What's your beef? ... E-mail with your
If this column
sucks, it’s not my fault …
the clock started as soon as I started writing it. Being early in the
season, I can’t get everything quite in sync yet and I burned all my
So those “student athletes” can get back to their studies a little
bit faster … Why doesn’t the NCAA just cut out the game entirely and
have the teams play a field goal kicking contest so we can get the
drudgery and boredom of a college football Saturday over with as quickly
Really, do you need to hear another rendition of Hot Stuff? … Who
complained about the games being too long? It’s not like anyone will
cure cancer in the extra six minutes saved by the new rule changes. Drop
halftime from 20 to an NFL-sized 12 minutes. Problem solved. The band
can come out and play before and after the game. If you think the game
is too long, leave or turn it off. No one’s putting a pea shooter to
your head and forcing you to watch.
Is it pronounced Poin-sett-a or Poin-sett-ia? … The Poinsettia
Bowl announcing that Army has been granted an invite, if bowl eligible, is
the equivalent of camping out for three weeks to get tickets for
Snakes on a Plane.
Hopefully, the afterlife has a Mustard’s Last Stand like the one
outside of Ryan Field … If the late Randy Walker really is somewhere
looking down on the Northwestern football program, and hopefully he’s
doing something far more interesting, he’s probably really, really
annoyed at the plinky, trying-to-send-a-somber-mood music playing in the
background on every piece done about him.
And win that Holiday Bowl thing while you’re at … O.K. non-USC
Pac 10 teams, you have one last shot to be taken somewhat seriously by a
skeptical college football world after the Cal-Tennessee debacle.
Oklahoma vs. Oregon. September 16th. That’ll be as must win
as must wins get for national respect.
And there also has to be a generic view of students looking like
they’re doing something vitally important in a lab … To save all the
marketing people at the various universities a bunch of time and effort,
I’ve come up with five innocuous slogans that could apply to any of the
school promos that pop up during commercial breaks during college
football games. The University of XYZ …
1. … Reaching higher
2. … Daring to be great
3. … Creating leaders
4. … Moving forward
5. ….Making a difference
And five realistic ones that could also apply to every school. The
University of XYZ …
1. … Your parents pay, you play, we don’t tell
2. … Preparing great minds to be cogs in the system
3. … Delaying the inevitable
4. … Sex! Now that we got your attention, come to XYZ U.
5. … Now with over four practical majors
With more clichés than an ad for Gridiron Gang, the
C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by
the feats of strength
The new announcing teams, media
coverage and the broadcasts of the games.
While the new quarterbacks and the top teams got all the
attention this first weekend, many were more interested in how the new
announcing teams were going to do. These are the guys (and Pam Ward) who
shape our college football memories and play a vital role in the
experience. The announcers and the media took center stage this first
10. This crew should’ve also done the Florida State – Miami game.
While some kinks need to be worked out of the team of Brent Musburger,
Bob Davie and Kirk Herbstreit, they were fantastic doing the Notre Dame
– Georgia Tech game. No one calls a big game like Brent, and he was kept
from flying off into his hyperbolic hysteria by Davie and Herbstreit,
mostly because all needed time to talk. Herbstreit sounded like he was
being careful not to step on any toes, and he’s far more fun doing the
throwaway Thursday night games with Chris Fowler, but he was rock-solid.
They added to the game, which is all you can ask for, and they have the
potential to be the best three-man booth since the college basketball
days of Dick Enberg, Billy Packer and the late Al McGuire.
9. Subtraction by addition … the three-man booth isn’t always
Brad Nessler, Bob Griese and Paul Maguire were fine, but nothing special
doing the Cal –Tennessee game. Considering Maguire was worse at
announcing Sunday Night Football than every other human being is at
doing anything else, he wasn’t all that bad in his debut. He was more
understated than normal and was relatively informed, but he was an
unnecessary addition to the Nessler-Greise team. Nessler deserves as
much room as possible to work.
