Cavalcade of Whimsy - The War on the SEC
Arkansas QB Brandon Allen
Arkansas QB Brandon Allen
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 11, 2012


Week 2 Cavalcade of Whimsy - Arkansas, the SEC, Concussions

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Sept. 11, 2012, Part 1

Past Cavalcades
- 2008 Season | 2009 Season | 2010 Season | 2011 Season 

2012 Cavalcades
- Part 1 - Make My Day 
- Part 2 - Pinkett, Penn State & More 
- Part 3 - Ten Reasons To Be Grouchy 

E-mail Pete Fiutak
Follow us ... @ColFootballNews 

- Week 2, Part 2 - The Ten Dumb Things About College Football This Week 

Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault … If I was a real guy, like Matt Millen was looking for during a key third quarter drive in the Georgia-Missouri game, now is the time to become one.

“He's a f***ing chimp. The only compliance work he's doing is making sure my lunch is still hot when it gets here. He's only here because the SEC requires it. He might have the easiest f***ing job in the entire world.” … Here’s the deal. SEC fans have to stop whining about some sort of anti-SEC bias or jealousy that doesn’t actually exist if the rest of college football promises to acknowledge that the 2012 national championship game is probably going to be played on November 3rd when Alabama travels to LSU.

Who’s going to finally break the SEC’s streak of national championships? Who can finally bust through? When will this magical run possibly end? There’s one more question to ask – if you’re fan of great college football, why are you so desperate to see this end?

Alabama got a ridiculous break last year, but it’s not like the Tide got rolled after getting the opportunity like 2001 Nebraska did against Miami in the 2002 Rose Bowl – it might have been messy, but 2011 came up with the right answer in the end. These haven’t been cheap national championships during the SEC’s run. 2007 LSU got ridiculously lucky to get its shot, and 2008 Florida was slightly debatable, but those were the two best teams in their respective seasons.

I’m going on the flip side of the national Anyone But The SEC narrative – there can’t be a BCS championship without an SEC champion.

It has only been two weeks, but considering how great LSU and Alabama have looked, and with Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina all rock-solid, the worst thing that can happen in our pre-playoff world would be to have a one-loss SEC champion miss out on the national title game and have, say, unbeaten USC play unbeaten Texas for the title. If there isn’t an SEC team in the title game, no one will believe it’s for real unless the SEC champ gets rolled in the Sugar Bowl.

The question going forward isn’t whether or not the SEC’s streak will finally be over. The question will be whether or not the other conferences can step up their game.

Missouri and Texas A&M found out that it’s hard to do.

As opposed to the West Virginia Back Out of the non-conference date that would’ve been last weekend against Florida State … A polite but curt request to all sports information departments to better cater to the slow and dim sportswriters out there who spent nine minutes trying to figure out if there was a significant injury or suspension worth knowing about after only reading the top line of a promotional e-mail, “SMU White Out For Saturday.”

Now I'm verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic. A Pac-12 classic game featuring 1990 Colorado is neither Pac-12 nor particularly classic. Discuss. … Highlight from the new Pac-12 Network: 9:15 to 9:17 this Thursday morning – Colorado’s greatest Pac-12 moments.

Really, it’s that hard to read a pressure gauge? … The tire alert system on the Nissan Altima – as featured in the ad during every break with the Chris Elliott younger brother-looking guy who does the too-long broshake, goes to spray cologne on his bits, and turns into Dr. Tongue at the end of his date – needed to be applied this weekend with a honk to alert some players and teams when it was time to stop.

Miami tried one tackler to stop Kansas State’s Collin Klein, then another, and then another, and then … honk … it was all done. Klein rumbled for another rushing score.

"If there's one thing this reporter knows about, it's two things: One, hogs, and two, Communists." ... Remember, it might stink to be an Arkansas fan this week, and it might hurt to be a Wisconsin die-hard, but nothing really changes. If Arkansas runs the table, that means it will have beaten Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Auburn and Mississippi State, and then it will have to beat a good SEC East champion. If the Hogs beat Bama this week, everyone will forget about ULM. If the Hogs go 12-1, they'll be playing for the national title.

