NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 8

Didn’t have time to do the writeup this week so here are just the ranks for Week 8.  I’ll point out that this weekend’s Broncos-Patriots game is #1 vs. #2, and Cardinals-Cowboys is #3 vs. #4!

Week 8
1 DEN 83.36 1
2 NE 77.01 6
3 AZ 75.60 1
4 DAL 66.15 -1
5 GB 65.64 -4
6 DET 65.42 4
7 BUF 64.72 9
8 BAL 63.52 -1
9 SD 63.49 -3
10 CLE 62.91 5
11 KC 62.32 1
12 PIT 62.29 5
13 SF 61.45 -2
14 MIA 61.45 4
15 IND 61.39 -10
16 SEA 58.06 -3
17 PHI 57.90 -8
18 CIN 56.88 -4
19 HOU 48.75 2
20 NYG 47.11 -1
21 NO 42.56 2
22 CAR 41.80 -2
23 WAS 39.27 4
24 MIN 38.42 1
25 CHI 34.03 -3
26 STL 29.60 0
27 TEN 29.6 -3
28 ATL 26.00 0
29 TB 19.66 0
30 JAX 19.31 0
31 NYJ 16.68 0
32 OAK 15.15 0

Links of the Day 10/28/14

Attempted a minor plumbing repair but ended up making things 10 times worse. How is your day going?

A minor league hockey player had a nasty injury, and trainers had to use hockey sticks to rig tourniquets to save him. Don’t watch the videos, but the story is still cool, because it has a happy ending.

This is pretty terrifying. A man went missing while attending a Broncos game on Thursday. 

This was probably why the Saints were able to win last week. 

New York Rangers 5, Minnesota 4 – The Rangers scored 5 goals in the third period. That’s not a great way to run a team.

College Football Promotion and Relegation: 2011 Simulation

This week, we continue the concept of a tiered NCAA Football Promotion and Relegation system.  Last week, we published the results of the initial 2010 simulation, and now we will simulate the 2011 season once again using Below is a recap of each tier using the 2011 version of the teams playing each other as aligned in the previous post.  We’ll start at Tier 5 and work our way up and show the 2012 alignment at the end….

Tier 5
East Champ: Ohio (11-1)
West Champ: Washington State (9-3)
Promoted Playoff Teams: South Florida (10-2), Northwestern (9-3)
Other Playoff Teams: Louisiana-Lafayette (9-3), Rice (8-4)
Relegated Teams: None, because no Tier 6 yet. Would have been New Mexico State (3-9), Akron (2-10), Memphis (1-11), and New Mexico (1-11)
Notes on Regular Season: In a year where no tiebreakers were necessary to determine playoff teams, Ohio was the cream of the crop, only losing to 2nd place South Florida, who blew the division by losing to Northwestern and Indiana in back-to-back late season games. Washington State beat Louisiana-Lafayette to win the West.  Florida Atlantic beat New Mexico State in the hypothetical relegation playoff.  This is the last season where Tier 5 teams will be safe from relegation, as Tier 6 debuts in 2012 with the addition of 4 new D-1 FBS schools.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
Northwestern 31, Louisiana-Lafayette 14 – The Ragin Cajuns bounced back from an early 10-0 to take a 14-10 lead into the 4th.  Northwestern exploded for 3 TDs. Dan Persa threw for 252 yards and 2 TD
South Florida 34, Rice 10 – South Florida’s BJ Daniels threw for 3 TDs and Darrell Scott ran for 114 yards to allow the Bulls to advance
Northwestern 13, Ohio 10 – The Wildcats win a relatively boring game that was only 3-0 at half time.  The only individual performance worth noting was Ohio’s Donte Harden had 131 yards rushing
Washington State 38, South Florida 17 – After South Florida took a 17-14 lead in the 2nd quarter, the Cougars answered with 24 unanswered points.  WSU’s Marshall Lobbestael threw for 375 yards and 5 TDs
Washington State 48, Northwestern 20 – The Cougars are your Tier 5 champs.  Marshall Lobbestael threw for 517 yards and 4 TDs.  This game got out of hand early and Northwestern couldn’t recover

