BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 22: Members of the Colorado Buffaloes cheerleaders perform for the crowd during the fourth quarter against the Oregon Ducks at Folsom Field on October 22, 2011 in Boulder, Colorado. Oregon defeated Colorado 45-2. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Welcome to our weekly discussion amongst The Ralphie Report's staff. Same format as last week, so dig right in.
This week we had a guest "discusser" join us, so say hello to Zach Bell (yes, he is Bob's brother). We're trying to convince him to help us with some of our basketball coverage this year so make sure and tell him how great his responses are (which they actually are).
Feel free to throw your answers to the same questions into the comments below.
1) Illinois was able to beat this Arizona State this season by sending a ton of pressure at Brock Osweiler and generating six sacks and two interceptions in a low scoring affair. With both Rodney Stewart and Paul Richardson (most likely) out on Saturday, is this a game plan that Buffaloes defense could emulate?
Zach: I don't think it is a plan they could emulate but the Buffs don't have much of a choice. With a decimated secondary, if they allow Osweiler to stand back in the pocket, he is going to have a career day. The Buffs are going to need to bring some pressure on Osweiler who is still prone to making mistakes. The second part of the Illinois game is the important part: low scoring. If Colorado continues with their trend of slow starts on offense and can't get the running game going, this matchup could turn as ugly as the Washington game. If the Buffs can sustain some drives and make some plays, there is hope.
Ash: Not only 'could', but 'must.' We've gotta bring the big guy down and then turn around and play keep-away to prevent over-exposure to their offense.
David: Yes, in that I believe they'll try to put as much pressure on Osweiler as possble, but no, because we don't have quite the individual talent up front that Illinois possesses. But if we can get that pressure from blitzes, then I think we'll do okay.
Jon: With a healthy defense I think this could be doable, but I'm not sure the Buffs will be able to get enough pressure on Osweiler to make it happen. The secondary would have to be great in coverage to give our pass rushers enough time.
2) What are your expectations for the Buffaloes men's basketball team in their first year in the Pac-12 and second under Tad Boyle?
Zach: My natural instinct is I expect them to survive and await the arrival of the 2012 class. For as much as CU lost from last year's team and with a relatively new coach, most would expect this team to limp through the 2011-12 season. Interestingly enough, however (and exactly opposite of the CU football team), the Buffs' schedule is so horrid this season that they might actually be able to make some moves. The Pac-12 is going to be an excellent conference in a few years but that isn't the case right now. With that said, I think Tad has to be hoping for his team to finish 6-9th in the conference. Boyle praises how much more balanced this team will be but balance doesn't mean a whole lot if none of those guys can make shots. That will be the biggest difficulty having lost a 1st round talent in Alec Burks and Cory Higgins who was one of the best scorers in CU history. Utah transfer Carlon Brown is going to be leaned on heavily to score and that should be a familiar role for him since he could light it up as a Ute. Along with Brown, Andre Roberson has to go from glue guy to featured guy in a matter of months. His task list should have just been to shoot 1,000 jumpers a day because the one element he is missing is the one element this team needs; scoring. If he can develop a mid-range jumper to go along with everything else he has...he could become the next Buff in the NBA. Lastly, I'm a firm believer that freshman Spencer Dinwiddie must be starting by conference play. He's a pure point guard and as a recruit, he played with the calmness of a D1 point guard. It is vital that Tad gets him in because he is going to have plenty of distributing to do once the 2012 class arrives.
Ash: In the top half of the conference and an invitation to the NCAA Tournament (that's good enough to get into the tourney, right?)
David: I'm hoping for upper-half of the conference. I think in year one that is reasonable. They kicked butt last year, even with Dufault playing center, but this season he will hopefully be able to move back to forward, his more natural position, with the return of Shane Harris-Tunks, and the supposed improvement by Trey Eckloff. If Ben Mills can log some minutes as well, that's a legitimate big-man rotation, which will be something we haven't had here in years. I like the young talent at guard, plus transfer Carlon Brown. I'm excited for this team. I think we look solid in the conference tournament, and we actually make the NCAA tourney.
Jon: I'll be very happy if this team can finish in the top eight of the conference with a postseason NIT berth, setting themselves up for a big run next season. Anything else is gravy.
3) Would you rather Tad bring in more one or two years and done type guys like Burks, or would you rather see him bring in a lot of 4-year guys that bring a lot to the college game but have no real shot at the NBA?
Zach: I think history would definitely tell you that you need to land somewhere in the middle. John Calipari has his best chance to do it this year and shut everyone up but, up to this point, it remains extremely difficult to win a title with one and dones. In the grand scheme of things, the volume of one or two and dones is very minimal. The best coaches in the business; the Coach K's, Izzo's, and William's get those stud recruits but get them to buy in to the program. The 2009 North Carolina team is the best example of that. Roy Williams got Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, and Tyler Hansbrough all to stay together to build one of the best teams college basketball has seen. But does Carolina win that title without the contributions of freshman (and two and done) Ed Davis? At the end of the day, it is Tad's job to secure the best talent that works in his system that he can. Especially with programs on the rise like CU, it is just not in their best interests to discriminate based on how long they think a player will be there.
