Monday, September 10, 2007

Gameday Recap

Week Two
September 8, 2007
Baton Rouge, Louisiana - Virginia Tech vs. LSU

Lots of questions open up the second week. Will there be a repeat of the 90% human interest story show from last week? How will the Appalachian State win be covered? Are there any new quirks in the program that they just didn't have time for last week with all the VT stuff? Will the hosts actually provide any concrete football analysis, or will it still be more "emotion" and "retribution" and "this team is tired of people questioning them". Of course, I've been asking most of these questions for a couple of years now. So I guess we'll see.

  • Opening comments from CF on how LSU is "supremely confident", "talking about shutting out VT", and suggests that they're taking the Hokies lightly.
  • Corso loves LSU because he can get some pralines.
  • KH: "Of all the places we go, this has the best tailgating and some of the best food."
  • Kind of a dick comment from Fowler: "[LSU] will honor two victims of the [VT] shootings who were involved in Katrina relief, but we'll see how long the respect lasts." Y'know, it was a terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech. We all know this because they devoted an entire show to it, ignoring the football game they were there to supposedly cover. How should LSU deal with the Virginia Tech shootings from 5 months ago? Should LSU fans root for the Hokies instead? Should they just decide not to cheer loudly? Should all Virginia Tech opponents just forfeit their games to the Hokies out of respect?
  • CF: If you like football where yards and first downs are hard to come by, you'll like LSU-VT. LSU racked up 598 yards (301 passing, 297 rushing!) and 28 first downs.
  • LC: How well LSU can block VT's SEC-type defense and players will determine how good LSU's offense is. See above.
  • LC: VT won't play a better team in a more hostile place than LSU.
  • Herbstreit goes on a tirade about "arrogance" among big programs against smaller foes.
  • Fowler corrects Herbstreit slightly by saying aside from Appalachian State, there were few upsets (though lots of underdogs covered).
First Commercial Break
  • Corso thinks Michigan rallies and scores a lot against Oregon, and that they'd need to. Half right.
  • Herbstreit was very impressed by Georgia's defense the week before, same with Matthew Stafford. Probably not as much anymore.
  • CF: TCU just doesn't let teams run the ball. Texas rushed for 176 yards on 4.9 a carry.
  • I think this is a bit of interesting information from Fowler: "[Mack Brown] told me that there is no way he can make his guys believe this TCU game is as big, means as much as it does to TCU". Mack Brown is admitting he can't motivate his team to win a game as well as someone else?
  • KH: TCU is ready on defense, just doesn't have the offensive weapons. Sort of. Texas moved the ball well, but TCU didn't, especially running the ball.
  • Herbstreit disagrees with Mack Brown, saying Mack Brown won't have to work as hard to motivate Texas because of what TCU did at Oklahoma a few years back.
  • Desmond Howard is back on the Gameday Bus, loosened tie.
Second Commercial Break
  • About 20 comments so far about how hot it is in Baton Rouge.
  • Nebraska-Wake Forest talk. A little analysis of last week's Nebraska game, but Herbstreit really focuses on "look-ahead" nature of the game.
  • LC: Nebraska's playing in the smallest stadium they've played in in the last 36 years. I'm not going to go back through all those years, but Nebraska did play at Southern Miss just a couple of years ago, and their stadium isn't much bigger. Also, Iowa State's stadium isn't much bigger than Wake's, and Nebraska plays there every other year.
  • Corso thinks Nebraska will be lucky to escape with a win because (a) Wake plays in a small stadium; (b) Wake is the third most losing program in football history; and (c) USC is coming to Nebraska the next week. Missing among those reasons, anything about talent, scheme, coaching. And arguably (a) and (b) would suggest that it's more likely that they win, right? But he's right about the prediction!
  • CF: "Enormous College Gameday implications in that Nebraska-Wake game"
  • What have we learned about the ACC? LC: Either GT is tremendous or ND is lousy (both is not possible?). Florida State was resilient, showed character, and will be much better.
  • KH: Clemson only cares when people are watching.
  • CF takes a mini-shot at Corso in re FSU, saying that FSU played better against Clemson largely because of Clemson mistakes.
