Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Preseason Index - 2005

The Preseason Index
Talk-Myself-Out-Of-It Edition

5: Coaches departed from USC's 03-04 staff.
3:  Heisman trophy winners sculpted by Nation's undisputed best O-Co-ord, Norm Chow.  Gone.
33:  Age of his replacement.
85: Yards gained by OU's Adrian Peterson against USC's defensive line, coached by Ed Orgun.  Gone.
2: Departed All-Americans from that unit.
4:  Departed All-Americans from last year's Orange Bowl roster.
3:  USC red-ink rivals with new head coaches - ND, Stanford, Washington.  That's three killer games - including AT South Bend and AT Seattle, no less - with the other guy having the advantage of surprise.
2099, 1104: Yards passed and rushed for by Fresno State's returning QB and RB, who we picked up and shoved into what was an off week between Cal and UCLA.


9:  Back-to-back AP National Champs.
5:  Back-to-back champs since 1964, first year that the final AP poll was taken after the bowls.
0:  AP Three-peaters, any time frame.
0:  Ties and losses for would-be three-peater Alabama in 1966, who finished 11-0 and ranked #3.  Still ANOTHER vast injustice of history that would have FUBARed the BCS.

Notre Dame and Three-peats

3:  Number of times Notre Dame has ruined a potential three-peat.
1:  Of those three Notre Dame streak-stoppers, number accomplished on the field (ND beat Oklahoma, 7-0, in 1957 to prevent a Sooner three-peat; additionally, in 1980, ND beat two-time champ Alabama, but the Tide had already lost to Miss. St.)..
2:  Notre Dame "national championships" awarded in a year when a two-time defending champ finished the season undefeated (1966 Alabama 11-0, 1946 Army 9-0-1).
2, 9: Consecutive titles and wins for Notre Dame in 1948 when they met SC in the last game of the season.  SC tied the Irish, who then finished the year ranked #2 behind Michigan.  

1946, 1966, 1988: Notre Dame National Title seasons.  Lou broke the pattern by two years.  Otherwise, the Index would fold up shop right now.

There - i you're not convinced, fine.  I got two national titles hanging up there on three years of skepticism.  I've done my part.


25:  2004 Reception by Texas' top returning wideout, David Thomas, the first time Texas' top receiver did not catch 40 since 1997.
6:  Cedric Benson's rank among NCAA all-time rushing leaders, who is now in the NFL..
1:  National rank of Auburn's defense last year, the co-ordinator of which, Gene Chizik, is now Texas' new defensive co-ordinator.
9:  Returning UT defensive starters.
1:  Returners not projected to start - linebacker Eric Hall, who is projected behind Eric Foreman - no word on whether his new status as starter will affect his relationship with Donna, or whether or not Red will stop calling him "dumb ass."  One thing's for sure - UT opponent's will be seeing a lot more of the Millenium Falcon.
11:  Oklahoma players lost to the NFL draft this year, not including Heisman winner Jason White.

00:  yards gained on kick returns in two years by Steve Breaston, the Braylon Edwards replacement at Michigan.
6: Defenisve starters back.
37:  Number of points, minumum, yielded by michigan's defense 3 times in their final 4 games of last season.
21:  Points surrendered, minumum, in three other games.
0:  Michigan opponents held to under 10 points in 2004.

Sunshine State

0, 0:  State-of-Florida teams in the AP's 2005 final Top 5 and Top 10.
14:  Consecutive prior years a State-of-Florida team finished in the Top
11:  Years during that streak that two State-of-Florida teams finished in the Top 5.
12:  Prior to 2002, consecutive years that two Florida teams finished in the Top 10
3:  Current consecutive years that two Florida teams have failed to finish in the Top 10.
2:  Florida State projected starters lost for 05 season:  Antonio Cromartie, one the country's best cornerbacks blew an ACL in spring drills; Wyatt Sexton, who you pro'ly heard about.
9:  Returning defensive starters for Miami, equaling Texas'.
7: Out of a possible 8, returning defensive linemen on Miami's two-deep.  And the only spot not spoken for appears to belong to Willie Wiliams - the 11-time loser recruit-explosion from two years ago.  Keep your eye on #17.
   But not worry....
5:  returning starters on offensive.
1:  returning skill position starters.
30:  Passing yards in 2004 for Miami's top returning QB, Kyle Wright.  And we've seen over the last two years how well larry Coker brings along new, young QBs.

