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ASK CFN - Is Tennessee Overhyped?
Are Erik Ainge and Tennessee totally overhyped by the media? How would the Florida hoops team do in the NBA? What mid-majors should round out the BCS leagues? These questions plus the coaches on the hot seat. repeating as champions, and the best college football color schemes in the latest ASK CFN.
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of the day … harder to do, repeat as college football national champions
or college basketball? – TG
A: I’d say football because it can be out of your control, but the stats
prove otherwise. A great basketball squad that keeps its nucleus
together, or gets all five starters back like this year’s Florida team
did, has to go on a six game run to win the national title. Obviously
easier said than done, but a football team has to win 12 or 13 straight
games just to be in the discussion, and even that doesn’t guarantee a
title shot (ask Auburn, Utah and Boise State fans what that feels like).
With that said, Nebraska was able to win two straight in the mid-1990s
and USC won two in a row (or at least one and a part of another) a few
years ago, while you have to go back to the 1991 and 1992 Duke teams for
the last basketball repeat champions until Florida did it, so in the
debate, both sides are right in their own way.
If each of the BCS conferences were going to add 1 mid major team,
either by expanding or replacing a current team, who would go where?
A: I’ll do you one better. Not wanting to throw everyone out of whack,
I’d make sure to add enough teams to each league to even things out for
ACC – East Carolina & Navy. ECU makes geographic sense among all
the North Carolina teams. Finding the second ACC team is the toughest
call of the bunch. I’m considering UAB, but putting in Navy.
Big East – UCF & Marshall. UCF’s a big school with a great Orlando
location and a natural rivalry with South Florida. Marshall isn’t the
biggest draw around, but the geography and battles with West Virginia
would be a plus.
Big Ten – Notre Dame. I’m not trying to make a joke about the
Irish being a mid-major; I can’t decide on the right MAC team to be
added to the mix. Notre Dame simply belongs in the Big Ten.
Big 12 – TCU & Colorado State. Put TCU in the South and Colorado
State in the North and you have two natural newcomers.
Pac 10 – BYU & Utah. I know Boise State deserves the bigger stage
and a better conference, but just like when the Pac 8 expanded taking
two Arizona programs, the Pac 10 would be stronger by taking the two top
Utah programs with big fan bases, good facilities, and plenty of
potential to challenge for the upper-division right away.
SEC – Southern Miss & Memphis. While the networks wouldn’t be
doing jumping jacks over a third team from Mississippi, USM has had
enough overall success to be a nice fit in the West. Memphis makes
geographic sense with games against Vanderbilt and Tennessee a natural.
I’ve got a couple of questions surrounding one pivotal one….Will/Can
this be Tennessee’s year? Every year Tennessee gets hyped and hyped…yet
fall short time and time again. How is it they are consistently
overrated by the media? Do you (the media) think they are that good
every year, but just don’t live up to their potential? Could this be a
product of bad coaching?...if so, when do you think Fulmer will be
dismissed? Many thanks in advance. – KW
A: I don’t mean to pick on you, KW, but I’m going to use this question
to get something off my chest to SEC fans: you can’t have it both ways.
You can’t be all high and mighty and gloat over and over again about how
great the league is, how it’s the best in the nation, and how it’s so
tough to get through, and then wonder why your team isn’t winning the
national championship every year. Live up to potential? Isn’t the SEC
supposed to be brutally tough every single week? If it’s so nasty, then
getting to a New Year’s Day bowl on a consistent basis should be good
Tennessee had one lousy year in 2005, won nine games last season and ten
in both 2003 and 2004. It’s not overhyping a program that wins as much
as Tennessee does just because it’s not in the national title game every
season. Is LSU the product of bad coaching since it hasn’t won the SEC
title for a few years? If Florida doesn’t repeat as SEC champs, is it
not living up to its potential? You’re right in wanting Tennessee to be
a national title-caliber powerhouse, but it’s not like it’s getting
blown out by Sun Belt teams.
To answer your other question, Tennessee can be tremendous, but it’s
probably not going to win at Cal to start off the year without the
firepower in place to hang around in a shootout. That’ll likely kill
your national title dreams, but Georgia and Florida have enough issues
to make an SEC championship a realistic goal.
Which coaches are the early favorites to be fired after 2007 --
specifically in the Pac 10? Did UCLA's Karl Dorrel's fluke win over USC
save his job, or just postpone the inevitable? Is the honeymoon over for
Willingham, or more pointedly, Arizona's Stoops? - BC
A: UCLA was rebuilding last season and still beat USC and went to a
bowl, is going to be among the top 15 in the nation this season, and won
ten games two years ago. Fire Dorrell for what, for not making his
program USC right away? If that was the criteria, roughly 115 other
programs would be looking for coaches this year.
Talking Pac 10, Bill Doba needs to get Washington State to a bowl game
or he’s gone. Ty Willingham’s safe for at least another year, and I
think Mike Stoops is too, but they’ll be on double-secret probation if
they don’t go bowling.
On a national scale, at the BCS level, Greg Robinson is one the hottest
of hot seats at Syracuse. Tommy Bowden can’t afford a late collapse or
an off-year at Clemson, Joe Tiller needs to turn things around at
Purdue, Sylvester Croom has to show things are starting to change at
Mississippi State, and Ed Orgeron could use a positive season at Ole
Miss. If Texas A&M doesn’t live up to the expectations and the talent
level, Dennis Franchione could be in big trouble.
