Thursday, November 27, 2008

*The Real Question Of The Day- Who Will Win The National College Football Championship?

Click on title to link to the "USA Today" pre-season college football ratings for 2008

*The Real Question Of The Day- Who Will Win The National College Football Championship?


This running commentary was started on August 29, 2008 and will continue until January 2009. Each week I am making my comments on the previous week and making my selections for the upcoming week in the comment section. Of course, using the power of the Marxist scientific method (or maybe dumb luck) to enlighten one and all on this earth shaking struggle.

Well, folks now is the lead-up to the first real weekend of college football and time once again for this unrepentant Marxist to use his materialist concept of history to predict the trends of the season. But let us back up for a moment to last year’s (yes, I know ancient history but with blog history available, such as it is in this case, it can be pulled up in an instant) zany season and this forecaster’s ill-advised choices. One knows things are not right when upstart Appalachian State takes Michigan in the first week. It went downhill from there. The next couple of paragraphs taken from a review of Hunter Thompson’s Hey, Rube and a postscript tell the tale when the deal went down.

A run through the ups and downs of Thompson's previous seasons' (2000-2003) gambling wins and loses, however, does not date well. Hell, I can barely remember last week's bets. But the real problem is that, as in politics, we listen to different drummers. I am a long time fan of `pristine and pure' big time college football and would not sully my hands to bet on the NFL so his whining about the San Francisco 49'ers or the Denver Broncos is so much hot air. However, I will take Ohio State and 3 points against LSU in the 2007 college championship game. That's the ticket. I miss Hunter and his wild and wacky writing that made me laugh many a time when I was down and needed a boost but not here. Enough said.

Postscript: May 15, 2008. Needless to say there is a strong difference between my uncanny powers of political prognosis and the rather mundane ability to pick college football champions. Obviously, only a fool would have bet on the Buckeyes of Ohio State against a real SEC team like those Cajun boys from LSU. Right?

...Obviously, at the end of this year’s football season I will have to make better use of the delete key. But all of that is so much hot air and ancient history. Today we start as fresh as new born babes. That, after all is the beauty of this kind of madness. Here goes.

A Democratic convention with a historic black candidate for a nominee. Ho hum. A Republican convention coming up with the same old same old. Yawn. Today, or at least the time it takes me to write up this commentary, all that ‘real’ news is so much hot air. Why? This weekend marks the first serious collegiate football Saturday and the time to make my predictions about who will win this year’s coveted national championship (Jesus, I better stick to politics, this line sounds like something out of the late legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice. Somebody please stop me if I start writing about the 'mythical' national championship). I admit that I got waylaid last year when LSU seemingly came out of nowhere at the end to deliver Ohio State its second consecutive national championship lost. But that was last year. This year is as fresh as the driven snow.

On the first weekend of September it would be pointless (and foolhardy, as well) to name the winner. One of the virtues of following the Top 25 in the college football ratings is that, more so than in professional sports, the most precise calculations can blow up in your face. Witness last year’s unlikely defeat of Michigan by Appalachian State. So with that precaution in mind here is my Top Four which reflects the strength of the top conferences in the scheme of things. Pac-10- Southern California (no-brainer out West). Big 10-Ohio State (here I finally like them so they probably will tank out on me). Big 12- Oklahoma (although I like that quarterback McCoy from Texas, if he ever stops throwing interceptions) and the home conference of last year’s national champion’s, the SEC- Georgia who came on like gang busters at the end of last season (no, no repeat for LSU. Yes, I like Florida's Heisman Trophy Tebow but is the team around him strong enough?). For all you Clemson(ACC) and/or West Virginia fans (Big East). Get real-again!

I promise to do better updating the weekly commentary. Hell, all there is as an alternative is this misbegotten presidential campaign so I should have plenty of time on my hands.


  1. Hue and Cry- Yes, I know that it is okay to weasel at the beginning of the season and pick four possible contenders. How much skill does that involve, right? Okay, here I say it- National Champs-How about them Dawgs?- Georgia.

