C.O.W., Part 2 - Is Bama All That?
Alabama QB Greg McElroy
Alabama QB Greg McElroy
Posted Oct 19, 2010

Is Alabama really worthy of being a part of the national title chase? Should Colt McCoy's number be retired? Ten things to be grouchy about in Week 7.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Oct. 19 - Week Seven, Part 2

By Pete Fiutak

- Oct. 12,  Cavalcade of Whimsy, Part One. Is Oklahoma REALLY No. 1?

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. Tim Brewster
If your job comes down to whether or not you have to win one specific game, then you're fired. Just end it, cut the cord, see the coach and bring your playbook, fired. Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster was basically told had to beat Purdue last week to have any sort of a chance to keep his gig, and his team responded … Purdue 21-0 after 40 minutes. Minnesota eventually lost 28-17, and now the program that was a superpower of superpowers sixty years ago is trying once again to find the right fit. If Wisconsin and Iowa can be great with their relatively limited in-state recruiting bases, then so can Minnesota. There's no excuse not to be far, far better.

9. T.J. Moe
Hmmmmm, how to describe Missouri WR T.J. Moe, the nation's fifth-leading receiver who has caught 50 passes for 589 yards and three touchdowns. He's a bright player in a Steve Largent sort of way, and he's tough, with sort of an Ed McCaffrey thing going for him, and he has nice hands with a Golden Richards, Dwight Clark, Tom Waddle, Wayne Chrebet, Edgar Winter vibe that I can't quite put my finger on. Or I can just do what every announcer an scout does when they try to find an NFL comparison for a Caucasian wide receiver and suggest that he's a "Wes Welker type."

Moe is a big, physical, athletic 6-0, 200-pound target, while Welker is a smallish, quick, 5-9, 180-pound jitterbug. Having read a bazillion old scouting notebooks over the years, and with every African-American quarterback wrongly compared to Warren Moon or Doug Williams, or if they were mobile, Randall Cunningham, it's almost as grating (but not hardly as dangerous) to hear when a white receiver or running back automatically gets lumped into a category because of his skin color.

8. B.o.B.'s "Magic"
I despise country music. I can tolerate and appreciate just about anything (alright, maybe Jimmy Buffett is worse), but life's too short to poison it up when all the twanging and whining kicks in, and that includes that Big & Rich thing that GameDay uses. I wish I liked it, I wish I could get into it, but I can't. Even so, I'd rather get season tickets to the Grand Ole Opry then have to hear the insipid "Magic, magic, magic … I got the magic in me" that accompanies all the ESPN and ABC commercial breaks. It's college football. Just exit and enter with the band playing.

7. Baseball during football season
I ranted last week about how I wished baseball season ended before football season started, and while I was partially joking, I really do want to watch the baseball playoffs and I really do care about them, but I can't when football is on. Bud, you had the entire middle of last week wide open to you. Outside of a few mid-level college games, there was nothing going on. The NBA hadn't started, hockey isn't on TV to take the attention away, and the entire focus could've been on your sport if the ALCS and NLCS had started on Tuesday.

It would've been so easy to play Game One of the ALCS on Tuesday, Game Two of the NLCS on Wednesday, game two of the ALCS on Thursday, and game two of the NLCS on Friday. Everyone would've gotten into the series that wouldn't have been so buried as afterthoughts with the Yankees and Texas playing AT THE SAME TIME AS TEXAS vs. NEBRASKA. Seriously, just to own the Dallas market alone, why wouldn't you adjust the time of the game so it didn't conflict with one of the biggest battles of the Big 12 season? Now each series gets the spotlight to itself during this week, but Cliff Lee's masterpiece was split with Monday Night Football, and if both go the distance, Game 7 of the ALCS will be Saturday night, and Game 7 of the NLCS will be on Sunday night opposite Minnesota and Favre vs. Green Bay. Good luck with THAT. Which gets into …

6. Baseball on TBS
Is Cal Ripken, Jr. trying to do a Steve Wilkos impersonation? As I've whined for years, if a game isn't important enough to be on network TV, it's not important. TBS and its Conan blimp thing every five minutes, along with its mediocre announcing teams (although I'll dream of them once Tim McCarver gets to have his say), makes the showcase of the long baseball season seem as important as a Family Guy rerun, or yet another showing of Green Mile or Shawshank Redemption. And the same goes for ESPN. The Ohio State – Wisconsin game was tremendous, but it seemed to lose something when the first ad going into a break was for Nazi war videos. I believe there was an ad for the Snuggie at some point. It just seems so … so … smalltime, even for ESPN, and the BCS Championship is going to lose its luster because of it. Remember, 22% of America doesn't have cable or satellite TV.

