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Ask CGB - Week 7

Back to Ivan Maisel, because, though he's a Furdite, he answers far fewer questions and means I have to do less work. Or is because he's a Furdite that he answers fewer questions? Something to think about.

To submit questions to future CGB mailbags, please do one of these three things. 

1) If you're registered, leave us a question in the comments section of this post and we'll try to answer it here and include it in next week's mailbag.
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If you have a question for a specific person, make sure to delineate it! They can be addressed to any of the editors, even mods. On with the show!

sec119 (In Your House)

Love your work YF! Who's been MVP so far of college football, and also of my beloved Golden Bears?

Yellow Fever

Has to be Cameron Newton at this point - up to last week I still would have said Denard Robinson, but I don't think anyone would have reasonably expected Auburn to be undefeated and in the national title hunt at this point, and it's almost entirely due to him being there, so that's the easy answer. Even the presumed Heisman runner-up, LaMichael James, has a great backup who could do most of what he does. Or did. Is Barner still hurt?

As for our Bears, it has to be Shane "The Submarine" Vereen. Riley's still busy evoking the Kyle Boller era (he's still not quite as bad as Ayoob...yet), so Tedford's trying to do the prudent thing and lean heavily on our RBs. If they weren't around...well, I'm not sure the offense would be a whole lot better than, say...Rutgers. With Chas Dodd, not Tom Savage.


John Davidson (two weeks ago!)

I am a Cal alum and a BIG fan of the Golden Bears, especially since Coach Tedford brought them back to life nine years ago.  I bleed blue and gold when they lose and envy my office mates who are USC alums. But I disagree with your thesis, that Cal is getting a raw deal in the divisional split.  Do I want Cal to win?   Yes.  Do I want them to win because they have a soft schedule.  NO!  If the Golden Bears need a soft schedule to get to the Rose Bowl or to a BCS Bowl, then the prize isn't worth having.  They don't need patsies on their schedule.  They need a quarterback who can execute a "money" drive in the last minute of the game—think Andrew Luck and Jake Locker vs. USC.  Alabama and Ohio State don't lobby for a free ride to the top.  Oklahoma and Texas haven't asked for a pass. If Cal wants to gain respect, it has to be by winning, not whining. Are USC and UCLA tough opponents?  Bring 'em on!!!


I don't believe there's any alignment where we'd end up with a soft schedule. Trying to take nine wins against Pac-12 opponents is still a formidable task, no matter who we get. My biggest concern is having to face rivals twice in the same season to get back to Pasadena, making the regular season result slightly less valuable. I'd rather have all the California schools in one division, although I can see why many of the remaining teams in the conference would object to such an alignment.

And I'd argue both Alabama and Ohio State have easier roads than us to achieve loftier goals--they play one less conference opponent and one more patsy.

Yellow Fever

I agree with most of what Avi said above, although I disagree with that last paragraph - they do have easier non-conference schedules, but the additional conference championship game that they have means they have one more premium opponent. Of course, when the Pac-12 also adds an additional conference championship game, that point in their favor will be nullified as well.


Holland (Kansas City)

What will it take from Oklahoma to convince you they belong at #1?

Yellow Fever

Oregon, Boise State, TCU, and possibly Auburn and LSU losing.


Will (Salt Lake)

If Boise royally slips up and loses to Nevada, Hawaii or Fresno what are the odds that the mountain west could have 2 teams in BCS bowls (like a 1 loss Utah or TCU being the second team)?

Yellow Fever

Not very good - I'm pretty sure just about every BCS bowl is going to take a two-loss team from any AQ conference over a second (non-automatic) eligible team from the Mountain West. I don't think there's any novelty to be had any more from Utah or TCU making it to a BCS bowl in terms of fan turnout, so there's no financial incentive for any BCS bowl to select them, and that's ultimately what the at-large choices come down to.


Ryan (TCU)

Fever, thinking about making the trek to Salt Lake City for the TCU v. Utah game (21 hour drive)...worth it? What's the gameday experience like there?

Yellow Fever

Why don't we let Dennis Rodman take a crack at this one?

Chicago Bulls basketball star Dennis Rodman has received the largest fine in the history of the National Basketball Association for his disparaging comments about followers of the Mormon religion. Rodman’s remarks, and the subsequent fine, came in June as the Bulls played the Utah Jazz in the NBA championship finals.

