Saturday, December 23, 2006

Gameday Recap

Week Fourteen
Bristol, Connecticut - ESPN Campus
December 2, 2006

Finishing the job, though it's late. I'm expecting a lot of season-long highlights. So much has happened in college football since this show that it'll probably not be very useful. But on the plus side, no Game Face or fake field walkthroughs.

  • I caught the end of the morning SportsCenter and some discourse with Holtz & May... naturally, May was hilariously wrong about the USC-UCLA game. Holtz ends up right but makes no sense in his reasoning. A perfect fractal of both their careers.
  • Whoops, I'm wrong about the fake field already. The opener is on an inside fake field. Seems very rehearsed.
  • 2 years since they'd been in the studio.
  • Three conference championships today with teams that are back in the title game for the first time in a while. Plus, there's the UCLA-USC game and Army-Navy.
  • Corso says Army-Navy is his favorite.
  • Corso: Rutgers and Wake Forest in the BCS bicture, Boise State in the BCS, FSU in the Emerald Bowl - clearly the fault of Global Warming or El Nino.
  • Herbstreit says the biggest game of the day is USC-UCLA. Now, in hindsight this looks like a prescient choice. However, in foresight, is there any reason why he should've chosen that game? The SEC title had two top 10 teams, a Heisman finalist and had BCS Title Game implications. USC had BCS title game implications... and was on the family of networks that employed Herbstreit. He's right about USC shouldn't assume a win, but Herbstreit also doesn't think UCLA will win.
  • Fowler jumps on that, says that Herbstreit picks a big upset "as often as Jim Tressel visits a dance club." Obviously Fowler doesn't read Tressel's World.
  • Fowler says they'll talk about Florida soon, since there are some Gator fans who think they should be considered for the BCSNCG even without a USC loss, but calls their statements "spinning" and "propaganda", but "nobody over here is buying it". This show is restating and creating conventional wisdom with that one sentence. At the moment that this sentence was read, Florida had a better record than USC. The schedule Florida had played was just slightly less difficult than USC (but still among the toughest in the nation). Florida had beaten more top 10 teams than USC. Florida's loss was against a significantly tougher opponent than USC. These facts are what they're calling "propaganda" and "not buying".
  • Herbstreit: UCLA has two of the best defensive ends in all of college football.
  • Corso on GT-WF: Pleads for Tech to get Calvin Johnson the ball, cites the few catches he had against Georgia (disregarding the number of times the ball was thrown his way but defended).
  • Herbstreit on WVU-Rutgers: Steve Slaton may have to carry the load because Pat White has "an ankle and a toe". Strange, I have two ankles and 10 toes. Pat White's injury must be more serious than I remember being reported. The loss of an appendage and 90% of his toes must've been a bad accident.
  • Watch for Connecticut-Louisville? Really? This game is something people should pay attention to ahead of the SEC title game? Seriously, they listed this game ahead of Florida-Arkansas.
  • Fowler calls Florida's offense "unfairly bashed". By whom? Your colleagues? You are the media.
  • Desmond Howard comes on to tell us how Florida isn't that good. There's no conflict of interest here whatsoever, is there? Howard calls Florida "a dime on paper, but really a nickel and a couple of pennies", and goes into detail about how Florida isn't as good as their record when you actually watch them. Howard cites Florida's struggles against FSU and South Carolina, but interestingly, no one mentions USC's close wins over Washington, Washington State and Arizona State, or Michigan's close wins over Penn State, Ball State or the lackluster win over Northwestern. Howard does say that voters might give Florida credit for a win over Arkansas if USC loses. Still, he was clearly working on a narrative there.
  • Corso says that if USC loses, Florida might jump in the polls simply to avoid a rematch. Corso doesn't say whether that'd be right or wrong.
  • Herbstreit squats on the fence hardcore. Says Florida deserves a chance at OSU, but Michigan deserves a rematch more. Says that it's been too long for Michigan since they played and people are forgetting about them. Unlike the others, at least Herbstreit says who he thinks should go, even if he qualifies it and tries to make nice. Everyone else simply talks about what might happen rather than what should happen.
  • Fowler chimes in and says that the matchup he'd really like to see is Florida-Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.
  • Fowler says Florida could be complaining, but the system stinks and there should be a playoff. Herbstreit responds by again calling for a Plus-1 system. Corso says exactly what needs to be said: it's not happening. The contracts are signed. This is the way it's going to be.
  • Corso does some game analysis on Rutgers-WVU. I like to see this, but I have nits to pick on the analysis itself. Por ejemplo, Corso loves WVU's O-line and says they're as good pass blocking as run blocking because they've only given up 8 saks all year. WVU has probably the most mobile QB in the country. Dude's not going to take many sacks because he can outrun pursuit. The highlights didn't really match what Corso was talking about either.
  • Herbstreit calls Rutgers one of the most aggressive defenses he's seen all year. Darius Reynaud is one of the most explosive slot receivers in all of college football. We're not 20 minutes in and Herbstreit's already dropped three superlatives.
  • Extended piece on Patrick Hughes, the blind and disabled marching band member at Louisville. Tom Rinaldi reporting.
