Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gameday Recap

Week Eleven
November 10, 2007
Williamstown, Massachusetts - Amherst at Williams

Small school road trip. I've written my piece on it already. I like that they sometimes cover schools a little off the national radar, but I also wonder whether this was the right place to do it. I figure the fans of Mt. Union wonder that too.

  • For the first time this year, the opener isn't of screaming fans, but rather a bucolic, quiet campus.
  • Then the fans are shown. Smaller than any we've seen so far.
  • Before the opener, they've already shown the same two guys three times. Perhaps the size of the crowd is overstated by the camerawork?
Big N Rich
  • 4 times, same guy. Trucker hat, dead center.
  • They use google maps to show exactly where they are.
  • Bandmembers, this is the biggest thing to hit your campus in years. And you choose that to wear a hot dog hat?
  • Herbstreit tells us DIII is the root of college football and a good break from BCS madness or something. If this is better than all that madness, why don't they cover DIII all the time, with the occasional jaunt up to DI?
  • Corso tells us to go to the Clark Art Museum. Fowler and Herbstreit are amused by this.
  • Fowler says DIII is fun because we can relate to not being big, fast, strong, etc. I can't tell whether they're praising or insulting DIII athletes.
  • Fowler suggests that next week they'd be going to Ohio State-Michigan. Is that still operative after both teams' results?
  • Fowler says South Carolina needed a win to get bowl eligible. They had 6 wins. Yes, one was a 1-AA opponent, but 6 wins is all that's necessary as long as there's a conference tie-in. South Carolina is bowl eligible, but they don't necessarily have a bowl bid secured.
  • The Saturday Slate of big games does not list the only game between ranked opponents (UGA-Auburn). And if you think they were only listing games on the ESPN/ABC family...
  • They do discuss Mount Union vs. Marietta College. Marietta was 3-6 going into the game, which they lost 57-0. Fowler says that Mt. Union's defense is fiercer than Ohio State's. No. It isn't.
  • Apparently it was "Rivalry Saturday" in DIII.
  • Fowler admits a narrative: this Saturday was thought of as "set the table" for the following week, catch your breath. At the same time, he suggests that having said just that, there'll probably be upsets (like the results of two games that make their trip this weekend to Ann Arbor a bit lamer)
  • What could happen to shake things up? Corso says Kansas could get beat because Oklahoma State is a small underdog. Herbstreit says watch Texas and USC because of BCS at-large bids.
  • The same kid in the trucker hat has been shown like 8 times. There are not as many people there as the camera might suggest.
First Commercial Break
  • Florida-South Carolina talk. Clips of the last 2 games. Clip of Spurrier's press conference - which was hilarious. They should have a recurring segment on Spurrier's self-effacing quips and well timed jabs.
  • Corso is right in saying that Florida is good on offense because of Tebow and Harvin, but how hard was it to come up with that analysis?
  • Seventeen minutes in, Fowler mentions the only matchup of ranked opponents (Georgia-Auburn) for the first time. Total length of time discussed thus far: 3 seconds.
Second Commercial Break
  • Trucker hat kid has been on screen as much as Corso.
  • Fowler asks the crowd if they like BC. They don't respond.
  • VT-FSU talk. Corso likes FSU because they were underdogs by 6.5 points, just like in the BC game, and because the game is played in the afternoon. Awesome analysis. Herbstreit likes FSU because of "attitude."
  • BC-Maryland talk. Well, not really. Just some injury updates. Fowler mentions how one guy is "out with an ankle". A broken ankle? A twisted ankle? A tattooed ankle?
  • Clemson-Wake talk. Everyone likes Clemson, and only Fowler gives tangible reasons.
  • Back to BC-Maryland. Fowler says that highly ranked teams that have lost have tended to lose a second game as a letdown. Corso calls this "really voodoo stuff". Herbstreit likes BC because of "maturity", Corso expects BC to win big. Wrong.
  • Visit with Desmond Howard on the bus. He's not high on the ACC.
  • Howard provides some love notes from Williams people on the internet. Yes, tell yourselves it was a good decision to go there.
Third Commercial Break
  • Gillette GameFace: The Trucker Hat kid makes the camera, but they show members of the band.
  • Highlights of the 1997 Amherst-Williams game. My God that is a terrible play by Williams on that fake PAT. Aren't these kids supposed to be smart?
  • Trucker hat kid is on camera for the 45th time. I'm starting to think the crowd is primarily cardboard cutouts.
  • Rivalry notes on Amherst-Williams. They've played a long time.
  • Some memories of the Orange Bowl Stadium.
