Cavaclade of Whimsy - MSU's Wild Weekend
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio
Posted Sep 21, 2010

It was a great, wild weekend that ended with a major scare. Looking back on the expired play clock in East Lansing and Mark Dantonio's heart attack, and looking ahead to what has to happen for Boise State to play for the national title, in the Week 3 Cavalcade of Whimsy.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Sept. 21 - Week Three

Past Cavalcades
- 2008 Season | 2009 Season 
- Jan 19, Part 1 - Oh those wacky coaches 
- Jan 19, Part 2 - The sucky 2009 season 
- Sept. 7,  The Marcell Dareus Issue
- Sept. 14, The Boise State Issue

E-mail Pete Fiutak

- Week Three, Part 2 - Ten New Stars In The College Football World 

Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … I'm giving up my 2005 column, but it's not an admission of guilt. I'm showing respect to the column itself and to the people who came before me and the people coming after. I just felt like it was the best thing to do, the most respectful thing to do, because, obviously, I do respect the column. I do respect all the things it stands for."

"Stop! Stop! Will you stop that! Stop it! Now, look! No one is to stone anyone until I blow this whistle! Do you understand? Even, and I want to make this absolutely clear, even if they do say Jehovah." … Ask any former Heisman winner about the Reggie Bush situation and you get Butthead commenting on Poison's video for I Want Action.

Q: "So, what do you think about the Reggie Bush situation?"
A: (Insert former Heisman winner here): "Um, uhhhhh, um, I don't think it's right. Uhhh, um, huh, huh. It's unfortunate."
Q: "What would you have done in the same situation?"
A: (Insert former Heisman winner here): "Uhhhhhhhh, I probably wouldn't have given it back."
Q: "Were agents and boosters a temptation when you won?"
A: (Insert former Heisman winner here): "Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. (Nervous laugh) No."

"Last wish? I wish … you had … more time." … Alright, fine, the play clock really was at double zero and "Little Giants" shouldn't have counted, at least by the strict letter of the law, but it's a good thing that the Spartans weren't flagged for delay of game. Notre Dame fans have a beef, and Michigan State fans would be going ballistic if the fake field goal was on the other foot, but this is the equivalent of a holding call that wasn't made on an answered Hail Mary. The fact that the Spartans got the snap off one second after the clock ran down had nothing to do with the play's success, and it wasn't why the Irish lost. Remember, this is still a game, and while there are rules that need to be followed, this is one of those times when swallowing the whistle should be allowed in a let them play sort of way. Even so, this … excuse me, I have a text coming in. Yikes. It's a Florida Gator texting me that it's my "time to die" after I refused to let him in my office.

This is nothing compared to the spin on what Favre sent to Jenn Sterger … Oops, I was wrong. My bad. Apparently, Florida's Chris Rainey "misspoke in the text," according to attorney Huntley Johnson, Jr.

"Anyway, I went to this doctor. Well, he told me I swallowed a lot of aggression ... along with a lot of pizzas. Huh, huh, huh, pizzas." … Of all the coaches who appeared to be destined for a major health scare, Mark Dantonio was low on the list. He's relatively mild-mannered, for a coach, he looks like he could go out and run a 10K at the drop of a hat, and he seemed like a relatively mellow guy (again, for a coach) when I've talked to him. But you never know.

I'm surprised this doesn't happen more.

Beyond the fame, the money, the glory, and the sheer coolness of the gig, coaches lead awful lives. They have no time whatsoever for anything other than football (at least the great ones, other than Steve Spurrier, do), and they're constantly on the go, constantly working, and constantly worrying. When they're not fretting over the team's lack of focus for the upcoming game against the FCS team, they're worrying about which player is about to get caught sexting a photo of his wang or discussing his favorite types of pot on Facebook. They're constantly being forced to kiss the butts of 17-year-olds in a year-round recruiting cycle, they have to always be as pleasant as possible around the fan base, and they're constantly trying to squeeze in 25 hours of work into a 24 hour day.

No one has ever been forced to become a head football coach, and they bring all the stress and strain on themselves by choosing the vocation, but with even more pressure than ever, Dantonio won't be the last coach to suffer a heart attack after – or during – a big game.

"This is the big one! You hear that, Elizabeth? I'm coming to join ya, honey!" … I'm penciled in for my first grabber around the autumn of 2016. It was originally scheduled for the spring of '14, but the Dantonio news was scrolling on the TV screen just as I was thinking about making sweet, sweet love to a KFC Double Down. I bought myself a few years by choosing the salad (with the dressing on the side).

"OH! Somebody's holding a pound of Aunt Betty's nut butter, and that's a live ball!" … Was the "Little Giants" call really all that gutsy? Dantonio had no faith in his kicker, and it was a coin flip whether or not the field goal attempt would come within 50 feet of the goal posts, much less get through. To go for the fake might have actually been a better move percentage-wise than to try the kick.

