Thursday, January 21, 2010

Falco, Expatriate Joining Baltimore Sports Report

Falco and I are officially starting at Baltimore Sports Report, an amalgamation of a host of other Baltimore sports blogs (Right Off Russell and Baltimore Sports Report being two of the main ones) that have joined together to create a central source for sports blogging for the area.

We decided to take the opportunity there because it allowed us to continue to blog without sacrificing the quality of our content in the long term. Being able to work with Jeff Pilson, Matt Sadler, Zach Wilt, Jeff Wolfson, Mark Brennan, Mindpinball, and Clark (sorry if I missed anyone) will give us the time we need and allow our readers to get the best Ravens/Orioles/Terps coverage they can find.

So please check us out at the Baltimore Sports Report!

Monday, November 16, 2009

From the Writers of ATH, Saying Goodbye and Thank You

As you may have noticed, Windsor hasn’t posted much in the last couple months, and Falco and I have been having a tougher and tougher time getting regular, meaningful posts up there every day. The fact of the matter is that since I moved to Michigan and Windsor and Falco left College Park, we don’t have the time or the access to the team that we did when we lived in the area. Falco may be moving out of Maryland altogether in the near future, and the three of us met together this weekend to discuss the future of the blog.

After much consternation, we have decided to close Around the Harbor, at least for the foreseeable future. The fact of the matter is that we can no longer provide our readers with the standard of content that we hold ourselves to. We may post now and then, but it will be a while until we are able to restart this blog in a meaningful way.

It has been a great run (497 posts to date), and it has been wonderful writing for all of you who have chosen to spend a couple minutes reading our random disparate thoughts on national, Baltimore, and University of Maryland sports. We’ll miss this blog, but we’ll be in the stands as always showing Baltimore pride wherever we go. Thanks for reading, it has made this endeavor worth it.

Go Ravens, Go O’s, and Go Terps!

-Expatriate, on behalf of Windsor and Falco

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ravens' Midseason Forecast

Last year we watched the Ravens play with the thought in our minds that this was a very good team that was just a hair below the elite teams in the AFC. I entered this season wondering whether they could make the leap to the elite level. Unfortunately, they have taken a step back- not just below the Colts/Patriots/Steelers level, but below playoff level in the conference. Don’t get me wrong, this team is still good, but only that. It is easy to look at the 4-4 record and say that of course this team is average as they stand now, but one must look at who their losses have come to. Cincinnati, for all its reputation, is still a division leader, as are Minnesota and New England. By no means are these losses embarrassing, but the idea that this team couldn’t pull out a win in any of these cases in disturbing. I am going to try to take a look at the biggest weaknesses on this team and what will be the difference whether they reach the playoffs or not.

The Secondary: Ed Reed is doing too much and getting hurt in the process, and the troubles of the cornerbacks is well-documented on this blog. While the Ravens have great depth at safety, neither Haruki Nakamura nor Tom Zbikowski are Ed Reed-level safeties. If Reed can’t go, that will be another huge blow to this group. To be honest, the Ravens are not starting cornerbacks who have any history to suggest that they will play better as the season goes on. Unfortunately this Achilles heel should stick around for a while.

The Kicker: One has to wonder whether the Ravens final drive could have been more successful last week against the Bengals if they didn’t have to try to get two scores rather than just one. We will never know, as Steve Hauschka missed yet another key field goal late in the game- and it wasn’t a 48 yarder as it was against Minnesota. He has never been a particularly accurate kicker, and while I didn’t think Stover should have been kept around I didn’t think that Hauschka was necessarily the answer. If a change is made or Hauschka gets his leg or mind straightened out, this could improve as the season goes on.