Following a road loss by the Bulls to the Salt Lake City-based Jazz, Rodman said, "It’s difficult to get in sync because of all the (expletive deleted) Mormons out here. And you can quote me on that." He said his remarks were brought on by Jazz fans who were making obscene gestures at him. According to an Evangelical Press report, the controversial basketball player had made lewd comments about Mormons on two other occasions.

Rodman later apologized, claiming, "If I knew it was like a religious-type deal, I would have never said it. I’m sorry about that." Bulls coach Phil Jackson also tried to rationalize Rodman’s remarks by stating, "To Dennis, a Mormon may just be a nickname for people from Utah. He may not even know it’s a religious cult or sect or whatever."

John (Kentucky)

Who has the toughest remaining schedule of the unbeatens? Listening to SVP right now, and they argued between Auburn and LSU, with Auburn winning because they have to go to Alabama whereas LSU gets Alabama at home. But I think LSU battles Arkansas which makes it tougher. I think LSU has the toughest remaining schedule. Thoughts?

Yellow Fever

I feel like that argument presupposes that Alabama is most definitely the best team in the country and that the SEC is the best conference in the country - when there really isn't any proof that that's the case this year. Alabama has lost - to a team that lost - Florida's down, Arkansas a little down...yeah, ok, Auburn's good, but LSU is a house of cards...I mean, not many teams have looked that good this year. So why not Oregon? They still have Arizona, USC, and our Bears in Memorial (where we're actually decent...usually). So I'm going with them.

Jake (Boulder)

Schlabach, in the BCS chat, mentioned that the "Pac-10 is mediocre". The Pac-10 was almost universally lauded on this site for a pretty amazing run in the early non-conference slate. Now that they're cannibalizing each other, the whole conference is mediocre? Sounds pretty SEC-like, where the conference play creates all the losses, not the non-conf. What's your take?

Yellow Fever

I buy that. Schlabach is a maroon.

Nick (Albuquerque)

Are we ever going to revisit the computers used in the BCS? Some of the models being used are not very good. Can we at least look at margin of victory?

Yellow Fever

The problem comes with trying to tweak the formulas to try and simulate what we believe is important, but any time you have a formula, there's always a way to manipulate it through unintended loopholes. Maybe that's not the best way to put that, I think you get what I mean. But as an example, baseball has quality starts - >6 IP and <3 ER. Which works as a quick and dirty measure of whether the pitcher was pretty good, but if you want to know how good, you'd need to know the full measure of how many innings they pitched and how many runs they gave up.

After the outcry in early BCS formulas which included margin of victory were manipulated by teams running up the score, now all of a sudden people are saying that, well, victories by 1 point aren't the same as victories by 30 points. DUH SO WHY THE HELL WAS IT REMOVED FROM THE FORMULAS IN THE FIRST PLACE

Anyway, I think margin of victory should be in there, and that that aspect of the formulas should be revisited, but I also think that people should decide on a formula and just stick with the damn thing once and for all.

Larry (Las Vegas)

With all the blame to pass around after Nebraska's poor performance against Texas, it seems to me that Taylor Martinez deserves the least. Why is everyone so down on him when he had no support from the OL or WR's and the defense stunk it up and even the coaches perfromed below standards?

Yellow Fever

Because everyone was expecting him to play lights out after he did so in the team's first few games? I mean, it's just the nature of the QB position. I don't think that's unusual.

John (Kentucky)

Doesn't the Rose Bowl have to take the non-BCS team this year if Oregon or the Big Ten champs are in the title game?

Yellow Fever


John (Kentucky)

Love margin of victory in the computers, and I think the computers do a better job not being biased than the humans, which is what we all want. Put margin of victory back into their formulas, and then give them a 50-50 split with the humans. Don't you agree that the humans are more susceptible to bias than computers?

Yellow Fever

Preaching to the choir here, John. I, for one, would welcome our new robot overlords. Presumably they would be immune to Mack Brown's bullshit.

David (NJ)

Doesn't Boise State deserve a shot at the NCG if they go undefeated in 2 seasons? Regardless of whether OU, Oregon, LSU/Auburn go undefeated

Yellow Fever

Theoretically last season shouldn't matter, but I do believe they've earned the credibility based on last year's results that they're not a one-year fluke. So from that point of view, I do think last season's results should help, because it would mitigate the argument that they're not a good team based on their resume this year.

Donald (Eugene)

If Utah were in the PAC10 this season, would they be ranked higher?

