Thursday, November 20, 2008

two roundtables for the price of one

We have double the roundtable action today. First, the ACC roundtable roundup; then, the Blogpoll roundtable is hosted over at College Game Balls, and I'm going to take some kind of a stab at answering those questions.

But first first, one - no, two - quick observations on last nights b-ball game against USF, which came to mind as the stattracker flashed the score up on the screen.

- One, the results of one game against a high-scoring, Roadrunner-style VMI squad is a bit premature for calling a true freshman the best player on your team. Two games in, and you start to see it: Sylven Landesberg is the best player on the team. Pretty soon I won't even have to keep looking it up to make sure he's the 'Berg with the E and not the U.

- Two, I don't think there's any more to read into that game last night other than strictly what it was: two bottom-feeders of pretty good conferences duking it out and trying not to make the last mistake. USF made the last mistake by clanking a pair of shots that could have won it. I was hoping for a better showing, to inform us that we have a basketball team capable of finishing outside the ACC cellar, but unless USF is deceptively good much the same way Arizona was deceptively bad last year, we didn't see it.

Oh, and hey: Maui Invitational - we're going again. Chaminade must love it every time we show up.

Now: ACC roundtable. Roundup time. A quick primer: the ACC Roundtable is comprised of (besides myself) BC Interruption, Block-C, The LegacyX4, Tar Heel Mania, College Game Balls, and Gobbler Country. For those keeping score at home, that's half the ACC represented, and VT twice.

First question:

1. Take a look into your team’s past, as far back as you like. If you could pick one game and change its outcome, which would you choose and why?

Unsurprisingly, Gobbler Country goes straight for the jugular to try and get that national title that the Hokies have just missed out on. College Game Balls wants the national title too, but a different one: last year's, and he figures if Matt Ryan doesn't connect on that prayer in the rain, VT would have marched on to beat Ohio State for it. Plech, Virginia Tech and Ohio State in the title game? You know, I don't necessarily disagree that the Hokies would have won. All I'm saying is: Biggest Meteor Game Ever.

But as GC noted, the national title changes everything. Block-C would agree, and might have some words of caution in his answer: he wants Clemson's championship erased from the books. Rather than defeating Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl for that title, a loss is what he's looking for. This may seem surprising, but Block-C is a blog that, as a daily feature, mocks the most psycho and/or inane message board post that he can find that day, so a few less psychotic Clemson fans with absurd expectations would probably make his existence that much more pleasant.

2. What non-ACC program most resembles yours?

Clemson = Auburn. This is actually something of a continuation of the same theme as before, and impressively, doesn't even mention "orange" or "Tigers."

Boston College = TCU. The Frogs don't have any Miracle in Miami, but they do have LT.

Again, the VT blogs disagree. Gobbler Country goes with Oregon, while CGB takes Texas Tech. Both are pretty convincing, but if I had to choose (which nobody is forcing me to do but I will anyway) it'd be Oregon. It's the uniforms, man. Oregon has decent colors and manages to make the most hideous rags out of them. VT just has hideous colors. If they played in a bowl game it'd have to be sponsored by Visine.

The LegacyX4 takes the kid-in-the-candy-store route and names no fewer than seven teams. He even manages to drag Tulane into this.

3. Which do you prefer? The ACC of 2008: not too well respected around the nation, but a conference in which almost any team has a shot at the conference title? Or the ACC of 1998: getting plenty of respect from football pundits as a good conference, but dominated by one hegemonic superpower that we all hate?

The votes are in, we have a winner, and it's unanimous: the bloggers like parity. Gives us something to write about, and something more interesting to bitch about than "goddammit FSU won again."

4. Hey, it's basketball season! What are your expectations for your team? What kind of season would make you happy?

It's top-four hopes for Clemson and VT this year. Just about everybody concedes that UNC and Duke will take the top two spots, but these blogs are looking for their teams to fill the next two, and win a game or two in the NCAAs besides. Of course, this being the ACC, everyone expects to get at least to the NIT - and of course, us being fans, everyone's expectations, let alone hopes, exceeded the media predictions.

Switching gears now, and moving on to the Blogpoll Roundtable......

1. By now everyone has heard that if there is a three way tie in the Big 12 South the highest ranked team in the BCS will play in the Big 12 Championship Game. That means the humans (66% of the BCS Poll) will determine the Big 12 South representative. Let’s assume Oklahoma sinks the pirate ship at home next week. Try to sway the pollsters by arguing which team you think should face off against the Big 12 North.