5. Colt McCoy's No. 12
It would be one thing if Colt McCoy had the career he had at Texas Tech or Kansas, but getting a jersey retired at Texas is a whole other world. In general, to get your jersey hanging in the rafters never to be worn again, you need to either be the signature guy in the history of the program (which McCoy isn't), you needed to have won championships, and you need to be in the discussion of the 100 greatest players to ever play the game.

McCoy might be the all-time winningest quarterback in college football history, but it's not like David Greene's No. 14 was retired at Georgia for that (and Kellen Moore will soon take over that honor, anyway). McCoy was a peerless role model and citizen, but, arguably, his most important win came last year when he spent the entire game with Ndamukong Suh sitting on his head. He didn't win any national titles, didn't win the Heisman, and he only came up with one Big 12 title. Texas should have three retired football jerseys: No. 60, No. 20, and No. 34. I'll accept No. 10, but in my world, a player needs to stick around for his entire career to put the number out to pasture. A true Texas legend doesn't want to leave the school no matter how much the outside world is offering him.

4. Central Michigan
From 2006 to 2009, Central Michigan won 38 games, three MAC titles, two bowl games, and went a phenomenal 31-4 in conference play. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but there was still enough talent in place to be a factor in the MAC race. New head coach Dan Enos has struggled out of the gate with a 2-5 record and the two victories coming against Hampton and an Eastern Michigan team that just this week snapped a brutal losing streak. The Chippewas lost four conference games in four years, and unless they pull a Dan LeFevour out of their butts, they're going to lose at Northern Illinois this week and be 1-4 in conference play with home losses to Ball State (who suffered the indignity of losing to EMU) and Miami University on a heart-ripping final play.

3. Troy Calhoun
Up 20-12 early in the fourth quarter, San Diego State had a great chance to take a commanding lead over Air Force with the ball first and goal from the four. The Falcon defense held with three good plays, and on came Abel Perez for a chip shot of a 19-yard field goal. He missed wide left. The next TV shot was of the Air Force sidelines and head coach Troy Calhoun celebrating the miss. Okay, so it was a big moment and it kept the Falcons alive, but there's something sort of wrong about a coach, a grown man, celebrating a missed field goal. Celebrating the stop is one thing, and celebrating a big play is another, or even a blocked field goal, but to raise arms in the air and get pumped up over a guy's mistake isn't right unless it's against a top-shelf team like TCU or Utah. It's not like Calhoun's team made the play; San Diego State's kicker didn't.

2. Alabama
Yes, if Alabama wins out with games at Tennessee and LSU and a dangerous battle against Mississippi State two weeks before the Auburn showdown, then it'll be time to get excited. I don't think the Tide gets through unscathed with Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn all getting two weeks to rest up and prepare, but if they do, and they win the SEC Championship game, it'll be hard to reasonably argue that they don't deserve to be in the national title discussion. However, they shouldn't necessarily be a sure-thing, must-go, even if they finish 12-1, unless several other key things happen.

Doesn't South Carolina's collapse against Kentucky diminish things a little bit? Yeah, unless the Gamecocks win the East and Bama can get its revenge. But for now, this isn't a national title Alabama team as much as it is a good team that can potentially be special. There's absolutely no excuse for a team with Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson to be fifth in the SEC in rushing averaging 184 yards per game, partly due to an overrated offensive line that's getting Greg McElroy wiped off the field. So far, the Tide line has allowed a whopping 21 sacks, while the pass rush is among the worst in the nation and is last in the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss. And then there's the little matter of the résumé. Beating Arkansas in Arkansas is good, but beating Florida at home right now is shooting par and beating Penn State isn't requiring anything more than a gentle push at the moment. If Bama really does deserve to be in the BCS Championship chase, blowing away Tennessee will be a must.

1. BCS

This isn't fun.

Every year about this time I write about how much the BCS sort of sucks, but now, more than ever, it really sucks and it's just plain ridiculous. I equate it to my whine about instant replay and that there's no nobility in a missed call. There's no joy and there's nothing good about having to guess which teams might be the best in America. Refraining from the normal noise about the need for a playoff, the controversy and lively discussions generated right now about the pecking order of teams isn't quirky fun and it isn't a plus for the sport. It might be nice programming for ESPN to have everyone sitting around gabbing about apples and oranges, but waiting for the top ten to be unveiled is like The Decision without the kids in the background.

