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This week's blogpoll roundtable is being hosted by Straight Bangin'.
1) Coming into the season, many people had October 6th circled on their calendars because it was thought that the LSU-Florida game would be the single match-up that wielded the most influence over the rest of the sport. Now that a singular cataclysm has given way to a weekly series of upheavals, is there a single remaining game that has the greatest potential to deliver on the promise of unique significance foretold in the preseason blogosphere? Which one is it and why?
Navy versus Notre Dame.
I figured that Notre Dame would suck, but I didn't realize they'd historically suck. Navy hasn't beaten them in 43 years. I'd like to see Charlie Weis and Jimmy Clausen associated with the breakage of a 43-year streak because that's just how bitter I am this year.
2) Bill Callahan's tenure has been so embarrassing for Nebraska fans that the school just fired the athletic director who hired him. Meanwhile, Tom Brady is doing just fine without Charlie Weis, even though he invented offense; Dream Coach Pete Carroll is facing criticism for his team's preparation and attitude; the Urban Meyer Revolution is televised but not as advertised due to an unreliable running game; Mack Brown's players get arrested a lot; and so forth. Don't get me started on Lloyd Carr. All around the country, coaches are under duress, even the beatified ones. Name a coach or two (or three) who most deserves the criticism and explain why.
You need to draw the line between coaches who are being criticized for losing and coaches who deserve criticism because of doing something stupid. Why? Because it's pretty easy to bitch and complain about the coaches when your team is losing.
Lloyd Carr, for example, at least won a national title at Michigan. That's more than any other coach there had done in the past 60 years. Lloyd Carr achieved more than all them other coaches, so maybe it's Michigan itself that has underachieving in it's DNA.
Then you move onto the guys who deserve the criticism they get because they've brought it upon themselves. Charlie Weis can step up to the line because of the sheer arrogance with which he conducts himself. Throw Nick Saban and Dennis Erickson in there as well as paid gunslingers.
All of these pale in comparison to the king of stupid that is Coach Fran. Dennis Franchione deserves all of the criticism heaped upon him. I cannot imagine what possessed a man who's being paid a good sum of money to sell an insider's newsletter, not tell his boss, and then not claim the money as income. This is a guy who's been coaching nearly 30 years. He's been a head coach at seven different schools. This isn't something he cooked up when he was drunk and did on the spur of the moment. He planned to be stupid and then maintained that level of stupidity until he was caught.
The only people dumber than a coach like that are the people who will hire him in his next position. When Indiana hired Kelvin Sampson (basketball), I thought to myself, "Are they stupid or what?" after his violations at Oklahoma. Turns out, yes they were! You don't get dumber than that.
3) With few elite teams, a plethora of pretenders, and the aforementioned steady procession of upsets, filling out a ballot each week can be challenging. What is the single hardest decision you'll have to make this week when voting?
I'd like to say "whether or not to do it", but that's not true. I committed to it, but it's more than frustrating to rank other teams when your team is coming apart at the seams.
4) This one is similar to the last question: many teams have sent voters mixed signals all year. Is BC really a top-five team? What am I supposed to do with South Carolina? Are there even two good teams in the Big Ten? Borrow a page from EDSBS and give me two teams to buy and two teams to sell.
Buy, Sell, buy, sell. Are there no holds? What happened to the mind of a long-term investor? Dead with the rise of the week-traders. So sad. And here I go contributing to the call of instant gratification.
#4 Boston College before they face Virginia Tech next week, then Florida State, Maryland, Clemson, and Miami in that order.
The Pac-10. Look at what's going to happen in the Pac-10. Cal, USC, Oregon, and Arizona State. They're going to eat each other alive with the schedules that are coming up. It will be amazing if any of them get through it unscathed.
(I guess I should have written this before tonight and sold South Florida. Where's the fun in that?)
#13 Kansas. Oh, they haven't played anyone, but given the season, they're undefeated which is a lot more than many other "name" teams can say. They go to Colorado and Texas A&M, both winnable games for them. The biggest game they have left is Mizzou at a neutral field. Don't be surprised if they win the Big 12 North.
Unranked Iowa. They play at Purdue, but then they get Michigan State, Northwestern, Minnesota, and Western Michigan. When you're buying and selling, it's about finding the unknown stocks that are going to rise, right?
5) Now that we know the strengths and weaknesses of many teams, explain to me how your team will make out over the remainder of the regular season.
What kind of cruel bastard are you to come up with a question like this?
They're probably going to be a neurotic dysfunctional mess. That's what they've been most of the season, and I don't see that changing. The players say they support their coaches and then they go out and play like they don't want them around next season. It doesn't make much sense.
Maybe some aura of darkness has lifted since Steve Pederson's firing and we'll win the rest of our games. I'd like that. I like winning, especially if it'd mean we'd beat Texas and Colorado and somehow beat out Missouri for the Big 12 North. Am I expecting that? Am I mad?