Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Blogpoll Roundtable 2.3

Maize n Brew Dave is hosting the third blogpoll of the year, and since I helped myself to about half a brewery worth of beer at his tailgate on Saturday, I suppose the least I can do is answer a little survey put together by a fellow Chicagoan.

1. It's 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?

Well, with three SEC teams at the top of the rankings (Georgia, Auburn, and Florida), it goes without saying that something has to give when it comes to conference play. All three squads have looked very solid this year, and it's tough to tell if any of them are head and shoulders above the rest. Going by the history of the SEC, I get the feeling that all three of these teams will split their head-to-head matchups, effectively eliminating all from the hunt for the MNC, since that's the cruel irony of down-south football.

Louisville, ever the darkhorse, is in for a rough go of things with big injuries. They've been resilient and have a pretty easy slate, but I don't think any team is good enough to lose two Heisman hopefuls and laugh it off.

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 ?

Well, a lot of people (and fans alike) wrote off Notre Dame after that thing that happened last week with the thing, but I don't think all hope is lost. The Irish should be favored in every game they play up to USC, so if they can take care of business and rebound psychologically, a showdown at the Colosseum could propel the Irish back into the scene, particularly with the "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately?" mentality of pollsters.

My soul... it burns at the sight.

Oregon didn't get much preseason love, but it looks like they've reverted to their ball-flinging Pac 10 scorefest that got them tantalizingly close to the title a few years ago. That Dixon kid is pretty entertaining to watch, and seeing them hang a huge number of points (admittedly, some of them ill-gotten) on a supposedly indomitable Oklahoma defense makes me wonder. Good home field advantage, good coach, athletic squad, horrifyingly ugly uniforms, and soft Pac 10 defenses to shred through all bode well for the Ducks.

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 hasn't won once in Knoxville? Where is your team's yearly sandtrap?

Ugh. This upcoming Saturday against a man in a skirt with an humorously oversized head. And that's just John L. Smith. Sons of bitches play like it's the super bowl every year against the Irish, then find away to piss away the rest of their season in an act of defiance.

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.

1. Notre Dame
2. Navy
3. Army
4. Temple

Stone. You can quote me on that.

Right, so the independent fork of the question, I'm predicting 50 point blowout wins for every game except USC, which will be a 100 point blowout win. Okay, 86 points, since the refs will probably give the Trojans two free onside kicks at the end.

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.

Miller Lite goes in your right hand. Every time it gets below 30% full, you immediately find a replacement. This, naturally, gives a constant trickle of alcohol to the bloodstream so you don't ever lose your drunken velocity. Your left hand? That's your personal choice. This weekend, I happened upon a bottle of Anejo Tequila and Johnny Walker Blue (the bluest of the blue liquors), which served me quite handsomely.

For those early hours, it can't hurt to slug back a few Sparks, since a good caffeine rush is sometimes needed to motivate you to binge drink at 8AM, particularly when you're probably rocking a hangover from the night before. Be careful, though, because too much Sparks has a devastating effect on the body. Best case scenario, you'll tumble ass-over-tea kettle down the aisle stairs in the stadium like a certain blogger I know did. Worst case scenario? You miss the second half because you have to drive to the desert to bury a dead hooker.

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