Gather Round the Belated Round Table
It's Roundtable time again and, thankfully, I'm not responsible for it! Woo!
This week's questions are courtesy of Cross Cyed, the web's only Iowa State blogger. What Iowa State lacks in quantity, they make up for in quality. Cyed is always a good read.
1. We're about halfway through the season at this point. Have you gotten a gauge on your team's chances this year to make noise in conference play, or is the team still a total freaking mystery?
At this point, honestly, dunno. As I've pointed out to anyone who will read/listen, my brain will not accept what is going on so far this year.
I've watched every game. I've tried to evaluate the team honestly and with some perspective. This is a really, really good team. It's well coached. They play hard and fast. They can make noise at not only at the conference level, but also on the national level.
Still, in the back of my mind there's that ongoing conflict with what I know about this Michigan team and what I know about Michigan football. I know that this is a well rounded team, fully capable of winning any game they play in. I also know that this is a team fully capable of falling asleep at the wheel and dropping games they shouldn't.
On Offense, Chad Henne has been a sniper good. He hits almost everything he throws at, yet somehow manages fade away or blend into the woodwork after he takes out another team. Mike Hart has been everything we thought he'd be, and more. And then there's the receiving corps. Manningham took the next into the elite this year. Unfortunately he took an extra step onto the injured list and will miss the PSU game. Now the Offense must rely a pair of uncertain hands in Steve Breaston, but an emerging playmaker in Adrian Arrington. The line is strong but not overwhelming.
On Defense Michigan's front seven are as good as anyone's in the land. Branch, Woodley, Burgess, Crable, Harris & Co. have been excellent. Leon Hall has been a standout at corner. Michigan's run defense is among the tops in the country. Their pass defense is not. On one end Michigan has been up by several touchdowns late in games forcing teams to pass to make up the difference. On another, Michigan is allowing too many gimme first downs on soft coverage or blown assignments.
To answer the question, yes, I've got a pretty good gauge of the team. It is an excellent team. It has shortcomings, but its positives far outweigh its negatives.
I've got a read. But my own fears make it impossible to say whether that read is correct.
2. Many of the bigger conferences such as the Big 12 and the Big 10 use a rotating schedule to determine conference games each year. What are your feelings on the current system used in your conference? Does a rotating schedule work? Has your team always caught a break?
I sorta like the Big Ten's current set up. I'm not a proponent of conference championships. I don't like separate division schedules. Ideally I'd like 10 team conferences, 9 conference games and 3 non-confs. Everyone plays everyone. Everyone gets three tune up games. You're welcome to disagree. What we have now is simply a product of too many teams in a conference. The rotating schedule provides us with endless amounts of debate as to whom would do better with whose schedule. Personally I think rotating schedules suck. If you're in a conference, you should play everyone in that conference. If there are too many crappy teams in your conference, drop 'em. Go down to 10.
The argument against seems to be that you end up with a rotating Rose Bowl bids when two teams finish with the same record. Yeah, it's not the best, but it's not enough for me to get too angry about. In the Big Ten, if two teams finish with identical records then the Big Ten gets two BCS bids. That's cool.
The Big Ten's current system works. It's not the best in the world, but I can't complain. The Big Ten rotates out two teams a year off of every team's schedule. Two teams are constant "rivaly" games. This year Michigan got the partial shaft. No snacky Purdue and Illinois, but Michigan does get Indiana before Ohio State.
3. In an effort to get to know more about college football, both nationally and regionally, what have you done to expand your college football horizons? Have you caught yourself watching games from other conferences, or taking an interest in games that show up on ESPNU or Fox Sports?
I watch it all. It's a problem. CBS, ABC, Fox, ESPN Plus. Whether its a horrid Baylor/Tech Big XII matchup, ESPN's Tuesday MAC at Noon match-up, or the SEC game of the Week, the TV's on.
Somehow I'm still married.
4. What would you change about the current exposure your team gets, either on the radio, television, print, or on the internet?
Love it. Wouldn't change a thing.
5. During last Saturday's game against I-AA Northern Iowa, Iowa State trailed 21-7 at the half. The Cyclone Marching Band played a variety of songs from animated shows, including selections from South Park titled "Blame Canada" and "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" Needless to say, the Cyclones outscored the Panthers 21-6 in the second half. If you had to pick one song for your favorite team to rally to, what would it be? Because we all know what they did for the 2005 White Sox, Journey and "Don't Stop Believing" are not to be considered.
My initial thought was The White Stripes "Seven Nation Army." Solid. Funky. A little pissed off. But it occurred to me that most of the Michigan team probably doesn't listen to them. Plus, this team needs something angrier. It needs more swagger. More funk. More bass.
Wu-Tang Clan: "Ain't Nuthin Ta Fuck Wit!"