Cavalcade of Whimsy - Is UW The New Nebraska?
Wisconsin RB Montee Ball
Wisconsin RB Montee Ball
Posted Oct 4, 2011

Did Wisconsin become the new Nebraska? BYU storming the field, the Navy penalty, and more.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Oct. 4, 2011

Past Cavalcades
- 2008 Season | 2009 Season | 2010 Season 
2011 Sept. 6 | Sept. 13 | Sept. 20 | Sept. 27

- Part 2. The Ten Moneyball-like Fun Stats 

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187 days since Stanley McClover's claims against Auburn, Ohio State, Michigan State, and LSU with no repercussions.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, ex-zip-it A. … Look! I'm "Zippy" Longstocking! … When a problem comes along, you must zip it!" … College football has gone a wee bit too long without the NCAA forcing anyone to vacate an entire season after discovering two players were given $50 and a peanut butter sandwich.

Considering the jihad the NCAA was on early last season with team after team and player after player getting suspended for one innocuous crime or another; and considering all the jockeying for position among the various conferences in the realignment conversation; and with the network dollars so massive; and with all the multi-billion dollar pieces of the puzzle still to be put together; the silence is a little too deafening.

And curious.

Of course there are the ongoing investigations at Ohio State, Miami, North Carolina and Auburn, but after last year when the NCAA went soft on Cam Newton during a Heisman and national title run, let the Buckeyes play the offending players in the Sugar Bowl, and stopped hamstringing teams after a brutal first month of suspensions, that there's no apparent policing going on right now isn't a positive. It'll be an even bigger problem if there's a rash of punishments handed out right after the season is over. It's like the NCAA is waiting for the right time to start doing its job again.

Don't get me wrong, I have no interest whatsoever in seeing teams and players get hit with ticky-tack fouls, but the dead calm is coming at a very strange time.

Be careful. Watching too much will give you a distorted sense of reality while creating unrealistic expectations. … The definition of College Football Pornography: A bad game that a fan watches again after seeing it live earlier in the day.

If you're a Michigan fan and you watched the 58-0 mess over Minnesota, and then watched it again when the BTN aired it again at one in the morning, yes, you watched college football porn. Sinner.

Really, the Courtney Avery fumble recovery for a score wasn't enough? … Michigan's defense has allowed ten points in the last three games and 51 points all year. It allowed 52 against Mississippi State in 2011 Gator Bowl fiasco.

What happens when college kids can't have caffeine, premarital sex, drugs, beer, or porn, except for the college football kind … BYU fans rushed the field after beating Utah State. Take note you Big 12 and Pac-12 expansion types. BYU FANS RUSHED THE FIELD AFTER BEATING UTAH STATE. School officials will be adding extra security this week on the off chance the Cougars pull off a miracle against San Jose State, and permanent barricades will be set up around the perimeter of the field before Idaho State comes to town.

"This contest is over. Give that man the $10,000 But the ball … his groin … it works on so many levels." … I'm sorry. The rest of this column is going to suck after Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown went street justice on me for that last blurb.

The place just grows knows how to do big, evidenced by the nightly mad dash out of the sororities on Langdon when the pizza truck opens up at 2 a.m. … Wisconsin, considering what you're known for doing at the highest of levels - cranking out elite offensive lines and great ground games - just to be on the safe side of public perception, you and athletic director Barry Alvarez, a former Husker linebacker, should probably put the kibosh on any and all talk about having modeled the football program after Nebraska.

Three words: Big Red Confidential.

I'm not accusing Wisconsin of anything. The O line recruits the Badgers bring in are among the largest people on the planet – Aaron Gibson was the most massive human being I've ever met – but for anyone who remembers college football in the 1970s and 1980s, and for anyone familiar with all the stories about how Nebraska was allegedly able to take so many marginally-talented line prospects and turn them into legends, the comparison is one to stay ten miles away from if you want to be known as a factor for offensive linemen. It would like trying to build a basketball program based on UCLA under John Wooden and then getting a big donation from a booster known as "Papa Sam."

"Yeah, why don't you guys go down to the gym and pump each other." … NCAA, how is it possible that no one ever gets busted for steroid and performance enhancing drug use? Allegedly there's a drug testing policy in place, but as every sports fan knows, detecting an illicit substance in an athlete in today's day and age is like trying to hit a Justin Verlander fastball with a flyswatter. Remember, even though the cat is totally out of the bag on most of the superstar home run hitters of the 1990s, there's little in the way of any smoking gun test.

The NFL isn't going to help the cause and it's certainly not going to lead the way. Despite all the talk, the league will ban cheerleaders with big boobs before it has an anti-PED plan with any teeth. The NCAA needs to spend more time, money, and energy addressing the strength and conditioning aspect of college football and less time trying to pinch guys for taking to an agent.

It has to keep being said. Any time anyone is called a "quick healer," or if there's a walk-on who can suddenly do things at a Pro Bowl level, or if there's a pattern of mediocre recruits magically turning into NFL prospects, the warning flares need to go up.

He was thrown off by calling the opening game of a 12-team conference named the Big Ten … You can't beat fun at the old ballpark with Brent and Kirk on a Saturday night. Strangely, I understood exactly what he meant …

Musburger: "If LSU isn't No. 1, they're No. 2 behind Alabama and Oklahoma."

"To friends he's known as Monty but to you it's Mr. Burns! Bur-bur-bur-bur-Burns." … It's impossible to hear the name of Wisconsin running back Montee Ball without being happy. It combines Monty Burns and Monty Hall into a fun touchdown machine.

"Do you mind if we dance with your dates?" ... … In case you were wondering, Wisconsin fans, NC State quarterback Mike Glennon is just a junior.

