Fiu's Cavalcade of
Frank Costanza's Festivus Airing of the Grievances
What's your beef? ... E-mail with your
the 2007 Season Premiere of the Cavalcade, dealing with actual college
football related issues and the season
was about the icky side of sports and how it relates to college
If this column
sucks, it’s not my fault …
according to Steve Spurrier, I write good
enough to play football for him. Unfortunately, to be admitted to the
University of South Carolina, I needed to write well.
Unfortunately, I had to turn in my Guy Card since I think the stuff
tastes like panther whiz …. By now, you’ve seen the Gatorade ad with
Keith Jackson narrating about the invention of a beverage in the same
reverential tones normally reserved for describing a heroic battle on
the History Channel. Next time it comes on, see if you notice something
interesting about those mid-1960s Florida teams that weren’t adequately
hydrated, necessitating the invention of the sugary sports drink that’s
now helping to make America’s kids fat and lazy.
Like most college football teams at the time, they were more than
Baseball has done a terrific job of keeping the legacy of Jackie
Robinson alive, and now it’s time for college football, which arguably
has done far more for race relations all across America, to start
honoring its pioneers, like Leonard George and Willie B. Jackson, the
first black football players at the University of Florida. They came on
the scene in 1969, three years after the Orange Bowl winning team
featured in the ad.
But it’s not OK to call them Va Tech … It’s been a rough year for
Virginia Tech fans. Here’s hoping everyone can just allow the Hokie
die-hards to be able to simply enjoy themselves this football season and
not be reminded at every turn of the pain and suffering they’ve had to
However, we’ll all be blitzed by various articles and pieces trying to
tug at our heartstrings in an attempt to find a human angle to a tragedy
that’s about a university, not Virginia Tech football. Be prepared for
the plinky, poignant music and somber questions with ultra-serious looks
on the interviewers’ faces, and also be prepared for everyone to force
Hokie football on you, while trying to make you feel bad for even
thinking about rooting for the opponent.
It’s OK to cheer for anyone you want no matter what. Just because you
want East Carolina to win on September 1st, that doesn’t mean
you’re being disrespectful. As I’ve been alerted to before, there are
always human stories on the other side, too. Somewhere, some kid is in
the hospital for some cruel disease, and his days will be made or broken
by what his beloved Pirates do.
Because CSTV and ESPNU aren’t adequately doing their jobs … Yeah,
yeah, there have been several failed attempts to pull off the bit I’m
about to try, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. I apologize in advance. I
watch way too much VH1 and E!.
The first day of programming on the Big Ten Network has just been
- 11 am: The symbolic launch time was going to be 10 am, but like the
misnamed league itself, it starts at 11.
- 11 am to 11:01 am: Great Ohio State Performances vs. the SEC
- 11:01 am to 11:05 am: Ads for the Big Ten Network
- 11:05 am to 11:30 am: Dr. Phil: Helping Michigan State cope with
living in Michigan’s shadow
- 11:30 am to 12:30 pm: The Jim Tressel Variety Hour. Along with his
always edgy monologue, watch as the Buckeye coach performs magic, does a
little soft-shoe, and joins Sanjaya to bring down the house with a
rendition of “Besame Mucho.”
- 12:30 to 12:31: Great Moments in Non-Revenue Sports History
- 12:31 to 12:40: Ads for the Big Ten Network
- 12:40 to 12:42: Michigan Running Backs and the NFL
- 12:42 to 1: Ads for the Big Ten Network
- 1 to 2: Flavor of Zook
- 2 to 3: The BTN True Hollywood Story: Iowa and the 1986 Rose Bowl
- 3 to 4: The Joe Paterno Party Machine. The legendary head coach
welcomes Common, Hot Dollar, and Maroon 5
- 4 to 5: Pat Fitzgerald is 35 … and Coaching
- 5 to 6: Battle of the Mediocre Former Head Coaches. Watch as John
Gutekunst, John Mackovic, Jim Colletto, Bobby Williams and Don Morton
compete in media relations, film study, booster kissing and maintaining
- 6 to 7: What Not To Wear: Stacy and Clinton raid Joe Tiller’s wardrobe
and subject him to the 360-degree mirror in an attempt to makeover the
Purdue head coach
- 7 to 7:30: Ads for the Big Ten Network
- 7:30 to 8: Top Chef: Trying to recreate the Wisconsin experience with
brats, La Bamba burritos and Parthenon gyros
- 8 pm to 11 am: A loop of the Total Gym infomercial, hosted by Chuck
Norris and Christie Brinkley
The 2007 Wacky Big Calls … Five seemingly ridiculous
predictions that aren’t all that far-fetched.
5) Nebraska will beat USC.
