Cavalcade of Whimsy
Dec. 21 - Week Sixteen
Jan 19, Part
1 - Oh those wacky coaches
Part 2 - The sucky 2009 season
7, The Marcell Dareus Issue
14, The Boise State Issue
21, MSU's Wild
28, Is Boise State the new Florida State or Miami?
Oct 5, Oh, that
wacky Les Miles
12, Why the
Brett Favre situation matters
19, Is Oklahoma
REALLY No. 1?
26, What if
all the underclassmen come back?
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
- Nov. 30 The BCS
Championship ground rules
- Dec. 6 - Rich, Cam, and
the NCAA's rulings
- Dec. 13 - SMU, the FWAA &
Cam, and more Big Ten names
- Dec. 21 - Ten reasons
why Auburn will win the BCS Championship
- COMING CHRISTMAS DAY: The Holiday Gifts & Wishes
For Every Team.
Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … I was named Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year, and now I'm relieved of my duties.
"I was robbed! … I'll sue! What a fool I was! I could have had candy apples and gum and cookies and money and all sorts of things, but no, I had to listen to you. You blockhead. What a fool I was. Trick or treats come only once a year. And I missed it by sitting in a pumpkin patch with a blockhead. YOU OWE ME RESTITUTION!"
… Oh come on, bowl season. I've defended you, I've apologized for you, I've made excuses for you, and I've gone to bat for you over and over again. After weeks of trying to sell America on why it needed to put off time with the wife and kids to watch things like the New Orleans Bowl -- sorry, the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – and you treat me like that? There are 35 bowls and they can't all be the 1984 Orange, but the three miserable games last Saturday were kindling on the fire for the too-many-bowl screamers.
Marge: "Homer, he prefers the company of men!"
Homer: "Well who doesn't?" … On the heels of the repeal of Don't
Ask, Don't Tell, now Congress has to address the
bigotry against those of us who watch pre-New Year's
Day bowl games. Nothing has changed for the closet
college football fans who have to live in shame and
shadows, forced to hide away in sports bars with
darkened windows and in special parts of town to
watch bad football because it's who we are and how
we're made. It's almost 2011 and yet no one can ask if you watched the Humanitarian Bowl – sorry, the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl – and you can't say that you did without fear of scorn and ridicule.
For shame, America.
"Ready to smash the communists, wipe them up, and shove them off the face of the earth … Mash that dirty red scum, kick 'em in the teeth where it hurts. .. Kill! Kill! Kill! The filthy bastard commies, I hate 'em! I hate 'em! Aaargh! Aaargh!" … Hey pa! How do you plan on preserving freedom, saving lives, and solving our hot and high hover capability issues, all at an exceptional value, by lazin' ‘round watching those good fer nuthin' Mustangs play in the Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl?
"The National Broadcasting Company has authorized me to offer you this check to be on our show...a certified check for $3,000. Here it is right here. A check made out to you, the Beatles, for $3,000. All you have to do is sing three Beatles songs. "She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah." That's $1,000 right there. You know the words - it'll be easy." … This is what you, Mark Cuban, and every right think college football fan can't grasp; the playoff issue isn't all about money.
Every study, every plan, and every model for a college football playoff in every form brings in bazillions in revenue. The college presidents know this, and even the greedy BCS types know they could tweak the system so they could be the ones taking treasure baths while keeping the rest of the bowls intact, but the idea of a playoff conflicts with the concept of keeping the power centralized in one greedy little corner of the sports world.
The bowl people and the BCSers already make money and are hardly hurting, but to understand what makes them tick is to get that they love nothing in the world more than to be able to put on their funny yellow sportcoats as they decide the fate of the college football season. It's about ego, chest thumping, corporate backslapping, and yeah, money. A playoff takes away that power base and makes it all about (gulp!) merit, and that can't happen.
In a sort of Groupon-dissing-Google, big-car-with-big-speakers overcompensation sort of way, the BCSers and the bowl people love, love, LOVE that they get to be the ones who cheese off the world by keeping the current system as is. They know it's not about the players losing class time, or keeping the players safe from extra games, or about any perceived bowl tradition that's been bastardized with all the goofy names and sponsors. They know that no one actually believes the crock of crap they're slinging, while 35 bowl games, and no playoff, means 35 happy fan bases and 35 college presidents and 35 athletic directors and 35 head coaches (give or take a few lame ducks) who get a free pass for a few months.
"Perfect. Perfect. We couldn't've
planned this better. You guys look
like... what do they look like,
… Leaders and Legends doesn't work, and it's okay to change the names and also the mediocre new logo (keeping the old one with a 12 where the 11 was). However, in an attempt to keep the whining to a minimum, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and his crew did something even worse; they became the kid wearing the Starburys.
Big Ten, you've already messed with math with 12 teams in the misnamed conference, and now it's time to screw up geography. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin should be called the East, and Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Northwestern should be the West. Really, there's no need to get cuter than that.
Henrí: "Woody, I have a riddle for you. How long will it take for me to steal your girlfriend?"
Woody Boyd:"I give up."
Henrí: "Then it won't take long at all." … No, you can't go with the Bo and the Woody or the Schembechler and the Hayes for the division names. First, who wants to be on top of the Woody or on the bottom of Bo? Second, the Big Ten can't suck up to Michigan and Ohio State any more than it already does without the other ten schools going ballistic. And then there's the issue of naming the divisions after one guy who won a fat load of jack squat when anything of national significance was on the line, and the other for a guy who's more famous for how his iconic career ended than he is for all the great seasons he put together.
Schembechler never won a national title, finished second in the polls just once, went 2-8 in Rose Bowls, and went 4-12 in bowl games overall. Lloyd Carr won six bowl games and a national title and Gary Moeller went 4-1 in bowls and 1-1 in the Rose.
