Sunday, September 17, 2006

Gameday Recap

Week Three
Los Angeles, California - Nebraska at USC
September 16, 2006

I'll try to set aside the meta discussion on Gameday for this recap, unless it's brought up. It's one of the best weekends of college football in memory, so I'll try to focus on the stupid things these dudes say and not the question about why they're in Pasadena LA (I'm an idiot).

  • No "You are Looking LIVE!" (Guess Musberger's sleeping off a tight one.)
  • Looks like a pretty good crowd of fans for 7AM - and not just jetlagged Nebraska fans either. There appear to be plenty of USC fans too.
  • Fowler: focuses on getting wins on the road, singles out the road teams (turns out to be true in a few of the games)
  • Corso: CFB begins today, no more cupcake games. (Corso's playing it up for the cameras here; he's long stated that were he coaching, he'd load up his schedule with cupcakes.)
  • Herbstreit: Yes, today's great, but last week we had 1 vs. 2. (Please don't forget about my precious Buckeyes today!!!!)
  • Fowler: The next few weeks aren't as strong, so enjoy today.
  • I like the sign that says "Eric Crouch: Take My Order"
  • Discussion on Reggie Bush controversy. Corso says IF he's ineligible, he should give up the Heisman. Brings up Jim Thorpe's Olympic Medals. Herbstreit says "clearly there IS evidence", but then says the black cloud of corrpution at USC is the biggest problem, but Bush is a good guy, but it's embarrassing. (confusing, circular). Fowler focuses on "who knew at USC". Corso raises the words "institutional control". (...and Bruins Nation gets erect)
  • Fowler: the last 40 games between LSU and Auburn won by the Tigers. (hilarious!)
  • Corso jumps the gun in what to watch for. It's really early out there, I guess.
  • Graphic on how Lloyd Carr hasn't been so great against the top 10 lately. Fowler mentions how Rivals doesn't think Michigan is recruiting well. Corso says this game isn't as big for UM as it is for ND. (I'd guess that USC is a bigger game for ND than this too though...) Herbstreit: Look at the facts, there is pressure on Lloyd Carr. (I'm not sure that's necessarily a fact, except perhaps in the scientific sense). Michigan remained the all time winningest program by winning today.
  • Louisville vs. Miami: I like it when Gameday finds some bulletin board material. Nate Harris' comments put up, and Fowler agrees with it. Corso likes Miami because they're an underdog. Herbstreit (who picked UM for the MNC game), now seems to pick up on doubt at UM. Herbstreit thinks Coker is in big trouble with a loss today. Corso likes Louisville too, because the QB's dad played for Corso at Louisville. Herbstreit gives him an awkward high five for that.
  • Upcoming tease: "Can anything keep Ohio State from a National Title?" (Narrative formation. They only have 10 more opponents that can keep them from it...)
  • Extended Piece on Ray Ray McElrathbey. Wendy Nix (who we haven't seen before) reports. This was a decent piece. (I know I wasn't going to get meta, but would this story have run had Clemson not been on ESPN last night? Is it sad that I even ask the question?) Wendy doesn't get into the NCAA decision - they tease an episode of Outside the Lines on Tuesday that'll probably cover that side of it.
  • GameFace: The dudes have the word "ICY" on their chests. I suppose "HOT" and "STUNTAZ" overslept.
  • Fowler: Defense has been key in the SEC. 4 shutouts so far. (Pac 10 dudes would say that bad offense might have something to do with it. Just covering all the bases, personally I think the Ds are really good.)
  • WIRED with Charlie Strong. "Stay square!" "Reach Back!" "Wrap it up!" And we don't see what the players were doing. Useless.
  • Graphic: Tennessee's offense is better. Desmond Howard is on the fake field to talk about UT's offense.
  • This is a direct quote from Desmond Howard: "When I watch game, it's probably like Martin Scorsese or Spike Lee watching a movie; I mean I really look at it to break it down." (How very humble of you to say that.)
  • Desmond also occasionally tumbles in to that sports punditry flaw I like to call "Theismania" - the propensity to say "Coach so and so TOLD ME that this would happen." Howard says something like that 5 times in this one segment.
  • Fowler: UT-UF isn't as big as AU-LSU because of Georgia.
  • Herbstreit teases that Tennessee can't get things together (everyone laughs... sarcasm is awesome on this show).
  • Corso uses the same sarcasm to say Florida doesn't have a chance (how about mixing things up a little?). Corso focuses on Tebow and Harvin.
