Cavalcade Of Whimsy - The Big Play
Posted Oct 16, 2012

It might have been the play of the season, but was Stepfan Taylor in?

Cavalcade of Whimsy

College Football For the Handsome

E-mail Pete Fiutak
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Last Week
- Oct. 9, Part 1 - The two stars of the first half of the season 
- Part 2 - The Big Dumb Calls For The Second Half   

This Week
- Part 2 - The Under The Radar Players You Should Know

Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … it has "fans all over the U.S., and I think it is time that they RISE UP and snatch back what satan, himself, has stolen."

And because God apparently doesn't care about spelling, either … To clarify my original post about utilizing social media to come together as a fan base in support of what this column stands for...when I refered to what satan has stolen from us as a whole I NEVER meant or even vaguely was refering to wins and/or losses on a football field. To be clear, I honestly believe that God doesn't care if this column sucks but I do know that we serve a GOD big enough to do as He pleases.

But Jonna Chizik and her posts win since she understands Facebook and I don't ... My core belief will not budge and I can't be convinced otherwise. Just like I will continue to argue that no team will ever, ever, ever win a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning as the starting quarterback, no team will ever, ever, ever win anything big with Gene Chizik as the head coach.

In a meeting similar to ones happening at the exact same time at several other Big Ten schools ... Exclusive transcript from the Urban Meyer meeting with the Ohio State defense this week, in its entirety: "Gentlemen, be better at playing football. Now go to class."

"Son, in 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I'm not Him." ... I might not be able to grasp much about this "football" that seems to be all the rage, with its fancy-schmancy terminology and bulging players, but I do know that when any part of the prolate spheroid passes over the goal line in any way before the player touches the ground, that's what you people like to call a touchdown.

You can argue that Stanford should've done a better job of pushing Notre Dame off the line. You can make a case that the Irish outplayed the Cardinal and deserved the win. You can rally behind the notion that there wouldn't have been a controversy had the Stanford offense been a little better. But Stepfan Taylor scored a touchdown in overtime, and despite the way some are trying to spin it, that's an indisputable fact.

Had the officials called the play dead and said that forward progress was stopped, then there wouldn't be a debate over anything other than a quick whistle and the play would've been over, but that's not the argument and that's not what was being reviewed.

No, Taylor's elbow wasn't down. No, his forward progress wasn't stopped. No, he didn't fumble into the end zone until after the ball crossed the plane. You are entitled to your own opinions, but you're not entitled to your own facts.

Just because the Irish players were celebrating a half-click too early instead of finishing the play doesn't mean they stopped him, and just because the first few camera angles didn't have the shot doesn't mean that the one that clearly showed Taylor got the ball over shouldn't have been seen wasn't definitive.

And while we're at it, the "Notre Dame would've won anyway" thought doesn't fly, and the phenomenal stats from the great Irish defense don't give the team a benefit of the doubt. Taylor was in and the replay official completely and totally choked.

As Jimmy said, you can't go into South Bend and leave it up to the officials ... This makes up for the Bush Push, but there's still an outstanding bill that needs to be paid for the Cleveland Gary fumble.

Lou Holtz, the second debate could end up deciding the election. Will Obama make a comeback or will Romney come up with another great performance? ... The defense hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown all season. The front line is playing physical and it's holding tough drive after drive, and that's why Mant'i Teo has got to be the front-runner for the Heisman.

"Strangers with this kind of honesty make me go a big rubbery one." ... Hi. My name is Fiu, and there's nothing more I can do. I … I … I … I can't stop believing that Texas is really, really good.

All: "Hi, Fiu."

Fiu: "There's SO much speed on defense. The linebacking corps is ultra-athletic. Even without Jackson Jeffcoat there's still NFL talent on the defensive front, and the offense is loaded with all-star talent. It's just … just … "

Group Leader: "It's okay. You're safe here. We don't judge."

