Texas, Be Better At Football

Posted Sep 10, 2013

Trying to quit Texas, Devin Gardner's 98, & more in Fiu's Cavalcade.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

College Football For the Handsome

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- August 27 - Kickoff Cavalcade  
- Sept. 3 - Enter Jameis Winston 
- Sept. 10, Part 2 - Happy Wife, Happy Life," and other reasons to be grouchy  

Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … It totally dominated and was going to come away with the win, but Jeff Driskel tried to force it and really, really bad things happened.

Oh, by the way, it doesn't hurt that they're doing this to sell more jerseys and make more money – IT'S A MARKETING STUNT... What if Devin Gardner, doesn't want to wear the No. 98? What if he wants to blaze his own trail at Michigan – you know, actually be a Leader, or the Best - and make a number mean something because of his own achievements? What if he didn't really want to wear a number of some guy who played a million years ago?

Gardner has the canned, "I'm the Michigan quarterback" line down, but he's taking the leadership role very, very seriously. He's a likeable guy, and he genuinely seems honored to wear Tom Harmon's No. 98, but again, what if he really liked being No. 12? It's not like he could say no.

Coach: "Devin, we don't retire numbers here at Michigan, but we want you to wear the No. 98 in honor of Michigan legend, Tom Harmon."
Gardner: "Who?"
Coach: "Tom Harmon."
Gardner: "The guy on TV?"
Coach: "No, that's Mark Harmon. Tom Harmon played in the late 1930s and is universally considered one of the greatest college football players of all-time."
Gardner: "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah … sorry. Just focusing on the game. What do you want me to do?"
Coach: "Wear his number."
Gardner: "Uh, but I'm number 12."
Coach: "Yes, but it's an honor to wear 98."
Gardner: "Oh, okay. I guess it'll be cool for this week. Thanks."
Coach: "No, you get to wear it for the rest of your career."
Gardner: "(spittake) ppfpfffpfpfpppfttptptpt."

3rd and 1 at the WKU 19 ... It's absolutely amazing how Johnny Manziel is able … ugh. Interception by Tennessee's Justin Coleman for a touchdown.

It's okay if this one stops if it keeps bringing out goofy uniform changes ... The only people more moronic than the fans who give a flying hoot about whether or not two college football teams playing each other is a rivalry are the coaches who feel the need to lie and pretend to care that it's bigger than it is. It's lots and lots of fun when Michigan plays Notre Dame, but it's just another big game for big programs that play nothing but big games. Who do the Michigan and Notre Dame head coaches have to beat more than anyone else?

Everyone. If you're the leader of those two programs, you can't lose to Ohio State, USC, Michigan State, or any service academy or directional Michigan MAC school that happens to pop up on the slate. You can't lose. Period.

Yes, the Michigan head coach needs to beat Ohio State first and Michigan State a close second. Yes, the Notre Dame head coach has to beat USC. The idea that winning one game over any team should matter more than winning the other 11 on the schedule is goofy, but that's the deal, but again, every game is a really, really big game to these guys.

2nd and 7 at the WKU 32 ... Mike Leach showed once and for all … crap! Interception by Tennessee's Cameron Sutton for a touchdown.

1st and 10 at the WKU 30 ... Is it time yet to really and truly make the call that Todd Gurley belongs … ooooof. Fumble, recovered by Tennessee's Dontavis Sapp.

1st and 10 at the WKU 28 ... Where the hell did Illinois come from? While there's still time for the wheels to … gggggghhhhh. Fumble, recovered by Tennessee's Max Arnold.

1st and 10 at the WKU 14 ... If you and ten friends of all ages, shapes and sizes got together and tried to run six plays against an SEC defense, as inept as you might be, and despite a few catastrophic injuries, you still wouldn't turn the ball over five times in those six plays like Western Ken … accccccckkkk. Interception by Tennessee's Brent Brewer.

"Hi, I'm Lolita, and this here's Tanqueray" ... And America is prepared to not care about whatever this thing is with Oklahoma State that happened a few years ago – this really, really fun-sounding thing - and goes on in several ways, shapes and forms at just about every college football and basketball program, in three … two …

For as long as we can ride it. There ain't no reins on this one. ... Texas, I wish I knew how to quit you.

Seriously, I have a problem.

Part of my living comes from goofing on dopey people making dopey picks and predictions, yet I can't help myself when it comes to Texas – I love talent.

I want to see the best of the best do what they do best when they're at their best, if that makes any sense, and I keep waiting for Texas to crank it up ten notches because it's going to happen. This program has too much talent not to.

I don't want to see some Cinderella feel-good story come up with some flukish victory when all the planets are aligned correctly. I want to see the best in their craft do their thing at the highest of levels.

I don't want to see some guy named Chad or Spiff or Rory win some golf tournament; I want Tiger Woods to win by 15 strokes, pump his fist, blow off a slew of autograph-requesting fans, and then go be surly.

I don't want Northern Gulf Mason A&T hitting 19 three-pointers in a row to knock out Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA tournament, because then, inevitably, comes the wet-the-bed 79-46 blasting in the next round against Kansas or Louisville or Ohio State. I want the clash of titans with everything on the line.

