Sunday, November 19, 2006

Gameday Recap

Week Twelve
Columbus, Ohio - Michigan at Ohio State
November 18, 2006

A titanic matchup. Normally I'm among the first to mock ESPN's hype machine, but honestly, if any game deserves overbearing hype, it's this one. I'll be sure to make fun of forced hype but this game had it all - rivalry, incredible talent, individual stars, national implications. In a way, the death of Schembechler subdued the show, and the hype almost was a little less than I was expecting.

  • Opener starts the mentions of Bo Schembechler. A lot of people, and Fowler here, have mentioned that Bo's death is ironic. I'm not exactly sure if that's the right word to use. It's sad, tragic, unfortunate timing and probably a bunch of other words, but I'm not so sure I'd use the word ironic.
  • Desmond Howard on the set to talk about playing for Bo. The OSU fans boo his eulogy. Not very classy, despite all the nice posters shown in the opening.
  • Herbstreit tells us that he wanted to be recruited by Bo, even though he knew he was going to OSU. Kind of an odd anecdote.
  • Corso (in a ridiculous Burberry scarf - Bentley Fonzworthesque) has his own personal story about Bo, this time about how Bo and Woody were the first to call him after he got canned at Indiana. (Is it rude for me to write that they were calling because they were afraid IU would replace him with a more capable coach? Yes. It is rude.)
  • Lisa Salters on the scene with the Michigan team about the effect of Bo's death.
  • Bonnie Bernstein (in a ridiculous hat) is on the scene with OSU - but she focuses less on Bo and more about Senior Day with the Buckeyes. Bonnie provides some insight on how the OSU team really respects one another.
  • About 8 minutes in they start covering the game (don't get me wrong, I think that's about right).
  • Loud crowd - Fowler's hard to hear.
  • Just occurred to me that Big & Rich got the week off because of the death of Bo Schembechler. One final great thing Bo has done.
  • Corso has kind of a non-sequitur story about troops watching Gameday in Iraq. Not that it's a bad story, it just kind of came out of nowhere.
  • They talk for a second about the Ohio Stadium field getting replaced. Fowler says it's going to be as good as any Big 10 field and don't worry about that sod. After watching the game and seeing players slipping and taking huge chunks out of the field, I can say with supreme confidence that Fowler was wrong about this entirely.
  • What to Watch For: Florida against a 1-AA opponent is listed, but really, should that game be something we should be watching out for? They also list Notre Dame vs. Army. Let's face it: people are really watching out for 2, maybe 3 games from a national perspective.
  • Corso gives us a slightly interesting thing - that the computers and the human pollsters only agree on one team - Notre Dame. As for what that means, I don't know. But evidently there's some kind of consensus about the Irish.
  • Herbstreit raises the spectre of a choice between Notre Dame and Michigan for the BCSNCG. Fowler chimes in that in the past polls haven't always been perfectly logical about title choices.
  • Flashback to an Ohio State-Michigan game in the snow in 1950.
  • Herbstreit chimes in with the upset pick for UVA over Miami.
  • Some discussion on Florida State's disastrous season. Corso unbelievably says that FSU has "a lot of problems". Corso, with I believe some insider info that he doesn't cite, tells us that Jeff Bowden's resignation will be a big problem for FSU for a long long time. Herbstreit adds that FSU will have some trouble hiring a great coordinator because Bowden can't coach too much longer.
  • Game Face: No face paint, they show the guy who'll dot the I.
  • Fowler says Ohio State has the better band, Michigan has the better fight song.
  • Troy Smith's numbers against Michigan are really good.
  • Herbstreit says the two best individual performances for OSU players ever against Michigan both belong to Troy Smith.
  • Extended interview between Herbstreit and Troy Smith. I know the interview is new, but the highlight part seems the same as a few segments on Smith so far this year.
  • Herbstreit says he's never seen a player change so much and grow so much off the field as Troy Smith. (Just askin', how many players has Herbstreit been close to enough off the field to make that statement? Is he spending that much time around the 85+ players on 118 other teams? Face it, that statement is pretty much meaningless maudlin tripe.)
