Cavalcade of Whimsy, Week 2
Posted Sep 12, 2006

a.k.a. Frank Costanza's Festivus Airing of the Grievances ... Week Two

By Pete Fiutak    What's your beef? ... E-mail with your thoughts  
Past Whimsys
Week 1

If this column sucks, it’s not my fault … the new clock rule beat the column. Not Ohio State.

There wasn’t much happening over the other 54 minutes, either … Texas head coach Mack Brown whined during the weekly Big 12 teleconference that the new clock rule might have played a big part in the loss to Ohio State. “They scored with six minutes left,” groused Brown, “and the game was over before we had a chance to do anything.” Yeah, like Brown and his staff were just waiting to spring the real plays on the Buckeyes late in the game, but time simply ran out. Wanting more time for that overhyped snoozefest is like hoping for an extra 23 minutes added on to the director’s cut of The Da Vinci Code.

Just like Aquaman 2 can’t possibly succeed with Jake Gyllenhaal as the main man …  Isn’t it amazing how much better a coach Mack Brown was with Vince Young? Losing to the number one team in the nation is nothing to be ashamed of, and, of course, Brown can coach, but if Texas loses to Oklahoma …

But that University of Peru offense can hang with anyone … After the USA’s performance in that basketball World Championship thingy, I will no longer accept the use of the phrase World Champion Miami Heat. After the USA’s performance in the World Baseball Classic, I will no longer accept the phrase World Champion Chicago White Sox. However, even after the loss to Ohio State, if you want to say they're the World Champion Texas Longhorns, I’ll allow it.

And it’s O.K. to feel a little bit sad inside when you see Emmitt Smith on every promo for Dancing with the Stars  … The Florida State – Miami game wasn’t a defensive classic. It wasn’t gripping. It wasn’t entertaining. It sucked. Go ahead and say it out loud. “My name is (say your name), and the Florida State – Miami game sucked.” Hi, (your name). Feel better? Not yet? O.K., then try to come to peace with the fact that the Ohio State - Texas game was as forgettable as the taco you had for lunch last Wednesday. They can't all be winners.

Well, Clarice – Have the Hogs stopped screaming? … Either USC’s John David Booty or Alabama’s John Parker Wilson has the same name of my next door neighbor who is sort of a loner, keeps to himself, and doesn’t bother anyone, but has been heard over and over again yelling from his basement to “put the (bleep)ing lotion in the basket.”

All the money in the world won’t buy back the glory days with Otter, Brother Bluto, and the rest of the guys at the Delta Tau Chi house … Imagine what would happen if all the self-righteous people who keep whining about Oklahoma State uber-booster T. Boone Pickens, who frivolously gave a $165 million donation to the Cowboy football program, made up for it by not going to Starbucks for one week and gave that money to a worthwhile charity.

But he does light a candle at the Grotto to pray for ESPN Classic to air the 1988 win over Miami over and over again … There’s no truth to the rumor that Lou Holtz’s head is spray-painted with real gold flecks before going on air.

Notice, Michael Vick can't throw touchdown passes in the ads, either (I know, he threw two on Sunday) ... That team in the Nike ad that's up 14-10 late against a Briscoe High squad with Brian Urlacher, LaDanian Tomlinson, Troy Polamalu, Matt Leinart, Vick, and coached by Don Shula and Urban Meyer must be really, really good.

But they all exited in under seven minutes once the Wolverines got up 41-10 … With a storm cloud approaching and visible lightning off in the distance, there was an hour delay in the first half of the Central Michigan – Michigan game. The teams left the field for precautionary reasons, but many of the 100,000-plus fans were left to sit through the short downpour in an antiquated stadium that’s ill-equipped for a quick evacuation. There was no place for most to go if a lightning storm had started to blast parts the field. By the way, the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy was on Monday. Connect the dots, NCAA.

Close to 3,000 innocent people were killed in the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 … According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, close to 8,000 innocent children under the age of 15 are killed by drunk drivers each year. Want to do your part in the war on terror? Make sure you're stone-cold sober when you get in a car, or find alternative means of transportation, after a college football Saturday of tailgating and partying.

