If there is a major reason for the benefit of the doubt that FSU received and the skepticism that OSU is receiving this year, it's most likely due to schedule.
Neither team looked great. But, 4 games into the 2014 season, FSU had already beaten Oklahoma State (ranked approx. 30th in coaches poll, 33rd in AP at the time) and Clemson (ranked 22nd at the time.) They played better competition. Why would anyone suggest a defending champ with 2 decent scalps (one ranked) by week four didn't deserve to be in the playoff?
At this point, OSU hasn't beaten a ranked opponent and VT was ranked approx. 29th in the preseason and gone downhill from there. They haven't accomplished as much as FSU at the same point in the season. It doesn't strike me as biased.
Wasn't "flipping the switch" or "another gear" exactly what FSU was known for last year? Like the OP said, they were often in very close games, or losing midway through the game. They played complacently. But when the clock started to tick away, FSU would start taking things seriously, "flip the switch" and found a way to win every regular season game. It seems exactly like the OSU vs. VT game you just referenced. OSU was losing at the half, but turned it up a notch after the half. FSU did that many times last year, most notably against Louisville (down 14 at the half, destroyed the 'Ville in the second half and won by double digits.) They did the same thing to Clemson (down 7 at the half, outscored Clemson 20-7 in the second half.)
The only difference was that Louisville (#25) and Clemson (#15) were ranked teams last year, and VT likely won't be.
WMU rushed for 18 yards against MSU, 25 yards against Georgia Southern, and 169 against OSU.
I have to agree with the above poster. It's very premature to call the OSU defense elite. Michael Brewer was averaging 10 yards/attempt before he got injured (that's excellent) and had an 82 QBR. The OSU defense didn't look like it was in control until he got knocked out.
OSU shut out Hawaii, but Hawaii has the 124th ranked offense in the nation. Wisconsin shut out Hawaii today, too. Does that me Wisconsin's D is elite? Northern Illinois's offense was completely shut down by Boston College today. In fact, they held the NIU offense to fewer yards than OSU did (153 yards), and fewer offensive points (NIU scored on a kick return.) Does that mean BC's defense is elite?
Western Michigan ran the ball pretty well against OSU. Considering they ran for 18 yards against Michigan State, and 25 yards against Georgia Southern, it doesn't bode well that they put up 170 rush yards against OSU. The OSU defense looks solid, but it doesn't strike me as elite.
Ohio State's strength of schedule took a nasty hit today. Hawaii will certainly lose to Wisconsin. VT just lost to a mid-major (28-35 ECU). Northern Illinois lost again to Boston College. And, as good as OSU's defense looked against NIU competition, BC's defense was even more dominant, holding NIU to 153 yards and only 7 offensive points (NIU also scored on special teams.) The OSU competition so far has certainly proved underwhelming.
Although, I get the sense that WMU could be pretty decent this year.
DJ Byrnes probably phrased it that way because Michigan received a verbal pledge from 3* Nolan Ulizio (Lakota West, West Chester, OH) after Harbaugh was hired. Ulizio signed with Michigan in February.
Well...I don't know. I mean, you're right that it's not really about Fisher vs. Dantonio. It's just that Dantonio doesn't strike me as top five. Dantonio is 1-3 against Brian Kelly. That's an instant disqualification for top 5 consideration where I come from.
I think Dantonio is a fine coach, but I don't really understand his inclusion on these sorts of lists over someone like, say...Jimbo Fisher? I try not to weigh national championships too heavily when thinking about coaching ability/ranking, because not every coach is fortunate enough to have A+ resources. But, Fisher generally has a very strong argument over someone like Dantonio. Dantonio finally got MSU to the upper echelon in 2010, and he is hailed as having four 11 win seasons in five years. However, since MSU's rise in 2010 (the same year Fisher took over at FSU), Fisher actually has the BETTER winning percentage (84% vs 76%.) Fisher has the better overall win percentage (84% vs 66%), better bowl record (4-1 vs. 5-4), more conference championships, despite less time coaching (3 ACC vs. 2 B1G)
Of course, Fisher has the National Championship on his resume that Dantonio doesn't. He also has a 29 game winning streak (2012-2014) and he is the man who ended the seven year SEC reign of terror by beating Auburn. He is also 1-0 vs. Urban Meyer.
While Dantonio is regarded as a defensive master, it's actually Fisher's Seminoles that have been ranked higher in total defense 3 out of 5 years (2010, 2011, 2012). And, if one wants to tout Dantonio as a masterful program builder, it's not like Fisher doesn't have that on his resume too. He took over a Florida State team that went 30-20 from 2006-2009. (60%) He instantly took a 7-6 team to 10-4, and has since won 84% of his games.
Agree. This says more about the scheduling powers that be than ESPN's agenda. In fact, with the #3 Auburn playing #4 Ole Miss, ESPN was exceptionally evenhanded even showing up in Morgantown. They could have been very justified going back to Oxford, but they chose to go to Big 12 country despite a b-list headlining game.
Harbaugh did bring John Baxter in as Michigan special teams coach. Baxter is well known throughout the coaching ranks for his development of a system, Academic Gameplan, geared toward student-athlete strategies for succeeding in the class room. He has a Master's in Higher Education and takes education very seriously. This addition to the staff seems to suggest that Harbaugh also takes academics (somewhat) seriously.
Why the confidence in Oregon St? They are playing Michigan on the road, and are something like 14 point underdogs (according to Vegas). Last year they missed a bowl (5-7) and went 2-7 in the Pac 12. Like Michigan, they replace a head coach and a QB. You said you don't see Harbaugh turning it around in year one. What are you projecting for Gary Andersen and Co?
Nor anyone else in the 2016 recruiting class. The only way his departure "makes room" is if Michigan picks up another grad transfer that can play in the 2015 season.
No, it's stating that he hasn't yet met ND's standards and he needs to raise his test scores in order to get admitted at ND. All we can deduce from this is that he hasn't met OSU or ND standards.
Alabama technically replaces a lot. But, they had really solid depth with experience. Guys like Henry (is he the 1/2 you reference?) and OJ Howard are not returning starters, but may as well be.
I'm looking forward to Georgia vs. GT (great game last year) and Arizona State vs. TAMU.
I suspect you're overestimating the impact losing a QB has for Oregon. The last time they had a QB transition was between 2011-2012. In 2011, they finished 12-2 and #4 in the country with the #4 offense in the nation. The next year, with a new QB, they finished 13-1 and #2 in the country, with the #5 offense in the nation.