ASK CFN (7/13) ... Is Booty Heisman worthy?
Posted Jul 13, 2007

Is Booty Heisman worthy? Is Les Miles a good coach? Is USC really a dynasty? These questions 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.)

Was just reading an article on LSU fans griping about USC and its dynasty status (and of course, the '03 title) and it got me thinking … Do you feel USC is really a college football dynasty? I don't hear anyone claiming dynasty status for the Hurricanes from 00-03, and yet the accomplishments are almost identical, except in 2000 FSU lost to Oklahoma whereas in 2003 Oklahoma lost (twice) giving USC the shared title Miami would have gotten in 2000. Would Butch Davis never going to the NFL led to him and Pete Carroll being pronounced East/West rulers of college football recruiting and program building? – JC

A: Let’s put it all on the table here … USC has only one real national title under Pete Carroll. I don’t care about 2003. We live in a BCS world, like it or not, and anyone else named a national champion is just for show. However, yes, this is absolutely a dynasty under Carroll. You go 69-6 over a five-year span, and you’re doing something right. There are two other ways of looking at what a monster the program has become. First, of those six losses, all were by less than a touchdown. USC is 22 points away from winning 75 straight. Second, USC is roughly three plays away from being the undisputed four-time national champion. Knowing that this will open up the floodgates of e-mail, I’d take last year’s USC team over Florida.  

Past ASK CFNs ...    
- Is Booty Heisman-worthy?
- The USC Schedule
- The Big Ten Network
- The most underrated head coach
- The Top Ten NFL receiver prospects 

- Why did Brady Quinn slide?
- The Virginia Tech situation

- Creating a MWest-WAC super-league
Mid-majors who should be in the bigs
The potential new superpower
The 5 best coaching jobs
March Madness for football?
Potential Bowl Shockers
Tim Brewster?
Fox's BCS broadcasts
- Is Brady really better than Russell?
Hot & Cold Bowl Programs
- How ineffective was Reggie Ball?
- A 2007 Top 10 Mock Draft
Can Michigan win a national title?
- BCS possibilities for several teams
- West Virginia schedule, BCS rules
- Toughest coaching jobs
- Hidden Heisman 5

- Is Temple worst ever?
- Oklahoma-Oregon fiasco
- Has Bob Stoops lost it?
- Is Colorado done?

Why does Boise State seemingly get more credit for their undefeated season/BCS run than Utah did in 2004?  All Utah did was blow everyone out that stepped on the field against them.  Maybe if Utah had blown leads and had more near misses, they would have been regarded a bit higher.  I mean, San Jose State?  Are you kidding me?  So what's the deal?  Why is BSU's win considered a "landmark" win when Utah wiped the floor with everyone on their slate? – NS

A: Utah didn’t beat the Big 12 champions. Look, no one trumpeted that Ute team more than I did, and I still believe it could’ve given Auburn, USC and Oklahoma a major run for their money, but the best win came over an average Big East champion (Pitt). The 2004 Utes only beat four teams that finished with a winning record. Boise State not only beat a great Oklahoma team, it also obliterated an Oregon State team that went 10-4, beat a Hawaii team that went 11-3, and blew out Utah and Nevada, who each looked great in bowls. The other part of the equation is the history. Boise State has been a major producer for years, and the 2006 season took things to another level. By the way, that San Jose State was good. It beat two teams from the Mountain West (San Diego State and New Mexico).

Please forgive my ignorance, but could you please explain to me what exactly an H-back is?  From what I can gather it's some sort of combination tight end/running back, I think. – AM

A: It stems from the Washington Redskins' Joe Gibbs and a role he created in the 1980s for Clint Didier. You’re right; it’s a combination of running back and tight end, or most specifically, a fullback and a tight end. It’s a hybrid position, hence the H, and it requires a versatile player who can line up in several spots. More than just a blocker and more than a receiver, he’s required to be a more dangerous target than most tight ends, while being able to handle speed rushers coming off the edge. In some offenses, he’s called an F-Back.

Can a mid-major ever play for a national championship? Will an undefeated mid-major team ever be seen as 'worthy' of being in that spot? This year, for example, Hawaii looks like they have the combination of talent and schedule to be a favorite to win every game- but even if they were the only undefeated team in the country at the end of the year, would it be enough for a spot in the championship? - Mike M.

A: A “mid-major” won the national title in 1984, though don’t get me started on that BYU team. Hawaii has a nice set up, but the schedule isn’t good enough to get it past a one-loss team from power conferences like the SEC and Big Ten when it comes to the national title discussion. The “mid-major” to watch out for is TCU. If it can pull off a win at Texas early on, it’ll generate a major buzz. If it’s as good as it’s supposed to be on defense, and if the offense comes around, it has a great chance to go unbeaten. Of course, a loss in Austin says bye-bye to that.

It's so painful to see the bowl games listed on your site with the sponsor's name sullying them. Rose Bowl Presented by Citi? Barf. Allstate Sugar Bowl? Gag. I guess you're trying to be accurate, but just because a corporation pays millions to put their name before a traditional bowl name doesn't mean you have to go along. They're not paying you, are they? Some sponsors have bought the entire name, and that leaves no choice. But if you use Rose Bowl, I don't think anyone is going to be confused: "Is that the one presented by Citi?" - John, Austin

A: Yeah, I know, but at the end of the day, does it really matter? The corporate dollars that flow into the bowl games help make them bigger, more prominent, and stronger overall, even if the names suck. For the most part, we always refer to the bowl games by their normal names, we don’t mention Citi every time we write about the Rose Bowl, but now, with a bowl like the Chick-fil-A Bowl making it impossible to call it the Peach, it’s getting harder and harder. I have a bigger problem with the ultra-obtrusive in-game advertising for the bowl sponsors, hitting rock bottom with the inevitable interview with some CEO or marketing executive. Usually, once the game starts, you don't care about the naming rights.

