BlogPoll Roundtable: First Foray Edition
Sure, technically, the MWB as an interweb collective is not a member of MGoBlog's sublime BlogPoll. And yes, it's true that there's so much infotainment out there in the CFB blogosphere that additional opinions offered by the likes of yours truly and any of our other frequent or not-so-frequent (but no less valued! *snuggles*!) contributors would just be a further clogging of valuable space and free time. And sure, the majority of my free time is now spent doing PMBR questions and outlining lecture notes. But I was reminded of our sweet little bloggy-blog when reader Break of Dawn suggested some World Cup discussion -- actually, the specific request was for "some butt shots of Brazilian female fans," which, I mean, come on; get your brain out of the GUTTER (and try Google or something ... or this!). Well, Jeff's our resident soccer "knows something" guy, so if he wants to wax poetic about this or that, I'm all for it, but I won't say much other than "I watched (GAME X) out of the corner of my eye while studying" or something. But I still came skipping back to Blogger because I saw the current edition of the BlogPoll roundtable, this time posited by Bruce Ciskie. I invite y'all to answer in kind...
1.) Which preseason college football magazine is your favorite?
As far as I'm concerned, any answer that does not contain the words "Phil Steele" is a lie. I've been a slathering devotee of the man ever since he had OSU at #6 in his 2002 preseason rankings, calling them his "dark horse national champion contender," despite the fact that the Bucks' average preseason ranking that year was somewhere in the neighborhood of #13.
I suppose I am really letting you know right off the bat that my answers will often be devoid of logic and reasoning. Also, I have yet to purchase a preview mag - my plan is to hold out until after the Bar, after the wedding, after meals, and after MacGuyver. We'll see how that works out.
2.) What team is being supremely overrated in the preseason rankings?
I have to go with OSU here. It's a toss-up between OSU and Notre Dame, who were 1-2 in almost every set of rankings I looked at. Notre Dame is obvious in this regard: as many have pointed out before me, their best win was Navy. Their defense was terrible and doesn't look to be improved. Their schedule, which was supposed to be a bear last year, is ... looking like it's gonna be a bear this year. They are not the #1 team in the nation.
But the Buckeyes are not #2, either. Hell, I wrote this in January:
This team is returning TWO defensive starters! It looks like OSU next year is going to be heavily displaying two of the classic symptoms of overrated teams, according to Jonathan Chait over at Slate.
First, they're probably going to be piggybacking on the reputation of a superior team from the previous year. You all know that I am the most fretful and least homer-ish Buckeye that, well, all of you have probably ever known. But by the end of this past season, I think OSU could have beaten absolutely anyone on a neutral field. In a hypothetical ten game series on a neutral field, I think the Bucks would have been 4-6 vs. USC, 5-5 vs. Tay-hass, and 7-3 vs. PSU. Maybe I've become a rampant homer, I don't know. But I truly believe that. And next year's team, at the beginning of the year, will be benefitting from how fantastic last year's team was, when last year's team featured a fearsome defense that, at least at the beginning of the upcoming season, 2006's team has 0% chance of replicating.
And that leads us to the second one: it's pretty much a universal truth, in college football and in most sports in general, that, as Chait said, "teams with great offenses and shaky defenses tend to be overrated, while teams with great defenses and shaky offenses are usually underrated." Hey, that sounds like the 2006 Buckeyes in a nutshell, at least at this point in the way-too-early analcyst process. Since I say it all the time regarding other teams, I have to say it now regarding the Bucks: we are gonna be OVERRATED going into next year. Let's hope I'm wrong. We'll certainly find out on September 9th...
All of it remains valid. Sadly. Yes, there's a crazy amount of talent waiting in the wings, and there's Smith and Theodore Reginald Inge and San Antonio Pittman. Things could be really good again. But I'm not convinced with the #2 ranking. Seems steep, considering how little we actually know about the defense.
Honorable mention goes to Miami, Oklahoma (apparently Steele's #1), and West Virginia.
3.) Turn the tables - who is underrated?
As I said, I've tried to avoid the rankings so far, so I only have a super-general idea of where teams are being placed by the commentariat. Texas seems to be a relatively common response thus far, but they're pretty universally top-10, aren't they? Hovering around #7 or #8? I don't have much of a problem with that, if it's true. Count me among those who wasn't all "oh man, Mack Brown won the big one!" I think Vince Young won those games; consequently, I am hesitant to label the "monkey" as being fully off of Mack's back. I still think he's John Cooper 2.0.
So who does that leave? EDSBS says Iowa. Ciskie says Michigan. I don't know where anyone is ranked, so ... LSU? Where are people putting them? After that ass-whipping they laid on Mah-ami last year, I'm shocked I haven't heard more about them. Also, I really have to get out of this bubble. Fuck.
4.) Which conference will be the best in 2006?
Look at the name of the site, man. Big Ten all the way. Okay, maybe the SEC. Those two are my answer every year. Reasons like that are probably why so many blogpollers were hesitant to give semi-serious answers to this question, because we all have laughable biases, and it's clearly better to just come out and admit them than it is to try and mask them behind some faux-"analysis."
5.) Which "non-BCS" conference will be the best in 2006?
The question limited the conferences in play here to C-USA, the MAC, the Mountain West, the WAC, and the (*snicker*) Sun Belt. Quite frankly, I have a hard time remembering who's in what conference nowadays. So the children learned to function as a society, and in time they were rescued by, oh, let's say ... Moe.
The pick: everybody loses. Um, how about the WAC?
6.) Which "non-BCS" conference team will have the best season?
The thing about this -- aside from, you know, my handicaps illustrated in the previous question -- is what exactly does it mean to have the "best season"? Best record? Best team? Some amorphous combination of the two? Best record: ooh Navy Seals. Best team: the Fresno Mustache Mustaches.
7.) Let’s get your first read on this one…who will win the H*i*m*n? Oh, by the way, players whose last names begin with the letter "Q" are ineligible.
The Hymen? No matter who gets the "award," I think it goes without saying that we're all winners there. (See, we've always promised "dick and fart jokes" - now you can add "labia jokes" to the list! It's an historic day on theblog.net!) First off, I have to say that I don't quite understand the question, as I was under the impression that Br*d* Q**nn already won the thing. I mean, he did, right?
Okay, if he supposedly hasn't won it yet, and we're supposed to make the wholly futile prediction of who other than him will win it, I'd have to go with ... crap, let me think about this. Troy Smith is just staring out at me, and he certainly has the rumblings of an autumn hype machine visible in the near future. But you have to remember that I'm completely crazy and superstitious, so I refuse to pick him, lest I open him to debilitating injury by anything from linebacker to lightning bolt. The problem is, he and Qu*n* are the only ones the media is really talking about, and it's super-rare that someone bursts from out of nowhere and takes the Most Meaningless Prize in Sports despite having a dearth of preseason hype.
Like several other people, I think Adrian Peterson is probably the single best player in the country, but I'm just not sure I trust the rest of the talent around him. Brian Brohm will put up stupidly huge numbers at Louisville, but will the voters be willing to give the award to him? Depending on how many wins (*snarl*) Michigan is able to string together, I can totally see the voters jumping on the Chad Henne (Chenne?) bandwagon, probably with good cause. But I'm gonna get stupid and pick a running back that I just love watching, Kenny Irons from Auburn. I've seen a couple people talk about him, and he's one of those "you can hit me all you want, but I'm just gonna keep my legs churning, for serial" guys. The problem is, you pretty much have to be the starting quarterback on a top-5 team to win the damn thing anymore. But I'm picking him. I do not have good reasons for doing this.