Tier 4
East Champ: Toledo (10-2)
West Champ: San Diego State (10-2)
Promoted Playoff Teams: East Carolina (9-3), Louisiana Tech (9-3)
Other Playoff Teams: Utah State (9-3), UAB (8-4)
Relegated Teams: Middle Tennessee (4-8), Illinois (3-9), Buffalo (3-9), Kansas (1-11)
Notes on Regular Season: Toledo was promoted in 2009, relegated in 2010, and now promoted again in 2011.  The Rockets are clearly just a borderline Tier 3/4 team.  Another previously relegated team (in 2008), San Diego State, is returning to Tier 3.  Tulane beat Middle Tennessee to stay in Tier 4 in a relegation playoff, and also of note, Buffalo is also a team on the move.  They have changed status each of the 4 years of the simulation so far, getting promoted from Tier 5 to Tier 4 in 2008, promoted from Tier 4 to Tier 3 in 2009, relegated from Tier 3 to Tier 4 in 2010, and now relegated from Tier 4 to Tier 5 in 2011.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
East Carolina 42, Utah State 40 – In a crazy 5 OT game, the Pirates move on. The game was tied at 17 at the start of OT. Both teams scored TDs in the 1st and 2nd OT and FGs in the 3rd OT.  Neither team scored in the 4th.  In the 5th OT, Utah State’s Robert Marshall scored a TD but the 2 point conversion failed.  East Carolina answered with a Reggie Bullock recieving TD and converted the 2 point conversion to win
Louisiana Tech 41, UAB 20 – After a slow first half, Louisiana Tech’s Colby Cameron exploded for 4 straight TDs to start the 2nd half.  Lennon Creer also had 172 yards rushing for Tech
East Carolina 23, San Diego State 20 – The Pirates pulled off an amazing comeback win.  They scored a TD to tie the game with 1:37 to go and after a very quick 3 and out, Michael Barbour kicked the game winner.
Louisiana Tech 31, Toledo 17 – The Bulldogs scored early and often, taking a 21-0 lead from 3 Colby Cameron TDs. There was no looking back from there
Louisiana Tech 30, East Carolina 20 – The Bulldogs are the Tier 4 champs.  They once again took an early lead and coasted to victory, once again backed by 3 Colby Cameron TDs

Tier 3
East Champ: Virginia (11-1)
West Champ: Houston (11-1)
Promoted Playoff Teams: Baylor (10-2), Tulsa (10-2)
Other Playoff Teams: Central Michigan (8-4), Bowling Green (7-5)
Relegated Teams: Kentucky (2-10), Troy (2-10), Air Force (1-11), Minnesota (1-11)
Notes on Regular Season:  Two years after being relegated and one year just after missing promotion, Virginia broke through and is heading back to Tier 2.  They are joined by Houston, who took a one year pause from their storm up the Tiers in 2010.  Baylor, powered by RGIII, is also moving up.  Troy earned relegation for the 2nd year in a row, and they are joined by Air Force, who were just promoted in 2010.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
Tulsa 48, Central Michigan 27 – The Golden Hurricane exploded for a 31 point 2nd quarter, led by 81 and 63 yard Ja’Terian Douglas TD runs.  Douglas finished with 208 yards.  Ryan Radcliff from Central Michigan threw for 334 yards and a TD, but his 3 INTs were costly
Baylor 34, Bowling Green 24 – Bowling Green took a 24-17 lead into the 4th quarter, but Robert Griffin III lead the Bears back, scoring 2 rushing TDs and throwing for another earlier in the game
Houston 35, Tulsa 28 – Down 28-14 in the 3rd quarter, Case Keenum turned it on and scored 3 TDs to give the Cougars the win.  Keenum finished with 337 yards and 4 TDs
Baylor 58, Virginia 23 – After a slow start to the game, the Bears scored 49 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters alone to crush Virginia.  Robert Griffin III threw for 303 yards and 4 TDs and Terrance Ganaway ran for 269 yards and 3 TD
Houston 41, Baylor 24 – In a great QB battle for the Tier 3 championship, Houston came up on top.  Case Keenum threw for 472 yards and 3 TD while Robert Griffin III threw for 253 yards and 2 TD

