Sunday, October 22, 2006

Gameday Recap

Week Eight
Clemson, South Carolina - Georgia Tech vs. Clemson
October 21, 2006

No ABC game tonight because of the World Series (I guess), so the Gameday crew is on hand at the ESPN night game site. Looks like a massive crowd.

  • Homecoming at Clemson. I wonder if this is the first time the show has ever been to a homecoming game.
  • First time Gameday has ever been to Clemson in 13 years. That surprises me. I would've thought that they would've been there for one of those early games between Bowdens.
  • Fowler says it's impossible to get to Clemson. (Really? Airlines don't fly into GSP?) Two weeks in a row with a travel complaint by Fowler. (I think Peter King has the obnoxious travel complaint thing down already, so perhaps Fowler needs a different schtick.)
  • Corso: Georgia Tech will not be intimidated by this Clemson crowd. (I heard several variations on this same thought all week on Atlanta sports talk radio.)
  • Herbstreit: Theme of the day is questionable QBs going on the road - Colt McCoy, Reggie Ball, Rutgers' QB, others.
  • Fowler calls Calvin Johnson possibly the nation's best receiver. (I agree. If only he had a QB that could get him the ball consistently...)
  • Clemson's road win cemetary. Hopefully they didn't place it on an old Indian burial ground, because then those road wins will come back to life... but not in the form Tiger fans would want.
  • Herbstreit says Alabama needs to create TOs against Tennessee - prescient.
  • Charlie Weis Press Conference - has Gameday ever shown any other coach's press conference, and shown the coach "staying focused on the task at hand". Just wondering. I mean, they sometimes show press conferences where coaches are addressing something newsworthy - like John L. Smith losing his mind, or Larry Coker talking about the brawl. But with what other coaches does ESPN give a minute or two to represent themselves in a positive light?
  • The crew spends a few minutes on who Notre Dame's biggest threat is before USC. Corso says UCLA's youth will stay in the game, but fall at the end (nailed it). Herbstreit says nobosy will challenge ND until USC, but then insults us all by saying that ND is "off the radar since the big comeback at Michigan State". Yeah. They're devoting several minutes to them right now. Notre Dame will NEVER be "off the radar". The Irish's schedule is weak, but the media still cover them.
  • Game Face - They did it early today. No face or body paint. These three dudes look strangely normal. Well done, Clemson.
  • Alabama-Tennessee analysis. Fowler says this game means the most to Fulmer. Fowler asks about where Alabama's pass rush. Herbstreit says that turnovers are needed for Alabama to stay in the game, again (need a few more bullet points, Kirk). Herbstreit thinks UT wins big in the second half. Corso says Alabama has a chance at the upset if they use balance. (I'm starting to get annoyed by the use of the term "balance". Does "balance" matter as much as doing things well? If you run and pass 50% each, but you suck at both, did the balance make a difference?)
  • Discussion on the Miami-FIU brawl. Fowler mentions the Dartmouth-Holy Cross brawl and how nobody covered that. (uhh... dude, you've got a TV show. Cover it.) Corso didn't think the punishments met the guidelines, thinks Miami should've lost a chance at a bowl game, like Clemson and South Carolina (a salient point, in my opinion).
  • The press conference with the Miami players is kind of interesting. The players don't seem to be exactly reading PR talking points. I appreciate that. And they're making some sense, even if they don't exactly say the stuff that sanctimonious media tut-tutters require. If you didn't see it, most of the players refused to say they did the wrong thing because they were sticking up for one another.
  • They bring in Hank Goldberg to discuss Miami. I like when they bring in local media people to discuss local programs. College football is a regional sport - local dudes have much better expertise than national guys. Goldberg thinks Coker's gone unless Miami wins the ACC and a BCS bowl. Says discussions on successors is already happening.
  • Corso says he doesn't want to talk about Coker's future, but instead writes it down and puts it in an envelope and gives it to Fowler. Corso or Carnak?
  • Goldberg says Butch Davis might come back to Miami. Goldberg's info is useful, his shirt is atorcious.
  • Seriously, Gameday should bring on local guys much much much more often. A Dallas writer to discuss the Big XII, maybe an LA writer to discuss USC, maybe a Chicago, Ohio or Michigan writer to discuss ND and the Big Ten.
  • Fowler thinks the Miami brawl could've happened anywhere.
  • Joe Schad is on site at Miami-Duke. Schad tells us that the Duke fans, who are known for their actions at Cameron, might have something for Miami, if they show up at all. The Gameday guys don't mention that Duke might have a chance because of the suspensions. Kind of laugh at anyone who would want to watch.
  • Great Great Great footage of Refrigerator Perry back in the day at Clemson.
