Last week, a college football season preview roundtable of sorts was hosted over at The Detroit Transplant by our good friend Doug, and we were joined by another good friend of mine Joe (he runs a blog that you should all check out called Joe Knows Stuff…seriously, you should go check it out it’s even on my blogroll). It seemed like suck a good idea we decided to take a shot at another one. So since you already clicked the link and got this far, you might as well just keep on reading. Without further ado…
Opening weekend has come and gone. What did you like/dislike about your team performance in Game 1?
Joe (Wisconsin Badgers): Can’t say I’m thrilled about the second quarter, but the rest of the game was Badger Football at its finest.
Doug (Michigan State Spartans): I loved that we got to see yet another running back succeed in our system. Two 100 yard rushers against any team is moderately impressive. The defensive side of the ball scared me– way too many easy throws for a bad quarterback. The secondary specifically was pretty shaky, and the penalties we got (I’m hoping) were just first week jitters. Caper should be back this week, giving us three running backs for the FAU and ND games, all whom have big play potential and will have fresh legs because of splitting carries.
Norm (Michigan Wolverines): I honestly didn’t expect to see (and by the look of things neither did the UConn defense) the type of performance that QB Denard Robinson gave in his first start. Everyone knew he could run, but he also made smart decisions throwing the ball and rarely missed. The offensive line was also solid, giving Robinson time to make reads and take off running. Defensively? Well, they made plays when they had to but I also think the Husky offense helped them out in that regard-dropping passes, missing open receivers, and turnovers. I didn’t like seeing Tate Forcier sulking on the sideline, and hope this matter gets taken care of internally. Given the fact that Denard took off to run 29 times, odds are the Wolverines are going to need both Forcier (remember, last year at this time the accolades were rolling in for this guy just like they are for Robinson now) and true freshman Devin Gardner to assume the role of signal caller eventually.
What was your favorite game (excluding your team) from this past weekend?
Doug: How could you not vote for the VT Boise State game? In a week full of duds and lame games, this stood out as the great game of the week. I would nominate Ole Miss and Jacksonville State, but it’s Ole Miss– they got overrated enough last year. VT and Boise was pure college football, and as much as the BCS purists want to argue it, they’re really fun to watch and a solid team.
Joe: I have to say the Boise State – VT game. Both teams lived up to their rankings. Also want to give an honorable mention to East Carolina vs. Tulsa. That ending was fun to watch.
Norm: Since you both covered the incredible Boise State/Virginia Tech game (and I agree), I’m also going to mention the LSU/North Carolina match. The fact that the undermanned Tar Heels were able to come back and almost steal the game from the Tigers was exciting, and also hammers home the point that once again Les Miles coached teams have some real clock management problems.
We’re all aware that the Big Ten has announced their football divisions that begin with the 2011 season. How do you feel about them, and why?
Joe: I think we already covered this, but Wisconsin got it sideways up… well, we’ll just stop there. I also hate that most teams don’t get to face their rivals in-division, as I think it would be great fun for Michigan and Ohio State to compete for the division at the end of the year, or for one to play spoiler to the other. That’d happen more often than a title game matchup, especially since a loss to the other could hinder the losing team’s chances of getting there anyway.
Doug: Obviously Joe sees it the way I do. The divisions are so imbalanced it’s not even funny. In the preliminarily named “division o”, I think the top two teams are MSU and UM. Nebraska was nominated as a top team because of history– they’re really not that great, and Iowa I feel has always been a tad wishy-washy. Division X is stacked, and features every single team I never want to play as MSU. Take it for what it’s worth– it may change next year, but right now it’s looking like a Big 12 kind of setup with the North being completely incomparable to the South division. I like the fact though that there will be a title game, and that for once, MSU has a legitimate shot at getting a title in this climate because Ohio State can’t just waltz through their cakewalk schedule anymore.
Norm: I think both of these divisions are a lot closer in talent than either of you give credit. Nebraska is back on the rise after getting Callahan’d, and Iowa is strong enough now as well. That division with Michigan and Michigan State is going to be tough…as is the division with that other ‘school’ that shall not be named.
Polls-what is the earliest time of the season you’d start them and why?
Doug: Week 1 is fine with me, but I think there should be some more thought put into them. They should be more subjective, consider the players that have left/transferred, and actually really look hard for the top 25. If someone isn’t willing to do that, wait til week 4, when teams have played at least one meaningful game– not cupcake schools. There were teams in the top 5 to start this season that will clearly finish unranked (I’m looking at you Texas and Florida), and those rankings are largely in part due to Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy– neither of whom are on their respective college teams anymore. That is exactly why the polls need to be based on projections, not history.
Joe: Why not now? Gives us something more to argue about.
Norm: I’ve always felt polls were useless before at least four games have been played, and I still feel that way. That way rankings are based more on what the team has done to that point as opposed to what everyone was expecting prior to the first game.
The NFL starts up this weekend…now it’s a given that we all love football, but which do you prefer to watch: college or pro?
Joe: I prefer the pageantry of college football as a whole, but as a Packers fan, I like to think I get a little bit of both worlds, what with the deep tradition of the Packers and the small-town atmosphere of the team. I think if I lived over your way, I’d prefer college for sure, but I still have to say NFL, for the Packers alone.
Doug: I watch both for different reasons. The NCAA has this level of, as Joe said, pageantry that can’t be touched by any other sport I can think of. The history, pride, and the all out determination the kids have to make a good name for themselves and for their schools is what draws me to college football. Plus, I’m in college– I think that has some weight to it as well. On the other hand, the NFL is the cream of the crop. You see top talent, and more now than ever: any team can get upset. I love seeing my team (the Lions) making it back to a winning franchise, and I think that’s what draws me to the game even more.