  2. Yippee! I got through the first week of the college football season unscathed (unlike last year but that, as we can safety now say, is ancient history). Of course, it is still early to tell what the cream is since the first week is all about glorified scrimmages between national powerhouses and wannabes or their cousins. The real problem is that it is impossible to make a serious bet on these games because the point spread is so wide. You really do not know whether the team that should win will play its second string or come out fired up.

    Georgia, Ohio State, Southern Cal and Oklahoma all survived. Those are my top picks this year. This is where I have put my money where my mouth is when taking a friendly wager. I still like my chances here. Additionally I like Florida, LSU, Texas and that surprise Missouri team from last year. But this is the second-tier. As I predicted, using my uncanny Marxist abilities of projection, that ACC is a house of cards or rather a house of basketball. Highly touted Clemson fell as did perennial favorite Virginia Tech. When Miami and Florida State won national championships it was almost in spite of the ACC (or Big East) affiliation. I will beat up on the Big East next week although West Virginia did win.

    Thank god for one little thing that I will discuss more fully later. I finally realize that, with the exception of Ohio State (and Michigan in their good years), the Big Ten is overrated. I have finally learned that the road to the national championship does not really go through the Midwest but the Southeast. Two big chunks out of the pocketbook the last two years have ‘taught’ me that.

    This week’s picks- Florida over Miami (still rebuilding); West Virginia over East Carolina ( I think that victory over Va. Tech was a fluke, if not they better make application to the SEC).Not much else draws the eye except maybe that Wake Forest/ Mississippi match-up. A couple more weeks yet before we can get really serious.

  3. Well, this season seems to be running truer to form than the beginning of last year. The real quality teams are getting the job done against the lesser teams. The only real surprise thus far is East Carolina. Of course, the Pirates are now my mascots since they have, on consecutive weekends, made me look good by beating Virginia Tech (ACC) and West Virginia (Big East) after I dismissed those conferences out of hand in the national championship picture. All in all I am in good shape as my four top picks are still there. USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Georgia. Moreover, my second tier is still there. Missouri (still got to show me), LSU (love the Cajuns but two national college football championships in a row for any team these days is very iffy), Texas (that Texas-Oklahoma game ought to be interesting) and Florida (off that Miami win I still am not sure they have the team around Tebow, although what a quarterback!).

    By the way the reason for harping on the first four picks is that one of my betting pools is based on combined total AP and Coaches poll totals for your four teams at the end of the season (also weekly but that is minor). Obviously a computer or graphic calculator comes in handy on this. It is possible to win the pool without the picking the national champion on this. I won one year (the last year that Miami won) by having 2nd, 3rd and 4th covered. A separate pool is for the national championship. You know, I think, I have the Dawgs of Georgia picked there. Last year I had Michigan so I didn’t have to worry long on that one. So much for Marxist science and football. A Ouija board would have sufficed.

    Okay, this week's picks. We are starting to get into the real match-ups now (and incidentally where things get dicey for me for now). Southern Cal over Ohio State. I just do not think that these Ohio State teams of the last few years have the heart to win the big ones. Georgia over South Carolina. No-brainer. Oklahoma over Washington. If USC is the cream in the PAC-10 there hasn’t been much else the last several years. Missouri over Nevada. No-brainer. LSU over North Texas. Cajun boys still warming up. Texas over Arkansas. Don’t forget the Hillary factor on the Razorback side. Wisconsin over Fresno State. Wisconsin always looks good until they run up against Ohio State and Michigan. The Big Ten is, as I pointed out last week, another overrated conference. Odd ball game of the week. Kansas over South Florida. Most years the nation championship runs through Florida, one way or another, but not through South Florida (Big East, by the way). Florida honors, if any, this year appear to be for the University of Florida (SEC, naturally). More later.

    This is starting to be more fun that this misbegotten presidential campaign. At least the gridiron goliath of college football try to do what they start out to do- play hard football. I am beginning to get clueless about what the bourgeois politicians are starting to do.

