Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Blogger Roundtable Week 3

This week's questions in the Big Ten bloggers roundtable come from Sean at Michigan Sports Center.

The powers that be in the Big Ten bloggers alliance decided long ago that a good way to decide who would host these roundtables would be based on matchups. This week's Notre Dame v. Michigan tilt was assumed to be the game of the week. Oh, how times change. I guess it's still going to be nationally televised.

Anyway, on to the questions.

1. Now that two weeks of play are behind us, what is one encouraging surprise and one downing disappointment from your team? (Easy answer to the latter part of the question for Michigan bloggers)

The most encouraging part of Minnesota's 1-1 start is the play of redshirt freshman Adam Weber. He certainly struggled during the first half of his first outing, but led the Gophers on a big comeback against Bowling Green and played well enough against Miami (Ohio) to earn co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors. Weber will still have some rough patches, but he's a true dual-threat option and has looked increasingly poised in pocket. One Minneapolis columnist compared Weber to Fran Tarkenton. That might be a stretch, but Weber has four years to mature and could end up as one of the best quarterbacks in Minnesota history.

As for the disappointment .... Offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar has done all he can to make the Gophers 0-2. In Weber's first start, he came out throwing, ignoring the fact that Weber's best asset is his legs and the Gophers' best asset is an o-line and running game. In game two, up three scores with time dwindling, Dunbar decided that the best way to run down the game clock was to throw incessantly. What happend? Incompletion, incompletion, incompletion, punt and a big Miami (Ohio) comeback. He was dubbed the "extreme schemer," but he's more like an "extreme douchebag."

2. A look at the current Big Ten standings shows things dead-locked record-wise for the most part. Once conference play actually begins, which two or three teams pull away from the rest of the pack?

Michigan is a joke. Ohio State looks questionable. Wisconsin had a scare at UNLV. The most impressive team so far has been Penn State. Purdue hasn't been challenged and could put up enough points to beat anyone. I'm going to say Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

3. Has your team ever played in a game that was just downright boring and impossible to watch? I ask this because going into the Michigan-Notre Dame game, looking at it on paper, it is shaping up to be one of the ugliest we may see all year.

Many Minnesota games are unbearable to watch, but not because they are boring. During the Glen Mason era, the Gophers participated in many fun shootouts. The problem was our defense was atrocious and we surrendered numerous leads. No particular game stands out, but many of those fourth quarter losses were tough to watch.