Kenny: "Except me! Those Longhorns are softer than DeLoss Dodds' head if he's thinking Mack Brown is going to retire with a bazillion dollars left on his contract. They haven't played up to their talent level in years! The ONLY reason that underachieving program full of Suzy-Qs ever won a title is because Vince Young … "

Group Leader: "KENNETH! You've been warned before."

Gwen: "Yeah … coming from Mr. It's Florida State's Comeback Year."

Kenny: "Oh please, not again."

Gwen: "Wide Right!"

Kenny: "AHHHH!"


Kenny: "NOOOO!"

Gwen: "CHRIS RIX."

Kenny: "Now you take that back. How many times do we have to go through this? It wasn't his fault … IT … WASN'T …HIS … FAULT."


Kenny: (sobbing) "Happy place … Happy place … Peter Warrick … Charlie Ward …"

Group Leader: "ENOUGH YOU TWO! Go on, Fiu."

Fiu: "I mean, I honestly thought that with David Ash looking like the answer at quarterback and with the running game so strong they'd overcome the problems on defense …"

Kenny: "Ring, ring ... ring, ring … hello? ... it's the Texas back seven phoning in their tackling effort against Oklahoma."

Group Leader: "KENNY. Not another word. Sorry, Fiu. Let it out."

Fiu: "And the worst part is that I'm going to do it again. I get so tempted by all the five-star recruits and the gushing from the NFL scouts and … I wish I knew how to quit you."

Kenny: "It's easy. Just look at the polls and you'll see Texas falling faster than Felix Baumgartner, only without that kicky suit."

Group Leader: "Okay, okay. Good work. I think we've made some real progress. Fanta and donuts in the back, Kenny, apple slices for you in the peanut-free zone over there. I'll see some of you next week for our Big Ten Is Okay, You're Okay support group."

Lou Holtz, Benghazi. Was Hillary really to blame for not making sure the diplomats were secure, or was this just an unfortunate case of bad luck and is she taking the heat with the election just a few weeks away? ... I just can't say enough about the job Tommy Rees is doing to be able to come off the bench and produce like he did. That speaks to the young man's character and his preparation, and that's why Mant'i Teo has got to be the front-runner for the Heisman.

With a little luck, they'll start playing on the Pac-12 Network more so no one can ever see if they suck ... Strip away everything you know and hold dear to your heart. Put on the blindfold, take away all your preconceived notions and put a pause on your belief system.

Team X is 5-1, and the five wins have come against teams that are a combined 4-16 against the FBS, while the lone loss was to the one team so far on the slate who's absolutely guaranteed to go bowling. That loss was the only game played against anyone currently ranked, and that team is barely in the top 20.

The team is firmly entrenched in the middle of the conference pack on offense, ranking seventh in a 12-team league in yards, but the defense has been solid ranking second in total defense and third in scoring D. The pass rush is carrying the team, but in the one game that got physical, the defense crumbled and the team lost.

Team Y is also 5-1 with two wins over teams ranked in the top 25 and the only loss coming to a team in the top ten. There's a chance that one of the other wins came over a team that'll end up in a bowl, but the non-conference slate was light and breezy. Even so, Team Y did exactly what it was supposed to do and is currently fourth in the nation in total defense – despite facing one of the highest-powered attacks in college football – and is tenth in total offense.

Why is Team X (USC) ranked so far ahead of Team Y (Texas Tech) in all the polls?

For years I had to deal with screamy Trojan fans who beat their chests about how there was some sort of a bias that kept USC from playing in the BCS championship year after year after year under Pete Carroll. This time around, when it comes to the rankings there's a West Coast Benefit Of The Doubt for a team that has all the talent in the world but, even at 5-1, isn't exactly playing up to its talent level ranking dead last in all of college football in penalties, 105th in tackles for loss allowed, and 116th – with this passing game – in third down conversion percentage.

Worst of all, at least to some, as Michael Lev of the Orange County Register pointed out, the Trojans are 1-5 against the spread.

Is anyone really watching this team play?

It's all relative, and of course USC isn't bad, but for a team with so much NFL ability and so many explosive athletes, it should be killing teams like Utah, Washington and Syracuse, and it's not.