Set the over/under on completed passes between the two teams at 7.5 … Is it completely and totally crazy to suggest that the loser of this week's Ohio State – Nebraska game might be in trouble for a bowl game? The Huskers get a free space against Minnesota the following week before dealing with Michigan State, Northwestern, at Penn State, at Michigan, and Iowa. Find the 100% rock-solid lock of a win over those final five games. Ohio State might be a different team once all the suspended players are back – someday. If the Buckeyes lose to Nebraska, they have to win three of their final six games. The Indiana game is a layup and going to Purdue should be a lock, but at Illinois, Wisconsin, Penn State, and at Michigan are hardly sure things.

Back then, the sell-out crowd of 17 was the seventh-largest city in the state … The first time Nebraska played Wisconsin was in 1901, a 17-0 UW win. The Huskers – and they were the Huskers back then, too – got over the loss with a 51-0 blasting of Missouri and a 29-5 win over Kansas before finishing off the season with Haskell. Nebraska started the season with wins over Lincoln High, American Osteopath, and Doane. In 1903, Nebraska went 11-0 despite starting out the year against Lincoln High and Grand Island, while later surviving a showdown against Bellevue and another against Knox. By far, though, the greatest win in Husker history was a 19-0 beating of Omaha Balloon in 1918. The season turned sour, though, after a 23-7 loss to Camp Dodge.

"You're so ugly you could be a modern art masterpiece. What's your name, fat body?" … No, Navy didn't lose to Air Force because quarterback Kriss Proctor was flagged for an unsportsmanlike penalty after he scored on a one-yard touchdown run in overtime against Air Force.

In case you missed it, Navy roared back from down 28-10 in the fourth quarter with Proctor capping off the comeback with a five-yard touchdown pass followed up by a two-point conversion to force overtime. Proctor capped off Navy's first drive in the extra time with a one-yard touchdown run, and got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after getting in the face of an Air Force player. The extra point was pushed back to the 25, it got blocked, and Air Force answered with a touchdown and nailed the extra point for the win.

It was an awful call at an awful time, but Navy should've kept Air Force from blocking the kick; it wasn't like Jon Teague had to hit a 55-yard bomb. Navy also had the chance to D up and stop the Falcon drive, and didn't.

So let's get this straight. These players are getting hollered at in drills at ungodly hours, they're screamed at by coaches, and they're put under intense mental and physical training in preparation to lead men and women into battle, but no, they supposedly can't handle a wee bit of trash talk after a key touchdown.

There needs to be a different set of rules for officiating games between the service academies. Army, Navy, and Air Force players shouldn't just be allowed to taunt, they should be forced to. If a player is so soft that his feelings get hurt by a little jawing after a big play, he probably can't effectively protect a nation.

"Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes." … It's like Boise State is resigned to its fate. Head coach Chris Petersen refuses to run up the score and he prefers to keep his team's focus on just doing the job, getting the win, and moving on, but that's not enough. If the program really wants to be in the national title chase, it has to play the game and that means it has to come up with big, flashy numbers against a miserable schedule.

Just beating Georgia isn't going to get the job done. Beating TCU won't mean anything and beating Nevada didn't register a blip. The goal for every program is to get better and move forward, but Boise State refuses to do that by not going gonzo for a full sixty minutes each and every game. Against Tulsa the Broncos game up 14 points in the fourth quarter and took Kellen Moore out. In last week's 30-10 win over Nevada, the secondary gave up a 53-yard touchdown pass in the final minute while the offense took the fourth quarter off. The pollsters need a reason to believe, and just as importantly, they need a reason to want to see the Broncos play on the biggest of stages. It might not seem fair and it might not be right, but beating Nevada and Tulsa by 20 produced nothing more than a yawn.

"I need to live in a world where people can spill!" … Robert Griffin has completed 93-of-113 passes for 1,308 yards and 18 touchdowns. He's hitting on 82% of his throws for the season with five touchdown passes in each of the three games he's played against FBS teams, and he has rushed for 173 yards and a touchdown. Any Heisman voter thinking of dismissing him from the race by October 3rd because of one interception doesn't deserve to watch college football, much less vote on its best player. Griffin has been the signature star of the first quarter of the college football season.

Arthur Brown needs more respect, too … Here's the problem with determining the national championship based on pollsters; most of them only see the highlights. When ESPN put together the first highlight package of the Baylor – Kansas State game, it was Griffin, Griffin, Griffin, Griffin, Griffin, Griffin's interception, and, oh yeah, Kansas State won 36-35. The highlights were later changed and the Wildcats were better represented, but for anyone who saw the first few loops, you would've never known that Kansas State did anything but get picked apart by Griffin.

But it wasn't Gene Chizik's higher power that kept Spurrier from feeding Marcus Lattimore the ball more … Is Auburn really in the thick of this thing? The defense is lousy, the offense is inconsistent, and it took a miracle to get by Utah State, but despite losing the 2011 NFL Rookie of Year and a transcendent quarterback, and with so many other major losses on both sides of the ball, 4-1 is very, very impressive. No one believes Auburn will get out of the next three games against Arkansas and LSU on the road and Florida at home without at least one loss, but the coaching staff deserves credit after the South Carolina win of patching things up in what's looking like a decent year before the star recruiting classes start to mature.

In a very special episode, Montee Ball reviews Moneyball! … This week's Alex Neutz tracker: The Buffalo sophomore grabbed two balls for 19 yards.

And I'm pushing for GameDay to come broadcast from my breakfast nook. Considering the mediocre slate of games this week, my house will probably bring the most energy. There will be chocolate chip banana bread. … It's Year Three, Week Three of my open lobbying of the 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 really did watch New Mexico State beat New Mexico.

- Part 2. The Ten Moneyball-like Fun Stats