Thursday, July 30, 2009

Catching up: Let's have a media day

* I was thoroughly unsurprised when Terrelle Pryor was named the Big Ten's preseason player of the year -- remember, we're looking ahead to THIS year, Darryl Clark fans -- but what was surprising was this poll conducted by Varsity Blue (now part of the Mgoblog conglomerate), which asked the players in attendance (as many as possible, anyway) to name the best player in the conference:
  • Arrelious Benn (8)
  • Juice Williams (3)
  • Terrelle Pryor (2)
That's some serious love for Arrelious Benn. It'd be interesting to see just how dominant he'd be in an offense with a real quarterback (no offense to Juice Williams, but every team that faces the Illini will be more concerned with his legs than his arm).

* Despite my common-sense objections, the Michigan State bandwagon continued to gather steam at Big Ten Media Day, with Sparty coming in third in the preseason poll behind Ohio State and Penn State (for some reason, the projected order of the final eight teams isn't released). For a team with a slightly above-average defense that was carried on its back by Javon Ringer -- who is now in the NFL -- and will also be breaking in a new QB ... I don't know, I just don't get it. Personally, I'd rank Illinois and probably Iowa (and maybe even Michigan, if not for my fear of disappointment) ahead of Michigan State right now. For an explanation on Illinois, see here: Other than turnovers, last year's 5-7 team was pretty much statistically equal to the 2007 Rose Bowl team, and since they return pretty much everyone of importance on offense and should still have a decent defense, it's hard to see this team not winning at least eight games.

* Texas and Oklahoma are a lot more equal in the media than they are in Vegas, finishing in a dead heat atop the preseason Big XII South poll (Texas would get the hypothetical tiebreaker with two more first-place votes). Meanwhile, Nebraska was picked as a surprise favorite in the Big XII North, just in front of what should be a fairly strong Kansas team. I have no idea if this is finally the beginning of the Huskers' reemergence from the Bill Callahan debacle, but it has to be a good sign that they're considered a threat again and not just an afterthought (which is strange to say when you consider how ridiculously dominant they were just a decade ago).

* The easiest preseason pick in college football comes in the Pac-10, where USC is the going-away favorite for the eighth straight year. Cal and Oregon were a distant second and third, while Arizona State (the Pac-10's version of Michigan State) came in at fifth despite the fact that they'll probably struggle to qualify for a bowl game.

* Chip Kelly, unlike most coaches, has a sense of humor: "Both myself and Walter Thurmond voted for Tim Tebow as first-team SEC quarterback."

* Arkansas running back Broderick Green, who until recently was one of USC's bajillion former high school All-Americans, has been cleared to play immediately by the NCAA (he transferred back to his native Little Rock to be closer to his ailing grandmother). Green certainly won't surpass first-team All-SEC running back Michael Smith on the depth chart, but he'll probably be second-string this year and the presumed starter heading into next year.

* This has nothing to do with any media day, but Hawaii coach Greg McMackin got himself into some hot water by referring to Notre Dame's team dance at a banquet prior to the Hawaii Bowl last year as "this little faggot dance." He tried to retract the word as soon as it left his mouth, and he apologized profusely afterward, but really, the only people who should be offended here are the Irish players (their dancing must have been pretty bad to inspire that kind of language from a 64-year-old). To me, the bigger issue is that McMackin decided to enact some personal revenge for Notre Dame's epic beatdown by criticizing what was apparently a nice gesture from the Irish to their opponents. The whole thing was completely unnecessary.

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