Sunday, September 30, 2012

P6 2012: Conference Play Starts in Earnest

Did you get outside? As promised, we avoided sitting in front of the TV all morning because Iowa was on at 11am, and, you know, it's Iowa 2012. But after the apple festival (I brought along an orange just to make a comparison), we caught the end of the game including the Iowa players rushing the sideline to reclaim Floyd. Even in this cluster of a season, that was nice to see.

Elsewhere in the house: Notre Dame had a bye. Next week's opponent, Real Miami, had a nice comeback to beat NC State. Should be a fun game next Saturday night. Ohio was sluggish but finally put away Massachusetts, a new member of the MAC. TM was watching online, so I couldn't see what was going on but could hear her reaction. I heard so many "gyahh"s and "aw geeesh"s I thought she was channelling Ron Santo.

Poll action: After Washington took down Stanford on Thursday night, there were close calls Saturday but no real upsets.  West Virginia, Georgia, Ohio State, Boise State, TCU, Texas and Oregon State all won by a single score (8 points or less), and only the Buckeyes and Mountaineers played ranked teams. South Carolina and LSU looked sluggish in eventually beating lesser foes.

TM says that I complain every week that I had a bad week picking games. Week 4 was definitely not the case--I finished 19-9 against the spread. This week I came back down to earth: 9 right, 12 wrong.

Out of the poll: Michigan State (2nd loss); Boise State (won ugly); Baylor (gave up 70 points). Hello, Washington. Welcome back, UCLA (but we don't care).

So with those three dropping out, that makes room for someone new in the poll: Northwestern. Now I've ranted about Northwestern and their schedule before, so I'll make this year's version brief. Yes, they should be applauded for scheduling multiple BCS teams in their non-conference slate.

But Northwestern managed to beat the worst team in the SEC (Vanderbilt), perhaps the worst team in the Big East (Syracuse, but it's so hard to tell with the Big East), the second-worst team in the ACC (Boston College is bad but they're not Duke), the worst team in the Big Ten (Indiana, who lost their starting QB a couple weeks ago and still stayed within a couple touchdowns on the road) and a I-AA cupcake on their way to 5-0. As usual, they've played NO ONE with a pulse. Their only road game was at Syracuse's cavernous Carrier Dome, where Northwestern probably felt at home playing in front of so many empty seats. This week they play at resurgent Penn State, and I'm picking the Nitts no matter how big the spread.  In conclusion: Northwestern still sucks; moving on.

Biggest gainer: When nobody really loses, nobody has a chance to move up. The biggest point gain was a whopping 3, by Washington (unranked to 23) followed by a couple 2s, Ohio State and Clemson. Michigan State and Stanford tanked, so woe to you if that's your C/E groupings.

In such a quiet week, though, "Dix Pix Six" found a way to climb 7 points, since he had two of those three big gainers. Average score game-wide: 57.3, down from 59.5 last week.

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning?

Jack Shepard, I mean, "Let's do this thing" had a 14-point lead last week. Thanks to Stanford's nose dive, his score was cut to 97 points. A not-quite-one-year-old near Cleveland and a high school buddy are hot on his heels with 94 points. Top child: "Thomas the Train." Top dog: "Four legs and a cloud of dust." Top kitty: "Mr. Q." (Currently sitting on the cat pedestal, looking smug and/or sleepy.) As always, standings are here.

Will I need to find a new picture next week? Will something more exciting happen this Saturday? Will Iowa remain undefeated in the Big Ten? Always exciting! (except for Week 5 of course).

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