The Run Defense: I don’t get it. Baltimore used to shut down every running back who attempted to run right at them- now they are being gashed up the middle. This can’t be the result of losing Bart Scott, though revisionist historians would love to say they thought the Ravens should throw the checkbook at him to keep him in town. I worry that Kelly Gregg isn’t playing at his traditional high level, but he has been part of great Baltimore defenses in the past. The only great changes in this defense have been Greg Mattison and a suddenly awful secondary. The logical excuse would be to say that a terrible secondary has led to more players being sent into coverage, but that hasn’t been the case as far as I can see. I can’t explain this, so I have to assume it will get better over the year; but it will have to turn around by Week 12 or Baltimore may want to shop for a new defensive coordinator.

The Offensive Inconsistency:
This isn’t going anywhere. So far this season either the defense holds the opponent under 20 points or the offense goes off- but it has only happened at the same time once this season; against the Broncos. I am not sure if this is a problem with execution or with Cam Cameron failing to adjust to certain teams, but the team can change from week to week from humming along to ground to a halt. However, two of this team’s three games where they scored less than 30 points came against the Bengals, who have two shut-down cornerbacks. This goes back to the weakness of the Ravens receivers, who are unable to matchup with elite corners (with the exception of Derrick Mason) and leave Joe Flacco with very few options. With the right matchups at wide receiver, this offense can be successful. When the corners are above average, this team will struggle offensively. Looking at the schedule, this could mean 3 or 4 more substandard offensive days.

The Browns game should go better on both counts, but with the Colts, the Steelers (twice), the Bears, and the Packers left on the schedule, this team will have a lot of work to do to reach the near-clinching 10-6 record needed to have hope of making the playoffs.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Can Jamarr Robinson take the helm and win?

Maryland does not have much to play for right now. The ACC is out of reach and with a 2-7 record, a bowl is not attainable. Worse, Chris Turner was gone down and has a probable MCL injury, so Jamarr Robinson will take the quarterback position most likely against Virginia Tech. As Scott McBrien said on the Terrapin postgame show, five wins sounds a lot better than two, but the road to try to get there is perilous.

Against N.C. State, Robinson took over for Turner who went down, and he seemed to grow as the game went on. He got more comfortable as the game progressed, going from a player who fumbled the snap and constantly ran the ball to a decent scrambling quarterback that made decent short passes. The sophomore had a lot of work to do, but at the very least he shows some promise in the future for Maryland. With the Terps current WR core, Robinson, Torrey Smith and the rest can get a system together, as most of them will return next season. Robinson was listed as the quarterback of the future, and with James Franklin's system, this is our chance to see him at least for one game.

But the first game for Robinson starting (likely) will be against Virginia Tech, one of the few ranked teams in the conference. The crowd likely will not be happy with the team because of recent losses, but Robinson will need to play well, or at least good enough. The Terps do not want to burn Danny O'Brien's redshirt it at all possible.

Robinson will need to use this time wisely. If Turner can return before the season is over he will, especially in the easiest game left, Senior Day against Boston College. The fact is right now Turner is the better quarterback despite criticisms against him, and he gives Maryland the best chance to win. So Robinson needs to use what time he will get on the field to his advantage, because he will be starting next season no question.

As McBrien said, five wins sounds a lot better than two. But with Virginia Tech, at Florida State and Boston College left, the Terps may be lucky to get one more win before the season ends.

(Photo credit: Maryland athletics)

Monday, November 9, 2009

College Football Blogpoll Week 10

Big rush right now, so here is the poll for this week. If you didn’t read last week’s poll, ATH won the award for the poll that most closely resembled the blogpoll at large- which I am not sure is a great award, but I will take the recognition. In case you haven’t noticed, it is just Falco and I filling out the polls from here on out. Send us your thoughts, any big changes needed?

