Cavalcade of Whimsy, Part 2. Forcing FSU
Florida State QB Christian Ponder
Florida State QB Christian Ponder
Posted Sep 14, 2010

Cavalcade of Whimsy, Tuesday, Sept. 14, Part 2. The ten things about the world of college football to be grouchy about

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Sept. 14 - Week Two, Part 2

By Pete Fiutak

- Sept. 14,  Cavalcade of Whimsy, Part One. The Boise State Issue

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
The ten things about the world I'm grouchy about …

10. The Hot Seat
Firing a man should never be taken lightly. When a head coach gets canned, he's usually sitting on a pile of money made by being the No. 1 guy, and he's probably going to get another job in about 15 seconds. However, it's not the same for the staff, the assistants, and the families involved. Even so, if you want to be a football coach, you know what you're getting into and you have to expect to pick up and move around on a regular basis. With that in mind, if a coach is obviously gone, then do it as soon as possible to let all involved get on with their lives, and to let the program start recruiting. Minnesota, after losing to South Dakota, needs to make a change and Tim Brewster needs to be allowed to find another job now instead of in January. He'll be a whale of a recruiting coordinator, but it's not working out. It's time Minnesota tries to go big time, and outside of a win over USC, it's going to take something miraculous for Brewster to stick around.

9. The Florida Atlantic Home Game
Throw into the mix the ULM "home" game against Arkansas, played in Little Rock. Thanks to a scheduling quirk, Florida Atlantic was the home team against Michigan State. That wouldn't be a big deal except that the game was played in Detroit. FAU had all its little signs up and it got to wear the home uniforms, but it was hardly an advantage. It's hard enough for the little guys to get the big boys to come out and play, and it stinks that Florida Atlantic doesn't get to host the Spartans on its turf. The home field advantage wasn't a big deal as a mere 36,124 MSU fans bothered to show up, but now this means the Owls start out their season with only one game on its home field until Halloween. Five of the first six, and six of the first eight games are away from Boca Raton. One of those road games is at ULM, who with the date against the Hogs to start the season, plays five of its first seven and seven of its first nine games away from its home turn. The Warhawks don't get their third true home game until November 20th.

8. Boston College LB Luke Kuechly
No one is supposed to say this because Mark Herzlich is still trying to get back into form after his nightmare with cancer, but Luke Kuechly is Boston College's best linebacker. Kuechly might not have the pro scouts drooling like Herzlich did before getting sick, but he has been every bit the tackling machine and every bit the playmaker that the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year was. Playing in 14 games in 2008, Herzlich made 119 tackles with 11 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and six interceptions. The 6-2, 235-pound Kuechly made 158 tackles last season with 13 tackles for loss, a sack, and an interception in 13 games as a true freshman, and he has 21 stops already this season with four tackles for loss.

7. The Ghost of Tebow
You knew this was coming. Every time a big, thick quarterback rumbles for a first down, he's doing it just like Tebow did. Any jump pass from now until the melted glaciers make Gainesville beachfront property will have a Tebow reference to follow. Every time a player gets fired up and yells, every time someone gets paint on his face, and every time there's a marginally talented player who does something gritty, the Tebow reference will come out. No SEC game can be complete without at least four T.T. references. It's in the ESPN contract.

6. "(Insert Quarterback Here) Can Play In The NFL."
I got into several arguments with several West Virginia fans explaining why Pat White wasn't an NFL quarterback. Now, the former second round pick and NFL bust was given the boot by Miami and is trying play baseball. Troy Smith was on top of Mel Kiper's big board at one time. Now he's trying to hang on as a third stringer for the 49ers. Dan LeFevour might be the greatest MAC player of all-time and was great in the Senior Bowl, but his stock plummeted in the draft and now he's on his second team after getting picked up by Cincinnati. He stunk in Bear practices and preseason games, but he was given about ten minutes to develop.