And I respectfully request to get a redo on last year’s ballot … My Heisman ballot for this week would be: 1. Adrian Peterson, RB Oklahoma, 2. Troy Smith, QB Ohio State, 3. Ian Johnson, RB Boise State, 4. Mike Hart, RB Michigan, 5. Brady Quinn, QB Notre Dame

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
The ten aspects of the college football world this week that made me grouchy, excited, and/or a bit tingly.

10. Tom Zbikowski vs. Rhett Bomar
I’m still trying to figure this one out. Tom Zbikowski got paid to fight in a professional boxing match that lasted :49, but that’s fine according to the NCAA. Rhett Bomar got paid for a job that he went to for :49, and that’s not fine. If Zbikowski wasn’t Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowski, there’d have been no national attention to his fight, it might not have even been promoted, and he might not have even gotten the gig in the first place. Aren't both players getting money because they're famous football players? While we're at it, do you want to also rehash the Jeremy Bloom fiasco?

9. “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”
Sorry to keep bringing up the terrorism thing, but I can’t be the only one who’s deeply disturbed by the Chick-fil-A ads with the cows parachuting into a stadium. 

8. “Screw you, Mellon”
Here’s a respectful request to all announcers to refrain from dismissing the seizure of a muscle as being “just a cramp.” Obviously cramps aren't that serious compared to the horrible things that can happen on a football field, and they're quickly treatable with fluids, a banana, and a little bit of stretching, but having been hit by the mother of all leg cramps that started at 4:39 last Wednesday morning and lasted until around 4:50, they're nothing to sneeze at. Pain is always no big deal when it happens to someone else.

7. If you’ve got it, flaunt it
The officials in the booth apparently reviewed the controversial plays at the end of the Akron win over NC State and the Iowa State win over UNLV, but no one seemed to want to tell anyone until a few hours later. To get closure on the games, the referees have to make it very, very clear to the players, coaches and fans that the big final plays are being reviewed. Everyone can wait. Thanks to the clock rule, we have the time.

6. Trust me. You can’t get from Dan Hawkins to Kevin Bacon in six steps.
How bad is Colorado? The Buffs lost to Montana State 19-10 in the season opener. Montana State took that momentum into its home opener and got tagged by D-II’s Chadron State 35-24. To be fair, the Eagles were coming off a dominating 21-3 win over the University of Mary.

5. Go to the bathroom; miss three touchdowns.
It might not be for the purists, but for sheer eye-candy and unbridled fun, you have to mark October 21st on your calendar for the Hawaii – New Mexico State game. The Aggie passing game has finally taken flight thanks to new QB Chase Holbrook, who leads the nation’s number one air attack averaging 427 yards per game. Hawaii only played one game, but Colt Brennan threw for 350 yards against Alabama.

4. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid ....
If all else appears equal, you always, ALWAYS go with the veteran quarterback over the newbie in big games. I know this. I know this. I know this. How could I pick Texas over Ohio State and how could I have thought Penn State had a real shot against Notre Dame? Stupid, stupid, stupid …

3. First round wide receivers
I promise to never again claim a wide receiver prospect is a bet-the-house-bet-the-kids, sure-fire Hall of Famer. Charles Rogers had all the talent in the world coming out of college and appeared to be a sure a thing as sure things get. Cut. Mike Williams was unstoppable at USC. Fat, lazy, tardy. In recent drafts, Larry Fitzgerald and Roy Williams have turned into burgeoning superstars, and there are other first rounders, like Lee Evans, Michael Jenkins, and Braylon Edwards, with mega-potential, but when first round receivers bust, they do it with pizzazz. Remember Rashaun Woods? San Francisco would like to. How about David Terrell? Ashley Lelie, Rod Gardner, Koren Robinson, Freddie Mitchell, Peter Warrick, Travis Taylor, Sylvester Morris, R. Jay Soward, Troy Edwards, Marcus Nash, Ike Hilliard, Yatil Green (to be fair, he got hurt), Reidel Anthony, and Rae Carruth were just a few of the disasters, for the teams that drafted them, over the last ten years. Of course, Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson is can’t-miss prospect who belongs in Canton already.

