Sunday, October 29, 2006

Gameday Recap

Week Nine
Columbia, SC - Tennessee vs. South Carolina
October 28, 2006

Second straight week in the Palmetto State. I'm a little surprised by this. I would've guessed that the Oklahoma-Missouri game would've been at least as good a choice (only matchup between ranked teams), or maybe the Notre Dame-Navy game. Pretty weak slate of games this weekend, in foresight, though the week turned out to be pretty interesting once the games were played.

  • Pretty good crowd, considering that the game isn't for almost 10 hours and that the stadium isn't really on campus (where kids could roll back to bed afterward).
  • Corso says South Carolina has the most loyal fans in the country, Herbstreit adds that they're some of the best anywhere (which is pretty similar to what he's said at least three other times this year).
  • Head to Head matchup of Spurrier and Fulmer. Both have pretty great statistics as coaches.
  • "What's at Stake?" Fowler explains why the UT-USC game is important. Almost like they're defending the decision to come there.
  • Corso drops another Sweetheart on Herbstreit.
  • Herbstreit calls this "mindset" Saturday, focusing on confidence, mental attitude going into games.
  • Fowler mentions how a lot of teams are trying to get bowl eligible today, like Kent State. Nobody else is interested.
  • Close-Up shot of the sign saying USC was "1969 ACC Champions" and Fowler mentions how that's the Cocks' only title. (No comment is necessary)
  • "What 2 Watch 4": 4 ABC/ESPN games are mentioned first, then the CBS games.
  • Flashback to 1963 Navy-ND game. 42 game winning streak. And that's Charlie Weis' best win so far. Which leads to...
  • Shot of Weis showing off his Super Bowl ring and bitching about how the Irish got jumped in the polls. Corso gives Weis the appropriate sarcasm.
  • Corso thinks all BCS conference champs and ND have a chance at playing in the BCS title game. Herbstreit agrees, thinks there might be 10 teams involved in the discussion.
  • Corso doesn't think USC wins out.
  • Fowler mentions how Cal is above UT in the BCS standings, Corso's response is that all of Cal's blowout wins over weaker teams is what matters.
  • Corso raises the specter of OSU losing to Michigan, getting a rematch (implication is that Michigan wouldn't receive the same sort of deference).
  • Focus on the Big East for a second. All the big games are coming up in the next few weeks. A little preview of Thursday night's game between WVU and Louisville.
  • Corso praises WVU a whole heap. Corso likes WVU because of defense and turnovers. Herbstreit appropriately mentions how Corso's been dogging WVU's D all year. Herbstreit likes the Louisville D, also thinks "emotions" will be too high. (I'm starting to notice a whole lot of vague and unprovable statements from Herbstreit. Perhaps I'm reading too much Fire Joe Morgan, but it just seems like everything Herbstreit says reeks of the kind of coverage that David Eckstein gets - all intangibles, nothing that you can prove.)
  • Game Face - like the 8th straight week with no face paint. Gives me some hope for the future.
  • Fowler mentions how the fans there are more interested in taunting Clemson than UT.
  • In Depth piece on Ryan Harris, the Muslim lineman at Notre Dame. Tom Rinaldi reporting. Basically this story took 6 minutes to say "he's a nice guy and people learned about Muslims."
  • Desmond Howard joins to discuss Notre Dame. Desmond lets us know that he thinks he's a good dresser. Then he actually offers what appears to be some good criticism of the ND coaching staff for their weaknesses on offense compared to last year - focuses on the numbers and how that's even against some weaker opponents.
  • Herbstreit thinks the UCLA game was just a tipping point for the concerns voters had about ND over many weeks.
  • Corso takes a shot at ND's upcoming schedule by saying that ND will win the Commander in Chief's Trophy.
  • Corso baits the crowd by calling Southern Cal "the real USC".
  • Herbstreit goes back to Howard's comment about how the Irish offense is disappointing.
