Cavalcade of Whimsy - Can Wolfe hit 3,000?
Posted Oct 3, 2006

Can Northern Illinois RB Garrett Wolfe run for 3,000 yards? It might not be as out of reach as you might think. Why there must be better goal line camera angles, a gut-feeling about Ohio State, and the most overhyped player in America in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy.

By Pete Fiutak    What's your beef? ... E-mail with your thoughts  
Past Whimsys
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

If this column sucks, it’s not my fault … I’m a little shaken by the planes flying overhead toting banners saying “CFN READERS & FANS DESERVE BETTER … FIRE FIU, AND COKER, NOW.”

Illinois finally had a “hostile and abusive”
team instead of just a nickname … To shake up his team, Michigan State head coach John L. Smith should’ve forced his players to help Illinois plant the Illini flag at midfield after the 23-20 loss. Don’t like it when someone else does it, MSU? Play better.

This week’s Cavalcade essay question … Who has the more impressive arm: Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn, or the guy in the Vonage van who plugs the fat kid and the blond bim in the head? Discuss. 

“Get it straight buster - I'm not here to say please, I'm here to tell you what to do and if self-preservation is an instinct you possess you'd better (bleep)ing do it and do it quick. I'm here to help - if my help's not appreciated then lotsa luck, gentlemen.” … Northern Illinois RB Garrett Wolfe has set an NCAA record for the most rushing yards gained after five games with 1,181 after tearing off 353 yards on Ball State for an average of 236.2 yards per game. At the moment, he's rushing for more yards per game than all but six teams (Navy, West Virginia, Air Force, Louisville, Connecticut and Clemson) and gained more against the Cardinals than Louisiana Tech, UTEP, Colorado State, Arizona, Ohio, Tulane, Virginia, Temple, Duke and Baylor have come up with all season, and ironically equalled Ball State's season total. In fact, his 353 yards were 66 more than Baylor and Duke combined with nine games between them.

Here’s the remaining NIU schedule with each opponent’s current national rank against the run …
- at Miami University 104th
- at Western Michigan 6th (but it hasn’t faced anyone who can run)
- Temple 117th
- Iowa 47th
- Toledo 93rd
- Central Michigan 69th
- Eastern Michigan 108th.

That means Mr. Wolfe will go against three of the worst run defenses in America along two others that rank in the bottom half. If NIU wins the Western Division, it’ll play in the MAC title game and a bowl meaning Wolfe, if he stays healthy, will play in 14 games. If he stays healthy, at his current pace, which isn’t unrealistic in any way considering he could hang 400 on both Temple and Eastern Michigan, he’ll finish the season with 3,306 yards. Former Oklahoma State star Barry Sanders currently holds the record with 2,628 yards.

Flag this … Every sort of touchdown celebration is old news and everyone has overdone every way to get into the end zone except for one. When a player is in the clear and has no one within 20 yards of him, he should stop just short of the goal line, reach the ball across the goal line, and then walk back to the bench. How could it possibly be flagged?
Like Randolph and Mortimer, the bet is one dollar … The C.O.W. line on the total margin of defeat in Duke’s games vs. Alabama, Florida State, and Miami over the next three weeks: 100. By the way, what does it say about your team to be Duke’s homecoming opponent? Virginia was the only home game before mid-October, and it won 37-0, but like Kevin Smith saying your movie sucks, that’s still a sign of disrespect from a supposed inferior.

But don’t play the ESPN promo game. You’ll be a vegetable … For those of you looking to add some spice to your Thursday nights, I present the South Carolina drinking game, presented by ESPN. You drink every time Kirk Herbstreit says SteveSpurrier (one word), and you chug every time he giggles like a slow walking sorority girl when praising the Ball Coach. What you do every time the word genius is used is up to you.

And while they're at it, maybe ESPN can smarten up and do Cheerleader Cam the next time it has one of those Full Circle thingys… I keep asking why there aren’t replay cameras stationed on each goal line, and I keep getting, “uhhhh, I dunno” answers. Sorry to repeat myself from past columns, but now that replay is a part of our lives, it makes absolutely no sense not to place cameras on each side of the goal line to get a better view on the most critical area of the field.

This weekend, Florida’s Andre Caldwell lost the ball as he was diving into the end zone for a critical touchdown against Alabama. It sure as shoot looked like he lost the ball before going in, but the original touchdown call rightly wasn’t overturned because CBS had every camera angle but a definitive one on the goal line. Later on Saturday, Nebraska’s Nate Swift fumbled the ball as he was going out of bounds while stretching the ball over the pylon in overtime against Kansas. Should it have been a touchback? Probably not because he appeared to be out of bounds before losing the ball, but again, there wasn’t a good goal line angle. In the Georgia-Ole Miss game, Bulldog DB Tra Battle stripped Mississippi’s Dexter McCluster just before he crossed the goal line, but the touchdown stood because there wasn’t a good angle to see what really happened. Give credit to TBS for actually getting a good view of a key USC score against Washington State. Now the other networks need to follow.