2. Because the whole world was waiting on the edge of their seats for the excitement of the San Francisco – Arizona game.
As a player, you can shoot yourself up with steroids and growth hormones, and everyone looks the other way because that’s considered part of the deal. You can take a bazillion pain killers to fool yourself into thinking you’re not suffering from injuries that will diminish your quality of life in ways you can’t even imagine, and that’s expected. But you can never, ever, ever, ever, bet on your sport. That would compromise the integrity of the game, and few can argue with that. Gambling is supposedly wrong, but fantasy football has now become the main marketing tool for the NFL. People try to win money (at least in most leagues) by predicting the possible outcome of player production ... and that's not gambling, how? 

Reggie Bush appeared in ads where he’s supposedly in a fantasy football league, but that's not really promoting gambling or compromising the integrity of the game, is it? Two words the NFL should know and understand in a big hurry before some enterprising U.S. District Attorney figures how to use them for political gain: prop bet.

Jeff Pash, Executive VP of the NFL recently said on ESPN’s Outside the Lines that “there needs to be a clear-cut separation between gambling and the NFL. It’s an integrity issue.” Integrity issue? Ask anyone who has the DirecTV Red Zone channel who won any of the games on Sunday. The NFL without gambling or fantasy football would be as popular as the WNBA on steroids. Of course, the NFL knows this, but it can't promote gambling. Therefore, it has gone bonkers pumping up everything about fantasy football and catering to the fantasy football owner, while not worrying about how the game has been completely distorted.

College football might have bizarre rules and regulations, and the way it determines a champion is a mess, but the whole world was watching Ohio State vs. Texas. Name the last NFL regular season game that anyone really cared about. The NFL is a blast, but it's not because of the actual product. Watch the end of the Clemson - Boston College game or the Akron - NC State game and find any NFL game that can compare. Because of the way college football is set up, it's popular without needing fantasy football. Of course, the gambling side of things is another story.

1. Cog, meet system.
A little note to those casual college football fans, writers and broadcasters that only get into the sport when it’s big game time, yet profess to know the ins and outs of all the teams: the big boys reload.

Ohio State can’t replace it’s defensive back seven. USC can’t overcome the loss of Leinart, Bush and White. Texas can’t get over the loss of Vince Young. That’s all we heard all off-season, and it’s not right, and it’s not quite fair.

As the Buckeyes showed on Saturday night, they might have lost an NFL defensive back seven, but they replaced it with another NFL defensive back seven. The entire USC starting backfield is good enough to start for about 110 other teams, and most, if not all, will be drafted. So will backup QB Mark Sanchez. Colt McCoy isn’t just some rube from the sticks, actually, he sort of is, but it’s not like he was picked up off the scrap heap. If you’re a starter for one of the big boys, even if you’re inexperienced, you’re really, really, really good. If you’re a starter for one of the big boys and get hurt or don’t get the job done, you’ll be more easily replaced than an NBC Thursday night comedy. The great programs are the great programs for a reason.

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated:
Matthew McConaughey as the head Texas football cheerleader ... Underrated: The roughly 14 hours of my life I’ll never get back after sitting through Failure to Launch, Two for the Money, Sahara, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Wedding Planner, U-571, and Edtv.
2) Overrated: Being on Dancing with the Stars … Underrated: Being on Hollywood Squares
3) Overrated: Notre Dame … Underrated: Note-tra Dame, as Doug Flutie would say it.
4) Overrated: Cowbells at college football games  ... Underrated: Will Ferrell as Gene Frenkle, cowbell player for Blue Oyster Cult.
5) Overrated: Madden NFL 07... Underrated: NHL 07
Sheer hubris run amok, week seven … The three lines this week that appear to be a tad off: 1) Marshall +11 over Kansas State, 2) Minnesota -41 over Temple, 3) Texas A&M -27.5 over Army. So far: 1-2 against the spread.

Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault … I thought this was the number one column in the country after Ohio State’s Jim Tressel said in a press conference that he voted it in the top spot. Unfortunately, OSU director of player development Stan Jefferson changed the vote without telling the head coach, thereby dropping the column into the ranks of the mediocre.