”s LSU / Arkansas game into a SEC West showdown. Whatever. We shouldn”t be in this position, and I”m not begging God to help us back in to the SEC Championship. Besides, I think it”ll be interesting to see what happens with the bowls and BCS if LSU finishes the year as the best two-loss team but not the SEC champion. There”s still the little matter of Arkansas in Little Rock, though.

So this week: No. 11 LSU welcomes Ole Miss into the sedate environment of Tiger Stadium tonight. The talent differential between the Tigers and Rebels is just huge. I could see Leslie screwing this up, but I”m not going to predict that.

Tigers 31 – 17

Elsewhere:

Western Carolina at No. 4 Florida: I suppose the Crocs scheduled the Catamounts this week as a breather before what was supposed to be a showdown with Florida State. Sitting on the BCS title bubble, nothing less than half a hundy spread will be adequate to keep Florida in the conversation. Crocs 63 – 10

No. 7 Arkansas at Mississippi State: If ever there”s a shining-moment opportunity for the Bulldogs, it”s today. Two weeks removed from beating Alabama on the road, a week to rest and now the SEC”s hottest team comes to town. A win here would be beyond huge; it would change the future of MSU football. Sylvester has to go out and tell all those Mississippi high school players something this winter to get them to the cow college and “did you see those Alabama and Arkansas games?” would be a good icebreaker. Not outside the realm of the possible, but Arkansas has too much to play for. Hogs 24 – 17

No. 14 Auburn at Alabama: Ah, The Iron Bowl. The air is out of the Auburn balloon, and Alabama isn”t as bad as their 6-5 record says. With motivation and the home field on their side, I”m going Tide. Bama 20 – 17

No. 22 Tennessee at Vandy: I don”t think the Vols will forget last year. Tennessee 35 – 15

MTSU at South Carolina: Obviously the Cocks aren”t there yet. Fortunately, the Blue Raiders will never be there. Cocks 38 -20

UL-Monroe at Kentucky: How did CBS pass on this classic? Cats 28 – 10

Catching up on Week 10 / 11 picks:

Week 10 – Bad week (I picked the Vols over LSU, if you remember) for the Cap”n. 4-3 on the week.

Week 11 – Another bad week (thanks, Auburn!). 3-2 on the week.

For the season, 66-17.

Jeff Notrica / Inman Park Properties update

With an update due from Inman Park Properties at tomorrow night”s EACA meeting, the gang (not me, I was out of town) went out to check on the “progress” on Jeff Notrica”s properties Saturday.

Observations from The EAV Buzz crowd:

Well, we did our follow up tour of Inman Park Properties properties for the punch list yesterday. Here”s what we found:

Jason (the owner of ACE Hardware) did hire 4 guys to do some cleanup work behind Graveyard, and I appreciate those efforts tremendously, but that doesn”t negate the fact that the work didn”t even BEGIN until yesterday – the day we did the walkthrough – despite the fact that they”ve had the punchlist for over 3 weeks. I wonder if it would have been done at all if Inman Park Properties and Jason hadn”t been given advance notice that we”d be coming around. And my understanding is that Jason paid for the work himself, not Inman Park Properties. Given all that, I”m reluctant to give them much credit for the clean up.

Zero progress has been made on the yellow Flat Shoals house – the back yard still looks like a landfill, and the house is still wide open to anyone who wants inside. Besides being addressed in the punchlist, they also received a code violation notice from the city at least 6 weeks ago. I don”t know if they”re not planning to touch it until they demo it, but I don”t understand why they can”t at least fully secure the windows and doors and clear the nasty-ass trash out of the back yard in the meantime.

The Gordon School has seen a little improvement. The holes in the fencing have been repaired, some trees have been cleared (though the dead limbs are still laying around in massive piles) and the grass has been mowed. They also painted the window frames on the side facing Brannan Towers. The once-open back door is now closed and secure, but the glass in most of the 2nd story windows is still broken and one of the ground level windows is open and the security cover partially removed.

