As MaconDawg has already noted, the month has arrived in which college football season will arrive. The long offseason is almost at an end, my friends, but, before we dive headlong into autumn, there are a few fine details that warrant our attention:
- The latest poll results are in and there is little consensus concerning the 2007 national championship. An admittedly biased survey sample awarded Georgia a 31 per cent plurality, followed by Southern California (24%) and, in third place, "none of the above" (15%). After that, variously-sized smatterings of ballots were awarded to L.S.U. (9%), Michigan (7%), Florida (6%), West Virginia (4%), Virginia Tech (2%), Oklahoma (1%), and Texas (1%). I've already started giving some thought to my preseason BlogPoll ballot and, honestly, I can't draw a bead on half the teams out there . . . and Sunday Morning Quarterback isn't helping.
- I have resigned myself to the reality that The Movement is dead, so much so that I am coming up with other possible matchups and asking for your input. However, Maize 'n' Brew Dave is not so sure:
There is a lot of hand wringing that Notre Dame's presence precludes the scheduling of another top flight opponent. I don't get this. In 2007 Michigan will play Notre Dame AND Oregon. Last year, with the late addition of a 12th game, Michigan played a game Vanderbilt team on basically a moment's notice. Michigan has played Notre Dame and a good Colorado team in the same year (1994, Damn You Kordell Stewart!), and in a year where there were only 11 games. While I understand the concern about a killer schedule prior to Big Ten play, this isn't something that has troubled Michigan's scheduling in the past. . . .
Notre Dame's presence on the schedule simply means there is a good non-conference team on the schedule for the foreseeable future. Regardless of how the season turns out, no one can say "Well, they didn't play anyone." The tired refrain of "Notre Dame isn't that good," whether recently true or not will not be the case in two to three years. As much as it pains Michigan fans to hear it, Notre Dame is, well, Notre Dame. They are one of the winningest programs in college football, have 12 titles, and are a team the rest of the country wants to play. Oklahoma now sits on their schedule alongside Michigan and USC. Conference or not, that's a tough schedule by itself. It should also serve as an example that you can schedule top programs every year.
Michigan has Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and to a lesser extent Iowa and Michigan State on its schedule for the foreseeable future. Should that preclude scheduling a home-at-home with Georgia, Texas, Bama, Florida State, Cal, Florida, Georgia Tech, or sharing some Cheetos with Fulmer and Tennessee? I don't think so. Michigan has a tradition of scheduling great opponents regardless of who's on the schedule. I can't believe for a second that Bill Martin, after the outstanding job he's done as Michigan's AD, would stop at Notre Dame.
Then whom shall we schedule?
Look above! There are plenty of teams in addition to the ones I just mentioned. I've got a preference for Georgia. I'd love to see a September game in Athens and to make the rounds in Atlanta to see where Smokey and The Bandit was filmed.
Rest assured, Dave, the offer is still good and, as someone who has made similar arguments before, I hope you're right.
Maybe the 20-year contract extension with Notre Dame was an attention-getter.
- You already know that I don't think the 'Dawgs are given their due as the top athletics program in the Southeastern Conference, but Paul Westerdawg has his case to make, as well. Paul's point about the comparative scarcity of national championships is a cogent one, as both Steve Spurrier and I have argued. (Did I just express my agreement with the Evil Genius? Ugh. I just threw up in my mouth a little.)
- Finally, I mentioned a short while ago that Ballhype was surveying the field of sports webloggers. Their findings have been reported and it turns out that we're not all just a bunch of pasty white guys living in our parents' basements ranting in our underwear. We are, in fact, a bunch of pasty white guys (95% male, 87% Caucasian) who have jobs (75% employed), own our own homes or pay rent (85%), and are young (89% between the ages of 18 and 39). For the record, I fit into all of those demographic categories . . . although, admittedly, I am crowding the outer edge of the 18-to-39-year-old bracket.