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Ask CFN - More on the OU-Oregon Fiasco
Posted Sep 21, 2006

The Oklahoma-Oregon controversy is all anyone wants to talk about this week, and that's what most of the readers wanted to discuss. The bad calls, the replacements for Larry Coker, the ten angriest fan bases and more in the latest ASK CFN.

Pete Fiutak

Fire over your questions to me at I might not be able to answer them all, but I promise they're all read. Any e-mails sent to this address may be published or edited unless requested otherwise. (Please put ASK CFN in the subject line, and PLEASE keep the questions short ... it makes my life easier.)

ASK CFNs ...
 Sept. 8 | Sept. 15

Ok, let's assume Larry Coker does get fired at the end of the season (even though it's way early in the season for this kind of speculation).  Who is the most likely replacement for him and who is the most deserving?  I know a lot of this could ride on which coaches have a big year this year and receive a lot of media attention around the time coaches start getting hired and fired for next season.  But at this point, who's on the radar and who should be? – AM

A: First of all, Coker is still around if Miami wins out. Going 12-2 with an ACC title and a BCS victory absolutely keeps Coker around. It’s not that far out of the realm of possibility in the average ACC with the toughest game left at Georgia Tech. If he’s out, Butch Davis is the one most Miami fans would want, but he left on bad terms, and Randy Shannon would go over well. Outside of those two, the five who might not get interviews, but should deserve a long, long look are ... 1. Dave Wannstedt (but after the way he coached the Dolphins, he'd be a hard sell). 2. Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik. 3. Louisville offensive coordinator Paul Petrino. 4. Akron head coach J.D. Brookhart. 5. Rutgers head coach Greg Shiano.

With all this BCS buster talk hitting the message boards in regards to Boise State and TCU both going undefeated this year who do you think really has the best shot?  TCU is ranked higher so if they both win out then Boise State might be left out in the cold (MPC Bowl) while TCU gets the big game and the big payoff.  Is Boise State's only hope for TCU to lose? 
Wes V - Boise, ID

A: It depends on which team would do a better job against the common opponents. The two teams each play Wyoming and Utah, and Boise State has to obliterate the two to make up for the weak WAC schedule. TCU has its win over Texas Tech, and BSU has its win over Oregon State. If the Red Raiders or the Beavers run over their opponents and start to make noise in their leagues, it’ll be all the better for the Horned Frogs and the Broncos, respectively. To answer your question, yes, Boise State probably needs TCU to lose.

When opposing teams come to Papa John's Stadium to play Louisville, and stomp on their logo, what are the average scores of those games? I would guess 63-10 Louisville. -Chris (Los Angeles)

A: Over the last three years plus the first three games of this season, Louisville has gone 19-1 at home with the one loss coming to Memphis in 2003, 37-7. Over the last two years, plus the first three games of this year, Louisville has outscored its opponents 742 to 172, for an average of 53 to 12.

I just had an issue with one of your suggestions for college football in the weekly "Cavalcade of Whimsy" that appeared to call for shorter halftimes for college because "the big boys [in the NFL] can do it." As a member of a college band, I challenge you to find one NFL team that has to accommodate marching bands (sometimes two) in the halftime slot. Isn't the band part of what makes college football special? –Luke, Berkeley, CA

A: Bands are important to the overall flavor of college football, but why can’t they come out before and after the game? Does there really need to be 15 minutes of John Williams’ music during halftime? The band can get out there and to a quick eight-minute marching thing, do whatever tradition is needed to be done, and then get off the field.

As a diehard Michigan fan, I know I am getting ahead of myself with games remaining versus Minnesota, Iowa, MSU, and PSU, but if Michigan enters the OSU game undefeated against an undefeated OSU team and ND beats OSU, and the SEC cancels itself out, can the loser of this game still go to the nat'l title game? In other words, can we have theoretically have a Mich v OSU rematch in the national championship game?  - NS

A: Not a chance, unless the something really, really bizarre happens and the pollsters rank Michigan and OSU 1-2 at the end of the year after the two play. If both Michigan and Ohio State are unbeaten when they play, the loser is out. Someone else with one loss would get in because of the timing of the OSU-Michigan loss, and also because no one would want the rematch.

