In case you're new to The BBC, we're proud members of the Big Ten Bloggers, a tight-knit group of bsome of the most intelligent and comedic college football fans you'll find. We share links, we promote each other, and we challenge each other.
One of the weekly discussions we engage in is called "Bloggers Roundtable". One of us proposes three questions, and we all give our separate answers. This week, the Michigan Sports Center gives us the trio of questions. Here they are, with my answers;
1. Now that two weeks of play are behind us, what is one encouraging surprise and one downing disappointment from your team? (Easy answer to the latter part of the question for Michigan bloggers)
If you're here, you already know my team is Ohio State. I'd like to say that the entire defense has been the encouraging surprise....but to me it hasn't been that much of a surprise that we haven't allowed a TD. So I'm going to have to go with the hands of Brian Robiskie. We expected Robo to step up and become the #1 WR on the team, but I never dreamed that he'd have such soft hands. He has the ability to catch the ball with his hands and THEN pull it into his body. Most college WRs need to make the catch against their chest and cradle it in. His numbers show the difference, too. He's on pace to catch 78 passes for 1,410 yards. That's pretty impressive, and as Brian Hartline and Dane Sanzenbacher get more action, Robo will find more one-on-one defenses. Just think how he'll be when Ray Small gets back on the field.....
My biggest disappointment would have to be the running game. Yes, Beanie Wells is on pace for 1,200 yards...but so far the running game has not been "three yards and a cloud of dust", like I expected. It's either been "one yard and a pileup, or "40 yards and how-the-hell-did-he-spin-away-from-that?" Too much inconsistency for my taste.
2. A look at the current Big Ten standings shows things dead-locked record-wise for the most part. Once conference play actually begins, which two or three teams pull away from the rest of the pack?
Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State
Right now, Penn State looks the most impressive, but I can't truly judge them because they haven't played anybody yet. Florida International is actually the 199th best team in Division 1-A, and Notre Dame may be fielding their worst team in decades. This week they have Buffalo, and then a severely damaged (and Henne-less) Michigan squad. They'll pull away, but it might be more due to substandard opposition.
Wisconsin has struggled in their first two games against opponents they should have buried, but I think they're just getting their engines revved up. Senior QB Tyler Donovan is showing flashes and RB P.J. Hill could be the best back in the Big Ten...but they're still gelling as a team. By the time they get to Happy Valley on October 13th, they should be in mid-season form. Fitting, isn't it...since that technically IS mid-season.
Ohio State will also pull away from the pack for both of the reasons listed above. One, they're starting to learn the system and play together within it. By the time the Big Ten season is four weeks in, they'll be clicking better. Plus, they don't have the opposition on their schedule until Week 9 with Penn State (save for a troublesome matchup this weekend in Washington, and a potential upset bid at Purdue)
Pre-season, my being a homer was the only thing keeping me from saying that Michigan would be running away from the rest of the Big Ten. But now I think there are problems that run SO much deeper than any of us know. I'll stop just short of saying that they might not make a bowl game this year.
3. Has your team ever played in a game that was just downright boring and impossible to watch? I ask this because going into the Michigan-Notre Dame game, looking at it on paper, it is shaping up to be one of the ugliest we may see all year.
The pre-season hype was there for UCLA vs. Ohio State at the Rose Bowl in Jim Tressel's first season. It should have been a MONSTER of a game.
But 11 days before the game, terrorists hijacked four planes, and you the rest of what happened on that day.
College football was cancelled for the games of September 15th, and Ohio state traveled to UCLA on the 22nd. Neither team looked like they were ready to play, and nobody could blame them for it.
-Ohio State had 45 yards passing and two interceptions
-UCLA fumbled seven times (lost four of them)
-UCLA's leading rushed had 66 yards. The rest of team rushed for minus-5 yards.
-The offenses combined for one touchdown
-Ohio State missed an extra-point kick
It was awful. I think the Notre Dame-Michigan game on Saturday could be God-awful, but I don't think it'll be as bad as that day was.