1) Florida- Took care of Vandy as expected, and without any more serious tests on the schedule, they should get ready for Alabama in the SEC title game.
2) Alabama- Barring a very unlikely slip-up to arch-rival Auburn, the Crimson Tide will steel themselves for a matchup with Florida. The SEC West is all but won.
3) Texas- This sure as hell is a second-half team if I ever saw one. They will need to play 4 quarters if they want to win a National Championship.
4) Cincinnati- Now it starts to get exciting. If Cincy can run the table against their slate of West Virginia, Illinois, and Pittsburgh, that resume will look pretty good. Will Tony Pike be rusty when he comes back?
5) Boise State- That was much closer than it had to be against Louisiana Tech, and they need to end the season with a series of blowouts to persuade voters to give them a shot at the big game.
6) TCU- With their fourth straight whooping behind them, a convincing win over Utah could vault them into legitimate 2008 Utah-esque national title talk. That is, they are deserving but won’t be seriously considered.
7) Georgia Tech- Paul Johnson’s team is entering the stratosphere for this program, but if they can finish the ACC slate and title game with just one loss they could jump the mid-major undefeateds.
8) Iowa- Playing it close week after week finally caught up with the Hawkeyes. This is a team that probably should be lower- it is really disappointing that they couldn’t run the table.
9) Pittsburgh- Tough finishing slate, but that Notre Dame game doesn’t seem quite so threatening anymore. I have liked Dave Wannstedt since his days at Miami, and he should get a lot of credit for turning around the Panthers, though it has taken a few years.
10) Oregon- Wow, way to come down to Earth. I guess this will end speculation of them jumping Boise State in the rankings. Still disappointing, PAC 10 teams have been dropping the easy ones all season.
11) USC- This is way too high for this team… or is it just right? I have no idea, but I do know that there is no way they should be ahead of the Ducks like they are in the AP poll. Reputation goes a long way, and it is too far.
12) LSU- The offense fails them yet again. The defense is solid, and with a bit of maturity at the quarterback spot they could be back on top of the SEC.
13) Houston- That UTEP loss is so ugly, and they only barely beat Tulsa and Southern Miss. Any other year, this is your classic 8-4, 9-3 Houston team. I am just not convinced.
14) Ohio State- With that win over Penn State, the Buckeyes can win the Big Ten if they take out Iowa at home. I guess they could be the best team in the Big Ten, but what does that say about the Big Ten? The Big East might be a better conference.
15) Oklahoma State- They still can’t beat the great teams, but they can beat a few more good teams before the season is out to legitimize their placement here. It’s disappointing that the Cowboys still can’t break through to the upper echelon of the Big 12.
16) Miami (FL)- They are a very good team but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them lose any one game from here on out. However, this team has already come a long way since last season and it looks like Randy Shannon has this team on the rebound.
17) Penn State- Overmatched at home and thoroughly outplayed; what quality win does this team have at this point? I thought it might be Michigan, but… not so much.
18) Utah- The six straight losses are great, but TCU looms large this coming week. They could ruin the Horned Frogs’ hopes at breaking the BCS wide open.
19) Virginia Tech- Very manageable end of the schedule (though I said the same thing before they lost to UNC), but they will kick themselves for this season if they don’t somehow win the ACC.
20) Arizona- Mike Stoops is outcoaching his brother this year, but the last four weeks will be a tremendous test for this team as they wrap up the season. Cal, Oregon, Arizona State, and USC. Enjoy.
21) Wisconsin- This is turning into a vintage Wisconsin team- a punishing running game, a serviceable quarterback, and a powerful defensive front. They aren’t exactly modern-era, btu they’re exciting.
22) BYU- Is BYU here on reputation at this point? They are always a good team and just seem to belong here. That win over Oklahoma is looking mediocre, and their two losses were absolute blowouts, one coming to a terrible Florida State squad.
23) Navy- Who called it? That would be yours truly, and while my analysis was off I will take the correct prediction. Navy is rarely a bad team, and this could be a good year for the Mids.
24) South Florida- They just keep creeping in and out of the top 25, and while I am not sure if they belong here, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. The Big East isn’t looking so bad anymore, huh?
25) Temple- Okay, so why are they here over West Virginia (Falco also threw them a vote)? Because I think it is pretty awesome to have Temple in the top 25. So sue me, it’s the 25th spot. Besides, that Navy win is looking even better.