Of course, it all changes if Ines Sainz is involved … Mr. Gillette Fusion ProGlide Challenge ad guy, you don't bust into a men's locker room with a camera crew, and you never, ever, under any circumstances, discuss the benefits of "tuggin' and pullin'" next to a man wearing nothing but a towel.

Fortunately, the ACC and Big East will still be represented … You heard it here first (and I'll deny I ever wrote this after it doesn't actually happen); unless Alabama loses the SEC Championship game, the SEC will only get one team into the BCS.

There are ten spots available in the BCS with the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 10, and SEC guaranteed to get a team in, leaving four bowl bids left. Boise State isn't going to lose and will take one of the openings, and barring a Utah upset in Salt Lake City, TCU appears destined for its second straight undefeated season and an almost certain trip to another BCS game. Out of Ohio State, Iowa, and Wisconsin, two Big Ten teams will likely get invites (with the guess here being the Buckeyes and the 10-2 Hawkeyes … bowls LOVE Iowa and Wisconsin fans) leaving one spot available. Nebraska will take one, win or lose the Big 12 Championship game, and the Texas-Oklahoma winner will likely end up grabbing the other.

If Alabama wins the SEC title, the loser from the East will probably have three losses. The way Florida is playing right now, there's almost no sure thing on the slate, other than Appalachian State. South Carolina has six road games left including brutal dates against Auburn, Florida, and Clemson, and has to face Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas at home.

From the West, LSU has to get by West Virginia this week and has road games against Florida, Auburn, and Arkansas, along with a home date with Bama. Auburn probably has the easiest path and could go 10-2, and Arkansas could be good enough to finish with just two defeats, but Iowa and Nebraska (again, the fan bases) might be more appealing at-large choices depending on the matchup. At the very least, two bid aren't a slam dunk for the down SEC.

"We have a pool and a pond. The pond would be good for you." … Colorado to the Pac 10 in 2011! California 52, Colorado 7. Colorado to the Pac 10 in 2012!

"See, my damie, Pootie Tang don't wa-da-tah to the shama cow... 'cause thats a cama cama leepa-chaiii, dig?" … Tysson Poots. The Southern Utah receiver might be the best receiver in the FCS with 21 catches for 314 yards and three touchdowns so far, and with 147 yards against San Jose State, he has gone over the 100-yard mark in seven of his last eight games and nine of his last 11. I don't really care, but I feel the need to inject the words Tysson Poots into my life whenever possible.

"They'd have his last known address. Names of relatives... Well it's a chance, isn't it? How can you be so obtuse?" … First of all, Boise State is going to obliterate Oregon State, and then it's going to run roughshod through the rest of the schedule on the way to 12-0. No, Nevada isn't going to come up with the monster upset in a 65-48 shootout in Reno on November 26th, and no, Fresno State won't have something special up its sleeve the Friday before. Boise State is that good and it's that motivated to show everyone that it deserves a shot at the title. So what is it going to take to get there?

The world seems to be ready to come up with any excuse to justify keeping Boise State out of the fun. Virginia Tech lost to James Madison … the WAC isn't any good … he only came along to lift my luggage … it doesn't matter. If voters don't want to pick the Broncos, they won't, so the situation (and Snooki and JWoww) must be perfect to get to the BCS Championship.

As of right now, if everything is equal and based on what public and voter perception will likely be in a few months, here's the national title pecking order (taking the ACC out of the mix, since no one in the league will be unbeaten by the time the season is over).

1) Undefeated SEC champion
2) Undefeated Big Ten champion
3) Undefeated Big 12 champion
4) Undefeated Pac 10 champion
5) One loss Alabama, if it wins the SEC championship
6) One loss Florida, if it loses to Alabama on the road but wins the rematch in the SEC championship
7) Undefeated Boise State
6) Undefeated West Virginia
7) Undefeated TCU
8) One loss Ohio State

So even though Boise State is currently ranked third and TCU is ranked fourth, it might take a near-perfect storm to play for the whole ball of wax.

The Broncos and/or Horned Frogs have to go unbeaten and do it with great vengeance and furious anger, and they need the SEC champion to finish with two losses, Ohio State to finish with two losses (or the non-Buckeye Big Ten champion to finish with one loss), and the Big 12 and Pac 10 champions each to have a blemish or three.

It can be done. Last year, if would've been between TCU and Cincinnati to face Alabama if Texas had lost to Nebraska in the Big 12 title, and in 2007, LSU won the SEC title with two losses but got every other break to play for the national title.