  • Extended piece of highlights. Steve Cyphers (who hasn't been around very much lately) reporting. Nice piece. Game-driven, rather than sappy and forced. Seems like the older the material in these extended pieces, the "realer" it is.
  • Lamar Thomas was interviewed for that piece. Didn't see any clips of the FIU-UM brawl though...
  • Herbstreit's memory of the Orange Bowl was a Super Bowl, but then the 2000 Miami game is his memory. Better than Flutie or the Nebraska 2 point conversion?
  • Corso's best memories of the Orange Bowl are (a) his own high school performance there, (b) his own college performance there, and (c) his own coaching performance there. Glad it's not all about Lee.
  • Fowler's memory was the Colorado-ND Orange Bowl with Rocket Ismail's return.
Fourth Commercial Break
  • They use the split screen shots of the crowd, and no shit, the trucker hat kid is on two of the cameras at the same time. Maybe there is more than one goofy looking long haired kid with a velour trucker hat.
  • Troubled teams: Nebraska, Notre Dame, Texas A&M. Clips of each coach's press conference. Charlie Weis' massive Super Bowl ring is tactfully placed.
  • Tom Luginbill comes on to reassure the viewers that just because ND sucks ass this year, their future is totally awesome. The degree at ND is so valuable, the great class coming in is spectacular, and ND is still ND, sayeth Luginbill the Aqueduct. He does say Nebraska is losing guys left and right.
  • Howard joins the set and is asked what it'd take to sign with a losing program. Howard lists platitudes and says some guys would want to be the guy who turns it around.
  • Corso tells us a story about when he was a coach (if you didn't know, he was a coach). Corso says most coaches should ignore the best players and get players that like you. Really.
  • Herbstreit continues Luginbill's work carrying water for ND, saying kids have a chance to play right away and that Weis will take the program to the next level.
  • Apparently Amherst was taking the field for warmups. I counted 18 players.
Fifth Commercial Break
  • List of famous Amherst and Williams alumni. They show a quote from George Steinbrenner that seems a little strange.
  • Texas-Texas Tech talk (say that 5 times fast). Herbstreit mentions how Texas is in line for a BCS at-large berth for a second time. Note that narrative building.
  • Kansas-Oklahoma State. Fowler says Kansas is getting some poll love but they need style points. Don't they need to play someone worth a lick more than "style points"? Clip of Mangino's press conference - and I'm surprised by this, but he actually looks pretty good, put together, compared to Weis' presser.
  • Herbstreit actually breaks down some plays in Kansas-Oklahoma State. Herbstreit says it's going to be Kansas' most difficult opponent to date. You mean more than Southeast Louisiana, Toledo or Florida International?
Sixth Commercial Break
  • Comparison of academics at Amherst and Williams.
  • Flashback to some of their past milestones on Gameday. They've shown most of these clips dozens of times. I'm so sick of that clip where Herbstreit throws the computer. I remember thinking on that show, and I continue to think, that computers provide so much better analysis than Herbstreit it's not even funny.
  • BCS Breakdown time.
  • Mark May and Andre Ware join them (for what reason, we're not told).
  • Fowler, to his credit, says he doesn't have the guts to rank Ohio State behind other teams, hinting that he thinks other teams are better, but other considerations come into play.
  • Andre Ware says LSU and Oregon might be better than Ohio State.
  • Corso whips out credentials, saying he's seen lots of teams live, says Oregon's the best team in the nation (a few weeks ago he said the same thing about Oklahoma). Also says that Oregon has the most significant win in college football this year - beating Michigan in Ann Arbor. This is f'ing ludicrous. Oregon's wins over Arizona State and USC were more significant than the win over Michigan. Oklahoma over Missouri? LSU over Virginia Tech? Corso is off his rocker.
  • Mark May says Ohio State's 4th.
  • Herbstreit defends Ohio State by saying we need to wait and see, but also that Ohio State's big wins over shitty teams means they deserve #1.
  • Herbstreit assumes OSU is winning out over and over again.
  • Corso a second time repeats the assertion that Oregon's win over Michigan is most significant, because Oregon beat them huge (a week after they lost to a 1-AA team) and Michigan had gone on to win 8 straight against mediocre competition. Expansive powers of logic exceed his capacity.
  • Fowler promises that they'll be heading to Ann Arbor. And then Michigan and Ohio State lose. I think this is kind of poetic. They looked ahead just as much as the teams did.
Seventh Commercial Break
