Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blogpoll Roundtable

So as part of the Blogpoll, every week there is a roundtable hosted by various members of the collegefootballblogowebs, or at least the ones that are also members of the Poll. In this activity we have the opportunity to answer totally random questions however we like, with the probable caveat that the questions must be actually answered. This first week, the questions, along with links to what everyone else said, can be found hosted by Hey Jenny Slater, an estimable Jawjuh Bulldog blog.

1. In his "visiting lecturers" series posted on Every Day Should Be Saturday over the past few months, Orson Swindle asked each participant to explain which country, during which historical period, their team most resembles. Let's bring everything up to the present day and ponder: Which current sovereign nation is your team? Or to look at it another way, how does your team fit into the "world" of college football?

We are the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic is a beautiful country, or so I'm led to believe because I've never been there. People always say so. They say that a lot about Charlottesville too. Like the CR, that's just about all they say, most of the time. We're surrounded by bigger teams that make more noise, the Russias and Germanys and Clemsons and Georgia Techs of the world, but we got our niche in there, somewhere. Nobody really paid attention to us in the '50s, '60s, and '70s when we were lousy and under the thumb of our Red Commie next door neighbors like Maryland and NC State. In 1968 we made some noise, tried to establish ourselves a bit, you know, had a winning season for the first time in years, but then the tanks rolled into Prague and we sat down and shut up til about the late '80s and early '90s when people paid attention to us for a little while.

2. Every preseason roundup has to have some discussion of who's overrated, but let's go beyond that. Which team do you think is poised to crap the bed in the biggest way this season relative to high expectations, and which game do you think will begin their slide into ignominy?

I love Kansas, I really do. I have a soft spot for basketball schools like Kansas and Arizona, especially when they have cool unis and magical awesome years that completely out of nowhere and finish with a thrilling win over a despised rival in a BCS bowl game, and follow it up with a long-awaited national title in basketball. It was a great year for Jayhawk fans. Not so much this year. [Phil Steele]They benefitted from a terrific turnover margin in 2007, which isn't the sort of thing that repeats itself.[/Phil Steele] They lose both offensive tackles, their leading receiver, leading rusher, a solid kicker, and Aqib Talib. I put Kansas 13th in my Poll, which is actually higher than the AP did, but that was mainly because I was going to put VT there and then felt like having beaten them in last year's bowl game should be worth something. Kansas may well lose on their trip to Tampa to take on USF, but even if they do, they'll almost certainly be at least 5-1 and ranked when they roll into Norman, Oklahoma for the slaughter. The last half of their season is as follows: OU, Texas Tech, K-State, Nebraska, UT, Mizzou. That's a big Revenge Sandwich surrounded on either side by two monster teams.

3. On the flip side of that coin, which team do you think is going to burst out of nowhere to become 2008's biggest overachiever -- this year's version of Kansas '07, as it were -- and what's going to be the big upset that makes us all finally sit up and take notice of them?

I'm tempted to say Wake Forest, but it wasn't really that long ago that they were ACC champs, and if they beat Clemson it won't come as a huge surprise because the game is in Winston-Salem and everyone will say, oh, there goes Clemson, choking hard, again. So we'll go a little further up I-40 and pick North Carolina. They have one of the best offenses in the conference, for one, and finally they have a coach who knows his way around a football field. They're set up nicely to pick off Virginia Tech at home, early in the season, and if they do, watch out - their schedule is very favorable. Even if they don't beat VT, they get to skip Clemson and Wake Forest, have nothing but winnable games from September onward, and get two Little Debbies to finish off the year.

4. Here's an "I'll hang up and listen" question. I put Ohio State and Oklahoma #1 and #2, respectively, despite their recent high-profile BCS face-plants. Where did you rank those two teams, and did those BCS issues have anything to do with it?

Ohio State is number one (YUCK) because this year was supposed to be their year, only they made it happen last year instead, and lost only Vernon Gholston plus like half of a senior. Oklahoma is #5 because the top three are pretty clear: OSU, USC, UGA in whatever order makes you happy. So it came down to Florida and Oklahoma for the next two spots, because Clemson is #6 because they have way too many questions to be allowed into the top 5. Florida gets the tiebreaking nod for having the defending Heisman winner. Keep in mind that my first week poll methodology involved comparing the various rankings that were already out there and mainly deciding if too much or not enough of a particular team's Kool-Aid is being drunk.

5. Last season was a statistical outlier in countless ways, not the least of which was the fact that we ended up with a two-loss team as national champion. Do you think anyone plays a strong enough schedule to get MNC consideration as a two-loss team this year? Conversely, do you see anybody managing to sail into the national-championship game undefeated?

Aw jeez. Hell if I know. That's why I love the CFB regular season. If anyone's got a shot at getting to the title game undefeated, it's whichever team comes out of that USC-OSU game. I don't think schedule is gonna play a role in helping a two-loss team into the game. It's really only six teams that have a shot at getting to the title game - the six BCS conference champions. And the only way one of 'em gets in with two losses is if five of them have two losses. At that point, obviously, one of them has to get in, so somebody will have to have played a schedule to convince the voters. Otherwise, the only way a one-loss team is snubbed for the title is if A) they are not conference champions or B) they are Big East conference champions or C) there are too many one-loss teams to choose from. This is a wildly unpredictable system, obviously. I just set the record for Longest Cop-Out of the Decade, but not of the past 50 years because there's the Ken Starr report still sitting out there.

6. OK, time for some Olympic fever. Which athlete from the Beijing Olympics -- any sport, any country, with the exception of USA basketball since those guys are already pros -- would you most want to add to your team's roster this season? No worries about age, eligibility, or even gender; we'll worry about that crap later.


He'd probably get crushed between the tackles, though. No, we'll look at the opposite end of the spectrum. Al Groh likes to say that "walk-ons aren't undertalented, they're just under-evaluated." I like to think our program treats walk-ons better than anyone else - certainly, there is no denying they have every chance in the world to shine, just as much as the scholarship players. So in the spirit of our leading tackler, Jon Copper, or one of our top wide receivers, Staton Jobe, we'll take the Olympics' ultimate walk-on: Congolese swimmer Stany Kempopo Ngangola, who got in on the IOC's wild card rule and swam 50 meters in 35.19 seconds, just under 14 seconds worse than the gold-medal time. No matter - he can be coached up.


Anonymous said...

Seriously? There is a Congolese swimmer? What next? An Ethiopian sprinter?

Brendan said...

It wouldn't surprise me if there were. (There isn't. But there's a Chadian one.) But if there's a Malaysian skier at the Winter Olympics, that's probably just the kind of agility we're looking for in a wide receiver.