Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gameday Recap

Week Six
Gainesville, Florida - LSU vs. Florida
October 7, 2006

Gameday arrives in SEC country for the first time all season, and they picked a good weekend to do it, since there were three good matchups in the SEC, and among them there was a pretty stunning upset, a pretty exciting shootout that got out of hand about the time folks were ready for bed anyway, and one game where it sure looks like a new MNC contender arrived. Lots went on in the South, and Gameday was there to talk about it. And they chose to come to Gainesville even when they had a good argument to roll to Berkeley and cross-promote. Good for them.

  • Naturally, no "You are looking LIVE" since Musberger's elsewhere.
  • Big crowd, but can't tell if it's as big as Iowa last week. I'd guess probably not.
  • Was that a Domino's Pizza flag?
  • My cable keeps skipping. Hopefully this doesn't get screwed up.
  • Herbstreit is glad to be back "at the roots of Gameday" in the SEC.
  • Fowler lists Saturday's landscape. For the record, the first 5 games they mention are on ABC/ESPN.
  • Fowler: Florida's schedule "oughta be illegal".
  • Corso: The best football in the nation is played in the SEC. If Florida wins today, they become #2.
  • Herbstreit: If Florida runs the table, they ought to be #1 in the country, but a big IF.
  • Herbstreit: The SEC is "always the best conference in college football", but this year there's separation between this league and others, and a team running the table in the SEC should be assured to be in the MNC game. (He said it. I'm not sure I agree about the bit on separation.)
  • Brief discussion about Tommy Tuberville. Not as caustic a response as last year, but then again, Tuberville didn't go after ESPN with his comments this week. Herbstreit agrees with Tuberville that no SEC team can run the table, didn't elaborate on a playoff though, which was the focus of Tuberville's comments.
  • Florida's locker room looks quite nice.
  • Corso: Watch Georgia's running game and pass defense (actually both were keys to the result - Georgia got up because of the running game, got behind because of the pass defense in a way).
  • Herbstreit calls Corso "Scooter" again. Asks whether Colt McCoy is ready of OU.
  • Fowler does mention how the winner of Arkansas-Auburn takes the lead in the SEC West, without the expectation that Auburn will pound Arkansas.
  • Herbstreit is dead on about Wake-Clemson - pointing out that Wake doesn't have quick strike capabilities but must rely on methodical offense to stay in the game - and sure enough, for three quarters, Wake did just that. Then when Clemson exploded, Wake didn't have the ability to get back in it.
  • Fowler seems to hint that it's not so good that Cal-Oregon is a split national game.
  • Corso thinks USC has the best D in the Pac-10, but that Cal is the best team overall.
  • Herbstreit has his finger on the pulse of the south - says that when Corso says positive things about Cal, folks down here laugh because of the UT result. Herbstreit gives a reasonable assessment of Cal though - thinks Cal's a lot better than that UT result. Herbstreit thinks the winner of UO-Cal is the best team in the Pac-10, because of USC poor games against Arizona and WSU.
  • Corso drops a "Sweetheart" as they roll into commercial. Don't tell George Solomon!
  • Big crowd at Florida's pep rally. Herbstreit says they've been doing it since Corso coached there (didn't he coach at FSU?).
  • Mack Brown clip from Friday Night Lights. That show seems annoying to me because of the quick edits and unfinished sentences and interrupted dialogue, but that's just me.
  • I'm pretty sure I've seen this "tradition" piece on the Red River Shootout before. Really feels like they just fished it out of the tape archives. Not that it isn't something I don't mind seeing. Props to ESPN for continuing to call it a "Shootout".
  • Fowler: McCoy can win because Major Applewhite won as a freshman. Corso backs off on previous criticisms of McCoy, but he also thinks OU is a lot better than the opponents McCoy has seen so far (save OSU). Herbstreit thinks it'll be a team effort for Texas, not so much about McCoy alone. Fowler brings up how bad OU's tackling has been, Corso and Herbstreit think that things change when OU plays Texas.
  • Game Face: Florida Fans have body paint, but not face paint. Classier than I'd expect, but maintains that Florida style.
