Cavalcade of Whimsy - The pOUting must stop
Posted Sep 18, 2006

From the non-stop screaming and complaints about horrible officiating in the Oklahoma-Oregon and LSU-Auburn games, to the Reggie Bush situation, to the crying about the new clock rules, Pete Fiutak pleads/whines for the whining to cease in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy.

By Pete Fiutak    What's your beef? ... E-mail with your thoughts  
Past Whimsys
Week 1 | Week 2

If this column sucks, it’s not my fault … I got stabbed in the leg by a frustrated, backup writer.

“Why should I change my name? He’s the one who sucks.” … It’s not fair and it’s not right, but if your last name is Jackson, Jordan, or Bolton, you can’t name your son Michael. You just can’t. If your last name is Holmes, you can’t name your kid John. If you do, your world is way too pure, or you’re setting the standards very, very high for your son. With that said, I respectfully request for all announcers doing West Virginia games to just say, “Holmes makes the tackle” instead of “John Holmes makes the tackle,” as many have done so far when the star linebacker makes plays. I don’t want to go to a creepier place than I’m already at when watching Mountaineer games.

Also known as Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth … This just came across the wire. The seven plays each team missed out on per game so far thanks to the new clock rules are: Handoff up the middle for no gain, fumbled snap recovered by QB, incomplete pass bouncing off the receiver’s earhole, sack with the starting quarterback tearing the patellar tendons in both knees, a pick six, another sack with the backup quarterback getting carted off the field (fortunately, with a thumbs up on his way out), and a spike to stop the clock.

But he’s a horrible human being for not being able to hold it in and needing a “quick break” when I was interviewing him …Troy Smith wasn’t a “bad guy” for accepting some coin from a booster. Now, everyone likes to talk about how he has changed and has become a better person. He took a few extra benefits. That's all. There was no need to “turn his life around” or become a better person. It’s the NCAA and the system that has to change its bizarre notion of what’s right and wrong.

It’s a shame he didn’t guarantee a vanilla offensive gameplan that had no hope of working … Much was made out of Nebraska DB Andre Jones’ statement “when we beat USC” before the big Saturday night game last week. If a coaching staff needs something like that for bulletin board material, it’s not doing its job. Like it would be better if he said, “I think we have a great chance to not stink.”

Reggie Bush will be my number one if he’s forced to give his Trophy back … My Heisman ballot for this week would be: 1. Adrian Peterson, RB Oklahoma, 2. Troy Smith, QB Ohio State, 3. Mike Hart, RB Michigan, 4. Steve Slaton, RB West Virginia, 5. Drew Stanton, QB Michigan State. No, I won’t just always go with the skill guys, but there aren’t any defensive players or offensive linemen worthy of the top five.

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
This might have been the whiniest week of college football I can ever remember with Oklahoma and LSU fans bombing anyone with an e-mail proof that their respective teams got jobbed by the officials. It's a shame there isn't this kind of fire and anger when it comes to the important aspects of our world. Yeah, there were some terrible, terrible calls in the two big games this last week.

However, despite what many choose to believe, they didn't decide the games. Let's make something very, very clear here. The officials aren't biased. In today's day and age when there's so much media coverage of the big games like the ones this Saturday, do you really, truly believe officials would deliberately screw up knowing that they'd get nailed to the wall for the bad calls? With that in mind, here are the ten things that made me really, really, really grouchy this week.

10. You can’t spell pout without OU
Here’s a concept foreign to Oklahoma in its rage over the outcome of the Oregon game: defense. The officials blew the call on the onside kick and the late pass interference call, and inexcusably messed up in the replay booth in a big way. The Sooner nation has a right to be really, really mad, but not to the point of tormenting the poor ref who blew the call with phone calls and death threats. OU still could've won the game if it had just done something to stop the Ducks over the final three minutes.

Maybe the Sooners can’t handle the fact that they flat-out choked after the blown call. Maybe they’re looking for answers to why their secondary, even with the bad pass interference call (that ball was tipped) couldn’t make a final stop, or why their special teams couldn’t block anyone on the final field goal attempt. You want an apology? How about a big, fat, “I’m sorry” for your performance in the 55-19 loss to USC in the 2005 Orange Bowl?