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
Ten random thoughts after this weekend, because I'm saving my Ten Reasons for Why Ohio State Might not be No. 1 for when the media hype gets out of control.

10. With the exception of the Nike swoosh, the old school Florida blue uniforms with the simple F on the helmet might be the greatest in all of recorded history
Fine, I’ll be the one to say it. The cursive Gators on the helmet is sort of weird and the normal unis are nice, but nothing to get excited about. The throwback jerseys worn in the Alabama game must be used on a permanent basis.

9. And give them a replay guy whose vote wasn't once influenced by the Tippecanoe and Tyler Too slogan
It should be a simple rule: all non-conference games should be done by neutral officials. Period. It’s not like an ACC official is going to give the ACC team a call over a Conference USA team, but why even allow anyone to give it a thought?

8. College football should be played on Saturdays. Just Saturdays.
I understand the need for leagues like Conference USA and the WAC to get on national TV whenever they can, but there’s no reason for Auburn vs. South Carolina to be on a Thursday night. Fine, I’ll give you one Thursday night game a week, but having games from Tuesday through Sunday night, like this week, is a bit much, even for the biggest of college football junkies. So who really cares about these games? ...

It just means the poker players will view more porn
Never underestimate how silly a small group of people in power can be. As you were off doing whatever it is you do on Friday nights, an Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act bill was passed in Congress making it illegal for banks and credit card companies to process the payments to on-line casinos. That means all the poker players are completely screwed, and placing a wager on a sporting event will now be next to impossible. If you don’t bet, why should you care? Well for one, it’s ridiculous. It’s fine to go to Las Vegas and lose all your money, or blow your coin in the lottery, at the horse track, or at any riverboat casino, but you can’t do it on-line for some bizarre reason. Lawmakers whine that kids can get into these sites and gamble, but that minuscule problem is nothing compared to how easy it is for an 11-year-old to find free hardcore pornography with just a few keyboard clicks, and how easy it is to download thousands of songs, order garbage, and do a number of other things on the Internet. Second, it’s costing you money. All the on-line casinos are begging to be able to operate in the U.S. and be regulated. If that happened, these companies would pay billions upon billions of dollars in taxes, and be happy to do it.

6. Hawaii will go 11-2
The 44-9 win over Eastern Illinois showed once again that this is the best Hawaii offense yet in the June Jones era. Colt Brennan is the perfect triggerman, Nate Ilaoa is providing a thunderous rushing threat, and receivers Davone Bess, Ryan Grice-Mullen, Jason Rivers and Ross Dickerson have been fantastic. There’s no way Nevada, Fresno State, New Mexico State, Idaho, Utah State, Louisiana Tech, San Jose State, Purdue, or Oregon State (with the last four on the list making the trip to Honolulu) will be able to keep the Warriors to under 35 points.

5. The ½ pound beef and potato burrito will save Taco Bell
I ate one last Wednesday and am still full. This wrap of 530 calorie, 24 fat gram, love will single-handedly break me out of my controversial three-year border ban.

4. Georgia is way, way, way overrated
Georgia being ranked tenth in the AP poll and ninth in the Coaches Poll basically lets you know that the pollsters aren’t watching as much college football as you. Oh sure, the Bulldog defense is playing at a national title level, but there’s no way, no how, anyone could’ve watched all five Georgia games this year and still picked it ahead of Tennessee, Oregon, LSU, Clemson, or California in the rankings. If you need an unbeaten team to rank high, put Missouri up there. The Tigers handled Colorado team without a problem a week after the Dawgs needed a last minute touchdown pass to beat the Buffs. With that said, Tennessee is up this week and Florida is at the end of the month. There are chances to prove itself worthy of the top ten.

3. The best conference race is …
A tie between the MAC and the Sun Belt. Fine, so the only time you’ve cared about ither league was when your team was rolling over one of its teams on the way to a 56-7 win, but as far as the league races are concerned, these two are the most interesting. There have been upsets galore so far in each league with the races more wide open than any other.

2. If Boise State goes 12-0, give it a shot on the big stage
No, I’m not talking about the BCS Championship game. To me, the two teams in the title game should’ve earned their way in by having the best seasons against the toughest schedules, and obviously, Boise State won’t do that with its biggest wins, when all is said and done, coming against Oregon State, Utah, and Hawaii. I know the WAC stinks, and I know the Broncos got jacked up when they faced Georgia last year, but this is a different, more talented team with the best defense yet since this great run began to go along with a legitimate all-star back in Ian Johnson. Fresno State and Hawaii get national credit for beating name teams that have done nothing, but no one seems to want to acknowledge that Boise's 78 wins since 1999 is impressive no matter how you cut it. The non-championship BCS games are nothing more than glorified, semi-important non-conference exhibitions. They're not playoffs. Let Boise in.