Everything else is almost exactly as we last saw it – or in some cases worse. There”s even more trash behind B&W – including some crappy carpet remnants – and EAL&K is still littered with makeshift grills, rusting folding chairs, and trash.

The area under the stairs behind the old Pastifico Di Cameli place still looks like a homeless camp, and new items have appeared back there – including an almost new bicycle and a VCR. I can only assume they”re stolen. And the back door of the empty storefront next to the head shop looks like it”s been recently kicked in. The deadbolt and doorknob are completely missing and the holes have been covered with some kind of wire mesh.

On the positive side, something seems to have lit a fire under Abe to make some improvements to his properties – he”s cleaning up and expanding the usable space in the SugarBritches building, and rumor is he”s also working on Madison Theater, though we didn”t see any evidence of that yesterday morning.

All in all, I have to say I”m disappointed in the lack of improvement to the Inman Park Properties properties, but not at all surprised, and I”m hoping that Danny will be at the EACA meeting Tuesday so that we can share our follow-up findings with him.

If you”re late to the party, check out entries here:

Jeff Notrica makes a promise

A tour of Jeff Notrica”s East Atlanta

Rutgers. Please …

OK, so now we have to hear this “Rutgers is for real!” bullshit. Hey, maybe they are, but there”s no evidence to prove it. Sure, they just knocked off undefeated Louisville, but Louisville”s reputation was horseshit. 5-4, 1-9, 5-4, 6-4, 6-3, 5-4, 3-6, 7-1 are the records of the teams Louisville has beaten. And that 7-1 team (West Virginia) got its wins over teams that are 4-5, 2-8, 7-2, 5-4, 3-7, 3-6 and 3-5. The Big East is nothing but a pyramid scheme where marginal teams can look good by winning against the amazingly weak teams in conference and scheduling out of conference games against the likes of Marshall, East Carolina, Middle Tennessee and Howard.

So now it”s Rutgers. The flawed human polls will love them now, and so will the computers – for now.

But consider the powerhouses Rutgers has knocked off this year:

North Carolina (1-8)
Illinois (2-8)
Ohio (7-3 in the MAC)
Howard (3-6)

South Florida (6-3)
Navy (6-3)
Pittsburgh (6-3)
Connecticut (3-5)

And now Louisville.

It”s ridiculous compared to what the 1-loss teams of the SEC, Big 12, (soon to be) Big 10 and even USC in the Pac-10 have faced. I doubt Rutgers can rise to the BCS title game, and that”s a good thing for advertisers buying time after the first quarter of that game.

But if they can get past West Virginia, they”ll have their chance to prove their worth in a big BCS game. And I hope they get there. I”d love to see Rutgers take on Auburn, Florida, Texas or USC.

Rutgers isn”t a bad team. They may even be a good team. But they”ve not shown themselves to be on par with any of the 1-loss teams above them. It”s actually too bad for them that the BCS talk is getting heaped on them now. They”re building a program, and that”s a process. Have a good year, go to a good bowl, and keep winning next year and the year after. Then you can get in the conversation.

Quickest SEC / LSU Picks Ever

OK, heading down to Baton Rouge tomorrow for LSU / Alabama, so not a lot of time for deep analysis. But I”ll say this: LSU 27 – 17 over Bama

Tennessee 28 – 24 over Arkansas
Auburn 20 – 17 over Georgia
Florida 31 – 24 over South Carolina
Kentucky 17 – 13 over Vandy

If I have some quiet time at CC”s or something, I”ll try for a respectable preview. And, hey TigerSmack guys (or any other LSU fans), if you want the Cap”n to stop by your tailgate Saturday, hit the “Contact The Cap”n” link over at the right and tell me where you”ll be.

At least they tried

I hit the LSU page of The Advocate (the Baton Rouge daily, not the national gay newspaper) tonight to catch the post-game Tennessee / pre-game Alabama coverage, and lo and behold … The Advocate has a (not at all gay) new design.