  • There is no way on earth that that energizer sound meter is accurate. Says 102.
  • Auburn-Georgia talk. First extended discussion of the day's best game is 1 hour and 13 minutes into the show.
  • WIRED! with Mark Richt. More of a short interview than a Wired segment.
  • Corso likes Georgia's offensive balance. Herbstreit thinks defensive inspiration will be important. Maudlin adjectives are Herbstreit's friend.
  • Herbstreit also thinks last year's Georgia game, and the revenge issue will make the difference.
  • Corso thinks turnovers make a difference - and Georgia is good at that. Decent nugget.
  • Some highlights of Darren McFadden running all over South Carolina.
  • Desmond Howard interviews McFadden. Now his segment has a graphic intro at the beginning.
  • Herbstreit says the key to UT-Arkansas is making Arkansas throw the ball. Corso likes Tennessee because they beat Georgia big.
  • Fowler wisely says Mississippi State could surprise Alabama.
Eighth Commercial Break
  • Every time I see the Gillette commercial with Tiger, Federer and Thierry Henry I laugh when Henry says "I never phink about yethferday".
  • Now they're starting to show some wider camera angles and it looks like the crowd has filled in a little.
  • Corso likes Arizona State over UCLA because of coaching. Herbstreit calls UCLA one of the most disappointing teams in college football.
  • USC-Cal. Herbstreit says turnovers by Cal is the problem, repeats for a third time that USC is in line for a BCS at-large. He is shameless with his support of certain storylines.
  • Hawaii-Fresno State. Fowler and Corso say that Brennan breaks the all-time TD pass record early, but he did not. Fowler already starts saying that Hawaii is in line for the Sugar Bowl. More narrative building.
Ninth Commercial Break
  • Extended piece on Amherst-Williams playing football (they work hard too, they care, etc). Jeremy Schaap reports in a highly elitist piece. "They're student-athletes not athlete-students", "they play for the love of the game only", etc...
  • Now the discussion is on "the last game you ever played". Lots of cliches and repeated statements. They're saying the same thing over and over.
  • Corso tells us about playing in an all star game. All about Lee.
  • It is starting to look kind of dark there. Probably just the netting behind the set.
Tenth Commercial Break
  • Trucker hat kid is on the split screen for the 248th time and he loses his hat.
  • Ohio State-Illinois. Fowler tells us that this is the game before the real big game for the 50th time. Also says that Illinois won't be able to do anything against the OSU "rock hard" defense.
  • Corso thinks OSU-Illinois is a big game for teams like Oregon to scout Ohio State's D against the spread.
  • Herbstreit does say that the Buckeyes need to focus on Illinois not Michigan, but he assures us that Ohio State is doing just that (as always, Ohio State can do no wrong).
  • Michigan-Wisconsin. Fowler says the numbers look really bad for Wisconsin except for being unbeaten at home.
  • On-site scenes at Michigan-Wisconsin. Herbstreit praises Chad Henne. Corso tells us Lloyd Carr is a better person than coach and he's a great coach.
  • Corso calls it a trap game for Michigan because the last time they played in Wisconsin in Madison they were ranked 14th and lost. Analysis!
  • Herbstreit mocks Fowler for kind of thinking Wisconsin might not be a cakewalk for Michigan.
Eleventh Commercial Break
  • Trucker hat makes the center of the camera for one last time.
  • Now for the latest, we go right back to Madison, where we were right before the break to see Erin Andrews... but technical difficulties interrupt.
  • Pontiac Game Changer. Corso: Brandon James. Herbstreit: Brandon Cox. Fowler: Pat Lucey of Williams. Fowler takes it, I guess. It's hard to tell how that guy did, but he won.
  • Saturday Stupid Selections: Corso: Ohio State, Michigan (though he did hedge and say close) Herbstreit: UNC, Notre Dame, Arkansas, Auburn, Ohio State (very smarmily), Michigan.
  • Shot of Williams' coach's pregame speech.
I might be ornery, and it's late, but I didn't think this was all that great a show. Seems like the crew and hosts are running low on gas this late in the year. Very little analysis. They didn't cover some pretty important games at all (UConn-Cincy, for one). They seemed very repetitious when discussing some things, kind of punchy and defensive (especially Herbstreit) at other times.

Next week they're heading to Ann Arbor for the Big Ten Title Game.


Chg said...

ESPN trying to turn Ohio State-Michigan into the college football version of the Yankees and the Red Sox has made me hate those two programs even more.

I don't have any sort of passion/intensity metric, but having met many fans of both programs and seen the relatively tame crowds (especially at Michigan), I cannot imagine it is as fierce as a handful of rivalries around the South.