Cavalcade of Whimsy
Dec. 6, 2011
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Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault … I blew out my archrival and preseason No. 1 team 44-10 and all I got was this lousy Big 12 Champion t-shirt.
“Using the whole fist, Doc?” … Alright, Oklahoma State. So you think you got hosed? So you think you belong in New Orleans? So you think the process is unfair? Then go out and beat Stanford. Do that and we’ll all beat the drum for you.
“Listen, jerk! When I tell you to come, you better come! What? Are you gonna cry now? Cry, cry for me crybaby! Cry!” … And that also goes for all the grouchy teams that get a vacation loaded with NCAA-approved prizes and merchandise.
TCU, you think you should be in a BCS game? Drill Louisiana Tech.
Michigan State, you think you should be in the Sugar instead of Michigan? While you’re still healing from the atomic wedgie applied by Alabama in last year’s Capital One Bowl, beat Georgia in the Outback.
Boise State, obliterate Arizona State in the Las Vegas. Kansas State, beat Arkansas in the Cotton. And for the love of a second ACC team in the BCS, Virginia Tech, you had better earn this Sugar Bowl gift from the BCS gods after wasting our valuable Saturday night time and energy with whatever that was you came up with against Clemson in the ACC championship.
“It's your calling, son. One day, when people say the name Munson, they're gonna think "winner." Just like DiMaggio is to baseball or, or Unitas is to football, that's what Munson will be to bowling.” … Here’s the rule on bowl games; if you wouldn’t care about the game in the regular season, you don’t need to watch it in bowl form. No one’s forcing you to sit through Florida International against Marshall unless you bet Christmas on it.
"Four inches from your chest, Pyle!” … Oklahoma State’s fantastic kicker Quinn Sharp connected on 20-of-23 field goals to tie for the nation’s lead in field goal percentage among kickers with 20 attempts or more. Some still think his 37-yard attempt late in regulation against Iowa State was good, but it was ruled wide. Had his kick gone a few inches to the left, Oklahoma State would be playing for the national title and Brandon Weeden would probably be one of the Heisman front runners. Six inches. That’s the difference between Alabama being the second best team in the nation according to the “eye test” and playing Michigan in the Sugar Bowl.
“I started something/I started something/typical me, typical me/typical me, typical me/typical me, typical me/typical me/I started something” … Forgive me for continuing on with part of a rant from last week, but it’s more pertinent now.
It’s time to dismiss the notion of doing anything based on the “eye test.”
The “eye test” means you’re judging, and that means you’re giving your opinion. Once that happens, it’s over for a sport who's national champion needs to be determined by proof and facts.
We’re supposed to believe that Nick Saban – who put Oklahoma State fourth on his ballot – can honestly compare and contrast Oregon’s body of work with Boise State’s, and with Stanford’s, and with Wisconsin’s, and with Kansas State’s? College football head coaches don’t know who the starting quarterback is on most of the teams they’re voting for. Unless they played a team, they have no idea how good everyone else is and they’re in no position to judge anyone on any sort of “eye test.”
College football is supposed to be better than the 2007 New York Giants. It’s supposed to be above the idea that a championship is won by a tournament that destroys the importance of the journey. It’s supposed to reward the regular season and acknowledge it, and not simply go by thoughts.
Dog the BCS all you want, but the computer formula aspect of it really does figure this out objectively when the humans can’t.
The NCAA men’s basketball tournament – the gimmick of all gimmicks – is able to decide on which teams get off the bubble based on proof, criteria, and hard numbers and data while rarely using an “eye test.” This year, the flat truth is that Oklahoma State beat better teams than Alabama did, Yes, there was a double-overtime loss at Iowa State, but even with that the Cowboy résumé is stronger.
And Alabama failed the only “eye test” that mattered.
2011 National Champion LSU 9, Alabama 6.
We know 2011 National Champion LSU beat Alabama.
We know that Alabama wasn’t good enough to win its own division, much less its conference.
We don’t know that 2011 National Champion LSU beat Oklahoma State.
That, we needed to see with our own eyes.
“Pemmican turkey? Come on take a bite...well more for me.” … 30 years from now, 150,000 Wisconsin fans will tell their grandkids about how they were there as a seat-filler for the inaugural Big Ten championship game.
