Cavalcade of Whimsy
Sept. 25, 2012
- Week 1 - Make My Day | Week 2 - The War On
- Week 3 - Did Arkansas
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Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault … it’s an abbreviated effort this week with all the behind-the-scenes work being done for the new site look/relaunch coming soon. It’s been a crazy, flaky time for us trying to get this all going, but the changes are going to be really, really cool.
“Don't worry, about me, Timmons.
My life shall never be anything
less than perfect. Here you go, Chubby. Go buy yourself a spritzer.” …
A little bit of a hullabaloo was recently made over a theory that 47% of America’s voters are useless lumps of goo getting scraped off the shoes by the rest of society. But what if 94% of the population was worthless and weak with no hope whatsoever of achieving the brass ring no matter what they accomplished?
What if you told someone that he can do absolutely everything right, be perfect in every way, be head-and-shoulders better than everyone he would deal with, and yet still not matter in the eyes of the decision makers who control the planet and decide the fates of the free world?
Welcome to the FBS division of college football.
The harsh reality is that around half of the 124 teams go into fall camp in denial, thinking they’re going to be playing for something interesting. Oh sure, there might be a t-shirt for winning a conference championship, and getting the free trip to a bowl game along with a bevy prizes and merchandise is certainly a nice carrot at the end of the stick, but at the end of the day it stinks that a huge portion of teams have no shot at playing for the whole ball of wax no matter what happens.
College football games obviously aren’t worthless if there aren’t title implications, but the problem continues to be that on a national scale, and to the average sports fan, all that matters is the championship chase in a system that continues to be rigged to keep down the masses. Ask Boise State what it’s like to buck up against the rock-hard ceiling for over a decade.
And it’s not just the Ohios and Louisiana Techs of the 2012 world that are fighting the good fight only to be politely denied entrance to the club with all the cool kids.
At the immediate moment, it doesn’t matter if Louisville runs the table or if Minnesota shocks the world and finishes unscathed; being in a BCS conference doesn’t guarantee you anything but a big exhibition game on a large stage.
Florida State was amazing in the second half against Clemson in a signature win for the Jimbo Fisher era. Kansas State was phenomenal in an impressive road victory at Oklahoma to announce that it really and truly is the real deal. But even though they might be two of the hottest looking chicks in line, neither one is guaranteed to get behind the velvet rope no matter what they do.
And here’s the real kicker – Notre Dame might be playing one of the toughest schedules ever with road games at Oklahoma and USC, dates with Pitt, Miami and Stanford, and a Big Ten tilt against Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State, but 12-0 doesn’t necessarily guarantee a shot at the national title.
(On my knees in solemn prayer – oh please, merciful, heavenly Father of all things football related, grant me this one blessing as a college football writer that Notre Dame, the SEC champion and Oregon all go unbeaten.)
You want a real national riot? Imagine if Texas blows through the Big 12 schedule to go 12-0 and doesn’t get to play for the national title because the pollsters don’t want to shove out a No. 2 Oregon or a No. 1 Alabama/LSU winner.
No, Oregon leapfrogging LSU in the polls doesn’t really matter because the Tigers will go to the BCS championship no matter what if they win out. The same goes for Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Mississippi State, who currently join Oregon and LSU as the only seven teams in college football that have full and total control of their destinies. As things stand right now for those seven, the deal is simple: win the rest of your games and you will be holding a crystal football.
The same deal doesn’t apply to Oregon State, who could beat Oregon, win the Pac-12 title and finish 13-0 but not get in if the voters decide they like an unbeaten Florida State or West Virginia more.
The common belief is that these things tend to iron themselves out – Notre Dame, Texas, Kansas State, Florida State, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Oregon and Alabama won’t all finish without a blemish – but that doesn’t mean things can’t be really, really messy, like they were last season. And that doesn’t mean Ohio is going to feel any better after going 13-0 with a MAC championship.
College football continues to be the only sport that doesn’t give all of its teams a chance to win the championship, and that’s not going to change with the new playoff system.
I like the newly proposed four-team format a lot more than the current BCS system, and at the end of the day, I’m going to sleep just fine thinking the four best teams are in the 2015 show. But that doesn’t mean it’s fair, and that doesn’t mean it’s right.
There’s already talk about changing up the playoff idea to include eight teams and expand the playing field. It’s going to eventually happen, so with one more push, I’m going to beg and plead the powers-that-be to finally make the sport fair for everyone, and there really is a simple solution.
Here’s the new CFN Playoff Proposal, taking into account the rise of the super-conferences and the morphing of the Big East into a sort of Conference USA Plus.
The ACC champion OR Notre Dame – either you kids are married or you’re not – Big Ten champion, Big 12 champion, Pac-12 champion and SEC champion are all in and get a bye. They earned their stripes. Six more teams – three wild cards, the Big East champion, the Mountain West-Conference USA alignment champion, and either the Sun Belt or MAC champion – face off in a play-in game with the higher-ranked team playing at home.
Win your conference title and you’re going to get a chance to play for the national championship. If you have one blip like Alabama or Stanford did last year, and you’re still alive.
College football, you’ve come this far. You’ve given us a playoff. It’s not that big a step to make it fair.
“Dear Lord Jesus, I do not often speak with you and ask for things, but now I really must insist that you help me win the election tomorrow because I deserve it and Paul Metzler doesn't, as you well know.” … You shouldn’t be allowed to vote in a poll that matters - the Coaches’ or Harris – unless you can pass a series of random quarterback tests. At any time, some guy will sheepishly knock on your door with a jar and ask that you go into a back room and witness while you name who the top quarterback option is for at least
80 of the 124 FBS college football teams. If you don’t at least know who Graham Wilbert, Kawaun Jakes, Matt Scott, Kiehl Frazier and Austyn Carta-Samuels/Jordan Rodgers are, how are you supposed to intelligently be able to compare, contrast and rank the 25 best teams?