9. University of Oklahoma president David Boren
Boren embarrassed the University of Oklahoma, the players, coaches, and the game of college football with his letter to the Big 12 asking to eliminate the Oregon game from the record books and to request the Pac 10 officials be suspended for the season. How about hollering at the team for not being mentally tough enough to overcome an honest officiating mistake? The officials didn’t beat Oklahoma, Oregon did. It’s unfortunate the Pac 10’s apology and reply didn’t have the words “eat” or “shorts” in it. Which leads me to …

9. If you want to be known as a power conference, act that way
Why did the Pac 10 suspend those officials for one game? They blew a call. It was a big call and they missed it, but to suspend them is to cater to public opinion and try to assign blame for human error. Worse yet, it feeds into the notion that there was some sort of conspiracy against the Sooners. Accept responsibility and say your guys blew the call. That’s it. If Oklahoma, or anyone else can’t handle it, then that’s their too bad. If the officials really are grossly incompetent, then fire them.

8. And by the way, Taurean Henderson was in
Every coach preaches and screams over and over and over again about going out and executing no matter what. Focus on the things you can do, and don’t let outside distractions affect what happens on the field. That’s why it’s unfortunate that Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops has said anything about the officiating in the Oregon game and not just said "it’s over, we lost", and moved on. How's this for coachspeak? Oklahoma shouldn't have been in a position to lose late in the first place.

Stoops shouldn't be allowed to slide for saying that the officials "chose not to (get the call right)." Officials are human, and they all make mistakes in the heat of the moment. To hint that there was some sort of calculated effort to make OU lose that game is wrong, dangerous, and beneath a coach who has conducted himself and his program with integrity.

In a game I’d love to have a chance to replay it and do it over,” said Stoops. “They get that opportunity, we don’t.  To me it’s just unacceptable and inexcusable.”

You got your opportunity, and your D and your field goal team failed. Try to save some shred of dignity and give Oregon some credit for making plays when your team didn’t.

8. Next time, try throwing the ball into the end zone
Enough about the picked up pass interference call, LSU fans. Fine, so it was a curious move by the officials to pick up the flag late in the Auburn game after claiming the ball was tipped, but be honest; the interference had nothing whatsoever to do with the actual play. I call it my pickup basketball rule. If you’re fouled, but you missed the shot because you missed the shot and not because you got tapped on the arm, you don’t call the foul. Sure, rules are rules, but that didn’t cost LSU the game. You don't really want to win like that, do you? Even after a game full of lousy calls, the offense still had a final drive to win the game, and blew it.

7. The only thing more pretentious and annoying is to use a middle initial
I’m taking a stand. After 2+ years of appeasing the family name and using the Jr. after Ted Ginn’s name, I’m making the call that it’s fine from now on to just call him Ted Ginn. Junior Ted Ginn Jr. ... I can’t do it anymore.

6. If you can unfocus your eyes, you’ll see a pony
CBS, any chance you can e-mail us a magnifying glass to be able to see the two point type for the score bar across the bottom of the screen? Kudos to all the networks for starting to scale back on the amount of visible clutter during game, but it’s no good if you can’t read it.
5. VINCENT: I just wish I caught 'em doin' it, ya know?  Oh man, I'd give anything to catch 'em doin' it.  It'a been worth his doin' it, if I coulda just caught 'em, you know what I mean?
LANCE: It's chicken (bleep). You don't (bleep) another man's vehicle.
Enough with the planting flags in opponent’s fields, and enough with the jumping up and down on midfield logos. Home teams, you have my permission to pull a George Teague on Terrell Owens any time someone’s doing the equivalent of keying your car.

4. “It’s not that I’m lazy, I just don’t care.”
I have three TVs set up in my office with satellites, cable, DVRs, and two computers going at once on football Saturdays. I drew the line (at least for about 45 minutes) this week trying to find games on something called OLN. That’s the dead zone for sports that don’t really exist, not for college football.    

