Monday, November 29, 2010

A New Adventure

This is a very bittersweet week on so many levels.

After over 40 years, the UMD Bulldogs will play their final games at the DECC Friday and Saturday against Denver. In my six years (on and off, but mainly on) of calling games, nothing of this historical significance has been put on my plate. It will be a tremendous weekend, and the UMD football playoff game Saturday only adds to the fun.

In addition, things on a personal level are about to change significantly.

Some of you know, but most don't ...

Tuesday will be my last day employed at Red Rock Radio in Duluth. I took the job as Sports Director there in July, not thinking it would be a short-term position. But there come times in life where you have to look seriously at what's in front of you.

In October, I was approached by my other employer -- AOL -- about their vacant NHL Editor position. It's a tremendous career opportunity, and one that I could not pass up, and I eventually accepted their offer after some hemming and hawing over the ramifications.

Over four months at Red Rock, I built what I hope are some long-standing relationships, both with listeners and with co-workers. There are some quality people there, and some very talented people. They get how to make radio in this market work, and I wish them continued success.

I can't say enough good things about Vice President/General Manager Shawn Skramstad and Operations Manager Tom Roubik. Never before in my time in radio have I worked for a GM and OM that give you this much space to do your job. Radio is an intense business behind the scenes, and the effort to make money keeps management types constantly on their toes. They aren't resting on their laurels at Red Rock, but yet Shawn and Tom understand that the best way to get good results is to let their people do their jobs. That means you're not constantly going from meeting to meeting. You actually have time to execute the plan as management lays it out.

In short, anyone who has enthusiasm for radio and sports -- as I do and always will -- would be damn lucky to work for folks like this.

In the end, the opportunity presented to me by AOL -- and its Managing Editor Randy Kim -- was too good to pass up. Not only that, but it struck me as the kind of opportunity that won't come around more than once. If I turned it down now, it may never come available to me again.

Thankfully, Red Rock is allowing me to finish the UMD men's hockey season. The team is off to a great start -- you knew that -- and I'm thrilled to be able to finish the campaign as the Bulldogs prepare for their new beginning in Amsoil Arena.

I'm excited for what lies ahead, but am also sad in way to be leaving the day-to-day radio business. Being on the air so many mornings over the last decade has been a joy, and it always helps to be able to work with great people.

This blog will stay updated, both with UMD hockey news and notes and other nuggets from the world of sports. Check out our work at NHL FanHouse, where we have a rather small but extremely dedicated and talented pool of writers bringing you relevant news and thought-provoking opinion pieces. Things are looking up there, and I hope to help deliver more and more great content to the site.

Packers Cut Selves in Another Close Shave

This is becoming like a broken record.

For the fourth time this season, the Green Bay Packers played a game decided by exactly three points. For the fourth time, the Packers lost.

Like earlier defeats at the hands of the Bears, Dolphins, and Redskins, Sunday's 20-17 loss to Atlanta was filled with a large number of critical errors made by people who should know better.

Unlike the Bears game, the Packers didn't single-handedly kill themselves with bad penalties, but the facemask foul on Matt Wilhelm during a late Atlanta kickoff return was hella costly, because it meant Matt "Matty Ice" Ryan only had to move the Falcons around 20 yards to get them in field goal range.

If that wasn't enough, head coach Mike McCarthy (again) completely abandoned the running game in short-yardage situations, leaving Aaron Rodgers to make plays against a defense that knew damn well their opponent would be throwing. That was totally like the Bears loss, a game Green Bay appeared to have well in hand until the offense started self-destructing under the weight of penalties and the lack of any attempt at a run game.

The defense played their guts out despite being short-handed because of injuries, and it was nice to see guys like Frank Zombo get their moment in the sun after all they've given this team this season. However, like the Miami game, the defense couldn't get the critical stops in the second half. It's not a fair criticism, because they played well in many ways, but at the same time, when your offense is struggling, you need the defense to pick things up. These guys didn't do enough of that.

Rodgers was good, especially on the last drive, but he again left too many points on the board. His audible to a keeper play near the goal line late in the second quarter was a bad decision, and his sneak play was terribly executed on all fronts on the next down. Earlier, he missed a first down on the Packers' opening drive when he slid too soon. The lack of a rushing attack puts a lot of pressure on Rodgers, so again this isn't totally fair, but he has to avoid mistakes that leave points on the board.

