Cavalcade of Whimsy - The Election Edition
Posted Nov 6, 2006

On election day, Pete Fiutak, in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy, outlines his platform for what should be changed in college football, provides a test for the top 25 pollsters, and looks at how close Hawaii's Colt Brennan might come to setting all the single-season passing records.

By Pete Fiutak    What's your beef? ... E-mail with your thoughts  
Past Whimsys
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5
Week 6 |
Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9

If this column sucks, it’s not my fault … I typed it while flipping the bird, and Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt suspended me.

Of course, the offense is a gimmick and can’t ever work at the collegiate level. Yeah, right … Is anyone paying attention to what Colt Brennan is doing out in Hawaii? The NCAA record for touchdown passes in a season is 54, set in 1990 by Houston’s David Klingler, but that also included a pile-it-on 11 scoring throws against Eastern Washington. Klingler also set an NCAA single-season record with 374 completions and for total offense with 5,221 yards. The record for passing yards in a season is 5,833, set in 2003 by B.J. Symons. If you count the Hawaii Bowl, which the Warriors have already accepted an invite to, Brennan’s on pace to complete 385 passes for 5,527 yards and 60 touchdowns. Watch for him to be in almost all the Heisman top fives, and be one of the front-runners going into next year.

Yeah, but the Man Law ads are sort of entertaining … Now that it’s month three of the college football season, it’s time to start changing up the creative on some of the ads that fans have had to sit through over and over and over again.
- The Enterprise Rent-a-Car ad with the three “let’s go girls” who loosen their smart neckerchiefs as they’re about to Thelma & Louise it on a wild weekend of sangrias, feeling sharing, getting hit on by married men, and yelling woo hoo has gone from kitschy to nails on a chalkboard.
- I don’t fear another terrorist attack for my own personal safety; I fear one because of the outpouring of endless, mundane Up with America songs that will follow and used ad nauseam in various car ads. John, I’m know it’s Our Country. I live here. Thanks for selling out your pride and patriotism to pitch a few trucks.
- I suggest Michigan State and North Carolina use the 29-point personality profile to find their new head coach, and maybe get a few smooches.

Someday, some kid will do a Billy “White Shoes” Johnson and will bring the house down … Since you can’t really celebrate touchdowns in college football, so I’m hoping for all the tame, retro celebrations coming back. So far, the best one this year was done by Boise State’s Jerad Rabb after catching a scoring pass against Fresno State. When an offensive lineman came over to celebrate, Rabb just shook his hand.

The punishment should be having to wear the Indiana warm-up pants for two weeks … Kelvin Sampson gets nailed by the NCAA after knowingly blowing off the rules by making 577 extra phone calls to recruits while at Oklahoma, and now he’s going to make $1.1 this year as the head coach at Indiana and $1.6 million in each of the next six seasons. Meanwhile, former Oklahoma QB Rhett Bomar’s Sooner career is over after taking roughly $7,400, and he can’t play for Sam Houston State until he gives the money to charity. Insert your own comment about the hypocrisy in the system.

The 270-pound diamond in the rough … In the LSU win over Tennessee, 252-pound Volunteer defensive end Xavier Mitchell had a free shot on Tiger QB JaMarcus Russell. Despite getting hit with full force, Russell bounced away like he was hit by a soft breeze and got his pass off. Between Russell’s size, the strength, and a thunderbolt of a right arm, some NFL quarterback coach somewhere has to be drooling at the prospect of working with him. It’ll take Russell a few years, but you just don’t pick quarterbacks with his physical tools off a tree.

A few years ago, John L. Smith and Larry Coker might have been here … Talk about your decisions, who’s the coach of the year? How can it not be Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe after he led his injury-plagued team in the ACC title race? How can it not be Rice’s Todd Graham, who has taken an impossible situation and made the Owls close to bowl eligibility in his first year? How can it not be San Jose State’s Dick Tomey for taking a program considered among the toughest in the country to turn around and leading it to the verge of a winning season and a bowl game? How can it not be Kansas State’s Ron Prince for taking a young team full of inexperience and getting it bowl eligible? There’s no wrong answer.