Hayes might have been a miserable gasbag and too many of his teams gagged in colossal fashion, but he won three national titles and four Rose Bowls. While Jim Tressel doesn't have the national titles or the longevity of Hayes, he's on a special short-term run.
There's obviously no question that Bo and Woody were two of college football's all-time greatest coaches, and while their era will always be romanticized, it wasn't the Big Ten's heyday compared to what it is now with stronger programs across the board along with the addition of Nebraska. An argument could be made that the era wasn't always Michigan vs. Ohio State at its best, either, considering the greatest and most important game in the great rivalry was Tressel vs. Carr in the 1 vs. 2 battle of 2006. 2002 was epic, and the 2001 and 1996 games were special, too.
Bo vs. Woody was bigger than Ohio State and Michigan
will probably ever be again, and they were
the Big Ten for a long time, but Iowa could argue
that one division should be the Kinnick, Illinois
could argue that one division be called the Grange,
and Minnesota could argue that one division be
called the the Nagurski. So I have a solution ...
Big Ten, Jim, you're forward thinking, so here's
what you do. Every team gets to name the division
after one of its greats once every six years. Here
are some suggestions ...
Illinois - Grange (arguably the
greatest player in college football history)
Indiana - Taliaferro (after Georgia Taliaferro, the
first African-American drafted in the NFL)
Ohio State - Hayes (obvious)
Penn State - Paterno (but Penn State gets its turn six years from now after the
legend finally retires ... maybe)
Purdue - Keyes (after the great Leroy Keyes, and because it's too soon to call
it the Brees)
Wisconsin - Ameche (it should be Alvarez, but that's
for the next go-round. Alan Ameche is a slam-dunk)
- Kinnick (Heisman winner, war hero Nile Kinnick
died in battle)
Michigan - Schembechler (obvious)
Michigan State - Daugherty (after legendary head coach, and Hall of Famer, Duffy Daugherty)
Minnesota - Nagurski (iconic choice after Bronko Nagurski)
Nebraska - Devaney (after legendary head coach Bob Devaney)
Northwestern - Graham (after QB Otto Graham,
college and pro Hall of Famer)
"Are we there yet?"
"No, a little way to go yet."
"Beautiful country though, isn't it?"
"What do you figure the temperature is?"
"One. " … I grew up in Minneapolis. I know what it's like to drive with one hand on the steering wheel and another scraping the ice off from the inside of the windshield. I know what it's like to tan in the late March sun and watch people on a lake ice fishing. I know what it's like to spend two hours shoveling snow, turn around, and have it all go back to Square One with a single pass of a snow plow, accompanied with one big gust of -38 degree wind. So, University of Minnesota, I ask you: how do you not put in heated coils underneath the field in your awesome new stadium? Soon, there will be a late November battle for third in the Legends that'll be screwed up by a field that'll play like an iced highway.
No, there's nothing hearty, or tough, or character-building about freeze-drying your cheese and biscuits off. I adore beautiful college stadiums, and I'm a fan of football being played in the elements, to a point, but get a roof.
Look at the Iowa players who got hurt because of the field conditions in the regular season finale. Look at the Bears, Vikings, and Favre bouncing their brains and other body parts off the frozen turf. Football is cool in snow and lousy conditions, but it's better when both teams can play up to their capabilities and game plans.
"Line after line/
Round after round/
Fall to the ground" … Hey pa! Get off your butt and come up with that solution for our aerospace, electronics, information systems, and shipbuilding building needs. The Hatfields just got their own Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft, and how are we possibly going to keep up? Okay, fine, watch your East Carolina football in that dang Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman and see if it gives you any ideas.
But it could've been worse. Much, much worse. Just wait for the next blurb. … Take a breath, a deep breath, sit down, and try to stay calm. Mountain West, your conference is about to become a flaming bag of whatever. Adding Hawaii isn't going to be enough, and it's disappointing since the league was about to be the BCS-worth collection of teams it was dreaming of becoming. Just imagine what it could've been in a perfect world.
One division would've had Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State and TCU, and the other likely would've had Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, and Wyoming. Throw in a possible addition of Louisiana Tech or Idaho to round things out and it would've been a league worthy of an automatic big money spot. Now, once TCU bails for the Big East the Mountain West will be Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, New Mexico, Hawaii, Nevada, San Diego State, and Wyoming. Yippee.
"Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head/
See, the sea wants to take me/
The knife wants to slit me/
Do you think you can help me?" … Take a breath, a deep breath, sit down, and try to stay calm. WAC, your conference is about to a flaming bag of yeeeeeeesh. Have you taken a hard look at what the WAC is about to become? I mean, have you really taken a look at the league in 2012? Idaho, Louisiana Tech (who's destined to jump to Conference USA in about ten minutes), New Mexico State, San Jose State, Texas State, UT-San Antonio, Utah State. When Idaho is your league's anchor, there's an issue.
And I'm pushing for GameDay to come broadcast from my breakfast nook, but I've bought exactly one present so far. I don't need the added stress of getting gifts for the GameDay guys, and I have no clue what to get Andrews. … It's Year Two, Week Sixteen 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? I thought I caught a break by getting seat D while the wife and kids got seats A, B, & C. I spent 129 of a 134-minute flight listening to Helen from Toledo, who was recently widowed and was off to spend the holidays with some friends.
Force yourself to enjoy yourself over the next week or so, and force yourself to take a step back and realize why this time of year is so special. Happy holidays, and thanks for the honor of your time, your input, and your comments all season long. Now go eat something fattening.
- Dec. 21 - Ten reasons
why Auburn will win the BCS Championship
- COMING CHRISTMAS DAY: The Holiday Gifts & Wishes
For Every Team.