Introducing the Beauty Contest Standings

Our own version of the BCS college football rankings, the Beauty Contest Standings (Week 1, 2011)

The takeaway image of Week One was Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly screaming in the face of the poor receiver who’d let a touchdown pass bounce off his helmet for an interception. Kelly’s Irish face was redder than a Georgia uniform, as even divine intervention in the form of a 2-hour lightning delay with the Domers trailing 16-0 could not prevent them from losing to Lou’s son Skip Holtz and South Florida, 23-20 in a 6-hour game.

You couldn’t blame poor Kelly. A fumble returned 96 yards for a touchdown. Endzone interceptions. If Larry, Curly and Moe had a football team, we saw it in South Bend Saturday. If Mother Theresa was watching, she used foul language. Notre Dame is far from a bad team, but it certainly won the award for the dumbest. At least on Saturday.

And at least we finally have actual games to watch, instead of hearing talking heads talking about NCAA violations and conference realignments. We have an actual Beauty Contest in progress. Of course, the Contest itself is a bit difficult to judge.

BCS teams and independents played in a total of 61 games this weekend, winning 50 of them. Of those 50 wins, exactly half were played against FCS teams. Another 19 of those wins were against non-AQ teams.

Of the four real Power Conferences (PAC-12, SEC, Big 10 and – for the moment – the Big 12), only 4 games were played against each other. One of those was USC’s 19-17 win over Big 10 doormat Minnesota. Trojan Fan should be very afraid of the rest of the schedule.

The other game, the one at JerryWorld, featured two very good teams with more baggage than the Gabor sisters. LSU called Oregon’s speed and raised their physicality. The Tigers’ 40-27 win over the Ducks propels the Tigers into the short list of teams in the hunt for the Mythical National Championship.

The NCAA is investigating Oregon’s recruitment of Texas high school running back Lache Seastrunk. Several months ago, the fact that Oregon wrote a check to a “street agent” for $25,000 came to light, followed by the revelation that the “recruiting services” that Oregon claimed the check was for were bogus, other than the delivery of Seastrunk. The street agent has since confessed, Seastrunk has transferred, and the NCAA is still investigating.

Here is this week’s Reader Contest: If the NCAA had been charged with investigating who bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, in what year would they have determined that it was the Japanese?

a) 1943

b) 1945

c) 1958

d) 1965

e) 2006, but it was the Kuwaitis

The first correct answer gets a free 20-ounce cold draft beer at Ron’s Pub. Or a ticket to the 2012 Texas/Texas A&M game. Winner’s choice. (Hint: take the beer. The beer is real.)

You saw Boise State easily whip Georgia 35-21 Saturday, so how close are the teams from the non-AQ conferences to parity with the BCS teams? Not very. BCS teams played 25 games against non-AQ teams. Boise was one of 2 non-AQ winners.

The other was Houston, a 38-34 winner over UCLA in a really good game. Hats off to the Coogs.

So how does the Top 10 look after we’ve had a chance to actually see the teams? Cloudy.

1. Alabama. Beat Kent State 48-7. New quarterbacks look shaky. What else can you tell?

2. Oklahoma. Rolled over Tulsa 47-14. New RB looks good.

3. LSU. I should put the Tigers at #1 for having the cajones to play someone worth a dime. Unlike the 25 BCS teams who played non-AQ teams, or the 27 who played FCS teams.

4. Stanford. Beat San Jose State 57-3. Isn’t that special.

5. Wisconsin. Beat UNLV, the worst team in the WAC except New Mexico State, 51-17. New quarterback is a stud.

6. Oklahoma State. Beat some directional Louisiana team 61-34. I didn’t see it, but I heard that it was worse than it looks.

7. Florida State. Beat another directional Louisiana team 34-0. I don’t think 34 points here is going to put much of a scare into Oklahoma. The Sooners visit next week.

8. Boise State. Not because they beat a Georgia team that went 6-7 last year, but because they play nobody else that will threaten to break into anybody’s Top 50. Except TCU, and TCU has already lost to Baylor.

9. Oregon. At least the ducks had the cajones to play LSU.

10. Texas A&M. I’ll put the Aggies here, just so I can dog the Ponies. How bad was SMU? Notre Dame had to look away. That onside kick attempt was so lame you couldn’t heal it at a tent meeting. The quarterbacks were so bad that they made Texas fans wince. Could the Ponies be competitive in the 0-9 Sunbelt conference? No. Not Sunday night.

Close to Top 10? It doesn’t take much.

Nebraska managed to beat Chattanooga 40-7. Martinez appears to be permanently Pelini’ed.

South Carolina looked pretty good on O after Garcia finally got in the game, scoring 56 against East Carolina. But they were playing a CUSA team, and they gave up 37 points.

Baylor played in one of the best games I’ve ever seen, trying to give it away to TCU, but hanging on for a 50-48 win in regulation.

Virginia Tech piled on FCS Appalachian State 66-13.

Michigan State and Ohio State beat a couple of MAC teams.

Iowa beat somebody named Tennessee Tech 34-7.

Not close at all, but close to home…

Texas led Rice 13-6 at halftime in Austin before pulling away to a 34-9 win. The good news is that Texas’ D snapped Rice’s 72-game streak of scoring a TD. The bad news is that Texas appears poised to snap its own 3-quarterback NFL streak. SMU could have used one of ours, but I didn’t see any other teams that might be interested.


The Big 12 went 10-0, with 6 wins against non-AQ schools and 4 against FCS teams. Those 4 include Iowa’s State’s 20-19 squeaker over Northern Iowa and Kansas State’s 10-7 win over Eastern Kentucky.

The Big 10 went 8-2, 1-1 against BCS teams and independents, 3-1 against non-AQ schools and 4-0 against the lame and the halt.

The SEC went 10-2, 1-1, 6-1, 3-0. BYU beat Ole Miss 14-13.

The ACC went 6-2, 0-1, 2-0, 4-1. Richmond beat Duke 23-21.

The Big East went 7-0, 2-0, 1-0, 4-0. The two big wins were, of course, South Florida’s and Syracuse’ 36-29 win over Wake Forrest. Aren’t you impressed?

The non-AQ FBS teams, Mountain West, CUSA, WAC, MAC and Sunbelt combined to go 2-23 against BCS and independents, 3-5, 9-1. These are the chubby chicks at the Beauty Contest.

This week’s football joke:

Q: How is A&M like marijuana?

A: Put ’em in a bowl and they both get smoked.

Ah, fall! May it bring double digit temperatures and rain in Texas. And wins for your favorite team. Hope springs eternal in the fall.

Michigan showed signs of having a defense Saturday. Anything is still possible. Almost.


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