We all know you give the most analytical answers to college football questions, but now it's time to step up to the plate with a gut feeling... What was Les Miles thinking last week when he fired off those volleys at the Pac10 and Big12? No coach-speak there! I'm really starting to warm to the guy, who is "only winning with Saban's talent,"etc. I remember a clip on U-Tube of him blowing off a female on-field interviewer prior to the Oklahoma/Boone Pickens U game, so excited he just told her he had a game to play, (then whipped OU, as he did 2 of 4). Then there is the infamous adjective applied to Alabama at the LSU recruiting bash this past February. So Pete, what is your take on this guy? -  Stader, Franklin, TN

A: If I can get one thing across to fans when it comes to coaches, it’s this: when push comes to shove, they’re all, ALL, flaming bags of jerkweed. I actually prefer the ones that don’t hide it and play up the part (Bob Stoops and Charlie Weis are front and center here) because you know what you’re dealing with. Of course, 93% of them are great guys (Stoops and Weis included) and good to talk to, but you don’t get to become the head coach and top figurehead of a major university without being a world-class butt-kicker. Just because coaches don’t act like Bobby Knight in his heyday, that doesn’t mean most aren't cut from the same mold. Therefore, when a coach acts like a dink from time to time, don’t be shocked. They’re the most myopic people on the planet and they often blow up when they’re out of their element, pushed to far, or challenged. They're under enormous pressure and stress 24/7. The SEC will always be snobs when it comes to schedules, and more often than not, rightly so, but when it comes to Miles, he’s just saying what he feels. Whatever. I think he’s growing into a whale of a coach who did a brilliant job of navigating the team through the Katrina season two years ago. As I keep saying, Nick Saban only had one year with fewer than three losses while at LSU. Miles has gone 11-2 and 11-2. 

With the departure of JaMarcus Russell to the NFL, I was wondering your opinion on this year's top SEC QB.  As an LSU fan, I can clearly say that Andre Woodson is the top returning QB in the SEC.  If he can do what he did last year at Kentucky, which is maybe the 9th or 10th most talented team in the SEC, how can he not be considered the best returning SEC QB?  Put him on a team like Florida or LSU and he's a Heisman frontrunner.  Your thoughts? – Alex

A: I’ve asked around on this, and it’s hard to come up with a better time for SEC quarterbacks than now. Woodson certainly is a major-league talent, at least the pro scouts think so, while Georgia’s Matthew Stafford, Florida’s Tim Tebow, and Tennessee’s Erik Ainge are all high-level pro prospects. Throw in veterans like Auburn’s Brandon Cox and South Carolina’s Blake Mitchell, rising stars in Alabama’s John Parker Wilson and Vanderbilt’s Chris Nickson, and a tremendous prospect in LSU’s Ryan Perrilloux backing up Matt Flynn, there’s a slew of excellent talent. Woodson has the perfect convergence of being able to bomb away with great skill players around him, while playing along with a defense that can’t stop anyone and forces shootouts. Yeah, he’s the best returning SEC quarterback, but very soon, Stafford will change that.

Does John David Booty really deserve to be atop the Heisman list? I mean I haven't seen him do anything yet that Matt Leinart, Vince Young, Troy Smith and Brady Quinn (who I think was harshly underrated) did. Don't get me wrong I'm not trying to bash him, he's a really good QB (Anybody is a good QB to start at USC). But he did have two really good wide receivers to throw to. I just haven't seen that WOW factor out of him that those others had. Is it possible that it's just the USC jersey he is wearing that is swaying people? -  Paul

A: Salute the rank, not the man. If you’re named the starting quarterback on the nation’s number one team, you’re a Heisman frontrunner by default. No matter what your talent-level, if you put up big numbers and your team wins (cough, Jason White, cough), you have an honest shot to win the award. No, Booty hasn’t become the be-all-end-all star he was supposed to be when he skipped his senior year of high school and was supposed to take over for Carson Palmer, but he’ll get his chance. The key to Booty this year, and his chance to win the Heisman, will be if the voters look past his lack of big stats. With the D the Trojans have, Booty won’t have to throw for 375 yards a game to win. He’ll have to limit his mistakes, make the right reads, keep the chains moving, and win the big games against teams like Nebraska and California. However, the problem will be the stats. How do you vote for Booty and his game management skills if Colt Brennan throws for a bazillion yards and leads Hawaii to a 12-0 season?

I know this is a football site but I have a question tied to one you answer quite often.  I think you have settled the "who would win ... college football national champ or worst NFL team?" question.  But, the question came up at work about a small high school in Indianapolis - Lawrence North.  Could their team of two years ago (with a senior class starring Greg Oden and Mike Conley) beat a college basketball team?  Or, the question might be, how many could they beat? – DH

A: Absolutely. Obviously it depends on the league North would play in, but Oden and Conley, who could’ve played in the NBA coming out of high school, would’ve been enough to win at least ten games at the D-I level. I’d even say more would be possible. However, it might be a stretch to even think about a winning record considering the defensive problems of the supporting cast when compared to D-I athletes.


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