Thursday, June 15, 2006

BlogPoll Roundtable No.???

I have missed the last couple of BlogPoll Roundtables, mostly just due to oversight and off-season blues. Bruce Ciskie hosts the roundtable this time around with some pretty good questions about the preseason previews and the upcoming season. Here is my take....

Which preseason college football magazine is your favorite?

Plenty to choose from. Lindy's, Sporting News, Athlon's, Phil.

I have bought every TSN CFB Yearbook since 1989, save 1991. In my opinion it has been the most consistent and has the best features. If TSN had the amount of info that Phil Steele's has, then hands down TSN would be impossible to beat. I read TSN, Lindy's, Athlon and the others and put them away for the season, but I keep Steele's out for easy reference all year. To me that makes it the best preseason magazine of the bunch.

What team is being supremely overrated in the preseason rankings?

Overrated teams are all too common in the preseason, but it is hard to determine who is overrated because every magazine ranks their preseason top 25 differently. I can buy Florida being a top 5 team based on talent and not have a problem with it. But the Gators can conceivably lose 4 games against their tough schedule but will that make overrated? However, if Florida was ranked No. 1, like Notre Dame and Oklahoma, by every preseason magazine then I would consider that being overrated.

Notre Dame shouldn't skip a beat and are led by arguably the best quarterback in country, but got beat pretty handily by Ohio State. The Irish defense should improve, but as tough as their schedule is, two losses should be expected.

Now, Oklahoma has jumped onto the scene after losing four games last year. The Sooners struggled all year and after starting 2-3, they won 6 of 7 only losing a controversial game at Texas Tech. But Oklahoma didn't dominate. In the Holiday Bowl, the Sooners offense didn't look too impressive against an average Oregon defense. The Ducks were playing without their starting quarterback, so I can not give the Sooner defense too much credit for holding Oregon to 14 points.

Steele calls the Sooner defense the best in the country, I can argue that but I won't. I am more concerned about who is going to block for Adrian Peterson. Can Rhett Bomar really beat teams with his arm without an effective running game? The schedule is very manageable and I will not be surprised to see OU win 10 games. I can buy the Sooners as top 10 team, but not as a preseason No. 1.

Turn the tables. Who is underrated?

Iowa, Iowa, Iowa....

The Hawkeyes are not the most talented team in the nation, and the last year's hype may have been just a bit too much. However, Iowa hosts Ohio State and only a trip to the Big House may stand in the way of a trip to Glendale.

As much as I like Iowa's chances, I can't ignore Pitt's chance to win double-digit games. The Panthers sucked last year, but Dave Wannstedt will turn this team around this season and Tyler Palko is as good as any quarterback in the country. Pitt should be favored in all their away games, the toughest being UCF and USF. Virginia and Michigan State will be tough early on but both are in Pittsburgh. And of course West Virginia and Louisville must play at Heinz Field.

Which conference will be the best in 2006?

Is the SEC really the best conference in football, or is more hype than substance? Didn't the BCS's little sister conference champion beat the SEC's best last year? Yes, but that was last year. The ACC could have as many as 10 teams gain bowl eligibility but unless Miami and Florida State fill some big holes, the ACC champ will not be playing in Arizona January 8.

The SEC has three teams that are arguably top 10 teams, Auburn, LSU and Florida. There is two more that could join them, Tennessee and Georgia. And four more that could win at least 8 games, Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas and Ole Miss. However, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Mississippi State are bad as lower tier teams can be. Although, a majority of SEC teams rarely leave the South to prove their almighty image, it is still hard to argue with the strength of the top half of this conference.

Which "non-BCS" conference will be the best in 2006?

This is not even close, it's the Mountain West. The WAC has gotten better and I will even say the WAC's top four are stronger than the MWC's top four. However, the WAC's bottom half is awful, while the MWC's bottom teams are at least competitive. What makes things even more interesting is CUSA's top two teams are former WAC schools, Tulsa and UTEP. Another former WAC member, SMU, may finally earn a bowl berth this year. If the WAC had its same configuration of a couple years ago, it could easily be the best non-BCS conference.

Which non-BCS conference team will have the best season?

I don't think any non-BCS team will go unbeaten this year, but two have a good shot, Utah and Boise State. Both of these teams should win at least 10 games. If they both win their one respective token BCS game in early September, then the BSU-Utah game winner on Sept. 30 should have a clear shot at the BCS's 5th bowl.

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.

I can't pick Brady Quinn, ah F*ck! Ok so maybe the media is hyping the Golden Boy way too much. Unless Notre Dame loses more than two games, it might be hard for anyone else take the trophy away from Quinn. I know it sounds like I am conceding the coveted trophy to him, but hasn't he already accepted it and will just play the season as a formality. Ok, I will be serious. I like Kenny Irons but I don't think he can put up the numbers to sway voters away from Quinn. Someone has to put up some outlandish numbers to really make voters take notice. And that player will be Michael Bush. Bush has a real shot to rush for near or over 2,000 yards but what will win him the Heisman will be topping 30 rushing touchdowns and big games against Miami and West Virginia.


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