Cavalcade of Whimsy - BCS Title Ground Rules
Oregon QB Darron Thomas
Oregon QB Darron Thomas
Posted Nov 30, 2010

Before we go into the final week of the regular season, let's make sure we have the rules straight in case chaos ensues. What should happen if Oregon loses? What if Oregon AND Auburn lose? Who should be in the title game? This, the Boise State fallout, the ten best road wins of the year, going old school, and more, in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Nov. 30 - Week Thirteen

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
- Sept. 21,  MSU's Wild Weekend
- Sept. 28,  Is Boise State the new Florida State or Miami?
- Oct 5, Oh, that wacky Les Miles
- Oct. 12, Why the Brett Favre situation matters
- Oct. 19, Is Oklahoma REALLY No. 1?
- Oct. 26,  What if all the underclassmen come back?
- Nov. 2, The Notre Dame Tragedy
- Nov. 9, The Hosing of Boise State
- Nov. 16, Cleaning up college football
Nov. 23 The BCS Games We Want To See

E-mail Pete Fiutak

- Week 13 Part 2 - College Football Has A Playoff? 

Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … I think I've struggled a little bit this year, with the youth and with the injuries and the whole bit. I think it isn't where I would like it to be yet. But I think with a good spring and a preseason practice, it could be a pretty good football column next year, and I'd like to be part of it.

"Thanks. Hey, I guess they're right. Senior citizens, although slow and dangerous behind the wheel, can still serve a purpose. I'll be right back. Don't you go dying on me!" … You're about to be 84 years old and you have a choice of a) retiring to someplace warm to do whatever it is that old people do when they go to someplace warm; b) retiring and staying where you currently live, puttering around, watching lots of movies, and talking about what you used to do; or c) remaining as the head coach of a major college football program that's probably going to be ranked in the preseason top 20 next year.

Yeah, the college football world is a more interesting place with Joe Paterno in it.

"You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore, because gentlemen, this is my last press conference." … Now that they're gone, I already sort of miss Boise State. After over a decade of consistent greatness, I was ready to see the Broncos get their shot at the national title, but I'm having a hard time getting too fired up about TCU.

Rose Bowl? Great. Perfect. The Horned Frogs absolutely should be in a BCS bowl, and the Rose Bowl in some respects is an even bigger stage than the BCS Championship. Getting to play Wisconsin is a perfect reward for an unbeaten Mountain West team that's good enough to hang with anyone, but struggled against San Diego State and was ho-hum against Oregon State. The national championship? Let's stick with the Rose Bowl.

It would've been nice to have seen Boise State in a BCS game, but if the Nevada loss means Stanford gets in instead, so be it. So now, after last year's BCS disaster with the Florida vs. Cincinnati clunker, the Boise State vs. TCU snoozer, and the ineptitude of the Georgia Tech vs. Iowa Orange Bowl, the matchups should be far more compelling as long as Auburn and Oregon don't blow it.

Alright, before we go into this ultimate final weekend, let's establish a few national title ground rules in case the Ducks and/or Tigers screw it up.

1) No, voters, you don't get to rethink your vote after the fact. TCU, Stanford, Wisconsin, and Ohio State are done playing, and you can't reshuffle the deck now just because you're having buyer's remorse after putting the Horned Frogs at No. 3. If you wanted to make a change, you had your chance last week and chose not to. There would've been some griping, but after Stanford blasted Oregon State 38-0 and Wisconsin hung a shockingly easy 70 on Northwestern, few outside of Fort Worth would've made too much of a beef if TCU had slipped to fifth. But now it's done. Andy Dalton will be fine for the bowl game, meaning there's no reasonable excuse for moving the Cardinal or Badgers higher just so you can keep the Horned Frogs out of Glendale.

2) No, Auburn shouldn't play for the national title if it loses to South Carolina. There will be a groundswell of support to put an SEC team in the BCS Championship no matter what, but beyond the idea that a team doesn't deserve to play for the national title if it can't win its conference championship, South Carolina wouldn't be a strong enough loss to merit a trip to Glendale. It's not like last year when the two best teams in America, Florida and Alabama, were playing for the SEC title; South Carolina is good, but it's not Oregon (Stanford's one loss), Wisconsin (Ohio State's one loss) or even Michigan State (Wisconsin's one loss).