Assuming all else is equal, then the pollsters should pick whichever team was closest to winning the game that they lost. That'll be Texas, unless Tech's loss to Oklahoma is a real classic and a squeaker.

ESPN is aggressively bidding on the rights to the BCS when Fox’s contract expires after the 2009 season. My half baked theory is if they do win the rights they will push for a +1 system. Lucrative television deals have landed ESPN in bed with each of the BCS conferences. The revenue a playoff would generate could be a huge motivator for the four letter to be the common denominator and unifier among the conferences that finally helps them all to see the light of why a playoff would be good for college football. Help expand upon or debunk this theory.

One thing I do feel pretty sure about saying: all these snarky columnists going "I want chaos in the BCS!" will suddenly find something else to write about. As this blog is squarely in the Anti-Playoff camp, this is a welcome development. However, I worry about something else entirely. Congress, having already fixed the economy, solved world hunger, beaten the terrorists, and secured the borders, is now sticking their stupid meddlesome noses into college football. And we all know that the world's most powerful football fan favors a playoff and would probably stick his stupid meddlesome nose into college football, just because he can. My greatest fear in this department is that nothing will matter because Hurricane Congress will blow through and leave us with a half-assed playoff. Eight teams, not because it makes sense, or because that's what America wants, or because it would be the best system for choosing a champion, no, just because the President wants to. I don't like this.

3. Rivalry week is around the corner. How do you think your team will fare? Feel free to talk a little or a lot of trash.

Rivalry week for me is two for the price of one. This week is Michigan-Ohio State, and no, my team will not do well. Losing to a team with drug paraphernelia on their helmets is bad enough. Losing to a team with a giant turd-nugget for a mascot is worse. The consolation is that win or lose, the game is in Columbus, and we're not the ones that have to remain in that soybean-covered shithole they call Ohio after the game.

There are two things I can't figure out about Buckeye fans. One, why they insist on saying "The" Ohio State University. Most of us can figure out the difference between the Ohio state university in Columbus, and the rest of them. Maybe they're insecure that Kent State will become the real Ohio state university? Second, I know that basic spelling is occasionally a challenge, but why they insist on spelling out O-U-A-O is beyond me.

After Michigan's gift of creepy gold pants to the Buckeyes, it's UVA at VT, and I have a lot more confidence about this game. Nobody in Charlottesville would have guessed that the worst offense in the Commonwealth would actually be in Blacksburg, but Bryan Stinespring is apparently dumber than Mike Groh - who knew? (Oh wait - it's Tech. Of course Tech is dumber.) Lame Stadium is a tough place to win though, and we haven't had any success there since I showed up on Grounds as a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed first year. We all know: we suck on the road. Still: VT has the most putrid offense (matches their uniforms) of any VT team in a long time. So there's hope.

And now for a little fun… Assemble your dream announcing team. Pick a play-by-play announcer, color commentator, sideline reporter and for the hell of it celebrity guest that drops on by.

Warning to the Virginia faithful: this answer is all Michigan here. A good announcer - a really good announcer, one who truly enhances the whole game experience - is so hard to come by, and the best ones are the ones you grew up with. And we'll start with Bob Ufer. God bless his cotton-pickin' maize-and-blue heart, if you've never heard this guy call a football game, well, I don't blame you because his heyday was the '70s, and I never did either. He died before I was born, but I grew up hearing about this guy who loved Meeechigan football down to his core and brought every ounce of that to the booth. And dammit, he did homerism right. Somehow, he made it work. The horn from General Patton's jeep announced every Michigan score. What I wouldn't give to hear Ufer call a Michigan game today, without having to rely on YouTube for the highlights. Color commentating would be Jim Brandstatter, who followed Ufer and who I actually grew up listening to. We'll put Chris Spielman on the sideline. Spielman has no peer on ESPN when it comes to analysis, so he brings a lot to the table in that department, which is nice, but I'd also like him to have to spend the game with Ufer's voice blaring in his ear. And the celebrity guest? Bo, of course.

Now, assuming Michigan isn't playing in this particular game, then I'll go the easy route and say Keith Jackson. Rose Bowls just aren't the same without Jackson in the booth, and old ESPN Classic highlights are that much cooler with his voice involved.

No comments: