This week’s BlogPoll Roundtable is hosted Corn Nation, who sometimes travels to Wisconsin, apparently.
1. We’re about half way through the season. Has your team met your expectations, wildly exceeded them, or are you about to light the torches and storm your athletic department demanding blood?
I bet Ohio State is the only team in the country where a “yes” to each part of that question is equally likely. And, like every good, totally-jaded fan of a major program, the answer to the above question changes on a week-by-week basis.
Personally, this Ohio State team has (kinda) met my expectations. Because beanie was injured so early in the season, it is impossible to separate the two. After he was injured, expectations for the Ohio State offense were lowered by a magnitude. Even before the injury, however, only the most ardent Buckeyes fan believed they were going to be dynamic on offense. They may have expected a competent, consistent offense with Beanie, but those hopes quickly flew out of the window.
In one way, this season has wildly exceeded my expectations because Terrelle Pryor is not only getting playing time, he is starting. Everyone, myself included, wanted to see him mixed ala Tebow, and those fans got what they wished for, minus Chris Leak. The future showed up a lot sooner than many fans even dreamed of.
Finally, despite the 7-1 record, only two weeks ago angry mobs filled message boards and blog comments sections declaring the OSU coaching staff to be trading at an all-time low. “Bollman has to go!” was a common, if not ubiquitous cry from the cheap seats. Ask me this question again around 11:30pm this Saturday night and I will have a completely different answer for you.
2. In an election year, all sorts of promises will be made, few will be kept. What is one promise or item you thought you could count on that hasn’t come to pass yet this season? Is there still a chance?
I thought Ohio State’s defense would be better … a lot better. They have played well lately, but on two occasions when they really needed to excel they fell flat. First, the entire USC game was a disaster. But for an acrobatic interception in the end zone and late game sack, USC hangs half-a-hundred on the Scarlet and Gray. Second, the last drive against Wisconsin was troubling. All they had to do was stop the run and they could not do it. Pryor’s heroics won the game for them but the defense did not make it any easier.
There is still a chance they can meet my expectations, but they are obviously not going to approach the heights of 2005. With Chimdi Chekwa, a starting cornerback, dinged up for Penn State it became a much taller order.
3. Georgia #1... No, USC #1.… No, Oklahoma #1.… No, Texas #1! Who’s the real #1 team, and who do you think will make it to the big BCS National Title game?
The real #1? If I could bet on one team in a huge game this season, it would be USC. Sure, they play the jersey and lose to the also-rans of their conference, but when you put on the lights and tell them they are playing for something, there is no higher performing in college football. Aside from their loss to Texas, I cannot think of one instance since mid-season 2002 when they disappointed in primetime.
As for this season’s BCSGC, I will take Southern Cal and Florida. I have no idea how it will happen and I know the odds are that at least Texas or Alabama will make it, but no one has an easier schedule than USC, which could be a liability (see above comment about also-rans, and Florida’s offense is beginning to look lethal.
4. In only a few weeks, college football fans get to be treated with the obligatory and annual “We Need a Playoff” screaming. Well, you don’t get a playoff, but I’ll let you make one change to the BCS (and no, you can’t cop out and have the BCS commit suicide) to make the world a better place. What is your change?
I would require every BCS team to play at least two other BCS teams during their out-of-conference schedule. I am sure there are multiple reasons why this is totally unfeasible, but hate watching BCS conference teams load up on cupcakes early in the year.
If I were tweaking the BCS formula, I would add strength of schedule and margin of victory. The conference supremacy debate is practically all encompassing (see next question) and it affects voters. Plus, only the top two teams ever play nice with the scoreboard. As soon as a contender is on the outside looking in, they ring up as many points as possible (see USC last week).
5. Using this year ONLY - no historical references - respond to the statement “The Big 12 is a better conference than the SEC”. There’s nothing sillier than conference wars, but then again, there’s nothing sillier than how SEC fans respond to any challenge to their supremacy. Aim, Fire!
I agree … but only barely and it depends what side of the ball I am watching. The offense is the Big 12 is light years ahead of the SEC – sans the Gators – but defense seems to be optional. Meanwhile, the SEC treats offense like a chore. Ultimately in my mind, the combo of Texas/Oklahoma/Missouri/Oklahoma State is slightly better than Florida/Alabama/Georgia/LSU, and I typically measure league’s based on their best 3-4 teams.