It has been a busy week, so I am only belatedly getting around to answering the latest BlogPoll roundtable discussion questions, brought to you by the Iowa State weblogger, CrossCyed. These are they:
1. We're about halfway through the season at this point. Have you gotten a gauge on your team's chances this year to make noise in conference play, or is the team still a total freaking mystery?
If you ask me that question again around midnight tonight, I'll have a very good gauge on my team's chances this year, but, right now, we're only a couple of notches above "total freaking mystery."
Of course, "Are any of our receivers going to step up and start catching passes?" isn't a mystery quite on a par with "Who killed Samuel Edward Ratchett?" . . .
. . . or "Who killed Laura Palmer?"
I have varying degrees of concern about particular aspects of the Georgia team, but, for the most part, the 'Dawgs are good where we thought they'd be good and suspect where we believed they'd be suspect. We'll see how the Red and Black fare tonight, but, for the moment, I think pretty much what I thought before the season started: "A few teams might get us . . . but they'd better get us this year."
2. Many of the bigger conferences such as the Big 12 and the Big 10 use a rotating schedule to determine conference games each year. What are your feelings on the current system used in your conference? Does a rotating schedule work? Has your team always caught a break?
The S.E.C. uses a 5-1-2 format, modified from the 5-2-1 format originally implemented when the league expanded in 1992. The conference consists of 12 teams, split into two divisions of six teams each, the membership of which was dictated logically by geography.
Each S.E.C. team plays the other five teams in its division every year. Originally, each squad had two permanent opponents from the other division and one rotating opponent from across the divide. Georgia plays the other five Eastern Division teams (Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt) and previously played two Western Division teams (Auburn and Ole Miss) annually. The other four Western Division schools (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana State, and Mississippi State) came on and off of the Bulldogs' schedule in two-year home-and-home blocks, with each of those teams appearing on the Red and Black's slate twice in any given eight-year span.
Because this created too great a gap separating series meetings between non-permanent interdivisional opponents, the number of perennial out-of-division foes was reduced from two to one and each S.E.C. team began playing two rotating teams from the other division in staggered sequence.
Similarly, we here at Dawg Sports are thinking of making Kristin Davis the "permanent" pinup while making Mary-Louise Parker and Emily Procter the "rotating" picture gals. (Photograph from T.V. Spielfilm.)
I oppose the divisional arrangement in principle but prefer it in practice, as it preserves the Bulldogs' major conference rivalries with Florida and permanent Western Division opponent Auburn while allowing fans to see unfamiliar S.E.C. opponents much more frequently.
The 'Dawgs used to go extended periods of time without facing other teams in the same league. Georgia and Mississippi State have shared a common conference affiliation since 1933, yet the two sets of Bulldogs met only 16 times between the time the league was founded in the first year of Franklin Roosevelt's first term and the time divisional play began in the year Bill Clinton was elected. Georgia and Tennessee, who now meet annually, did not meet at all between 1938 and 1967. The Classic City Canines' 14th series meeting with L.S.U. occurred in the year my father celebrated his 10th birthday, but Georgia's 15th gridiron battle with the Bayou Bengals did not take place until the year I celebrated my 10th birthday.
No team that plays Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee each autumn can be said to have "caught a break" in conference play, although, typically, it all comes out in the wash. Am I glad the 'Dawgs didn't draw L.S.U. this year? Sure, I am . . . but it isn't as though Mark Richt doesn't know how to beat the Bayou Bengals. As noted over at The Cover Two, the S.E.C.'s reputation as a league comprised solely of haves and have nots is vastly overrated.
3. In an effort to get to know more about college football, both nationally and regionally, what have you done to expand your college football horizons? Have you caught yourself watching games from other conferences, or taking an interest in games that show up on ESPNU or Fox Sports?
I try to do as comprehensive a fliparound as I can on Saturdays, but there is a limit to the number of games that are available nationally . . . which is why I made a point of noting that Oregon's game against Cal will be televised on the East Coast, because it provides us with a rare opportunity to see a pair of top-tier teams from another region.
Of course, getting to see the Oregon Ducks is not without its drawbacks. . . . (Photograph from Sports Illustrated.)
For the most part, though, the internet has done much, much more to broaden my college football horizons than has the Worldwide Leader in Sports. A few quick clicks down the SportsBlogs Nation list of intercollegiate athletics weblogs will provide as many data as, and far more valuable insights than, a visit to E.S.P.N.
4. What would you change about the current exposure your team gets, either on the radio, television, print, or on the internet?
I'm basically satisfied with the coverage the Bulldogs get . . . not because the mainstream news media cover the Red and Black well, but because the Dawgosphere is here to rebut the nonsense we get from the shamelessly pro-Georgia Tech Atlanta Journal-Constitution or the snide and snippy jabs we get from E.S.P.N.
Take a look at the links on the right-hand sidebar. 10 Bulldog Club sites, 10 Bulldog news sources (not counting mainstream media or official University of Georgia sites), and 20 Bulldog weblogs (not counting Dawg Sports) are available as sources of news, opinion, and debate. I feel safe in saying that, despite the deficiencies of conventional journalism, we have the Red and Black covered.
I'm completely pleased with the coverage my team gets from, well, me, for one.
5. During last Saturday's game against I-AA Northern Iowa, Iowa State trailed 21-7 at the half. The Cyclone Marching Band played a variety of songs from animated shows, including selections from South Park titled "Blame Canada" and "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" Needless to say, the Cyclones outscored the Panthers 21-6 in the second half. If you had to pick one song for your favorite team to rally to, what would it be? Because we all know what they did for the 2005 White Sox, Journey and "Don't Stop Believing" are not to be considered.
Easy: "Who Let the Dogs Out?" by Baha Men. I'm fairly certain we could get the Baha Men to come to Sanford Stadium every Saturday and play the song live, in fact.
As always, please feel free to offer your own answers to these pressing questions in the comments below or in the diaries to the right.