3) However, at the risk of being inconsistent, if Auburn loses and Oregon chokes against a bad Oregon State team, the Ducks still deserve to be in the national title over Auburn and Stanford. Oregon vs. Wisconsin might be a theoretical argument considering the Badgers won the Big Ten tie-breaker, but it's not fair to move them higher than Stanford at this point (back to Part One). Stanford should be out of the equation no matter what happens in the Civil War (again, a team should have to be the conference champion, and that includes tie-breakers), so to keep the integrity of the regular season intact, if Oregon and Auburn both lose, it has to be Oregon vs. TCU.

4) If Oregon loses and Auburn wins, it's TCU vs. Auburn and there should be absolutely no debate. There's no excuse for a national title-level team to lose to Oregon State, and there's also the A-B-C argument. TCU beat Oregon State, so if Oregon State beats Oregon, the Ducks have no case.

"A parachute not opening - that's the way to die, getting caught in a combine, having your nuts bit off by a Laplander. That's the way I want to go."
… Oregon State, in honor of the passing of Leslie Nielson, Frank Drebin has your slogan for the epic Civil War showdown against Oregon: Nice beaver.

"You want to go in there? I tell him what I know, he's going to dig up something...You got an alibi last night? You better have one. What did you do with the leads? If you tell me what you did with the leads, we can talk." … If Cam Newton was/is going to be nailed for something, it has to happen now before the SEC Championship. If he plays against South Carolina and the Tigers win, then purely as a fan, I don't care if he comes off the plane in Glendale making it rain with $100 bills; I want to see what he and Auburn will do against Oregon or TCU. What I don't want is to see Barrett Trotter under center in my national championship. If something happens and it all gets taken away with an * on January 11th, so be it, but if it's going to be Auburn for the national title, I want to see No. 2 play. If he's not on the field, there will be an Alabama vs. Colt McCoy-less Texas void if the Ducks or Horned Frogs win.

Wyoming 34-31 over New Mexico just missed … Auburn's win at Alabama was tremendous, but technically, it wasn't even a top five win. Based on the BCS rankings, the best road victories this year were: 1) Alabama over Arkansas, 2) Texas over Nebraska, 3) Oklahoma over Oklahoma State, 4) Nebraska over Oklahoma State, 5) Boise State over Virginia Tech (that was a road game for the Broncos even though it was technically on a neutral site), 6) James Madison over Virginia Tech, 7) Auburn over Alabama, 8) Missouri over Texas A&M, 9) Arkansas over South Carolina, 10) TCU over Utah.

"You know, when you were a baby in your crib, your father looked down at you, he had but one hope - "Someday my son will grow to be a man." Well, look at you now. You just got your asses whipped by a bunch of (bleep)dam nerds. Nerds! Well, if I was you, I'd do something about it. I would get up and redeem myself in the eyes of my father, my Maker and my coach!" … So, you still think the college football is nothing more than a delightful pastime played by precocious amateurs as a neat diversion from their hours spent in the library and the lab? Tell that to Boise State and WAC after Kyle Brotzman's $13 million misses.

Yeah, it might not seem nice, right, or fair to criticize and scrutinize an unpaid college kid, but this is a multi-billion dollar business and these plays matter. If Brotzman hits the kick against Nevada in regulation, Boise State is in the national title hunt at best, the Rose Bowl at worst, and Stanford is likely out of the BCS meaning the Pac 10 would've missed out on a monster payday and the WAC would've had one final day in the sun before it fades into the abyss.

"Ken, Lonny, I'd like you to meet... Mohammet... Jugdish, Sidney and Clayton. Grab a seat and make yourselves at home. Don't be shy about helping yourselves to punch and cookies." … Happy Thanksgiving, America! You got your wish. The nation's scourge has been eliminated and Boise State is now out of your BCS and out of your lives. But the loss goes to show the insane nature of college football and why the way it determines a national champion is so screwed up. If Brotzman hits that kick, Boise State is No. 3 and is an Oregon or Auburn loss away from probably playing for the national title. He misses and BOOM … No. 11 in the BCS after sinking like stone despite losing to a 10-1 and nationally-ranked Nevada team that obliterated Cal. It's not like the Broncos lost to San Jose State.

"You may be the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life, with a possible exception of Charles Durning." … Thank you, Boise State head coach Chris Petersen, for not calling one of those chicken(bleep) last possible nanosecond timeouts to try to ice Nevada PK Anthony Martinez.

"Where are those girls? Get those girls over here. Yeah, there was pressure. I didn't want to get beat by a guy with a hook." … Boise State vs. Nevada was being hyped as the biggest sporting event in the history of Reno?! Hello … the Brunswick-Reno Open doesn't ring a bell? Big Ern McCracken's three straight strikes to beat Roy Munson in the Ali-Frazier of bowling showdowns? How quickly they forget.

