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[BlogPoll] Roundtable: 2.4

Once, there was only me. Serving as the lone Syracuse voice in the college football blog universe, the general consensus of many was that all Syracuse fans were manic-depressive goons.

Then, more people joined this notebook. The stereotype was further etched into stone-cold reality.

Now, well, there's at least one more Syracuse-oriented voice on the internet: Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician. Providing a mix of Syracuse material and national commentary, Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician provides a somewhat regular discussion of all things Orange.

With that said, onto this edition of the Roundtable.

1. Which coaches are clearly on the hot seat at this point? Who is surprisingly not?
I think at this juncture there are three coaches that definitely need to dust off their resumes: John Bunting, Larry Coker, and John L. Smith.

North Carolina has been absolutely atrocious this season, seeing only a lone victory against 1-AA Furman (a team that Carolina trailed for most of the game). With Bunting at the helm of Carolina's sinking ship over the last few years, he is bookmarked for a late-December exit.

Even with the recruiting class that Bunting has assembled for next season.

Coker's inclusion on this list is a no-brainer. Unacceptable results on the football field -- all despite solid recruiting efforts -- were compounded immeasurably following the Miami-Florida International brouhaha on Saturday. Coker is an excellent coach, but his true value lies as an assistant rather than a head coach.

Even without the brawl, quite frankly, Coker may have been out on the street following the close of this season anyway.

With respect to Smith, he's a certified lunatic. Sure, Michigan State has underachieved during Smith's tenure, but the real reason Smith is gone is because he is a social incompetent assumingly under the delusion that he will someday take over the world much like that mouse on Pinky and the Brain.

2. Pick three of the undefeated teams and state your case as to why they won’t run the table.
Rutgers
Despite Rutgers' rapid improvement over the last two seasons, the Scarlet Knights are playing with smoke and mirrors in 2006. Rutgers has arguably played the weakest schedule amongst the remaining undefeated, yet have struggled in spots they should have prevailed without equivocation (South Florida and North Carolina).

I wholly expect Rutgers to put a number in the loss column this weak against Pittsburgh. The Panthers are underrated as a football squad and the Scarlet Knights have yet to see such a diversified offensive attack this season. Plus, Pittsburgh is well equipped to punch Ray Rice and Company directly in the jaw, an act that has yet to occur this year.

With that said, Rutgers should drop like a glass-jawed prize fighter.

Ohio State
This is Michigan's year. It has to be.

The Wolverine defense, unlike in years past, is a freakish blend of size, power, and speed. Michigan has been demolishing everything in its wake this year, shoving Penn State aside and handling a solid Wisconsin team. Combined with Mike Hart and a now reliable Chad Henne, Michigan shows a balanced unit in all facets of the game.

If this is Michigan's dream season, which I think it might be, knocking off Ohio State at the Horseshoe and derailing Troy Smith's Heisman candidacy appears to be the story that needs to be written.

This, of course, is all based on nothing more than anticipation and not whether Ohio State is actually the better team, which they are.

Louisville/West Virginia
I'm still on the fence who I like in this game. West Virginia may have the best rushing attack in the country. Louisville, with the addition of Brian Brohm, may have the most diversified and efficient passing attack in the game.

Something has to give.

And since the NCAA has done away with ties, somebody is going down.

[Eds. Note: I know this is a cop out pick combining Louisville and West Virginia, but does anyone actually see California knocking off Southern California or Boise State losing to anything left on that schedule?]

3. Which conference is playing the best football right now?
This is an admittedly homer pick, but I need to throw my support behind the BIG EAST.

In past years watching BIG EAST conference football was simply a necessary act to scout Syracuse's opponents. Now sporting four legitimate top 25 clubs -- West Virginia, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Rutgers -- three of which are undefeated, the BIG EAST has become "must see" television.

Moreover, given West Virginia and Louisville's talents, I would take those clubs against any team in the country.

It has taken a few years, but once again the BIG EAST has fielded competitive squads. Even the conference's weakest clubs in 2005 have found respectability this year. All in all, the BIG EAST stacks up as well as any conference in the country.

Addendum
If anybody writes "ACC" as their answer here, I am going to explode the internet. Any conference that is winless against the BIG EAST -- save Wake Forest's victories over Connecticut and Syracuse -- deserves absolutely no respect.

4. Which team is playing above and beyond your expectations this season?
Finally, a question right in my wheelhouse. The answer, of course, is Syracuse.

2005 was a heroically pathetic year for the Orange. Putting together the nation's worst offense and accumulating its worst record in over 20 years, the Syracuse football program was dead to rights last season. The spring recruiting season saw little immediate help migrating to The Hill and word out of spring ball and summer conditioning was eerily similar to that permeating out of the Manley complex in mid-to-late 2004.

And now Syracuse sits at the .500 mark midway through its 2006 campaign. Sporting wins over Wyoming, Miami (OH), and Illinois -- three teams that Syracuse likely would have fell to last season -- and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against Wake Forest and Iowa, Syracuse is roughly three games more victorious at this point in the season than I thought it would be in August.

Plus, the Orange offense doesn't totally stink. Which isworthyy of recognition in any improvement-oriented ballot.

5. Which team is crashing and burning in regards to your expectations?
Miami.

A fairly easy schedule combined with a king's ransom worth of talent has regressed into a group of thugs engaging in fisticuffs with a university that exists on the college football map only because its football team engaged in fisticuffs with Miami.

Totally unacceptable.

6. Is your pre-season BCS championship game prediction still alive?
N/A.

3 Responses to “[BlogPoll] Roundtable: 2.4”

  1. # Blogger Brian

    I never saw the "manic" part, personally.  

  2. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    Good use of the term wheelhouse. I have to agree with everything you've said. Larry Coker commentary is right on the money. Big East football is back. Syracuse is playing better then we could have dreamed after watching last season. Frankly, if the kids didn't have the dropsies down in Morgantown that game would have been a lot closer, as Perry Patterson was far from the problem on game day (despite the gesture). In regards to my expectations, I have to say Florida State, Michigan State, and Penn State are all underachieving. Miami is clearly the current favorite, but you need to look at these teams with big time reputations that are just blowing it this season and wonder why and how that is happening. Good round table.

    And are we really that depressed all the time?  

  3. # Blogger Matt Glaude

    Maybe the "manic" modifier was revisionist history, but either way, 10,000 weeping children agree that being a Syracuse fan is a direct route to patent unhappiness.  

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