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Blogpoll Roundtable #3

CBS Sports BlogPollFrom time to time, the entity known as the CBSSports Blogpoll will have a batch of questions hosted by one of the members for the other members to post, answer, and pontificate on. This season we’ve seen roundtables hosted by Hey Jenny Slater, and College Game Balls. Today? Barking Carnival! Huzzah!

1. Mack Brown has won three out of the last four games in Dallas against OU. Meanwhile, Bob Stoops continues to pile up Big 12 trophies like NCAA inquiries. With the presumption that Mack will hang up his concho belt in the next two years in deference to the undeniable coaching force that is Will Muschamp, how does this year’s Texas/OU game define Mack Brown’s legacy? Texas wins and it’s likely Pasadena bound. A loss would likely cement this depressing statistic: a 7th conference championships for OU vs one in 12 years under Mack Brown, which was delivered by some guy named Vince Young.

OTP: This year’s UT/OU game will define Mack Brown’s legacy as long as he uses it to springboard the Horns to win a national title. Brown has clearly seen his share of OU victories, so that in and of itself isn’t enough to warrant inclusion in the “elite” brotherhood this season. This game is clearly demanding the eyes of the nation but it is only the first step to a much larger ultimate goal. That conference title, along with the pending national title berth will cement that legacy… assuming the computers don’t screw him or the Longhorns don’t drop a game to a team they shouldn’t. Which to be honest is no certainty given the way they’ve performed this season against lower tier opponents.

2. Flipping the lens, does another OU loss — 4/5 to Texas, 0/5 in the last five BCS bowls — permanently establish Big Game Bob as an overrated, overpaid coach disguised as an asshole? At least sweater vest is an all around nice guy. I just feel sorry for Tressel when he comes up short in big games. When Stoops does it I cackle in a spasmatic fit of primeval laughter. So the natives are getting restless in Norman, and by natives I mean the people that stole the land from the natives that actually lived there. Who neeeds to win a big game more: Bob Stoops, Jim Tressel, or Mark Richt?

OTP: Solely because it is his career on the line, Mark Richt. The natives in Georgia are getting damn restless and without a signature win this season to make up for the epic disaster that was the Tennessee game, Richt may very well be asked to change his staff… and even that might not be enough to guarantee his safety. What isn’t helping is the fact that Florida and Alabama continue to distance themselves from the rest of the SEC, making Richt the third best team in the conference… at best. And that is not a position that Georgia fans ever want to be in.

3. Pick the game that glistens like no other on your remaining schedule. Why does it shine for thee? What portent does it hold at the seat of your BCS or Brut Sun Bowl altar?

OTP: For me, it’s the USC-Notre Dame game this weekend. Once and for all we’re all going to see just what kind of coach Charlie Weis is. A win means the Irish faithful can rest easy for now. A loss and they get more restless than Georgia, Texas, and Oklahoma fans combined. Selfishly, I hope ND wins, not only because I root for them to succeed, but also because I enjoy the chaos and drama that comes with Weis in South Bend. It’s only natural to want the game’s biggest personality on its biggest stage. Wait… or was it its biggest waistline? Shit… I get ’em confused.

4. NC State lost to Duke. Okie State lost to Houston who lost to UTEP who scored more points against the Cougars (55) than it gained in yards against Texas (51). Virginia lost to William & Mary. Not the school but to two motivated kids named William and Mary. USC lost to Washington. I only bring this up as a reminder because USC losses tend to fade from the voting conscious faster than a fresh set of downs for an LSU quarterback. (Which leads to another riddle: Does one become concussed in the mere presence of Tebow?) Vandy just lost to Army. The point is: Big upsets are hard to predict. Riddle us yours for the month of October.

OTP: The top two for me, Alabama and Florida, win out until they meet for the SEC title in my mind. So they’re out. Texas may lost to Oklahoma, though I doubt they will, but that isn’t really all that big of an upset. The Top 25 rarely plays games that seem even remotely losable through October, but I will pick one and feel entirely confident… Michigan upsets Penn State. Go ahead, bet heavily. Thank me later.

5. In a top-heavy year where many of the favorites immolated themselves from national title contention early on, two teams now loom larger than the rest: Florida and Alabama. Assuming they face off in the SEC Championship game and the supremacy of their defenses continues to shroud their offenses in a cloak of 13-10 wizardry, and no other team seems quite as worthy by comparison (this is the SEC after all), should they get a chance to play again in January for a national championship? If not, what undefeated or 1-loss team would have the best positioning? And would the Sooners really be out of it with three losses?

