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You could say it about any sport, actually. The Bruins got hot for a few rounds and won the Cup....

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You could say it about any sport, actually. The Bruins got hot for a few rounds and won the Cup. The Mavericks caught fire and won the NBA title. The Cardinals were on life support, heated up for a couple months and improbably won the World Series. Can you even remember regular seasons meaning this little? Nowadays, you just want to make it to the Final Four — after that, it's all about executing and catching a couple of breaks.

Via Bill Simmons' Super Bowl post-mortem column. A pretty clear (if indirect) endorsement of the smallest college football playoff possible, really.

The problem with the entire league imitating Nick Saban's style is that it is hard to replicate...

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The problem with the entire league imitating Nick Saban's style is that it is hard to replicate what Saban does. Saban is an epic recruiter. The characterization of him in The Blind Side turned out to be accurate. Programs that try to imitate his method will typically find themselves doing so with less talent. Additionally, Saban is an outstanding defensive coach, so his teams don't need an offense to put up big numbers. In sum, Saban's style of conservative risk minimization works with a talent advantage and a dominant defense. Without those two factors, the other programs in the SEC won't be able to do what Saban's team can. Thus, even though a well-coached pro-style offense can work (and Loeffler is as good a candidate as anyone to run that offense well), the rest of the SEC looking up to Alabama could still stand to use the basic premise of the run-based spread, which is to use the quarterback as a runner to create either a numerical advantage in the box of favorable throwing conditions down the field. If you want a succinct scenario for the end of SEC dominance, it's the possibility of the rest of the conference taking the wrong lessons from Alabama's success.

From an excellent SBN Atlanta piece about the SEC's Sabanization. It really is amazing to watch sometimes. Instead of figuring out how to beat the top dog, coaches spend a lot of time trying to resemble the top dog. Like the only thing more important than winning is convincing people you're trying to win.

that game not only ushered in an age of the spread, it also ushered in the age of information: Not...

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that game not only ushered in an age of the spread, it also ushered in the age of information: Not only were the ideas themselves different, there were more of them than ever, and they could be passed along, combined, pondered, and reformulated at a rate faster than ever before. The game was dramatic not only because of what it was — a great football game, where a "David" used used an underdog strategy to topple a "Goliath" — but when it happened: Immediately before the internet, the cloud, iPhones, iPads and all of the good stuff that has increased our interconnectedness over the same time period.

Chris Brown takes a look at The Most Important Game in the History of the Spread Offense, and Its Legacy. Great game, great read. (For more, feel free to revisit my "What I Love" piece on it as well.)

A while back, Football Outsiders created the Lewin Career Forecast in an attempt to use college...

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A while back, Football Outsiders created the Lewin Career Forecast in an attempt to use college stats to project pro success. Here are some of the factors it uses for projections: career starts, career completion rate, size, run-pass ratio, and rushing yards. In a lot of ways, Griffin is already the perfect quarterback for this tool. He is a three-year starter (the Alamo Bowl will be his 40th career start). His career completion percentage is 67 percent and has improved every year (2011: 72.4 percent). He could be a little taller (6-foot-2), but at 220 pounds he's got a decent amount of meat on his bones (but not too much). His run-pass ratio (30 percent) is probably a bit too high for F.O.'s liking, but only a bit. And when he does run, he tends to get somewhere. He has long been pigeon-holed into the "run-first quarterback" mold even though that has not been particularly true since his freshman year. In 2011, he proved himself to be one of the most well-rounded, pro-ready quarterbacks on the list. If he returns to school, that would be fantastic. But I cannot blame him if he takes the leap.

Today at the mothership, I look at the stay-or-go decisions made by Robert Griffin III (probably leaving), LaMichael James (leaving), Lamar Miller (leaving) and Aaron Murray (staying). And when you're done with that, you know you were dying to read an in-depth preview of tonight's Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.

35: Bowls on the 2011-12 docket. Some of them will be completely and totally uninteresting (like,...

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35: Bowls on the 2011-12 docket. Some of them will be completely and totally uninteresting (like, for instance, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl for non-Temple fans). But the more bowls you have, the more great finishes you'll have. We got two in three games yesterday. Are there too many bowls? Probably. Did I care yesterday? Hell no. Did I love both the finish and the "Mr. Hankey" looking mascot in yesterday's Idaho Potato Bowl? Hell yes. More, please. Numericals for every bowl game? NUMERICALS FOR EVERY BOWL GAME!

