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BlogPoll Roundtable: Week X+1

Vijay from IBFC is hosting this edition of the BlogPoll Roundtable.

Staying away from the boring re-hash that has been the last few editions of the discussion session, Vijay has pieced together an interesting survey of questions for review.

Additionally, if you're not reading Vijay's blog on a somewhat regular basis, you're missing out on some good stuff. Like myself, Vijay tends to walk the stat line, finding commentary in the numbers hidden behind superficial style of play.

1. The Envy Poll
Name the five teams, other than yours, whose accomplishments you respect / envy the most. Use whatever criteria you feel is appropriate (wins, titles, consistency, academic integrity, competitive integrity, NCAA violations, general thuggery, mascot intimidation factor ...).

I don’t think there is any one aspect of accomplishment that is necessary to accumulate a listing of the programs I most respect. If there were, college football would put forward a bland product reminiscent of the National Football League. As such, my “ranking” of teams I most respect will kind of meander through various criteria.

1. Stanford
A respectable program with tremendous academic integrity makes the Cardinal the shining image of what a small, private school can do even when the odds are stacked against them.

2. Notre Dame
Very similar to the Stanford model, except with a snobbery that keeps the Fighting Irish from the top spot. While I am not totally sold on the academic and competitive integrity of Notre Dame, until suspicions come to light, the Irish are still a terrific program to emulate.

And you can’t discount 11 titles. That’s just hard to overlook.

3. Army/Navy/Air Force
This should be pretty self explanatory.

These guys play football in order to buoy the spirits of their compatriots currently in combat. Football, for these guys, is just a game, and they treat it with great respect and honor. There’s nothing better.

4. Texas
Sitting on a recruiting goldmine every season, Texas has at its fingertips all the resources necessary to piece together a roster capable of winning a national championship every single year. Throw in an awesome fanbase and tradition, Texas makes me green with envy.

5. Alabama
Other than winning football games, nothing else matters.

Cheatin’? Ok!
Schoolin’? For suckers!
Violations? You got it, dude!
Winnin’? More often than not!

2. Admissions
With regard to Question #1, what is the most damaging criticism of your program that you will admit is a legitimate criticism? That is, what negative trait does the most damage to the overall respect level of your program (in your eyes, or to others, interpret as you will).

The most damaging criticism levied toward the Syracuse football program has to be the total titles won. Syracuse has only secured one national championship – 1959 – and it doesn’t appear that in the near future the program will be turning the ship back in that direction.

Over the years, the Orange has brought under the bubble an incredible number of great athletes, and yet, has only managed to really be in the title hunt once since ’59 (1987). That is totally unacceptable.

3. Unrelated Discussion Question
Who do you think is the best player in the history of your program? Tell us a little about him (especially if he's not a household name). Feel free to pick someone from 50 years ago that none of us has seen play.

This question is probably more difficult than it should be.

Clearly, Syracuse’s finest football players have worn #44. The question is, therefore, which of those 44’s deserves the honor of “Greatest Player in the History of Syracuse Football.”

I actually treaded on these waters in an earlier essay comparing Walter Reyes’ 2003 season to the best seasons turned in by the Great 44 Triumvirate (Floyd Little, Jim Brown, and Ernie Davis). While this essay did not touch directly on the issue at hand, it does give some nice context.

Given the numbers put up by Little, Brown and Davis, it all comes down to intangibles. And given that the biggest intangible that can be brought to the table is a national championship, Ernie Davis gets the nod as the greatest player ever to don a Syracuse uniform.

Here's some additional information on Ernie Davis and the legend of 44.

4 Responses to “BlogPoll Roundtable: Week X+1”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Where's Jim Brown's recognition for being the Bugs Bunny of SU football?

    Brown pitches to Brown, who is too lazy to block for Brown, who throws to an open Brown... extra point by Brown...


  2. # Blogger Matt Glaude

    Holy crap I totally forgot about that video.

    Brown goes from riding the bench to basically playing ever position on the field as well as performing the halftime show as the original Syracuse baton twirler.

    Plus, Jim Brown may go down as one of the greatest domestic abusers of our time.

    And, he's a terrific actor.  

  3. # Blogger Andrew

    wasn't jim brown also a lacrosse player or something? as for your response to #1, why does Stanford take the top spot over a school like Northwestern? they are comparable academically, and NU has certainly had greater success in recent years. how would you rank the Wildcats?  

  4. # Blogger Matt Glaude

    Andrew -

    Brown was quite the lacrosse player at SU. He actually recalled former coach Roy Simmons, Sr. as the greatest coach he ever had. Brown was even enshrined in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

    As for Stanford over Northwestern, it all comes down to the little things. Stanford has produced, over a longer period of time, a stronger crop of great football players and minds. Jim Plunkett, John Elway, Bill Walsh, Denny Green, and that's just a sampling.

    What has Northwestern given football? That cheating piece of trash Barnett?

    The big picture leads me to put Stanford over NU, even though Northwestern has done a pretty nice job hanging around the Big Ten in the last 10 years.  

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