Boise State, I'm trying, I really am … Obviously, winning the WAC doesn't compare to winning the SEC title, but it might not be as completely miserable as you think. New Mexico State is among the worst teams in America and Louisiana Tech isn't any good, but San Jose State pushed Wisconsin, Utah State scared the heck out of Oklahoma, Hawaii pushed USC and is always dangerous when the offense is working, Idaho obliterated UNLV and gave Nebraska a wee bit of a game, Nevada blew away Cal, and Fresno State already beat Cincinnati and it'll probably beat Ole Miss this weekend. Compare that to the Big East which has West Virginia and a big bowl of goo, and maybe the WAC isn't too … sorry. I can't do it.

"Let me tell you what I do know. Every day I come by to pick you up, and we go out drinkin' or whatever and we have a few laughs. But you know what the best part of my day is? The ten seconds before I knock on the door 'cause I let myself think I might get there, and you'd be gone. I'd knock on the door and you wouldn't be there. You just left." … If you have a chance to make somewhere around $50 million to play football, you do it. Even though Sam Bradford got roughly $8 more in guaranteed money as the No. 1 pick for St. Louis this year than he would've made as the No. 1 pick for the Detroit Lions in 2008, it was still a risky move considering you never know how the draft market is going to go. For Jake Locker, who was every scout's sure-thing top-pick for the 2011 NFL Draft, now he's going to see his stock possibly slide in a big way after completing 4-of-20 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions in the ugly loss to Nebraska.

I know Locker came back for all the right reasons and he wanted to improve, but a red flag has to go up whenever any player not named Manning has a chance to be a top draft pick and doesn't take it the moment he's able. If you're a player, a real player, you want to be in The League. Now. It's one thing to come back for a junior year like Bradford did, but Brady Quinn and Matt Leinart are the prime examples of quarterbacks who failed to capitalize on their high stock after their junior seasons and turned out to be mega-flops. For Locker, now he has major question marks that would've been overlooked last April. Looking ahead, only six teams, (Minnesota, Buffalo, Seattle, Arizona, Cleveland, and Oakland) might be in the market to spend a top-ten pick on a quarterback, and while Locker might still be a first rounder, there's a huge difference between being No. 1 overall choice and being taken somewhere later on down the line. Bradford got $60 million guaranteed, while Tim Tebow got a $9.7 million in promised dough at the 25.

But it's okay, obviously, because the team is 3-0 … (Something wildly entertaining and delightfully pithy about Jesse Palmer's hair was supposed to go here, but the blurb was stolen by a Florida player.)

"Spread your love, let's spread our love together/Spread your love, I can feel it getting better/Spread your love, let's bring our hearts together/Spread your love, spread your love around." … One of the popular offseason notions was that the spread offense was a dying art. Defenses were starting to catch up to it, more and more teams were going to a pro style attack, and the game was starting to evolve back to the days before a team with a mobile quarterback and an athletic line could crank out yards in chunks. How over is the spread? Urban Meyer isn't using it and Texas bailed to go to a more conventional, balanced attack.

Apparently, Oregon, Michigan, Nevada, and in a different way, Oklahoma State, didn't get the memo.

Oregon is averaging 612 yards per game and is hanging a point a minute on the board. Nevada's version, The Pistol (where the quarterback lines up a bit closer to the center instead of being in a true shotgun) is doing its thing once again, and Michigan has rebounded because the line is finally in place to blow open holes for Denard Robinson and Michael Shaw to fly through. Depending on how you want to define the spread (either the Michigan version, with a running quarterback, or the old Texas Tech passing style), the top ten quarterbacks in total offense run some form of the spread. The thing still works, but at the end of the day it's all about talent. If you're Alabama or Ohio State, you can run the Wing-T and still win by 30.

Meanwhile, Pat White is still looking for his invite to New York … Why is Denard Robinson going to be in the Heisman chase all season long? He'll have to be on the field for a full sixty minutes against everyone. Big wins matter for a quarterback, but in Robinson's case, ridiculous numbers at a high-profile program could be too much to ignore. The Wolverines are giving up 439 yards per game, and that's not going to change too much, so garbage time might be at a minimum.

And I'm still pushing for GameDay to come broadcast from my breakfast nook, but I'd be too sleepy with the show starting an hour earlier … It's Year Two, Week Three of my open lobbying of the ESPN College Football Final show guys to give me a helmet sticker and the signed T-shirt, suitable for framing. Why do I deserve one this week? In the middle of one of the greatest college football Saturdays in years, and right in the meat of the busiest part of my week, I kept the family peace by dragging my Gentile butt to Yom Kippur dinner for 78 minutes and 19 seconds. I also sternly ordered the children to stop singing the Kipper the dog theme song at the table (after putting it in their heads in the first place).

- Week Three, Part 2 - Ten New Stars In The College Football World