Others receiving votes: West Virginia

Friday, November 6, 2009

Free Kicks

Once again the Ravens preview has taken a backseat to a mountain of work-related activities, but I promise to get back on the horse next week. In the meantime, enjoy some Free Kicks to get you through the weekend. Unfortunately I have to start with the Yankees, so get ready for some extra obnoxious New York fans next season while we line up for the kick…

Yankees Win 27th World Series Title
I won’t go into the popular refrain that they bought this World Series title, though I will say that they are perennial contenders because of that payroll- there is no way that much money doesn’t at least put you in the playoffs. This year they were the best team in baseball, though hardly a great story. Most years there is something to rally behind, and last year was the king of that- you had the Tampa Bay Rays with the first winning season in team history and the Phillies who were carrying a 25 year city-wide title drought. This year you had the Phillies as defending champs and the big, bad Yankees. Sure I was disappointed when the Phillies lost, but it wasn’t exactly a heartbreaker either. I just can’t stand the Yankees. My biggest worry is that the Yankees fans will become even more obnoxious, puffing out their chests even more while the nation-wide band-wagoners trade their Red Sox caps for Yankees caps. Either way it’ll be more misery for us O’s fans.

No Ravens Preview, But Here’s a Prediction

The Ravens will not shut down the Bengals the way they shut down the Broncos last week, but I will bet they do a better job on Cedric Benson, holding him to under 100 yards. As for Carson Palmer, he will get his share of big plays down the field, but I think that the Broncos game was a change in attitude for this defense. It gave them the confidence they need and inspired Greg Mattison to send blitzers more often and make use of the Ravens linebackers. I will take Baltimore’s defense to make a stop when it needs to. The offense has adjusted since its last game against the Bengals, and will be able to score on this defense. Joe Flacco has been incredible in pressure situations, and I will take Ray Rice to have a big game this weekend. The nod goes to the Ravens, 27-21.

Hill, Fiorentino, Rodriguez Declare for Free Agency
Rich Hill will look around, but I doubt that he gets a major league contract. Whether it was his health or his throwing motion (or both) we don’t know, but his 2007 performance is looking like a long time ago. This makes two straight seasons that he has struggled mightily and then, late in the season, said he was pitching hurt all year. I still think he can be a great starting pitcher in theory, but he might just be too far gone at this point. He was hanging every pitch over the plate this past season, and there will be a limited number of teams willing to commit a lot of money on a reclamation project. The best place for Hill is a year at Norfolk, and I hope he realizes it.

As for Jeff Fiorentino, he has been good to the Orioles after they mishandled his development three years ago. He deserves a shot at another team and perhaps become an everyday outfielder on another squad- there is no room in the outfield for Baltimore and he has been a class act since he arrived in the organization. Best wishes to him as he goes to yet another club. The Orioles will find a catcher, Guillermo Rodriguez won’t be missed all that much. Matt Wieters has the position pretty safely locked up.

Prediction for the Weekend:
Well, last weekend I recovered with the Oregon win over USC, bringing me to 2-4 in my dicey predictions. So this week, how about I go back to college football. Navy takes on Notre Dame, and excuse me if I want to go for the Midshipmen. The Irish defense has been suspect to say the least this season, and a well-executed triple option can tear that apart. The risk here is that Navy’s defenders won’t be able to keep up with ND’s explosive skill position players and that their undersized defensive line won’t stand up to the Irish offensive line. I agree that this will be a high scoring affair, but Notre Dame makes every game a close call. The nod goes to Navy, 45-42.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Maryland's Coaching Conundrum

It must be accepted at this point that Ralph Friedgen doesn’t have any magic left in that old silk hat. His team can’t protect the passer, they can’t run the ball, and the defense is slow and out of position. Friedgen is saying all the right things of course, that the goal of reaching a bowl game is still in sight, and that the ACC itself is still up for grabs. I don’t hope to imagine how he plans to reel off four straight, but I understand that he has to keep his players motivated. As far as winning the ACC, even I as a Maryland fan shudder at the idea. If a 6-6 team actually won a major conference, commissioner John Swofford should just airmail that automatic bid to the Mountain West Conference. Needless to say, Swofford won’t have to worry about that. Maryland’s schedule will take care of that, and they can thank the ACC for not having Georgia Tech on their slate. Can you imagine this front 7 trying to read and react to the triple option? I shudder to think about it.

