Editorial Note: this week's Blog Poll Roundtable was hosted by Doug over at the generally hilarious Hey Jenny Slater. Paragon has been slammed at work and asked me to respond on behalf of Conquest Chronicles. Thus...
1. By the end of the season, some previously unheralded teams' bandwagons will be so full they'll be having to bump passengers and offer them free vouchers and first-class upgrades; others will have emptied out in a big way. On whose bandwagon are you already scrambling to save a seat? Conversely, which team's bandwagon is being driven by Toonces the Driving Cat, prompting you to leap off now before it careens over a cliff to its fiery death below?
It's a bit early yet. My late response allowed me to see that getting onto Oregon State's bandwagon after their game against Utah would have put me in prime position to be in a Metallica tour-bus kind of crash at Cincinnati. I'm still lurking in the back of the line for the Boise State and Washington bandwagons, to see how that game shakes out, before I decide which one to board.
As for jumping with extreme prejudice, the only reason that I am not picking Virginia Tech after the ECU game is because of Virginia's crapping of the bed in Wyoming. In terms of crapping the bed, that was less of a "thought I was going to fart" surprise and more of a "I have cholera and the end is near" explosion.
2. What do you think was opening weekend's biggest mirage -- either a "big win" over a team that isn't really as good as everyone thinks, or an embarrassing loss (or embarrassingly close win) that won't seem quite as embarrassing by season's end?
Homerism causes me to pick Idaho. Since defense appears to be the next big thing in the WAC, and Enderle seems like a credible QB, they might be in with a chance. Or not.
3. Compared to how you felt Friday night, how do you feel now about your team's chances this season? I'm not just talking about your impressions of your own team -- also take into account their prospects relative to this year's opponents, whom you've also gotten a little more acquainted with after this past weekend's action.
As documented at great length here on Conquest Chronicles, it's not clear that we learned much this weekend beyond the fact that the coaches evidently were more interested in trying out people than they were in laying a beatdown. If the linebackers can stop overpursuing, I think we'll be good against the run. That means that, for instance, SC might force Keller and the Huskers into the air sooner than they would like. I didn't see enough from the defensive secondary to tell if that would be a good thing or a bad thing.
4. Looking at how those future opponents performed this past weekend, which developments are you most excited about? Which of your opponents' performances have you a little worried?
Cal really has some offense going, but their defense doesn't match it. Same could be said for Oregon. I don't have a lot of faith in our ability to win a shoot-out, so I was pleased to see Gable, Johnson, David, and Havili looking so effective for shorter yardage, ball control football. (I'll take the win over style, any day.)
5. There are now 32 bowls in D-IA football, meaning 64 bowl teams, meaning any given team now stands a better-then-50-percent chance of going to a bowl. To get that number under 50 percent, we'd have to eliminate three bowls. Which ones would you get rid of?
Why stop at three? Eliminate all but the BCS bowls and enough to accomodate the remaining first and second place teams from the major conferences. If you're not going to use all those bowls for some kind of playoff, let's stop trying to make people care about a credit union bowl right before Christmas in San Diego. Not that San Diego isn't delightful at that time of year.
I would be in favor of moving the International Bowl from Toronto to Montreal, on the basis of having been to Montreal in tank top season - I nearly got a neck injury from watching all the young ladies, to go with the foot-shaped bruise on my ass from the missus. Also, I've heard as a former Formula 1 fan that Montreal reputedly has some of the loveliest young ladies to be found in, ah, clothing-lite dancing emporia on the F1 circuit.
6. And finally, in 50 words or less, how happy are you that it's finally football season again?
Um, happier than when I last got a raise, but not as happy as when my kids were born. Ask me again at the end of the season when I see where SC manages to end up.