Sunday, November 27, 2005

Gameday Recap: The beginning of the end?

I think it's nice that they're at the Bayou Classic, but it also has kind of a tokenish feel too. Maybe if they covered HBC football at any other time, it wouldn't feel that way. Also, the focus on the bands has more of an "attraction" quality rather than actually covering the game. Just my take.

Also, this week I spent a while watching the Davis-Holtz-May show on ESPN2. While the two knowitalls on that show are significantly less insightful than, well... any random drunks at a sports bar, the show itself offers much more information and much less goofball antics than its big brother on the regular ESPN. It'll be interesting to see if that show has any success in drawing away viewers sick of forced arguments and inane ravings.

Also, today I had the feeling Herbstreit had his head up his ass much more than usual, so this recap may seem more acrid than usual.

There's no real difference between Ohio State-Michigan and Grambling-Southern. Let's not overdo it now. Can he really say that when they never cover these games?
In re Fulmer: hints that he shook up the staff to take pressure of himself because they all do it. I like it when Lee lets out coaching fraternity secrets, even if they make him and others look like egotistical idiots.
You win with character, not characters in football. There are so many examples why this isn't a hard and fast rule it doesn't deserve a response.
Thinks GT wins because Georgia has another game to play.
Likes LSU against UGA because their D is mean.
Right about ND-Stanford being a good game, shootout.
Lee defends the BCS hard-f'ing-core. His at-large selection criteria: TV ratings, travel well, sell tickets (same thing?) and conference pressure. Oddly missing: whether the team is actually pretty good and, y'know, wins games. And he thinks that's a good thing.
Picks the Southern Band because of the director's masters degree from a University in Peru. This is precisely why I think more people might watch another football preview show.
Opposes a playoff because 1 year in 5 the BCS gets things right. Perhaps that was an unfair paraphrasing, but I just don't think he makes any sense at all on this point. Thinking the BCS system is perfect is just asinine.
Bowden is the captain of the Titanic and FSU just hit an iceberg by losing 3 of their last 4.
Meanwhile Urban Meyer never once trailing 4-6 Tennessee and DJ Shockley-less UGA is just "amazing". OK.
Likes Young because of leadership and his numbers and long runs. Makes a good argument on this, actually. Naturally, Herbstreit mocks him.
Amato is terriffic at NC State, compares him to Frank Beamer at VT.
Game Changer: Calvin Johnson (nope)

Calls Corso "Scooter". Has he done that before?
Rags on the SEC for playing 7 1-AA teams OOC. Surprisingly fails to mention how the Big XII played 8 1-AA teams, or how Sacramento State, Portland State and UC-Davis were on Pac 10 schedules. This is such a tired and lazy debate. Every good conference has some teams that play weak opponents, and painting the SEC (while not mentioning other conferences) is not an accurate or fair criticism. And we can also mention here how the network and parent company of this television show does not have a primary contract with the SEC like it does with the other BCS conferences.
The SEC "better do something today; it's their last chance!" We'll await next week's episode debate on how down the ACC is because of FSU and GT's losses this week (NB, I don't think this is true, but it just shows how lame the insight is on this program).
David Cutcliffe is a great hire schematically at UT. But they need to figure out "character". Thinks intangibles and chemistry are the most important things affecting Tennessee.
Lists all the "good people" that were at Tennessee when they were winning, but fails to mention drunken murderer Leonard Little and drug dealer Jamal Lewis.
Offers decent prediction on UGA-GT (Shockley makes just enough plays to win).
Jamarcus Russell has improved the most out of QBs on top teams.
Think ND has played better over the course of the year than Oregon, even taking out the TV ratings and ticket sales they deserve to go. ND beats Oregon on a neutral field.
Assumes Oregon should be out, because you just can't take out Ohio State or ND. That'd be ridiculous! I'm a gettin' the vapors again!
He'd take Auburn ahead of Oregon. "and that's nothing against Oregon". Uhh, yes, it is against Oregon. You've just railed against them for five minutes. He's like the sweet southern lady who talks shit behind another woman's back and thinks it's OK because he ended with "oh, bless her heart." Really, kind of a dickheaded debate here. Oh, and did anyone notice that Kirk went to Ohio State and lives in Columbus?
Ohio State is so deserving because their only losses are to #2 and #3 in the BCS. But Oregon isn't since they lost to #1? Way too much bias here.
Likes the BCS system, but wants some tweaking. Likes the bowl system because of the smaller bowls for the kids. Doesn't think the playoff is the answer. Plus one, dammit!
Comes off like an asshole when talking about the logistics of filling stadiums with 3 rounds of playoff games. Really pretentious today.
Meyer's problem at Florida is the unrealistic expectations of their fans. And how much did these guys hype Florida at the beginning of the year?
Knocks Corso's pick of Vince young for the Heisman because Corso picked him at the beginning of the year. If we're going to attack people for sticking to their preseason predictions, we probably could use the sentence "Do you say that because you picked Ohio State to win the BCS title back in August?" about 100 times each episode. Herbstreit is acting like a total jackass today.
Bush is the Heisman winner because he's electrifying. Nothing new there.
NC State fans need to lay off Amato, but the Pack needs to be more consistent.
Game Changer: Bruce Eugene at Grambling (OK).

