Version 2.6, at Hey Jenny Slater.
Note: Many of the following questions command discussion on "your team," which for SMQ means Southern Miss, a prospect of the slightest interest to none - including, at this point, SMQ, who remains obsessed but decidedly unhappy with the Eagles, a team that, for the record, achieved its most recent and much-needed jollies by embarassing a band of severely retarded Memphians on the Sabbath. So for today and today only, for this very important and historic roundtable, SMQ will respond to all favorite-team-specific queries in the mode of, let's say, a Southern Cal fan. Just to see what it's like.
1. We're just a few weeks away from the end of the regular season, so everybody should have a pretty good handle on how good their teams are and what sort of records they can expect to finish with. Looking back over the season, which was the game where your team really defined itself in 2006, for good or ill? Or to look at it another way, which game, win or loss, was most representative of your team's attitude and style of play this season?
USC, let's face it, sucks this year. Pete Carroll should be fired immediately. What kind of coach loses a game with the number one recruit in the nation at every single position, especially to Oregon freakin' State, which doesn't even offer scholarships? We tried to tolerate it when Carroll failed last season to win the mythical championship with the Greatest Team of All Time (seriously, like, an NFL playoff team), we showed patience, but this is the last straw. John David Booty should be benched for Super Blue Chip Option B, because he was exposed by OSU and now cannot possibly win 58 consecutive games. That is not USC Football. It's not like Booty's a bad guy or anything, SMQ likes him, personally, but the kid has had his shot, and he's obviously not going to beat every team by 40 points. It's time to give a young guy a chance to live up to the standard. SMQ wouldn't be surprised if these mediocre Trojans only beat Oregon, Cal, Notre Dame and UCLA by, like, three touchdowns apiece. Well, four touchdowns, in UCLA's case.
What is this, like three years ago? Please.
2. Are there any teams you think are still hugely overrated? What about underrated?
SMQ agrees with Brian: Texas is in good position to play for another mythical championship with some not unreasonable amount of help, but there's a reason the computers are so down on UT, even without margin of victory: the rest of the Big XII hasn't given it the opportunity to make up for the not-so-close Ohio State loss.
It took untimely turnovers for the `Horns to beat Nebraska and a slew of turnovers to inflate the score of a close game against Oklahoma. Texas Tech ate `em up in the first half and thought it got screwed out of a close win. All in all, considering the nature of the Nebraska and Tech wins, the second-best victory on the UT schedule so far (after Oklahoma) is probably Oklahoma State, which puts the `Horns definitely in the expansive one-loss mix but still behind Auburn, Florida, Cal and Southern Cal in SMQ's mind. And, after Thursday, probably Louisville, too.
Yet hu-man voters collectively rank Texas third or fourth, some of them bumping UT as high as second. For what? The incumbency isn't supposed to carry that kind of weight in college football.
3. Did your team play any Division I-AA opponents this year? If so, do you think it benefited your team at all? If you were a coach or an NCAA official, what policy would you have toward scheduling D-IAAs?
No, because USC definitely does not play I-AAs because USC is in the PAC Ten and the PAC Ten RULZ and plays the toughest out-of-conference schedules every year. USC took on Arkansas and won BIG, so every team in the entire SEC can shove it for the rest of eternity. Playing I-AAs should be banned except for the SEC, because those are the only teams outside of the conference SEC teams can beat.
4. Which not-a-typical-national-powerhouse team (i.e. no Ohio States or USCs) has played well enough this year to set themselves up for a breakout season in '07?
Arkansas is in great shape for next season with its skill talent, but this seems like a "breakout year" for them already. Ditto ACC-leading Wake Forest, which is going to get back a very large chunk of its production on both sides.
One team that might get a lot of "darkhorse" attention before next season is Oklahoma State, which still can't play defense but has shown a lot of fight after a terrible season by whipping Nebraska and taking Texas A&M to the wire in overtime, will probably make a bowl game, and returns its talented quarterback, a bunch of other productive skill guys, and almost all of the terrible defense. Last year, Mike Gundy's first after a string of relative success under Les Miles, will probably go down as a blip. As long as it's still set to "crush" when playing teams it should, in fact, crush - which it was early this season - SMQ can see OSU generating some buzz through the first couple months of 2007, whether or not it deserves it. And expected results may always vary when things go well early on.
5. Take a look at your team's bowl prospects this season. Which bowl(s) do you think you have a reasonable shot of ending up in? Of the teams you might likely face in a bowl, which team would you most want to play and why (maybe you've always wanted to see how your team would match up with them, maybe there's an old score you want to settle, or maybe you just want to finish the season with an easy win)? Conversely, which potential opponent would you really like to avoid in a bowl game?
Most of the most recent projections have USC winding up in something called the Holiday Bowl, which is in God forsaken San Diego and probably means SMQ should just go ahead and kill hisself. It doesn't even matter who we would play; this would mean USC didn't even win the PAC Ten championship, which is not conceivable and would prove to everyone beyond a doubt what an utter failure Pete Carroll is. It almost makes SMQ wish it would happen just so we could finally get rid of Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky Pro Failure McGrayhead. Anybody can win championships with Reggie Bush, but once those guys leave, what happens? The Holiday Bowl! It's not even played in January!
6. In a roundtable question during the off-season, we were asked whom you'd pick if your current coach fell deathly ill and you had to select another coach to lead your team to victory. Let's turn this around and imagine that you've somehow schemed your way onto the search committee to select your biggest rival's next head coach. Which rival would that be, and which coaching sooper genius would you try to stick them with?
UCLA's already got Karl Dorrell, who is even worse than Pete Carroll, so SMQ is not worried about the Bruins. Charlie Weis probably won't be at Notre Dame very long before he hops back to the pros, and the Notre Dame opening from a Southern Cal perspective would best be filled by the worst coach in history, Whoever the Guy Was Before Carroll (who should still be fired) - although Walt Harris has done an amazing job putting the Cardinal in its place up at Stanford. SMQ could see him leading Insight Bowl defeats to Oregon State with the best of them.
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That felt really dirty and great. Roundtable AFLAC Trivia Question: without looking, who was USC's coach before Pete Carroll? It wasn't that long ago. SMQ had to look it up. No fair actual USC fans answering - although SMQ probably shouldn't assume they remember, either.
Bonus question: Do real ducks have tongues? Actual answers accepted.