3. NFL halftimes
The NFL is a multi-billion dollar business and the most successful professional sports league in the history of mankind. How does it possibly survive without 20+ minute halftimes like college football has? How does the NFL possibly take in enough ad revenue? If the big boys can do it, then so can college football. There’s nothing wrong with catering to TV and the networks. Aren’t you a happier fan with the longer ESPN pregame stuff and all the attention going along with the big Saturday night games? Watch a weekend of college football and watch a Sunday of the NFL and you’ll immediately realize how much better shorter halftimes are for everyone.

2. It’s true. They were on the verge of curing cancer, finding Osama, and creating a watchable primetime sitcom before that blasted rules committee took away their precious extra plays.
This goes out to all the coaches who can’t stop screaming about the new clock rules (clear my throat, ahem ahem): SHUUUUUTTTTT UPPPPPP.

Look, we’re all with you that these new clock changes are a bit bizarre and unnecessary, but they don’t signal the collapse of the civilized world as we know it. If you hate them so much and you want more time, run more plays to the sidelines and get out of bounds. Have your team at the line and snap the ball the moment the official marks the ball ready for play. Maybe you can get your team moving a little faster to try to get more plays in.

1. HOMER: “Mr. Burns, you’re the richest man I know.”
“Ah yes, but I’d trade it all for a little bit more.” … Lost in all the silliness over Reggie Bush’s alleged ties to a sports marketing company during his time at USC is a simple, obvious truth that no one seems to want to acknowledge: it’s the blueprint for exactly how college sports should be run.

If it’s all true, Bush got paid, USC, the USC students, and the NCAA didn’t have to give up one thin dime, and no one, absolutely no one, got hurt in the process. Isn’t this how it should work?

It’s natural selection working out to perfection. The top players get compensated for being the top players, allowing some to stay in school if they so choose. The backup punter doesn’t have to be paid anything, and the schools and NCAA don’t lose any money. In fact, they’d make more since a player like Bush, or Vince Young, might stay in school another year if he was fronted a few million by an agent or marketing company. Imagine the ad revenue ABC would’ve brought in if VY had been playing in this year's game against Ohio State.

My plan has always been to allow players to have agents, sign deals with marketing companies, and do endorsement deals. Also, allow boosters to take the money and gifts they currently give to the players under the table and allow them put it out in the open. When I bring this up to anyone of significance in the college football world, the first objection is always, “then the competitive balance would completely be skewed. The big boys would always get the top talent because they could pay for it.”

1) As opposed to now? 2) Not necessarily.

Under my plan, you know exactly who’d dominate: rich programs like Texas, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, and Michigan. Who dominates now? Rich programs who have dominated for the last 35 years like Texas, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, and Michigan. But my plan is the only one that gives the lesser programs a shot.

We could play college football under its current system for the next 759 years and Oklahoma State wouldn’t be within 100 miles of the national title game. Take some of that T. Boone Pickens money and start doling it out to the players, and OSU is a national powerhouse in two seasons. The same goes for Idaho, Kent State, Florida Atlantic, and all the other little guys you can name if they can find a rich, goofy booster or three. SMU was a powerhouse in the 1980s when it was the best pro team in Dallas, and those days could return with the right boosters. The antiquated and naïve notion of amateurism in college football isn’t just a myth in today’s game, it never actually existed in the first place.

And there’s nothing, NOTHING morally wrong with that. It’s fair for the players, it’s fair for the schools, and the NCAA would have a stronger, better product on the field.

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated:
Patrick Dempsey ... Underrated: Meatballs III
2) Overrated: Andre Agassi … Underrated: Clemson QB Will Proctor’s dad
3) Overrated: “This is what it’s all about” … Underrated: “Who wants it more?”
4) Overrated: Monday Night Football ... Underrated: Saturday Night Football
5)  Overrated: Reggie Bush pitching Subway  ... Underrated: Jared pitching Subway
Sheer hubris run amok, week seven … The three lines this week that appear to be a tad off: I’m 2-4 so far getting both games involving Temple right, but missing everything else. I press on. 1) Wake Forest +3 over Ole Miss, 2) Iowa -21.5 at Illinois, 3) (never mess with a streak) Western Michigan -27.5 over Temple.

Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault … I came out stomping on Louisville’s logo in a case of faux bravado and swagger. Later, I got a notice from my bank regarding my butt’s inability to cash a check that my mouth, and my stomping, wrote.