McCarthy takes a lot of the blame, though. He simply can't abandon the run like he did on Sunday, and while it's okay to go empty once in a while in short-yardage situations because it keeps the defense thinking, it's not acceptable to do it as often as Green Bay did on Sunday.

The head coach also has to absorb blame for not challenging a fourth-down "catch" by Tony Gonzalez that led to Atlanta's first touchdown. It wasn't a catch, and McCarthy -- armed with two timeouts he would end up not using -- chose to let play continue. At the worst, he should have called a timeout to allow his assistants upstairs to get a look at the play. They might not have been able to tell definitively if Gonzalez caught the ball, but they would have set McCarthy up with enough information to make a good decision. If -- even after a timeout -- McCarthy challenges the call and is successful, the Packers get the ball with good field position and a timeout. If he misses, the Falcons keep the ball, and the Packers are out two timeouts that they ended up not using anyway.

No harm.

The most chilling stat is that Green Bay's four losses have all been by exactly three points each. The Packers have won close games against Philadelphia, Detroit, and Minnesota, and they have used both the offense and defense to close them out. But they've also missed a number of opportunities to separate themselves from the pack in the NFC.

Now, instead of coasting to the playoffs, the Packers have to fight just to get in the proverbial tournament.

They only have themselves to blame.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Going to disappear for the holiday. Enjoy your family and feast, and thanks as always for reading.

Ohio State President Clearly Unaware of Ohio State's Own Football Schedule

There are people out there aggravated by the current BCS standings.

Unfortunately, some of them aren't merely aggravated because the antiquated and virtually useless BCS still exists. Instead, they're upset at the teams that make up the top five.

It seems that some members of power conferences are suffering from increased levels of stress because Boise State and TCU dare to infiltrate the upper tier of the rankings week in and week out.

One of those in a tizzy about this is Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee, a man who clearly has bigger and more important things to worry about than college football.

"Well, I don't know enough about the Xs and Os of college football," said Gee, formerly the president at West Virginia, Colorado, Brown and Vanderbilt universities. "I do know, having been both a Southeastern Conference president and a Big Ten president, that it's like murderer's row every week for these schools. We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day.

"So I think until a university runs through that gauntlet that there's some reason to believe that they not be the best teams to [be] in the big ballgame."

He probably should have kept his damn mouth shut about the matter, rather than revealing his ignorance.

Apparently, Boise State plays the Little Sisters of the Poor, but yet Ohio State is better because they schedule behemoths like Youngstown State, Ohio, Akron, and UAB outside of Big Ten play. Evidently, Ohio State is better because they get to play juggernauts like Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota, and Illinois in conference play. That tough competition makes the Buckeyes better, but playing Air Force, Utah, and BYU does nothing for TCU. And the Horned Frogs deserve ridicule for being in a league with the likes of Wyoming and New Mexico.

Like there aren't any crappy teams in the Big Ten. Hell, Minnesota couldn't even beat South Dakota, and the Coyotes went just 4-7, including an 18-point loss to something called Southern Utah.

You have to love the fear coming out of the power conferences these days. Last year, Boise State and TCU both snatched BCS bowl bids with unbeaten regular seasons, then they sold out the Fiesta Bowl and produced a great football game.

This year, one of the two stands a real chance of making the championship game, where they could get a shot at college football immortality. Meanwhile, the power conferences are stuck watching in horror as the mid-majors have started figuring out how to take their teams to the highest level of the sport.

The days of a team like Utah "getting let in the BCS" and proceeding to kick all sorts of ass on national television, then being content with the accomplishment, are over. They want more, and it's getting more and more difficult for the BCS power structure to argue they don't belong or don't deserve a shot.

Bernard Berrian Whines About Brad Childress

It may have been mentioned, but the Minnesota Vikings canned head coach Brad Childress on Monday. As defensive coordinator-turned head coach Leslie Frazier prepares his team for Sunday's game at Washington, some players have taken some time to look back on the Childress era.

One of those is veteran wide receiver Bernard Berrian, who was on Sirius NFL Radio with Adam Schein and Rich Gannon Tuesday.

Berrian didn't mince words about his former coach, a man he clearly did not get along with.

“He was just confrontational,” Berrian said.  “I think that was the biggest thing.  Instead of, you know, going to players like men and just talking and conversating about it, it was kind of brought to their attention in a confrontational way and just people just didn’t really conform to that way of, I guess, him talking and speaking to his team, or players individually.”