Tier 2
East Champ: Wisconsin (10-2)
West Champ: Oklahoma State (11-1)
Promoted Playoff Teams: Michigan State (9-3), Florida State (8-4)
Other Playoff Teams: Texas A&M (10-2), LSU (8-4)
Relegated Teams: South Carolina (3-9), Hawaii (2-10), Ole Miss (2-10), Colorado (1-11)
Notes on Regular Season: It was a pretty fitting year for the teams moving up, as Wisconsin and Michigan State played in the first Big Ten title game and Oklahoma State and Florida State continued their rise.  Real life national championship loser LSU made the playoffs but missed out on promotion.  Not much else to discuss here, other than to note that the program with the most wins, Michigan, has been middling in Tier 2 for several years now.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
Michigan State 31, LSU 28 – Kirk Cousins lead the Spartans back in a nice 4th quarter comeback, who were down 28-16 with 6 minutes to go.  Cousins connected on TDs to Brian Linthicum and Keshawn Martin to allow Michigan State to advance
Florida State 38, Texas A&M 31 – The Seminoles take it in 2 OT.  Each team scored a TD in the 2nd OT and Florida State scored another to start the 2nd OT, then stopped A&M to pick up the win.  Jermaine Thomas scored 3 TDs, the first 2 of the game and the game winner. Ryan Tannehill threw for 363 yards and 3 TDs in a losing effort
Oklahoma State 62, Michigan State 30 – The Spartans started off with a 10-0 lead, and that just got the Cowboys mad.  The responded with 41 unanswered points and cruised to the championship game.  Brandon Weeden threw for 406 yards and 6 TD
Wisconsin 52, Florida State 13 – This one wasn’t even close. The Badgers took a 28-3 lead into the half and piled on in the 4th, turning a 35-13 lead into a 52-13 win.  Montee Ball ran for 183 yards and 3 TD
Wisconsin 49, Oklahoma State 37 – The Badgers are your Tier 2 champs.  Oklahoma State took a 16-14 lead into the half, but a 28-7 run by Wisconsin to start the 2nd half put them far enough ahead.  Montee Ball ran for 141 yards and 3 TD

Tier 1
East Champ: Alabama (11-1)
West Champ: USC (11-1)
Other Playoff Teams: West Virginia (10-2), Boise State (10-2), Stanford (8-4), Florida (7-5)
Relegated Teams: Syracuse (3-9), Pittsburgh (2-10), Auburn (1-11), Nebraska (0-12)
Notes on Regular Season: Alabama and USC mostly dominated, with the Tide only losing an opening day game against defending champs Arkansas and USC losing a shootout to TCU.  Boise State continued to roll and qualified for the playoffs in their first year of Tier 1, and Florida won a 5-way tie to sneak into the playoffs at 7-5.  Syracuse lost a relegation playoff to Arizona to get moved down, and Auburn, a year after winning it all in real life, got moved down after a 1-11 season a year after being promoted.  Nebraska was just awful and got sent back to Tier 2 with an 0-12 record
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
West Virginia 36, Stanford 7 – Geno Smith dramatically outplayed Andrew Luck.  Smith had 354 yards and 3 TDs whereas Luck had only 144 yards, a TD, and an INT
Boise State 48, Florida 44 – The Broncos won a classic overtime battle.  After starting with a 21-7 lead, Florida battled back and actually led 38-28 in the 4th.  Boise tied it up, and in OT a Florida FG was answered by a Boise TD to give the Broncos the win.  Kellen Moore threw for 445 yards and 6 TD
USC 42, West Virginia 23 – USC scored TDs while WVU only mostly kicked FGs.  Matt Barkley threw for 281 yards and 3 TDs while Geno Smith was held without a TD
Alabama 38, Boise State 0 – Yeah…Alabama is good. Trent Richardson ran for 257 yards and 4 TDs and the ‘Bama defense showed that Boise can’t play with the big boys
National Championship
Alabama 35, USC 17 – The Tide are your 2011 National Champs.  This game wasn’t all the competitive.  Alabama had a comfortable lead all game.  Trent Richardson only ran for 102 yards and a TD, but that was made up for by Eddie Lacy, who had 109 yards and 2 TDs on only 8 carries

