We missed the last roundtable but we are in for this one. This week its hosted by the guys over at Barking Carnival. Many thanks to DC Trojan fo tackling these this week.
Questions and answers after the jump...
Please observe the latest ESPN Heisman Watch. What gridiron presence draws your suspicion and ire?
Graham Harrell - not because he's evil or anything, but because he's in a 24-7-365 passing offense. Any quarterback not named Morelli, Marinovich, or Paulus would have at least an even chance of looking like a Heisman candidate playing for Mad Mike Leach. It's one thing to have a player win because they succeed in a scheme, another altogether to have them win because of the scheme.
In World War I, British troops were famously characterized as "Lions Led By Donkeys." What Donkey leading a college football team of Lions is leading his troops into the Somme again this Saturday? Who should replace him after the court martial?
If I may be permitted a brief digression for a moment - it's a little known fact that one of my great-great-uncles might actually be responsible for the rise of chemical warfare on the Western Front, not the Germans. He was serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highland Regiment, and his wife routinely sent him egg sandwiches. Most of them, we suspect, were eaten by the postman, but statistically speaking, some sandwiches must have made it through. The only logical response would be to throw them at the Germans, and hence mustard gas attacks in retaliation. Had he only heaved the stinking sarnies at the bloody red tabs instead, who knows how the war could have turned out.
Anyway, I think there's a strong race here between Ty Willingham and Phil Fulmer. I'm inclined to give the award to Phil Fulmer because his ratio of fail to talent is more out of whack than Willingham's, but you can't escape the fact that Willingham is getting lower-ranked recruits and then *not* coaching them up. Also, Willingham has the appropriately stiff upper lip and lack of apparent interest in professionalism to be a convincing British officer circa 1915. Fulmer just models a sort of flabby incomprehension most of the time.
As for who replaces him? I hear Lane Kiffin is available, but I think that Washington will probably want to go with a steady hand from a mid-tier program that's been successful. If they hire Kyle Whittingham it would save money on re-painting signs, but the name might sound too close for comfort. Bronco Mendenhall might be another interesting choice, and he could certainly keep up the tradition of dirty play. (Not that we're ones to talk with all the personal fouls, but still...)
It's conventional wisdom that it is "good for the game" when certain NFL teams - Dallas, Pittsburgh, Green Bay - or certain NBA teams - LA, Boston, New York - are strong. Others would contend that this is the arrogant self-importance of the traditional elite. With the resurgence of historic programs like Alabama and possibly Notre Dame (now believed to be turning-the-corner in 12 of its last 15 seasons) is it good for college football when certain name programs are strong? If not, why not?
Just as blood makes the grass grow, hate makes college football go around. You don't tune in to see South Florida because you're feeling slightly dismissive, you tune in to a Notre Dame or USC game in the hopes that those crooked arrogant bastards get their come-uppance and leave the field in tears like the cheating pantywaists you know they really are. So the rise of non-elite teams is good inasmuch as it provides another potential source of humiliation for the traditional powers, but you can't get the full schadenfreude effect unless the traditional power is also supposed to be good. On that basis, it is probably better for the game when the traditional powers are on the rise because they have a higher schadenfreude ranking and draw more interest that way.
A related question: what team with some record of success could fall off of the face of the earth and CFB wouldn't miss a beat? Who fancies themselves a name brand, but aren't?
It hasn't happened yet, but if Fresno State doesn't pick it up a bit, the "any team, any time, anywhere" scheduling is going to look less like self-confidence from a good team outside the usual suspects and more like that guy who has a few beers and decides to prove that he coulda been a contender, instead of a bum, which is what he is, a bum.
Texas/OU in Big D. Okie State @ Mizzou. Penn State @ Wiscy. LSU @ Florida. We have Longhorn, Cowboy, Badger, Tiger - which dog is most likely to get it done?
Not a very mavericky pick, but LSU. The Red River Shoot-out is either too close to call or a bad day waiting to happen for the Longhorns. I can't see Oklahoma State managing to stop Mizzou long enough, and I have a feeling that Wisconsin's slighltly one-dimensional game and ability to blow a lead mean that Penn State will win. So, partly by process of elimination, and partly because of the combination of big mean defense and the Les Miles Effect, LSU it is.
What currently unranked team will we be hearing about soon?
This is not in the spirit of the question, but I think Oregon will be back in the thick of the Pac-10 in another week or two.
What ranked team will finish outside of the Top 25?
Auburn and Pittsburgh are in the blocks for the race to #26. Since it's a race of FAIL, Tuberville can safely leave matters in the hands of his offense.