“Back in the day when I was a teenager/Before I had status and before I had a pager.” … Notre Dame is BACK! Is Florida State BACK? Can USC come BACK? Will the Big Ten be able to bounce BACK?
Back to, or from, what?
Does being “back” mean being relevant? Notre Dame is being talked about and deserves to be paid attention to, but does that mean it’s good enough to be at a 1988 national championship level?
Is being “back” actually a good thing? Lost in all the fun over Kansas State is that when it was really, really good under Bill Snyder in 1998, it didn’t win anything. The lone Big 12 championship came in a 2003 shocker over a heavily favored Oklahoma, and then it went to the Fiesta Bowl and lost to Ohio State.
Is it fair to say a team is “back?” Florida State went on one of the greatest runs in college football history under Bobby Bowden, and it’s not fair or realistic to think any program can ever do that again for so long. For now, just being in the driver’s seat to win the ACC title should be enough for the Jimbo Fisher era.
It’s not about being “back,” it’s about being right here, right now … oh wow. I’m sorry.
I will now undergo a 17-hour process of self-flagellation for creating a corporate motivational poster with that last sentence worthy of being underneath a dopey picture of a waterfall.
“You know, bad food, worse weather … London.” … Maybe I missed it, but didn’t the supposedly fantastic Florida State defense give up 37 points and 426 yards of offense against Clemson? And what’s with all the balloon bouquets delivered to a Seminole offense that ripped apart a defense that’s still trying to use the 70-point fun-fest against West Virginia in the Orange Bowl as motivation? People, this was Clemson. You know, bad November, world beater one week flaky the next, no run defense … CLEMSON.
Yeah, it was a nice home win over a decent ACC team - nothing more. But all of a sudden, Florida State supposedly proved that things are different because it didn’t wet the bed in the second half. The team was getting credit for blowing out Wake Forest and has gaudy stats because it kicked off the year against Murray State and Savannah State, and now it’s on the verge of challenging the top teams in the SEC in the national title chase?!
Five of the next seven Seminole games are on the road including dates at Miami and Virginia Tech before closing out against a Florida team that’s much, much better than you think.
This was a step for Florida State. It wasn’t necessarily a proved-it moment.
But the passing game had something to do with it … After spending this week going back to 2010 mode arguing and explaining why the Oregon running game can’t, won’t and will never work against an elite defense in the biggest of big games, Duck fans, I’ll give it up. No one saw right of the Rockies saw it because the floodgates didn’t open until late, but no matter how sluggish your team was, and no matter how bottled up De’Anthony Thomas might have been, 49-0 is 49-0. You’re doing something right when you’re not playing well and you still beat an unbeaten conference foe by almost half a hundred.
And I’m pushing for the 2015 national championship – or at least one of the playoff games - to be played in my basement, but my bid to the BCS types of fresh banana bread and cold juice boxes has been met with little interest … It’s Week Four of 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? I might be the only person in America who can make an honest case that the Wyoming-Idaho thriller and the Marshall-Rice overtime tilt were by far the two best games in a great weekend of showdowns. However, I still don’t have the Pac-12 Network.
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.
- I don’t care if Wisconsin stinks and UCLA is a bit overblown. It’s still impressive that Oregon State has played the Badgers and dealt with the at-the-time nation’s leading rusher – UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin – and still ranks second in the nation in run defense.
- Who’s the nation’s leading rusher? Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson averaging 175 yards per game. How’s this for an evening against Hawaii? 31 carries, 170 yards, six touchdowns, and three catches for 76 yards and another score.
- I’m trying, Gamecock fans. I’m trying to get on board, but the O line is just okay compared to some of the other SEC killers, and yeah, I’ll take my chances that Connor Shaw isn’t going to do THAT each and every week. Georgia, at LSU, at Florida. It’s going to be a fun October.
- I know, I know, I just ranted about Ohio not getting a shot to play for the national championship, so forgive the 180-degree dial turn to contradiction. There’s a solid chance that the team will go the entire regular season without playing a bowl bound team. There’s a technicality – Penn State obviously can’t go – but the Marshall and Ball State are the only other two teams that have a realistic shot at getting an extra game. The Bobcats miss Toledo, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois from the West.
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: A defense that has yet to allow an offensive point at Boise State … Underrated: The super-genius decision to forget about that D and unnecessarily go for two anyway.
2) Overrated: Blasting the Big Ten … Underrated: The BTN’s Dave Revsine using the teaser phrase, “Northwestern’s pursuit of perfection”
3) Overrated: James Franklin not taking the shot ... Underrated: James Franklin taking a slew of shots from the South Carolina defense
4) Overrated: Cory Henry’s speed ... Underrated: Alabama’s speed
5) Overrated: Auburn giving LSU a push ... Underrated: Auburn ranking dead last in the SEC in total offense, passing offense, scoring offense, passing efficiency and run defense.
“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: 8-4
I know, I know, I made a lot of you contrarians mad by going 4-0 – and easily. I promise I’ll blow it this week.
- Clemson -9.5 over Boston College
- Louisiana Tech -2.5 over Virginia
- Texas -2.5 over Oklahoma State
- Missouri +3 over UCF
- Wisconsin +13 over Nebraska
Sorry this column sucked, it wasn’t my fault … It was a bad column, but on the advice of John L. Smith, all I had to do was smile and all was right with the world.