“"The shouting is a temporary side-effect of the unfreezing process.” ... I thought it was an nice touch for Dr. Pepper to allow Charles Davis to win the halftime football throwing contest to raise money for his eardrum rehabilitation after working next to Gus Johnson for four hours.
Say what you will about Gus, but it’s awesome that he’s not afraid to inject his own opinions into the big moments. I’ll always take someone like Gus, Brent, or Verne, who all call a game like they’re having a better time than anyone in the stadium, over the Al “I’ve got a plane to catch” Michaels style. Michaels is terrific, but it always seems like he’s doing us a favor.
“No beer?! You … Oh, that’s it Kitty! You’ve killed me! I see the light! What’s that lord? It’s okay to eat meat, and beer, and cheese? Okay, I’ll tell her!” … Montee Ball shedding 20 points at Wisconsin is like dropping 40 anywhere else. No normal human being can walk down State Street without stopping to eat something filled with cheese.
“And still I find it so hard/To say what I need to say/But I’m quite sure that you’ll tell me/Just how I should feel today.” … I declare a 15-month ban – so it covers most of the 2012 college football season – on asking a player or coach “what does this mean to you,” or “how does this feel,” after a big game.
Tim Brewster: “Russell Wilson, you just won the first inaugural Big Ten championship game, what does this mean to you?”
Russell Wilson: “It sucks. I’m hungry.”
Brewster: “Uhhh, okay, but how does it feel?”
Wilson: “Hunger? You try running around and getting beaten up without a Snickers. And every time I was about to try a big throw, all I kept hearing was this screamy guy from up in the TV booth.”
Brewster: “So … is this what you came here from NC State for?”
Wilson: “No, I came here for Mickey’s Dairy Bar. Seriously, EVERYTHING at this school has cheese on it.”
Brewster: “Yeah … uh … what does it mean … I mean … how does it feel to go to Pasadena?”
Wilson: “Awesome. It’s a dream come true … IN-AND-OUT BURGER, BABY!”
One order of pancakes at Mickies changes the name of the bowl game … Your 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl between headless Illinois and UCLA teams – the worst bowl matchup ever between two BCS conference programs.
Dabo, it’s called decaf. It can be just as tasty as regular … Who “quit” on Clemson, Dabo Swinney? Dabs, your team decided that showing up against NC State and South Carolina was optional, and the world noticed. Also, Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora, you’ve got to know when and where to play the “we belong in the BCS” card. If I can’t sell America that Oklahoma State’s double-overtime loss to Iowa State wasn’t really that bad, I sure as shoot can’t help you spin losses to Marshall and UAB.
“I'm going to give you a Hawaiian name... Peepyopee!” … Oh, boo hoo, Southern Miss. Instead of getting your guts stomped out in a BCS bowl you have to take a long plane ride to Honolulu. Coaches Should Be whining about not getting sent to the Hawaii Bowl.
Actually winning a conference title. That’s so crazy it just might work … Did anyone really and truly comprehend the Oklahoma State 44-10 win over Oklahoma? It all happened in a blur, with the epic Big Ten championship taking center stage and the ACC title game going on, but the Cowboys obliterated a team that beat Iowa State by 20, whacked Texas A&M by 16, blew out Kansas State by 41, and thumped Texas by 38.
The Sooners came into the game No. 4 in the nation in total offense, No. 3 in passing offense, No. 1 in sacks allowed, and No. 3 in sacks, but they didn’t come up with a sack, OSU came up with two, and the Cowboy defense allowed just 250 passing yards and 108 on the ground.
Voters, what else did you want Oklahoma State to do to the Sooners? You asked for a blowout against the archrival in a version of a conference title game, and with everything on the line, the team came up with its strongest win of the season.
“And Jeffrey Wigand, who's out on a limb, does he go on television and tell the truth? Yes. Is it newsworthy? Yes. Are we gonna air it? Of course not. Why? Because he's not telling the truth? No. Because he is telling the truth. That's why we're not going to air it. And the more truth he tells, the worse it gets!” … Considering what ESPN just pulled in the Bernie Fine scandal, what the hell else is it sitting on?
With the way this disaster was handled, what happens the next time any piece of info comes ESPN’s way when it involves some SEC team careening toward a national title? Will the damning
inside tip be tucked away so there’s no controversy before the monster BCS game?
