Tuesday, September 18, 2007

BlogPoll Roundtable: Storylines Emerge

This week's roundtable is being hosted at Burnt Orange Nation. Here are my responses to the questions presented but you'll want to make sure to head over to B.O.N. for links to responses from around the nation.

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

I think at this point, after three games, that the Sooners are the frontrunners for the Big 12 Championship. Nebraska was exposed to be a fraud on Saturday night against USC. Despite what the national media was saying and the people in Lincoln were thinking, Bill Callahan does not have that team ready to play among college football’s elite. To win the Big 12 you have to be playing at that level. Missouri also looms in the north and while they have the ability to score quickly their defense will cost them severely this season.

In the south it is still a two horse race between the Sooners and Longhorns and while appearances can be deceiving OU looks light years ahead of Texas at this point. Everything hinges on October 6th when the Sooners and Longhorns face each other in the Cotton Bowl.

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

Realistically the Sooners have a chance to be playing in New Orleans for the BCS National Championship! Four teams have separated themselves from the college football pack (OU, LSU, USC, Florida) and it will be very interesting to see how it all plays out.

On the flip side OU could suffer through a rash of injuries down the stretch like Texas did last season and find themselves playing in the Cotton or Alamo Bowl.

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.

I hate questions like this! I don’t know which character the Sooners would play on Charlie Brown or in Jack and the Bean Stalk. Based on the way the Big 12 played over the past weekend we’ll make up our own fable and call it, “OU and the 11 dwarfs.”

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.

First, I would leave the defense alone except for one thing, the underneath passing lanes. Miami and Utah State both had limited success passing underneath against the Sooners. You won’t beat Oklahoma by consistently passing deep but it appears that a team might have some success using underneath passes.

Second, I would put DeMarco Murray and Allen Patrick on the field at the same time more often. I think we’ll actually see this when conference play starts because there are so many offensive possibilities and so many possible defensive headaches under that scheme.

Third I would have the holder and deep snapper workout whatever kink it is that has caused them to mess up two weeks in a row resulting in a failed PAT.

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 think that there are two teams who still have a chance to crash the BCS party. West Virginia could run the table in the Big East. They can’t play defense but they really don’t need to be in a game with their offense.

Texas is the other school who has a chance. This team will either implode or explode! They are too talented to be struggling against the likes of Arkansas State and Central Florida but the team may have some serious character issues as well causing disunity. If they pull together to beat Oklahoma then the BCS championship becomes a very real possibility.