Cavalcade of Whimsy - 10 Big Disappointments
Posted Oct 10, 2006

The Ten Big Disappointments of the Midseason, Style Points, Miami and MSU Coaches, & More

By Pete Fiutak    What's your beef? ... E-mail with your thoughts  
Past Whimsys
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

If this column sucks, it’s not my fault … I was too busy complaining about possibly getting hosed in the national title chase and got steamrolled over by Arkansas.

Sports writers are to style as the enormous omelet sandwich is to gourmet dining
You can’t use the term “style points” if Zubaz and T-shirts provided by radio stations are your primary form of garb.

However, writers with a perma-three-day growth and hair style fresh from the Dave Grohl school of design, and also wears cut off shorts, a six-year old sweater, and a backwards hat 344 days out of the year can discuss style all day long … Ohio State might be the best team in America. Heck, Boise State might be the best team in America. It doesn’t matter. If Florida gets through a schedule against Southern Miss, UCF, at Tennessee, Kentucky (who’s going to a bowl), Alabama, LSU, at Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, at Florida State and the SEC Championship game unbeaten, it deserves to be considered the number one team in the country. It will have earned it on the field, and not because it was put there in the preseason.

And later, she’ll take her boyfriend, Boone, and his newbie pledge, Larry, to the professor’s house to pull tubes and sing Paul and Paula songs … The goofy university promo of the week award goes to TCU and it’s message of being the school with the personal touch. In it, a shapely coed describes how she likes TCU because her “professors all know her name” and that they all know her and provide “personal attention.” Uh huh, and the killer rack has nothing to do with it. They aren’t called the Horned Frogs down there for nothing.

Fine, so he’s more likely to wear contacts, vote Nader and have Snoop Dogg come in to coach the offense, but … Coaches preach all the time about fair, honest play and winning the right way. Just once, I’d like to see a coach admit that his team got a break from a missed call and ask for it to be reversed in the spirit of sportsmanship. How refreshing would it have been if Joe Paterno, a former Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, had declared the game over when Minnesota got nailed for a horrible pass interference call,
right in front of the Penn State bench, on fourth down in overtime to keep the drive alive and allow the Nittany Lions to go on to a 28-27 win?
Unfortunately for the people who wear Styrofoam cheese-looking things on their heads, the move will probably keep around that overrated No. 4 for yet another year … At some point it’ll start creeping into Adrian Peterson’s head that every carry, and every big hit he’s taking, is a major business risk. Anyone who really, truly cares about this kid as a person and his future, and saw what happened to Michael Bush earlier this year, should say, “Thanks 28. Take a seat, go to school, enjoy the final chance you’ll have to be a kid, and have fun in Green Bay next year.” Yeah, and Oregon will petition the NCAA to have its win over the Sooners to be reversed.

In three years, the San Francisco 49ers are going to be asking for an upgrade on its spread quarterback and want this version … It’s all cute and fun to watch Florida backup QB Tim Tebow pound over defenders like the second coming of Ron Dayne, but how happy is everyone going to be when he’s taking smack after smack next year when he’s the franchise? Right now, he’s a fantastic spark plug who’s quickly turning into the big story of the SEC season, but quarterbacks who take the shots he’s taking have a short shelf life.

And it would bring Miami back to the days of Jimmy Johnson. Not the team, the hair … Just throwing this out there; Nick Saban moves offices from the Dolphins to the Hurricanes next year at this time. Some day, college coaches will realize that the NFL is a sucker bet. Either you have the players, or you don’t. In college, you can go get the players.

There’s no truth to the rumor that he’ll be announced as the new head coach at the midway point of an NFL Network show … Just throwing it out there; Steve Mariucci will be coaching at Michigan State next year at this time. You knew the John L. Smith tenure was doomed with bad karma from the start when he basically ditched Louisville during halftime of a bowl game.

The 2006 Pat Harrington, a.k.a. Schneider from One Day at a Time Most Annoying Human Being on the Planet Award goes to … Robin Williams. Butthead was right; Williams talks really fast so you can’t tell he’s not funny. His comedic batting average on all the talk shows he’s been on to promote his new movie is at a pathetic .022.

It’s what you get when you take your ball and go home … Simple request: Please stop referring to the AP poll like it matters. It did, but now it doesn’t. Your personal top 25 ranking carries as much weight now that the AP poll isn't a part of the BCS. The Coaches’ Poll, flawed as it may be, is the relevant ranking and the one you should pay attention to until the Harris Poll gets rolling.

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
It’s the midway point of the college football season, or darn close to it, with most teams playing six of their 12 games already. In the Festivus tradition, I list off the ways the college football world has disappointed me so far.

10. Nebraska’s game plan against USC and Georgia Tech’s game plan against Notre Dame
Notre Dame couldn’t stop you and me on deep routes, but Georgia Tech didn’t bomb away nearly enough in the 14-10 loss. If you have Calvin Johnson, you throw it deep to him 20 times against the Irish corners. Nebraska fans are still scratching their heads at the game plan in the 28-10 loss to USC when Zac Taylor only threw the ball 16 times.   

9. South Carolina’s offense and WR Sidney Rice
In year two of the Steve Spurrier era, I’ve been waiting for fireworks, big plays from the passing game, and point totals that would scare the bejeebers out of everyone in the SEC. Instead, the Gamecocks have had to rely on quirky trick plays to beats mediocre teams like Mississippi State and Kentucky, and Sidney Rice, coming off an All-America freshman season, has only caught ten passes for 107 yards and no touchdowns in the four games against teams with a pulse. He caught 16 passes for 312 yards and five touchdowns, against Wofford and Florida Atlantic.