Last year's David (SDSU) is this year's Goliath -- they are playing in their second consecutive...

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Last year's David (SDSU) is this year's Goliath -- they are playing in their second consecutive bowl and are set to join the now-ridiculously named Big East soon, in part because of their recent success -- and it is quite possible that they could fall victim to the same motivation-and-homefield situation that benefited them last year. This should be a game with big plays, of both the offensive and defensive variety, and a less-sterile-than-normal bowl environment. You want to watch this one.

From my New Orleans Bowl preview. The first three (of 35) previews are up at the mothership. When you're done with ULL-SDSU, head on over to the New Mexico Bowl and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl previews. BOWL SEASON, BABY.

That leaves two at-large BCS bids, likely going to some combination of these four teams: Stanford...

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That leaves two at-large BCS bids, likely going to some combination of these four teams: Stanford (11-1), Boise State (11-1), Kansas State (10-2) and Michigan (10-2). Ten-win South Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia teams are out because the SEC has filled their two-team allotment (the only way they get a third is if Georgia or the SEC West Champion win the SEC title game and two other SEC teams are still in the national title game). Ten-win USC is out because they aren't going to any bowl. Depending on how the BCS Top 14 plays out (you must be a Top 14 team to be eligible for an at-large bid), it is possible that a nine-win team like Oklahoma, Penn State, Nebraska or Clemson can also get involved, but for these projections we will stick to the ten-wins-or-better pool. Stanford gets one of those two slots, and we'll say that Michigan gets the other spot despite ranking a decent amount below both Boise State and Kansas State. (Ah, the power of an enormous, well-traveled fan base.) There isn't a clear-cut case for any of these four teams, however.

From my bowl projections column at The Mothership. There are some interesting domino effects tied to some of these picks. (Also, feel free to check out this morning's awards finalists column.)

3: Value of a field goal. I felt this would be a useful reminder, as we saw so few actually go...

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3: Value of a field goal. I felt this would be a useful reminder, as we saw so few actually go through the uprights this week that it may have been easy to forget. Never mind the most visible examples -- Boise State's egregious miss that ended a long home winning streak, the Stanford miss that came as close to the press box as the goal posts; those are too easy. Instead, focus on, say, the Alabama-Mississippi State and West Virginia-Cincinnati games that saw the four teams combine to go 2-for-10. Only one attempt in the UA-MSU game was from beyond 41 yards; meanwhile, WVU and UC each had a relative chip shot (31 for Cincy, 39 for WVU) blocked. Special teams turn games around, and evidently only LSU plays special teams anymore. (We'll give San Jose State a pass, by the way. They had an attempted game-winner against Utah State blocked at the buzzer just like Cincinnati, only theirs was from 67 yards. That is a kick you are supposed to block. Plus, they made four other kicks.) From this week's Numerical at the mothership.

No. 5 Boise State destroys No. 19 Georgia's will in a 35-21 win in Atlanta. Kellen Moore completes...

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No. 5 Boise State destroys No. 19 Georgia's will in a 35-21 win in Atlanta. Kellen Moore completes 28 of 34 passes with an entirely new receiving corps, and the Broncos sack Aaron Murray six times in 35 pass attempts. Storyline: Mark Richt's team is once again unready for prime time; this season is going to be a disappointment, and he is going to be fired. The Verdict: The loud assumptions of Richt's mortality grew when the Bulldogs lost to South Carolina the next week, but the Dawgs have taken full advantage of a weaker SEC schedule and a severely flawed SEC East; they have won six games in a row, sometimes in impressive fashion, sometimes less so, and are tied atop the East with Carolina. The banged-up Gamecocks hold the tie-breaker but must beat Arkansas and Florida to take the title. Georgia, meanwhile, gets Auburn and Kentucky, both at home. Georgia may still have some issues, but they may also have ten wins when the season is over. In my latest SBN piece, I revisit assumptions everybody was making after the first week of the season.

Since launching the website in February of 2006, the cost of operation, including paying monthly...

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Since launching the website in February of 2006, the cost of operation, including paying monthly for a web hosting provider, has come out of my own pocket. So I’m asking now for help to defray the cost. I’ve chosen the month of October for the first-ever pledge drive at cfbstats.com. If you find the site useful, either because you love stats, want to settle an argument, or use it for work, please consider a donation. No amount is too small.

Marty at CFB Stats is the reason I have data to analyze from week to week, DONATE NOW, PLEASE!
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