I’ll wuss out when the time comes and pick the Trojans, but at the
moment, I have this gnawing feeling that they’ll run into a buzzsaw when
they hit Lincoln. The Huskers have been building for this moment for
about five years and will come out roaring.
4) Notre Dame will start out 1-7.
There seems to be a quiet optimism around the program, and Charlie
Weis and his staff can certainly coach, but the Irish should be the
underdog against Georgia Tech, at Penn State, at Michigan, at UCLA,
Boston College and USC. The trip to Purdue will be close to a pick ‘em
considering what the Boilermaker offense should do to the Irish
secondary, and the Michigan State game is always nasty.
3) Michigan will start out 10-0, Wisconsin will start out 9-0, and
Ohio State will start out 11-0.
I really like this year’s Penn State team, and it could be a fly in
the ointment for Ohio State on October 27th and Wisconsin on
October 15th, but I’m making the call that the Buckeyes and
Badgers will both be unbeaten when they meet in Columbus on November 3rd.
Ohio State will win, will beat Illinois, and will be ranked No. 2 in the
nation before losing to Michigan.
2) Rutgers will be 11-0 going into the regular season finale at
The schedule: Buffalo, Navy, Norfolk State, Maryland, Cincinnati, at
Syracuse, South Florida, West Virginia, at Connecticut, at Army. While
the Terps, Bulls and Mountaineers are all tremendous, Rutgers gets them
all in Piscataway.
1) The SEC is going to lose at least three big non-conference games.
Tennessee losing at Cal is the one everyone seems to have, but it
won’t stop there. Watch out for Oklahoma State pulling off the upset at
Georgia, while Alabama will lose to Florida State. I’m not quite ready
to call South Florida over Auburn, but I’m close. Also watch out for the
Georgia game at Georgia Tech and Florida’s battle with Florida State.
2007 hopes, dreams, prayers and predictions …
The nation’s statistical leaders … Rusher: Ian Johnson, Boise
State … Passer: Colt Brennan, Hawaii … Receiver: Chris
Williams, New Mexico State
The award winners will be … Heisman: Colt Brennan, Hawaii
… Doak Walker: Steve Slaton, West Virginia … Davey O'Brien:
Brennan ... Johnny Unitas: Brennan... Outland: Glenn
Dorsey, LSU … Lombardi: Glenn Dorsey, LSU … Biletnikoff:
Mario Manningham, Michigan … Butkus: James Laurinaitis, Ohio
State … Thorpe: Antoine Cason, Arizona … Ray Guy: Chris
Miller, Ball State … Mackey: Travis Beckum, Wisconsin …
Rimington: Steve Justice, Wake Forest … Bednarik: Glenn
Dorsey, LSU ... Groza: Sam Swank, Wake Forest
The five Heisman finalists will be … John David Booty, USC; Colt
Brennan, Hawaii; Brian Brohm, Louisville; Ian Johnson, Boise State;
Steve Slaton, West Virginia.
Since I’m always wrong on picking the five Heisman finalists
in the preseason, these five are the better bet
… Mike Hart, Michigan; P.J. Hill, Wisconsin; DeSean Jackson, California;
Colt McCoy, Texas; Darren McFadden, Arkansas
The first ten picks in the 2008 NFL Draft will be … 1) DE Calais
Campbell, DE Miami, 2) Brian Brohm, QB Louisville; 3) Darren McFadden,
RB Arkansas, 4) Sam Baker, OT USC, 5) Jake Long, OT Michigan, 6) Tyson
Jackson, DE LSU, 7) Kenny Phillips, S Miami, 8) Derrick Harvey, DE
Florida, 9) Chris Long, DE Virginia, 10) Glenn Dorsey, DT LSU
Five “Wake Forests” … No, these teams aren’t going to win a
conference title like Wake Forest did, but they won’t be taken seriously
and will be far better than anyone thinks. 1) Vanderbilt, 2) Cincinnati,
3) Northwestern, 4) Kansas, 5) Wake Forest
Five “Miamis/Florida States” … These five teams will be
considered among the favorites for their respective conference titles,
but will come up short with a relatively disappointing season: 1)
Auburn, 2) Texas A&M, 3) UCLA, 4) BYU, 5) Florida
Think Ball State vs. Michigan or Army vs. Texas A&M … Five total
mismatches that won’t be upsets, but will be closer than expected
because the favorite won’t be paying attention. 1) New Mexico State vs.
Auburn, Sept. 22. 2) Wisconsin at UNLV, Sept. 8; 3) Western Michigan vs.
Iowa, Nov. 17; 4) Ohio vs. Virginia Tech, Sept. 15, 5) Georgia Tech vs.