OTP: Whether they will or won’t, the Sooners damn well better. They computered their way into a national title berth last year and God help any resident near the Texas line if they do that again. In terms of Florida-Bama, if the SEC title game is epically close, both were undefeated until that point, then sure… it makes sense for a rematch. Theoretically the BCS exists to pair the two best teams for the national title. And if that situation plays out like that, it would be hard to argue for a spot for anyone else. Both teams cut through the league, the best league in the country, undefeated. That counts. A lot.

Blogpoll Roundtable #2

CBS Sports BlogPollFrom time to time, the entity known as the CBSSports Blogpoll will have a batch of questions hosted by one of the members for the other members to post, answer, and pontificate on. Last week’s, hosted by Hey Jenny Slater, was all about the preseason… the sleepers, the overrateds, and the games we’d love to be at. This week’s edition, hosted by College Game Balls, is not only next in line, but also bringing the thunder since we finally have, you know… tangible results and things to talk about.

1. Which freshman impressed you more last weekend: the California dream Matt Barkley who quarterbacked USC over tOSU or white lightening Tate Forcier who slashed through Notre Dame? Which one would you like to have on your team? Feel free to write in another worth candidate.
Matt Barkley was certainly impressive. He captained and led the charge against a solid top 10 team, on the road. However, Barkley was not really the driving force behind that win. Joe McKnight had more to do with the last particular touchdown than Barkley. Take away Barkley and throw in Aaron Corp or Mitch Mustain and I’m not sure USC doesn’t still walk out of Columbus with a win. And that leaves Tate Forcier, who pretty much single handedly led the Wolverines past the Fighting Irish. It took the heat off RichRod, put another coach squarely on the hotseat, and perhaps set the tone for success in the next few seasons at Michigan. As a fan of the Ball State Cardinals, I’ll take either. I’ll have to have a footrace to determine who gets the nod, since whomever it is will need to be fleet footed to outrun the defenders the offensive line lets through like shit through a goose.

2. Let’s play a game of pretend the unthinkable happened. Commissioner __________ of your conference has been forced to resign after he was caught canoodling with some harlots. Great news, you’ve been chosen to succeed him. To make your mark you decide to make a big change. What is it going to be?
Oh my, Jon Steinbrecher. I always told you your weiner was going to get you in trouble. The MAC has so many problems, my first official act as commissioner would be to resign. That’s not an option? Piss. Ok… in that case I would begin to edict things that is going to force the conference to either succeed or fail. I would mandate no FCS scheduling. That doesn’t help the conference’s national attention with a victory, and kills it with a loss. Schedule the Sun Belt, schedule CUSA, I don’t give a damn. But you’re not going to schedule BS opponents and act like you’ve done something.

Second, I would morph the conference into a balanced leage. This 13-team setup sucks. Therefore, one team’s got to go. I would make each and every conference member present to my office what they would do over the next 5 years to increase the viability, reputation, and success of football on their campus. In those plans would need to be tangible measurable goals that my office would evaluate. The team that doesn’t meet them or fails the worst… so long.

It is only through that, that the conference itself may regain some of the luster that was lost. There was a time, when Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich, Ben Roethlisberger, and Randy Moss ran over MAC teams. Now, we’re sort of a joke. And that’s gotta stop.

3. This week the quality of games is kicked up a gear. Other than your own, which game are you most looking forward to?
First of all, there’s no need to qualify that statement in terms of my team. Once you follow your season opening loss to a SunBelt team with a loss to an FCS team, “looking forward to” doesn’t describe my feelings for this weekend’s contest between our Ball State Cardinals and Army. As an SEC fan, the potential bloodbath between Florida and Tennessee is perched atop the list, not only for the game, but for the return of CBS Sports and Verne Lundquist.

4. What mascot and/or tradition would you thieve from another school if it was socially acceptable.
As Charlie Cardinal lovers, we’re not thieving anyone’s mascot or band. Our model of avian awesomeness knows no peers, no equal, and no brethren and The Pride of MidAmerica Marching Band, as marching bands go, is far better than we deserve. Instead, we’re focusing on atmosphere. And for the money, there is no better atmosphere for the team to run through than this…

That’s the thing missing from Ball State games. The kind of entrance that makes you piss yourself before you take the field.