But that isn’t the point, and Friedgen is saying what he should. What I take issue with is the future of the program. Ralph has made it known that he isn’t afraid to burn redshirts late in the season or throw whatever players out there it will take to win this season. Why would you mortgage your future to protect a team that is tanking? Two reasons: pride and fear. Pride because regardless of the consequences later, a head coach wants to win and win now, if for no other reason than your own competitive flare. Fear because he is worried about his job and wants to end the season on a high note to convince his bosses to keep him around.

I have seen a lot of coaches do the latter. Heck, on the other side of the Potomac Al Groh makes a yearly exercise of it and has gotten pretty darn good at it. A whole host of other marginal coaches have tried it late in their careers, but I would question whether this particular marginal coach should be worried about it. The athletic department is only barely in the black, an issue we have raised on ATH before and probably will again in the near future. The fact of the matter is that with Friedgen’s contract it just doesn’t make financial sense to keep him around, though it may be easier to sell Maryland’s many unoccupied luxury boxes if they had a “new regime” to rally behind.

Therein lies the bigger problem. Even if Friedgen goes, is James Franklin really the guy to take over? I wasn’t a fan of him being named the Coach-in-waiting at the time, and I would be loathe to find a Maryland fan who is terribly excited to have him as the head coach. Granted, I could be devastatingly wrong, and he could turn out to be a much better head coach than he is a coordinator. Nevertheless, if Franklin wasn’t the head coach, he would be owed $1 million for his troubles. The Athletic Department doesn’t have that kind of money.

But again, this is one season and Ralph Friedgen has taken this program places where it hadn’t been in decades, so it stands to reason that the future might be even brighter down the road. But it doesn’t look like it right now. Penn State has always robbed Maryland of its in-state recruits, and that is understandable. But more and more teams are reaching into MD’s backyard and drawing recruits who one would think at least have thought of Maryland. It worries me that Friedgen’s squad is only one of many teams making a play for MD high school football players, and not the established presence that other teams need to come in and unseat. It isn’t as though Maryland has another in-state school to compete with like Virginia Tech-Virginia, Georgia Tech-Georgia, or even North Carolina-Duke-NC State. With James Franklin also in charge of recruiting in the state, this makes this only a great worry.

In the end it all comes down to money. I would never toss out Ralph Friedgen based on one season or even the slow decline his program has undergone since his first years on the job. It is clear however that the long term health of this program is in jeopardy, with the team thin on both sides of the line despite recruiting classes that have been in the 26th-38th range among recent years according to Rivals. Could some of the energy put into creating those solid classes gone to the non-skill positions? Regardless, the University can’t afford to fire Friedgen or not give Franklin the job before 2012. Terps fans are left to cross their fingers and hope that either the team reverses the trend of the last 5 years or the athletic department suddenly gets into the black.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What Is Going On With Dino Gregory?

Dino Gregory, Maryland's junior forward expected to at least be in the starting lineup to begin the season, did not play in the exhibition, and reports are that he violated team rules. However, Maryland is not revealing what happened, and it looks as if this may be a big problem for Gregory.

The Washington Post and Baltimore Sun alike have been trying to figure out what happened, but no one at Maryland, coach Gary Williams included, seems to wish to elaborate. On Jeff Barker's Tracking the Terps blog on the Baltimore Sun, he quotes the Washington Post as saying in the summer that Gregory's eligibility might have been in question due to academic issues. But right now it is not certain what is happening or how long Gregory will be out. He is still on the Maryland roster, so he has not left the team, but the situation is a strange one.