  • Flashback to last week's Northwestern-Michigan State game. Crazy graphic on the last half of the game.
  • More flashbacks to the close games last week. I guess when they don't like this week's schedule, they could do worse than to cover last week's awesome games.
  • Lou Holtz joins. Sounds like the crowd is booing, but they're probably just saing "LOOOOUUUU". Unless there are some hard feelings about what he wrote in the book about USC. I don't know. I've listened to this a few times, and it sure sounds like a negative sound coming from the crowd.
  • Discussion on whether you should run or throw with a lead at the end of the game. Herbstreit says be aggressive, but be smart, again, he hedges his bets and talks out of both sides of his mouth. Corso offers the opinion of a coach - the right way to do it all depends on how the game turns out. That's kind of smart, but then he follows it up with a bunch of obvious statements: I usually keep a timeout, I use the sidelines to stop the clock, I pay attention to the clock. Thanks for the knowledge. Now Herbstreit prefers aggressiveness, thinks players appreciate it more (I think they appreciate winning most of all).
  • Carolina are way behind Clemson on the decibel meter. 110.
  • Some discussion of injuries in the UT-USC game.
  • Semi-extended piece on Erik Ainge. No reporter, just interviews and highlights (and some lowlights).
  • Desmond Howard and Todd Blackledge on the fake field. Blackledge, I think, would be a good addition to the Gameday crew because he's not afraid to say negative stuff and challenge prevailing thoughts. On the fake field, he's kind of limited in what he can do and say. Also, did someone at Scotts think it was a good idea to sponsor a fake field? It's not real grass. Do they think we're dumb enough to think that if we use Scotts our lawns will look like astroturf carpet?
  • Extended piece on Urban Meyer and Bill Belichick. Wendy Nix reporting. From what he said here, Meyer respects Belichick because coming down and watching his staff "shows what kind of guy he is." He likes me, and because of that, I respect him.
  • The crew keeps mentioning how Florida didn't look that great at Auburn. They do realize that Georgia isn't as good as Auburn, right? Corso thinks Florida wins close, through defense. Herbstreit adds that Florida has turned the ball over too much. Herbstreit blames QB issues for Georgia's poor showings. Herbstreit thinks Georgia plays close because it's a rivalry game, Georgia has "nothing to lose". More unprovable, amorphous statements.
  • Fowler rags on Southern fans for being miserable about their teams - mentions Georgia and Clemson directly. Fowler has no understanding of the Southern football fan's mind. To hate like this is to be happy forever, and to hate like this doesn't only reference one's rivals.
  • GT-Miami. Graphic on Miami didn't really say what Fowler was talking about - but still showed that Miami is mediocre at best since last year's GT game. Herbstreit likes Miami because of D, thinks Miami will "wake up and play like their heritage". Corso agrees, thinks Miami will be good today based upon how well Miami's played the last few weeks against Duke (nearly lost) and FIU (they won the fight too!).
  • FSU-Maryland. FSU is 98th in rushing offense, 2-5 in last 7 ACC games. (and now those are worse). 5-7 over their last 12. Man. That's just terrible. Bobby Bowden blames it on how well they played in the last decade before the last few years. He has a poor idea of what his team looks like. Herbstreit defends Bowden, but fails to explain how FSU might make staff changes when Bowden just said that wouldn't happen. Corso adds that Bowden isn't too old because Paterno had a good year last year. Also, Corso says that he had incredible, professional assistants when he coached, but NOT ONE of them was good enough win a game or bad enough to lose a game. And Bowden's a better man than a coach. And it should be noted thatCorso has a pulpit to spout such defending his close friends and neighbors. "When you criticise Bowden, you're criticising one of OUR family." Any other embattled coaches have a defender with this kind of platform.
  • Both guys like Texas to win close.