SEC is 2-6 vs other BCS conferences. This is such a misleading number. The 9th best team in the SEC loses to the best team in another conference, and that's supposed to prove that the SEC is no good? Lazy statistical analysis + shortened and oversimplified soundbites = no pertinent knowledge offered.
Salutes Tulane for their difficult season.
First SEC game discussed: Tennessee-Kentucky. The story at the beginning was how good they were (overhype) and now it's how bad they were (gosh, they sure were overhyped). Guess who deserves some of the blame?
Suggests that LSU sucks because of the close game against Arkansas. Arkansas has improved significantly (mostly because they're one of the youngest teams in the country) since the beginning of the year, grinding close games out of LSU, Georgia and South Carolina, and winning against their weaker opponents (Miss, MSU) over the last month or so. Strangely, that hasn't been the coverage.
Calls GT's fight song underrated (who rates them?) and compliments Lee's voice.
Says Iowa State would "return the favor to Colorado" by losing at Kansas today and letting Colorado back into the Big XII title game. Chris, they wouldn't be returning any favors. They'd be doing the exact same thing they did last year. "Returning the favor" would be if Colorado lost to let ISU "back into" the title game.
Also, ISU is the best team in the Big XII North and their kicking game has been good. Yeah, not so much.
The debate over ND's worthiness in the BCS feels a little odd, forced. They don't get into whether Ohio State is truly worthy, just ND. Maybe corporate? NBC has a big contract...
Actually, a good point about how Oregon's ratings in bowl games are pretty high and how they actually travel pretty well compared to ND. Reasonable and fact based statement, and I'm left wondering why they haven't said more like that, instead of relying on Herbstreit's impressions on how well ND has played all season (against mediocre teams).
Everyone agrees ND-Ohio State is a glamorous matchup. (because you numbnuts keep saying it is)
Back to his point on how Oregon travels pretty well and gets good ratings, he says why does the Fiesta need to make a business decision, since it'll sell out anyway. A smart take, unfortunately he only challenges Corso, and not Herbstreit, who was really making the bold statements. Corso was just telling the situation, not really infusing his opinion.
I think Fowler wanted to call Kirk a dick when he was talking about filling stadiums in a playoff.
Fowler is making plenty of sense today, could be a little more pointed at correcting foolish statements from the other three.
Chimes in with some realism on Florida and Meyer by pointing out that there's a good chance they bowl in Shreveport. He's been the voice of reason today, sort of.
Sharp take on Nevada and Fresno on letdown alert.
More fact-based counter-intuitive analysis on the Heisman race. Fowler is having his best day of the year.
Amato's flamboyance hurts him, makes him a target in tough times.
Game Changer: GT Defense (close, but no cigar).

Another episode where he's upfront from the beginning. I'm thinking next year he'll be one of the main guys.
Admits this is his first time around the Bayou Classic and that he doesn't know much about it, but still offers his opinions. Love that transrectal oration.
Disappears when they talk about the SEC games.
Doesn't like a playoff because it just pushes the controversy back to #8. That's better than an undefeated team at #3 because of some computers or coaches who've never seen them play not playing for a title, isn't it? Illogical and poorly informed.
By comparing Reggie Bush's numbers to Vince Young's, without commenting on how they played different teams, with different defenses, in different stadiums, and all... Why bother? Desmond really is out of his league in trying to provide intelligent, reasoned analysis. He's really worse than Granny Holtz and Elephantitis Alphonso Ribeiro in the studio.
Vince Young's long runs aren't as impressive because they were broken plays. Makes very little sense.

Oregon and Ohio State deserve BCS spots over ND. This feels corporate. (personally, I think Oregon deserves a spot, and I'm not sold on ND's merit, but this debate seems just a little strange).
Says Lee didn't answer the question on the BCS, thinks the question is "who should go?". Actually, Lee did answer the question, but his rationale for "should" is just so foolish and money driven that May didn't realize it.

I think the interview with Mack Brown was a little soft. Also, I'd guess there are a few Cal fans who would take issue with Brown's statement that he was outspoken that Cal needed to be inthe BCS. That isn't really how I remembered his statements.
On the BCS debate thing, I know it may seem a little convoluted, but here's what I didn't like: Each individual has a personal point of view and makes assumptions about the relative worthiness of teams deserving a BCS at-large slot. The way they presented this appears to me like this: Ohio State is unquestioned as a deserving team. Nobody questioned them. They did, however question Notre Dame, quite forcefully by Fowler and May, even using the graphic lining them up against Auburn (which is kind of a shot at Auburn, since they didn't really suggest Auburn was deserving, just that ND was undeserving since they were objectively on paper worse). Everyone on that set knows Notre Dame is getting a bid, so by knocking the Irish they can take the piss out of a network rival. Next, by knocking Oregon, which Herbstreit did, for the most part unchallenged, for a full segment, it strengthens the argument for Ohio State, which just so happens to be the personal team of one of the hosts, and who plays in the one conference whose games are exclusively shown on ABC/ESPN networks. See what I'm getting at? It's triangulation. ND is a given, so feel free to knock them, but be careful to also knock Oregon so our baby the Buckeyes get in.
Picking the battle of the bands? Like I said above, this feels token-y. And they give almost a full 30 seconds on actually previewing the game, before going into a walleye lens perspective piece on Grambling's QB. Not that it was necessarily a bad piece, it was just not really info about the game itself. Then the Eddie Robinson bit... Really, they didn't cover the game as if there was a game going on.

Surprisingly enough, yet another Shelley Smith piece on USC. She has to be bored out of her mind. Feels like she's done the same thing for 12 straight weeks. Well, actually the Sayers-Bush footage thing was easily the best thing she's done all year. I wouldn't mind if they did something like this every week. Very useful and interesting. This is how they should've done that "Prep to Pros" segment last year with Rocket Ismail (which sucked as bad as anything they've ever done).

No Gillette Game Face? And I missed it so...

Not one of their best shows. No fans in the background hurts the show. Herbstreit was an ass. Corso was all over the place. Fowler seemed to have to control the show more, and did a good job at it. Howard was poor. I'd give it a C-.