It's really, really, really hard to become an NFL quarterback. There are almost no job openings and it requires a certain combination of smarts, tools, leadership, size, and work ethic to succeed. Josh Freeman and Matt Ryan have "it", while the JaMarcus Russells and Brady Quinns simply don't. Basically, unless it's obvious, like a Ryan Mallett, an Andrew Luck, or a Jake Locker (and even then there's roughly a 1-in-3 shot of it working out), that great college quarterback you think might have a shot to play at the next level, doesn't.

5. The SEC, Presented By ESPN, or ESPN, Presented By the SEC.
College GameDay has done the near impossible by not going fluffy and continuing to be terrific despite adding an extra hour. Its importance and its presence as an influential force continues to grow, and in a sport where perception and hype mean everything when determining a national title and BCS slots, it really does matter what the show chooses to showcase. The problem, now that ESPN has ponied up the billion dollars to showcase the SEC, is that GameDay is quickly becoming a three-hour informercial for the conference. In the opening weekend the show did its thing from Atlanta with LSU and North Carolina squaring off. Fine. Last week, the show came from Tuscaloosa for the Penn State – Alabama showdown. Okay. This week there isn't a big signature game to highlight the weekend, so it would be a perfect time for the show to put the spotlight on a different part of the college football world to give fans a taste of the landscape. Iowa is playing at Arizona in a showdown of two ranked teams; Tucson would be different. Going to Michigan State for the Notre Dame showdown would be a slice. But instead, the show is going to Auburn for the game against Clemson. Another SEC school, another three hours of SEC screaming, and yet another way of hyping up the product so it can be sold along the family of networks and in the heads of the pollsters.

4. Tennessee's Nice Effort
During the broadcast of the Oregon – Tennessee debacle, announcers Mike Patrick and Craig James mentioned in some way throughout the show that Tennessee was playing hard, had nothing to hang its head over, and basically gave it the old college try.

Oregon won 48-13.

I don't care about any past issues with the NCAA, any rebuilding job, or any coaching changes. This is Tennessee. This is the SEC. This is Peyton Manning, mattress-burning fans, retina-burning orange uniforms, pipeline to the NFL, Tennessee, and it got its doors blown off by a Pac 10 team that ripped off 447 yards of total offense and went on a 35-0 second half run.

Certain places are just too big to fail, and Tennessee is one of them. If you're bringing in 100,000 fans, and if you can recruit like the program can, and if you have everything going your way, you win. Now.

3. Calvin Johnson's Touchdown Catch
Technically, if a receiver is supposed to maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire process of the catch, then he should never let the ball go out of his hands until the end of time. It was a catch in every definable way, and if this had happened in a college game, when the regular season games actually matter, instead of in a meaningless pro battle between two teams jockeying for position to avoid the rights to trade away Jake Locker, it would be an all-timer of a gaffe. With that said, Detroit, overcome the adversity and make a play. Just like Oakland against New England in the 2002 playoff game after the Tuck Rule incident, and just like Oklahoma in 2006 against Oregon in 2006 after the blown replay call on the onside kick, Detroit still had chances to win and didn't do it. It's not fair to anyone with any sensibility of sports right and wrong, but coaches preach all the time about overcoming adversity and bad calls, and Detroit didn't do it.

2. Trying To Make Miami and Florida State Good
You can't make a team good just because you want it to happen for you own sense of nostalgia. Miami and Florida State still have the uniforms and they still have speed and talent, but to assume that either program is back to being within 100 miles of where they were when the actually mattered is like waiting for Pearl Jam to come out with a new album that doesn't suck. The two programs might be good enough this year to play for the ACC title, but to suggest that either one is "back" is an insult to all the jaw-dropping teams the two programs used to crank out.

1. A.J. Green, Agents, and the NCAA
In the press release and the statement from the NCAA regarding Green's suspension for selling a game-worn jersey to an "agent." It was written that "an agent is any individual who markets or promotes a student-athlete."

Who markets or promotes student athletes the most? The NCAA.