  • Oklahoma-Missouri. Herbstreit and Corso both like Missouri. Corso thinks Missouri wins the Big XII North. Herbstreit doesn't pick that, instead says "it'll be decided next week against Nebraska".
  • Flashback: To the Governor of South Carolina proclaiming Nov. 10, 2001 as "Gameday Day". The Lady (a native of the Palmetto State) asked if the Gov was gay. I had to explain that they were doing a "blackout" that night and that was why he was wearing a black suit and skin-tight black mock-T. Then she said, "thanks for the fashion info, but I was asking about his feminine voice." I quite appreciate my lovely wife.
  • Some discussion on the Pac-10. Full segment, most of the games covered. This takes me back to when they'd have a segment on each conference and talk about all the games, even the weaker games. I miss those days.
  • Flashback highlights of Southern California's lackluster victories over the last few weeks. Fowler mentions the struggles of Booty.
  • WIRED! With John David Booty. At least there were some interviews. This one isn't as bad as most Wired segments, because we can see some action on the practice field. What the hell was that coach talking about?
  • Herbstreit thinks Southern California is having trouble because they're not as explosive. Corso thinks it's because of all the talent lost. Then Fowler describes their analysis as "nitpicking about an undefeated team". Meta.
  • Some slight hype about Ohio State-Michigan. "Feels like the college football world is just on hold waiting for that game." (Paraphrasing).
  • Highlights of Herbstreit running the ball. Nobody thinks Minnesota.
  • Jack Nicklaus will be dotting the I in Ohio. Select group. Extended piece on Ohio State Marching Band. Fowler, yes, the OSU band is selective; no it is not as selective as the OSU football team. Yes, the OSU band practices hard; no, probably not as hard as the football team - and in fact, for many of the members of the band, music is their major.
  • Now some more hype for OSU-Michigan. Countdown clock. Corso does some breaking down the stuff. Says that OSU is the best because their paint is the top seller on Home Depot's line of team color paints. Herbstreit is leaning toward OSU because Tressel's a better coach, or at least he's "in Carr's head". More intangible analysis.
  • Extended piece on Syvelle Newton. Joe Schad reporting. Where's Simon Cowell when we need him to tell Syvelle not to sing anymore?
  • Howard is back on set to provide some actual analysis based on numbers and facts about the USC-UT game. But then he plays to the crowd and picks USC to win.
  • Corso does not like South Carolina. Raves about Tennessee.
  • Corso: "Only the devil knows who I'm gonna pick! Cause it's Halloween!! Ha Ha Ha!" The man is out of his mind.
  • Rob Stone is on site at Michigan. Looks like miserable weather there. Updates on Manningham's injury. They need to cover this all the time! Gamblers are watching for a reason!
  • Game Changer: Corso: James Wilhoit (UT kicker). Herbstreit: Syvelle Newton. Fowler: Steve Slaton for a game 6 days away.
  • Saturday Stupid Selections: Corso: Washington, FSU, Miami, Missouri. Herbstreit: UCLA, Washington, Miami, Missouri, South Carolina. We'll see about WVU/Louisville.
  • Fowler FINALLY mentioned the inanity of the name of the World's Largest Outdoor Non Alcoholic All-American blah blah. He held off for 2 hours.
  • Fowler also chimes in with a good comment on USC-UT: Fans don't win football games, players do.
  • Corso seems genuinely hurt about being called the devil by the USC paper. Nut up, dude.
Another week down. You can tell that they're really just holding their breath for the OSU-Michigan game. Also, Herbstreit just didn't seem to have much concrete analysis to offer. Maybe I just noticed this more this week than most. Next week, the best game is on Thursday (WVU-UL), and the best game between ranked opponents will be a CBS game (Tennessee-LSU). Perhaps they'll be at College Station for the Texas A&M-Oklahoma game? Or maybe the UCLA-Cal game, which is one of the two ABC 8 PM games (Miami-Va. Tech is the other, but I doubt they'll go there after Miami's loss).