Apologies to Hey Jenny Slater for the late response to the latest roundtable. Quickly, then.
1. We're just a few weeks away from the end of the regular season, so everybody should have a pretty good handle on how good their teams are and what sort of records they can expect to finish with. Looking back over the season, which was the game where your team really defined itself in 2006, for good or ill? Or to look at it another way, which game, win or loss, was most representative of your team's attitude and style of play this season?
First game, first play against Cal. Evidence:
2. Are there any teams you think are still hugely overrated? What about underrated?
I'm still not sold on Rutgers. They're good and all, and they sure took it to Louisville, which appeared to be a really good team. We'll see when they play West Virginia. Sure, I've got some good old SEC bias, but I'm also not buying the comparisons of the Big East to the SEC in that the teams all beat up on each other. Heavyweights and featherweights alike pound each other mercilessly, but I'll take an anvil over down comforter any day.
Underrated? Darren McFadden and the Hogs. But you knew that was coming from me.
3. Did your team play any Division I-AA opponents this year? If so, do you think it benefited your team at all? If you were a coach or an NCAA official, what policy would you have toward scheduling D-IAAs?
We haven't played any, but I'm laissez-faire on the issue. One rule: for every I-AA team you put on the schedule, you get one less complaint about the BCS.
4. Which not-a-typical-national-powerhouse team (i.e. no Ohio States or USCs) has played well enough this year to set themselves up for a breakout season in '07?
Gotta go with the Scarlet Knights here. Chopping wood is good for the soul. And the muscles. And the motivational gimmick, because it is itself a metaphor for an extended, long-term effort regardless of the immediate rewards (or lack thereof), should not suffer from diminishing returns as early as most other motivational gimmicks.
5. Take a look at your team's bowl prospects this season. Which bowl(s) do you think you have a reasonable shot of ending up in? Of the teams you might likely face in a bowl, which team would you most want to play and why (maybe you've always wanted to see how your team would match up with them, maybe there's an old score you want to settle, or maybe you just want to finish the season with an easy win)? Conversely, which potential opponent would you really like to avoid in a bowl game?
Hmm. Of all the bowl projections, the most-intriguing to me pits the Vols versus Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Two of the game's best wide receivers on display for all. And the cows, I like the cows.
As long as we stay away from Nebraska, not really because of this year's team but because of the emetic effect of the memory of the Cornhuskers rolling over the Vol defense in two bowls in the late 90's, I'll be okay.
6. In a roundtable question during the off-season, we were asked whom you'd pick if your current coach fell deathly ill and you had to select another coach to lead your team to victory. Let's turn this around and imagine that you've somehow schemed your way onto the search committee to select your biggest rival's next head coach. Which rival would that be, and which coaching sooper genius would you try to stick them with?
How about John L. Smith at Florida, which tends to have an abusive relationship with any coach or player not named Spurrier. He could abuse himself and save the fans the trouble.