By allowing for stipends, air travel, hotels, meals, equipment, uniforms and scholarships, and by promoting the players in television ads so the networks can make billions, along with the treasure baths by pretending that the video games aren't using the likenesses of the actual players, and by making money off the merchandising of jerseys, ticket sales, and all the revenue the players generate, then isn't the NCAA an agent and also the biggest violator of the spirit of its own arcane rules? Whether it's fifty cents or a new car or room and board, once you're compensated in any way for playing a sport, you're not an amateur.

This all sounds absurd, right? That's the whole point. This is absurd and this is ridiculous. Green might have been tricked a bit by the guy he sold the jersey to, and he should've known that what he was doing was going to screw him up his year, but at some point, someone in real power is going to realize this isn't a big deal, he'll get angry, and he'll want to break something tasteful over the hypocrisy.

Random Acts of Nutty … Provocative musings and tidbits to make every woman want you and every man want to be you (or vice versa) a.k.a. things I didn't feel like writing bigger blurbs for.

- Oklahoma State is the textbook definition of fun-bad. The defense is mediocre and the special teams are struggling in the return game, but the offense is blowing up like Twitter after Justin Bieber tweets about what he had for breakfast. Kendall Hunter is running wild, Brandon Weeden is operating the Dana Holgorsen offense efficiently, and the attack has hung up 99 points in two games against Washington State and Troy. Up next is Tulsa, who's fourth in the nation in total offense and fourth in passing, and it's followed up by a date with Texas A&M, who's fifth in the nation in total offense. Have fun, Cowboy fans.

- Knowing what we know now and with all doctors are starting to learn, if you need smelling salts, as Notre Dame's Dayne Crist did against Michigan, you're out. An adult needs to take away the helmet.

- Looking for this year's Freddie Barnes? It might be another Bowling Green target in senior Kamar Jorden, who has 23 catches for 279 yards in his first two games. That projects out to a 138-catch, 1,674-yard regular season, while Barnes last year finished with 155 catches for 1,770 yards and 19 touchdowns.

- And you don't like the option offense, why? Against Arizona, Citadel quarterbacks combined to complete 3-of-14 passes for 21 yards.

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world

1) Overrated: Vuvuzelas … Underrated: Cowbells
2) Overrated: The Barry Krauss tackle … Underrated: The Don McNeal tackle
3) Overrated: James Madison 21, Virginia Tech 16 ... Underrated: Boise State 33, Virginia Tech 30
4) Overrated: The Texas RB situation ... Underrated: The Iowa RB situation
5) Overrated: The Verizon Fascinate ... Underrated: The remix of the Human League's Fascination

"Tracy did mention we shouldn't let him gamble. Or drink too much."… I know, I know, we've come to an understanding over the last few years. I miss all my sure-thing picks, you go the other way, I keep your daughter off the pole for another week. So what do I go and do? I nail my first three picks. I'm sorry, I'll try to do better, or worse, or … here they are … Week 2 Results: 1) Central Michigan +8 over Temple (W, Temple 13-10), 2) Alabama -11 over Penn State (W, Bama 24-3), 3) NC State +3 over UCF (W, NC State 28-21) … Record So Far: 3-0

For this week … 1) Purdue -16.5 over Ball State, 2) Alabama -22 over Duke, 3) Texas -3 over Texas Tech

If the college football season ended right now, this would be my Heisman ballot cast for the Most Outstanding College Football Player in the United States for 2010. However, in protest, I'll vote Reggie Bush No. 1 and leave the other two spots blank if he gets his Heisman taken away. … 1) Denard Robinson, QB Michigan, 2) Terrelle Pryor, QB Ohio State, 3) Kendall Hunter, RB Oklahoma State

Sorry this column sucked, it wasn't my fault … like Notre Dame's T.J. Jones, I was about to cross the goal line with this column, but I dropped the ball before finishing. Fortunately, the column was never reviewed.