It's not as easy for Wisconsin, but Oregon State is a non-conference game. Ohio State and Penn State still aren't eligible to win the Big Ten title, and Purdue, Illinois and Indiana all have major problems. The Badgers are going to start running the ball again and they're still going to end up in Indianapolis.

The best recruiting job Kiffin has ever done … Highlight from the new Pac-12 Network: Next Tuesday, the Lane Loves Layla marathon.

Of course, that game, that season, that push, that running back, and that team didn’t exist … Seriously, Pac-12 Network. Get the rights to replay the 2005 Bush Push USC win over Notre Dame.

“I need it. I gotta have it. It's my lucky hat. I never fly without it.” … Yes, yes, we all know by now that a player losing his helmet means he has to go to the sidelines for one play. There’s no need for the announcers to bring it up EVERY time it happens. If it’s James Franklin needing to come out when Missouri is deep in its own territory, that’s fine, but if it’s a starting right guard at midfield, let it go. Yes, let it go.

Mizzou, a little tip when your new blocker doesn’t have any lateral quickness – give the man some help … Linebacker Jarvis Jones and the Georgia coaching staff caught on that Missouri lost starting tackle Elvis Fisher to a knee injury. Jones feasted with one big play, and then a big hit, and then an interception, and then another pressure, and then a sack, and then … honk … the Dawgs were up 41-20.

From the official late night sponsor of the Not Gettin’ Any club … Yeah, they’re right. It’s a problem I need to get over quickly. I have been overthinking the Doritos Loco Tacos situation.

The network is saving the Craig James appearance for a very special episode during ratings week … Highlight from the new Pac-12 Network: This Friday on The Mike Leach Show, Mike’s guests will include Shields and Yarnell, Charo, Mac Davis, and the Mike Leach Dancers!

“What an unfortunate thing to happen on dozen-egg night!” … How To Spot A Professional Announcer. The ball hadn’t left Sam Ficken’s foot on Penn State’s game-winning field goal attempt against Virginia, and Mike Patrick instantly, and with a hint of disgust, fired out, “he missed it.” The boot hadn’t officially sailed wide and Patrick was already at Denny’s pounding a Lumberjack Slam.

“No one laughs at a master of Quack Fu!” … Oregon got down 3-0 early to Fresno State, and then in a breathtaking 20 minutes, Kenjon Barner three-yard touchdown Colt Lyeria 22-yard touchdown DeAnthony Thomas 51-yard touchdown another Barner three-yard touchdown … honk … 35-3 before halftime.

“After all, they are people, aren't they? Stand up. Pat them on the back. Reach out. Shake hands with any one of these men in blue. Hug a cop! Yeah, go ahead. I said it. Yeah! That's a wonderful feeling! I'm so proud tonight!” … Instead of Super Bowl winning stars bragging that they’re about to go to Wally World, from now on they should take the ULM head coach Todd Berry celebration approach and allow themselves to be full body bear-hugged by the nearby police officer with a giant potbelly.

“You want to know what it takes to sell real estate? It takes brass balls to sell real estate.” … It’s back because America needs it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2012 debut of the Alex Neutz tracker. And why? The junior Buffalo receiver came up with a whale of a performance against Morgan State catching eight passes for 154 yards with touchdowns coming from 16, 22, 34 and 28 yards away in the 56-34 win.

Click to actually know what CTE is
… If you let your child play organized tackle football, you’re a bad parent.

I love everything about football. I love watching at practices for hours on end, and I love work and preparation that goes into getting a team ready for a game. I love the tough guy attitude it takes to play, and I love the intricacies and subtleties needed to orchestrate a properly functioning offense. I love the in-game strategy and adjustments, and I love second-guessing. I love the flow, and I love the pace. But more than anything else, I love the personalities that surround the sport and the crazed fans whose week is ruined when they’re team comes up with a dud.

And that’s why every weekend there’s a moment when it’s tough knowing that these guys are probably seriously hurting themselves.

