Sunday, September 07, 2008
The Roundtable Comment Card
Your college football program wants to know how you, its valued customer, thinks of your consumer experience! Please help your program evaluate its performance in the first two weeks of the season! Can you feel the [INSERT NAME OF PROGRAM HERE] difference!?!
(For the record, I'm a Michigan grad and count myself as a casual Georgia fan based on the fact that I grew up and live in the state, along with a bevy of friends went to UGA. Thus, I'll play Janus and answer for both.)
1. How would you rate your program's service to you in the first two weeks of the season?
Georgia - It would be hard for a Georgia fan to complain about the team's start to the season, other than to say that the defense merely appears to be very good as opposed to totally dominant. Georgia's performance in (mostly) containing Dan Lefevour is its best accomplishment of the first two games. The offense looks like it has an embarrassment of options at the skill positions, although it has played the two weakest defenses it will see all year. With that in mind, commenting on Georgia's start is like filling out the comment card at a restaurant after getting ice water and hearing about the veal scallopini special.
Michigan - Oy. The Wolverines' offensive struggles aren't surprising, given the massive change of approach and the youth on the offense, but that doesn't make the repeated bungled off tackle plays any easier to take. It's analogy time: I know that my favorite eatery is under new management and is changing the format from Bavarian family-style to sushi. The sushi is going to be better for my arteries in the long run, but it hurts to try weisswurst rolls every Saturday.
2. How happy are you with your program's overall scheme? We are in a period in which the spread has become a total obsession in the media. If you're a fan of a spread team, are you happy with the way your program has implemented it? If you're a fan of a non-spread team, do you wish that your program would convert to this Xenu of offenses?
Georgia - I like watching Georgia's offense in the same way that I like watching the Indianapolis Colts. Georgia doesn't do anything too fancy. They pair basic I-formation football with a few shotgun looks out of Mark Richt's Florida State heyday. The Dawgs do a good job of serving a basic dish properly. I feel no great desire for Georgia to go to the spread. The defense is great fun. Georgia's defenders seem to play with greater velocity than most others, which I assume is related to the scheme, but I can't put my finger on it.
Michigan - With the number of open receivers downfield that Michigan's quarterbacks have overthrown badly in the first two games, I'm feeling good about this offensive approach. This offense really is a dose of proper execution from being good. I'm not of the school of thought that holds that the spread is a fad that defenses will eventually figure out. The basic problems that the spread presents - the quarterback as a running threat to outnumber the defense in the box, combined with the basic principle of creating running lanes by forcing the defense to defend all 53 yards of the field's width - are not subject to schematic solutions by a defense. I'm excited that Michigan has one of the architects of this scheme, even as the offense is plodding along at 250 yards per game.
3. Rate your stadium's cleanliness and menu options.
Georgia - I mostly sit in the closed end of Sanford Stadium (or at least I did when I went to games in the pre-daddy era) and the options in the plaza on that side are excellent for a college game. The TVs showing other SEC games are an especially nice touch. Sanford Stadium really came through in the miserable 2004 Georgia-Georgia Tech game, which was played in a yucky cold rain, because the concessions stands were properly stocked with hot beverages. Then again, I'm comparing Georgia's offerings against...
Michigan - If you want a game experience from the 1950s in terms of amenities, head to Ann Arbor. The lines for entering and exiting your section and then evacuating your bladder are reminiscent of Epcot Center or the Soviet Union, both circa 1983. As with the product on the field, Michigan apologizes for the inconvenience as it undergoes reconstruction to bring the stadium into the 20th century.
4. As an incentive to provide your valued feedback, you will be entered into a drawing for exciting prizes! What one prize would you like for your program?
Georgia - As tempted as I was to ask for a couple key injuries to lighten Georgia's schedule somewhat, I'm going to scale down my request to an all-night cram session for the Georgia defensive coaches with Randy Shannon & company to discuss their approach to stopping the Florida offense.
Michigan - A quarterback who can get the ball from point A to point B. You know you're in a bad place when you're watching Ball State on a Friday night and you find yourself coveting their quarterback. Actually, the period in that sentence should have come after the word "night."
5. Since we're all about choices, take one of the following two options for entertainment's sake:
a. What's your most memorable experience involving a comment card?
b. If your program were a casual dining chain, which one would it be? Yes, this is a tricky question because the defining characteristic of a casual dining chain is its sameness. No one said this Roundtable would be easy. Bonus points if you can make a compelling case that your program is Chotchkie's or Flingers.
I've tackled this one before, but whenever I see a comment card in a restaurant, I think about my beloved father batting a beef stroganoff baked potato across a table and then angrily demanding to deliver a comment card personally to the manager. Second place, but not not quite as memorable, is the footnoted comment card that I used when ending a gym membership. The list included the following:
1. Inconvenient hours that forced me to race home from work to get in a workout.
2. Unannounced closings of the gym for a variety of community events like bariatric awareness day. (Irony alert!)
3. Broken equipment.
4. Broken TVs.
5. No class options other than gospel aerobics. (On the bright side, Der Wife did get to hear the full version of "G-d is in Control," which we had previously heard only in snippets when Julio Franco would come to bat at the Ted.)
Oddly enough, the person working the desk was completely shocked when I handed in my resignation.