Sadly, Berrian probably isn't alone in his feelings.

While this is a sad commentary on today's professional athlete -- you make seven-figure salaries to play a game, and yet you can't stand it when a figure of authority gets in your face because you're playing like crap? -- this is also something Childress has to learn from if he wants to get a second chance as a head coach in the NFL.

You can't just get in guy's faces anymore. The days of successful taskmaster coaches have ended. Even perennial hard-asses like Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick have shown the ability to be appreciated by their players because they're not always flying off the handle or talking down to the players.

If Childress is to be a successful NFL head coach, he has to be willing to adapt. Yes, it sucks that millionaire athletes have to be pampered. Yes, it's as if they have the mentality of Pop Warner players when it comes to how they take coaching.

But this is reality. It's not going to change. The best coaches walk the line between being tough and being fair and compassionate toward their players. Childress has struggled with this line.

Well, that and counting the number of players on the field.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Leslie Frazier Clearly Not in Charge

As you probably heard, Brad Childress was sacrificed by the Minnesota Vikings Monday.

I say "sacrificed," because if you think Brad Childress was the problem in Minnesota, you're drinking whatever Kool-Aid has been passed around this state like the common cold.

That's unfortunate, because it masks you from reality.

Look at the above graphic from Tell me what the guy in 32nd place has done that no one else on the list has done, outside of rookie Sam Bradford.

That's right ... he's gotten through the entire season without once being benched for performance.

At his introductory press conference, interim Vikings coach Leslie Frazier -- using strings being pulled by owner Zygi Wilf, a man who knows about as much about building a successful NFL organization as I do about building a mall -- made it clear with "no hesitation" that Brett Favre will remain his starting quarterback.

Apparently, Frazier doesn't believe in the other two quarterbacks on the roster, making one wonder three things:

1. What in the blue hell are Tarvaris Jackson and Joe Webb doing on the roster?
2. What have Childress and Rick Spielman been doing the last three years instead of finding and developing a franchise quarterback?
3. Who was the idiot that thought they should trade Sage Rosenfels?

Of course, I'm just obsessed with Favre, so I'm not allowed to point any of this out. Sorry for mentioning the inconvenient truth. Maybe he'll magically turn it around now that Darrell Bevell is calling plays without restriction from that idiot former head coach.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Game 14: UMD at Wisconsin

MADISON, Wisc. -- What a bat(bleep) game that was Friday night. Up and down action, bad goaltending, good goaltending, great drama, bad officiating, and a UMD win.

The Bulldogs won 6-5 in what was easily the most controversial game to this point in a crazy season.

Was Mike Connolly guilty of a trip before the game-winning goal? UMD coach Scott Sandelin doesn't think so.

"I thought it was a great effort play," Sandelin said in an interview that will air on our pregame show. "Mike made a good play, got to the puck. Gardiner was kinda leaning that way."

You can hear more of his take on the pregame show, live at

With losses by No. 2 Boston University, No. 3 Maine, and No. 4 Nebraska-Omaha on Friday, it's possible that UMD will retain the No. 1 national ranking even if they lose a close game here. Of course, we could always just not leave that to chance.



Connolly (Mike) - Connolly (Jack) - Fontaine
Schmidt - Oleksuk - Brown
DeLisle - Flaherty - Seidel
Basaraba - Hendrickson - Grun

Olson - Montgomery
Bergman - Lamb
Olsen - Faulk

Crandall - Reiter

Murray - Smith - Zengerle
Mersch - Lee - Barnes
Johnson (Patrick) - Dolan - Little (Ryan)
Clark - Dahl - Little (Sean)

Gardiner - Schultz
Johnson (Craig) - Ramage
Simonelli - Springer

Bennett - Gudmandson

Friday, November 19, 2010

Game 13: UMD at Wisconsin

MADISON, Wisc. -- Here we are. No time to chat.



Connolly (Mike) - Connolly (Jack) - Fontaine
Schmidt - Oleksuk - Brown
DeLisle - Flaherty - Seidel
Basaraba - Tardy - Grun

Olson - Montgomery
Bergman - Lamb
Olsen - Faulk

Reiter - Crandall

Murray - Zengerle - Barnes
Mersch - Smith - Lee
Johnson (Patrick) - Dolan - Little (Ryan)
Clark - Dahl - Little (Sean)

Gardiner - Schultz
Johnson (Craig) - Ramage
Simonelli - Springer

Gudmandson - Bennett

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rowdy Kohl Center Awaits Bulldogs

For the No. 1 UMD Bulldogs, road challenges don't get much bigger than this one.