Right now, Maryland needs Dino Gregory to be an available player. During the exhibition against Indiana (PA), freshmen big men James Padgett and Jordan Williams both looked strong. Padgett, who started the game, scored eight with four rebounds and two blocks, while Williams off the bench scored seven points (five from free throws) and grabbed six rebounds. Both looked good to start the season. But Maryland does not want to lose its veteran presence, especially on the boards.

The only starter the Terps need to replace from last year is Dave Neal, who became the important forward Maryland needed. Gregory is the only returning big man that can be effective down low. Landon Milbourne is also back, but he is a small forward thet focuses on shooting, not playing below the rim, and the same goes for Jin Soo Choi and Cliff Tucker, who are more shooting forwards that players who can grab rebounds. It is real exciting to see what Padgett and Williams can do, but they will need help before they jump into the fire of the ACC. For Maryland, lets hope that Gregory can return, and soon, or else a lot of pressure will be placed on two rookies.

(Photo credit: Washington Post)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Maryland Basketball Begins Tonight

The Maryland men's basketball team begins its season tonight with an exhibition against Indiana (PA) at the Comcast Center. This is the only exhibition the Terps will have as they will start the regular season on November 13th against Charleston Southern.

Maryland has been voted as having one of the best backcourts in the country and is the best in the conference no doubt. Greivis Vasquez returned after deciding to not head to the NBA and is the leader of the team. But three other guards are important to the backcourt as well. Eric Hayes showed great stuff in the NCAA Tournament, Sean Mosley might be developing a shot to go along with his defense, and Adrian Bowie may be the point guard when Vasquez is off the court. Cliff Tucker can also be mentioned, but he is more of a swing player.

The big question coming into the season will be the Maryland frontcourt. Landon Milbourne will be a starter, but the Terps need to find who will be their big man. Braxton Dupree transferred out to Towson, so he is no longer an option. Dino Gregory is said to be the likely starter, but Maryland's top two recruits, Jordan Williams and James Padgett, will likely be competing for time as well. Williams, the center like player, and Padgett, the athletic forward being compared to James Gist. Also possibly in the mix is Steve Goins, who people believed was going to transfer, but he is still in uniform, and the Chicago center may have more to show. Right now Maryland will need the play in this exhibition to see who their big man will be.

And of course, Gary Williams returns for his 21st season. The greatest basketball coach in Maryland history will be wearing a neck brace due to recent surgery, but he could have a special team with him this year.

For me, I'll be listening to the game on radio, but ESPN Films has a one hour special in their 30 for 30 series on Len Bias tonight. But, Maryland's season begins tonight.

(Photo credit: Baltimore Sun)

Monday, November 2, 2009

College Football Blogpoll Week 9

Once again, Falco and I complete this poll, with very interesting results. We actually mostly agree until #14 USC, with a few exceptions with how we sorted the Iowa-Cincinnati-Boise State crew and our positioning of Pittsburgh as right behind or right in front of Houston. In that way it seems that we are starting to come to a bit of a consensus on the top 25. We can only hope the rest of the country does too.

