I'm several days behind on this one, but Bruce Ciskie of The Ciskie Blog is hosting the new BlogPoll roundtable. It feels like it's only been about 20 minutes since the last time Bruce hosted a BlogPoll roundtable, but, nevertheless, here we go:
1. What team best met your overall expectations of them in their opener?
There were no real surprises here last Saturday afternoon.
2. What team jumped off the map and surprised you the most? (Bonus points to anyone who can make an argument for someone besides Tennessee.)
Can I call the Trojans a surprise when I had them ranked third in the preseason? I didn't expect Southern California to backslide too much, but their dominant performance against Arkansas impressed me and inched U.S.C. up from No. 3 to No. 2 on my ballot. Hey, if this was early December and these were the B.C.S. standings, that distinction would make a difference.
That pep talk from Ricky Bobby really made a difference for the Trojans.
I also was surprised by Florida State. I didn't expect the Seminoles to look as good as they did. While some may disagree, I believe last Monday night's showdown at the Orange Bowl was the antithesis of last year's F.S.U.-Miami confrontation. In 2005, the 'Noles won an ugly outing against the 'Canes; in 2006, Florida State came out on top in a bruising clash of exceptional defenses, resulting in a poll vault on my ballot.
3. What team best moved themselves into a position to surprisingly contend for a national title?
Bruce is a radio guy, so we're going to ignore the split infinitive and the disagreement between the subject and the third-person plural pronoun, in order to get to the substance of what is being asked.
I'm tempted to answer this one with an "N/A." I'm not convinced that anyone who wasn't a title contender before became one last weekend. If forced to accept the premise of the question, though, I would have to point to Florida State, Tennessee, and Oregon.
Yes, Oregon . . . assuming the Ducks get by Fresno State, of course.