One of the WCHA's tougher buildings to play in is on the docket for this weekend. To make things even more difficult for the visitors, they come in fresh off their first No. 1 national ranking in six years, they're in the lead in the WCHA standings, and they are facing a pissed-off team that just got swept at home by North Dakota.

So, no, this won't be easy for UMD.

Of course, saying all of that seems forgetful of the fact that the Badgers aren't exactly going to have an easy time dealing with UMD.

As we mentioned earlier this week, UMD's coaches and players aren't going to run from the fact that they are on top of the national polls that mean nothing (even though everyone talks about them). Instead, this is both an opportunity and a motivator for the Bulldogs. For starters, being No. 1 is an obvious tool for recruiting. People want to play for programs that get attention. UMD might not ring like a high-profile program, but the fact they are seen as good enough to be No. 1 in the country should help them along in this regard.

Why is it a motivator? Well, there are two reasons. One, no one wants to lose the top spot after one week. You want to make a habit of staying there for a while, and that's hard if you lose on the first weekend after you gain the spot. Secondly, there are always going to be a lot of people who believe the No. 1 team doesn't deserve to be in that spot. Nothing like going out and beating a ranked team twice on the road to prove yourself as worthy.

In the end, the No. 1 ranking is meant to be lost. We've already had four No. 1 teams in seven weeks of polls. UMD won't keep it forever, but hopefully they find a way to hold on to it for at least one more weekend.

The Badgers are young, but they have some serious talent. Mark Zengerle and Michael Mersch up front are having nice freshman seasons. They unquestionably miss the slew of great players they had on last year's NCAA runner-up team, but Mike Eaves reloaded quickly. It helps to have guys like Jake Gardiner and Justin Schultz on the blue line, and the goaltending of Scott Gudmandson and Brett Bennett has been rock-solid all season so far.

The Kohl Center is a hell of a tough place to play if you let the crowd get into it. The Badgers will come close to filling the building for both games, and it will be loud. It's up to UMD to find ways to take the crowd out of the game, so the home team can't feed off that energy. That means they need Fontaine and the Connollies to start with energy. Play tough. Play physical. They need someone to throw a hit. Make the effort plays early in the game. Get pucks deep and pressure the UW goal.

Don't take dumb penalties or lazy penalties. Don't give the Badgers power plays. Those are things that beg for trouble against a desperate home team.

Aaron Crandall should be motivated. He once had an offer to attend Wisconsin, but the Badgers yanked it as he struggled in juniors. He showed up as a third goalie for UMD last year, took a redshirt year by not playing, and has emerged as a viable starter. He might downplay it to your face, but it's hard to imagine he hasn't thought about it this week.

Everyone has to play well. So far, the Bulldogs have been good at getting contributions all over the roster. They'll need more of the same this weekend.

It won't be easy, because you know Wisconsin will be desperate after last weekend.

But who said being No. 1 was easy?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Widening Field a Bad Idea

Player safety has become a hot-button issue in the NFL, as well as the NHL. For football fans, the league's decision to make some changes to how illegal hits are dealt with -- as well as the general definition of an illegal hit -- has brought up some questions about the game's future.

While many of the people crowing about the league trying to take hitting out of the sport are just misguided, and the thought that the NFL is "wussifying" football is generally cringe-inducing, reality is that the league is studying ways to make football less dangerous.

There is an acknowledgment from most proponents of these safety measures that nothing the league does will fully prevent the possibility of players being stretchered off fields with potentially serious injuries. The game is just too fast and too violent to do that.

Instead, the NFL is spending their time and energy trying to make things as safe as possible.

One of the potential measures was reported by former NFL general manager-turned CBS commentator Charlie Casserly on Sunday's NFL Today.

... as part of the league’s ongoing effort to enhance player safety, the NFL will consider the possibility of widening the field and the hash marks.  The thinking is that opening up the field could make the game safer.

While player safety continues to be a noble and important cause, it's not likely that this measure will be passed without resistance.

