Doug over at Hey Jenny Slater is hosting the roundtable this week. Here we go:
1. By the end of the season, some previously unheralded teams' bandwagons will be so full they'll be having to bump passengers and offer them free vouchers and first-class upgrades; others will have emptied out in a big way. On whose bandwagon are you already scrambling to save a seat? Conversely, which team's bandwagon is being driven by Toonces the Driving Cat, prompting you to leap off now before it careens over a cliff to its fiery death below?
Give me the keys to the Arizona State bandwagon. I know that in the past driving the Arizona State bandwagon has been akin to lighting a firecracker and clenching it in your fist, but that was in the before time. Before Dennis Erickson. The I-won-a-Fiesta-Bowl-at-Oregon-freaking-State-Dennis Erickson. Talent wise, ASU has always been a cadillac. Now, they have a competent driver. The offensive talent was never in doubt. They have a vereran QB in Rudy Carpenter. They have a great RB in Ryan Torian. And they have a deep group of recievers. The only question has been the defense. If their first game is any indication, they only gave up a field goal to San Jose State in their first game. And remember, SJSU was a bowl team last year. I've got the keys, baby. ASU will be one of the better Pac-10 teams this year.
On the flipside, I think that if you're a Texas fan you have to be really concerned right now. You're supposed to be a national championship contender, and you get outgained by a team from the Sun Belt Conference? The offense wasn't good, and the defense wasn't good. This is a team that could really finish 4th or even 5th in the Big XII. That would have to be a colossal disappointment for `Horns fans.
2. What do you think was opening weekend's biggest mirage -- either a "big win" over a team that isn't really as good as everyone thinks, or an embarrassing loss (or embarrassingly close win) that won't seem quite as embarrassing by season's end?
I think that the answer here has to be Michigan. I mean, they can't really be that bad, can they? I mean, was everybody in the free world that far off base when everyone and their grandmother ranked them in their top 10? They still have Mike Hart, Chad Henne, and Mario Manningham. Even without much of a defense, that'll win you a lot of games, especially in the Big 11. Unfortunately, my Ducks will be the team to test who is the real Michigan.
3. Compared to how you felt Friday night, how do you feel now about your team's chances this season? I'm not just talking about your impressions of your own team -- also take into account their prospects relative to this year's opponents, whom you've also gotten a little more acquainted with after this past weekend's action.
Can we swap defenses with Linfield or Willamette? I think the fact that I dropped my Ducks from 15th to completely out of my poll despite a win tells you eveything you need to know. Swiss cheese has fewer holes than this defense. Now, the offense should be good, and we will win a number of games simply by outscoring people. I see Fresno, Stanford, UW, WSU, and Arizona on our schedule. That's six wins, and I'm sure we'll find a way to win one or two more. But unless something drastically changes with the defense, this is looking a lot more like a Hawaii Bowl team than a Holiday Bowl team.
4. Looking at how those future opponents performed this past weekend, which developments are you most excited about? Which of your opponents' performances have you a little worried?
How the hell did Washington put up 42 on anybody? With the development that Washington can actually score points, that has to be concerning given our defense. That Washington State stayed competitive with Wisconsin is also a cause for concern. On the other hand, the fact that Arizona's new Texas Tech style offense netted a whopping seven points in their opener is delightful. I guess you can't run and gun if you don't have any offensive talent.
5. There are now 32 bowls in D-IA football, meaning 64 bowl teams, meaning any given team now stands a better-then-50-percent chance of going to a bowl. To get that number under 50 percent, we'd have to eliminate three bowls. Which ones would you get rid of?
Who wants to go to freaking Boise over winter break? The MPC Computers bowl has to go. .com names are completely unacceptable as well, so the PapaJohns.com bowl is gone. Finally, there is just something not quite right about a bowl game played in another country. International Bowl-you're gone.
6. And finally, in 50 words or less, how happy are you that it's finally football season again?
Ask me again in a couple of weeks. I'm estactic right now. But that can change in a hurry if the defense doesn't get better.