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Westsider Rider

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Blogpoll Roundtable

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?

My vote goes to the Florida Gators who just have a brutal stretch of schedule beginning in October as they face LSU then travel to Auburn and then in Jacksonville at the World's Largest Cocktail Party against Georgia. The other vote, as much as it pains me to write it, would go to Michigan as historically we are known for dropping a game that we should not and the schedule isn't too kind for the next five weeks starting this week with Wisconsin, @ Minnesota, Michigan State, @ Penn State and closing against Iowa before there is a drop in the level of competition.

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 ?

Two teams come to mind here which are Virginia Tech and TCU. The Hokies are now one of the favorites in the not so tough ACC and it is definitely possible for them to run the table considering they get Clemson at home and the game at Miami doesn't look as difficult as it did before the season started.

The Horned Frogs took care of business against their big name opponent in Texas Tech and with only the Mountain West schedule and a trip to Army it doesn't look like there's much in the way from TCU to make it through the schedule unbeaten.

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?

As every Michigan fan will say this answer was Notre Dame until that test was passed with flying colors last week. Now there isn't a game that is a yearly sandtrap just games that we should win but could potentially lose whether they are home or away. You could argue that Penn State is due considering they haven't beaten Michigan in what seems like forever or Michigan State could get back at us for the past two years.

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.

Big Ten Conference

T-1. Michigan
T-1. Ohio State
3. Iowa
4. Michigan State
5. Penn State
6. Minnesota
7. Wisconsin
8. Purdue
9. Indiana
10. Illinois
11. Northwestern

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.

No beverage of choice really it's either water or Diet Coke as I've never been superstitious about what I drink as opposed to my superstition when I was in school that I couldn't eat until after the game. The only thing is that it is not alcohol. I was never one to drink before games because I wanted to be able to remember everything about the game and besides I was afraid of the need to go to the bathroom a million times during the game if I drank alcohol. That and the fact that the only time I had ever drank before a game was the 2002 game at Notre Dame and we all know how that one turned out so I vowed to never do it again.

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