Sunday, August 24, 2008

2008 BlogPoll Roundtable #1

With the dawn of the college football season upon us we also get the return of the roundtable discussions among the BlogPoll voters. This initial roundtable is hosted by Hey Jenny Slater and I am actually late in getting mine posted but make sure to check in over there for various responses from bloggers around the country.

In his "visiting lecturers" series posted on Every Day Should Be Saturday over the past few months, Orson Swindle asked each participant to explain which country, during which historical period, their team most resembles. Let's bring everything up to the present day and ponder: Which current sovereign nation is your team? Or to look at it another way, how does your team fit into the "world" of college football?

How does a person seriously answer that question understanding the current of the world in which we live. I would say that Oklahoma is certainly a NATO nation and the super power within their region (Big 12) but not strong enough yet for world domination (consecutive Fiesta Bowl losses and no BCS Championship since 2000). Could the Sooners be the Great Britain of the college football world?

Every preseason roundup has to have some discussion of who's overrated, but let's go beyond that. Which team do you think is poised to crap the bed in the biggest way this season relative to high expectations, and which game do you think will begin their slide into ignominy?

I’ll take the Kansas Jayhawks here. After finishing 12-1 in 2007 with an Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech Kansas is poised to make another run in 2008 with 15 returning starters but the schedule won’t be kind. Reality may kick in as early as September 12th when the Jayhawks travel to play the South Florida Bulls but most likely KU is going to feel the pain of back-to-back games at Oklahoma and against Texas Tech (10-18/10-25) and then against Texas and Missouri (11-15/11-29). It isn’t out of the question for Kansas to follow up an amazing 2007 campaign with a 5 loss effort in 2008.

On the flip side of that coin, which team do you think is going to burst out of nowhere to become 2008's biggest overachiever -- this year's version of Kansas '07, as it were -- and what's going to be the big upset that makes us all finally sit up and take notice of them?

Staying in the Big 12 I’ll go with the Texas Tech here. Like Kansas in `07 the Red Raiders will thrive early against an embarrassing non-conference schedule. They also have the luxury of playing Nebraska, Texas Longhorns - in a rebuilding year – and Oklahoma State all at home. Their toughest game of the season will be at Oklahoma where they’ll be underdogs to a Sooner team looking for revenge. Even if they should fall to Oklahoma they could still very easily finish the season at 11-1 and qualify for a BCS bowl.

Here's an "I'll hang up and listen" question. I put Ohio State and Oklahoma #1 and #2, respectively, despite their recent high-profile BCS face-plants. Where did you rank those two teams, and did those BCS issues have anything to do with it?

I voted Ohio State and Oklahoma #3 and #4, respectively, on my first ballot for two reasons. Ohio State returns 10 starters on offense and Oklahoma 8. These two teams are going to score a lot of points this year and nothing about previous BCS Bowl failures will prevent that.

Last season was a statistical outlier in countless ways, not the least of which was the fact that we ended up with a two-loss team as national champion. Do you think anyone plays a strong enough schedule to get MNC consideration as a two-loss team this year? Conversely, do you see anybody managing to sail into the national-championship game undefeated?

With the mockery of a system that we have I do believe that we could have another two-loss champion again. In fact, I’m going to go ahead and say that it will be a possibility from here on out. USC, Ohio State and Georgia all could lose two games and yet win their conference and find themselves in the BCS title game. Remember it is about when you lose and not necessarily who you lose to. LSU lost on November 23rd to Arkansas but Missouri lost the next week to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game placing the Bayou Bengals into the BCS Title Game.

Ohio State and USC play each other in week two and Georgia has a September 20th date at Arizona State. Throw in the possibility of a conference loss and you have the formula for a repeat two-loss champion.

OK, time for some Olympic fever. Which athlete from the Beijing Olympics -- any sport, any country, with the exception of USA basketball since those guys are already pros -- would you most want to add to your team's roster this season? No worries about age, eligibility, or even gender; we'll worry about that crap later.

What could this guy do in a football uniform?