  • Background sign of Borat "US&C - Nice!"
  • Late NSFMF for the Gators by Corso.
  • Closeup graphic on Matthew Stafford. Laying the foundation for future hype.
  • Extended piece on John Vaughn at Auburn. Tom Rinaldi reporting. This piece reminds me that I need to write a post analysing the numbers about missed FGs at Death Valley in LSU. How many missed FGs have happened there? Voodoo.
  • Vaughn is a Groza candidate, says Fowler? Not sure he's even second team All-SEC.
  • Herbstreit: Auburn wins because they're playing at home and defense.
  • Corso: LSU's D is good because a guy on the D is named Chase, which is Herbstreit's new son's name, and the kid was born on Corso's birthday. (You can't pay for that kind of analysis.)
  • They're using the fake field to joke with some Nebraska fan who's going to try to kick a field goal. They ice him. At least now they realize how stupid the fake field is.
  • Some highlights from Nebraska in the mid-90s. Those teams were so damn good. Interestingly, the graphic says "Nebraska by the Numbers" but there aren't any numbers mentioned.
  • Fowler mentions how both Carroll and Callahan were NFL coaches. I hadn't really thought about it. Bill Simmons is probably planning 10 jokes about why college football sucks because of this coaching matchup
  • WIRED with Bill Callahan. He's talking so fast. This is the worst one ever. Might as well have been speaking sanskrit.
  • Musberger, Davie and Herbstreit on the fake field to talk about USC-Nebraska. Big shadow across Herbstreit's face. Some producer is probably yelling about how they'll never have a fake goalpost on set again. Davie says the best way to beat USC is to not schedule them (that's so December 2005).
  • Mark May comes on to talk USC. Says nothing crazy. Luckily Corso is there to fluff Cal. (I suppose we all were supposed to forget how bad Tennessee whipped Cal).
  • The teases before commercial are on how John David Booty has an accent and Oregon's uniforms. Key information about the games. Biggest weekend ever and that's the focus? Wow.
  • Fowler mocks Chuck Amato for bitching about MAC partial qualifiers. Corso and Herbstreit say that wasn't nice. Whatever. Amato should get mocked. Then Herbstreit calls it sarcasm. I'm not sure these guys understand sarcasm.
  • Clemson-FSU. Fowler: FSU has the ACC's best D, Clemson has the ACC's best O. Corso tells FSU to throw the ball 50 times. That was a really awesome highlight catch by FSU's Warren. Corso says FSU can beat everyone on their lousy schedule except Florida just by throwing the ball.
  • Fowler takes the ACC down a peg - tells BC and Wake to stand up for the ACC in OOC games.
  • Flashback to Charles Barkley on the set at an Auburn-Tennessee game. Ahh, memories. Back way back when Gameday used to come to SEC games.
  • Barkley joins the show on the hotline. Fowler tells Barkley to keep his responses "G Rated." (I would love to have heard what he said just before going on the air.) Barkley doesn't think Auburn is overlooked for the MNC chase, thinks the SEC is too tough and that Auburn might lose twice. Barkley: The SEC is too tough, not like cupcake conferences like the Pac 10 and Big XII. (Barkley is as good as it gets for saying things intended to elicit a response.) Herbstreit and Fowler try to play a little game with him, asking if he really thinks Auburn's going to lose, and Barkley says the Alabama and Georgia games could both give trouble, as well as the SEC Title game. A reasonable and sound statement, and one that makes Fowler and Herbstreit kind of surprised - realistic and "who knows" type predictions do not mesh well with Gameday's recent "BEST TEAM EVER WILL NEVER LOSE!!!11~!!" hype.
  • Howard and Corso on the fake field act out how a play gets called and how you do a silent count. I guess this is slightly helpful, at least compared to most of the stuff they do here. I spoke too soon. Howard makes no sense.
  • Extended piece on Oregon's uniforms. Chris Connelly (the king of useless stories) reporting. The Oregon player that looks like Carlton from Fresh Prince was responsible for the reflectible Xs on the shoulders. Oregon has 384 uniform combos. All of these are not important facts. Luckily Fowler is there to provide proper context - why don't we talk football.
  • Corso: Adrian Peterson is the best big back in the nation. (Not that I disagree, I just like to log those kind of unqualified statements.) Oklahoma has never played in Oregon, so Oregon wins. Not one of Corso's best days.