  • Follow up short story on Ray Ray McElrathbey. The kid is on the set with Desmond Howard on the fake field.
  • Highlights of West Virginia blowing out UConn. They show two 50+ yard runs where the runner is untouched into the endzone. Crazy runs, crazy bad defense.
  • Syracuse-Louisville: Corso thinks Syracuse takes Louisville to the edge, but Louisville wins at the very end. Herbstreit thinks Louisville win handily.
  • Some talk about how much better the Big East is. Mentions Pitt and Rutgers, but not South Florida, who isn't that bad and could pull an upset in conference play.
  • Pitt-Rutgers: Herbstreit thinks Pitt's D is legit. The talking point this week is that Rutgers' magic will run out today. Corso likes Pitt's offense, but then thinks Pitt wins because of D, causing turnovers. Herbstreit thinks Rutgers has to run the ball to stay with Pitt's D. Herbstreit thinks Pitt is the most underappreciated team in all of college football (if they're underappreciated, appreciate them! You've got a TV show, cover them!). Nobody thinks Rutgers is going to play well.
  • Flashback to Fowler riding in the Michigan State chariot. Fowler remembers that week when they didn't have a net and he almost got hit with a beer can. Awesome. No net would make this show so much more worth watching.
  • BCS Rankings are brought up for the first time almost an hour into the show.
  • Holy Crap! They seriously are starting a running countdown towards the Michigan-Ohio State game. Wow. That is just crazy early hype.
  • Graphic: BCS Title Game Projected Matchup. Michigan-Ohio State winner vs. Undefeated USC or Undefeated WCU/Louisville (Rutgers???) or 1 loss team from SEC, Pac-10 or Big XII. So if you lose a game in the Big 10, you suck. Notre Dame? Nope.
  • Corso: Thinks a 1 loss team might make the title game ahead of an undefeated WVU or Louisville (again, Rutgers is undefeated in the same conference and has played a tougher schedule so far but isn't mentioned). Also thinks the loser of Michigan-Ohio State might be ranked high enough to stay in the BCS title game in a rematch. Nobody agrees with him on that.
  • Herbstreit doesn't think the Big East quandry is a problem because he doesn't think anyone will get out of the Big East unscathed. Says that every team in the Big East is capable of knocking off one of the good teams. (I like hearing this actually - not enough deference is given to the idea of "any given Saturday" on this show; too often they assume wins for the best teams.)
  • Herbstreit thinks Auburn and Florida... and maybe even Tennessee (who has the best OOC win of any of them) will all have to lose again for a one loss team in another conference to have a shot at the title. (Not sure I agree with that.)
  • Howard thinks the SEC is the best conference, that a 1-loss SEC team should definitely be ahead of an undefeated Big East team. He says it's because of OOC games - that the Big East doesn't play enough good teams outside of the conference (says Maryland, Marshall, East Carolina). Uhh... Desmond? The Big East has played as many or more OOC opponents in BCS conferences than any other league. Not that I don't wish he was right, but the Big East's nonconference slate is as consistently good as the SEC's, if not better.
  • Herbstreit says that a 1-loss SEC team will be in the BCS title game over any other 1 loss team. Corso says not if that other 1 loss team is ND and they've beaten USC. (And aren't they forgetting something about the SEC... the only unbeaten team in the conference only has one loss - it's Arkansas. If the Hogs, somehow, were to run the table, does anyone really think that Arkansas would make the BCS title game ahead of a one loss USC team that beat them by more than 5 TDs at home?)
  • Playoff? Herbstreit reaffirms that he wants a "plus one" system. Corso reaffirms that he likes it as is.
  • Season ending injuries... Thomas Brown, Isaiah Stanback, Adrian Peterson. Sucks.
  • Steve Cyphers follows up on the Adrian Peterson thing, with his Dad in the crowd, injury. Peterson doesn't seem all that depressed, or at least he seems positive, and the report isn't really playing up the "heartbreak" angle. Peterson is an impressive guy.
  • Another Borat sign. "Great Success"
  • Underrated RBs - Ian Johnson at Boise St., PJ Hill at Wisconsin, James Davis at Clemson. This show should not be in the business of calling anyone underrated. If they're underrated, what haven't you been covering them more. Whenever they say someone is underrated, that is an admission that they haven't been doing their jobs.
  • Semi-extended piece on James Davis.
  • Best Running Back in the country? Howard says Steve Slaton. Corso says Mike Hart at Michigan because he plays in the "toughest conference in the country" (interesting because not many say the Big Ten, the standard MSM line is the SEC). Herbstreit says two guys - Darren McFadden at Arkansas "one of the most underrated players in the country" and Antonio Pittman (gotta get some OSU hype in!) but then says that Slaton is the best.
