A Tale of Two Upsets: Why ULM Beat Arkansas, But Syracuse Couldn’t Beat USC

UL-Monroe Slayed Their Giant, Arkansas; But Why Couldn’t SU Defeat USC?

While the rankings we assign to teams during each week of the college football season are so subjective and arbitrary that there are calls to abolish them, they do, in many cases indicate the relative strengths of the teams on the field. So, when something like UL-Monroe 34, #8 Arkansas 31 happens, it’s still a shock.  But it also requires something special to happen. Something so whacky and unexpected that the collective consciousness of college football fans is drawn to the game and immediately dons the cap of the Cinderella story. So when Warhawks QB Kolton Browning completes a 23-yard TD pass on fourth down to tie the game, and then later runs for a 16-yard touchdown to seal the victory in OT, that’s when lightning strikes and huge upsets happen. When it doesn’t? Well, that’s when you see USC beat Syracuse by 13.

SU coach Doug Marrone wanted his team to believe they could knock off the second-ranked team in the land on Saturday, and for the most part they did believe it was possible. On the ride down from Central New York, in the locker room and in pre-game warm-ups, there’s a good chance that message still permeated through the minds of every Orange player. But then the proverbial glass slipper was forcibly removed the second the game started. Why? Conservative play-calling.

With his NFL coaching background, it’s understandable why Marrone wouldn’t take many risks. At the professional level, you take very calculated risks to help ensure victory because of the money at stake for you, your players and your franchise. It’s not fun to lose in the NFL, but if you do, there are no rankings to watch out for the next day, no bowl game to position for. At the end of the day, your only job is to make the playoffs, and then see what happens next. Marrone allows himself to forget this at times – see last season’s 49-23 upset of a ranked West Virginia team and the 2010 Pinstripe Bowl victory as prime examples – but for some reason, he wouldn’t against USC.

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Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Top 25: Week Two

After an Impressive Opening Win Over Michigan, Alabama is Quickly Repositioning Themselves for the Number-One Spot

Now that we’re in-season, we’ll be updating these rankings on a weekly basis. As always, we think these are correct. Simultaneously, you’re probably of the opinion you know better. Feel free to share that with us below (respectfully, of course).

Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Top 25 (Week Two)

1. USC Trojans (1-0) (LW: 1) (First-place votes: 3)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0) (LW: 4) (1)

3. Oregon Ducks (1-0) (LW: 3)

4. LSU Tigers (1-0) (LW: 2)

5. Florida State Seminoles (1-0) (LW: 6)

6. Oklahoma Sooners (1-0) (LW: 5)

7. West Virginia Mountaineers (1-0) (LW: 10)

8. Georgia Bulldogs (1-0) (LW: 7)

9. South Carolina Gamecocks (1-0) (LW: 9)

10. Arkansas Razorbacks (1-0) (LW: 12)

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Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Preseason Top 25

USC Barely Beat Out LSU For Our Number-One Spot. Are They the Favorites for This Year’s National Championship?

All those days and weeks and months of counting, and we’re now right on the doorstep of the 2012 college football season! With just 23 days remaining until the first kickoffs on August 30, it also seemed time for the blog’s preseason top 25 picks. Of course, we know no more than you or any one else does, so feel free to interject your own opinion in the comments. Yet another exciting season is nearly upon us, and I, for one, can’t wait.

Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Preseason Top 25 (August 7)

1. USC Trojans (LW: 2) (First-place votes: 3)

2. LSU Tigers (LW: 1) (1)

3. Oregon Ducks (LW: 5)

4. Alabama Crimson Tide (LW: 3)

5. Oklahoma Sooners (LW: 4)

6. Florida State Seminoles (LW: 6)

7. Georgia Bulldogs (LW: 8)

8. Michigan Wolverines (LW: 10)

9. South Carolina Gamecocks (LW: 9)

10. West Virginia Mountaineers (LW: 7)

 

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Atlantic Coast Convos Early 2012 Top 25 (July 10)

Les Miles and LSU are Eying Another Championship After Falling in Last Year’s Title Game

Once every month until college football returns, this blog will be posting a top 25 ranking list that (similar to the polls that decide who plays in the National Championship Game) matters very little overall. Obviously, these can change based on new recruits, depth chart changes and other, unpredictable off-the-field factors (transfers, TCU weed bonanza, haphazard arrests, etc.). Disagree with these? (likely) Share your thoughts below.

