Copyright © 2010 Ed Bagley
You see it in college football games every Saturday – missed assignments, missed tackles, players throwing themselves at runners and hoping they will fall down. Guess what? The runners do not fall down so much anymore. They are bigger, much bigger, faster, stronger and more elusive.
So why don’t more college players square up and tackle runners? The answer is simple – too many of them are too slow or too forgetful in filling their gap assignment and/or they are scared to tackle.
The net result of all of this is what we saw last weekend. The 7 highest scoring games produced 703 total points, or an average of 100-plus points per game. This may be exciting, but it is lousy football.
So how bad can it get? This bad:
Michigan beat Illinois 67-65 in triple overtime (132 total points), Navy beat East Carolina 76-35 (111 points), Duke beat Virginia 55-48 (103), Kansas beat Colorado 52-45 (97), Tulsa beat Rice 64-27 (91), 3rd-ranked Auburn beat AA Chattanooga 62-24 (86), and 19th-ranked Oklahoma State beat 22nd-ranked Baylor 55-28 (83).
Haven’t had enough evidence? Try the next 8 highest scoring games. To wit:
No. 25 Nevada over Idaho 63-17 (80), Florida International over Louisiana-Monroe 42-35 in double overtime (77), Southern Mississippi over Tulane 46-30 (76), Troy over North Texas 41-35 (76), Arkansas State over Middle Tennessee State 51-24 (75), Fresno State over Louisiana Tech 40-34 (74), Central Florida over Houston 40-33 (73), and North Carolina upsetting 24th-ranked Florida State 37-35 (72).
That’s 15 games with total scores of 72-plus. Fifteen games that generated 1,306 points, or an average of 87-plus points per game.
So you saw a lot of offense, lousy defense, and not a lot good, solid football. Suspense? There was virtually none. It was just a matter of who had the ball moving down the field with little resistance.
Not to bore you, but to make a point:
The top 5 scoring offenses in the country are Oregon (54+ points per game), Boise State (47+), Oklahoma State (46+), Nevada (44+), and Stanford (42+).
The worst 5 scoring defenses in the country are Eastern Michigan (gives up 43+ points per game), Memphis (42+), New Mexico (42+), East Carolina (41+), and Louisiana-Lafayette (40+).
This is just a bit of a problem for a lousy team like the Eastern Michigan Eagles, who give up 43+ points per game and only score an average of 19+ points per game. No wonder they are only 1-8 on the season. They did manage to beat Ball State 41-38 in overtime.
All right Ed, give it a rest. OK.
Who has played the toughest schedule among the AP Top 25 teams? I am glad you asked. Read them and weep if you do not find your favorite team.
Arizona has played the toughest schedule; the Wildcats are ranked 12th nationally. Next is LSU (15th), then Stanford (16th), Missouri (18th), and Oklahoma (19th).
Who has played the worst schedule among the Top 25?
Try Central Florida at 95th, followed by Ohio State (87th), Nevada (86th), Virginia Tech (80th), and Utah (79th).
Wins do count, but it also helps to put it into perspective.
Oregon is 9-0 and has played the 36th toughest schedule. Auburn is 10-0 and ranks 40th in schedule strength. TCU is 10-0 and ranks 62nd. Boise State is 8-0 and ranks 72nd.
Since there are only 120 Division 1-A teams, both TCU and Boise State are piling up victories against the bottom half of the field (61st to 120th). Despite their protestations otherwise, both TCU and Boise State love playing in mid-major conferences, as does Utah.
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