Thursday, October 2, 2008

Blogpoll roundtable

This week's BlogPoll Roundtable is in a cornfield somewhere, hosted by Big Red Network.

(They gotta lotta corn in Nebraska. No, for real. Like many folks do, especially those who've seen Field of Dreams, I used to associate corn with Iowa. Then my family took a car trip that drove us through both states, and I saw the error of my ways. Nebraska is to corn as Saudi Arabia is to sand. Corn is not generally considered exciting, but that much of it is actually rather impressive, especially when whizzing by the car window at a faster rate than usual thanks to Nebraska's excellent 80 MPH speed limit. I digress. A lot. Here are the questions we have been put to this week.)

Q: Of the four presumed national title contenders to go down this past week--USC, Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin--which team has the best chance to get back in the race by the end of the year?

Wisconsin? Seriously? One of these days, Wisconsinites are going to shake their cheese-and-Miller-fed heads and realize they haven't been to the BCS, nor won any kind of a share of the Big Ten championship, since 1999, and when they do, that is the exact moment Bret Bielema's job will be in trouble. Wisconsin doesn't count.

Florida and Georgia have to play one another. At best, then, they're both 50/50. The WLOCP is going to knock one or the other out. Florida, however has LSU and Vandy left on the schedule; Georgia has LSU, Vandy, and Auburn, and a rival in Georgia Tech that's spoiling for a win with a funky new offense. Give the edge here to Florida.

USC, now....these guys had a table that was set up to be run, and run hard. They blew it at Corvallis, but then again they typically blow one every year. And the table is still set. They get all the tough(ish) games at home: Oregon, Cal, Notre Dame. And all the easy ones on the road: Wazzu, Arizona. So USC is the answer to this question, and if I had to rank them: USC, Florida, Georgia, big space, more big space, Wisconsin.

Q: But what does this mean for Ohio State? Are they back in?

Only if they run the table. And only if all these undefeated teams lose. Obviously.

But, assume they do run the Big Ten table. (Blech.) There are 11 teams in front of them in the coaches' poll, which is what we'll use because it's the one that counts in the BCS. One of them is Penn State, a team they'd beat on the way, so that's one down, 10 to go. Fully four of them are Big 12 teams, and at most one of them is going to represent in the NCG, so that's three more down. 7 to go. Three more are SEC teams, so, two down. That leaves four teams out of OU, LSU, BYU, USC, and USF that would all have to lose, assuming OU and LSU sufficiently beat down their conference rivals before their respective conference championship games. So....eeehhhhhhmmmm....that's a lot. Even in the wacky world of wacky college football wackiness, that's tough to get, especially because the Buckeyes are no less prone to wackiness than any of these other guys (especially against Michigan, one hopes), and they no longer have any margin for wackiness.

Q: Did the week that was open the door for any of the undefeateds out of some of the non-BCS conferences like the Mountain West or the Big East? (Yup, that's a cheap shot. Thanks, Virginia Tech for not allowing me to make it about the ACC.)

If USF is undefeated, they're in if there aren't two other undefeateds. Technically, the Big East is a BCS conference, though the only reason they still are is because they used to be. A lot more craziness would have to go down for BYU to sneak in. One-loss Oklahoma vs. one-loss USC would cause voters to hand BYU over to the Fiesta Bowl or something.

Q: How do you feel about Craig Littlepage repealing the sign ban at UVA athletic events?

OK, that's not an official Roundtable question. See if I care - it's getting an answer, because it's awesome. Kudos to Littlepage for manning up and admitting a mistake. His official statement is kind of funny and worth dissecting:

"Our football team needs our support right now and that should be our collective focus. With that in mind, I am repealing immediately the policy prohibiting signs, banners and flags in all athletics venues."
This brings up the question: does that mean if the football team didn't suck, the ban would have stayed? Of course, if the football team hadn't crapped the bed against Wyoming, there would not have been any Fire Groh signs in the stands in the first place, and maybe there would have been no anti-sign policy either?

"My hope is our fans will wear orange and be prepared to support the Cavaliers."
This reversal comes not long after the student and fan movement to wear blue instead of orange, as a protest against the color the admin and coach have been wanting to see in the stands. (A terrific idea, by the way. It kind of smacks you in the face with subtlety.) The question is, why are they so hell-bent on fans wearing orange? Sure, schools love to do color-outs - Penn State carries this out quite well - but is it really the case that the school is so desperate for fans to wear orange that the wear-blue movement is what pushed this over the edge? If so, mega-congrats to the people whose idea that was. It's honestly the kind of thing that affirms my love for this school, as cheesy as that sounds.

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