Apologies for lacking on links the last couple days. We'll do our best to get something up each morning...
Grantland: Titus's Top 12 NCAA Power Rankings
Mark Titus has been enamored with his Wisconsin "Buzzcutz" moniker for the Badgers for a little while now. I suppose that's solid, but c'mon now -- don't use Sam Dekker for the picture!
Titus lays out the common thread we've been encountering the past year or two in college basketball: nobody knows what the heck is going on, or what will happen even in the very short-term. His case in point this time is Wisconsin, "the biggest early-season surprise in college basketball."
What makes Wisconsin so good is its versatility. The Buzzcuts' starting center, Frank Kaminsky, is a 7-footer who shoots 42 percent from the 3-point line, and their point guard, Traevon Jackson, can score on the low block. All five starters are threats from deep, and because of Bo Ryan's swing offense, they're also all threats to post up at any time. This means that defenses have to be ready for anything, which is a problem because "be ready for anything" isn't a very helpful scouting report. This versatility paired with unselfishness, chemistry, and great team defense are what give these Buzzcuts a chance to be the best team Bo Ryan has ever coached.
That's pretty on point. UW's perceived weaknesses, in his mind: lack of depth, love of three-pointers. The latter is certainly nothing new, and that might always be the case for Bo Ryan teams. The former is probably true, too, and we might very well find out just how far the depth stretches if Kaminsky can't play Saturday.
But assuming Wisconsin gets past Eastern Kentucky, as well as Prairie View A&M two weeks later, it'll head into the new year and Big Ten play 13-0. A trip to Northwestern begins conference play, and while the Wildcats enjoy being pesky, the Badgers should get by. Three days later, the fun really begins when No. 23 Iowa comes to the Kohl Center. Could that be the first loss for Wisconsin? Afterward, its Illinois at home and Indiana on the road, followed by a home date with Michigan Jan. 18.
Garnet And Black Attack: The 2013 Season: An Infographic Review
This is a pretty sweet graphical review from SB Nation's South Carolina Site, running through the Gamecocks' regular season. I'd certainly like to see their Special Teams Futility Tracker after the Capital One Bowl, but hey -- we can empathize there, too.
SB Nation: This Train: When two unlikely teams met in the sec championship, we saw a glimpse into the future of the conference
SEC, SEC, whatever whatever. This is a sweet longform from Bill Connelly, and if you happen to enjoy college football, I do think you'll like this one.
SB Nation: The 8 things we learned about the College Football Playoff selection process
Now this is more applicable. Steven Godfrey attended the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum and has eight takeaways regarding the model of next year's playoff. The early thread -- a whole lotta uncertainty.
7. Don't expect total voter transparency, or Nebraska might blow up your house.
The committee reps on hand said that they'd prefer the selections be a statement of the group. When asked about potential extreme behavior in reaction to an individual's vote, Radkovich demurred.
"To be honest with you, I just don't think in those directions. I have great faith in humanity and mankind."
The Verge: 'House of Cards' Season 2 trailer