"Oh, the horror, the horror. They are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!" … For neutral fans, the more football on Thanksgiving, the better. If an NFL team loses on Thanksgiving, that sort of stinks for its fans, but if a college team loses, the holiday is ruined. Ask Texas fans how much fun Turkey Day was after their team ended the season with a clunker, to go along with the joy of getting 365 days of honking from Aggie fans. If you're a die-hard Boise State fan, no level of leftover carbo-loading could've eased your pain on Friday night. It's just food, it's not love, and more sweet potatoes won't make Brotzman's kick go two feet to the left.

"Again ... back and to the left … back and to the left... back and to the left." … Nevada, and all college teams, here's a nickel; get some real, adult sized goal posts. Apparently there was video confirmation that Brotzman's kick in regulation really did miss, but it sure as shoot didn't look like it after going Zapruder with the DVR for several minutes. The Nevada goal posts with the small uprights didn't help.

"Braun, I've got good news and bad news, and they're both the same. You're fired." … Why are coaches so insane, so intense, and so fried? If Demarlo Belcher doesn't drop what would've been the game-winning touchdown pass in the 18-13 loss to Iowa, Indiana ends up 6-6, goes to a bowl game, and Bill Lynch would've been hailed for doing a great job with an undermanned program. Instead, the Hoosiers are 5-7 and Lynch is thanked for his years of service as he's booted out the door.

And maybe Bo Pelini can wear those smart-looking old school Tom Osborne red pants … Many will try to play up the nostalgia aspect of Nebraska vs. Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship, but let this game serve as a cautionary tale to the Big Ten, Pac 12, and all other conferences of what can go wrong when you start to mess with a rivalry. Nebraska vs. Oklahoma was one of the biggest matchups in college football when the two were Big 8 superpowers, and it quickly fizzled once the two teams were split up in the Big 12. Suddenly, the conference became more about Nebraska vs. Colorado/Kansas State in the North, and Oklahoma vs. Texas in the South, and the magic was gone. Yeah, this will be Nebraska vs. Oklahoma, but for anyone who used to set their lives around when this game was happening each year in late November, this isn't Nebraska vs. Oklahoma.

As a nod to the old Big 8 days, I demand that the fans of the winning team throw oranges on the field as the game is winding down.

The grand prize … the Big East champion in the Fiesta Bowl! … Who'll be the loudest, most boisterous fans in Dallas on Saturday night? The Big Ten. If Nebraska wins this game, watch how fast the press releases start coming out about how the Big Ten has three teams in the BCS. In so many ways, this might be the Big 12's most important championship game, because if Nebraska wins, Husker fans and the Big Ten die-hards will never, ever, let it go.

"I'm old and I'm not happy. Everything today is improved and I don't like it. I hate it! In my day we didn't have hair dryers. If you wanted to blow dry your hair you stood outside during a hurricane. Your hair was dry but you had a sharp piece of wood driven clear through your skull and that's the way it was and you liked it! You loved it. Whoopee, I'm a human head-kabob." … Setting the dial to grouchy old man (which is two clicks to the left of pervy grouchy old man, which is where it was five minutes ago when the Vizio Beyoncé ad came on), some of you reading this might not remember the old Poll ‘n' Bowl system. Before the cockamamie BCS was conceived and thrust upon the sports world, college football was all about the beauty contest and it wasn't always No. 1 vs. No. 2 for the national title. The BCS sucks, but it's ten times better than what we used to have when the conference bowl tie-ins were set in stone. If everything holds to form, in the old pre-BCS days (while keeping the current conference alignments), your old school bowl season would've probably been this …

- Rose: Oregon vs. Wisconsin
- Orange: Nebraska/Oklahoma vs. Florida State/Virginia Tech
- Sugar: Auburn vs. Stanford
- Fiesta: Ohio State vs. Arkansas
- Cotton: TCU (the Southwest Conference Champion) vs. Michigan State

Then, if Oregon and Auburn both won, we would've had the joy of a co-national champion.

Wrigley Field was close, but I'm back to pushing for GameDay to come broadcast from my breakfast nook. They have muffins. … It's Year Two, Week Thirteen 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? Two turkeys and a beef tenderloin (easily the call of the year) ... nailed it. Call this the equivalent of Cam Newton coming out of nowhere to win the Heisman. The diet starts Friday. 

- Week 13 Part 2 - College Football Has A Playoff?