Blogpoll Roundtable #1

OTP was recently selected to be part of the best collection of college football bloggers as a voting member of the CBSSports/MGoBlog Blogpoll. Aside from doing weekly duties like voting and justifying our picks with our readers contributing as well, occassionally there will be a roundtable of sorts where a various blog poses questions to the group at large to answer or ignore. This week, we have chosen answer, but ask that you do the same via the comments. The host this week is Doug at HeyJennySlater, a Georgia site that has morphed itself into one of the power players of the blogosphere in general.

1. Without naming names, a few teams seem to have popped up frequently on everyone’s “overrated” lists in the preseason, so let’s forget about them for the moment and concentrate on a different group: sleepers. Which currently unheralded team are you currently putting at least a few of your chips behind in the hopes that you’ll be able to say “totally called that” once they’ve accomplished big things by the end of the season?
wannstedtIn terms of rankings and preseason hype, I’ve got Cincy higher than most on my list. They play in a conference with no dominant team, and their biggest competition for a title resides in Pittsburgh and is coached by the Wannstache. That doesn’t bode well for Pitt’s title hopes, but does bode well for my ability to sit back at the end of December and be smarmy and sarcastic about my prowess and predictive powers. Moreso than normal. I like the Wannstache… I do. But he along with the likes of Bill Curry and Bill Lynch belong to a very exclusive club… nice guys, great people, terrible football coaches. Perhaps he should have been named Bill.

2. In a similar vein, pick a sleeper player on your team whom nobody’s talking about right now and tell us why we will be talking about them by December.
The easy answer is MiQuale Lewis, but after being named to the Doak Walker Watch List, I guess that qualifies as being talked about. I will go with Kelly Page. No one really expects much out of him this season for several reasons, most notably that he is only a freshman, is not named Nate Davis, and the offense looks to be strapped squarely on the back of Quale. But Page’s abilities and talents will be on display early and often as the offensive line works on their chemistry and their ability to stop opposing defensive units from knocking him silly.

3. Florida is about as big a consensus favorite as we’ve seen in recent years, but remember, USC got 62 out of 65 first-place votes in the AP’s 2007 preseason poll and still managed to lose to Stanford. Given how difficult it is to go undefeated period these days, where do you think the Gators are most likely to stumble in the regular season?
Personally, I don’t think  they stumble at all. If they were to stumble, it would be at LSU. That’s a tough envirnonment, a challenging ballclub, and a tough win for most anyone to get. But Florida isn’t “anyone”, they’re something special. Of all the games on the schedule the contest against LSU gives the most pause, and by “most” I mean an additional nanosecond to the nanosecond already dedicated to putting W after W on Florida’s schedule. Could they lose? Sure. Will the lose? Doubtful.

4. Which regular-season game not involving your team or conference are you most looking forward to this year?
USC-Notre Dame bar none. This game is going to do one of two things… quiet down the masses of ND faithful that are ranking the Irish significantly higher than logic, rational thought, or recent results warrants… OR… propel the masses to fever pitch, prove Lou Holtz right, and begin the process of the universe and the cosmos enveloping in on itself layer by layer. Either way, it the outcome is meaningful.

5. In honor of Georgia’s opening-weekend opponent and their most prolific booster, let’s say you somehow come into T. Boone Pickens money and can buy anything you want for your program — facilities upgrades, an airplane for recruiting, buy out the contract of that coach you hate, you name it. Where does your first check go?
urinalsMy first check goes to put some additional urinals in at Scheumann Stadium. A sexy answer? No. A fancy schmancy sort of upgrade that will attract new recruits? Doubtful. But so help me God if I have to miss half a quarter of football again because there is seemingly only 9 pissers in a stadium for 23,000 people I am going to just let ‘er fly behind a concession stand. Or on the visiting team bus. Whichever is closer. Frankly, the whole stadium needs some work done. It looks nice on TV, and it’s made great strides since the late 90s when hundreds of people would pack it every weekend, but there are significant upgrades needed. If we want to be classy and top of the line, you have to think classy and top of the line. I mean, does a major school like Alabama have fans that just micturate all over the place? Wait… that’s a bad example.