Monday, September 17, 2007

BlogPoll Roundtable 3.0: Forget Me Not Edition

Handicap your team's chances to win your conference championship. If your team is not the favorite, who is?
(Notre Dame bloggers, please use the following variation on the above: the over/under on wins in your next five games is being set at 1.5. Can you make a good case for the over? (Next five: vs Michigan State, at Purdue, at UCLA, vs Boston College, vs USC)

I love how this question is applicable for every blogger except me. It basically screams Navy football doesn’t matter. Nevertheless, I’ll take this opportunity at assessing Navy’s two main team goals, namely getting to bowl eligibility and winning the Commander in Chief’s trophy. As far as the former is concerned, I still believe that it’s a good possibility. Navy’s defense may be among the worst in the country, but the offense has proven that it can move the ball almost at will and with the likes of Duke, Delaware, Northern Illinois, Army, and North Texas on the schedule, six wins should be in range. As far as winning the CINC trophy, I really think Navy will have trouble with Air Force this year, if for no other reason then the aforementioned fact that we can’t stop anyone on defense. I’d love to say we should beat Air Force this year, but with the way we’re playing right now I just don’t know.

Outline the (realistic) best case and worst case scenarios for your team.

The defense finds some semblance of an identity and while not playing lights out, plays well enough to let the offense win games. Navy has a decent shot at winning the aforementioned games against the likes of Duke, Delaware, Northern Illinois, North Texas, and Army, and if the Midshipmen can avoid shooting themselves in the foot they should win all five of those games. In addition to these five wins, Navy does still have a shot against the likes of Air Force, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame, and even Wake Forest. While pessimistically inclined Navy fans have written off beating the latter two, I think that it is plausible that Navy takes at least one of those games (most likely Air Force) and that it isn’t impossible for Navy to take two of those games, perhaps against a banged up Pitt team or an offensively inept Notre Dame team. Believe it or not, 7-5 or 8-4 are still within reach, although don’t mention it to most Navy fans, who’ll tell you you’re making unrealistic expectations for the team.

By the same token though, a worst case scenario is also possible, and maybe at this point more likely. Navy could very well drop the decision to Duke this Saturday if the defense can’t get itself in order, and go on to lose to an Air Force team that suddenly looks like one of the best in the conference. With the moral of both the Brigade and the team low, the team struggles to get back on track the rest of the season, and drops games against Notre Dame, Pitt, and Wake by large margins. While the Mids finish fairly strong against a weak schedule, it’s not unforeseeable that a team like North Texas could “upset” Navy, especially considering the way they are playing offensively. Like it or not, 4-8 and 5-7 are just a few bad games away.

We're only three games in to the season, but teams and storylines are starting to take shape. Compare your team to a character or theme from a fable or children's tale.

Definitely the mid 19th century children’s book Der Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffman (the author, not the Nazi.) As Dwight Shrute reminds us in Season Two of the Office, this book of cautionary tales that his Grandmater used to read to him is not a complete waste of time to the modern reader. Just as the roving tailor guy cuts off the thumb of the kid who won’t stop sucking it, so do opposing offenses cut through Navy’s defense when the middle linebacker fails to line up the defense correctly, which happened on basically every play on Saturday.

Imagine you're the coach of your team. Give three specific changes you'd implement immediately which you think would have the biggest impact on improving the team.

1. Stop Blitzing Up the Middle- I’m in the minority here, but as soon as people realize that blitzing the middle linebacker isn’t going to get any more pressure on the quarterback the sooner they’ll realize that keeping that middle linebacker in the middle of the field takes away the easiest completion in the game and prevents the quarterback from scrambling for obnoxious amounts of yards.
2. Let Joey Bullen kick field goals- Harmon is usually a reliable kicker but Bullen has a “big” leg and has shown the ability to kick in the clutch, something I think we’re going to need as the season goes on. At least give Joey a shot is all.
3. Get the ball to the slots more- Ya’ll know what I’m saying.

USC, LSU/Florida, and Oklahoma have established themselves as the frontrunners in the early going. Which other team or teams are you eyeballing as potential BCS party crashers?
Boston College.

Even though I hate them, I think it’s conceivable that they go undefeated this year and dominate the conference. They’ve already beat a John Tentua defense everyone always goes all “OMG!” about, so playing at Virginia Tech shouldn’t be as big of a deal especially considering how opportunistic BC has been on defense and how not opportunistic VT has been on offense. Miami shmamy and FSU is always overrated anyway, so yes, I think BC wins the conference and could actually eyeball and undefeated season.

1 comment:

Gary said...

I thought I was the only one that was getting the "unreal expectations" stuff?
I am sorry but when the schedule came out if anyone did not say "W" next to:
Ball State
N Illinois
Air Force
That gave us 8 and the thought was we could get 1 from the big guys-Pitt and or Wake.
Win the P Bowl and thats 9-10 wins.
So I never thought even with key losses that we should ever not expect to beat the above!
After all isnt it "Expect To Win" NOT "Expect To Not Expect".
Yes now things are adjusted to "Expect To Struggle" but when the weather was hot-the expectations were not (unrealistic).