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Blogpoll Roundtable #1 - Sleepers, Statement Games, and Spending Money.

Corn Nation participates in the CBS Sports Blogpoll, and part of the responsibility of the Blogpoll is participating in roundtables with the other voters. Some may take these serious, but it's darned hard to be serious about every question that gets asked, otherwise you end up sounding like Dennis Dodd and get on your high horse every time someone farts too loudly. 

So - some is seriousness, some is not. I'll leave you to determine the difference. 

1. Without naming names, a few teams seem to have popped up frequently on everyone's "overrated" lists in the preseason, so let's forget about them for the moment and concentrate on a different group: sleepers. Which currently unheralded team are you currently putting at least a few of your chips behind in the hopes that you'll be able to say "totally called that" once they've accomplished big things by the end of the season?

Baylor. Baylor will be better than everyone thinks, beating either Texas, Oklahoma, or Oklahoma State and taking them out of the national title picture. The Cowboys would be the most likely victim given their consistent state of ‘nearly being there'. If Baylor wins five games this year, does that qualify? 

Clemson, much like Oklahoma State, everyone's annual 'sleeper' team. Both schools feature classes in 'failing to meet expectations' as part of project management study. 

I keep seeing the Colorado Buffaloes as a sleeper, mostly because the Big 12 North is a wide-open race between four teams, but if Colorado becomes that sleeper team I'll be very upset and will be force to disclaim every decent thing I've ever said about them. With this paragraph, that'll be two. 

Speaking of sleepers, I'm trying to write this while ESPNU is talking to every coach in the nation on their college preview. It's as exciting as watching the Public Service Announcement channel, and it's killing me. I can't wait for the Bill Snyder segment, perhaps it'll kill me and provide a release from the pain. 

2. In a similar vein, pick a sleeper player on your team whom nobody's talking about right now and tell us why we will be talking about them by December.

Everybody's talking about Nebraska's loss of Quentin Castille, but nobody outside Nebraska and Plano, Texas is talking about Rex Burkhead. Burkhead is a true freshman who's already worked his way up to number two on the depth chart at I-back behind Roy Helu Jr.  Burkhead will be the next guy who makes plays in every position, and by his sophomore year he'll be being talked about for the Hesiman. 

Rex Burkhead - Kryptonite is a myth. Superman is not. 

3. Florida is about as big a consensus favorite as we've seen in recent years, but remember, USC got 62 out of 65 first-place votes in the AP's 2007 preseason poll and still managed to lose to Stanford. Given how difficult it is to go undefeated period these days, where do you think the Gators are most likely to stumble in the regular season?

There aren't a lot of options on the schedule with the exception of the SEC title game, which is why people are favoring the Gators to repeat as national champs. SEC schools have the advantage in that they can lose a game in the regular season, win the conference title game and still make the BCS National Title game. It's not fair, but it's true. It's also why the rest of us hate the SEC. 

However, stumble the Gators will, as it's rare to repeat. The stumbling will come when Tim Tebow gets injured, the offense loses their identity, the media is forced to talk about someone else from Florida, confusing everyone including the Gators. They then lose to Vanderbilt. 

4. Which regular-season game not involving your team or conference are you most looking forward to this year?

If anyone outside the Big 12 doesn't say Texas - Oklahoma, they need to be shot. Otherwise, it's a toss up between the Alabama - Virginia Tech or USC - Ohio State. Both games have national title implications. The first will feature two defensive teams who beat each other up on their way to a thrilling 10-7 finish, something you don't see so often anymore so it'd be a refreshing change of pace. 

Another great change of pace would be Ohio State beating USC early in the season because it would make the Big 10 relevant once again. Would that be so bad? It's not that I have some hidden love for these people, especially Ohio State, but at least they had the guts to schedule a big game in non-conference, unlike, say, Texas. 

There's a benefit to having the Big 10 be relevant, the biggest one being that we'd hear less about the mid-major conferences that don't belong in the BCS. Instead, we'd hear more about big schools with big stadiums that feature big games between teams that don't run as fast as they do in the South or the West. That'd make for a fun season, eh? 

5. In honor of Georgia's opening-weekend opponent and their most prolific booster, let's say you somehow come into T. Boone Pickens money and can buy anything you want for your program -- facilities upgrades, an airplane for recruiting, buy out the contract of that coach you hate, you name it. Where does your first check go?

I'd build a big fake city right in the middle of Nebraska. Expand Kearney about ten times it's normal size so all those people flying over the state would look down and wonder what the hell was going on. I'd buy up all the newspapers and have them write articles about how Nebraskans are breeding like bunnies just to increase the population and create more football players. At the same time, I'd put together a enormous dummy army like the Allies did to fake out the Germans about the Normandy invasion, and I'd put it around the Nebraska - Colorado border. Both states would benefit as all the hippies in Colorado freak out and start moving back to their native states where they belong. 

Hippies Won't Know the Difference And No One Else Will Tell Them. 

Oh, was this supposed to be about football? 

Well, then, I'd heavily increase funding for genetics research at the University of Nebraska. I'd have them figure out to breed giant, super-human freaks so we could run the football on every play, win every game, and irritate the entire nation by making them watch us win five national titles in a row. Hey, maybe I'll do that anyway.