I was out on date night Friday night, enjoying the hell out of The 40 Year Old Virgin (which was better than The Wedding Crashers, incidentally, because it remained fully for two hours, rather than devolving into a tepid chick flick full of shots of a mopey Owen Wilson,) and was therefore unable to watch Gameday's pre-season special. I got the summary from my brother Dan as Chelsea bored us to tears in their win over Tottenham, but for those of you who weren't able to eavesdrop on our discussion at Brewhouse Cafe, the Gunslinger has a nice summary. Some thoughts:
1. The crew didn't do much to disabuse SEC fans of the notion that ESPN adores the Big Ten when more of their picked Ohio State to win the national title than USC. Yes, the same Ohio State team that finished 4-4 in a weak Big Ten and was finally penalized for having a terrible offense. But hey, they looked good in their final two games against a defensively imploding Michigan team and an Oklahoma State team that had collapsed at the end of the year after losing a close game to Oklahoma, so they must be totally awesome. Corso picking the Bucks doesn't surprise or bother me because his role is simply to be the court jester (hence his statement that Notre Dame has a good chance of starting the season 0-6). Herbstreit is more problematic because his predictions are usually pretty solid and one would have to assume that he knows Ohio State better than any other program. Thus, we're left with a few possibilities:
a. He's trying to get back in the good graces of the Buckeye nation after getting death threats last year for criticizing Saint Tressel and the program in the wake of their scandal-a-day regimen.
b. He's been swept up by euphoria in Columbus and isn't in control of the part of his brain that produces rational thought.
c. He's fallen prey to the facile analogy that Ohio State won a national title three years ago after going 7-5 with a big win over Michigan in November, so it's gotta happen again. (This is one step removed from the Peyton Manning/Tee Martin "Black quarterback replaces school legend, so that team's going unbeaten" analogy that was applied to Texas after Chris Simms and is now being applied to Georgia after David Greene.
2. Trev Alberts is the roller coaster of the group because he says things that are either very insightful (reminding everyone who can only remember their last game of the season that USC wasn't especially dominating last season) or completely insane (South Carolina is a sleeping giant and will be in a BCS Bowl in three years - it's called a recruiting base, Trev. Look into it.)
3. Every one of them picked LSU to win the SEC, which works nicely for me since I put $10 on them at 20:1 to win the national title, but I'm starting to worry that it has suddenly become conventional wisdom that they're going to win everything, despite the fact that they lost one of the best coaches in college football. I don't want to waver on my LSU pick, but might I want to think about switching to Florida? I know that Meyer's offense generally only takes off in year two, but has he ever coached so much talent? And am I underrating the effect of going from one of the worst coaches in America to one of the best? And conversely, no one is picking Oklahoma to win the Big XII. I know they lost a ton of talent, but Bob Stoops is still the coach, no? And he has recruited better than Texas over the past several years, hasn't he? And he does have a decent record against the Horns, right?