Third Commercial Break
  • Extensive Review of ND-GT. Note: very few other programs receive coverage like ND. This is an editorial decision to spend several minutes of programming to a bad performance of a bad team.
  • "Jimmy Clausen Timeline". Did you know that this true freshman turns 20 in 3 weeks? I turned 20 after my Sophomore year had already been completed. How well is that known? Was Clausen a major recruit partly because he was dominating against kids 18-24 months or more younger than he was?
  • Lou Holtz, who has no particular ax to grind, is brought on to talk about Notre Dame. Says Clausen "will be great, just a matter of when".
  • Fowler asks if Holtz still thinks ND will win 11 games. Now Holtz says 8 games. Says "All ND needs is a quarterback", in 2008 they'll be awesome.
  • LC: Forget about emotion with ND, I want to talk about facts! (Halleluia!) Lists a bunch of facts about returning players. Thinks ND will be lucky to win 1 of the next 8.
  • KH: Clausen isn't your normal freshman because he got to campus early, but still only thinks ND wins 2 of the next 8.
  • Holtz: ND is capable of winning the football game, but the defense is going to have to do it. Upon pressure from Fowler, Holtz only goes so far as to say they have a chance.
  • Howard is chatting online, the chatters think ND might not score. Howard thinks it'll be close.
Fourth Commercial Break
  • Review of Appalachian State vs. Michigan.
  • Fowler talks about how LSU "dodged" Appalachian State, but then says they're coming in 2009. So last week Fowler mocked teams that were playing 1-AA opponents. Now, when LSU is playing a top 10 nonconference opponent, LSU is "dodging" a lower division opponent.
  • Tom Rinaldi extended piece on Appalachian State and "where it is". And they get to make fun of the Miss Teen South Carolina on the way. I think it's nice that they're covering the Appalachian State program in general, but I would've liked to have seen some more coverage of the team itself. "It was not a fluke" says the coach.
  • Fowler doesn't understand the sign of Nick Saban holding moneybags and wearing a Michigan shirt. Not too hard to figure out, Chris. The LSU fans, having been left by Saban for greener pastures, are suggesting that were Michigan to offer a little more money than Saban is currently being paid at Alabama, he'd leave for the job quickly. Fowler says that Saban wouldn't take the Michigan job, having previously coached at Michigan State, apparently ignorant of the idea that LSU and Alabama are in the same conference, rivals at some level, and with fans that aren't exactly in love with one another.
  • Now a discussion as to whether 1-AA victories are a trend or a one-off.
  • KH says it's not a trend, once in a lifetime event. Ranked opponents losing, that might be the case, but there have been quite a few 1-AA wins over 1-A opponents recently (Portland State, Richmond, Indiana State, Nicholls State, UC-Davis, Northern Colorado have done just that in recent years, and that's just by my memory).
  • KH says that the wishbone/veer is an equalizer for smaller teams, says that Appalachian State's spread made it hard for Michigan. Don't a whole lot of teams run spread offenses now? It's not like Appalachian State was running something different from every other team on earth.
  • LC: Appalachian State's win is like Chicken Little saying the sky is falling and like a meteor hitting the earth once every 100,000 years. Won't happen again for 10,000 years because every coach will say "remember Appalachian State" (and not because 1-A teams have more scholarships, more resources, usually playing at home, countless other reasons... no, it's because of motivational speaking). Corso says he thought Chicken Little was a "great movie".
  • Fowler says this won't be the last time, but might not be soon, won't be 10,000 years.
Fifth Commercial Break
  • Quick revisiting of the Virginia Tech tragedy. More talk of "emotions" of Virginia Tech. Seriously, do they really think Virginia Tech isn't focused on football?
  • Herbstreit says, with all due respect to ECU, all the buildup before the game regarding the tragedy and "look-ahead" led to the weak result against ECU. No mention of the role ESPN and Herbstreit played in building up that game.
  • Some discussion on how great LSU's defense is. But then they interview Sean Glennon, who doesn't talk about LSU's defense.
  • Fowler mentions how he thinks Glennon is too sensitive regarding his critics and crowd noise. This show should be called "The ESPN College Football Intangibles Show".