If I'm sitting through Rochelle, Rochelle, I'm getting Bette Midler, not the understudy.

And that's why Texas, you tick me off.

You have everything. You have your own network. You're the dream school of just about every football mad kid in the football maddest of states. You have an unlimited well of cash to throw at the football program. You can buy whatever head coach you want, and in the case of Mack Brown, you can then go get any assistant you want and give him the promise of possibly being the one who'll get the sweetest of turn-key gigs.

You don't really have to work to recruit players – you could put together a national title contender among your castoffs. Signing Day means almost nothing to you.

You are bound by nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Why aren't you better at playing college football?

It's not player evaluation – your top 40 or so players could've gone almost anywhere. It's not really the development – just wait to see how many current Longhorns are on NFL rosters over the next several years. It's not really even the coaching, at least in terms of talent. You get the best of the best in the game, even if the fans don't necessarily believe it. The problem, Texas, is that you're just so painfully soft.

I'm tired of making excuses for you. I picked you to beat USC in the epic 2006 Rose Bowl, and I picked you to beat Alabama in the 2010 BCS championship – you get a free pass on that with the Colt McCoy injury. Ever since, I've been assuming that all the advantages and all the talent and all the unbelievable athletic marvels you've amassed would start to come up with something truly special. Instead, we get 550 yards of BYU rushing offense thanks to Taysom Hill's Vince Young impersonation.

That's it. I'm out. I'm done. I've learned my lesson and I'm not falling for this again. I'm not … I'm … I'm …

OH, WHO AM I KIDDING? Texas, of course you're going to rally back and beat Ole Miss this week. Of course you're going to rise up and rip though a bad Big 12 (pant … pant … ), and of course you're going to play up to your talent level and potential, run the table, and get to the BCS championship. I'm going to make this pick happen whether you like it or not. Wait, what's with that net? Who are you guys? Where are you taking me …?

"You've always been very kind to me. Goodbye, Blakeney." ... If I'm Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz – now, the former defensive coordinator - just before halftime against BYU, I shake the hands of all my defensive players, give Mack Brown a bro hug, and then I jog off the field and out of the stadium. I then hail a cab for the Provo Municipal Airport where I book a one-way ticket to anywhere tropical with fruity drinks, a sandy beach and no football whatsoever.

"I would follow you into the mists of Avalon if that's what you mean." ... Exactly three years ago I officially declared that Tennessee Tech head coach Watson Brown had to be in the discussion of the least effective head coaches in the history of college football. It was nothing against the guy, I've never met him, but his record spoke for itself.

TTU finished 5-6 in 2010, meaning that after starting out his career going 7-4 at Austin Peay in both the 1979 and 1980 seasons, Brown coached 24 seasons with just four winning records and 26 years with six wining campaigns, and yet he always, always seemed to have a head coaching job.

There was finally a rainbow in 2011, as Brown took his team to a 7-4 record and a spot in the FCS playoffs, but everything went back to normal last season with a 3-8 campaign. That means that Brown is now in his 29th season as a college football head coach with just seven winning seasons and five since 1980. After his team got obliterated by Wisconsin last Saturday, his career record is now 123-190-1.

And Watson Brown is probably going to be a college football head coach next year at this time, while his younger brother, Mack Brown, who owns a career record of 237-118-1 with 22 winning seasons, two Big 12 championship, six Big 12 South titles and a national championship in his last 23 years, probably isn't.

"Guys, what should I do? Should I take the car, or should I take Debbie?" ... First half offensive meltdowns aside, Bobby Petrino spent his Saturday night bouncing around his house like Michael Flatley while scouting out real estate options in Austin and Los Angeles, knowing his upcoming next contract just got another guaranteed year.

"Ovaltine? A crummy commercial? Son of a ... " … According to reports, Nike forced Alabama, Florida, USC and North Carolina to send back their official apparel because either 1) the swoosh logos weren't visible enough on TV or 2) there weren't enough of them. People, the debate is over. It really, really is okay if college athletes are allowed to accept money just because they're college athletes.

If only he played for a passing offense ... Week 2 for the Baker Mayfield NCAA Record Watch Of Whoopee. With the right coach and the right team, everything is set up perfectly for the Texas Tech true freshman to obliterate Case Keenum's NCAA passing records. He wasn't needed for a full game against Stephen F. Austin, but he made the most of the opportunity completing 21-of-30 passes for 367 yards and three touchdowns with no picks. Unfortunately, if everything breaks right, he has to average over 369 yards per game to break the record. However, he maintained the three-score pace he needs to be on.
COUNTDOWN TO KEENUM: 18,437 yards, 148 touchdowns.

"So please please please let me, let me, let me let me get what I want this time" … Welcome back to my shameless and impossible quest to be on the committee that helps pick the four playoff teams next year. Why do I deserve a spot? Really, I promise. I renounce all previous belief systems, thoughts or predictions when it comes to Texas. I'm willing to adapt and adjust based on what's actually happening on the field. I can do this … I can do this … Maybe.  

- Sept. 10, Part 2 - Happy Wife, Happy Life," and other reasons to be grouchy