Check it: Advocate redesign. OK, it”s not spectacular. White background – what a concept. I”m not going to nitpick … still no linking of the big-assed logo to the front page? trying to compete with ajc.com for the most links you can put on a page? … but one thing really sets me off.

The Advocate has launched a pretty full set of RSS feeds, but apparently the Manship family still doesn”t quite grasp the concept. Understandable in a place like Baton Rouge, I guess, but here”s a tip:

RSS is not a means to shove out headlines with no content attached. Giving me a feed that says “LSU defense comes up big” but has no snippet of the story is not syndication. It”s closer to spam. The proper form for such a bit of RSS would be:

——————–
LSU defense comes up big
LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini shook his head and said it seemed like the Tigers gave up 100 points Saturday. In reality, the best passing game to face LSU this season wasn’t good enough, as the Tigers rallied to beat Tennessee 28-24.
——————–

That”s syndication. Give me a little bit of content (the lead) to see in my RSS environment and if it”s compelling, I”ll click over and read the full story on The Advocate website. If I”m not compelled by what I see in RSS, I”m not clicking over. Sure, I”m probably going to click on “LSU defense comes up big” because of my interest in the Tigers, but “Police and fire briefs for Nov. 6″ isn”t bringing me over.

I suspect this is typical newspaper thinking: “My God, we can”t give away the content!!!”. It”s not surprising that an old-school organization like The Advocate would come to understand “we need RSS” without really understanding the use case behind it.

That”s unfortunate, and hopefully they”ll catch on someday.

Unsatisfied

TCL and I were sitting right above the endzone where Early Doucet pulled in the game-winning TD last night in Knoxville. After the catch, we had to remind each other to do our traditional “High Ten” big-play celebration.

LSU had just beaten the No. 8 team in the country on the road with nine seconds left on an impressive 80-yard drive. We should have been going nuts, but this was just another moment in Les Miles football – a game we should have won easily but had to try to salvage in the end. The talent differential between LSU and Tennessee last night was stunning. Tennessee had nothing to bring but Jonathan “Straight Outta” Crompton and Robert Meachem, who hooked up on TD passes of 37 and 54 yards – those two plays representing a third of Tennessee”s total offense. Meachem beat the defense on both of those plays, and Crompton recognized and hit him. The Vols deserve credit for that.

But the game never should have come down to the last 80-yard drive to win it. As usual, the game was marked with frustration and mistakes.

The biggest factor keeping Tennessee in the game was JaMarcus” two interceptions in the 3rd quarter. Apparently (if you believe The Advocate; the Baton Rouge daily, not the national gay newspaper) a lot of LSU fans are laying blame on JaMarcus for his sometimes sloppy play and ill-timed picks. I don”t see it that way.

JaMarcus is an amazingly talented quarterback whose raw talent and strong arm have saved LSU time and time again over the last two seasons. At Florida, JaMarcus” fumbled snap on the goal line hurt us bad, and one of his three picks there was his fault, but he was hardly the reason we lost that game. He was the reason we stayed in it.

Yesterday JaMarcus threw two bad interceptions in the 3rd quarter; both clearly his fault and both very costly (one returned for at TD, one killing a drive deep in Vols territory). But the question that needs to be asked is why is he making those throws? JaMarcus is in his third year of NCAA football, having played significant minutes since his freshman year and having started since his sophomore year. But he hasn”t learned when to take a chance and when to play it safe. Because he hasn”t been taught.

The LSU coaches haven”t taught JaMarcus game management. They seem content to let Russell play his improv game full time. And too often, that leads to more drama than we need. And we got plenty of drama yesterday.

More unnecessary drama came from penalties. Nine in all, including a false start that turned a third-and-one on the Tennessee 23 into a third-and-six and ultimately a 52-yard missed field goal attempt and another false start that turned our fourth-and-two on the final drive into a fourth-and-seven. A roughing the passer call helped set up Tennessee”s first score.

LSU is back to the frustrating days of old, where fans always need to look for the flag on the field after a big play. The difference now is we have so damned much talent, it”s clear that our shortcoming is coaching. Fortunately for the coaching staff, that talent can mask a lot of incompetence.