  • Howard is on the fake field showing how to change plays, do silent counts with crowd noise. This was decent. And Howard wasn't dressed differently. Howard has been a lot better this year, and quite possibly the best part of the show, because he's actually discussed things that matter to the game.
  • Corso says that when he coached (in case you hadn't heard the 40000 times before, he once was a coach) at LSU, they used a tighter huddle and used quicker playcalls.
Sixth Commercial Break
  • Miami-Oklahoma discussion, some footage from way back in the 80s. Wish they did more of that.
  • Extended piece on Randy Shannon. Joe Schad reporting. All human interest, something for the casual fans. Fine piece for what it is, but I'd prefer less of this.
  • They throw to Jimmy Dykes on set to give local news on Miami-Oklahoma, and this was important because the weather could have affected the game. More of this would improve the show.
  • KH thinks Miami-Oklahoma is a big opportunity for Miami, and one of the "matchups of the year" will be OU's offense vs. Miami's defense. KH doesn't think Miami's offense is good enough.
  • LC thinks Miami has a chance, and it'll be because Miami's defense will keep the game close like a baseball score, but Oklahoma wins because of long passes over the top (kind of conflicting what he'd just said).
Seventh Commercial Break (halfway point)
  • Fowler again can't stand the heat in Baton Rouge.
  • Pac-10 discussion time.
  • BYU-UCLA talk. Corso likes UCLA, BYU to cover. Herbstreit admits he doubted BYU last week, but that he's buying them now. Wrong both times.
  • Arizona State-Colorado. They both like ASU. Corso reaffirms his statement that ASU runs of a bunch of wins at the beginning of the year.
  • Washington-Boise State. Corso takes UW because of red zone success. Herbstreit takes a shot at Syracuse.
  • Herbstreit makes very little sense here on Boise State. "This is the day that Boise State steps out of the shadows" and shows the country that they were good before the Oklahoma game, and that they're good after the Oklahoma game. I have trouble following this, but it seems to be that Boise State isn't getting respect. Corso provides the reality check, that Boise State is the favorite in that game.
Eighth Commercial Break
  • Fowler again hints that LSU is overconfident.
  • SEC discussion time.
  • Florida-Troy. Corso thinks Florida's DBs will be tested because they haven't been good yet. Florida's D gave up 61 passing yards in the first half. After that point (it was 49-7), they gave up a bunch. In the previous game, Florida gave up 156 yards and no TDs to Provisional 1-A Western Kentucky. I'm not sure where Corso sees Florida's pass defense as "not good".
  • Bama-Vandy. Herbstreit gives it potential upset alert because it's a small stadium and "feels like a spring game", but Fowler corrects him by saying Alabama's spring game drew 90,000.
  • Auburn-South Florida. Fowler calls USF a "dangerous dog". Herbstreit says USF is improving because they beat Louisville 2 years ago and WVU last year. Neither picks USF. Herbstreit thinks Auburn wins because everyone's been warning Auburn that USF might upset them. Intangibilissimo! Fowler says Auburn's not looking past this game because the Velcro Pygmies are playing at the Fiji house. Fowler seems pleased with himself.
  • Georgia-USC. Stat they highlight: Georgia has held USC under 17 in 9 of 10 meetings. They did again, but lost (like they have in a couple other of those 10 meetings).
  • Semi-extended piece on USC. They show how USC uses Corso's words against him in a pregame video.
  • Corso says "Let's talk about football" in response to being made to look kind of like an idiot. Herbstreit tries to rub it in, Corso says "I don't dig that kind of stuff. Pfft!"
  • Herbstreit thinks Georgia's going to run and throw and the defense is deserving of credit, Georgia wins handily.
Ninth Commercial Break
  • Penn State-Notre Dame talk. More old time highlights, and review of last year's game.
  • Fowler says that the Penn State whiteout will be "Edmonton Oiler style". Penn State's done this before, haven't they?
  • Charlie Weis has kind of dickish response in a press conference, though we can't really tell what he was responding to.
  • Herbstreit thinks Penn State has a shot to go undefeated. There's some actual chalkboard breakdown of some defensive schemes for Penn State. When they actually break down a play, it's very helpful and good. Why don't they do that all the time?
