BlogPoll Roundtable Responses: Shakeup Saturday Edition

The idea of incorporating "Crank That" into the Sanford Stadium experience is starting to build momentum. Although I mentioned the second-half dance, I did not know at the time that Senator Blutarsky had referred to it, as well. It energized the student section and the band apparently is considering working it into the repertoire, which would be the wisest expansion of the Redcoat Band's play list since the addition of the "Glory, Glory"/"Ode to Joy" arrangement in the 2000 Outback Bowl. (I have left instructions for that to be played at my funeral, by the way.)

I want this to happen, so much so that I am willing to put my money where my mouth is, much as Vince Dooley did when he told the 1976 Bulldogs that, if they won the S.E.C. championship and beat Georgia Tech, he would shave his head. (They did and he did.)

I'm not going to shave my head, but I will make this promise. If, at the next Georgia home game (against Troy on November 3), the Redcoat Band plays "Crank That" and the crowd participates in the dance as part of an orchestrated effort, I will learn this dance, tape myself doing it, post it on YouTube, and publish the YouTube clip here at Dawg Sports.

Write your band director. Write your athletic director. Write your Congressman. Make this happen.

(Please bear in mind that I have danced publicly exactly twice in my adult life. Once was at my wedding ten years ago. The previous occasion was at the wedding of two friends of mine. I was a groomsman and I was called upon to dance with the bridesmaid whom I escorted up the aisle, who was as awkward and uncomfortable with the whole thing as I was. When a table full of mutual friends of ours dared me to dip her, I did . . . and dropped her. In short, seeing me dance would be well worth it for its comedic value.)

You don't want to see me dance. Which really means you do want to see me dance.

That said, I now turn to the matter at hand. The latest BlogPoll roundtable questions have been posted, to which my answers are these:

The Battle for #1 - USC and LSU are separated by one vote in the AP poll. We made the switch in last week's blogpoll by putting the Tigers in our top spot. State your case for who should be the top team in the country.

I should acknowledge from the outset that a national championship game showdown between Louisiana State and Southern California would be as competitive and exciting in January 2008 as I believe it would have been in January 2004. However, at the moment, it is clear that the Bayou Bengals are more deserving of the top spot in the polls.

L.S.U. opened the season by obliterating a Mississippi State team that subsequently went on the road and beat an Auburn team that since has gone on the road and beaten Florida. The Bulldogs' only other loss was to the Gamecocks, whose only defeat was suffered at the hands of the Fighting Tigers in Baton Rouge. South Carolina went on the road and beat what has proven to be a solid Georgia team.

In non-conference play, Les Miles's squad destroyed a pretty decent Virginia Tech unit, which also has not lost to any team other than Louisiana State. The Trojans, on the other hand, already have had a bye week this young season, which was followed by U.S.C. wins over Nebraska, Washington State, and Washington, respectively.

Pete Carroll's squad went on the road and defeated by a scant three points a Husky squad which lost to Ohio State at home by 19 points and fell by a double-digit margin against a U.C.L.A. squad that was embarrassed by Utah. The Cougars suffered a 47-14 setback in the Coliseum, but they also fell by a 42-21 margin at Wisconsin, which has not posted a similarly convincing win against quality competition. The Cornhuskers struggled with Wake Forest, barely beat Ball State, and gave up 415 total yards to Iowa State.

Southern California is an elite football team and the Men of Troy will have ample opportunity to prove their mettle against Oregon, Cal, Arizona State, and U.C.L.A. between October 27 and December 1. At this point in the season, though, L.S.U. has played, and beaten convincingly, a higher caliber of competition, so the Bayou Bengals deserve the top ranking . . . for now.

Of course, as long as Les Miles is calling the shots in Baton Rouge, there's always a chance I'm overrating the Tigers.

Oklahoma, Florida, West Virginia, Texas and Rutgers were all upset this weekend. Of those teams, who has the best shot of getting back into the national title hunt?

It's pretty hard to argue that the Gators couldn't claw their way back into the race for No. 1, since they lost to Auburn last year yet still managed to capture the national crown, but lightning seems unlikely to strike twice for a team that proved it belonged when it got to Glendale but needed lots of luck just to get there.

The Mountaineers and the Scarlet Knights absolutely are out of the picture. Fairly or unfairly, the Big East is perceived as a weak league in the aftermath of Miami's and Virginia Tech's departures, so the conference's only shot at producing a national title contender is to have its champion go undefeated.

It is difficult to believe in the Longhorns as a contender, since last Saturday's result was but the culmination of a month's worth of poor play. Texas hasn't played 60 solid minutes of football against any team other than Rice and the Owls still are searching for the season's first win.

That leaves us with the Sooners, who would appear to be in the best position to work their way back up in the standings. Continued improvement by the Buffaloes is a good bet, so losing to Colorado by a last-second field goal on the road will appear increasingly forgivable as time passes, and a solid win in the Red River Shootout (of which Oklahoma undoubtedly is capable) would get Bob Stoops's squad right back into the mix. Yes, they'd need a little help, but the likelihood of Big Ten, S.E.C., and Pac-10 teams continuing to beat up on one another gives the Sooners a halfway decent chance at the brass ring.

Relax, Bobby; you still have a shot!

Looking at the current AP Top 10, who is grossly overrated and who should be in there that isn't?

The sportswriters' top ten teams aren't all that different from my top ten teams, so my only major quarrel with the upper tier of the current Associated Press poll is the fact that Florida is ranked ninth. Yes, the Gators are good, but what have they done to warrant retention in the top ten after losing to an unranked opponent at home?

Florida's wins have come against Western Kentucky, Troy, Tennessee, and Ole Miss, respectively. Those four teams are a combined 9-10, with their wins coming against Arkansas State, Eastern Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, Oklahoma State, Southern Miss, and West Virginia Tech (yes, West Virginia Tech; drop either the first or the last word from that nomenclature and you've got yourself a team, but together? . . . forget about it). The Gators struggled with the Rebels one week before Georgia hung 45 points on Mississippi in the Classic City.

I will grant that the Gators may be better than their record, but, right now, there is little in the Big Lizards' ledger to justify their top ten ranking.

Don't take it personally, Urb; it's just my opinion.

Although I wish I didn't have to do so, I must admit that Arizona State is the team that was omitted and shouldn't have been. Dennis Erickson's squad stands at 5-0, having beaten at least decent Colorado and Oregon State squads by double-digit margins. The Sun Devils are tied with Cal at 17th in the nation in scoring offense and A.S.U. ranks sixth in the land in scoring defense.

What is the worst coaching mistake you've seen this season?

Every decision Charlie Weis has made is tied for dead last . . . but he's still a genius.

All right, seriously, perhaps the greatest upset in college football history very nearly was ruined when Appalachian State head coach Jerry Moore elected to kick a 24-yard field goal on first down at the Michigan five yard line with 26 seconds remaining. By leaving time on the clock when he could have bled it down, Coach Moore allowed Chad Henne to complete the 46-yard pass to Mario Manningham that set up a 37-yard field goal try on the final play of the game.

When Corey Lynch blocked the attempt and returned it 52 yards as time expired, the game was saved and the mistake forgotten. However, Coach Moore's boneheaded call easily could have squandered the greatest regular-season victory in his program's history.

All right, Lloyd, you're entitled to be ticked that I picked the play that beat you as the worst call of the year. I'll give you that one.

Those, at least, are the answers as they are apparent to me. Your mileage may vary and your views are welcome in the comments below.

Go 'Dawgs!

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