8. The David Lee Roth of sports announcers.
Mike Patrick announced the USC – Arkansas game like a guy who just
lost a high profile gig (you might call it the Sean McDonough syndrome),
and he was all over the place doing Florida State - Miami. Miami passed
up a long field goal for a pooch punt, but Patrick ignored it by going
on and on with a bizarre rant about how Edge James doesn’t really care
Something’s missing from the Patrick – Todd Blackledge team … energy.
Blackledge is great at pointing out subtleties here and there, but he’s
the Al Gore of color commentators; he's technically sound, but there’s
just nothing there. Listening to them makes me want to curl up on the
couch with a warm glass of milk, a blankey and a copy of Goodnight Moon.
Mike “eight-head” (someone who’s showing twice as much forehead as
normal) Tirico and the new Monday night crew should’ve been flown in to
handle such a big game. Otherwise, give Ron Frankin a higher profile.
7. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and sounds like an
Oregon Duck …
We all have limitations. We can’t all run 4.4 40s, look like a
supermodel, keep a contract with Paramount Pictures, eat at Chipolte
without gaining weight, or have the pipes of a Joel Myers. The world
needs ditchdiggers, too. Dan Fouts, unfortunately, won’t be able to
overcome his voice. He was a fantastic analyst considering he was
weighed down by Gatorade’s version of Keith Jackson, a.k.a. GIDS, but
his voice is too tinny and too distracting as a play-by-play man. He’s
too strong not to be moved back to his old role.
6. How many ways can you describe a Brett Favre interception?
It’s a shame Wayne Larrivee, who did the Wisconsin – Bowling Green
game, is so firmly entrenched as the Green Bay Packer radio voice. He’s
fantastic at doing college football and should be doing more than the
lower-profile Big Ten games. He’d be a superstar on a national scale if
he got bigger games to do.
5. Lose one Trev to the abyss known as CSTV, gain another.
Is Trevor Matich trying to be weird? I have the same problem with
Matich and Rod Gilmore as dual analysts as I do with the PTI guys. When
they aren’t totally informed on something or are trying to banter, they make up an off-the-wall opinion to have a forced,
fake argument. The PTIers are at least entertaining about it while
Matich and Gilmore appear to be playing it straight. It’s fine once in a
while, but Matich went overboard time and again during the Kentucky –
Louisville and Nevada - Fresno State games and is consistently wrong
more than any game analyst.
Case in point, Nevada was down 28-19 with less than five minutes to play
and Matich and Gilmore were still debating where or not Nevada
should’ve gone for two earlier in the half. Refusing to admit he was
wrong, and saying why being down nine was better than being down eight, Matich said, “I’d rather fail on that two-point conversion early and
know that you need two scores.” The response from Gilmore and anyone
watching the game: “Huh?!”
4. First I kick, and then I kiss.
I always dog sideline reporters because of the goofy nature of their
job, so it’s only fair to highlight when one does something right. Holly
Rowe, who is the best in the business and would be doing NFL games if
she had the breasts of Erin Andrews, was right on top of it late in the
USC – Arkansas game when she described how now-backup Hog quarterbacks
Robert Johnson and Casey Dick snubbed super-frosh Mitch Mustain by
failing to congratulate him after a touchdown or console him after an
interception. Kudos to the ESPN director who then cut over to the USC
sideline to show quarterbacks John David Booty and Mark Sanchez, who
were involved in a battle all off-season for the starting job, laughing
and exchanging hi-fives.
3. You just know a “please Hammer, don’t hurt ‘em” will come flying
Mark Jones after a big play by Ted Ginn: “Too much Ginn and juice and
you start to walk crooked.” (Heavy sigh) It’s not a question of if, but
when Jones says something bizarre. It takes away from his talents as a
more-than-competent play-by-play man.