After the Louisville win over Miami, Big East fans have declared the Big East to be stronger then the ACC. I won't argue that the ACC has declined some (expected after breaking draft records), but I won't concede that the Big East is a better conference just yet even though they are 2-4 vs. the ACC. WVU beating up on a mediocre Maryland team, Pitt playing the worst Virginia team since 2001, and Rutgers barely beating a lousy UNC by 5 are just victories over teams suffering during rebuilding years. So other than the Louisville win I don't see any major victories anywhere and ACC powers Clemson, FSU, BC and GT don't even play Big East teams this season (VT should have no problems with Cincinnati this weekend). The Big East does have 2 teams ranked in the top 10 (Rutgers is 28th in the AP) while the ACC has 4 teams ranked in the top 25 (Miami is ranked 27th while GT is 33rd in the AP). That means the ACC has 50% of its teams in the top 35 of the AP poll while the Big East only has 38%. I say the ACC still has more depth, numerically and percentage wise, then the Big East and as of 9/18 is still the better conference top to bottom. What are your thoughts?  -Phil, Kansas City

A: The ACC sort of has the advantage because it has more teams than the Big East, but it has stunk it up so far. Looking at the top levels, I’d take Louisville or West Virginia over anyone in the ACC right now, with the possible exception of Virginia Tech. Rutgers and Pitt are more than good enough to hang with more of this year’s ACC teams, but there’s still Syracuse and Cincinnati bringing things down. Yeah, the ACC is better because of sheer bulk, but for one year, the gap narrowed a bit.

I'm not going to whine about the Sooners being robbed in Eugene (you can't give up 500 yards in offense and whine about losing) but I think there are three important questions that are raised by the events that transpired.

1. Do you think this will impact teams scheduling big time match-ups against other BCS schools? With millions of dollars hanging in the balance because of bowl positioning will this justify some schools playing it safe and bring in cup cakes for a sure sell out and W making the Ohio State / Texas match-ups even more rare?

2. With the criticism of refs on the college and pro levels do you think it is time for the NCAA to consider professional trained referees? With so much on the line every Saturday isn't it time to consider something better than the local bank president or stock broker deciding who may get to play in a BCS game and who is going to the New Orleans Bowl?

3. Is instant replay really working? I think to answer that question you have to ask objectively would the same call be made in Norman? If you can't answer yes, then I believe that there are still flaws in the system. I know there will always be some sort of home field advantage, but weren't the changes made so these calls would be made right? If officials are still being swayed by the home crowd then it isn't as much of a technological issue as it is a human judgment issue, right? - CFA in Fayetteville

A: 1) No, I don’t think it’ll impact scheduling at all. In fact, if I’m Oklahoma, I schedule as many future Pac 10 games as possible. Want to talk about getting the benefit of the calls? After the Oregon fiasco, no way will Oklahoma ever be on the wrong side against a Pac 10 team. If you want to play in the national title, you need a great non-conference win. You need that to generate a buzz that conference schedules, even ones as tough as teams like Auburn and Michigan have to play, don’t provide.
2) As long as there are officials, there will always be blown calls. It’s the human nature of the position. The bad ones stick out more now because of all the TV coverage and all the angles that fans can see. You can’t get professional officials for 70+ college football games in September, so you simply have to remember that the officials go unnoticed 99% of the time.
3) Of course instant replay is working. Don’t let one or two missed calls sway you. The alternative is having nothing in place to reverse calls, and that would obviously be worse.