  • Corso likes that Morelli spread the ball around, but really this game is "all about redemption".
  • Fowler again complains about the heat and humidity.
Tenth Commercial Break
  • Gillette Game Face: limited face paint. They look drunk, naturally.
  • Look back at Michigan's last three games. More in depth look back at the last week. Call-in show clips, press conferences, etc.
  • Fowler appropriately responds with befuddlement regarding Michgan players' statements that "fans aren't expecting much from them".
  • Corso, not content to allow Holtz to monopolize the embarrassment for "giving a pep talk to Michigan", offers his own, tradition-heavy locker room speech. Herbstreit has a good poker face by not laughing.
  • Herbstreit says Michigan will either fall apart or circle the wagons, says the Michigan seniors will show leadership.
  • No mention as to whether Oregon, y'know... Michigan's opponent, is any good.
  • Graphics show teams that lost opener but went on to have great seasons, but at least Fowler admits that none of those teams lost to a 1-AA opponent.
  • Finally some discussion of Oregon.
  • WIRED! with Mike Bellotti. For the newbies, I absolutely hate this bit. There's no context, nothing at all to be gained from this. Wow, coaches have voices and sometimes yell during practice, but we can't tell what they're yelling at. Totally useless.
  • Corso thinks Michigan rebounds and wins BIG because Oregon can't play great defense.
  • Herbstreit turns it around on Oregon, says that Oregon hasn't mattered since Joey Harrington. Also thinks Michigan wins because they're tired of hearing about Appalachian State.
  • Fowler says Oregon has something to prove because they performed terribly in a bowl last year.
Eleventh Commercial Break
  • WIRED!!! with Brian Stinespring. We totally just found out what was wrong with VT last week, thanks to 25 seconds of context-free shouting by an offensive coordinator.
  • Guard Sergio Render talks trash to Glenn Dorsey. Interesting lead-in. Bad idea for that lineman.
  • In-depth piece on Glenn Dorsey. Steve Cyphers reporting. Again, these pieces are good for what they are, but what they are is something I don't always want to see. I'd rather they go in further depth by analyzing the game.
  • Great quote: Glenn Dorsey says "The Heisman goes to the 'Pretty Boys'".
  • Herbstreit breaks down how double-teaming Dorsey doesn't solve anything because LSU has more talent. Do more of this - isolating breakdown of plays.
  • Howard is on the set now, says kick returners will be important in winning the field position battle.
  • Corso: you have to be better than LSU to beat them in Death Valley. They don't call him the best in the business for nothing!
Twelfth Commercial Break
  • Live report from Erin Andrews at Nebraska-Wake. Sime info on the return of
  • Game Breakers: LC- Ryan Torain of ASU. KH- Mike Hart. CF - Dan Connor of Penn State. Maybe Connor is the right pick? I didn't see the game. Torain had a decent game (91 yds and a TD).
  • Saturday Stupid Selections: LC - Georgia, Auburn, Michigan. KH - Vandy to cover, Georgia, Auburn, that Miami-Oklahoma was the game of the day, Michigan.
  • Fowler took off his jacket and he is totally drenched. Looks like he went swimming.
Much better show than last week. Some football-related content made the show. Herbstreit, if there's any chance you read this, take this piece of advice: do more of the play breakdowns like you did for the Penn State and LSU games. Those are actually informative and useful.

One interesting thing: I don't think there was a single mention of the #1 team in the nation, USC. That might be a first for this show. If I remember correctly, last year on USC's bye week they still did a Shelley Smith human interest story. Next week I'm sure will be loaded with USC segments, since it's probable that they'll be in Lincoln for the USC-Nebraska game. But it was kind of nice to have a week where there wasn't news about USC to actually lead to no forced stories on the show.


'Eff said...

This is outstanding shit. I can't stomach Gameday any more but thank God you suffer through it for everyone else's sake.

Anonymous said...

It was insanely hot at Gameday. It was as hot at 9 a.m. as it was all day, and it was just as hot Saturday as it was for much of June and July. I can understand Fowler complaining, I had to leave to go find alcohol before Gameday was halfway over.

Kool Hand said...

Dude, this is badass. Great job on the Gameday synopsis.