Cavalcade of Whimsy
Sept. 11, 2012, Part 2
Follow us ...
- Week 2, Part 1 - The War On
The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
Besides this column, the ten dumb things about college football this week …
10. Fighting me on the new helmet rule
Last week I whined and griped about the dumb new rule in college football that forces a player to sit out one play after losing his helmet. Stopping a play dead because a ballcarrier loses his helmet is smart, but making the player sit out isn’t. It’s not that hard – helmet comes off, helmet goes back on, problem solved. Little did I know that out of all the goofy and inane things I rambled about in my way-too-long week one column that that would be what set the most people off.
The helmet’s job is to protect a guys face from being blown up into 936 different pieces. Even the new wave of highly tested and better constructed helmets can’t stop concussions, and they don’t do anything other than allow a player to hit other players harder and better. The idea that the player has to sit out because his helmet isn’t being worn properly or he needs time to gather his thoughts is ludicrous. If a player loses his helmet from a big pop and is hurt, then he’s hurt. Losing the helmet doesn’t mean he automatically suffered a concussion or any other injury. Just put it back on.
9. The idea of Gene Chizik being on any sort of a hot seat
While Chizik might turn out to be the Bucky Dent of college football head coaches, it’s not like the program completely went into the tank after winning the 2010 national title going 8-5 last season. Remember, the BCS championship team was full of veterans on defense and got a once-in-a-program season from Cam – the team had to be almost completely and totally rebuilt. Now Auburn is 0-2 with no defense against Clemson and no offense against Mississippi State, and the topic of whether or not Chizik is on a hot seat is at least in the discussion.
Auburn didn’t instantly reload, but there’s promise and potential around the corner. Chizik brought in the nation’s No. 2 overall recruiting class according to Scout in 2011, and he got the No. 8 class last season. It’s early in the process, but the 2013 class is already ranked No. 9. In other words, the talent is being amassed, but it’s going to take a little while to mature. Chizik has done the heavy lifting when it comes to the recruiting trail, but next year he’s going to have to show he can make Auburn a major player again. For this year, though, he’s not going anywhere.
8. The idea of Bo Pelini being on any sort of a hot seat
Pelini is 40-16 with a 71% winning percentage since taking over the team in the 2003 Alamo Bowl. His Huskers came within a nanosecond and a bomb of a field goal from winning the 2010 Big 12 title just two seasons ago, and his 2012 team, despite its flaws on defense and an injury to running back Rex Burkhead, should be in the thick of the Legends title chase.
Pelini has won nine or more games in each of his four years as the Nebraska head coach. Can any other Big Ten head coach claim to have won nine games or more in each of his last four seasons as a head man? Urban? Nope. Bielema? Nope. Hoke, Dantonio or Ferentz? Nope, nope and nope.
Fire Bo Pelini and he gets another job in nine minutes.
7. The Tyrann Mathieu situation
Mathieu is back on campus and making sure he’s visible and doing the things normal college students do. In about two weeks, LSU coaches will start talking about how Mathieu will be back if he “does everything right.” About two weeks later, Mathieu will be allowed to practice with the team because he’s “doing everything we’ve asked of him.” And then will come the date at Texas A&M on the road against a dangerous passing team, and the Honey Badger will make his much-ballyhooed debut to get one week under his belt before Alabama comes to town a week later.
Fine, so that’s not going to happen and LSU as a school appears to be standing firm on its policy – remember, this is an LSU imposed sanction and not an NCAA one – but it’s the SEC and LSU is in the thick of a national championship chase. Don’t be shocked by anything.
6. “The Big Ten is awful/down/lousy/miserable.”
Other than Wisconsin, what’s the big, stunning surprise?
Wasn’t Michigan supposed to get blown away by Alabama? The Air Force game wasn’t a plus, but you have to throw out games against the Falcon offense – you never know quite what you’re going to get. It might not have been a perfect game, but Denard Robinson was terrific.
Iowa was supposed to be mediocre, and the ugly loss to Iowa State didn’t come out of left field. Purdue was hardly awful against Notre Dame, and Penn State could just as easily be 2-0 instead of 0-2.
Indiana, Minnesota and Northwestern are all 2-0, and while the Hoosiers and Gophers haven’t played anyone, the Wildcats beat two BCS conference teams. Ohio State has been fantastic and Michigan State deserves far, far more respect and credit for beating Boise State on the way to 2-0.
Nebraska was hardly impressive in the loss to UCLA, but there’s a thought going around that the Bruins might just be that good now with the right coaching staff in place. Illinois never showed up against Arizona State with starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase out, but the win over a high-powered Western Michigan wasn’t bad.
Because Wisconsin was weird and came up with a total clunker, the lazy perception is that the Big Ten is somehow down. Yes, it’s down, but it was supposed to be.
5. Iowa State 9, Iowa 6 vs. NC State 10, UConn 7
For all of you pining for more BCS league vs. BCS league non-conference games, and for those grouchy about the glut of dates against FCS teams, sit through the first 55 minutes of Iowa State’s victory over Iowa and NC State’s slugfest against Connecticut and then make a case why teams shouldn’t start the schedule with a few cupcakes to tune things up.
To be fair, the Wolfpack at least had some intrigue late after UConn pulled to within three with seven minutes to play, but the Huskies had one last drive and did nothing with it. And fine, so Iowa made it interesting getting down into Iowa State territory late before James Vandenberg got picked off by Jake Knott, but compared to the games were sloppy and poorly played considering all four will probably end up going bowling.
4. Penn State kicking problems
ANTHONY FERA IS INJURED.