Atlantic Coast Convos Top 25 (Early for 2012: July 10 Edition)

1. LSU Tigers (LW: 3) (First-place votes: 1)

2. USC Trojans (LW: 1) (2)

3. Alabama Crimson Tide (LW: 2)

4. Oklahoma Sooners (LW: 4)

5. Oregon Ducks (LW: 7)

6. Florida State Seminoles (LW: 5)

7. West Virginia Mountaineers (LW: 9)

8. Georgia Bulldogs (LW: 6)

9. South Carolina Gamecocks (LW: 12)

10. Michigan Wolverines (LW: 8) Continue reading

Atlantic Coast Convos Far-Too-Early 2012 Top 25 (June 4)

Can the Georgia Bulldogs Contend With LSU and Alabama in the SEC?

Once every month until college football returns, this blog will be posting a top 25 ranking list that (similar to the polls that decide who plays in the National Championship Game) matter very little overall. Obviously, these can change based on new recruits, depth chart changes and other, unpredictable off-the-field factors (Petrino, transfers, Watkins, TCU weed bonanza, etc.). Disagree with these? (likely) Share your thoughts below.

Atlantic Coast Convos Top 25 (Far-Too-Early for 2012: June 4 Edition)

1. USC Trojans (LW: 1)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (LW: 2)

3. LSU Tigers (LW: 3)

4. Oklahoma Sooners (LW: 4)

5. Florida State Seminoles (LW: 5)

6. Georgia Bulldogs (LW: 12)

7. Oregon Ducks (LW: 9)

8. Michigan Wolverines (LW: 6)

9. West Virginia Mountaineers (LW: 7)

10. Michigan State Spartans (LW: 8) Continue reading

Atlantic Coast Convos Far-Too-Early 2012 Top 25 (May 8)

Clemson’s Sammy Watkins Will Miss Time After Friday’s Arrest — A Bad Sign for the Tigers

Once every month until college football returns, this blog will be posting a top 25 ranking list that (similar to the polls that decide who plays in the National Championship Game) matter very little overall. Obviously, these can change based on new recruits, depth chart changes and other, unpredictable off-the-field factors (hello, Sammy Watkins!). Disagree with these? (likely) Share your thoughts below.

Atlantic Coast Convos Top 25 (Far-Too-Early for 2012: May 8 Edition)

1. USC Trojans (LW: 1)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (LW: 2)

3. LSU Tigers (LW: 3)

4. Oklahoma Sooners (LW: 4)

5. Florida State Seminoles (LW: 5)

6. Michigan Wolverines (LW: 6)

7. West Virginia Mountaineers (LW: 9)

8. Michigan State Spartans (LW: 7)

9. Oregon Ducks (LW: 10)

10. Kansas State Wildcats (LW: 11) Continue reading

Does the ACC Have the Nation’s Best Group of Quarterbacks?

We Look at Whether or Not the ACC's Crop of Quarterbacks Is the Nation's Best

The ACC, top to bottom, has the nation’s best group of quarterbacks for the 2012 season. Laugh all you want, but it may be hard to avoid the fact. While some may call out the pure number of schools we’re considering (14), or the fact that none are necessarily “elite” (false, by the way), this post’s going to try to prove those naysayers wrong. Or at least make them consider the opposing point of view. Maybe. Let’s jump in…

Of the 14 ACC starting quarterbacks, not one is in a real quarterback controversy. Just one (Stephen Morris) lost a position battle last year, and he still got considerable reps in 2011. Every one of these guys are upperclassmen — half seniors, half juniors. Six of them have also thrown for more than 3,000 yards in a season. Need I go on?

Below you’ll find a breakdown of the ACC’s signal-callers, compared to how they stack up to their counterparts in the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. To make all things even, we’ll average out all statistics across all passers. The categories will include: Career wins, 2011 passing yards, 2011 (total) TDs, and 2011 interceptions.

We’ll keep in mind this “study” isn’t perfect or scientific, so long as you remember we never claimed it was either. Continue reading