  • Extended piece on LSU's defensive line. Desmond Howard reporting. Good highlights. Desmond focuses on cameraderie at first, but then they walk through some stunts. I like when they show these kind of things - works significantly better than the fake field walkthroughs. Not annoying bit, which says a lot. Also, Desmond shows some humility (a first) and says he wouldn't want to face those guys. Also he gives us a tip to watch the D line use their hands. Information. I'm pretty surprised. Desmond actually gave us something we can use. Good work.
  • Corso's best D's are all SEC schools. Thinks Auburn is best, Herbstreit thinks LSU is best in college football. Herbstreit thinks it's all because of speed.
  • Fowler: nice, interesting stat on plays per touchdown for LSU (82!). I'd wonder what other teams stats look like on that.
  • Fowler is annoyed that he has to remind people that the show starts at 10.
  • Quick coverage of Ohio State-BGSU. About what the #1 team deserves when playing a tomato can. Herbstreit thinks Ohio State is Ohio State's toughest opponent until Michigan.
  • Extended bit on John L. Smith. Tom Rinaldi reporting. Smith tells us that him slapping himself "went over our heads". No, dude. We got it. We understood it. You're still an idiot. Rinaldi asks some pretty tough questions that Smith really answers poorly. Get this dude some media training. Or just fire him. At the same time, Rinaldi's questions also seem to make Smith a bigger deal than he really is. I mean, there's not much new about MSU. They've been pulling the same crap for several years.
  • Fowler thinks Smith's problem is that he's too honest. Corso thinks Michigan State is a hard place to win because of their regional rivals, and because of that they have to take kids with poor character, which is why they lose (they're running a negative character margin for the last decade). Herbstreit says the same thing. Not sure why they're focusing on Michigan State taking marginal kids. Fowler points out MSU's propensity for playing great after crapping the bed (not today, but not without precedent).
  • Corso says how Smith is a former Louisville coach who went to Michigan State, just like Corso, except for that whole "didn't get the MSU job" part.
  • Flashback to a US Army Ranger flying in the headgear in Nebraska. The date was the weekend before 9/11/2001.
  • They take a second to talk about Garrett Wolfe. Mention other smaller conference players to get some Heisman love.
  • That dude painted up to look like the Heisman is kind of freaky.
  • Corso says Wolfe can't win because of coverage on TV, not because he's not the best player (though he doesn't say that, exactly). Herbstreit says it's not fair, but Wolfe should get an invite and that's good enough. Points out how the voting system isset up so that people who don't pay enough attention are voting. Doesn't really say how big a flaw that is.
  • Howard gets on a soapbox, says that it's BS that people get to vote with attitudes that disrespect kids from smaller conferences (great, forceful comment), but then compares it to Buck O'Neill's passing (kind of lost me). He's fired up about it and says a bit about cutting the dead weight of Heisman voters who don't pay attention. Good comment.
  • Herbstreit thinks Wolfe might be pound-for-pound the best player in college football, but "it's not about that." (Strangely, I think it once was simply "about that". Oh well.) At least they covered him for a while.
  • Missouri-Texas Tech: Corso likes the balance of Missouri, Herbstreit not ready to believe yet.
  • Nebraska-Iowa State: Both guys like Nebraska, think their D gets back on track.
  • Extended piece on Adrian Peterson. Steve Cyphers reporting. This dude is a stud. Aside - how old does every Oklahoma player look? Are they all back from Mormon missions? I know that that car dealership was paying them, but doesn't their eligibility run out after a certain number of years? They all look about 35. Paul Thompson looks older than Stoops.
  • WIRED with a Texas assistant. Useless, again. To be clear, I don't mind covering practices or techniques, but these WIRED things don't to that - there's no context, just shouting by a coach and we don't see what they're shouting at. We learn nothing except that coaches yell.
  • Herbstreit thinks the rest of the Texas team will play well because they want to prove it wasn't just Vince Young. NSFMF! Corso likes OU's balance on offense (he's mentioned balance a bunch today). Also Corso thinks OU will win because of revenge. Herbstreit and Fowler almost lose it laughing at Corso, who confuses himself, sort of picks OU, gives a hook-em hand sign, and says he's going with Bobby Stoops and Texas. OK.
  • USC-Kentucky: short mention, they like how Spurrier has dealt with QB issues.
  • Arkansas-Auburn: Fowler seems to hint at an upset - thinks Arkansas will give Auburn trouble, and give Florida a blueprint for next week.