  4. Okay, here is my college football pet peeve of the week. That concerns the automatic distribution of the invitations to the major Bowls that determine the national college football championship. Six of the automatic berths (out of ten spots) go to six denominated football conferences. One of those is the Big East. Now we have no problem giving plenty of spots to the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament to this conference but to give it an automatic berth in football now that Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College have moved over to the ACC just seems flat wrong. That means this year that a team like East Carolina from the Conference USA, a team that looks like this year’s Cinderella candidate could get shut even if, as is entirely possible, it has a much better record than any ACC team.

    Okay, off the soapbox (for now). This season, after three weeks, is starting to look more like one that is running to form at least at the top than the last couple of years. All my first string and second string teams with the exception of Ohio State, that got a whipping from USC another of my teams, last weekend are okay. And a look at The Big Ten indicates that before the season is over Ohio State will be okay for that championship. In short, at this point I am looking very good in my four team parley bet (that is where the money is).

    This week’s picks- USC over Oregon State (easy); Georgia over Arizona State (ditto); Oklahoma over TCU (double ditto); Florida over Tennessee (tight); Ohio State over Troy (bounce back before Big Ten schedule kicks in); Missouri over Buffalo; LSU over Auburn (big test in SEC); Texas over Rice (hey, did they bring the Southwest Conference back?). Odd ball game. South Florida over Florida International. I got my head handed to me on a platter by South Florida with its win last week over Kansas. Of course the national championship goes through South Florida as well as the state of Florida as a whole. Forgive me, please. By the way watch out just a little for Florida State. Later.

  5. Okay, this week’s little note to go with the more serious business of predicting, using Marxian science of course, winners. This college football season at least up at the top is, for right now, going according to pre-season form. That is the background to this week’s comment. Over a lifetime of observing the trends in college football I have noticed that, in the end, there are really very few surprises as to the teams that win the coveted “mythical” national college football championship. The trends tend toward a rise and fall of the known traditionally powerful major football programs. Witness the decline of Notre Dame, Washington, Nebraska, Penn State (although they are starting to rise again), Florida State, Michigan and Miami. Notice, however, the rise of Texas, LSU, Southern Cal, Oklahoma and Florida. These are all well known programs. Where is the upstart Boise State, East Carolina or even Purdue, Oklahoma State or Stanford that will fight for the national championship? The last such upstart that I recall is Brigham Young (rising again this year) in 1984. It just doesn’t happen.

    Now for the good stuff. Southern Cal over Oregon State (called this for last week by mistake but the result will not be one); Oklahoma over TCU; Georgia (after a great win over Arizona State) over Alabama (also one of those traditional powers rising): Florida (big win over arch-rival Tennessee) over Mississippi; LSU (huge win over Auburn) over Mississippi State; Texas over Arkansas (makeup of postponed game); and, Ohio State (finally into Big Ten competition) over Minnesota. Now that Earl Carolina bought the bullet BYU and South Florida look like the current Cinderellas. I told you that the national championship goes through Florida- all of it, right? Odd ball game (that I have not been doing so well on, by the way) Utah over Weber State (Who?)

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  7. September 30, 2008

    Okay, okay the less said about last weekend’s doings the better. Two of my key 4 teams went down to defeat- Southern Cal and Georgia (ouch!-my national champion selection-as did Florida from my top eight). Question: Is LSU posed for a repeat of their national championship? In any case two things we learn from last weekend. On any given weekend any team… know the rest. And based on last year’s results having one defeat is not necessarily fatal to national championship chances. That is what makes college football so interesting (and frustrating).

    Here we go for this week- pure as the driven snow- one of the beauties of college football selecting.