What’s going to happen when there’s another controversy at Ohio State?
The Urban Meyer hiring was the worst kept secret of two weeks ago, the cat was totally out of the bag, and yet everyone pretended like nothing was going on, highlighted by Lou Holtz and his “I’d know if he was hired” routine. He was far more believable in 1988 when he was fretting about how good Air Force was.
Ohio State football needs to be watched like a hawk, but will there ever be any hardcore ESPN investigations into Urban’s program if there’s something a bit off-kilter? Not likely, now that he’s part of the family and will need a soft place to land if and when the pressure becomes too much to deal with.
ESPN has a $3 billion dollar SEC believability issue that it’s not going to shake. It’s one thing to donate a major chunk of air time to one college basketball conference, or to a Monday Night Football game, or to a big baseball showdown, or to any upcoming game the network wants to promote. That’s fine, but when it comes to college football, the message means everything.
The voters in the coaches’ poll don’t watch the games – they don’t have time – going by the highlights and what they see in the box score. When ESPN devotes fewer than three minutes to an epic Big Ten championship - and with one of those minutes going to a rehash of the Hail Mary play in the first game – what chance does anyone outside of the SEC have?
If you got up to go to the bathroom you’d have missed a debate about whether or not Robert Griffin – forget about Montee Ball – deserved the Heisman, only to see it devolve into the forced Andrew Luck vs. Trent Richardson narrative.
I’ve said time and time again that college football is lucky that the main voices are as good as they are – seriously, Jon Gruden? - with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Rece Davis, and Mark May all straight shooters with their opinions and analysis, but the problem going forward is that every time things skew too much to the SEC’s side, there’s going to be the perception that there’s an agenda. That’s not good for college football, it screws over everyone that doesn’t fit into ESPN’s programming schedule, and it’s not fair to the SEC.
2011 National Champion LSU and Alabama really and truly might be the two best teams in college football, but you never hear about how the rest of the league is loaded with miserable offenses. You never hear that Trent Richardson’s “Heisman statement” came against an Auburn defense that gets blown over by a slight breeze. You never hear anything other than the fallback of “the SEC is the best conference,” when it actually wasn’t this year.
That’s why a playoff that takes most of the opinion out of the debate is a must.
There can still be a BCS way of doing the rankings - continuing to roll with my own version of 9-9-9 - six BCS conference champions, one top non-BCS conference champion, one catch-all wild-card. 2011 National Champion LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Wisconsin, Clemson, TCU, and West Virginia in a playoff. Everyone will have earned the spot, the first two rounds can be played at the home of the higher seed, and it would be the fairest and most representative playoff in all of sports by a ten-mile wide margin.
And ESPN would make gobs and gobs of money.
“(bleep) you, (bleep)ball.” … I need Luke Fickell to take on a lesser role with the Ohio State program only because I’ve now deleted two tweets and reedited three pieces where my poor typing skills hit the u instead of the i in Fuc … crap … Fickell.
And I’m pushing for GameDay to come broadcast from my breakfast nook, but I don’t have any SEC helmets sitting around to use as props in every shot. Wait! I have Auburn and Florida hats. … To fill the empty void in the column and in my life, each week I’ll unearth a wacky fun-stat worthy of being used on the GameDay broadcast. Arkansas (27th), Alabama (30th), and Georgia (39th) finished inside the top 40 in the nation in total offense. However, the other nine programs were 74th (South Carolina) or worse with Florida (102nd), Auburn (104th), Ole Miss (114th), and Kentucky (118th) among the most anemic in college football. But that’s because of the defenses, right?
Among the SEC defenses ranked in the top ten, Georgia allowed 390 yards against Boise State and 355 to Georgia Tech. South Carolina gave up 345 yards to East Carolina and 335 to Navy. Florida got ripped up by Furman for 446 yards, but to be fair, stopped Florida State cold. And then there’s Alabama and 2011 National Champion LSU. The most yards Bama gave up all year were to Georgia Southern (341) and to an awful Penn State attack (251). The most yards 2011 National Champion LSU gave up this year were against West Virginia (463) and Oregon (240).
- Part 2 - All the award
finalists & predictions