  • Who wins the SEC? Howard: Auburn because of schedule, home games. Corso likes Florida, but thinks they might lose a game. Herbstreit likes Auburn too, over Tennessee in the title game. Fowler mentions how hard it is to be honest and fair in assessing SEC teams because fans down here are utterly irrational and will hate you (well, he was more political than that, but that's what I think he would've wanted to say, and he's right).
  • "As loud as it gets" according to the decibel meter.
  • Short look at Notre Dame. They all think the schedule is easy until USC. Herbstreit thinks Navy might give a little trouble, Corso thinks Air Force might.
  • Extended piece on Tyrone Willingham and Washington. Voiceless reporter reporting. Corso thinks Washington has been turned around, but the schedule gets a lot tougher. Herbstreit sort of agrees, thinks Willingham will get better players on the recruiting trail.
  • Fowler: Jarrett might play for USC if it's close. Fowler doesn't understand that, "if you're healthy enough late, why not go early?" Well, it's called risk. When you step on the field, you risk injury. If USC were to win by 50, it'd be pretty dumb to put a gimply player out there to risk injury. In a close game, the risk might be worth it. Not too hard to understand.
  • Extended piece on Dexter Manley II. Shelley Smith reporting (and it isn't USC, two weeks in a row, believe it or not). Definitely a human interest story and not really a football story, but it's not that bad a piece. Seems like the son isn't as big as the father.
  • Cal-Oregon: Not the shootouts you might expect in recent years (not the case this year, for Cal at least). Corso loves loves loves the Cal offense, but thinks it'll be a shootout. Herbstreit agrees that it'll be high scoring. Herbstreit likes Oregon's balance. Everyone's all about the balance today. Fowler brings up again how the Cal-Oregon game isn't on nationwide, thinks folks should take the opportunity to watch these two teams who aren't on TV frequently.
  • Georgia-UT: Fowler hints that Georgia is overrated (they were). Herbstreit likes the UGA D, thinks Tereshinski will calm things down, but UT's defense will put a lot of pressure on him. Herbstreit thinks UT will win because of urgency. Corso likes Ainge, Meachem and Swain. Corso says Ainge throws the deep ball as well as anyone in the nation, calls Meachem the "best big fastest receiver in the nation". Corso uses the cliche about multiple QBs. Corso says UT wins big. Fowler mentions the loss of Georgia's kicker and how it's a big deal when you have a struggling offense.
  • Extended piece on Chris Leak and Tim Tebow. Wendy Nix reporting. Is it ironic that merely seconds after Corso rails on using multiple QBs, they run a story about how two QBs can be a big advantage? It's not having multiple QBs that's the problem, it's the way they're used. We finally see Wendy Nix on camera.
  • Teleconference with Rex Grossman. My cable blinked during this. I miss anything important?
  • Corso: Florida's O is superman, and "USL/SSL/LSU" D is kryptonite. Yeah, SSL. Corso thinks the first half is key for LSU to set the tone on D.
  • Herbstreit: Florida has to have the ability to drive the football but won't, needs to look for big plays, so Leak is the key.
  • On site reporting from Wake-Clemson. Noting the crowd will have a lot of Clemson support. Corso doesn't think Clemson loses, but Wake covers. Herbstreit sees a blowout.
  • Pontiac Game Changers: Corso: Reggie Nelson (FL). Herbstreit: Jonathan Stewart. Fowler: JaMarcus Russell. Looks like Corso takes the prize this week.
  • Saturday Stupid Selections: Corso: Oklahoma Herbstreit: Oregon, LSU.
  • Herbstreit: The Swamp is the best home field advantage in all of college football. (Didn't he say something similar last weekend in Iowa?)
Decent show. Seems like the show has gotten better as the season has progressed. I'd hypothesize that as the season goes along, they are actually covering the sport more and not relying on pre-planned human interest stories and pre-season predicted narrative bits. The surprise of the weekend was Desmond Howard actually doing a good story and not bragging about himself. Corso got addled a few times. A lot of SEC boosting and hype today, which deserves some comment - it's kind of surprising to me, and I'm not sure how deserved a lot of the hype is, but at least it's not ESPN/ABC ignoring the conference entirely.

If I missed anything important, let me know in comments.