With 7.1 the usual placement is L/C/R with two sides and two rears. As for content, it used to be that surrounds were mostly ambient sounds, intended to impart a feeling of 'space', but now more and more the surrounds are being fed discreet directional content. I think it would be odd to hear something that's supposed to be panned hard left coming from front left. I don't know what the intent is of 'front surrounds', the term being an oxymoron anyway.
Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
The Laws of Physics aren't swayed by opinion.