  • Herbstreit: Oklahoma hasn't been very good at tackling. (Absolutely prescient. Oklahoma's tackling was awful late in the game)
  • Fowler: Oregon hasn't allowed a sack so far. That's interesting.
  • They've teased the John David Booty story at least 5 times leading into commercial. Do they really think there are that many people on the edge of their seats waiting for a stupic Shelley Smith story?
  • For an unbiased approach to the Michigan-ND game, they throw to Desmond Howard. More Theismania - this coach told me this. I didn't know Alex Gibbs was working with Michigan, so Howard actually brought up something useful.
  • WIRED with Charlie Weis. This is kind of unintentionally funny. Weis talking about how other teams think they're "soft", and how people need to work harder and get in the weight room. The 5XL sweatshirt barely covers him, but others need to work out.
  • Corso talks about ND throwing screen passes, while the graphic says "ND offense continues to evolve". (They ran screens all last year! One game started with like 9 straight screens!)
  • Herbstreit thinks it's good that Weis is finally sensing that he's got a MNC contender, but Herbstreit also thinks UM will have pride and play hard.
  • Promotion of the noon ESPN game, Iowa vs. Iowa State. Not a bad game, and it probably deserved some more coverage.
  • Another tease of Booty! This is just embarrassing. Who knew Leinart withdrawal symptoms were so hard to get over?
  • Finally, the Booty piece. And shockingly, Shelley Smith is covering it. And the USC guys made fun of his accent. And he had to wait on the bench behind a Heisman Trophy winner. The hardships! Such a struggle! This is a truly terrible piece. Utterly useless. Only redeeming value: Coach Sarkisian says Booty has a "Gunslinger mentality". That, my friend, is not a good thing to have.
  • Fowler: No state has the QB talent that California has. (Texas, Florida? Come on now. There is no way to describe one of those states as having a significant talent advantage over the others. Hell, not too long ago, Western Pennsylvania was known as the place to go for top QBs.)
  • Herbstreit mentions USC's advantage at WR because of size (from what I saw, this was prescient - though I was watching UF-UT mostly).
  • Corso: Nebraska looked good against Dime State, no, Nicholls State! Hilarious! Get the Gameday Medic on Corso. His meds are way way way way way off today.
  • Hype for Ohio State. Herbstreit thinks the tough games for them are at Iowa and at Michigan State. But he also thinks they're heading for the MNC game. Corso calls OSU's D excellently coached.
  • Herbstreit: The Miami-Louisville game is Coker's biggest game ever!!!
  • GameChanger: Corso: Percy Harvin. Herbstreit: Dwayne Jarrett. Fowler: Kenny Irons.
  • Saturday Stupid Selections: Corso: Illinois, Miami (for a very weird reason), FSU, Notre Dame, LSU. Herbstreit: Pittsburgh, Illinois, Texas Tech, Miami, Notre Dame, Tennessee.
I was pretty disappointed by this show. For such a great weekend of football, they focused on bullshit like uniforms and southern accents. Wasted airtime. Corso seemed out of it and moronic throughout. Herbstreit had one of his better days, and I got the feeling like Fowler was frustrated with how the show was becoming focused on things other than football. Perhaps rollover from his column about the location of the show the other day. Obviously, I have no way of knowing, but it really does seem like Fowler is kind of down about how the show isn't about covering football as much as it's about promoting ABC/ESPN games.

It'll be very interesting to see how they cover next week. The night games are ND-Michigan State and USC-Arizona. I have to think that either of those games would be tough for them to travel to, considering ND's annihilation last week. There are only two games between Top 25 opponents (Ohio State-Penn State, Cal-Arizona State). From looking at the schedule, one of the few matchups between undefeated teams is Michigan-Wisconsin, and that game's on ESPN at noon. Maybe they'll use this week to go to an Ivy League game (Harvard-Brown might be a decent game, and close to Bristol) or an HBC matchup (Norfolk State-Bethune Cookman features two undefeated teams, and seeing Alvin Wyatt on Gameday would totally be worth doing these stupid recaps). If nothing else, expect some even worse tearjerker pieces to fill two hours with a bad slate of games like next week.

When USC plays a lemon, ND has shat the bed, and Ohio State is playing a dud, use the Wyattbone.