Die-hard Sooner fan here who’s still angry over the Oregon game, but I do agree with part of your Cavalcade of Whimsy article. We had chances to win, and blew them. I still blame the officials, but judging by the message boards, I’m guessing you’re getting plenty of angry e-mails on this and it got me thinking (as a long-time reader). What’s the most a fan base has ever blasted you? – Dave, OK

A: What’s most bizarre about all the anger this week about what I wrote was that most of the Oklahoma e-mailers seemed to ignore that I said in several ways that OU got hosed and that the calls were wrong. As is often the case , many e-mailed me without actually reading the article and took what they wanted to take out of it from a message board somewhere. It’s all good. Angry debates (to a point) make this part of the fun. 

This was pretty bad, mostly because so many of the e-mailers we just mad and frustrated, and nothing was going to stop that. This was in the top ten of the angriest a fan base has ever been at me, but it’s not even close to number one.

In the eight years I’ve been doing this, here are the ten biggest e-mail bombings/arguments I've had to endure.

10. 2003 TCU, after a 10-0 start, shouldn’t be among ranked among the elite teams.
The volume of e-mails weren't there compared to the rest of the top ten, but the Horned Frog fans were really, really mad and very nasty. TCU lost to Southern Miss 40-28 and later lost in the Fort Worth Bowl to Boise State.

9. 2003 Heisman winner Jason White was totally average.
OU fans were ticked, but there was an undercurrent of agreement … to a point. In hindsight, I was wrong. He was a steady leader of an offensive machine.

8. 2001 BYU, after a 12-0 start, was ridiculously overrated.
This was nasty. BYU fans refused to acknowledge that their team didn’t play anyone and put up the huge numbers against a lousy schedule. The Cougars got blasted 72-45 by Hawaii and lost to Louisville 28-10 in the Liberty Bowl to finish 12-2. To their credit, Cougar fans were all nice after the fact and gave me a little love for my original rant.

7. 2000, Steve Spurrier was overrated.
I claimed that with all the talent and all the great teams Steve Spurrier had, Florida should’ve won more than one national title. Let's just say Gator fans didn't quite see visor-to-visor with me on that one.

6. 1999 Marshall shouldn’t have been in the national title discussion.
Marshall went 13-0 with its best win coming over Miami University. Many Herd fans thought their team should’ve been considered for the national championship and let me hear it over and over and over and over ...

5. Eli Manning shouldn’t have been in the 2003 Heisman hunt and was simply in the race because of his last name.
In the end, I was wrong. I thought Ole Miss wasn’t that bad with or without Manning. The last few years proved otherwise. At the time, I claimed Ben Roethlisberger of Miami University should’ve been getting the attention that Manning received.

4. The real USC.
This was easily the most bizarre, and the silliest, of all the times a fan base got made at me. After Keyshawn Johnson went on Monday Night Football and claimed he went to “the real USC,” I used the line in a later column, which I used as a pure throwaway and didn't give three seconds of thought about. I then was obliterated by South Carolina fans complete with legal papers showing that their school was USC, along with a few threatening e-mails.

3. 2006, Oklahoma fans should be just as angry at its team for giving up two touchdowns in less than three minutes and for not blocking on the final field goal as they are at the officials in the Oregon loss.
This was, by far, the creepiest one I’ve ever had to deal with. 99% of the OU fans were simpy frustrated and just venting. Of course, they were fine, but there were way too many psychotic Sooner e-mailers who threatened violence (in graphic detail), swore and went way over the edge.

2.  2001, I joked that the Texas Hook ‘em Horns was the same sign as the heavy metal hand signal seen at a 1985 Ronny James Dio concert.
Oooops. Never, ever, ever, dog a team’s tradition.

1. 2004, USC vs. Oklahoma vs. Auburn. Someone had to be left out of the mix, so it might as well be Auburn.
I still get a few e-mails a week from Tiger fans on this one. The sheer volume of e-mails, and the overall frustration, was at a national title level. I tried as hard as possible to provide a rational counter-argument, but to no avail.