Since Leslie came to town, the poor coaching and lack of discipline have defined 9 of LSU”s 22 games played. The breakout of Leslie”s 22 games looks like:

- Poor wins: 6 (Arizona State, Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas in 2005; Tennessee in 2006)

- Poor losses: 3 (Tennessee, Georgia in 2005; Florida in 2006)
- Good wins: 1 (Miami in 2005)
- Good losses: 1 (Auburn in 2006)

- Expected wins: 12 (Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, North Texas, Appalachian State, Ole Miss in 2005; UL-L, Arizona, Tulane, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Fresno State in 2006)

The case could be made that beating Miami in the Peach Bowl was – in retrospect – not such a big deal. But I”ll give Leslie that one.

My point is this: As a devout Tiger fan I was surprised at the reaction TCL and I had after the game yesterday. We should have been jubilant. LSU had finally passed a test and kept itself in position to maybe make another SEC Championship game. But even in a big win, it”s clear LSU is squandering its talent. I”m not content to skate by when we”re the superior team; and that”s been the case far too often.

It really sucks the fun out of LSU football.

LSU / SEC Week 10 Predictions; Week 9 Recap

If a healthy Erik Ainge were playing tomorrow, there”s no way I could pick No. 13 LSU to beat the No. 8 Vols. Not that it couldn”t happen. LSU has the talent, but frankly we”ve proven exactly nothing this year. I was happy with how LSU played against Auburn … but that was before Auburn lost to Arkansas and skated past South Carolina and Ole Miss. If Arkansas could crack the Auburn code, why couldn”t we? And we fell apart in our only other real game (and only other road game) at Florida.

Picking LSU without the Vols” QB issue would be foolish. Again, it”s not that we couldn”t win the game, but no compelling case could really be made for it.

But the reality is that Ainge is gimpy at best. Even Les Miles knows what to do if he”s in the game: chase him, tackle him low. Life in the SEC, you know.

Tennessee is probably going to have to depend on Jonathan Crompton for the bulk of the QB action tomorrow. That”s a lot to ask of a guy who”s thrown exactly four passes in his college career. So a likely edge for LSU.

Still, I don”t have a good comfort level with this game. I could make a lot of cases for LSU here. We do have the talent. The defense was capable against Auburn and Florida, the offense stellar against the young ladies we”ve played every other week. Side note: Who”s the best team LSU has beaten? According to Anderson-Hester, it”s UL-Lafayette. Seriously.

So Leslie, you”re back at the “prove it to me” stage.

Vols 20 – 17

Elsewhere in the SEC (quickly):

No. 12 Arkansas at South Carolina: I”m not picking on my needs, but still see an upset. Cocks 27 – 20

No. 7 Florida at Vandy: Crocs 38 – 24

Georgia at Kentucky: UGA 31 – 13

Mississippi State at Alabama: Tide 17 – 10

Arkansas State at No. 6 Auburn: Tigers 55 – 6

Northwestern State at Ole Miss: Rebels 27 – 7

Last week: 6 – 1. For the year: 59 – 12

Finally, a note:

- The LSU / Auburn game was the CBS game that week. I went. We lost.
- The LSU / Florida game was the CBS game that week. I went. We lost.
- The LSU / Tennessee game is the CBS game this week. I”m going …

Russ smacks a TV

If anybody watches Fox 5 news, you may have noticed they”ve started incorporating a “touch screen” gimmick where the anchor is standing in front of a monitor and smacks it to change from graphic to graphic. The funny thing is that anybody with an ounce of sense can see this ain”t really a touch screen … they”re just pounding on a Zenith. As a media guy, this really amuses me. And when the guy in the control room forgets to change graphics when the screen is smacked, that”s just comedy, so I had to grab it:

Scary

I don”t mean to over-react, but this is seriously some of the scariest shit I”ve ever seen:

FBI returns to “Fake Boarding Pass” guy”s home, seizes computers . Are the feds going to come after me for linking to this?

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