1. Instant replay is better than nothing
I’m not going to bring up that game again, but remember, all the replay official did on the onside kick call was not reverse it. Had there not been instant replay, the on-field officials would’ve taken all the heat.
It's the old adage that things can go right 99 out of 100 times, but you'll only pay attention to the one misfire. Time and again, instant replay has provided another set of eyes just to get the calls as close to correct as possible. Replay works. Replay is a major positive step in college football, and with the technology getting better, the system will only get stronger and more efficient.

And like most of the other top receiver prospects, they can all go off to the NFL to become busts … Good luck trying to figure out the pecking order for the wide receivers in the All-America race, much less the order for the Biletnikoff Award. It’s generally being acknowledged the Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson is the one to beat, but Tennessee’s Robert Meachem has been every bit as productive and even more dangerous. Michigan’s Mario Manningham has been a one-man wrecking crew, Notre Dame’s Jeff Samardzija, despite not leading his team in receiving, has been the most clutch, and when all is said and done, USC’s Dwayne Jarrett might be the best of the bunch. That list doesn’t even include the nation’s leading statistical receivers like UTEP’s Johnnie Lee Higgins, Oregon’s Jaison Williams, Hawaii’s Davone Bess and Rice’s Jarett Dillard. It also doesn’t include …

Welcome to another edition of Which Fan Base Will I Get the Angry E-mails From This Week … I’ve recently realized there are two arguments I’ll never, ever win: Will Ferrell isn’t all that funny, and dogs are annoying (there’s nothing worse than walking into someone’s house and having Scruffles, fresh off a tête-à-tête with his happy place, jumping all over you). Add a third to the list of battles I can't seem to win.

Considering all the hype and all the attention, Ted Ginn is currently the most overrated player in America.  

I’m not saying that he’s not a phenomenal, top 15-caliber talent. I’m not arguing that he doesn’t have scary-fast speed and the potential to bust open any game at any time. I just want to see it more often. I don’t care if you have five guys covering you, if you’re all that and a peanut butter sandwich, you come up with big numbers no matter what, like Calvin Johnson, Garrett Wolfe, and Adrian Peterson have had to do. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know his receiving skills have gotten night-and-day better and that Troy Smith is busy making Anthony Gonzalez a ton of future NFL money thanks to the single coverage, but from Ginn, I want more than nine catches for 84 yards in two Big Ten games. I want more than 15.8 yards per kickoff return and 8.75 yards per punt return. Once again, I’m not saying he’s bad in any way, but for all the hype and all the attention, I want to see more.

But wait, Buckeye fans, before you finish off that angry, somewhat paranoid e-mail, and before I respond that I don’t hate Ohio State and remind you that I picked your Buckeyes to beat Miami in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl … Ohio State deserves to be the number one team in the country. The 24-7 drubbing of Texas in Austin was the best win all year, and wins over Penn State and at Iowa were stronger for the résumé than many top teams can claim. So why do I have that 2002 Miami, 2005 USC feeling that the team is going to be hyped and hyped and hyped to a ridiculous level, be double-digit favorites in the BCS championship game, and then get tagged? Three letters … S. E. C.

Isn’t it just possible that Texas is just way above-average, Iowa is mediocre, and Penn State is really mediocre? It’s not Ohio State’s fault if those three teams are no big whoop, but none of them appear to be LSU, Auburn or Florida. Cal is playing like one of the five best teams in America, and it got its doors blown off by Tennessee. I’m not saying the Buckeyes aren’t fantastic, and I have them ranked number one, but would I bet the house and the farm on them on a neutral field over the top SEC teams? Not sure.

My Heisman ballot this week would be 1. Adrian Peterson, RB Oklahoma, 2. Troy Smith, QB Ohio State, 3. Mike Hart, RB Michigan, 4. Garrett Wolfe, RB Northern Illinois, 5. Calvin Johnson, WR Georgia Tech

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated:
Tim Tebow ... Underrated: Iced venti pumpkin spice skim latte, easy ice, two Splendas, with a side of Red Bull
2) Overrated: How bad the Oregon uniforms are … Underrated: How bad the Washington State uniforms are
3) Overrated: 25 million reasons … Underrated: Kurt Cobain
4) Overrated: Reggie Bush ... Underrated:  Jerious Norwood
5) Overrated: Goofy announcers who refuse to say the words no hitter during a no hitter    ... Underrated: Rece Davis for daring to give an update on Daniel Caberra's no-hitter attempt vs. the Yankees.
Sheer hubris run amok … The three lines this week that appear to be a tad off: I know, I’m dying here going 5-7 so far. I press on … 1) Mississippi State +26.5 over West Virginia, 2) Michigan State +17 over Michigan, 3) New Mexico State pick over Idaho

Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault … it was a drifter, not a South Carolina spy, who stole my laptop with the better column and the Auburn game plan in it.