Saturday, August 27, 2005

BlogPoll Roundtable #6

1. What criteria do you use to determine if a team and its players are good?
2. If you could choose one coach to build an offensive system for your school, who would it be? Conversly, who would you choose to devise the defense? Why?
3. Describe your typical college fotoball Saturday.

1. Gameday coaching, ability to win the big game, talent-level and quality of the competition. Every good team has quality, or at least adequate, gameday coaching. I don't need to look any farther than my own team, Penn State to reference why it is so crucial. The playcalling on offense was atrocius last season with Galen Hall and Jay Paterno trying to duke it out on every play and Zack Mills was often coming to the line of scrimmage with a few seconds left and ending up with a delay of game penalty. Not to mention that JoePa didn't let them open up the playbook and the same series of plays were pretty much run over and over again throughout every game. The best teams win the big game. Except for Michigan. You can pencil them in for 9 wins and 3 losses every season. The best teams, regardless of their conferene, can contend with and beat the best teams in the country regardless of their conference affiliation. Look at a team like Utah from last season. They beat Texas A&M and North Carolina out of conference and then demolished Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl. The Utes looked capable of playing with the best in the country despite being a Mountain West school. Louisville has been a more consistent example, having played and beaten some of the country's better squads over the past couple of seasons. Obviously a 10 win team from the Big Ten or SEC is going to be considered a better team than a 10 win team from the MAC or WAC. Obviously quality of competition factors in there.

I judge players based on their numbers, the quality of competition they face and how the coaching staff utilizes a player. Obviously numbers factor into the equation whenever evaluating players. The quality of the competition plays a big factor as well. A 1500 yard rusher in the Big Ten will be considered a better player than 1500 or even 2000 yard back in the MAC because of the disparity in the talent level from one conference to another. How a coach utilizes a player is an often overlooked factor. Look at a player like Scott Frost. He was a QB at Nebraska and ran the option smoothly but he ended up as a safety in the NFL. Current Penn State QB Michael Robinson is a terrific athlete and dispite playing QB, he projects as a WR or safety in the NFL. A player's best position may not be the one he plays, he may just be filling a need.

2. Bobby and Paul Petrino at Louisville on offense and Pete Carroll at Southern Cal on defense. The Petrinos have had consistently good offenses at Louisville and they seem to be able to score points on anyone (see: 2004 vs Miami). Stefan LeFors was a serviceable QB who got the job done. Now it will be interesting to really see how well this offense can perform with a stud QB in Brian Brohm. Mike Leach's Spread Offense at Texas Tech is nice for beating the bottom tier teams in the Big 12, but the Red Raiders haven't beaten the same caliber teams that Louisville and Utah (among others) have. I'm curious to see how well Urban Meyer is able to implement the Spread Option at Florida and then execute it in the SEC. Pete Carroll's USC defenses have proved capable of shutting down the pass-happy Pac-10 teams and then doing it to the rest of the nation (see: 2004 vs Michigan and 2005 vs Oklahoma). Having a tremendous offense allows them to play looser, but regardless of the production of the offense, Carroll has churned out excellent defensive units in college and in the NFL.

3. I watch ESPN GameDay, flip between some noon games (unless I'm watching Penn State) and listen to the PSU game, flip between 3:30 games and then watch the best night game. The only time this should be disrupted is when I drive down to State College (I live in Connecticut) for hte 10/8 game against Ohio State.


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