The season's third BlogPoll roundtable is up and is being hosted at the wonderfully named Maize n Brew. These are our answers to this week's questions.
1. Its only the third week of the season and we've already seen some highly ranked favorites drop out of national championship contention. Preseason favorite Cal dropped to #21 after a loss and a pair of underwhelming victories. Who's your pick as the next NC contender to take a fall?
Obviously the easy answer is any of the SEC teams, as it looks like no one here gets out alive. It’s just a waiting game for Auburn, Florida and Georgia. Louisville may also be in trouble without Bush and Brohm. However, if any team can get away with losing that type of firepower it just might be the Cardinals (I can’t believe I just typed that!). I definitely do not see Kansas State beating them this week. So to pick who goes down, why not go out on a limb? Iowa hasn’t been pretty lately, but if Drew Tate is healthy, I have always liked the Hawkeyes chances of upsetting Ohio State on September 30. So, there you have it, the Buckeyes are bounced in Iowa City.
2. By that same token there are several schools hanging around without a loss that all of a sudden look like surprise contenders. There are also a few one loss teams with a legit shot at getting back into it. Looking at the rankings who's the team no one's talking about with the best shot at crashing the party?
TCU stunned the hell out of me, by holding Texas Tech to 3 points. Christ, two years ago Nebraska barely held the Red Raiders under 3 points per minute. So that is extremely impressive, but even without a loss, I don’t think the Horned Frogs should pack their bags for Glendale. I think Virginia Tech is also sneaking around this year. The Hokies have Georgia Tech and Clemson at home and road tests at Miami (if they decide against packing it in) and Boston College, so their schedule may prevent them from running the table. And I suppose, why not put Cal back on the list? Everyone was all over them at the beginning of the season based on their schedule and that hasn’t changed any.
3. Every team has their quicksand away game. You know. That place you should win but somehow find ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory or at least scare the &*%^ out of you every year. Did you know that over the last 21 years Kentucky wasn't won once in Knoxville? Where is your team's yearly sandtrap?
Actually our yearly sandtrap comes against any ranked team on the road. We haven’t been victorious in such a game since September 9, 2000, or the day the “Sea of Red” washed over Notre Dame Stadium. This is one monkey I would love to get off our back and soon.
Aside from that I think going into Columbia to face Missouri is historically our toughest road game. Luckily we have the much-improved Tigers at home this year, as we have lost two straight in Columbia. In addition, in 1997 we needed a miracle “flea kicker” to escape defeat and keep our national title hopes alive. In 1992 we went into Columbia (wearing all-white) ranked 8th in the country and managed just a 34-24 victory. In 1985 and ranked 7th we slipped by the again unranked Tigers 28-20 on the strength of seven Dale Klein field goals and a fourth quarter Doug DuBose TD run. In 1981 it was Phil Bates scoring from 3 yards out with 23 seconds left to secure a 6-0 Nebraska win. In 1978 Missouri came into Lincoln and upset the Huskers a week after Nebraska had dispatched of Billy Sims and #1 ranked Oklahoma. In 1979, the Tigers almost got us again in Columbia, as Nebraska came away with just a 23-20 victory. Finally, in 1973 first year coach Tom Osborne and the #2 ranked Huskers visited Missouri and were shocked by the 12th ranked Tigers 13-12. I think you get the point. And I’m sure my dad will have more games to add to the list in the comments.
4. Now that you've looked into the darkest place in your football soul, free Escalades aside, turn and look into your crystal ball. Conference play is either just starting or a single game in. Based on what you've seen so far, give the order of finish in your conference, and if you've got a Conference Championship game tell us who the winner will be. Independents must predict the remainder of their schedule. The results your predictions will be held against you at the end of the season.
I once again deferred to Sammy Vegas for these picks, so take it out on him.
3. Iowa State
6. Kansas State
3. Texas Tech
4. Oklahoma State
5. Texas A&M
Big 12 Championship Game: Texas over Nebraska
5. In keeping with the spirit of Maize n Brew, name your beverage of choice on game days and why. It need not be alcoholic, as there are some of us who choose not to imbibe on game day. Further, it need not be limited to a single brand/type/category. If you enjoy drinking PBR and Kraft Turkey Gravy at the same time (which I have personally witnessed), please, elaborate. Finally, if you should feel so inclined, and this is not a requirement, add an anecdote involving said beverage choice.
I still have a hard time watching college football without something alcoholic, but clearly my biggest game day drinking experiences are behind me (at least until this November). I’ve never been particularly brand loyal, but Bud Light has probably been by my side through the majority of those endeavors. After five football seasons as a student at Nebraska and three years of Florida State student tickets, I allowed my liver to decide on my doctoral program. It chose the University of Houston over Texas Woman’s University and cirrhosis.