Pete Fiutak and CFN are previewing spring football with "20 Big Questions," the last of which is, "The BCS matchups will be...?" This is a bold question to answer in mid-March but CFN, being the junkies that they are, felt up to this herculean task. Needless to say, they failed miserably. Most addicts do.On to the madness...
To help us along our journey, I have summoned the collective powers of Las Vegas. (Actually, to be a touch more specific, the powers of an offshore sportsbook headquarted in Panama City, Panama.) Since Vegas (or offshore books) are rarely wrong -- because, you know, they'd lose money if they were wrong -- the 2008 NCAA futures will be our most useful guide.
Wisconsin vs. USC
OK, no problems here. USC is actually the favorite at +250, but it's not blasphemy to drop them out of the national championship game. Wisconsin checks in at a respectable +2700, which still places them higher than a lot of teams on the list. So far, so good.
Boston College vs. Pitt
Oh, it's gone horribly, horrifically wrong. I know what everyone is thinking -- gasp, Pitt! -- but we'll get to them in a minute. First, Boston College.
Is it possible the Eagles could lose the top quarterback in the draft and turn out to be better? It could happen if the loaded defense carries things until the offense comes around.
Usually, when picking BCS teams, the idea is to have a good team in place all the way through the season. Boston College is set to lose their best QB since Doug Flutie and the offense is going to be better? That might be true for a team like Louisville, who has Hunter Cantwell waiting in the wings, but no one even has a clue who'll be playing QB for Boston College. CFN conveniently fails to mention it, too.
The road schedule is a relative joke until November going away from Chestnut Hill to face Kent State, NC State, and North Carolina before battles late in the year against Florida State and Wake Forest. Clemson might be the Atlantic's best team, but it has to go to BC, as does Virginia Tech.
According to the NCAA futures, BC comes in at +9000. On this list alone, we have three teams ranked by Vegas ahead of BC: Virginia Tech (+1250), Clemson (+1800), and Florida State (+4000). That doesn't even mention Miami and Georgia Tech, who are above BC at +5500 and +8000, respectively. Basically, Boston College is the 6th ranked ACC team on this 2008 list, which isn't good for CFN's credibility. Then again, they weren't done.
Take your pick among the Big East teams to get in.
OK, West Virginia. I picked, can we move on?
West Virginia will likely be the preseason favorite, and while it's had to overcome some major personnel losses over the last few years and still succeeded, the defense should take a big step back, there's no Steve Slaton, and yeah, Rich Rodriguez really is good.
Guess not. It's not that we're likely the preseason favorite, we already are. Vegas has us at +1800, best in the Big East.
And look at the point about the defense. Basically, they're saying that though we've replaced personnel losses before, it won't happen this year. Then again, all we've done is recruited better and retained our star defensive coordinator from the old staff. Yeah, no chance.
South Florida is loaded on offense, but late season road trips to Louisville, Cincinnati and West Virginia, with the trip to Morgantown coming in early December, are all trouble.
I would agree with this. In fact, South Florida is ranked second in the league at +4000. Touche, CFN -- maybe you're coming to your senses.
Louisville, Cincinnati and Rutgers will all be in the discussion, but Pitt just appears to be due.
Nevermind. They have one part right, that Louisville, Cincinnati, and Rutgers will all be in the discussion. In fact, they're all in the discussion above Pitt (all three come in at +7000). Where is Pitt, you ask? Not even on the damn list. Seriously, Arizona made the list. Maryland made the list. NC State, Nebraska, Oregon State, and UNC made the list. These are all pretty awful football teams. Yet Pitt didn't quite earn the right to be included with them.
The most talented team in the league after years of strong recruiting, this has to be the season it finally all comes together for Dave Wannstedt as the program builds off the huge win over West Virginia to close out 2007. While there are six road trips in the final nine games, West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers have to go to Heinz Field. Fine, so if you want to put West Virginia or South Florida here, there won't be any argument.
CFN is using terms like "due" and "has to be the season." That is what the Cubs have been using for the past 100 years. Has it worked? Nope. Talent usually works, which I'll agree Pitt has a lot of. But is it weight-room talent or is it field talent? Their recruiting classes have been stellar over the past 5 years, but they haven't reached a bowl since 2004 and haven't won a bowl game since 2002. Somewhere, there's a disconnect.
Last December 1, I think we saw the ceiling of Pitt football. They're talented enough to knock off the powers in the conference, yet poorly coached enough to lose almost any game on their schedule. You stockpile enough talent, you're going to luck into some wins every now and again. But with no support and awful coaching, you'll lose on the road at Ohio. Or home to UConn. Or home to Navy. (Trust me, the list goes on.)
It's just a shame to see a site with a future as bright as CFN get cut down this early by drugs. The same thing happened to Len Bias, Kurt Cobain, and Dr. Neil Clark Warren. Hopefully CFN comes to their senses, goes to rehab, and beats this thing. Just like that brave Lindsey Lohan did.