    Southern Cal (ouch!) over Oregon; Oklahoma (looks like class of Big 12) over Baylor; Florida (ouch!) over Arkansas; Missouri over Nebraska (the balance has shifted in the Big 12); Texas (my boy McCoy) over Colorado; Ohio State over Wisconsin (this tells how real Wisconsin is although they lost last week). Odd ball game –Auburn over Vanderbilt (really the Commodores are ranked). Watch for Penn State, BYU, Southern Florida and Utah as this year’s Cinderella teams now that East Carolina and Fresno State are beaten.

  8. October 5, 2008

    Random Musings on Week Six of the College Football season.

    #1 I am not convinced that Alabama is the best team in the SEC, not by a long shot. Yes, they are good as they very convincingly demonstrated by giving my Dawgs from Georgia an old-fashioned whipping at home. I still have sneaking suspicion that those Cajun boys from LSU might just be hiding in the bushes for them down the road. No it will not be the Commodores of Vanderbilt although I have clearly underestimated them this season.

    #2 I also remain unconvinced that Penn State is the best team in the Big Ten. Unlike Alabama Penn State has yet to be tested (that comes with Ohio State and for that matter Michigan). I believe that the Big Ten overall this season is a little weaker than the last few seasons (the bell weather is Wisconsin which is struggling). I remain committed very strongly to Ohio State, a healthy Ohio State, despite their drubbing by Southern Cal.

    #3 Okay, here we go again on that automatic bid situation with the BCS and the ACC and The Big East. I will concede a point (now that Virginia Tech is a little healthier) in recognition of the past exploits of Miami and Florida State and not argue against an automatic bid for the ACC champ (who moreover has to go through a championship game) but will concentrate on The Big East (which doesn’t have a championship game). UConn (basketball, male or female anyone) lost and South Florida lost (both previously undefeated) this weekend so any representative from that conference at the end of the season will be tarnished. Hey with BYU and Utah why not the Mountain Conference? The point is give five automatic bids- Big Ten, ACC SEC, PAC-10 and Big 12 and make the rest at-large. That’s the ticket.

    But now to the picks- I am nowhere on my national champ pick (Georgia), so-so on my top four and in very good position on my top eight after week six. The marquee game obviously is Oklahoma over Texas in the annual Red River shootout although I really like that McCoy at Texas. Oklahoma is one top four of the season selections where Texas is in the top eight so I am stymied there. I have to take the Sooners. LSU over Florida (two top eight teams)-I believe that Florida in a top game does not have enough of a team around Tebow to win. Missouri over Oklahoma State- Missouri is proven the Cowboys not. USC over Arizona State. Georgia over Tennessee (down year for the Volunteers). Ohio State over Purdue. Odd ball game of the week- I really should stop picking these since I don not believe that I have done one correctly this season. Of course Vanderbilt was a better team than Auburn, any neophyte could have seen that, right? Texas Tech over Nebraska (got to let some Texas team win or Larry McMurtry will dismiss me out of hand). Later.

  9. What About A Bailout For Markin?

    October 14, 2008

    700 billions for the banks. Kid’s stuff. 401K’s down the tubes. Oh, well. Let me tell you whiners a real sad story. Three of my top picks fell like the old domino theory in Vietnam last weekend. LSU, Oklahoma, Missouri gone, gone, gone. Now that is real sad news in this sporting quarter. Even the shades of Doctor Hunter S. Thompson are moaning over this one. But, enough. On to this week’s efforts.

    Oklahoma over Kansas (got to keep my Big 12 dreams for the Sooners alive); Alabama over Mississippi (I still think the Tide is over its head); Texas over Missouri (As one and all know I like that McCoy kid from Texas); LSU over South Carolina (come back Cajun kids); Southern Cal over Washington State (nothing has shaken me from the belief that USC is the cream of the PAC-10);Georgia over Vanderbilt (so long Commodores); Ohio State over Michigan State (Buckeyes, despite Penn State’s record, are cream of Big Ten). Odd ball game Virginia Tech (cream of ACC) over Boston College.

  10. October 20, 2008

    Okay, this week was according to form overall although things are getting a little dicey now that my elite eight are facing off against each other. The odds are against my choice for national champion making it, my final four are so-so and the elite eight is my best chance of salvaging the season, as long as Missouri doesn’t continue its slide.

