Three days later and I'm still cranky about the USC game. It doesn't get any better in this post - just a warning.
1. Handicap your team's chances to win your conference championship. If your team is not the favorite, who is?
After watching the Husker defense attempt to tackle USC on Saturday night, I don't feel the need to handicap them any further than they already are.
Oklahoma is the clear favorite in the Big 12, one of the big four with those being USC, LSU, Oklahoma and Florida. Everyone else appears to be pretending they have a good team this year. I'm trying to pretend too.
2. Outline the (realistic) best case and worst case scenarios for your team.
We win the Big 12 North and lose the Big 12 title game to Oklahoma. I don't see any way short of an Oklahoma meltdown that we win the Big 12.
Worst Case scenario? We go into a tailspin after getting destroyed by USC, lose to Missouri, Texas, Kansas, and Colorado on the road, and Texas A&M at home to finish 6-6 and go to one of those bowls that should be abolished. Steve Pederson tells us that the future has never been brighter while Bill Callahan says there is no question that we're just about ready to explode on offense. Harvey Perlman is very happy. I get divorced and drink myself to death within three months of the end of the season.
How's that for a worst-case scenario? (Told you I was still cranky.)
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.
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.
- I'd throw out Bill Callahan's version of the West Coast Offense and implement something that didn't require a PHD and a year before skilled position players are ready to hit the field. I have no doubt that Bill Callahan is an offensive genius - not being snarky here - but if other people cannot follow what you're doing, what's the point? I've met many many guys who were geniuses but were incapable of communicating and/or teaching their ideas (which is an enormous problem in engineering and computer industries). Without someone to act as interpreter and guide, the genius is wasted.
- Replace the starting senior linebackers, Bo Ruud and Corey McKeon with Phillip Dillard and Lance Brandenburgh, Go back and watch the USC game (keep some beer handy), and there were so many plays in the game where we were in position, but missed a tackle. Or instead of trying to tackle, we're trying to strip the ball and a guy breaks away. It's heart-breaking, but the defense play very poor against the Trojans. For the second week in a row, tons of missed tackles.
- I'd pull Blackshirts from whomever has received them. They can have them back when they earn them back and it won't be against Ball State. You could make the argument that this might damage the team's morale, but these guys are playing defense at a one of the most winning programs in college history. If that breaks their spirit, they don't belong on the field in the first place. The defense played without much fire last Saturday. Something needs to shake them up.
- There are many who would suggest replacing Kevin Cosgrove. It doesn't make much sense to do this before the Big 12 conference play has started, but I'd consider it after the beginning of the year. The Blackshirt defense looked lost against USC, ala the "Holes" post. Some pretty decent comments, particularly the one about the linebackers being caught up with the linemen and therefore rarely given a chance to make a play.
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?
I'm not because I don't see one. Why would you worry about a BCS crasher when on a weekly basis a Top Ten team might go down to St. Mary's School of the Blind Long John Silver Impersonators?