8. Miami
Maybe we all set the expectations too high. Maybe we overrated the NFL talent on defense. Maybe we all believe Kyle Wright would grow into the quarterback everything we thought he’d be out of high school. The D is doing a decent job, but 3-2 with a lifeless win over Houston and a 31-7 loss to Louisville hasn't exactly inspired overall confidence. Take away the 51 points against Florida A&M, and the Canes are averaging a mere 14.5 points per game. Do you believe they can win at Georgia Tech in a few weeks and get back into the ACC title hunt? Neither do I.

7. Bad Pac 10 uniforms
Pac 10 fans think there’s a bias against their conference because the games are three hours behind the ones in the east. Actually, no one wants to sit through three-plus hours of the horrific uniforms. Oregon no longer has a corner on the market with Washington State and Cal taking things to another level. The Bear yellows unveiled against Oregon made the team look like a bunch of really fast mustard packets.  

6. Oklahoma defense
The concern comiStyle Pong into the season was the offensive line and the loss of QB Rhett Bomar, but the defense has been the issue with a stunning lack of a pass rush, not enough big plays from the linebackers, and not as much production as there should be from the secondary. There’s too much talent to be 41st in the nation in total D and 48th in scoring D.

5. Michael Bush and Brian Brohm
Louisville got off to a 5-0 start, and leads the nation in total offense averaging 523 yards and scoring offense averaging 44 points per game. Can you imagine what it would do if Michael Bush and Brian Brohm were healthy? Brohm is scheduled to be back as soon as this week after suffering a thumb injury, but Bush was knocked out for the year with a broken leg in the season opener against Kentucky. It's always a shame when the stars don't get a chance to shine.

4. Florida State
At the beginning of the year, if you had told the Seminoles they would beat Miami, they would’ve thought a run for the national title was on. After all, the schedule appeared to be a breeze after the trip to the Orange Bowl with the toughest games, Clemson, Boston College and Florida, at home.  Yeah, they’re roughly two plays away from being 5-0, and the schedule stays relatively easy, but there’s not much of a buzz from a team averaging 321 yards per game with little running game and not nearly enough production from an injury-riddled defense.

3. Colorado
The Buffs have played in four of the last five Big 12 championship games and were supposed to be even more dangerous, in time, under new head coach Dan Hawkins. Instead, the offense has gone into the tank with a passing game ranking 115th in the nation and dead last in pass efficiency. Hawkins can coach and things will get better, but he’s trying to fight off a ten-game losing streak and a possible winless season while his old Boise State team is making plans for the BCS.

2. Officials and everyone’s reaction to them
Replay and improved television coverage have made things better overall when it comes to getting better officiated games, but the technology has also made everyone complain in a different way. Now, the bad calls are more magnified, and fans are angrier than ever. Oklahoma fans were ticked at the blown calls in the loss to Oregon, but they went flat-out ballistic because a big wrong could’ve been righted by replay, and wasn’t. More than ever the officials are under siege with bad calls dominating week after week because ....

1. The big games have stunk
At least the key matchups in the second half of the year can’t be any worse that the supposed epic battles in the first half we were looking forward to all off-season. Ohio State-Texas: zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Florida State-Miami: bor-ring. Texas-Oklahoma, Michigan-Notre Dame, Cal-Tennessee, Nebraska-USC, TCU-Utah, LSU-Florida, Miami-Louisville, and Penn State-Notre Dame were all duds. LSU-Florida and Oklahoma-Oregon were entertaining, but they were marred by questionable calls. Florida-Tennessee and Penn State-Ohio State were fine, but nothing special.

Interesting tidbits to make every woman want you and every man want to be you …
- Florida State and Miami are both out of the top 25 for the first time since 1982.
- Kent State’s 28-17 win over Temple last week was the program’s first non-conference victory over a D-I team since a 31-17 victory over Kansas in 1987. It was only the third D-I non-conference win since 1978.
- Idaho has a .500 record for the first time since 2000.
Take the knowledge and go do the world some good.

Next, we’ll discuss how a team with three first round draft picks (not counting Antonio Cromartie) and eight productive players drafted could finish 8-5 last year … Why do I get the sneaking suspicion that we’re going to be wondering next year, when Lorenzo Booker is off making NFL money, how the Florida State running game could be so ineffective? Leon Washington might not be setting the NFL world on fire just yet, but he’s shown a nice burst at times and is coming off a 101-yard rushing day against Jacksonville.

My Heisman ballot this week would be … 1. Adrian Peterson, RB Oklahoma, 2. Troy Smith, QB Ohio State, 3. Garrett Wolfe, RB Northern Illinois, 4. Mike Hart, RB Michigan, 5. Erik Ainge, QB Tennessee

And I’m comfortable enough in my manhood to admit that I’m sort of full after two bowls of pasta … Wouldn’t the world be a better place if for just one day, we could all be as happy as the people in an Olive Garden ad?

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated:
Florida State’s fight song ... Underrated: Borrowing the North Carolina Central band for a road game
2) Overrated: Paris … Underrated: Shanna
3) Overrated: Matt McConaughey … Underrated: A three-hour informercial for We Are Marshall
4) Overrated: Yankee pitching ... Underrated: A-Rod
5) Overrated: NFL Network ... Underrated: Objective, relevant sports analysis
Sheer hubris run amok … The three lines this week that appear to be a tad off. If you’re “investing,” all you care about is if a prognosticator is always right or always wrong. Going 5-10 so far, here’s the official kiss of death for three teams … 1) Maryland -4.5 over Virginia, 2) New Mexico -3 over UNLV, 3) Nebraska -11 over Kansas State

Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault … I had the column stuffed, but Tim Tebow jumped up, double-clutched, and threw a jump ball right over the top of it.