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Friday, October 06, 2006

@ Iowa State blog CrossCyed.

1. We're about halfway through the season at this point. Have you gotten a gauge on your team's chances this year to make noise in conference play, or is the team still a total freaking mystery?

Uh... yeah. I think Michigan is poised to make the proverbial noise. Question marks from the beginning of the year have been filled:

  • Rondell Biggs has emerged as a pretty good bookend for Lamarr Woodley; Will Johnson and Terrance Taylor have combined with Alan Branch to create an extraordinarily effective three-man rotation at DT.
  • Shawn Crable and Prescott Burgess are playing better. They haven't been outstanding but they've been pretty good, lightyears better than last year.
  • Morgan Trent has claimed the starting corner spot opposite Leon Hall.
  • Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington are kind of good.
  • Chad Henne is playing frighteningly well.
Other than Rueben Riley's persistent dodginess and the apparent lack of depth in the secondary, Michigan has no holes. It's a good team, yo. Also: Lloyd Carr has been given many opportunities to make incorrect punts and taken none of them, unless you count fourth-and-fourteen from the 35. I do, but only barely. Also, Michigan has been fairly conservative but lethal when they exploit opponents' reaction that conservatism. So, yeah.

2. Many of the bigger conferences such as the Big 12 and the Big 10 use a rotating schedule to determine conference games each year. What are your feelings on the current system used in your conference? Does a rotating schedule work? Has your team always caught a break?

We're SOL with 11 teams. If we still had ten going to a full round-robin would be a no-brainer, but we don't. I'd love to add a ninth conference game anyway, but accursed math makes that impossible. Ten conference games is beyond reason. So there's nothing to do, really. One thing that would be nice: adjusting the byes so that no team misses Ohio State and Michigan in the same season. Purdue is poised to blow their two-year Rose Bowl ticket, but Iowa is next up and seems more likely to take advantage.

And catch a break? If you miss Michigan, you're guaranteed to be bottom-half in the league. Beware the Michigan bye.

3. In an effort to get to know more about college football, both nationally and regionally, what have you done to expand your college football horizons? Have you caught yourself watching games from other conferences, or taking an interest in games that show up on ESPNU or Fox Sports?

Well... no. I have long advocated finding a niche and becoming lord of that niche. My niche is Michigan and the Big Ten, so I do things like DVR Penn State-Northwestern and keep an eye on Wisconsin-Indiana. I watch as many national games as I can, but one only has so much time to watch/tape football. I still watch every big game I can (which does not include Cal-Oregon this weekend since I get Nebraska-Iowa State -- thanks for nothing, ABC) but if things are approximately equal, I will stay in my wheelhouse.

4. What would you change about the current exposure your team gets, either on the radio, television, print, or on the internet?

Michigan doesn't exactly want for attention, but I would like it if Drew Sharp was reassigned to prep volleyball. And forced to dress up like a clown to attend games. And then spanked on the local news. By Madeline Albright.

5. During last Saturday's game against I-AA Northern Iowa, Iowa State trailed 21-7 at the half. The Cyclone Marching Band played a variety of songs from animated shows, including selections from South Park titled "Blame Canada" and "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" Needless to say, the Cyclones outscored the Panthers 21-6 in the second half. If you had to pick one song for your favorite team to rally to, what would it be? Because we all know what they did for the 2005 White Sox, Journey and "Don't Stop Believing" are not to be considered.

Someone else already chipped in "Livin' on a Prayer." I concur. There was an 80s nostalgia halftime show at some time last year featuring the aforementioned. When the band got to the chorus, the student section sang along, prompting the band to play it the remainder of the year when things got tight. This worked against Penn State. Uh... not so much against Minnesota.