Of course, if Taylor Hicks was running and you could vote by cell phone, the turnout would be at an all-time high … As part of the media, it’s supposed to be my duty to remind everyone to vote, since that’s the American thing to do. I’d like to amend that. Only vote if you’re not an idiot. I know, I know, it’s everyone’s right and privilege (for the most part), but only informed people should vote. There should be a simple test that you must pass to prove that you actually know what the candidate you’re voting for stands for before you’re able to place you’re soon-to-be-hacked-into/lost electronic ballot. If you’re planning on voting based on what the TV ads are telling you, stay home and find something shiny to play with. May I suggest tin foil?
With that in mind …

Harris Poll voters … Call me! … Before any of the pollsters in the Harris and Coaches’ polls get to cast their votes for the top 25 rankings, each one should actually know something about the teams they’re voting for. I’ve devised a quick quiz that I demand each one take before blindly handing their ballot over to their sports information directors or secretaries. Get one wrong, and you shouldn’t be voting.

1) How many touchdowns did Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson score in this week’s win over Oklahoma State? (Yes, a trick question in two ways to immediately weed out the undesirables.)
2) Name the Boise State star running back who’s currently fourth in the nation in rushing and has scored 20 touchdowns.
3) Name the Rutgers starting quarterback. (I absolutely guarantee you we’d whack out 80% of the voters on this one. You shouldn’t be able to vote for a team in the top 15, Arkansas currently excluded, if you can’t name its starting quarterback.) 
4) Name any three Ohio State defensive players, and you must spell the star linebacker’s name correctly.
5) Name one Wake Forest Demon Deacon.

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
I’m Pete Fiutak, and I’m asking for your vote to become the Grand Poobah of College Football. Unlike most of the candidates running for office, I’ll give my clear-cut stand on the issues at every turn and won’t simply vote the party line. For example, on border security, I’m absolutely for building a fence between Oklahoma and Texas (sorry, I went away for a moment and was replaced by Rick Reilly). Here are my ten campaign promises and stances … Vote for Pedro!  

10. The war on drugs
Until the players prove they can band together and show some teeth, I’m going to use the system in place to clean up the game. Screw civil liberties. Human beings aren’t supposed to be 260 pounds with single-digit body fat and be able to run 4.5 40-yard dashes. At least, most aren’t. My plan: Each player will have blood taken once a year at a random time, and it’ll be saved until the time comes when we can adequately test for human growth hormones. To be eligible to play college football, you have to sign a deal that says if you get caught using any sort of steroid or HGH, you’re done and your scholarship will be taken away. If we discover a proper test at some point up until five years after your eligibility is up and a steroid or HGH is detected, you’re liable to the school for the full value of your scholarship. It’s this simple: know everything you’re putting into your body at all times. If you have a question, ask.    

9. I believe that children are our future
I will move the student sections to between the 40s and students will get to attend games for free. The game is played by student-athletes and should first and foremost be for the students.  

8. Voter reform
The polling system is a joke and must be cleaned up. With millions or dollars and the dreams of so many teams at stake, it can no longer be left up to a bunch of coaches who don’t have time to know anything other than the team they just played and a bunch of “dignitaries” that go by whatever the other polls tell them to do. I’ll create a blue-ribbon panel of 15 experts who’ll do nothing for three months but watch the games. My college football version of the Algonquin Roundtable will create a true human poll that will count for half of the BCS formula. Keeping with tradition, I’ll allow the Coaches and Harris Poll to count for 1/4th, and the computers to count for 1/4th.

7. Job training
It’s not fair that bowl teams get extra practices while teams that sit home don’t get the extra work. Unlike the NFL, coaches get a limited amount of time with their teams and players, so every second is planned and precious. When school’s not in session, I’ll allow for more practices and let the non-bowl teams get an equal amount of work in.

6. Improving education
Here’s my trade off. Players can turn pro whenever they want to in exchange for freshman ineligibility. Every player gets four years of eligibility, but their first year in college will be spent practicing, learning, and getting acclimated to the school work and university environment. The pressure needs to be taken off the first year. They’ll be better students, better players, and the all-around on-field product will be better.

5. Campaign reform: I’ll move the date the Heisman is awarded
While the Heisman announcement just after the regular season ends in early December is always a nice bridge between the end of the year and the start of the bowls, it’s not necessarily fair. If last year’s vote was calculated after the Rose Bowl, Vince Young, not Reggie Bush, would’ve been the winner. If you’re going to give the honor to the player who had the best season, the voters need to have the big money game to go on.

