Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Big Ten Round Table - Week 2

Thanks to Maize 'n Brew for hosting this week's edition of the Big Ten Round Table.

1. We’re two weeks in and everyone in the Big Ten, minus the two Michigan schools (and Illinois - Thnx lostincali - Ed.), are 2-0. This week marks the end of your early "tune-up" or serious OOC play. Are you satisfied with the way your team has played against the cupcakes on your schedule, or happy with the way they’ve competed against serious competition?

I'd like to use the words "guarded optimism" to describe my feelings toward Michigan State right now. The Cal loss was a punch in the gut, but is looking better thanks to Cal's 66-3 win over Washington State, A win in which, to provide perspective on Cal's running game, they amassed 114 passing yards. MSU did the job expected of them versus EMU, and solved the penalty/Brian Hoyer inconsistency problem for one week. The question is, can this last the whole season (My heart says yes, recent evidence says no.)? The secondary is still giving up too many big plays, and turnovers are still a bugaboo. I'm content, but with enough sticking points to keep from getting overexcited.

2. You knew this was coming. This week’s OMG Game of teh Century!!!!1!!1!! until next week’s OMG Game of teh Century!!!!1!!1!! is Ohio State versus Southern Cal. Who are you pulling for and why? Further, if you’re pulling for one particular team tell me why they’ll win, or won’t. If you’re like me and will be attempting to cure a sunburn from over exposure to the sun during the Michigan Notre Dame game by drinking large quantities of whiskey instead of watching the game, state your excuse.

I am pulling for Ohio State to win this game because of Big 10 loyalties; however, I don't think they'll win. I base this feeling more off of USC's evisceration of Virginia in week 1 more than OSU's drunken stumble taken during week 2. I feel that OSU's performance in that game was an anomaly, but I also feel that game points to OSU's one dealbreaker - that they will not be able to score enough points to win. Todd Boeckman is a Brian Hoyer Doppelganger - he's got the ability and can score the points, but if it comes time to stand toe-to-toe with Mark Sanchez and go TD for TD, I don't know if he can do it. Even if Beanie Wells was 100% healthy, I'd still pick USC for the victory. All considered, USC wins this game by 14-17 points.

3. Besides the above mentioned Game of the Century, there are actually some decent match ups this week in the Big Ten. Purdue v. Oregon; Wisconsin v. Fresno State; Michigan v. Notre Dame; Michigan State v. Florida Atlantic; or Iowa v. Iowa State. I said decent. I didn't say they were all good. Pick the best game from that group, pick the worst game from that group, and Minnesota and Illinois bloggers must post an apology for scheduling Montana State and Louisiana Lafayette respectively.

Let's do this by a process of elimination - Fresno State is overhyped, thus I don't believe the Wisconsin-FSU game will be that great. Purdue-Oregon I believe will be a blowout one way or the other (I'm guessing Oregon over Purdue in a laugher right now), and MSU-FAU wouldn't surprise me if both teams scored more than 100 points. However, MSU will have 2/3 of those, and win fairly easily. That leaves Notre Dame-Michigan in Suck Bowl II, a rematch of Suck Bowl I last year, where UM salvaged their season by beating what looked to be like a confused Quiddich team wearing Notre Dame jerseys. Anyone not a fan of Michigan or Notre Dame will be watching this game with a sense of morbid curiosity more than anything else to see which team just does suck more. I'm backing Michigan in this game, their defense will be the only competent unit on the field that day. As for worst game, I'm going to go Wisconsin-Fresno State, mainly because I think the Badgers are going to burst the Bulldogs' bubble in a big way.

4. Out of Conference scheduling is always something that draws the ire of journalists and bloggers alike. You all know how weak your OOC really is. Admit it. You’re sad. So fix it. Pick two teams out of conference you really wish your school would schedule. Nursing colleges and the Center for Veterinary Sciences are verboten. Pick two major conference middle to heavy weights or two heavy weight non-BCS conference programs to add to the schedule. (Please note you get to keep your two patsies per season).

Author's note: It's much more sad to lose to a heavyweight than it is to beat a creampuff. Beating a MAC or 1-AA team is like hooking up with a fat girl - you won't feel good about yourself afterward, and you might be falsely confident, but nevertheless, it still counts as hooking up or a win. Anyway, MSU has Cal and Notre Dame as their two big heavyweights this year, which would work if ND didn't have to wear diapers all the time. Anyway, if I had to schedule two other teams, here's who I'd schedule:

Ole Miss -
If you think I'm doing this just so I have an excuse to tailgate at The Grove, you're 95% right. I mean, who doesn't want to see this:

When your fan base is this smokin', it almost makes the perennial losing OK.

MSU girls will always be #1 in my heart, but if I had to have another fan base's gender, give me Ole Miss' ladies, all the way. As for the football aspect, it'd be interesting to see what would happen between two teams who have been historically known in the past decade for getting talent and then crapping it away between incompetent coaching. Yes, that does hurt me to say that about the Orgeron.

Clemson - In the dictionary, under schizofrenic, Clemson is about the third listing. I want to play them for the same reason as Ole Miss - to truly discover which team, between the Rebels, Tigers and Spartans, is the most bipolar. Also, Howard's Rock is one of the Seven Wonders of the CFB World, and it'd be cool to see that up close.

5. All college football fans love to tailgate. Even you, you mothers' basement dwelling bloggers, you. Name your beverage of choice on game days. Alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage, your readers need to know these things about you, to judge you. Confirm all their suspicions.

I like to think of tailgating as a sort of Mario Kart - you have to keep your finger on the A button (gas), you have to have your Mushrooms for turbo, and you have to defend yourself some wiping out (streak of banana peels behind your cart). For my gas, I like to drink Coors Light, it's good enough where I feel like I don't have to choke it down (see: Light, Natural/Busch), and it's cheap enough that I don't feel like a total priss while drinking it (save the microbrews for dinner). As for Mushrooms, I go with Jager Bombs as my turbo boost of choice - they've got Red Bull in them by definition, and you can get almost anyone to do them with you, so you don't look like a complete alcoholic. As for a streak of banana peels, I go with a 32 oz Gatorade an hour before the game. In Mario Kart you won't get to the line first without defending yourself from a couple of red shells, and in life, you won't stay awake for the game if you're not properly hydrated.

6. Rivalry games dot the schedule this week. If your team is playing in a rivalry game, say something nasty about your opponent then predict a lopsided score to infuriate the opposing fanbase. If you're not playing a rival, then start a rivalry by saying something nasty about your opponent and then predict a lopsided score to infuriate the opposing fanbase. Or just give me a non-offensive prediction and a reason to watch.

This is MSU's first year out of three playing FAU, so this may as well start now. FAU's QB, Rusty Smith, has a name that sounds like a D-rate porn actor. Howard Schnellenberger, is still waiting for one of his players to spell his name correctly. All the while, he's desperately trying to get work as a Matlock impersonator, mainly because it pays him more than the university. As for the game, MSU will win this game by a few touchdowns or more (preview coming later), and the 10 FAU fans get to run back home to snuggle with their adorable Sun Belt title of last year.

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