Blogpoll Roundtable 2.2
Courtesy of Bruce Ciskie, here's the blogpoll roundtable to wrap up week one.
1. What team best met your overall expectations of them in their opener?
By and large, a lot of my expectations were met among the top 25. Storyline A is "
Good Heavily-favored team plays ridiculously incompotent tomato can embarassingly close for first three quarters, then piles on garbage time touchdowns in an effort to save face on the scoresheet." See: Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Penn State (Ironically, those are the next four team's on Notre Dame's schedule), and Arizona State. Slightly similar is Storyline B, where heavily-favored team never pulls away and ends up in a humorously-close game up to the last whistle. See: Boston College, Oklahoma, and I suppose to a lesser extent Notre Dame (although it is a crime to lump a very solid Georgia Tech team in with the likes of Central Michigan and UAB). And, of course, Storyline C which is "Two overhyped teams from Florida put on a laughably inept offensive effort while the broadcasters rave profusely about how incredible the defense is". Same song, tenth verse for the Miami-FSU game. Yawn.
Mostly, though, I think Arkansas was the team that lived up to my expectations the best. I have gone on record several times saying that Arkansas is the same preseason cannon fodder that they were last year, despite anything that Phil Steele tells you. It's the same arm-tackling, turnover-producing inept mess that it was last year, and now they're turning over the reins to a true freshman for next week's game. My wager against Arkansas is looking very, very safe right now.
2. What team jumped off the map and surprised you the most? (Bonus points to anyone who can make an argument for someone besides Tennessee.)
Seeing as there were so few legitimate football contests in week one, I'm taking every result with a very large grain of salt. Watching new quarterbacks shred up bungling secondaries like North Texas and Arkansas causes me to shrug nonchalantly, as even I could lob touchdown passes to wide open receivers running through vacant zones caused by misunderstood zone defenses. Let's just say 1-AA Richmond, who jumped up and stunned Duke, who I had in my preseason top 25. Let's see if this was just a fluke after they face tough home contests against Virginia Military Institute and Bucknell in the next two weeks, then I'll let you know if they're for real or not.
First Syracuse in 1991, now Duke in 2006. The hits just keep coming.
3. What team best moved themselves into a position to surprisingly contend for a national title?
Again, it's week one. So many of the games gave virtually no insight into the true quality of the football teams, so I don't think any one effort was able to rattle my concept of the mythical national championship picture. I think I'm going to side with Bruce Ciskie, though, and say Tennessee may have established themselves on the map. Every year, the Vols should, on paper at least, get serious consideration for being an elite team, but coaching, heartless effort, and inept offense sabotaged the entire season last year. With an honest-to-god stud calling plays in David Cutcliffe and a healthy dose of confidence, there's a good chance that Tennessee will actually show up in their big games this year. I'd like to see them replicate that offensive output against a team that is actually physically capable of tackling (as three of Tennessee's touchdowns were five yard gains that became 60 yard scampers after Cal defenders helplessly rolled off of the backs of ballcarriers), but I'll go ahead and put them on my watchlist.
Bonus Section. Okay, this wasn't a blogpoll question, but I want to nominate a play of the week. I'm sure nobody watched the Nebraska - Louisiana Tech blowout, but the clip on SportsCenter of La Tech receiver Johnathan Holland hyperextending himself and hauling in a 40 yard touchdown bomb with one hand was sick, sick, sick, sick, filthy, disgusting awesomeness and everything that is right, pure, and beautiful about college football.
Pure, unadulterated college football porn. I need a cigarette.