Punt returns

25.6:  Nation's best yards-per-punt return for Ohio State's Ted Ginn in 2004, then a freshmen.
4:  Including Ginn, number of freshman in that list's Top 4.
3:  Number of nation's Top 12 punt returners not back this year.
2:  Miami punt returners in 2004's top 10 - Devon Hester (to my eye, the most frightening offensive player in the country last year) and Roscoe Parrish.
5:  Total number of punts returned for touchdowns by Miami's two returners in a combined 39 returns.
5:  Total number of punts returned for touchdowns by Hawaii's Chad Owens (one more than Ginn) in 36 returns.
0:  TDs scored on a punt return by Georgia's Thomas Flowers, also a freshman, the only punt returner in the nation's top 15 (he was 11th, just ahead of Bragg, just behind Bush) not to take one all the way back in 2004.
8:  In inches, distance between average Reggie Bush return for USC (15.67) to UCLA's Craig Bragg (15.00).
4002:  2004 Yards passing for Bowling Green's Omar Jacobs, just the gaudiest of the ridiculous numbers put up last year by the nation's top returning passer.  For instance....
8:  Games in which Jacobs threw 4 TDs.
462:  Passing attempts.
41:  TDs
4:  INTs
2:  Consecutive 1000-yard rushing seasons by BG running back PJ Pope.
9:  Games in which Bowling Green scored 40 or more points, including it's final 7.
5:  Games in which BG scored 50 or more.  They hung 70 on Temple.  Speaking of Temple....

Who Said Getting Booted From The Big East Would be a Bummer:
6:  BCS-conference opponents on Temple's schedule.  Every single one of these teams will be referred to with the modifying phrase, "..., who scheduled Temple this year" for the whole the 2005 season:  Arizona State, Wisconsin, Maryland, Miami, Clemson and Virginia.
0:  presumed share Temple will get of ACC bowl money, despite accounting for four wins among it's likely bowl participants.  Just friggin' pathetic.
28-9:  Combined records of Temple non-BCS opponents Navy, Toledo and Bowling Green.
4:  Team in the country - USC, Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia - with inarguably more difficult schedules than Temple.  The Index will accept nominations on others, but don't expect much sympathy.  Pitts' close.     

UGA-Boise State - a terrific game I can't believe either school ever considered scheduling.  What's the connection?  What assistant AD and what coach's wife knew each other to make this game happen?  And when was the last time two teams met and neither school had ever played a single opponent from the other's state?  I haven't seen it and refuse to look it up, but I bet it's true here.
1:  Rank on 'big' scale among all game's "in Boise State's existence" of Sep 3 UGA-BSU game, according to BSU QB Jared Zabrensky (also, from same source, something called off Yahoo, this Bizarro-World line:  "Zabransky.. acknowledges that (UGA's) David Shockley is a QB much like himself" - first off, it's DJ Shockley.  Second off, that's a testable hypothesis!)
2927, 16:  Zabrinsky's 2004 passing yards total and passing TDs.
464, 4:  DJ Shockley's 2004 passing yards and passing TDs.
113,0:  Shockley's rushing and yards and TDs in 2004.
326, 13:  Z's rushing yards and TDs in 2004.
85:  Length of 1 Zabrinsky TD run.
147: 2004 QB rating for Z, third highest among returners (unless you count EVERYBODY, including Northern Illinois Marcus Perez, whose 2004 line was: 1 att, 1 comp, 61 yds, TD - then Z isn't even in the top 20).

