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BlogPoll Roundtable 3.2 Roundup

This serves as our roundup of this week's BlogPoll Roundtable. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond. As always, for the latest on the BlogPoll, keep an eye on MGoBlog. Weekly polls are posted there, along with commentary on various ballots. What follows are various blogger thoughts on this week's questions.

1. Handicap your team's chances to win your conference championship. If your team is not the favorite, who is?

(Notre Dame bloggers, please use the following variation on the above: the over/under on wins in your next five games is being set at 1.5. Can you make a good case for the over? (Next five: vs Michigan State, at Purdue, at UCLA, vs Boston College, vs USC)

We start in Athens, where Hey Jenny Slater notes that the 'Dawgs would have to win each of their remaining games to win the SEC East. That, as it turns out, as been a tall order of late:

As you're all well aware of by now, Georgia is a miserable 2-of-17 against Florida since 1990, which equates to a mere 1 in 8.5 chance we'll beat them. And that's even before we start talking about any of the others left on our conference slate. I've guesstimated that there's a 1 in 7 chance we'll run the table of our non-Florida SEC opponents, so that works out to a 1 in 59.5 chance that we'll win the Eastern Division.

Not that they're the only folks who worry about their SEC chances. Says Garnet and Black Attack:

Chances? We've got a few. Just not many.

The defeat of Georgia made Spurrier's goal of an SEC title look not quite so far-fetched. But there are two facts about South Carolina's season that are carved in stone: They have to go to Baton Rouge to play LSU and they have to play Florida, and both games have gone from being likely losses to almost-mortal-lock losses. If the Gamecocks lose both games and otherwise win out, Florida would have to lose three games for South Carolina to go to Atlanta. That is perhaps the one thing less likely than the Cocks beating the Bayou Bengals and the Gators.

So -- sigh -- I stick with my original prediction: Florida vs. LSU for the crown. Right now, LSU gets the slightest edge.

Over in the Big 10, the Buckeyes appear to be the favorites.

Straight Bangin perhaps says it best:

The team to beat may again be the one wearing the scarlet-and-gray jump suits. Defense will win a lot of games against the limited fire power that Big Ten teams are trotting out, and the one in Columbus looks very good. If Todd Boeckman can manage games well and Chris Wells continues to emerge, I think the Buckeyes will be back in the BCS. I have been high on Penn State, too, but having seen Notre Dame's historic awfulness, I am not sure what the Nittany Lions have truly accomplished.

2. Outline the (realistic) best case and worst case scenarios for your team.

Not every Big 10 blogger is sold on the Buckeyes winning the conference. The Penn Live PSU blog likes the NIttany Lions' best case scenario:

This team should be able to win all of its games since it does appear that overall, the Big Ten is struggling this season. But that might not be enough to get into the BCS title game, due to the poor strength of schedule. Realistically, I stand behind an 11-1 prediction.

And hey, as Black Shoes Diaries points out, Penn State's bigggest games after this Saturday are at home:

The best case scenario starts with beating Michigan in Ann Arbor this year. Do that and the stars are aligned to run the table as we get Wisconsin, Iowa, Purdue and Ohio State all at home.

Optimism in Eugene, OR remains strong, as well:

Well, I think that when you're still undefeated, the best case scenario is always going undefeated and playing in the National Championship game.  But the Pac-10 is absolutely brutal, and I don't think that anybody, even USC, is going to get through it without a loss somewhere.  I think that the most realistic best case scenario is to split with Cal/SC, not blow one somewhere else, and end up with an 11-1 record and a Rose Bowl berth.  If we were to tie with SC at 11-1 for the conference title, I think that both teams would make the BCS, with the Rose Bowl, who, if given the option, usually chooses the team who hasn't been there longest, choosing the Ducks.