Yellow Fever

Yeah, probably, but that's assumed they managed to have the same exact record, which is no guarantee. I've been reading that if they were in the Pac-12 they'd be in the top 5 and all that and wouldn't have been jumped by South Carolina after they'd beaten Alabama...but they'd also have a stronger resume. So yes, it is a bit odd that they're lower right now than where they would be next year on the basis of their conference, but they'd also have a stronger resume next year to get the same record too. It's not totally unwarranted.

Patrick (Boise)

What's your take on this pro-BSU Championship Game agrument: BSU's schedule was well known before the year began and yet they were ranked behind only Alabama and Ohio State. Since both of these teams have lost, BSU should be #1 based on the rankings established at the beginning....

Yellow Fever

I don't think too many people look at the schedule when formulating their preseason rankings (whether they should or not is a different matter, and something I have no opinion on) so I'm not sure how valid that argument is, but I certainly don't think it hurts that they were ranked that high.

Then again, it's not like all of college football exists in a vacuum either - if people had known Oregon would be this impressive after dismissing Jeremiah Masoli, there's a strong argument to be made that the polls undersold them. And isn't it also a common argument that preseason polls are worthless?

JL (Warrenton, VA)

You and Nick of Albuquerque make good points about the computer input to the BCS, but let me ask you; is it or how could it be more ridiculous than the human input from say the coaches' poll? Of all the problems with the BCS ratings, it seems obvious that the reliance on human input and polling is still one of the main problems.

Yellow Fever

I wouldn't remove the human element altogether (look at me sounding like Jayson Stark and Joe Morgan!) but I do think it's far more common to see irrational voting patterns and indefensible biases on display from some of the pollsters out there. So I'm all for giving the computers more of a voice than they have now...but I also wouldn't remove the polls from the equation entirely. As far as what the right balance is, I don't know, but I think it should be at least 50/50, rather than only giving computers 1/3 of the vote right now.

Steve (Fresno)

What do you make of USC's dominant performance last weekend? Is USC finally turning a corner now, especially defensively?

Yellow Fever

Let's kick it to Ivan for his entirely unbiased Furdite take:

I think a young USC team is maturing, and I think Cal has a disturbing tendency to cave the minute things start to go wrong. We'll find out about the Trojans a week from Saturday when Oregon comes to the Coliseum.

Actually, I can't disagree. Sadly.

Chris (Charlotte, NC)

How is USC factored into the BCS? They can't be ranked in the SID Poll so how does that affect it and all the teams they play?

Yellow Fever

Let's get Ivan in here one more time:

They are assumed to be factored in by the voters. The computer guys all include USC in their calculations, and then the BCS removes them and moves everybody behind them up one slot.

Sounds reasonable to me.

Mike (Lansing, Mi)

Yes sure and that commitee being made up of you sports writers right ? The Computers are better than you sports writers believe me. They don't care who is number one

Yellow Fever

I have no idea where you're going with that, Mike.

Greg (Oregon)

I see the computers as pretty poor Oregon at #8! I hope they get a chance to play for NC if they win out. If you get a chance to watch that offence you'll see why they are special. I know non confrence opponents have a lot to do with it, but Oregon keeps having teams cancel on them(K-State, Georgia). They had to schedule a FCS school this year because of a late cancelation. Why are the computers have Oregon so low? Curious if you have seen Oregon in person this year Fever?

Yellow Fever

I'm going to guess it's almost entirely the fact that they had such a weak non-conference schedule that's holding them back in the polls right now, but the impact of that schedule should be mitigated as they move further into Pac-10 play. So you really answered your own question. And no, I haven't seen them play in person, Greg, but thanks for asking!

Bryan (Loretto, TN)

Who are your top candidates for Coach of the Year at this point in the season?

Yellow Fever

I think we'd have to include the coaches of every team in the national title hunt as well as those that have surprised this year, right? So Mark Dantonio, Chip Kelly, Gary Patterson, Chip Petersen, and Gene Chizik.

Maybe Les Miles too just for the sheer irony. And definitely not Greg Schiano.

mike (CO)

What do you think Iowa's chances for a title game berth are if they runn the table. Will a one loss bama or oregon knock the Hawks out?

Yellow Fever

They're certainly not going to make it in if there are two undefeated teams, and I'm pretty sure a one-loss Alabama or Oregon is going to keep the Hawkeyes from making the title game, because of Alabama's cachet, and Oregon (probably) having defeated the same team that beat Iowa. I might see an argument for Iowa if Arizona is able to defeat Oregon too.

Matt (AL)

If Auburn ends up undefeated AGAIN in the toughest conference and doesn't make it to the NCG I may give up on CFB altogether. Thoughts on this possibility?