As Mike Florio notes on PFT, we've already heard thoughts from a Pro Bowl safety that indicate this isn't a terribly good idea.

Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who gradually become the most outspoken player against the league’s stance on illegal hits, is now blaming the shift to wide-open offense.

“The game has evolved in a sense that, of course, people are bigger and faster now, but it’s also evolved in a sense that it’s not eight guys in the box every down and two guys in the backfield,” Polamalu said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  “When you start spreading teams out and you start getting space and distance — and you’ve got to get that burst to make that hit — that’s why you’re seeing a lot more hits than normal.  It’s because of the way offenses are playing.”

Polamalu might be wrong to go after the commissioner like he has over the league's stance, but his point is an interesting one.

The fact that you have more room for guys to run around isn't going to make the game safer. Even if it does, that improved safety will only last until the players become faster and more capable of covering that extra ground quicker. Once that happens, the game will become even more violent and dangerous than it is right now.

Not only will widening the field not make the game safer, but it won't make the game any better. As proven in college hockey, a bigger playing surface doesn't always equate to more exciting or wide-open action. The logic in hockey is a bit different, because by widening the playing surface, you're taking players (and, as a result, the puck) farther away from the goal. But in the end, making a football field wider doesn't mean you're going to make football better.

Just ask the CFL. After all, if the wider field meant people would like the product more, they'd probably have more than eight teams in the CFL, and they'd probably have more than a crappy TV deal on NFL Network in the United States.

BlogPoll 2010: Week 12 Ballot

Here is this week's ballot:

A few thoughts:
  • A little flipping of teams at the top. I feel that the teams that have strong defenses -- Boise and TCU -- probably have the edge in the end, but I like what I saw from Auburn this week. They are shrouded in controversy right now, but they put on a gutsy performance Saturday and deserve a bump. Oregon's offense sputtered against a good defense, which might not be a great sign going forward.
  • Karma is coming, Bret Bielema. Just hasn't hit you yet.
  • How much fun would a Nebraska-Oklahoma State Big 12 title game be? I think it would be lower scoring than the first meeting.
  • Look out for Texas A&M. Mike Sherman has them playing very good football.
  • What the hell happened to Utah?
  • How happy is Boise State over Virginia Tech's surge?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

UMD Becomes Top Dog

Yes, it's a bad play on words.

Who cares?

The UMD men's hockey team is the nation's new No. 1 team, according to polls conducted by USCHO and USA Today. It's been over six years since the last time the Bulldogs were No. 1.

The numbers certainly are eye-catching so far. The Bulldogs are 9-1-2, marking the best start in the program's history. They lead all of Division I with those nine wins. They are in first place in the WCHA, ahead of a team that hasn't lost a league game ... ever (Nebraska-Omaha).

It's a hell of a start for UMD, but in the end, they know it's just a start. While some fans might actually look at this as some sort of curse, there isn't anything negative about it.

"It's exciting for UMD hockey," assistant coach Brett Larson told us on The Fan 1490 Monday. "We're gonna tell them, 'Congratulations, guys. Your hard work is starting to pay off.'"

Bottom line is that this is a blessing for UMD hockey. Not a curse in any way.

Yes, the No. 1 ranking in the regular season is meant to be lost. The only team that is guaranteed not to lose a No. 1 ranking is the team that wins the national championship in April. Other than that, the voters are just waiting for the No. 1 team to slip up so they can vote someone else in that position.

But that shouldn't stop anyone associated with the program or a fan of the program from celebrating.

UMD doesn't get here very often. The last time they did, they didn't stay, and the fall was gradual throughout the season. This time, there could be a second chance. The Bulldogs might not be good enough to sweep Wisconsin this weekend, which means they'll probably give up the No. 1 spot next week, but they are definitely good enough to stay in the mix for that ranking in future polls.

Enjoy the ride, UMD fans. Don't bellyache about the good things.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Game 12: Michigan Tech at UMD

Greetings from a not-so-snowy DECC, which runs completely counter to my totally snowy home in nearby Proctor.

What a difference a hill can make.

Anyway, UMD scored five straight goals after trailing 2-0 to win on Friday. Now, it's time to try for another WCHA sweep. These are tough to come by, so the more you have, the better.



