BlogPoll Roundtable v.2.4
This week the roundtable is being hosted by Hey Jenny Slater. Many thanks for hosting. My responses:
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?
I think that the win that best sums up the Aggies this season was the game against Army. A&M played to the level of the competition, something that they've done with alarming frequency this season. At times they tried their best to blow it, shooting themselves in the foot as soon as momentum seemed to be swinging their way. The Aggie losses against Texas Tech and Oklahoma were arguably A&M's best chances to make a statement win, but in both games were doomed by late breakdowns after spotting the opposition an early lead.
Still, with all this frustration, with a late stand (win against Nebraska) its tough not to view this season as a victory, with the program heading in the right direction.
2. Are there any teams you think are still hugely overrated? What about underrated?
I have this sneaking suspicion that Rutgers is underrated, but I suppose that question will be answered tomorrow night. From the ranks of the mid-majors, Middle Tennessee State has quietly put together quite a season with all three losses coming against quality opposition (Maryland, Oklahoma and Louisville).
As for an overrated team, I'll nominate West Virginia with a win against Maryland being the best result they've managed this season. Some semblance of defense would go a long way to improving my opinion of the Mountaineers.
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?
I'm ashamed to admit that Texas A&M scheduled the Citadel for the first week of the season. I'm a little ambivalent on the practice of playing I-AA teams, but when your other non-conference opponents are ULaLa, La Tech and Army, a game against the Citadel is just sad. If I had my druthers, A&M would schedule and play at least one quality team a year and no I-AA's. I love the opportunity to see other teams from around the country in person, and my dream schedule would reflect this.
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?
A&M is a good candidate here with freshman Mike Goodson looking like a breakout star. His backfield companions, Stephen McGee and Jorvorskie Lane are both sophomores. The future looks bright.
For a pick that reeks a little less of homerism, I'll instead go with Wake Forest. Quarterback Riley Skinner is a redshirt freshman and the Demon Deacons only start 8 seniors (3 offense, 5 defense). With the season winding down they've positioned themselves to contend this season and should be among the teams to watch in the ACC next year.
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?
If A&M beats Nebraska on Saturday, they will most likely play in the Holiday Bowl. A loss would almost certainly make the Aggies Alamo Bowl bound. A Holiday Bowl berth would likely pit A&M against the loser of Cal-USC and the Aggies don't match up particularly well with either team. Of the two I'd probably rather see USC, with a chance for revenge. (Three years ago I traveled all the way from Michigan to watch my alma mater take on the Trojans in the Rose Bowl. That didn't turn out so well and I haven't looked at USC the same since.)
I wouldn't be broken hearted to see the Ags in the Alamo Bowl, hopefully getting a win to propel them into next season. A matchup with Penn State would be a nice land grant school match up.
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?
Good question. I wouldn't want to pick someone who would just go out and get fired, George O'Leary style. On the other hand, it can't be anyone with a prayer of even moderate success. I wouldn't wish Coach Fran on anyone so he is out. (Not because I don't like him, I actually do. My concern is for my cardiovascular system, seeing as how Coach Fran has a policy of not attempting to put a game away with more than two minutes on the clock. That, and a habit for not scoring when in the redzone.)
All that said, I would stick Texas with Chuck Amato. He wins just enough games to not get fired, but can't ever seem to get over the top and sustain success. If Amato wasn't available for any reason, I'm sure that Glen Mason could do an admirable job fulfilling the same goals. Third place goes to Ron Zook for his incredible in-game skills.