Yellow Fever

I think it would be hard for the pollsters to deny Auburn a spot if they went undefeated, even if Oregon and Boise or TCU also remain undefeated - hard to see Auburn not jumping the non-AQ team in that situation. Would it be justified? I guess that depends on your point of view.

Tickle (DC)

When Auburn or LSU wins this weekend, who will they jump in the polls, and since they're #2 and #3 in the computer, will the winner move up to #1?

Yellow Fever

I'm guessing they would at least jump TCU, probably into a virtual tie with Boise. Of course, it also depends on that manner in which they win, because a 7-3 slugfest capped off by a Les Miles Moment isn't going to impress anyone. As for the computers, yeah, the winner probably jumps to #1.

Joey (South Carolina)

Do you think that Ohio State is out of the national title picture? Also do you think Terrelle Pryor is out of the heisman race?Thanks.

Yellow Fever

Yeah, I think they are, unless all hell breaks loose. They're behind both Michigan State and Wisconsin in their own conference, so they need those two to fall first, and a whole bunch of other teams in front of them to go down too. So it seems unlikely. And Pryor hasn't been putting up the stats to keep him relevant in the Heisman chase even with a loss like Robinson has, so he's out of it as well.

Mike (Baton Rouge)

What is the "Game to watch" this weekend???

Yellow Fever

Well, besides Cal/ASU, I'm intrigued by Oregon/UCLA because you never know which UCLA team will show up, and I guess I'll probably watch some of Auburn/LSU too. Probably.

Jason (Chicago)

What is going on in Gainesville? Not only have the Gators lost 3 in a row (something not even Zook did), today we learn the Urban Meyer is allowing Chris Rainey to return to the team!

Yellow Fever

Yeah, Urban Meyer's full of shit.

Jason (Chicago)

What is going on in Gainesville? Not only have the Gators lost 3 in a row (something not even Zook did), today we learn the Urban Meyer is allowing Chris Rainey to return to the team!

Yellow Fever

Yeah, Urban Meyer's full of shit.

Chris (Augusta)

Who are your Heisman Top 3?

Yellow Fever

Cameron Newton, LaMichael James, Kellen Moore.

Jared (Philly)

Who is the most overrated QB in the PAC 10? Jake Locker?

Yellow Fever

Kevin Riley. And yes, I'm fully aware that he's not that highly rated to begin with.

Steve (OHIO)

Can my Bobcats win out and take the MAC East?

Yellow Fever

I have to admit that I'm impressed that Maisel even chose to answer this question, because I have no clue. Maisel said he's impressed with the Bobcats' coach though.

Nelson (DE)

Who do you see winning the SEC East this season?

Yellow Fever

Probably South Carolina, though they're starting to look like the best of a mostly flawed lot.

Chris (Pasadena (via Reno))

On the subject of Pac 10 QB's, is Barkley showing why he was the number one recruit in the country a couple of years ago? I'd argue he's at least on par with Luck in the conference.

Yellow Fever

Luck has been doing it for longer, which does count for something. Barkley was shaky up until the past few games, so I'd probably wait until the end of the season to see if he can keep it up without going into a lull like the one he went into last year.

James (Atlanta)

10 days ago, everybody (media and fans) loved Randy Shannon and the direction the program was heading. Now, again 10 days later, most are questioning if he is the right man for the job and some of the locals are saying that he should be fired. Is this what our society has become? That in 10 days you can go from being universally loved to being thrown into the trash?

Yellow Fever

Well, I don't think that's anything new, and as Maisel and many others have written, it's just a product of the age we live in. So yeah, you answered your own question. I saw this happen during last night's gamethread between the Nets and Knicks where Nets fans (all ten of us!) were saying that we wished the team have never drafted Derrick Favors...and then by the end everyone was saying not to trade the guy for Carmelo Anthony because he has too much potential.

You can't fight it, James. Just deal with it.

Aaron (West Virginia )

Ivan, Can Kansas State's defense put a lock on Robert Griffin this weekend?

Yellow Fever

God I hope not. That would be disastrous for my fantasy team.

Stephen (Salt Lake City)

Assuming that Oklahoma and Nebraska play in the Big 12 Championship Game wouldn't the edge go to Oklahoma?

Yellow Fever

Yeah, probably. Decent defense, more diverse offense.

Roland (Eugene, OR)


Yellow Fever

Except when Kevin Riley or Joe Ayoob is under center. Or in the shotgun.