Blog Poll Round Table: After the Darkness
Football Armageddon has passed. In a weekend, three of the top 10 teams in the country suffered losses and have fallen out of contention. For the second straight week a #2 team has fallen from the ranks of the unbeaten. Several preseason "no-ways" have positioned themselves to make a run. We are now left to fight among ourselves. Conference games, in-state and inter-state rivalries are soon to begin. These games will turn grown men into bickering children, pit brother against brother and make wives go to their mother's threatening never to return. Three weeks into the season, this is what we are left with.
Football Armageddon has occurred. Now we are left to ponder its aftermath. Whack job groups like the 47 Society now roam freely preaching there sick, sick beliefs. Like Kevin Costner struggling to find his way in a post apocalyptic world in The Postman/Waterworld/For The Love of the Game, we too must struggle to find answers to...
The Week Two Blogpoll!
1. Its only the third week of the season and we've already seen some highly ranked favorites drop out of national championship contention. Preseason favorite Cal dropped to #21 after a loss and a pair of underwhelming victories. Who's your pick as the next NC contender to take a fall?
God bless the SEC. So much talent and they get to pound the hell out of each other for our benefit. Auburn, Florida and Georgia all square off against one another soon enough, but my money's on Texas taking one more loss early in the season. Remember 1 loss does not an also ran make, sitting comfortably at No. 8 they can still make a run with some help. But it ain't going to be easy. Their next game is against Iowa State, a team that probably should have beaten Iowa this weekend. Toss in a trip to Dallas to play Oklahoma in two weeks and the 'Horns probably have the toughest road to travel over the next few weeks.
Honorable Mention: Michigan and Ohio State. Iowa and Michigan State loom large over the next few games.
2. By that same token there are several schools hanging around without a loss that all of a sudden look like surprise contenders. There are also a few one loss teams with a legit shot at getting back into it. Looking at the rankings who's the team no one's talking about with the best shot at crashing the party ?
Georgia. They hung around early in the polls in the low teens. No one was talking about them. However, even with a tough conference schedule making it through this far without a loss when Tennessee and LSU are already minus one in the loss column it a good thing. Also speaking in their favor is their defense. The Georgia D has only allowed 12 points all year and pitched two straight shutouts. When the season started, with all their personnel losses, I figured this was an 8 or 9 win team. If the defense is for real they could end up in the SEC championship game. I still think its a long shot with a cocktail party in Florida and a trip to Auburn, but they could make some noise.
Honorable Mention: Oregon. When you can allow 200 plus rushing yards from the best back in the country and still win (call or no call), you're living well. However, two straight road games to Arizona State and Cal could end the Duck's party.
Honorable Mention II: TCU. You held Texas Tech to 3 points?? I don't care where you play, that's impressive.
3. Every team has their quicksand away game. You know. That place you should win but somehow find ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory or at least scare the &*%^ out of you every year. Did you know that over the last 21 years Kentucky wasn't won once in Knoxville? Where is your team's yearly sandtrap?
Until last week it was Notre Dame. As many pundits have pointed out on both sides of the ND/UM rivalry, until recently depsite walking in with higher rankings and more talent UM consistently walked out with losses. Historically, ND's been a snake pit for Michigan. But the last ten years at least, Michigan has allegedly been the better team prior to the game and ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard. In keeping with the question, how many times has Michigan found a way to drop a game they should've won in Notre Dame Stadium? Whether its ND making plays, UM failing to make them, of the general spitefulness of an angry God, during Notre Dame's down years bad Irish teams routinely drowned supposedly good Michigan teams in the quicksand that is South Bend.
4. Now that you've looked into the darkest place in your football soul, free Escalades aside, turn and look into your crystal ball. Conference play is either just starting or a single game in. Based on what you've seen so far, give the order of finish in your conference, and if you've got a Conference Championship game tell us who the winner will be. Independents must predict the remainder of their schedule. The results your predictions will be held against you at the end of the season.
Big Ten Conference
1. Ohio State
4. Michigan State
5. Penn State
5. In keeping with the spirit of Maize n Brew, name your beverage of choice on game days and why. It need not be alcoholic, as there are some of us who choose not to imbibe on game day. Further, it need not be limited to a single brand/type/category. If you enjoy drinking PBR and Kraft Turkey Gravy at the same time (which I have personally witnessed), please, elaborate. Finally, if you should feel so inclined, and this is not a requirement, add an anecdote involving said beverage choice.
Oh Miller Lite, how many ways can I pay homage to thee? So tasty and crisp. Like a cool mountain stream. Except the mountain stream is made of beer. During my youth Miller Lite was the staple of every good tailgate. It's absence usually spelled bad things for my beloved Wolverines.
As I've aged, my tastes have changed. I enjoy all sorts of tasty beverages during tailgates these days from 24 year-old scotch to tumbler full of Rum.
The current tailgate staple, when available, is Paulaner Oktoberfest-Marzen. Delicious. Tastes like beer. As much as I enjoy all fine Miller products (Red Dog included), there is something to be said for a strong, potent, hoppy German Bier. When drinking it you know it has good intentions for your taste buds, and bad ones for your brain. That I like.
A happy experience this past weekend was seeing our hosts' eyes widen as they saw both of my hands clutching twelvers of Oktoberfest Amber. Over the years, I've found that drinking good beer at a tailgate heightens the enjoyment. Pounding Natural Lite or Gobal or Meisterbrau in an attempt to liquor yourself up to the point that grass clippings taste good generally puts you in a bit of a belligerent mood. Nothing that tastes that bad can make one feel good. Good beer however puts you in an excellent mood for game day. No matter how bad the a-hole in the parking spot next to you is, no matter now loud he's blaring John "Cougar" Mellencamp, you can look in your hand and see a fine beverage and laugh while he ingests a cozy full of warm urine-water-beer. I will stress that good beer does not by any means limit the amount you drink. It does however change the intentions you drink with. And on a game day with "Jack and Dianne" blaring next to you, that's generally a good thing.