Cavalcade of Whimsy
College Football For the Handsome
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- Part 2 - The Big Dumb Calls For The Second Half
Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … after spending the last month being tech boy, we're now back to where we started for the time being. Soon the site will be better, despite the column.
The line gets blown time and again, with hand raised as a top offender. No, Stanwyk doesn't actually say Mr. Nugent … At the midway point of the season, bravo, Mr. Fletcher. Bravo.
After being accused time and again for focusing solely on the negative and scandalous side of the college football world, and after a few years of complaining that the seasons started out boring because of all the one-sided matchups, I'm more than ecstatic to give it up when everything is fun.
Yes, I'm well aware of the Big Ten's work, and there was too much Savannah State for my liking, but still,
after the Penn State horrors and scandal after scandal after scandal clogging up the headlines, how much fun has each weekend been so far?
The opening Thursday kicked off with an entertaining South Carolina win over Vanderbilt that was a bigger deal than it seemed at the time, and ended that night with a fantastic three-overtime Minnesota win over UNLV. The Saturday wasn't anything special, but Virginia Tech closed out the first weekend with an overtime thriller over Georgia Tech.
However, because the Alabama-Michigan game was a dud and nothing else big happened to start the year, many seemed bent on complaining that there weren't any compelling matchups weekend after weekend, and weekend after weekend we've been treated to some wondrous out-of-the-blue curveballs and a few terrific showdowns.
From ULM over Arkansas, Oregon State over Wisconsin, Florida over Texas A&M and UCLA over Nebraska in Week 2, to a seemingly dead Pitt rumbling over Virginia Tech, Florida punishing Tennessee, Stanford beating up USC, the Wisconsin-Utah State ending, the wacky Utah-BYU finish, Miami's comeback over Georgia Tech, Wyoming over Idaho in the best game this year no one saw, Kansas State's thumper over Oklahoma, the West Virginia-Baylor video game, Miami's thriller over NC State, the Texas-Oklahoma State controversy, the NC State comeback/Florida State gack, the LSU/Florida dogfight, the West Virginia-Texas shootout, the Stanford-Arizona stat-fest, Ohio State blowing the doors off of Nebraska, and on and on and on, are you not entertained?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, so all the fun and excitement could be reduced to nothing more than a countdown before Alabama plays Oregon in Miami, but what if Notre Dame really can keep this going? What happens if USC beats the Ducks and the rivalry against the Irish takes on a special meaning?
What if Florida State gets back in a groove and the showdown with Florida is a really, really big deal, or what if Clemson continues to sneak on by and the South Carolina regular season finale has BCS implications?
What if Ohio State vs. Penn State effectively becomes the NCAA and Jim Delany nightmare scenario of a Big Ten championship? What if Geno Smith and that are able to keep on rolling while thumbing their noses at the concept of playing defense, and what if Kansas State has something to say about it on October 20th?
What if the Big East round-robin tournament of Cincinnati, Louisville and Rutgers produces an undefeated team worthy of being in the BCS title debate, and what if Louisiana Tech blows up Texas A&M and this offense actually is the real deal?
What if, even after a few misfires, November 3rd is still fantastic with Oregon at USC and Alabama at LSU still proving to be very, very big?
And even after all of that, what if Alabama vs. Oregon really is the 2013 BCS championship matchup?
The first half was terrific, and now the fun begins.
"Wormser is a master of aerodynamics and designed a javelin to go along with Lamar's limp-wristed throwing style." … It's 2012. I think we've progressed enough as a nation to finally repeal the Hawaii nickname and accept that it really is okay to be the Rainbow Warriors again. And no, this has nothing to do with a 1-4 start with the lone win a 54-2 squeaker over Lamar.
"No way my Gino did that. It's an Enzo." … There's one very huge, very important difference between Robert Griffin's run to the Heisman last season and what Geno Smith is doing with West Virginia so far – West Virginia isn't supposed to suck.
Part of the magic of RG3's season was the way he carried a mediocre team. All of a sudden, Baylor was counterpunching with some of the best teams in college football on a regular basis because of the play of a transcendent quarterback. West Virginia is coming off an Orange Bowl-winning season and was supposed to by a player in the Big 12 title chase.
The stats are amazing, but for Smith to be a slam-dunk Heisman winner, unlike Griffin, he actually has to win the biggest of the big games and has to lead the way to the Fiesta Bowl, maybe more. He can still win just on the great numbers, but RG3 became RG3 by beating Oklahoma in the final seconds and carrying the team on his back when needed. The Mountaineer win over Texas was a terrific step forward for Smith's campaign, but he and his O still have to get by Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma for this to be a done deal.