2012 Division Alignment

Tier 1 East Tier 1 West Tier 2 East Tier 2 West
Alabama USC Syracuse Nebraska
West Virginia Boise State Pittsburgh Texas A&M
Florida Stanford Auburn Iowa
Georgia Oregon LSU BYU
Penn State Arkansas Miami (FL) Texas
Tennessee Oklahoma Cincinnati Texas Tech
Virginia Tech TCU North Carolina Oregon State
Notre Dame California Clemson Washington
Ohio State Utah Georgia Tech Arizona State
Wisconsin Missouri Boston College Houston
Michigan State Arizona Michigan Baylor
Florida State Oklahoma State Virginia Tulsa


Tier 3 East Tier 3 West Tier 4 East Tier 4 West
South Carolina Hawaii Kentucky Air Force
Central Michigan Colorado Troy Minnesota
Bowling Green Ole Miss UAB Utah State
UCF Vanderbilt Wake Forest UTEP
Maryland Southern Miss Western Michigan Idaho
NC State Nevada Duke Mississippi State
Navy Louisville Marshall Colorado State
Miami (OH) Purdue FIU SMU
Connecticut UCLA Ball State Northern Illinois
Rutgers Fresno State Ohio Kansas State
Toledo San Diego State South Florida Tulane
East Carolina Louisiana Tech Northwestern Washington State
Tier 5 East Tier 5 West Tier 6
Middle Tennessee Kansas Massachusetts
Illinois Louisiana-Lafayette South Alabama
Buffalo Rice Texas State
Temple Wyoming UTSA
Kent State Louisiana-Monroe
Eastern Michigan San Jose State
Indiana Arkansas State
Army North Texas
Western Kentucky Iowa State
Florida Atlantic UNLV
Akron New Mexico State
Memphis New Mexico


Links of the Day 10/27/14

Hey guys. I just realized that yesterday’s Gophers post will be MY last post for a couple weeks. Steve and Eric will have a couple of things posted during Katie and my absense (and Katie will be posting tomorrow, as usual). I’l be back a happily married man with a real post on November 13th. I’ll have two more days of links after today, and also a couple before I start posting again next month. So, I guess just be well and have a Happy Halloween.

Cardinals rookie and super prospect Oscar Tavares was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic yesterday. His girlfriend was also killed in the accident. Very, very sad.

The Giants shut out the Royals last night, and are now ahead 3-2 in the World Series.

Anthony Barr’s game winning touchdown for the Vikings yesterday. He was the first overall pick for the Vikings, and seems like he is paying off so far.

Pittsburgh 51, Indianapolis 34 – This is one of the worst defensive performances Indy has put forth in a while. That’s really saying something.

The book is out on the Gophers


I have a coworker who gets pretty much everything wrong when it comes to his hot sports takes. Lately, he has been lambasting the Gophers pass defense after their two tough games of the past two weeks. They can’t stop the pass, and Purdue figured that out, he says. Illinois watched that tape and saw what was working, and that’s how they were able to beat Minnesota. My cranky old coworker got part of that statement right. Purdue figured something out and Illinois exploited it. It definitely wasn’t the pass defense, though.

What my coworker probably saw through the season was their game against TCU (who, by the way, scored 82 points against Texas Tech yesterday) and one big score from Purdue last weekend. Danny Anthrop had a 55 yard touchdown reception, but after that, Purdue had only 98 passing yards. All game on Saturday, Illinois put together only 140 yards passing, and 22 of them were on a trick play. The secondary is just fine in pass protection.