Over in the Independent circuit, there's hope yet that Navy can break their losing streak against Notre Dame:

Navy does still have a shot against the likes of Air Force, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame, and even Wake Forest. While pessimistically inclined Navy fans have written off beating the latter two, I think that it is plausible that Navy takes at least one of those games (most likely Air Force) and that it isn’t impossible for Navy to take two of those games, perhaps against a banged up Pitt team or an offensively inept Notre Dame team.

3. We're only three games in to the season, but teams and storylines are starting to take shape. Compare your team to a character or theme from a fable or children's tale.

West Virginia: Fables of the Reconstruction by REM comes to mind. Sorry, but I can't help it. The defense has been under construction for two years now. I liken it to the San Diego Charger teams of the 80's that had all the firepower on offense and no defense. It was only good enough to get them to the AFC championship game, but never the Super Bowl (I know the Chargers went in 94, I'm just talking about the 80's). And that is where WVU is going to be until they become a complete team with a formidable defense.
Indiana:

It's not really a fable or fairy tale, but more of a recurring theme. I have to go with Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown. IU looks promising, but just when IU fans start to believe, that's when someone like Zooker hangs 60 on us.

Fresno State: I think if the Bulldogs were to be compared to a cartoon character Mighty Mouse may be the best example. I mean the Dogs generally are far undersized when it comes to the football field yet they play with their hearts and they give a complete effort every time they step on the field.

There were at least five bloggers who went with "The Little Engine That Could," which means I can mention none of them.

4. Imagine you're the coach of your team. Give three specific changes you'd implement immediately which you think would have the biggest impact on improving the team.

Each blogger had good suggestions for his or her team, but my favorite entry came from Notre Dame blogger Rakes Of Mallow:

Seriously?  Just three?  You said specific, so "FOR F*CK'S SAKE, BLOCK SOMEONE!" doesn't work, therefore...

  1. Golden Tate and Duval Kamara start at wide receiver.  If we're only going to get the ball to our wide receivers a couple times a game, it might as well be in the process of springing a big play.

  2. Get Ambrose Wooden and Terrail Lambert out of there.  They have no purpose.  They're awful, they've always been awful and they show no sign of improvement.  We ride Darrin Walls, Raeshon McNeil and two walk-ons when we go to dime, but I'm tired of Mario Manningham and his friends scoring touchdowns where the corners don't even know where they are.  

  3. Travis Thomas never plays again.  If he's not committing a fifteen-yard penalty on special teams, he's getting tackled for a loss.  Much like the other veterans who are not good at football, he serves no purpose on a young, rebuilding team, as I'm not sure what "leadership" he is bringing to the table.  

5. USC, LSU/Florida, and Oklahoma have established themselves as the frontrunners in the early going. Which other team or teams are you eyeballing as potential BCS party crashers?

Blog Poll host Brian Cook notes that this may be the Pac 10's year to get two teams in:

With the Big Ten all set to serve up a heaping helping of crap this year, this is an opportunity for the Pac-10 to get two teams in. The winner of Oregon-Cal will probably play in a BCS game.

Dawg Sports, meanwhile, agrees with me that the crack in the door is but a sliver (at least right now):

If you're talking about the B.C.S. championship game, the gap between the Gators, the Sooners, the Tigers, and the Trojans on the one hand, and everyone else on the other, seems like a vast chasm at this point. Whichever team is No. 5 is a distant fifth behind those four.

I don't think even an undefeated A.C.C., Big East, or Big Ten champion has a chance of getting into the title game---or even into the conversation---if two of the aforementioned foursome go undefeated. Fairly or unfairly, signature setbacks tarnish the reputations of those three leagues, as Louisville's loss to Kentucky, Miami's loss to Oklahoma, and Ohio State's loss in last year's national title tilt will remain millstones around the necks of those conferences' champions. The A.C.C. and the Big East don't have vast reservoirs of street cred and the only team capable of using a win over Michigan as a springboard for a national championship run is Appalachian State.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer, and if I didn't mention your answers in this particular roundup, it's not because your answers weren't worth reading. I encourage everyone to peruse the comments within to get a good feel for the pulse around the nation.

--PB--