  • Nebraska-Oklahoma: Corso thinks OU might have trouble with Nebraska's passing game, not 15 seconds after Fowler said Nebraska could have trouble because of the weather. Do they listen to each other? Herbstreit also doesn't respond to the comment about the weather. It's odd how the analysis on this show seems written so far in advance that late information just doesn't seem to come into the picture. Fowler, with a broadcasting background, is the only one who seems to be able to react to new info.
  • Flashback to Gameday on the road at Army, the show got rained out.
  • Some talk about Army-Navy. They actually focus on the game at first instead of just the pageantry - which I think is actually respectful to the teams.
  • All-Access with Navy Football. (Aside: the nicest campus I've ever seen is the US Naval Academy. It's absolutely beautiful.)
  • The team talks about the pageantry for a bit. Why didn't they go to this game?
  • Coaching changes: list of people who have turned down the Alabama job. Corso calls Alabama's expectations unrealistic, but he also says that agents are messing with things, trying to get their clients better jobs. Herbstreit also rails against agents, Alabama's expectations. So who's going to get the job? Any insight?
  • WIRED with Urban Meyer. Useless as usual. The mic is a little loud, or Urban yells loud.
  • Herbstreit: Brandon Siler is one of the fastest LBs in the country, Florida has one of the best sets of DBs in the country. More superlatives.
  • Herbstreit won't stop with the weird semi-sarcasm about Arkansas not being able to move the ball on Florida. It's very odd.
  • Highlight package on big hits in football this year. Always enjoyable.
  • Play of Season: Corso: ND TD vs. UCLA. Herbstreit: Pitt punt return inloss against WVU. OK. Fowler likes DeSean Jackson's return TD against Oregon.
  • Game of the Year: Corso: OSU vs. Michigan. Herbstreit: Rutgers vs. Louisville. Fowler likes Oregon vs. Oklahoma.
  • Surprise of the year: Corso: Rutgers. Herbstreit: Wake Forest (and he admits that it took him too long to realize it). Fowler: FSU and Miami.
  • Interview with Troy Smith. This didn't work that well, because it seems like Troy Smith has been well media trained. I like how Smith said that guys can play QB whether they're 6'5" or "quote/unquote not tall". The quotations sell it.
  • Short discussion on who wins between OSU and USC. Two years in a row ESPN assumes something about USC and they end up faltering. Were I a Trojan fan, I think I'd be about tired of ESPN's fawning coverage.
  • Corso says that OSU's D is ridiculous because they've given up a total of 10 points off of 16 turnovers. That is pretty ridiculous.
  • Herbstreit says he'd love to see the colors of a USC-OSU game. Fowler wants the matchup too. Glad to see that they admit that their coverage is based upon personal whims rather than simply covering the best teams.
  • Some discussion on Colt Brennan. (Aside: is it just me, or is his delivery kind of to the side, like Vince Young's? Obviously, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing - I believe the delivery doesn't matter as long as the ball gets there. But I don't remember reading anyone dwelling on it, even when people talk about Brennan's pro potential.)
  • Extended piece on Colt Brennan. Steve Cyphers reporting. June Jones shaved his mustache? Unthinkable! Outrageous! Meanwhile, I think Colt Brennan might be wearing a wig from a gay medieval guy's costume. And he might be 14, wearing a fake beard.
  • Game Face: Some dudes at the Louisville game. I thought they wouldn't be doing the cheesy bits.
  • Wake-Tech discussion: They throw to the coverage team on site. Nessler suggests that Reggie Ball might bounce back (not so much). No discussion on Wake Forest by the announcer crew. Corso does talk about Wake, though it's pretty clear that he can't pronounce any of the names. Good mention by Corso on the importance of Wake's system of redshirting and playing seniors. Corso and Herbstreit say Grobe is clearly the national coach of they year (I have a feeling that sometime, on some program, they've probably touted Greg Schiano and others as well).
  • Extended piece on Dwayne Jarrett. Shelley Smith steps out of her comfort zone to cover a USC player. Jarrett deserves coverage, sure, but how many Shelley Smith USC stories over the last two years are we expected to swallow before it becomes old hat?
  • Howard on the fake field. There's no reason for him to be on the fake field. He's not acting anything out. He could've easily said the same exact stuff at the anchor desk.
  • 5 teams before USC had been ranked #2 in the BCS and lost their last game. Interesting.
  • Fowler lets us know that style points don't matter to the pollsters for USC. Again, conveniently ignoring their poor performances in the middle of the year.
  • Corso likes a close game in USC-UCLA.
  • Herbstreit again gives the same superlative for UCLA's DEs. The Lady laughed when she heard Herbstreit say "It'll all come down to whether UCLA can get after Booty." Not nearly a good enough double entendre for my tastes.
  • Herbstreit thinks USC wins in a blowout.
  • It seriously feels like they've covered Louisville-Connecticut more than Arkansas-Florida. How embarassing.
  • Gamechanger: Corso: McFadden. Herbstreit: Lawrence Jackson (and hilariously, Herbstreit says that Jackson's got to be tired of hearing about UCLA's DEs - after TWICE in this show HERBSTREIT called them the best in the country. Funny.) Fowler: Allen Patrick.
  • They thank the National Football Foundation for an award they gave to the show for its contribution to the game.
  • Saturday Stupid Selections: Corso: Rutgers, Hawaii, Nebraska, USC Herbstreit: Arkansas, Georgia Tech, USC.

In the studio made for a boring show, actually. Get back on the road.

That's enough from me. See y'all next year.