2. Wife Swap, followed by Wife Swap, followed by Supernanny …
… that was Monday night’s ABC lineup. You can put Florida State –
Miami on 39 ESPN networks, but if a game isn’t on one of the big four in
prime time, it’s not really that important. That goes for Monday Night
Football, which was moved to make way for the ABC craptacular lineup of
1. It’s still surprising the family of networks took a break from
televising yet another card game.
In an attempt to combat ESPN’s Full Circle coverage of the Florida
State – Miami game, next week’s Cavalcade will be televised on every
major network, and the WB, with 137 different cameras to get reader
reaction shots, shots of me writing the column, and shots of me,
reacting to you, reacting to me writing the column. There will be 364
cameras focused on every angle of me as I write it including the
“microcam” to be put on a tube down my esophagus so you can actually see
the bile stirring as I’m writing something I’m particularly grumpy
about. You can have one computer monitor set up to read the column, one
set up to read one of the numerous live chats about the column, one
earbud in to listen to one analysis and an earbud in the other to hear
the analysis of the analysis. Of course, you can do this all while
watching several TVs with picture in picture to be certain you’re not
missing the slightest subtle nuance. To be translated in 178 different
languages, as well as televised on CFN Deportes, CFN International, and
CFNjazeera, the column will bring the world and the universe together as
it’ll be beamed out into space so that intelligent life over 10 million
light years away may someday be a little wiser. Ehhh, (bleep) it.
It’s one thing to cover a game “Full Circle”, but the bells and whistles
have to be interesting. How many closeups do you need of Bobby Bowden
blowing his nose? Do you really need to see reaction shots of the
quarterbacks? How many ways can a defensive slugfest be shown? ESPN
basically showed it could turn the amp to 11 without wondering if ten
might just be loud enough.
And no, coverage of anything involving the JonBenet case
doesn’t count …
The world would be a
better place if the major news stories and events had the same sort of
coverage as Florida State – Miami.
Upon further review, Paul Maguire really doesn’t need to be doing
college football … College football got the instant replay rule as
good as it can possibly be with one glaring exception. Why does a team
only get one challenge if the coach turns out to be right? If the coach
is doing the referee’s job for him, there’s no need to be penalized for
it. The whole goal of this thing is to get the correct call, every time.
If something’s right, it’s right. A team should have unlimited
challenges as long as they don't miss. Also, and I’ve harped on this
before, replay cameras have to be set up on both goal lines since so
many disputed plays happened there. There’s no reason there couldn’t
have been a definitive shot of the diving catch by Florida State’s Chris
Davis that was called down inside the one against the Canes.
It would only be better if Buffalo starting quarterback Drew
Willy was involved … It’s unfortunate that Eastern Illinois didn’t
have its head coach, who had undergone surgery before it’s game with
Illinois, otherwise you’d have had the greatest last name coaching
matchup in sports history. I defy anyone out there to find one better
than Ron Zook vs. Bob Spoo.
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects
of the world
1) Overrated: Week one of the college football season ...
Underrated: Week two
2) Overrated: John Mark Karr … Underrated: Anyone over 30 who doesn’t
have a kid or didn’t have a participating friend, family member or
rooting interest in the Little League World Series yet watched every
3) Overrated: Quinn and Peterson… Underrated: Legumes and zucchini
4) Overrated: Colorado PK Mason Crosby ... Underrated: Montana State PK
5) Overrated: The two “gellin” guys talking to each other at the
McMillan wedding ... Underrated: The guy who’s “so not gellin” but is
dancing with a hot chick instead of standing around grooving off some
Sheer hubris run amok, week seven … The three lines this week
that appear to be a tad off: 1) Louisville -39 over at Tempe, 2) Penn
State +9 over at Notre Dame, 3) Indiana -4.5 over at Ball State.
Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault … I chose to
come back for my senior year instead of leaving early to make millions
in the NFL, but I broke my leg and got carted off before I could finish
it. Simple rule: it’s a game for everyone else, it’s a business for the
top players. Good luck, Michael. You'll still be a multi-millionaire
next year at this time.