Maize n' Brew, one of the 4.3 billion Michigan bloggers in world hosts this week's 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?
Florida. There is NO FRIGGIN' WAY they're going to make it through the Tennessee > Kentucky > Alabama > LSU > Auburn > Georgia stretch of their schedule unscathed. They get one breather in six weeks. They won't survive it.
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?
This year is so wide open and I've had that opinion before the first game of the season kicked off on August 31st. Despite losing Bush for the season and Brohm for several weeks, I think Louisville can make a legitimate run if they can get past West Virginia (no small task of course.) Their schedule shouldn't provide many scares (don't look past USF this year though guys) and they can make a run at it despite missing some superstars.
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?
Historically speaking, Alabama has solid road records against some of the quality competition in the conference. They've only lost to LSU twice in Baton Roughe since 1969 and have only lost at Florida once. Though we've dropped four of the last five in Knoxville, we've won six of the last 10 there. We're 2-6 all-time at Auburn, but that's also come during the lowest point in Bama's history, so I'll say the jury's still somewhat out on that one for now.
Though it may be an odd choice given the fact that we're 4-3 in Fayetteville & Little Rock, I'm going to go with Arkansas in general. Arkansas, more than any other team that's on Alabama's scheduele every year tends to show how the rest of the season is going to go. The games are typically close and when Alabama beats the Razorbacks they tend to have a good season and they go in the toilet for the rest of the year if they lose. See this handy chart I posted yesterday for evidence on that.
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.
- I think Auburn is the only team in the conference with a shot at going undefeated (only Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Georgia are left.)
- I think Alabama is still 2 years or so away from being able to contend again for the division title.
- LSU could very well run the table from here on out and still wind up 2nd in the division.
- Florida will lose at some point. Too many chances to fail unless they play perfect football the entire season.
- Georgia will lose at some point (Jacksonville anyone?)
- Tennessee will drop another game or two.
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.
I don't have a typical game day beverage. I'm probably the least superstitious and least ritualistic sports fan on the planet.
If I'm going to a game I don't typically like drinking beforehand. I might have one beer, but that's it. I'm not picky about beer either. I have a few I don't like (Red Stripe springs to mind), but I don't care if it's Newcastle, Miller Lite, Yuengling, Tsing Tao, Singha, Budweiser, etc. More than anything, I drink water at games because it is typically hotter than Hades in the stadium for the first half of the season. I tend to do my eating and drinking (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) after the game...and depending on the outcome, it's either drinks of joy or despair.