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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Forde Can't Find #2, but He's Much Lower

I can't stand to go to ESPN.com for my college football coverage these days. It seems that above all else, their writers are concerned about making their articles "cute" (not quite the word I'm looking for).

Let's look at Pat Forde's latest. He's trying to decide who is the best team in the country that doesn't have Reggie Bush playing along side a Heisman winner. Which is a good cause, but like most college football writers his article is rubish because he doesn't draw a conclusion and he's way too cutesy.

He tells you the good and the bad for each possible team. Then he has a cute little way to say "not them" after (check it out for yourself, I suck at explaining).

But not only is he cracking wise about each team. Some of his positives and negatives for each team aren't really valid points, but there are a couple I agree with, such as:

Texas: "Can it really lose the heart of its running game (Cedric Benson) and the soul of its defense (Derrick Johnson) and be better than last year?"

Michigan: "were explosive with a freshman quarterback (Chad Henne) and freshman running back (Michael Hart), so they should be borderline unstoppable as sophomores." (Tennessee is trying to use reasoning this with Ainge and their sophomore secondary)

"Since a defense that suffered serial breakdowns at the end of last year is trying to replace two All-American defensive backs, can it take a major step forward?"

Florida: "There are questions about the running game. Questions about how the spread-option offense will fare in a league that is far faster and more physical than the Mountain West or Mid-American."

Virginia Tech: "Rookie starting quarterback makes his debut on the road against North Carolina State, which only had the No. 1 defense in the nation in 2004."

LSU: "Can his team still be a run-game juggernaut after 2004 leading rusher Alley Broussard blew a knee? Can he find a quarterback amid the talented but thus far unestablished trio of JaMarcus Russell, Matt Flynn and freshman Ryan Perrilloux?"

Tennessee: "The defense was smoked for a combined 64 points by Vanderbilt and Kentucky at season's end."

You get the idea. But then there are points that are utter balogna! See:

Texas A&M: "Any team that lost to Baylor the previous year cannot be considered for the No. 2 ranking in America. That's nonnegotiable."

I'm sorry, but there is such a thing as a fluke! That and things can change a lot in a year. That's the only point he had for A&M.

Michigan: "Was Henne that good, or did No. 3 overall draft pick Braylon Edwards (97 catches, 15 touchdowns) make him look that good?"

No matter how good a receiver is he has to have someone to throw to him.

"Can you really trust a team that has lost 10 times in the last five years as a favorite?"

Average of 2 losses a year over the past 5 years isn't bad.

Florida: "Chris Leak is poised to thrive in Meyer offense. The receiving corps is rife with big-play ability."

Anyone can be poised. The point is, can he do it or not?

Tennessee: "The choice of sophomore Eric Ainge over senior Rick Clausen at quarterback, after Clausen put up better stats in August scrimmages, might fracture the locker room."

Okay, this is just stupid, anyone who has watched Tennessee closely and/or has seen interviews with the players knows that the two quarterbacks are honset and are not going to get in a huff about who's "starting" which at Tennessee doesn't mean much. They'll both see plenty of play.

"Can a team that lost at home to 6-6 Notre Dame really be that great?"

Do I even have to explain this one?

LSU: "Can Miles walk in from the Oklahoma plains and command the respect that Saban had?"

Who does he need respect with? The players? He's got it. No team is going to function without this vital aspect.

Anyway, it gets pretty rediculous. And as far as college football writers go, we can rank Forde pretty low, lower than 2 by far.

Who is my number two? I like Michigan, Texas, and A&M is a weak pick. Tennessee could be in there, but I'll have to see how they hand UAB first. I'll be more specific after this weekend.