There's a CBSsportsline.com writer saying Florida would beat at least
3 NBA teams. You've tackled this argument for football, so how about
telling us how Florida would fare in the NBA. –AP
A: Totally different animal than the college vs. pro football argument;
the basketball team would have a puncher’s chance. Over a long, painful
82-game season, the national title Gators would probably win fewer than
five games needing everything to go the right way on nights when the
opposition was sleepy on a long road trip. But if the NBA teams were
fully focused and really trying every time out, Florida’s going
0-for-82. Remember how the 2004 national champion North Carolina team
sent everyone to the NBA like Florida is about to do? How are the former
Tar Heels doing at the next level?
Fans completely underestimate and don’t comprehend the upgrade in skill,
maturity, talent and preparation in the pro game in both football and
basketball compared to the college level. It’s not even remotely close.
I’ll flip it around; take the bench of the Memphis Grizzlies with a pro
head coaching staff, and I’d bet the farm it wins the NCAA national
title without breathing hard.
(Last week, I answered a question about what sleeper would grow into a
new superpower and I said South Florida. I sort assumed Rutgers, West
Virginia, and some others that fans wondered about weren’t sleepers
anymore. With that in mind …) What are your thoughts about Rutgers
continuing to be successful? They have a great coach who seems to want
to build something and stick around, they have a solid local recruiting
base along with a pipeline to Florida. The biggest thing they have is
that they are THE college football team in the largest media market in
the nation. This could be huge in my opinion. I think South Florida
has great potential as you stated, but I would argue that Rutgers is in
an even better position and a few years ahead of the Bulls as well.
Great news for the Big East either way. – Andy
A: Call me nuts, but I’ve always thought too much has been made about
Schiano’s Florida recruiting ties. Win the New York/New Jersey area
recruiting battles and you’ll win more than your share of big games.
Rutgers has everything going its way except for any real winning
tradition, but as long as Schiano is around things should keep going
upward. The sleeping giant appeared to wake up last year and it’s
absolutely on the verge of being a consistent superpower. Winning the
Big East and going to the BCS would be a good first start.
Every year the conference championship argument comes up around the
time of BCS game selections. I’ve heard people discuss the pros and
cons. I’ve heard most “experts” argue that conference championships are
simply for more money for the conference, which is probably true….but
can anyone argue that if Florida hadn’t beaten a very good Arkansas team
in the SEC championship game they likely would not have moved to # 2 in
the BCS rankings? Florida got to play another week AND beating a very
good Arkansas team made people realize “poor ol’ Florida” deserved a
shot at the title. I don’t recall your position on the discussion, but
do you think this makes conference title games seem more valid? Also,
do you think the other major conferences (Big 10, Big East, Pac-10) will
try to instill 12 teams for a REAL conference play system anytime soon?
- Joseph, Chattanooga, TN
How do you feel about the teams who win their "Gimmicky" (as you put
it) conference championship game, and they still get credit in the BCS
system for that extra victory? Personally, I think it give them an
unfair edge to get into BCS competition, as Florida demonstrated this
last year. – GC
A: You’re both sort of right, but you do have to give credit to teams
that win an extra big game like a conference championship. It didn’t
give Florida any sort of unfair advantage last year to have the extra
game outside of putting the nail in Michigan’s coffin. Had USC gotten by
UCLA, Florida could’ve beaten Arkansas by 75 and it still wouldn’t have
played for the title. I’d much rather ditch some of the non-conference
games and have everyone play everyone else in each conference race, like
the Big East and Pac 10 gets to do. In lieu of that, you have to give
credit where credit is due in the title games and accept that they’re an
important part of the overall puzzle.
After winning the 2006 national title Florida went out and put
together one of the weakest non-conference schedules since Auburn in
2004. Do you think the SEC top dogs do their fans a disservice
scheduling such weak competition year in and year out. Where are the
tough road games? This conference is so overrated it is ridiculous yet
talking heads continue to tout it as the best ever. Do you think this
is fair? – DB
A: The SEC isn’t overrated, but it generally does take it nice and light
when it comes to real, live non-conference competition when it comes to
road games. However, don’t give the league a bad rap this year, and
don’t forget the yearly rivalry games that make life even more
difficult. South Carolina always plays Clemson, Georgia always plays
Georgia Tech, Kentucky always plays Louisville, and Florida always has
to deal with Florida State. Tennessee is doing its part going to Cal,
Virginia Tech vs. LSU is a national title-caliber game, and Oklahoma
State has the type of team good enough to win at Georgia. Auburn is
pushing itself against Kansas State and South Florida, and Alabama has a
fun one with Florida State.
Who do you think has the most visually appealing primary and
secondary colors? Example: Ohio State: Scarlet and Gray. What is your
top ten? – Michigan Hater
A: I’m only answering this question because it made me laugh. I’ve spent
the last week being forced by the wife to look at 483 swatches of the
exact same shade of tan to figure out what to paint our bedroom. I’ll
give you the same answer I give the boss … whatever you like. Beauty is
in the eye of the beholder. If you’re a die-hard Tennessee fan (or my
wife), you’ll be in love with that God-awful orange. Your team’s colors
are going to be your favorite.
Since I’m a professional (ha!) and I’m always up for a challenging
question, my personal favorite ten (you really want ten?) would be (and
in the name of Mr. Blackwell, Trinny, Susannah, Clinton and Stacy, don’t
e-mail me yelling about your team’s color scheme not being on here.) …
1. UCLA’s home blue uniforms with the yellow pants, gold helmets
2. Florida’s throwback blues it wore against Alabama
3. Tulsa’s blue home uniforms with the gold helmet
4. Notre Dame’s home blue and gold
5. Syracuse dark blue with orange helmet
6. Texas A&M’s dark crimson home uniforms
7. San Jose State’s blue with yellow pants
8. SMU home red with the dark helmets
9. Minnesota’s maroon and gold (and there is a slight difference between
The U’s and USC’s.)
10. USC’s cardinal and gold