Meanwhile, Texas Tech finished last season dead last in college football against the run and finished 114th in yards allowed. The call went out to get better on defense, and it happened in a big hurry ranking fourth in the nation in total D and 12th against the run giving up fewer than 100 yards per game despite dealing with Oklahoma, Iowa State, West Virginia, and, don't laugh, a New Mexico offense that's averaging 280 rushing yards per game.

On sheer glitz and brand name, USC is ranked tenth in the BCS ahead of stronger-looking, more deserving teams. Style points shouldn't matter, but at some point it would be nice if this team rocked and rolled like it was supposed to. However, margin of victory won't matter a lick down the stretch. Beat Arizona at Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA at UCLA and Notre Dame and it won't matter if every final score is 3-2.

Lou Holtz, how do you think Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will do in place of Ricky Gervais as the hosts of the Golden Globes? ... When you look at this schedule, I don't care if the Big Ten is down and Miami isn't that great. When you go 6-0 against these great teams and with everyone giving their top effort to beat Notre Dame, you're doing something right. And that's why Mant'i Teo has got to be the front-runner for the Heisman.

"It's called playing the percentages. It's what smart managers do to win ballgames." ... Louisiana Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton was unstoppable against Texas A&M. Even with the Aggies rolling the coverage over and providing as much safety help as possible, Patton still caught 21 passes for 233 yards and four scores including a 63-yarder to get the team back in the game late. After all of that, and even after he showed time and again that he could hang big play punch for big play punch with Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel, who was on his way to setting an SEC record for total yards in a game, down 59-57 in the late moments did the Tech offense run a play his way for the two-point conversion? Nooooooo.

"Well, well, well … two more points. Stop the presses." ... Speaking of BCS busters being busted, America, are you fully aware that Boise State is going to finish the regular season with just one loss again? Dog the schedules all you want, but it's still amazing that Boise State is probably going to make it five years in a row and the sixth time in seven years with one regular season loss or fewer.

This Bronco team stinks compared to recent versions with no passing game, a mediocre defense against the run and average special teams, but Fresno State was supposed to be the lone stumbling block before going to Nevada to close out the regular season, and it wasn't even close. UNLV, San Diego State and Colorado State aren't going to pull off the upset on the blue turf, and there won't be any problems going to Wyoming and Hawaii.

Lou Holtz, Nicki Minaj or Mariah Carey? ... When I was fortunate enough to be the head coach at Notre Dame we came together as one, just like this team seems to be doing. I know they might not be pretty and I know some people want to bring them down because of the passing game, but I really believe that Brian Kelly is doing something special, and that's why Mant'i Teo has got to be the front-runner for the Heisman.

No, I'm not related to the guy and I don't get a cut of any future earnings. Although, after the spit I took from my He Shouldn't Have Been Fired From Arkansas rant, I'm at least owed a basket of mini-muffins ... Illinois, I'm going to say this, and you're not going to listen, but if you're thinking that you might not want the baggage and controversy of hiring Bobby Petrino to finally make your football program relevant, ask yourself how much fun it's been losing the last five games against FBS teams by a combined total of 208 to 59 while averaging seven points per outing in three Big Ten losses.

Lou Holtz, Notre Dame vs. Notre Dame on a neutral field? ... The pass rush … uh … that reminds me of Rocket … and … uh … it's such an honor to … Red Alert! Red Alert! … Error, Error … system … malfunctioning … and that's why Mant'i Teo has got to be the front-runner for the Heisman.

And I'm pushing for the 2015 national championship – or at least one of the playoff games - to be played in my basement. We have a mini ping pong table for your halftime entertainment. … It's Week Eight of my shameless and impossible quest to be on the committee that helps pick the playoff teams two years from now. Why do I deserve a spot? I'm willingly accepting the torture and torment of sitting through a Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen concert, and not because my daughters like either one – they're the only two pre-teen girls on the planet who think Bieber sucks. We're going because we got free tickets and then they can hold it over the heads of their mellonhead friends.

- Part 2 - The Under The Radar Players You Should Know