    To the ropes. Texas over Oklahoma State ( Longhorns are for real with McCoy and the Cowboys aren’t even though the state of Oklahoma with Sooners and Tulsa winning a lot have to be happy- although not after Saturday); Ohio State over Penn State ( Alabama is for real but I sill am very, very suspect on Nittany Lions. A lot of it has to do with this being a down year in the Big Ten); Oklahoma over Kansas State; Florida over Kentucky; Southern Cal over Arizona; Georgia over LSU (go Dawgs beat those Bayou boys); Missouri over Colorado (my first two lost team- show me Tigers). Odd ball game- once again why do I bother- well lets go Big East- Pittsburg over Rutgers (tough year for Scarlet Knights).

  11. Well, the contours of the season have finally taken serious shape and old Markin is on the ropes. I have only the slimmest of chances of having the national champion pick right. Alabama looks like the class of the SEC so that defeat of Georgia looks decisive now. Also I am way off on some irrevocable tangent on my final four now that Penn State has proven that it is the class of the Big Ten with the win over the Buckeyes. My only hope is that my elite eight selections hold on. One of the problems there is that many of those eight have played, or will play, each other and therefore skew the polling results that my selections are based on.

    So it goes. Texas over Texas Tech (another Texas shootout); Oklahoma over Nebraska (tough times for the Cornhuskers); Georgia over Florida (my last ditch hope for the Dawgs and an example of two elite eights playing each other); Southern Cal over Washington (ouch! for the Huskies); LSU over Tulane (the battle for the bayou); Missouri over Baylor. Odd ball game- I swear next year I am eliminating this feature. I was going to go with the Ball State as my selection but picked the Pitt game instead. Ouch! Again. Florida State over Georgia Tech (go Seminoles)

  12. November 2, 2008

    Woe is me. This is a tough week, no question about it. Texas and Georgia down. Ouch! So my hopes for the national champion are gone. My final four is gone and I am barely holding on to my elite eight. My only consolation is that I correctly saw that the ACC and Big East conferences were going nowhere this year. In fact does anybody want to win those conferences now that both Florida State (ACC, Jesus they couldn't even beat Gergia Tech) and Southern Florida (Big East) have gone south? Well, enough of that-let’s press on.

    Texas over Baylor; LSU over Alabama (have to, it’s one of my elite eight); Oklahoma over Texas A&M; Florida over Vanderbilt (this Florida team is for real); Southern Cal over Cal; Georgia over Kentucky; Missouri over Kansas State; Ohio State over Northwestern. Odd ball game- forget football this week let’s make it the point spread on the presidential race. 52-48 Obama.

  13. November 12, 2008

    Oh well, the season is starting to slip away from me. First, my Georgia Dawgs WILL not be national college football champs this year. Second, I only have a faintly realistic shot at my final four with Southern Cal in this year’s weak Pac Ten (all conferences except the Big 12 and SEC seem to suffer from that malady this year, especially that ACC) Finally, my elite eight are all in the top twenty but the Number 1 Alabama (and rightly so after that victory against the Cajun boys) and Number 2 Texas Tech were not on my dance card this year and are holding me hostage. I have to pray that Oklahoma beats Tech and that Florida beats Alabama to have any shot. Fortunately the Nittany Lions went down (another non-carder) to move some of my teams up. But enough

    Florida over South Carolina; Texas over Kansas; Southern Cal over Stanford; Ohio State over Illinois; Missouri over Iowa State; Georgia over Auburn (tough year); LSU over Troy. Note that last week I went back to politics and was closer there in the presidential count than I have been all season on my odd ball football games. Okay, Florida State over Boston College (Does anyone want to win the ACC this year?)

