BlogPoll Roundtable 3.2: Storylines Emerge

FootballPeter at Burnt Orange Nation asks the questions. We’ve got the answers.

1. Handicap your team’s chances to win your conference championship. If your team is not the favorite, who is?

The obvious answer is that Ohio State probably has a one-in-three chance of being the Big Ten Champion. Most people would say it’s a three-team race: OSU, Penn State and Wisconsin. Personally, I think it’s a mistake to count Michigan out at this point. Sure, Michigan is running on fumes at the moment but you never know when they’ll fill up the tank and be the team we thought they’d be. They’ve got Penn State and OSU at home so you never know.

But right now, I think Ohio State has as good of a chance as anyone. All four teams play each other, so someone’s got to lose. Assuming we get out of Happy Valley with a victory, I like our chances. But I’ll still peg our chances at 33% for now.

2. Outline the (realistic) best case and worst case scenarios for your team.

Best Case: As an optimistic Buckeye Fan (which I unabashedly am), this one is easy — we roll into Happy Valley at 8-0, the defense plays lights out and shuts down Morelli and company, then the D stands tall again against Pajamas Hill and the Badgers in Columbus. Illinois might be a trap game, but I think we get past them as well. Best Case scenario dictates we go into the Little House 11-0 and looking straight into a Vortex of BCS Doom.

Worst Case: The next five games should be a fairly uneventful cake walk, but Purdue could prove onerous. The last four games could be ugly. At Penn State, at night, during a white-out could spell trouble. We could then be hung-over after a hard fought loss to Penn State to run into the Wisconsin Juggernaut. Then the Worst Case Scenario POSSIBLE is losing to Michigan at the end of the year. I shudder to think what that would do to Buckeye Nation. 8-4 would make the Sweatervest weep.

3. We’re only three games in to the season, but teams and storylines are starting to take shape. Compare your team to a character or theme from a fable or children’s tale.

I’m going with Jack and the Bean Stalk here. We’ve got Beanie Wells (magic beans, yo!), The Giant, a hulking, slow moving legacy of the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust mentality instilled by Bo and Woody that the Buckeyes (and the Big Ten) are trying to desperately leave behind. The Buckeyes are Jack, nimble enough to go for the gold and leave the legacy of a bygone era in the dust.

4. Imagine you’re the coach of your team. Give three specific changes you’d implement immediately which you think would have the biggest impact on improving the team.

This is a tough one. It’s easy to sit in the easy chair and moan about the play calling, but there could be some more imagination there. We’re trying to run the ball up the gut too often. I think we should probe the A gap once and while, but not with Maurice Wells. I’d let Beanie pound between the tackles and leave it at that.

I’m not a fan of gimmick plays, but when you’ve got a speedster like Ray Small, you’ve got to figure out a way to get him and his lightning speed involved in the game. An end-around here, and double reverse there couldn’t hurt.

After watching the special teams play, I’d make the long snappers do nothing but practice their snaps all this week. There is no excuse for a long snap not being long.

5. USC, LSU/Florida, and Oklahoma have established themselves as the frontrunners in the early going. Which other team or teams are you eyeballing as potential BCS party crashers?

Not sure if anyone is crashing USC and Oklahoma’s party. LSU and Florida probably cancel each other out. I guess Cal or Oregon have a chance to pull the upset in the Pac 10 but I don’t see it happening. The Big East has some interesting story lines, but they don’t seem to care much for defense, which is their weakness. Hawai’i is the sexy choice, but anyone with speed on defense (read: the teams listed above) would have Colt Brennan for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

How would you MotSaGers answer these questions?


  1. Arkansas Buckeye says

    I love my Buckeyes. I hate the SEC. That being said, I don’t think I can handle a New Year’s Day thrashing. Call me unfaithful, but I don’t want any part of the Gators or LSU this year.

  2. AB – I think (as of the third week in Sept!) that there will be three to four teams fighting it out for the title shot – USC, Oklahoma, and the winner of LSU/Fla.

    Odds are that if OSU wins the Big Ten, they’ll play USC in the Rose (or Cal if USC goes to the title game). Either way, the winner of the Big Ten will probably play a Pac 10 team on Jan 1, like the good ol’ days.

    There is a possibility, though, that the Bucks co-tie or come in second (or worst) in the Big Ten. 2nd and 3rd places do play against SEC #2, so if OSU doesn’t win the big ten and Fla the SEC, watch the powers that be clamor for an OSU/Fla rematch in some unnamed BCS game.

    Get it? In other words, if OSU wins the big ten, its roses, baby. If not, they’ll probably play the Fla/LSU loser.

    And Kaiser will kill me for not mentioning the least likely possibility, that LSU and Fla take turns beating each other, USC drops a late game, and OSU sneaks in to play OK for the title.

    Crap! It’s only Sept. and I’m postulating bowl possibilities! I’m going to the dark side to be with Mandel and Forde!!! Heeellllpp!!!

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