  • Corso and Howard add in the praise on Troy Smith.
  • Another freaky dude painted like the Heisman.
  • Herbstreit chimes in with a strawman, saying that Troy Smith isn't Vince Young. "The only thing in common is that they both play QB and wear #10." More transparency on what you're getting at here, Kirk... Kirk thinks Smith is more like Drew Brees.
  • Howard calls Smith a competitor more than anything else. Intangible-riffic.
  • 37 minutes in and we hear Big & Rich for the first time.
  • Papa Roach song is inserted. Apparently Bo Schembechler's death didn't impose a ban on that.
  • Interesting Football Theory (I'm AMAZED that they're actually discussing this!!! It's not an intangible or a platitude!): Friedgen's football formula. Turnovers + penalties + sacks + dropped passes / total offensive plays is less than 16%, then you win.
  • Corso is having trouble picking Maryland-BC because he recruited both coaches and likes them both. (How about just picking the team you think is better, rather than the coach you like better?) Herbstreit finds a way to talk about Ohio high school football in "discussing" this game, then picks BC because they're at home. Virtually no analysis from either "expert" on this game.
  • Herbstreit admits that he's late to the party on Wake Forest, says "there's something going on there." Jeez.
  • Shelley Smith joins to tell us how awesome USC is. "Atmosphere at practice this week was absolutely electric!" I don't want to be sexist, but I find it incredibly difficult to call Smith anything more than USC's designated fluffer. Seriously, this isn't journalism. She is a pure and simple propagandist for the Trojans.
  • Howard says he judges teams like he judges people: not just what you do, but who you do it against. Likes USC for the BCSNCG. Corso agrees, Herbstreit agrees and says "America agrees" as well. I suppose all Notre Dame, Florida and (before Saturday) Rutgers fans aren't Americans anymore.
  • Herbstreit starts to put the kibosh on a rematch. Says the loser doesn't deserve a rematch. No reference as to Herbstreit's own comments on who deserves it between ND-UM.
  • Fowler chimes in with the prospect of everyone else having multiple losses, and then what if for the loser of OSU-UM.
  • Some passing reference to Rutgers, but they all give the impression that WVU will beat them. (Now this is beside the point, but when they were saying it, they really weren't giving Rutgers any credit for being undefeated, unlike how they gave Louisville credit for being undefeated in the Big East.)
  • Flashback to 1969, and the biggest win in Bo Schembechler's career.
  • Head to head lineup of Woody and Bo.
  • Pregame speech from 1983 by Bo Schembechler.
  • Fowler again says Bo's death was ironic.
  • Wendi (I've been spelling her name wrong all year, apologies) Nix joins to discuss the scene on campus at UM for mourning Schembechler's death.
  • Brent Musberger joins the set, and not on the fake field this time. Gives some historical perspective of Schembechler's impact on Michigan.
  • Some talk of Tressel's success against Michigan. It's gotta be the hovercraft.
  • Herbstreit thinks Michigan fans are crazy for wanting Carr gone because of his record against OSU. References the post-game call-in show for Michigan after the OSU game last year. I'm going to make a rule: If you are a pundit and you refer to the heat-of-the-moment jackasses calling a post-game show as representative of all fans, you, sir, are an idiot. Angry callers after a tough loss aren't the entire fanbase. Some dude on a message board or a blog (myself included) isn't the voice of the _____ Nation. And painting with broad strokes based on individual or isolated instances of ignorance only makes you look foolish. There. I feel better.
  • Corso praises Tressel to the heights. 30-7 in big games at OSU and Youngstown State. Very impressive.
  • Fowler says that Carr has made some changes in the staff, and that might make some difference.
  • Noise Meter: 114 dB. Fowler calls it deafening. One of the louder sites of the year. I think Clemson is still tops though.
  • Auburn-Alabama: Herbstreit focuses on negativity about Mike Shula, but lists tangible problems with Alabama. Both Corso and Herbstreit seem to have short memories about Auburn.
  • Archie Griffin talks about what UM-OSU means.