After Sam Ficken botched the Virginia game for Penn State by missing four field goals including the game-winner as time ran out, it became too easy to point out what a big deal it was for star kicker Anthony Fera to transfer to Texas. Fera missed just three field goals all of last season going 14-of-17, and he should be in the mix for All-America honors this season. However, he’s out with a groin strain and wouldn’t have been able to make a difference for the Nittany Lions in the Virginia even if he hadn’t transferred.
Your program is known for having the most consistently devastating running game over the last 15 years. You have a Heisman-caliber running back and an all-star backup who’d shine if given the chance. You have two sure-thing NFL starters on the offensive line. You also lost your No. 1 receiver – arguably the one player the team couldn’t lose – early in the game, and you’re on the road and things aren’t quite clicking. Do you go with what you know works? Nooooooooooooooo, you start throwing the ball.
Wisconsin’s biggest problem is the lack of a true go-to wideout with Nick Toon gone. Jared Abbrederis is excellent, but he was blasted against Oregon State and was carted off with a chest injury. Even so, the Badger formula should’ve worked – run, keep running, and wear down your opponent and hope to get out alive. Instead, the UW coaching staff took its biggest weakness – receiver – and went at Oregon State’s biggest strength – corners – instead of pounding away with Montee Ball and the ground attack. When Ball is rumbling, he can run 23 times in a half. Wisconsin ran the ball 23 times for the entire game.
As dumb as Wisconsin’s gameplan and adjustments turned out to be in the 10-7 loss, they weren’t as bad as …
You have an NFL-caliber starting running back and another who’ll make money at the next level. You’re playing a home game against a vastly inferior opponent with an offensive line that’s owning the D line. You’re up 28-7 late in the third quarter and you lost your NFL starting quarterback to an apparent concussion and you just want to get the game over with so you can focus on the huge showdown against the No. 1 team in America. Do you hand the ball off 30 times and grind out the final 25 minutes? Nooooooooooo.
The Arkansas defense went bye-bye against ULM and couldn’t get off the field once Kolton Browning got rolling, but with the big lead and the talent and toughness to wind down the clock to get out, the offense didn’t get the job done because the coaching staff forgot it had Knile Davis and Dennis Johnson to hand the ball off to.
Arkansas held on to the ball for fewer than 21 minutes with Brandon Allen stepping in for the injured Tyler Wilson and completing 6-of-20 passes. Davis didn’t exactly get rolling, but he ran for 62 yards on just 16 carries, while Johnson tore off 7.1 yards per carry on his seven attempts. They were all but ignored once the ship started sinking.
Over the last five drives in regulation, Arkansas had four three-and-outs and one four-and-out.
And now, unless the Hogs come up with a huge SEC campaign, head coach John L. Smith will be one-and-out.
1. The Pac-12 Network
I refuse to acknowledge any and all of the accomplishments from the hot start from the Pac-12 until the league puts all of its games on a network that people can actually
The new Pac-12 Network needs programming and the quickest way to generate a buzz is by putting on some of the marquee late night games, but 1) few people know the Pac-12 Network exists, and 2) no one wants to carry it except for Dish Network, ensuring that some of the key games of the 2012 college football season will be seen by roughly 19 people.
Oregon is one of the top four teams in America, and there’s a rumor it played Fresno State on Saturday night.
Did Oklahoma State really get its doors blown off by Arizona? Unless you’re a subscriber to the right system in the right market, you’d have no clue about what was happening unless you kept hitting refresh or found the right Twitter feed.
What was the best answer for fans looking for ways to cap off their college football Saturdays with some of the day’s interesting matchups? Try to find a bar that might carry it.
Pac-12, get your games out to the masses.
Random Acts of Nutty … Provocative musings and tidbits to make every woman want you and every man want to be you (or vice versa) a.k.a. things I didn’t feel like writing bigger blurbs for.
- Wisconsin needs its offense back, while former offensive coordinator Paul Chryst isn’t having any fun with Pitt. Is it possible that Todd Graham is a better head coach than originally thought? Is it possible he was actually doing a decent job last year with Pitt and now Chryst has no chance?
- The guy is a man, but it’s still hard to take it too seriously when a big play comes from Georgia running back named Todd Gurley.
- All of a sudden, watch out for the Utah State game at Wisconsin and the ULM date with Auburn.
- Early warning for next Thursday night. BYU vs. Boise State will be fantastic.
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Connor Shaw … Underrated: Dylan Thompson
2) Overrated: Northwestern offense vs. Syracuse … Underrated: Northwestern defense vs. Vanderbilt
3) Overrated: Katie Holmes ... Underrated: Yolanda Pecoraro
4) Overrated: Jim Mora ... Underrated: Jim Mora Jr.
5) Overrated: Tommy Rees late ... Underrated: Everett Golson the rest of the game
“If it were me, I'd bet everything. But that's me. I'm an aggressive gambler. Mr. Vegas. Come on. Go for it. Go for it. Yes, yes, there we go. I'm in.”
“Oh, see, I made Louis a bet here. See, Louis bet me that we couldn't both get rich and put y'all in the poor house at the same time. He didn't think we could do it. I won.”
… ATS: 2-2
1) Washington State -11 over UNLV
2) Texas -10.5 over Ole Miss
3) BYU -4 over Utah
4) Boise State -20.5 over Miami University
If the college football season ended right now, the three best players in college football this season are … 1 1) RB Johnathan Franklin, UCLA, 2) LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia, 3) WR Marqise Lee, USC
Sorry this column sucked, it wasn’t my fault … I didn’t quite realize that playing old man football might not be so bad.
- Week 2, Part 1 - The War On