  • Vandy-South Carolina: Really, they're talking about this game? Good for them. Corso picks it wrong, Herbstreit picks it right.
  • Arkansas-Ole Miss: Corso and Herbstreit like Arkansas. Again, Herbstreit thinks people will start to appreciate McFadden. If you think he's underrated, cover him more.
  • Both like Boise State big.
  • Washington-Cal: Corso says Cal is the best team on the West Coast, Herbstreit agrees. Both think a big win. Not so much.
  • Extended piece on Howard's Rock. Like the old footage of Frank Howard. Fowler calls it "perhaps college football's most emotional entrance".
  • Todd Blackledge joins the crew for the first time, I think. Says Reggie Ball shouldn't be intimidated, has never had a problem physically, just decisionmaking (so you're saying he's dumb, right? Say what you mean.).
  • Fowler points out that the ACC hasn't had a good QB since Phillip Rivers left, and thinks that might have something to do with how the league is perceived. Corso agrees. (They're on to something here. QBs are name players, national perception is drawn from star quality.)
  • They show some footage of Miami getting off the team bus at Duke. The game isn't on TV. Why did they show this? Did they think the Miami players would start brawling with the Duke Lacrosse team or something?
  • Spirit Meter hits 117 db, which looks like the loudest I can remember, definitely the highest all year.
  • Texas-Nebraska: Colt McCoy's first interstate test. Expect the crowd to be loud, says Fowler.
  • Musberger joins to talk about Texas-Nebraska, wearing a bright pink shirt and an Indiana Jones hat. He's got to be drunk already. Bob Davie overenunciates and then slurs, without regard to the viewer. They both bitch that Herbstreit doesn't have to suffer through the weather in Nebraska.
  • Fowler asks Nebraska to be "like North Korea - test your weapons." Corso says Nebrasks needs to take risks to beat Texas.
  • Can I just say how awesome that Lexus commercial where the car parks itself is?
  • Footage of Indiana after the win over Iowa. The music was a bit more powerful than the post-game speech itself, sadly.
  • Extended piece on Ted Ginn returning kicks. No reporter, though. Kind of an extended-semi-extended piece. Just highlights and quotes, no questions or narration. A few of these returns have garden variety block in the back penalties, were the SEC's stellar refs involved. Not knocking Ginn, just SEC ticky-tack refs.
  • Howard is on the fake field describing how to return kicks. In a way, this is informative, but in another way, he's kind of giving the returner the lion's share of the credit - and sort of saying that good blocking is the result of the returner's moves. I'm not sure I agree with that fully - I think good blocking allows for moves, and that if there's a chicken/egg issue here, the blocking should have the priority, but I didn't win a Heisman doing this, so I could be wrong.
  • Corso: Firmly says Michigan is the second best team in the country, and that they're right there with OSU.
  • Extended highlight piece on Calvin Johnson. That NC State catch is silly. He's like Wayne Jarvis. He's very good.
  • Corso: Clemson has great balance, and needs it to win. Balance.
  • Herbstreit: This game comes down to Reggie Ball and how he makes decisions. Gaines Adams is one of the best DEs in all of college football.
  • Rob Stone is on site at Wisconsin-Purdue. Interesting graphic that Joe Tiller is 17th in wins among active coaches, but he only has 111 wins. That seems low to me for someone in the top 20.
  • Game Changing Performers: Corso - Clemson backs Davis and Spiller (dead right). Herbstreit - Curtis Painter at Purdue. Fowler - LaMarr Woodley.
  • Saturday Stupid Selections: Corso - Pitt Herbstreit - Wrong about the time of the Hawaii-NMSU game, FSU, Purdue, ND to cover, Pitt. (They both picked Detroit to win the WS, so we'll have to wait and see, Fowler took St. Louis.)
  • Corso's predictions described the ND, Texas games almost exactly. He's a bit of a savant, isn't he?
A whole lot of stuff to write about here. This recap took longer than usual. The crew harped on underrated things a lot today, to my annoyance. There was only one real in-depth piece (Adrian Peterson), but a few other semi-extended pieces. I like that change. Less Shelley Smith and Tom Rinaldi and foggy lenses and emotional music leads to a better show. Overall thought - a good show, but I disagreed with a lot of what they said. Over the course of the year, the show has done a much better job of focusing on information and less on prepackaged human interest stories. At this point, I'm ready to call it a trend and not a few one-offs. Of course, the weekend of the USC-ND game and the OSU-Michigan games will probably be 75% prepackaged - they're doing those stories now, which is probably why we aren't seeing current ones.