  • Some discussion on Chad Henne's problems against OSU. The highlight package was ridiculous - all bad plays. If you only watched this TV show you would think that Troy Smith had never thrown a pass imperfectly, and that Chadd Henne couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.
  • Extended piece on Michigan's Defense. Steve Cyphers reporting. Not a bad piece.
  • Fowler starts the discussion on a rematch. Fowler presumes a defensive, close battle. Corso says that if OSU loses by a field goal, they should get a rematch (he doesn't mention what happens if Michigan loses by a field goal, on the road) unless USC wins out. Herbstreit continues his statement that the loser of this game shouldn't get a rematch. See my post from yesterday for more of what I think about this. It doesn't matter whether it should happen or not, the process is what matters.
  • More personal views of UM-OSU: Eddie George, Charles Woodson, Cris Carter. They all say pretty much the same thing.
  • Recap of 1 vs. 2 matchups over the years.
  • Extended piece on Rutgers. The Single Worst Reporter on the Show Chris Connelly is reporting. I've mentioned irony a few times today. Here's an appropriate example of irony: Rutgers was pretty much ignored by Gameday all season while they just kept winning, running their record to 9-0. Then they finally get an extended piece on the show and go right out and lose. That's ironic.
  • Herbstreit talks about whether Rutgers is mature enough, mentally tough enough not to let down against Cincinnati. No mention of whether Cincinnati's defense can stop the run, or whether Cincinnati can control the clock by running the ball well, or something tangible about the game.
  • Corso raises the idea that the winner of WVU-Rutgers could be the other team in the BCSNCG. Nobody really disputes him because ESPN/ABC is probably showing that game.
  • Flashback: BYU-Utah in 2004. Not sure why Corso was wearing a freaky ass bird head at that game. Does Utah have a bird mascot? I thought they were the Utes.
  • Cal-USC discussion. Herbstreit talks about how Booty has gotten better. Then Herbstreit says, unlike other Pac-10 teams Cal has a chance because Tedford makes the Bears "believe" they can win.
  • Extended piece on James Laurinaitis. Tom Rinaldi reporting. They focus on how his dad's a wrestler. This is somewhat interesting, if not exactly informative about football. This should've bee Chris Connelly's piece. An actual football aside: from what I've watched of Laurinaitis on the field, I'm actually more impressed by his speed than by his hitting.
  • UM-OSU: actual game discussion, 1 hour and 44 minutes into the show. Corso calls OSU the most balanced offensive team in the nation. Herbstreit thinks Michigan's front 4's pressure is the key to the game. Corso thinks Hart has to run for a lot to have a chance, says OSU uses bend but don't break D but is great in the red zone. Corso thinks UM needs TDs not FGs and should take risks. Herbstreit talks about OSU's defensive pressure and secondary. Herbstreit also thinks UM needs to take chances on 1st and 2nd down (and I think they did, so good call).
  • Note on OSU-UM special teams - both teams' returners are mentioned.
  • No on-site report for the noon ESPN game.
  • Pontiac Game Changer: Corso: John Parker Wilson for Alabama. Herbstreit: John David Booty. Fowler: Nate Longshore.
  • Saturday Stupid Selections. Corso: Alabama, Rutgers, Wake Forest, Oregon, Cal, Michigan. Kirk: Vanderbilt, Alabama (and it comes down to "emotion"), Rutgers (though he picked Cincinnati to cover), Wake Forest.
  • Again, let me voice my thoughts that it's stupid that Herbstreit can't pick the game he's calling. He's calling the game for his Alma Mater, in the city where he's employed. If the point in not letting him pick is to preserve some sense of impartiality, that's moronic. He's not picking who he wants to win (which is readily apparent anyway), he's picking who he thinks will win. Picking who he thinks will win can actually show his impartiality.
This episode had a lot of things to take note of and it took forever to recap. The first half hour or so was subdued with the Schembechler stuff, but then they kind of went back to the planned materials for the second half. There was some pretty good game strategy discussion at the end on OSU-UM. But the show also had some pretty useless segments (Shelly Smith, in particular).

Next week I'm guessing they'll be in Los Angeles. And depending on that game. I won't be recapping any mini-gameday preview shows they sometimes do on Thanksgiving week.