The Round Up

Some odds and ends….

–The Billboard War of ’06 has taken a new turn. While onepeat.com STILL hasn’t put its sign up in Los Angeles (what are they waiting for, USC to win another 34 in a row?), the USCdynasty.com effort to put one up in Baton Rouge has hit a snag as well, this time from the local billboard company:

As you are aware, we have been bombarded with threats of vandalism if this board goes up in the Baton Rouge Market. Emails have even referenced burning the structure. Other emails have discussed climbing the structure and ripping the copy down.

This campaign has switched gears from a college rivalry to a public safety issue. With this in mind, I am making a decision to not accept this contract.

Thanks,
Garth Roberts
Vice President & General Manager
Lamar Advertising – Baton Rouge

USC Dynasty promptly declared victory and pulled no punches in the process:

And so it goes. A private company with a payroll was perfectly willing to take on some business, until a bunch of insecure **sholes threatened violence. Usually, fanbases riot and resort to violence after their OWN team wins a title. But LSU fans want to riot after seeing news that ANOTHER team has won. Go figure. Maybe people down there just like to burn things. Wouldn’t be the first time in that region, right?
(oof! That hurts!)

In the end, USC is once again the winner, this time in the all-important category of class. If the onepeat people ever get their billboard up, you won’t see Trojan fans resorting to such activities.

I think that’s probably true. The Oregon athletic department put up a Ducks billboard in downtown L.A. in 2002 and there was no problem at all. I think it even motivated USC a bit.

I still like this one proposed by onepeatbog.com:

Anyway, the word I have is that this story isn’t yet ready to die, as there are charges now (shared to me in an email) that Lamar Advertising never really intended to put the billboard up and is using the threat of violence as an excuse. This could get interesting, as the New Orleans press is sniffing around on this again….stay tuned.

–Good piece here by CFR–by way of Whit Watson–on artistry and mechanics in college football. Example of an artist in college football? Vince Young, because he has a carefree approach. Example of a mechanic? Reggie Bush, because of his work ethic.

I would venture, though, that even artists can be hard workers, while I’ve known a few lazy mechanics, too.

–From the Las Vegas Business Press:

We hear that a former NFL great, Heisman Trophy-winning running back from USC who would not exactly be welcomed at a Liz Phair concert, boarded a Southwest flight (for those who don’t know, Southwest only offers sardine-class seating, ugh!) from Fort Lauderdale to Las Vegas during Super Bowl weekend. He was met at McCarran Airport by two bodyguards and a blonde bombshell and “ran through the crowds” into the neon lights.

Um, I think I can guess who this was….

–Former Heisman winner Eric Crouch is on the verge of signing with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts. Apparently, he was a package deal with Jason White, who will take over as assistant groundskeeper for the squad.

–Apparently, there is nothing that the blog-friendly CNN/SI on Campus won’t print, as a girl named Jen Sterger has been awarded a weekly column at that site. Sterger is best known for, well, doing her best Paris Hilton imitation from the stands of the Miami-FSU game last September (dutifully noted first by HP here). I can’t believe that she has been handed a column by a respected sports institution like SI. Shameful. And I can’t wait to read her next piece.

–In his latest, mostly sad, attempt to salvage a wasted effort, the lad at www.mgoblog.blogspot.com (catchy URL!), who likes to chastise people for bad photoshop banners (all the while not realizing that any banner featuring a Wolverine athlete is, like his team, underachieving), writes 713 words defending The Blogpoll’s existence. Among the gems:
..it occurred to me that the thing was working as it was because of its structure, and that any selection of a goodly number of people who paid close attention to college football (and–this is important–realized teams play defense too) would spit out an end result pretty close to the AP poll.

The REALLY funny thing about this is that most of the blogpollers–you know, the ones who pay close attention to college football–watched fewer games than the AP pollsters who were stuck in pressboxes. Why? Because most of them were spending their Saturdays tailgating and watching their own team play. All you have to do is saunter over to a random blogpoller’s site archive–HEY, let’s go to a Michigan site!–and see the typical blogpoll ballot, which usually has the casual disclaimer listing the games watched that week. The blogpoller linked above watched the following games on Thanksgiving weekend:

UT-A&M, final few minutes of ND-Stanford, enough of UF-FSU, parts of LSU-ARK, UVA-Miami

That’s right. In a week when his team wasn’t even playing, this guy managed to watch TWO games in their entirety (and that’s if you believe him). Makes you wonder–him being such a close follower of college football and all–what he was doing all weekend? Working on his site banner, perhaps?

Pssst. The dirty little secret is that this guy–and a lot of other people who pretend otherwise on the blogosphere–can give a rat’s ass about college football. They just care about their own team.

And, hence, his lame effort was often repeated up and down the ranks of the Blogpollers (The Average Blogpoller’s entry: I watched bits and pieces of the Iowa game, as much as I could stand of the Florida game, I saw Herbstreit tell me what to think about the Pac-10 and then saw my own team’s game three times back-to-back! In slo-mo!!), and so we get to the rub of why his poll was pointless. One can indeed argue that any independent poll like the Blogpoll could have logically been a shadow of the AP all year, since things like records and strength of schedule are so important and so on and that’s what the AP and other observers tend to weigh the most. But what we really got in the end was a bunch of guys who watch very few games (the AP) guiding a bunch of guys who didn’t watch ANY games (the Blogpollsters). The Blogpoll might have been really cool if the participants actually watched, say, a minimum of five games every Saturday (hmmm, an actual requirement involving some working knowledge of how games transpired in order to vote? Shocking!). Then, at least the arguments and disagreements would have a little more validity because a larger sample of teams would have been observed. Instead, the result was LOUSIER than the AP poll because at worst it was uninformed and lazy and at best a glib exercise in literary onanism from a bunch of bored grad students. Of course, I was a voter for a brief while. I quickly realized, though, that my time would be better spent watching replays of the 1993 NCAA basketball title game.

Now, on to a subject that ended up achieving more than the Blogpoll in that it actually fostered real debates over subjects relevant to a significant cross section of the college football blogosphere….

–Who will constitue next year’s version of the Gang of Five, my annual earmark of the most elite, innovative offenses currently competing in college football? (yes, kids, it really was that simple all along) In 2004, it was USC, Cal, Boise State, Louisville and Utah. In 2005, I added Florida to the group in anticipation of Urban Meyer’s system switching locales (though it turns out that Meyer’s teams historically do better in their second year in the system, not their first–bad research on my part) and eliminated Utah after three games (once it became clear that the Utes had mostly dropped Meyer’s scheme) and added Notre Dame’s dynamic attack to the group.

After offseason moves, it looks likely that Boise will be dropped this year due to the loss of Dan Hawkins, while there are serious question marks about USC, since Norm Chow’s offensive schemes seem to have been gradually phased out (ever notice how predictable the Trojans got as the year progressed? Quick! Who gets the ball on 4th and 2? That’s right. It’s LenDale White. Congratulations to the usher in section 10). However, it should be banner years for California–which added Northwestern offensive gure Mike Dunbar to its staff–Louisville–which retained coach Bobby Petrino and running Michael Bush–Notre Dame–which has almost everyone back on offense–and Florida–which has had a year to acclimate to Urban Meyer’s system. Those four will likely carry the banner of elite offensive innovation and proficiency in 2006. It remains to be who else belongs in that group in the coming year. Besides USC, other candidates include West Virginia, Oregon, Colorado and Michigan State. Whatever the case, it’s pretty clear that wide open, multi-dimensional offenses will still be in vogue in ’06.

About Heismanpundit

Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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