  14. November 16, 2008

    Woe is me! No, not about my elite eight this time because I hit all of them right (at least the ones that played this week) but about Boston College’s victory over Florida State in my oddball game selection. I swear I have not correctly picked one of those games this season. Needless to say they will not get any play in this space next season. Although as we all know, at least those of us who like a sporting proposition, that it is 6/5 that I will have some kind of twist beyond my “real” picks next year. So be it.

    Now for reality time. Oklahoma over Texas Tech (I desperately need this one although that Tech quarterback is for real as is that defense); Florida over Citadel (Hell, after what they did to ranked South Carolina this is a “no-brainer”); Ohio State over Michigan (very, very rough year for the Big Blue); LSU over Mississippi (ya, I know Ole Miss is now bowl eligible but so what). And now the dreaded oddball game- Pittsburgh over Cincinnati. Go Steel City (old style). This is after all the ‘battle’ of the Big East.

  15. November 23, 2008

    Well, dreams can come true, at least partially. Needed Oklahoma to come through on my elite eight, my last chance for glory this season, and they did. Unfortunately my Cajun Bayou boys from LSU got waylaid by Ole Miss (after I dissed them) and may be my first selection to fall out of the Top 25. Now all I need is for Florida, presumably, to beat Alabama in the SEC championship game and I will be looking very good going into the bowl games.

    Let’s face it there are only two conferences that are worth anything this year- the mighty Big 12 and the always tough SEC- that is where this year’s champ will (and should) come from. The only exception is the question of Southern Cal in the PAC 10 but that conference is so weak this year that it is hard to tell how good the Trojans are. But enough

    Florida over Florida State (remember when the national championship, one way or another, automatically ran through the state of Florida when these two and Miami were on tears. Those were the days.); Texas over Texas A&M (I still like this McCoy kid although that Oklahoma QB ran circles around Texas Tech); Oklahoma over Oklahoma State (imagine if the Cowboys were not in the tough Big 12 they would run over everyone else); Southern Cal over Notre Dame (remember when this game meant something. I will have more to say about the non-Fighting Irish in a separate entry in December entitled A Rage For College Football); Missouri over Kansas (this Missouri team is good but it’s the power of the Big 12 this year that makes them look so-so); Georgia over Georgia Tech (my national champion pick needs to beat this so-so ACC team to keep me going). Finally, fear and dread time- again I have lost my odd ball game selection (Cincy beat Pitt) - Maryland over Boston College but I will not look.

  16. "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, else what's a heaven for." Robert Browning

    Enough said- Georgia, LSU and Missouri fall as does my elite eight sheet. Why didn't I listen to mother and just stick with revolution.

    Big 12- Oklahoma over Missouri

    SEC-Florida over Alabama

    ACC-BC over Virginia Tech

  17. See ya, Next Year when the slate will be clean as the driven snow again. For now here are the selections for the einfinite number of bowl games. The only one that counts though is Oklahoma over Florida.

    *=my pick

    Capital One Bowl
    1:00 ET
    *Georgia Bulldogs (9-3)

    Michigan State Spartans (9-3)

    Orange Bowl
    8:00 ET
    *Virginia Tech Hokies (9-4)

    Cincinnati Bearcats (11-2)

    Friday, January 2, 2009
    Cotton Bowl
    2:00 ET
    Mississippi Rebels (8-4)

    *Texas Tech Red Raiders (11-1)

    Sugar Bowl
    8:00 ET
    Utah Utes (12-0)

    *Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1)

    Saturday, January 3, 2009
    International Bowl
    12:00 ET
    *Buffalo Bulls (8-5)

    Connecticut Huskies (7-5)

    Monday, January 5, 2009
    Fiesta Bowl
    8:00 ET
    Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2)

    *Texas Longhorns (11-1)

    Tuesday, January 6, 2009
    GMAC Bowl
    8:00 ET

    Tulsa Golden Hurricane (10-3)

    *Ball State Cardinals (12-1)

    Thursday, January 8, 2009
    BCS Championship
    8:00 ET
    Florida Gators (12-1)

    *Oklahoma Sooners (12-1)