Ash: I like a mix: get a stud shooting guard and then build around him with 4-year type players at the other four spots. The team needs the stud for notoriety and the 4-year guys for continuity.
David: Can he bring in both? Those 4-year, hard-working players are important, but so are the incredibly talented ones that jump ship early.
Jon: In a perfect world you would have a nice mix of both, but if Tad can continue bringing in guys that are here for a year or two before heading to the NBA then more power to him. The more notoriety this program can get the better.
1) Who do you see as the favorite in the Pac-12 in the upcoming basketball season?
Zach: I think it is Cal simply based on their experience. The Pac-12 is plagued with teams that lost a ton. UCLA lost Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee, and Arizona is obviously without Derrick Williams. The Golden Bears however, are sitting pretty with a star trio consisting of Allen Crabbe, Harper Kamp and Jorge Gutierrez. And with Mike Montgomery at the helm, it is really hard to argue against Cal at this point. UCLA is probably the closest threat but they are in desperate need of someone who can distribute the ball to their frontcourt which could be one of the best in the country. If you want a darkhorse, it is Arizona. Sean Miller brought in an incredible freshman class starring Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson but Miller is going to have to gel that team quickly if they are going to be a contender.
Ash: I'll go with a stock-outsider answer and say Arizona
David: It has to be Arizona, but I don't know too much about Pac-12 bball to tell the truth. I better read up before the media day!
Jon: I'm going to go with Arizona because they are the most balanced, deep team in the Pac-12. Ucla has great starters (Josh Smith and Nelson Reeves) down low but the Wear twins were piss poor at UNC, and nothing makes me believe they will be any better at UCLA. They have no backcourt except for one freshman and a juco transfer in Lazeric Jones. Cal has three studs in Kamp, Crabbe, and Gutierrez but no other depth to speak of. Kamp is too injury prone. Washington never lives up to expectations. They have some strong players but will ultimately lose games they should win which will effect them in the long run. Oregon is my sleeper, I think they will be very good this year, especially at home.
2) If you were the Big 12 conference who would you select, West Virginia or Louisville?
Zach: At this point, the Big 12 should just lick their wounds and accept both. The conference has been an absolute laughing stock and this WVU/Louisville thing is the latest chapter. If it is performance based, I would take West Virginia. Better football tradition recently and they've got Huggy Bear in place. Louisville seems to have this odd political draw associated with it but the Big 12 really needs to realize they have lost the war and it is time to gather up anyone that can make you money.
Ash: Blech, I honestly don't like either for the Big Xii, but I'd take WVU as the lesser of the two evils. I'd then try to bolster it with a team or two who's in the SEC footprint... FSU? Ga Tech? They need 12 teams, and Boise/BYU do literally nothing for them in the long run.
David: I would take Louisville because (if it's really all about Football) WVU is on the outs in terms of relevancy in college football, while Louisville will be working it's way back up soon with Charlie Strong there. Also it's closer...
Jon: Well, I think they should take both and add either South Florida or Central Florida. But for the purposes of this question I'll say West Virginia. Better football and basketball programs than both A&M and Missouri. Too far away? Shut up world, get on a plane.
3) Give me the final scores:
- Oklahoma @ Kansas State
- Michigan State @ Nebraska
- Georgia vs Florida
- Stanford @ USC
- Wisconsin @ Ohio State
- Oklahoma 24 @ Kansas State 10
- Michigan State 28 @ Nebraska 24
- Georgia 21 vs Florida 27
- Stanford 45 @ USC 28
- Wisconsin 31 @ Ohio State 17
- Oklahoma 55 @ Kansas State 18
- Michigan State 14 @ Nebraska 9
- Georgia 8 vs Florida 6
- Stanford 38 @ USC 27
- Wisconsin 15 @ Ohio State 3
- Oklahoma 44 @ Kansas State 27
- Michigan State 31 @ Nebraska 13
- Georgia 40 vs Florida 13
- Stanford 55 @ USC 17
- Wisconsin 39 @ Ohio State 24
- Oklahoma @ Kansas State 37-13
- Michigan State @ Nebraska 24-21
- Georgia vs Florida 20-27
- Stanford @ USC 24-31
- Wisconsin @ Ohio State 28-13
1) Which Pac-12 arena would you most like to attend for a Buffaloes road game?
Zach: I've always wanted to see an Arizona game at McKale. In a few years, Sean Miller could have rosters that look an awful lot like some of Lute's best.
Ash: I'd like to see a game at Pauley Pavilion at UCLA, but that said I'd even just like coming back to Coors sometime soon.
David: I'm really looking forward to going to Eugene for stuff to see those facilities, so that gets my vote. I want to try to get a tour!
Jon: Everyone has to already know that I'm going to say Arizona, but it's pretty ridiculous that I have seen five football games there and never seen a basketball game. That changes this year.