1) Florida (2)- A beatdown of a bad Georgia team won’t make them the unquestioned best team, but it is good enough to take the #1 spot for now. Nice to see the offense get going, even against a bad defense like Georgia.
2) Alabama- Only coaching lapses allow two blocks to the same player, no matter how good he is. This team should have lost, but they can redeem themselves with a win over LSU.
3) Texas- Alabama should have lost last weekend, and Texas thumped a very talented Oklahoma State team in Stillwater… but Alabama still has a better resume to this point. I badly want to have Texas jump them, and next week will determine that.
4) Cincinnati- Tony who? Cincy is doing just fine with backup QB Zach Collaros so far. They may want their veteran back against UConn and Pitt, talented squads that make up the Bearcats next two contests.
5) Iowa- They have escaped from so many games and had so many last-minute comebacks that if you showed me snapshots from their various games without the final score I would probably put them at the bottom part of the top 25. But a win is a win. And 8 wins count for a lot.
6) Boise State- I am just waiting for the major conference bias to hit and for Oregon to jump Boise State. Without another competitive game on the schedule (Idaho is the only one with a decent record… maybe Nevada too?), the voters will drop them eventually.
7) TCU- Another big win to an overmatched team, but they are still undefeated and on their way to making the BCS’ life very difficult. They better hope Utah keeps winning, as that is the last resume piece left on the slate.
8) Oregon- So much for the Pete Carroll mystique. This team looks great right now, and any other year they are in the top 5. An astounding 7 undefeateds keeps them out.
9) LSU- Quietly, very quietly, sneaking up the polls with just one loss this season. Should they beat Alabama, they could make an Oregon-esque argument as the best one-loss team. Both just have one loss to an undefeated team.
10) Georgia Tech- Forgotten earlier in the season after a loss to Miami, Tech has slowly moved back up the rankings. As I have said in the past, this is the most fun team to watch offensively, though the defense is a concern.
11) Penn State- They started off with a weak schedule, but the Nittany Lions are proving themselves as a very talented team. How good would they be with half decent opponents no one can say, but they can make a huge statement against Ohio State this weekend.
12) Pittsburgh- Has the much maligned Wannstedt finally started to turn around Pitt? They could be the best team in Pennsylvania. I hope they spent some of their bye week getting ready for Notre Dame in a couple weeks.
13) Houston- They can’t stop any decent offense, but they sure can score. Tulsa next week may be their last major test- too bad they already lost to UTEP or they could be right up with TCU and Boise State, though a with a few more flaws.
14) USC- Why is everyone so bullish on this team? I don’t even know that they should even be this high, but this is where they wound up. If you put them in another team’s uniforms, they would be bringing up the rear of the top 25.
15) Miami (FL)- A come-from-behind win against Wake Forest tells me that this team may be shakier than we thought even after the Clemson game. They should be great next season though.
16) Ohio State- Shredding New Mexico State is one thing; we’ll see if Pryor can get going against Penn State’s defense this weekend.
17) Utah- *Yawn* another win over an overmatched team. Then again, Wyoming did win the first half against Texas earlier in the season. I have no idea how good this team is- good enough to only lose by 7 to Oregon or the one that can barely put away cupcakes?
18) Oklahoma State- Way to come back down to Earth. Until the Cowboys can beat a highly ranked team, they will always be looking up at the Texas & Oklahoma programs in the Big 12.
19) Arizona- The loss at Iowa isn’t looking so bad anymore, and Mike Stoops might finally have a season where he outperforms his brother. However, his Wildcats still have Cal, Oregon, and USC to go.
20) California- This is starting to feel about right for them. It’s upsetting that they could only score 6 points in two games against Oregon and USC, or they might be a team on the rise.
21) Virginia Tech- The toast of the ACC has become toast in the ACC. Can it all rest on Tyrod Taylor? I’ll give some of the credit at least to UNC, but this team has suddenly become a real disappointment.
22) Wisconsin- Sneaking into the top 25 is a Big Ten team whose losses to Ohio State and Iowa are nothing to be embarrassed about, and look on their way to 9 or even 10 wins. If they can reach that level, Bret Bielema might not have to hear the omnipresent Barry Alvarez comparisons.
23) Notre Dame- “What the hell is Notre Dame doing here?” “For lack of better options. Nothing more.” If Navy had won this weekend, they would probably be here.
24) BYU- Same as California, though without the major conference schedule but with a marquee win. Take the balance and Oklahoma’s subsequent two losses and you wind u p slightly behind them.
25) Auburn- I went out on a limb and went for Auburn despite them having lost their previous 3 games before beating Ole Miss. However, does this mean we can finally stop seeing Mississippi slide its way into the poll later this year?

Others receiving votes: South Florida