It'll be a question of whether or not he hands off to Trent Richardson, Chris Johnson or MJD … Considering the way he's throwing darts to covered receivers, while also showing the poise under fire to make things happen to connect with the open ones, right now, right here, either you're or you're out, would you trade your current starting quarterback for the present and future of Geno Smith if you're Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New York Jets, Oakland, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay or Tennessee?
Considering how great rookie quarterbacks have been this year, and with Smith's franchise potential, size and tools, the respective answers are yes; of course, and eat the bad Fitzpatrick paper; not quite yet, but fewer ads and more wins, pretty boy; yes; yes, but only because Weeden is 157 years old; yes, because No. 9 will never, ever win a Super Bowl; a respectful yes; a it's-probably-going-to-happen-anyway yes; yes; a make No. 15-an-H-back-already yes; a JaMarcus Russell make-good yes; a perfect-fit-for-that-offense-and-those-receivers yes; stunningly, a not-quite-sure-yet maybe not; no, but it's closer than you'd think; no; and absolutely.
"You cannot powder away what botox can fix. My name is Tamar, and I am for plastic surgery." … I'm now going to attempt to adjust my I-don't-really-believe-my-own-case argument – formerly known as the "Boise State should be in the national title discussion" lost cause – for why Braxton Miller is actually the best player in college football at the midseason.
I can't make a case for anyone but Geno Smith in terms of the player of the year debate. With 24 touchdown passes, no picks, close to 2,000 passing yards, and with the performance of the year against Baylor and the win over Texas, fumbles and all, Smith has been the signature player of 2012. However, this is his second season operating the quarterback-friendliest of offenses, and he's working with a ton of talented skill players who appear to know exactly what they're doing. Name an Ohio State skill player who's doing anything of note other than Miller.
Kansas State's Collin Klein certainly deserves mention in an MVP race, but Miller has been more dynamic while carrying an even bigger load for a Buckeye team that's fighting through a probation year.
When the Buckeyes needed Miller to become a passer, he threw for 249 yards and four scores against Cal while getting beaten to a pulp. When he had to go gut-check and play hurt against Michigan State, he ran for 136 yards against the nation's tenth-ranked run D. Last week he was shut down cold by Nebraska for a quarter, and he finished with 186 rushing yards and a score in a flawless final 45 minutes.
Smith might be No. 1 in the nation in passing efficiency, but Miller is a not-that-bad 38th while ranking 11th in rushing.
Smith gets my Heisman vote if the world ended right now, but I'd think about it a bit before hitting the button.
"Johnny Unitas, there's a haircut you could set your watch to." … On my mark … 3 … 2 … 1. Check. Georgia and Florida State blow it despite their loaded teams. Right on time.
Eventually, the movie of this will do as well as the Paterno book … I know everyone is desperately sick of anything and everything surrounding the Penn State scandal, but please, broadcasters and four-letter talking heads, there's no need to go the other way and gush about how the football team is doing something inspirational.
THE PROGRAM IS SUPPOSED TO BE GETTING PUNISHED.
Whether or not the Nittany Lions win is immaterial, and that the players are actually trying while playing a sport they love really shouldn't be given so much attention. Of course the team is supposed to try and win – that's on the NCAA for not turning the lights out – but the players are just playing football. That's it. The scoreboard doesn't matter.
If he can do this with that, imagine what he might do with Mr. Hackenberg… However, there's really no case to be made for anyone else but Bill O'Brien for the Coach of the Midseason. Forget about all the other stuff; he deserves it for turning Matt McGloin into a living, breathing, BCS-league starting quarterback.
Reason No. 148 why I'm glad I don't have boys … By the way, nice work, NCAA. Ohio State and Penn State are probably the two best teams in the Big Ten right now. This is like punishing your kid for his hidden Playboy by sending him to his room for an hour with the door shut, but giving the okay to do "work" on his computer.
Oooooh, maybe some more vacated wins. Feel the burn … Penn Staters, I will give you a win on this debate. When was the last time you heard of the NCAA coming up with some sort of a punishment or even an investigation of anything. Apparently, over the last few years no one's talking to agents or taking handouts of any kind, and, of course, no one in the recruiting world is doing anything that might violate NCAA rules.
And I'm pushing for the 2015 national championship – or at least one of the playoff games - to be played in my basement, but I just vacuumed. … It's Week Seven 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? Seriously, Florida beat LSU and it's ranked behind Kansas State? USC is ranked ahead of Stanford? Not on my watch. No sir, not on my watch.
- Part 2 - The Big Dumb Calls For The Second Half