It’s a business decision to play major college football. The players are technically adults, and part of college and part of growing through the process is to learn to make big choices. As long as college players are aware of the things they’re doing to their brains and bodies by playing, and as long as it’s all on the table and it’s worth the tens of thousands of dollars to earn the scholarship and free ride, then fine.

However, if you choose to play football, at some point you’re going to suffer a major injury. Of course everyone knows that, and in some ways it’s actually a badge of honor, but somewhere in some game, out of the blue, somebody is going to suffer a near-fatal injury because he chose to play football. This weekend, someone is going to be immobilized and carted off the field because he chose to play football.

Soon there will be another horrific, life-threatening injury like Tulane’s Devon Walker suffered this past weekend, and soon there will be a moment when the game seems ridiculous considering all the risks.

But again, that’s the deal. That’s not meant to come across as cold or callous in any way to Walker’s horrific situation, but every player putting the pads on this weekend knows that something like that could happen at any time.

The same goes for NFL players, but by the time they get to the pros they know exactly what they’re doing to themselves. They’re professional men choosing to live their lives a certain way – no one’s making anyone be a pro football player – and if they suffer a catastrophic injury or are screwed up for life when they’re done, then that’s on them.

Men over 18 can do what they want, but knowing what we all know now, if you’re a parent and you let your child play football, then that’s on you.

Studies show that playing football, even at a young age, can potentially cause severe damage. The scary part is that it’s not about the kill shot or the obvious concussion; it’s the constant bip-bip-bip-bip-bip that occurs thousands of times in a season that creates the most long term problems. In fact, suffering a major concussion might actually be a positive because that takes the kid out and keeps him from playing more football.

And now I know what’s coming next.

I’ve gone on this rant before on radio and TV appearances, and I’m sure my inbox will be soon jammed by football-crazed lifers who’ll puff out their chest bragging about how eight generations of Mandelbaums played football, suffered no ill effects, and now are the men they are today because of it. I’ll get more e-mails and tweets saying how the science is incomplete and it’s all a lot of noise about nothing. I’ll get more saying that I’m a total hypocrite for devoting my professional life to a sport and then still loving it despite its major issues. Again, once the players get to the point of going off to play in college, I’m good. Until then, it’s up to the parents to know and understand all the dangers.

Yes, it’s possible to play football for a long time and come out absolutely fine, but would you let anyone hit your kid in the head 1,500 times? Would you let your kid ride in a car without a seatbelt, go to the pool without sunscreen, or eat Kit Kats for dinner?

If you were told that joining the chess club could potentially give your kid a slew of Alzheimer's disease-like symptoms and triple the risk of suffering from Parkinson’s disease,  there’s no way you’d let Josh go practice up in the park against Laurence Fishburne.

 To purchase a t-shirt to help raise funds for Devon Walker.

And cutesy euphemisms like “getting your bell rung” don’t work anymore … And no, it’s not about the helmet. There are plenty of studies and some evidence that showed certain helmets are better than others when it comes to protection, but don’t be fooled – no helmet can totally prevent concussions. You can stick your head in a massive marshmallow and it won’t matter if it gets hit with the right shot.

Here’s how it was crudely explained to me, and of course there’s far more involved than this. If you’re driving a car and you go from 90 miles per hour to zero in an instant, the car will stop but you’ll fly into the windshield. That’s what happens to a brain when a head crashes into something – the head stops but there’s nothing to keep the brain from continuing to move. Unless there’s a way to put an airbag inside the players’ skulls, the only foolproof way to prevent concussions and the buildup of proteins from the constant hits is to not play football.

And I’m pushing for the 2015 national championship – or at least one of the playoff games - to be played in my basement, but it might take me a few years to replace the lightbulb that melted the spoinky ball that got stuck in the fixture after a million-to-one shot was forgotten about during a round of Angry Daughters, the live action take on Angry Birds … It’s Week Two in my shameless and impossible quest to be on the committee that helps pick the playoff teams in two years. Why do I deserve a spot? It will take more than $475,000 for Florida State to pay me off. Yeah, you’re right. I can be had for a few Doritos Los Tacos.

- Week 2, Part 2 - The Ten Dumb Things About College Football This Week