Monday Morning Mash-up: Week 12

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

An encouraging sign from the Louisville loss, how to fix biased AP polling, dream bowl game matchups and more.

1.) From the department of "In case you missed it", a hearty congrats to all the recent UConn alums who had a big impact on their games at the pro level yesterday.

Dwayne Gratz - 5 tackles, 1 INT, 1 pass deflection

Sio Moore - 10 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FR

Jordan Todman - 3 rushes, 11 yards, TD

Donald Brown - 5 receptions, 64 yards, TD

Ryan Griffin - 1 reception, 2 yards, TD

Griffin's score was the first of his career, while Moore's ten tackles were a career-high. Gratz's and Todman's efforts helped spur the first Jacksonville Jaguars win of 2013. In a losing effort, Brown reeled in the first receiving touchdown of his career.

Oh, and Anthony Sherman stayed undefeated for another week (albeit from his couch as the 9-0 Chiefs enjoyed a bye week).

2.) Take a second to consider this: After its home loss to Vanderbilt last Saturday, Florida could now join USC and Texas as programs with head coaching vacancies this off-season. That is insane.

The rumor mill and Jon Gruden better grow to be awfully good friends over these coming months. They're going to see a lot of each other.

3.) Here's something I've long felt and has been proven once again: The collective body of AP poll voters is inherently biased towards bigger programs and the teams they ranked earlier in the season. There's no doubt about it.

Now, there are two big reasons for this (namely, availability heuristics and no one on the planet likes to admit they're wrong), and one program seems to benefit above all others—Notre Dame.

Proof of this lay right at the bottom of last week's polls. The Irish slipped back into the Top-25 even after a slate of games that includes an 11-point loss to miserable Michigan, a mere seven-point win over hapless Purdue, a handed defeat courtesy of Oklahoma and just a 4-point victory over then 4-4 Navy.

But forget those, let's put the old boys back in there.

Well, after last weekend, it's time to yank them back out.

The Irish fell 28-21 to this year's version of a poor Pitt team, whose previous big win was a 38-24 conquest of Old Dominion. Ha.

It's time to spotlight and fix this prejudice, so we do a better job of determining the true top 25 best teams in the land—big programs or small. These AP rankings help sway bowl berth selections and thus affect hundreds of thousands of dollars. The most surefire way to do this would be to shorten the list of voting writers and encourage them to watch tape, but a better, more plausible idea is far below.

P.S.- If you'd like to accuse me of being an ND hater, just stop. I, for one, actually like the Irish.

4.) UConn's next game is a rare 3:00 p.m. contest down in Dallas against SMU. Here's the only name you need to know from the opposing sideline: Garrett Gilbert.

The former Texas transfer has taken the reins of head coach June Jones' offense and run his way to the no. 1 spot in individual total offense nationally. 409.4 yards per game. That's 17 ahead of Johnny Manziel, 62 better than Baylor's Bryce Petty and 73 whole yards more than Oregon's Marcus Mariota.

Holy hell.

Slow him, and stop SMU.

5.) I want to take a second now to share a brief take on the Dolphins' mess involving Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito for two important reasons. I promise, it's brief.

- This debacle is a perfect case in point for why one should reserve judgment until almost all information on a breaking story is available. The first bits of news that came were hideous, but, they were far, far, far away from all that was at play.

Dolphins players have said that Martin not only happily shared, but also laughed about the voicemail leaked roughly one week ago. To me, that demonstrably changes the nature of what's happened. Now that the media has revealed Incognito's full person history, it's fair to say he is indeed a total scum. Though I can't say I know for sure much beyond that at this point.

- Secondly, this type of bullying and/or interaction is something that I would bet the house on takes place in many, many college football programs. The hierarchy of a college lockerroom is much more set in place, making those lower on the ladder much more helpless against bullying of this kind. Here's to hoping college coaches are more on top of it than Joe Philbin and Jeff Ireland were.

6.) On a happier note, dream bowl game matchups:

Ohio State vs. Stanford

Oregon vs. Baylor

Clemson vs. Texas A&M.

Who says no?

Oh, ya. Probably real life. Sorry, guys.

7.) The most important statistic to come out of UConn's 31-10 loss to Louisville last Friday night was without a doubt the 17 points allowed by the defense. It's more than worth noting that Teddy Bridgewater and co. endured a prime example of what folks would call an "off day".

But if there's hope that a win or even two will come for these Huskies over their remaining four games, it's going to stem from a strong defensive performance. Even with the myriad of youngsters now playing on that side of the ball and the pass rush still MIA, this unit can still hold its own.

8.) I'd give a couple thousand pennies to get Paul Pasqualoni's thoughts on the season Buffalo is having right now. The Bulls are 7-2, and the thumping they gave UConn was the final nail in Coach P's coffin. It sure looks like the hammer coming down shouldn't have been all that unexpected after all, because UConn is still 0-8 without him and the Bulls were a damn good team. We just had no idea.

9.) Okay, here's the idea to provide a more accurate AP poll: Get rid of polling for the first four weeks of the season.  TV networks of course would never go for this because it would make their marketing efforts for big games more difficult. However, hear me out.

No person on earth has any clue as to how good any team will be at the end of August.  Not even the head coaches.

Yet, writers honored with the privilege of penning a weekly poll are asked to rank the top 25 teams in order before even a single snap is taken. They need to know for sure who's no. 1, who's no. 2 all the way down to no. 24 and 25, without seeing any of them compete on the field. This kind of practice is also known as making near-complete guesses.

Then, writers are expected to modify these random rankings as games are played every Saturday. On Sunday, the teams that were slotted higher on their guess-polls are given a greater margin of error than those below, despite the fact they've done nothing more yet to deserve it. With this inherent benefit, how can we all triumph that the greatness of sports lies in the fact that it's a meritocracy? We can't! So instead, let's change things and live up to that.

Let's watch a whole month of college football, take notes as games are won and lost, and reserve judgment until four weeks have passed. Then let's decide who looks best, who looks the worst and go from there. This way, there's no need to publish our biggest preseason mistakes. There's no need for highly overrated teams to take a slow slide down the top-25 (looking at you, Miami), or for deserving, surprise teams to endure a creeping ascension because they "shouldn't have been any good".  We avoid the pitfalls that incur the biases and plague the polls.

Excluding network politics, tell me why this wouldn't be a good thing for the game.

10.) Finally, happy Veterans' Day. Take a minute to thank someone in your life or even someone you see passing on the street who has served in the military. You and I owe a lot to them and all the brave men and women that have done a great service to this country.

For all things UConn Football, follow Andrew on Twitter: @UConnFB_Andrew.

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