Wouldn't it be far more fun to spend all of our college football discussion time talking just about the games, the players, and the conference races? Instead of having to scrutinize the process and figure out ways to keep some teams out and put others in, wouldn't it be more enjoyable to look ahead at the possibility of Boise State or TCU or West Virginia in a first round matchup (sorry … there really is no reason not to have a playoff).

College football isn't a better sport because of the BCS and the discussions surrounding it, it's a fantastic sport in spite of it. It's the same song and dance every year, but this season, fan bases of teams deserving to get their cut at the championship are going to end up unfulfilled no matter what they do in a bowl game. And the "every week is a playoff" cliché doesn't apply when you're Boise State and you beat everyone in your path, or if you're Michigan State and you suffer from not being considered good enough in the offseason to merit a high starting spot to launch from. For no fault of their own, teams can do everything right, win every game, and do everything they're supposed to, and it won't be enough if Oklahoma and Oregon win the rest of their games.

I asked this of Fox and now I'm asking it of ESPN. It's your basement, your rules, your game show; you paid for this. Look out for your own self-interest (Ratings! Ratings!! Ratings!!!) and force the issue to change this cockamamie system so you can center your programming on all the other aspects of the sport, like the sport itself. Do this, and the people will love you for it. ESPN, if you can force the lunkheads to create a reasonable playoff that enhances the regular season and settles the issue on the field instead of in the studio, college football fans will be yours forever.

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.

- I don't care if you're throwing against air, completing 69.5% of your passes for 1,567 yards and 16 touchdowns with just one interception is amazing. Boise State's Kellen Moore has thrown a mere four picks in 582 attempts over the last two seasons.

- A few stats from the most entertaining game this year that you didn't watch. Louisiana Tech bombed away on Idaho in a 48-35 win. In that game, Ross Jenkins threw for 422 yards and three scores, but his counterparts, the combination of Nathan Enderle and Brian Reader, threw for 513 yards and five touchdowns with just one interception. However, Idaho only ran for 20 yards, while Louisiana Tech rumbled for 261 yards and three scores with Lennon Creer tearing off 179 yards and two scores. By the college rating system, Enderle had a 126.5 passer rating, Jenkins a 173.5, and Reader, by completing 8-of-10 passes for 140 yards and two scores, had a passing efficiency rating of 263.6. Moore leads the nation with a rating of 190.35.

- Michigan's spread faced two real defenses, Michigan State's and Iowa's, and it struggled a bit. Nebraska's spread was shut down cold by Texas and its strong defense. Meanwhile, Auburn's offense faced one great defense, South Carolina's and its 14th ranked run D, and it rumbled for 338 yards on the ground.

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Christina & Jordan … Underrated: Courtney & David
2) Overrated: Josh Luchs … Underrated: Army DE Josh McNary
3) Overrated: Idaho's passing game ... Underrated: Abdullah al-Kidd
4) Overrated: Rich Rodriguez on the hot seat ... Underrated: Losing to Michigan State and Iowa teams that could end up in the BCS
5) Overrated: Ryan Mallett, 10-of-15, 96 yards, 1 TD ... Underrated: Tyler Wilson, 25-34, 332 yards, 4 TDs

"Tracy did mention we shouldn't let him gamble. Or drink too much." … I made my friend millions (actually, he won enough to go see Rudner) on one of the easiest weeks ever across the board, but I can't believe I blew the layup and didn't take FIU over North Texas instead of the Florida-MSU game. I'm not getting cocky … I'm not getting cocky … Week 7 Results: 1) Florida -7 over Mississippi State (L, MSU 10-7), 2) Texas +9.5 over Nebraska (W, UT 20-13), 3) Iowa -3.5 over Michigan (W, Iowa 38-28) ... Record So Far ATS: 12-6 This week's picks: 1) Iowa -5.5 over Wisconsin, 2) Hawaii -3.5 over Utah State, 3) Western Michigan -7.5 over Akron 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. … 1) Cam Newton, QB Auburn, 2) LaMichael James, RB Oregon, 3) Kellen Moore, QB Boise State

Sorry this column sucked, it wasn't my fault … like Michigan State, according to Craig James, the column's "future is in front of them."

- Oct. 12,  Cavalcade of Whimsy, Part One. Is Oklahoma REALLY No. 1?