Tennessee:  I Don't Get It.

2: Preseason ranking for this team on several services.  AP has 'em 3, behind USC and Texas.
0:  established stud QB or RB coming back and the #1 returning QB had shoulder surgery, yet still Athlon calls  UT's QB and RB the fourth and ninth best units in the nation - surreal.  Proven ability to lose big games, even - maybe especially - at home.
9:  Tennessee players with legal problems over the summer..
3:  Number of games started by a QB last year who chose to transfer this summer.
   And this team is going to run over the SEC-and-a-title game?  Really?


2: Big 12 players killed in the last month.Aaron O'Neal, missouri freshman linebacker collapsed and died at practice.  Vernon Grant, senior and 3 year starter in OSU's secondary, car crash.
1992:  In yards, South Carolina offensive production kicked off team or suspended for 2005 in the of combined careers of Demetris Summers and Cory Boyd.  Summers has been South Carolina's rushing leader for two yearsl Boyd was second on the team last year in both rushing and recieving yards.  Summers was kicked off the team, Boyd suspended for the year, both for rules violations.
42: Sacks absorbed by Houston QB Kevin Kalb last year, nation's highest total.
19:  interceptions thrown by UTEP's Jordan Palmer - Carson's brother - highest among all returning QBs (second in 2004).
0:  returning starters on Iowa's defensive line, the team picked to by many to win the the Big 10.
48:  Average point total in last 6 Michigan-Ohio State games, highest of the major rivalries.  OK, I only looked that one up and UCLA - but I bet it's the highest.  And even if it isn't - Michigan-Ohio State shootouts?  What?
3:  BCS Conferences with a title game this year - Big 12, SEC and ACC, putting one more hurdle in front of a team ranked 1 or 2.
And finally, the players and teams you'd be a flat idiot not to watch:
1 - Vince Young.  I wrote last year that Vince locked up the Heisman, Leinart be damned, in the Rose Bowl.  I still say it's his until OU beats him.  And even if OU does, it will be mesmerizing to see Greg Davis' method to piss away the best player of the decade (or at least this side of ThisU's Solider)..
2 - Brian Boehm and Louisville.  The only AP first-place vote that didn't go to USC or Texas went to L'Ville, clearly from somebody who knows something, mostly how to read a schedule.  First off, the same team that stopped Boise State's winning streak is now a lock for an undefeated season in the BCS-automatic Big East, so be the smart guy who's 'seen'em play 6 times' by the time they get there.  And all they need is some stumbles from your other hitters - see final item above - to get into the Rose Bowl, which they could win.  Absolutely as reasonable a scenerio as, say, Iowa (no. 3 in athlon - come on...).  On top of that, Boehm is a friggin' witch - as a freshman with maybe a half-dozen garbage snaps to his name, he came in at Miami and stared down ThisU's defense for an entire second half for all the marbles.  not his fault the D gave the game away.
3 - Chris Leak and Florida.  Of all the horrifying raise-the-dead projects around the country, here's your Frankenstien.  hilarious schedule - Wyoming and Louisianna Tech to open; maybe Temple was booked.  And hasn't Leak had that look in the huddle for the last two years that says, "I know guys, but that's what coach wants to run."  Now he's got Urban Meyer, most of the defense and plenty of tailback behind him.
4 - UCLA and Maurice Drew.  They Host Oklahoma September 17.  Then we'll see.
5 - Michigan, Chad Henne (QB) and Mike Hart (RB) - Both sophomores who started as freshmen.  I'd like to see that, tradition-soaked Michigan going Bob Stoops on people.  But then, that defense can't stop shit.  And, come to think of it, I'd like to see that too.

And finally, Thursday, Sep 1, ESPN 2.  Oregon - a loud, proud Pac 10 team (with a TERRIFYING Playstation playbook) - opens their season, and ours, with what I'm sure they believe to be a patsy-for-hire.
   AT Houston.
   On a Thursday night.

   You know what that means.