Sunday, September 21, 2003

Rocket Man

And I think it's gonna be a long long time
Till touch down brings me round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
Oh no no no I'm a rocket man
-Elton John

This is what I said about the Pittsburgh - Toledo game on Tuesday:

"#13 Pitt at # 69 Toledo - Nobody, NOBODY looks at this as anything more than a game Pitt has to be careful with, but Pitt is ranked in the Top 10 in one of the two BCS polls, making this a Golden opportunity for the Rockets. Only 10.5-point favorites, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Panthers fall."

And now the Rockets have done it. The star of the game was Bruce Gradkowski. The sophomore from Pittsburgh,who was not recruited by the Panthers, threw for 461 yards and three touchdowns. Of course, this being a team game, Gradowski's big day doesn't happen without the help of everyone. All of the Rockets are heroes today.

The ESPN College Game Day crew was raving about the MAC late last night, and how could they not? On top of Toledo's win, Northern Illinois went into Bama and beat them, and Marshall did the same thing to # 6 KSU. Miami of Ohio went into Colorado and crushed CSU, and Bowling Green stayed within a touchdown of National Champion Ohio State.

But it is only Toledo's win that makes them a contender for Eisenberg's College Football (ECF) Championship. The Rockets have made it past the toughest of all rules for small college teams, Rule #7:

7. The Top Ten Rule - Teams must beat another team that is in the Top Ten in either Poll when they play, or in the Top Ten later in the season. This is an attempt by Eisenberg Sports to insure that strength of schedule is considered, and gives our poll-loving fans something to do.

Now the Rockets have broken through to the other side. Having knocked off a Top Ten team in what will undoubtedly be their only opportunity to do so, all they need to do is keep winning to gain a share of the ECF Championship. Actually, because they're in a conference with a championship game, they can actually suffer another Acceptable Loss and win the ECF by winning their conference championship game as well as their bowl game.

So how hard will it be? Here's the Rocket's schedule the rest of the way:

at Syracuse
Eastern Michigan
Central Michigan
at Ball St.
Buffalo
Northern Illinois
Western Michigan
at Bowling Green
Conference Championship Game?
Bowl Game?

This schedule doesn't look as simple as it did on Friday, does it? Let's say Toledo loses a close one to Syracuse. That would still leave a home game with Northern Illinois, a road match with Bowling Green, and the two big games at the end, if they get there. And here's one additional problem for Toledo: while they are potentially allowed two Acceptable Losses (as is anyone who wins a conference championship game), if they beat Syracuse but lose to either Northern Illinois or Bowling Green, they might not even get into their conference championship game. That would bring them back to only 1.5 allowable Acceptable Losses, and eliminate them.

But hey, good luck to the Rockets, and congratulations to the MAC! You've already made this a special year.

Here are the current ECF standings. There are 58 teams left in contention for the ECF Championship. Teams that have beaten a Top Ten team are in bold:

Teams eliminated from the ECF Championship yesterday: Alabama, Ark St, BC, BYU, C. Mich, Colorado, CSU, Florida, KSU, Kent St, Hawaii, La Tech, UCF, UCLA, Temple (Temple was actually eliminated the week before, but I missed them)

Teams With A Perfect Record (16):
Air Force, Arkansas, FSU, Iowa, LSU, Louisville, Miami, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, USC, Virginia Tech

Teams With A Half-Acceptable Loss (5):
Cincinnati, Missouri, Ohio St, N Illinois, Washington State

Teams With One Acceptable Loss (15):
Boise St, BG, Georgia, Michigan, MIssissippi, Navy, Nevada, Pitt, Oklahoma St, Oregon St, Rutgers, SD St, Texas A&M, Toledo, Utah

Teams That Have To Remain Perfect The Rest Of The Way, either due to having an Unacceptable Loss Protected By The Three Weeks Rule, Or By Reaching Their Maximum Number Of Acceptable Losses (22):
Ariz St, Texas, Texas Tech, Iowa St, Kansas, Washington, Clemson, Syracuse, UConn, S. Miss, Miami OH, USF, Wisconsin, Purdue, Mich St, NC St, Virginia, Wake Forest, UNLV, South Carolina, Houston, Memphis

ECF Rules

Dave's Email

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