The quarterbacks definitely had something to do with Minnesota’s downfall or near downfall the past few weeks. Against Minnesota, Austin Applby was deeply flawed throwing the ball after that first touchdown. WIth his legs, though, he was terrific, running for 79 yards on only 10 carries. In total, the Boilermakers ran for 298 yards with 8.5 yards a carry (they only threw for 5.9 yards an attempt). Illinois saw this, and their statline ended up looking very similar.

Reilly O’Toole was a spot starter for the Fighting Illini, but he likely wasn’t there for his arm. Instead, O’Toole was the Illini leading rusher, as Illinois learned from Purdue that the way to beat Minnesota was to feature a mobile quarterback and to rely on the option. Get the ball outside and exploit an aggressive defense. Both teams did so with massive success, particularly in the first half. The biggest difference in the results was that Minnesota turned the ball over more against Illinois than against Purdue.

The promising thing for Minnesota is that in each game, they were down big in the first half, but came back strong in the second, even with Mitch Leidner putting together a couple of crummy games. I bet the Gophers will turn it around with two weeks to prepare for Iowa.

Links of the Day 10/26/14

A follow up to yesterday’s post… Minnesota United needed just one point to secure the NASL championship. They lost, so San Antonio got 3 points, and Minnesota needs to win next week in Carolina.

Here’s a fat guy throwing a touchdown pass in Arkansas. 

The World Series is all knotted up after San Francisco blew the game open with 10 straight runs.

Ole Miss was defeated by LSU. Some are calling this an upset, but losing on the road against LSU isn’t really that big an upset.

North Dakota State 47, South Dakota 7 – Big win for the Bison, more of what I expect from an NDSU scoreline. They were listening to my post last week!
Marshall 35, Florida Atlantic 16 – The Thundering Herd were undeeated and at home, so not a terrible loss for FAU, all things considered.
Louisiana Tech 31, Southern Miss 20 – Louisiana Tech is one of 12 FBS teams in the country without a conference loss.
Minnesota 7, Tampa Bay 2 – Finally, all those attempts on goal start paying off.
Rosenborg 3, Sandness Ulf – Sandnes Ulf is a bad team, and this was a vital win to ensure that they play in Europe next year.
Seattle 13, Carolina 9 – Games between these two teams are always really snug. Tough loss.
Minnesota 19, Tampa Bay 13 – Vikings rookie with an OT hame winner:  Anthony Bar, not Teddy Bridgewaterr. Weird.

Red hot soccer action

Minnesota United

Tonight, I’m going to my first ever professional soccer game, attending a game featuring the home side, Minnesota United FC. The main reason I’ve never been to one of their games, either Minnesota United or the Thunder or the Stars or whatever it was they were called between “Thunder” and “United” was initially because I wasn’t yet a soccer fan, and then eventually because Blaine is just too far away. Now ,though, I’m really getting into soccer, and it sounds like Minnesota is going to get an MLS team pretty soon, and it just might be United. Tickets are cheap, and the trip up to Blaine seems to be coming at the perfect time. I’m getting in at the peak of my fandom and at the ground floor of a team ready to make the step to the top flight of American soccer.

And tonight might be the best game f the regular season. United, led by Cristian Ramirez and Miguel Ibarra are in first place in the NASL, and they are taking on the San Antonio Scorpions, who sit in second place. This is as big as matches get for a club, and should provide a fun introduction between me and the local fan base.

I better get going. I have a soccer game to atend!

Links of the Day 10/25/14

Rough day around the Minnesota sports world, especially for college football fans.

Tom Izzo wants to pump you up (or he has started doing drugs)

Here’s some fictional NFL slogans. 

Baseball fielding statistics are weird. Mike Napoli, the best fielding first baseman in the AL! Also, the only top 3 player for the Twins was Trevor Plouffe. Take THAT narrative!

Football League Championship
Blackburn 3, Nottingham Forest 1 – Forest scored first, but the Rovers came storming back.
Illinois 28, Minnesota 24 – This was a bad, super terrible loss. Just awful awful stuff