4. Read my lips: No … new … D-IAA games
I know the D-IAAers had more than their share of big wins this year against D-I teams, but that still doesn’t make the games of any interest. My position on this has been stated several times before, and as your servant, I vow to make it happen. Every D-I team has to start the season with a D-IAA home game that doesn’t count towards the overall record or the BCS standings. Use it as a live preseason dress rehearsal for the real thing, make a ton of money for the athletic department, and give the fan base a nice late August afternoon in the sun. Then, no more games against D-IAA teams the rest of the way.

3. Immigration: Penn State and Notre Dame will move to the Big East
It’s time. Penn State, geographically, is a square peg in the Big Ten’s round hole, while Notre Dame already has a history in the Big East thanks to the basketball program. I will help create a ten-team Big East that will put it on par with the other BCS leagues once and for all. Finally, our national mathematical nightmare will be over and the Big Ten will actually have ten teams.   

2. Everyone will play everyone else in conference play
Following the Pac 10’s model, I will do away with the money-grubbing, gimmicky conference championship games and force every team play every other team in its own conference to determine a true champion. That will mean just one non-conference game for each of the SEC and Big 12 teams, but most fans would rather see their team play a team like Kansas or Kentucky than get an extra game against UL Lafayette or Idaho.  

1. Support the troops: It’s time for a playoff
My opponents are happy with the status quo. A vote for Fiu is a vote for change. No, I’m not asking for some hokey 16-team tournament that negates the joy and importance of the regular season. All I want is one extra game. Use the BCS to determine the top four teams, take the top four conference winners (if you don’t win your conference, you can’t play for the national title) and play 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3, and then have one more game to determine your true national champion.

I’m Pete Fiutak and I approve this message (shot of me with a plastic perma-smile on my face while holding a baby and petting a dog)

Provocative musings and tidbits to make every woman want you and every man want to be with you (or vice versa).
- HBO’s Real Sports is the strongest magazine-format show on television. ESPN’s College GameDay is the standard for all pregame shows. It’s a shame that when Real Sports did its profile on the ESPN show, it was the fluffiest piece it’s done in years.
- Kudos to Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema for taking advantage of the system. After a late first half Badger score, Bielema had his kickoff team go offsides three times to help kill the clock.
- Speaking of disappointments from the best in the media, Mike Tirico is fantastic, Tony Kornheiser is humorous, and Joe Thiesmann is, well, Mike Tirico is fantastic. It’s not working on the new Monday Night Football broadcast. Hopefully, Kornheiser has more in his bag than talking about his fantasy team.
- Everyone will be influenced by the highlights of Cal’s impressive win over UCLA. Unfortunately, I’m guessing no one actually watched the game to notice just how bad the defense was. Don’t assume the Bears are going to beat USC in a few weeks.
- Georgia Tech got ahead late against NC State with a James Johnson touchdown catch and went for the extra point to go up eight. Why not go for two? If Tech had missed, it would’ve been up seven, and there’s no way State would’ve gone for two if it got a last second touchdown. If Tech went for two and got it, the game would've been over.
- You might not like Bob Stoops, but he’s a dream coach for the fans. Fans always want their coach to be able to make the tough calls with conviction. Up one, his decision to go for the win against Texas A&M by going for it on fourth down on his own 30 was one for the ages.
My Heisman ballot this week would be … 1. Troy Smith, QB Ohio State, 2. Mike Hart, RB Michigan, 3. Brady Quinn, QB Notre Dame, 4. Colt Brennan, QB Hawaii, 5. Ray Rice, RB Rutgers

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated:
Never messing with a streak ... Underrated: The Clemson purple uniforms
2) Overrated: Georgia 2006 … Underrated: Tennessee 2005
3) Overrated: Kirstie Alley in a bikini … Underrated: Charlie Weis in a hooded-sweatshirt
4) Overrated: Reese and Ryan ... Underrated: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
5) Overrated:
John L. Smith ... Underrated: Being happy where you are
Sheer hubris run amok … The three lines this week that appear to be a tad off. Going 11-13 so far, here’s the official kiss of death for three teams … 1) Washington State -1 over Arizona State, 2) Ohio State -22.5 over Northwestern, 3) Minnesota -1.5 over Michigan State

Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault … 
I couldn’t get out of the way on the sidelines and broke my leg. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to yell at my assistants for making the wrong calls throughout the column. Get better, JoePa.