Connolly (Mike) - Connolly (Jack) - Fontaine
Schmidt - Oleksuk - Brown
DeLisle - Flaherty - Seidel
Grun - Hendrickson - Basaraba

Montgomery - Huttel
Bergman - Lamb
Olsen - Faulk

Reiter - Crandall - Gaffy

Royer - Olson - Gordic
Furne - Kattelus - Johnstone
Lickteig - Holmberg - Rix
Pietila - McCadden - MacLeod

Sova - Seigo
Cousens - Nielsen
Brown - Doriott

Genoe - Robinson

Friday, November 12, 2010

Game 11: Michigan Tech at UMD

Apologies for no preview this week. No excuses. Just lazy.

Anyway, we come to you from the DECC, where UMD has just four home games left before the opening of Amsoil Arena Dec. 30, and they get to tackle another longtime nemesis in Michigan Tech.

To give you an idea how much of a pain in the neck this team can be, UMD was the victim in two of Michigan Tech's five wins last year. The Bulldogs just haven't played well against Tech over time, in part because of the Huskies' ability to play well on the smaller sheet at the DECC, and in part because of UMD's long-standing ability to play to the level of their competition.



Connolly (Mike) - Connolly (Jack) - Fontaine
Schmidt - Oleksuk - Brown
DeLisle - Flaherty - Seidel
Grun - Hendrickson - Basaraba

Montgomery - Palm
Bergman - Lamb
Olsen - Faulk

Crandall - Reiter - Gaffy

Royer - Olson - Gordic
Furne - Kattelus - Johnstone
Lickteig - Holmberg - Rix
Pietila - McCadden - MacLeod

Sova - Seigo
Cousens - Nielsen
Brown - Doriott

Robinson - Genoe

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Denver's Jesse Martin Has Neck Surgery, Walks for First Time Since Injury

Just wanted to throw up a quick update on Denver senior forward Jesse Martin, who was seriously injured on a hit by North Dakota senior Brad Malone a couple weeks ago. Malone, as you may know, had a hard time dealing with what happened, and Martin actually called him to try to ease his mind.

All around, it's been great to see, because Malone certainly didn't mean to do what he did. While Martin was undoubtedly the victim here, no matter how you slice it, Malone also had to recover in a way. Watching him play Saturday against UMD, it didn't appear he was holding back much.

Malone was suspended for one game, missing Friday's win over UMD, while Martin may never play hockey again (the exact prognosis is still uncertain).

Monday, Martin underwent surgery in the Twin Cities to stabilize multiple C2 neck fractures. His father reports that the operation went well and Martin has a good chance to live a "real good lifestyle."

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

UMD Unveils All-DECC Team

As we get ready to close the door on the DECC for the final time as a UMD hockey venue, UMD is preparing for a very special night Dec. 4.

That's the day of the DECC's final men's hockey game, as UMD hosts Denver. While fans fight for the right to unbolt their seats and take them home, a number of UMD hockey legends will be honored and (hopefully) we'll get to see a few of them in the flesh.

Ahead of that big night, UMD has announced its All-DECC team, chosen by a group of UMD alumni.

As you can expect, there are some great names on the list, representing a lot of UMD hockey history. Read all about it after the jump.

UMD Conducting Special Season Ticket Sale

If you haven't yet picked up UMD men's hockey season tickets at Amsoil Arena, you still have an opportunity to get tickets and pick your seats.

This chance will come on Sunday afternoon at the new facility.

The university has announced a special one-day sale that will take place Sunday, less than two months before the rink hosts its first game on Dec. 30.

Details are available after the jump.

Monday, November 08, 2010

BlogPoll 2010: Week 11 Ballot

Here you be for this week:

A few notes:
  • TCU moves way up for two reasons: 1. They beat a team I believe is as good as anyone Oregon or Auburn has beaten on the road, if not better. 2. They beat that good team 47-7, and by the way, did I mention it was on the road? Holy crap. No one has done that to Utah since Kyle Whittingham has been their coach, and it's not likely to happen again anytime soon (Boise won in Salt Lake City 36-3 in 2006, which is the only massacre that comes close to this).
  • No one else deserves to lose a spot in the top four, but such is life. Any of the four playing for the national championship would be just fine in terms of entertainment value.
  • Give credit to LSU. They keep finding ways to win, even though virtually everyone thinks their coach is a moron.
  • Does this mean Alabama has no shot at the national title? Or do they still have to lose again?
  • Take you pick at the bottom of the poll. I just filled it out because I'm required to vote for 25 teams.