Duke, Nov. 10
The C.O.W. airing of the grievances
followed by the feats of strength
Ten things I’m already grouchy about, and the season hasn’t even
10. No more chest bumps
It doesn’t matter if it’s George Clooney and Michael Jordan doing it;
the jump up chest bump makes everyone look like a dork. It’s awkward,
it’s weird, and there’s no need for it.
9. Feeling the need to honor all tragedies
I heard someone suggest Minnesota should wear some sort of patch to
honor the victims of the fallen bridge. I’ve had a few people e-mail me
with their ideas to honor the trapped Utah miners by having Utah wear a
helmet decal of some sort. Virginia Tech honoring slain classmates and
professors is one thing, the football team is part of the university,
and Indiana honoring Terry Hoeppner’s memory this season is a must, but
if a tragedy doesn’t have anything to do with the football team, it
doesn’t need to be acknowledged for a full season.
I’m originally from Minneapolis and know that highway and crashed bridge
way too well (having almost been a statistic thanks to an icy spin out).
Nine people have been pronounced dead so far in the collapse. Not to
diminish the loss of life in any way, but unfortunately, nine people
dying in a day isn't uncommon on the highways of any major city, and
those victims don't get honored by college football teams.
12 people died in a pile up on the highway near my house two nights ago.
200 people were blown up by suicide bombers in Iraq yesterday. Over a
dozen people died due to the oppressive heat in the south over the last
few days. It’s time for a harsh reality; death happens, and it shouldn't
always up to sports to help some people grieve.
Whether it’s when you’re ridiculously old and your heart can’t handle
the Jennifer Love Hewitt Hanes ad, or if it’s when your parachute
doesn’t open, you get caught in a combine, or have your nuts bit off by
a Laplander, it’s going to happen to all of us, and it’s going to suck
whenever it does. Meanwhile, we have to stop forcing sports to carry the
burden of honoring everything. The solution is simple after a
tragic event that doesn’t involve the school or football team. You have
one moment of silence and remembrance at the beginning of a home game,
and then you move on.
8. “Largest Crowd Ever”
Inevitably, there will be some big game this year at a place like
Ohio State, Michigan or Tennessee, and somehow they will cram in a few
extra bodies to officially make it the largest crowd ever at the school.
That doesn’t mean as much as you might think. All it means is that they
counted the people a little bit better, and probably upped it enough to
make the moment seem more important. You could’ve sold 300,000 tickets
to last year’s Michigan – Ohio State game if you had a big enough
7. No more cutesy position names.
As the Ladies said, it’s all been done. Whether or not you use two tight
ends, put a running back in the backfield, or line up five receivers at
once, they’re all the same positions they’ve had before no matter where
they’re moved to. Don’t make up new names to make the position seem more
unique or important than it really is.
6. No crowning a champion before it’s done
Have we all learned our lesson yet? From 1983 Nebraska to 1986 Miami to
1992 Miami to 2000 Florida State to 2002 Miami to 2005 USC to 2006 Ohio
State, we’ve seen more than enough evidence of how dangerous it can be
to assume the national championship is over with before it’s even
played. Did the underdogs win those games because of the extra
motivation? Of course not; they simply played better. Crowning a
champion before the season is done usually means everyone has gotten
lazy with the analysis and misses the obvious, like how good 2005 Texas
was, and how athletic 2002 Ohio State happened to be. There’s no truth
to the rumor that ESPN has already started a series comparing 2007 USC
to the Ming Dynasty in yet another fan poll thingy.
You know who’s disrespected? Temple. Buffalo. Utah State. While there
are several other teams on that list, your team probably isn’t one of
them. Don’t confuse disrespect with a lack of attention. Just win, baby,
and don’t worry so much about being dissed. Win a conference title, get
to the BCS and/or win your bowl, and then bask in the glory. Until then,
let it go.
4. Putting the shoe on the other foot
Would Oklahoma have graciously handed Oregon the win had the Ducks
been screwed over in last year’s debacle? Yeah, right. How many USC and
Oklahoma fans wrote in suggesting that Auburn should be in the Orange
Bowl over their team in 2004? How many Michigan fans took an honest look
at the BCS situation and declared that the fairest matchup should be
Ohio State vs. Florida? When it’s happening to you, it’s the biggest
injustice ever. This season, try looking at things from the other side,
and then scream your head off.
3. Look at what happens on the field
I’ve had an ongoing debate with several Florida fans about respect
and the way last year played out. They seem to believe it should've been
obvious to everyone that the team was national-title good all season
long, and they keep forgetting how many close calls there were along the
way. Sorry, but the world had a right to be a bit skeptical after the
Gators beat Tennessee by one, lost to Auburn, beat an average Georgia
team by seven, Vanderbilt by six, South Carolina by one, and Florida
State by seven. The Gators simply weren't dominant until it got a fat
and lazy Buckeye team to eat alive. Meanwhile, considering Colt McCoy of
Texas wasn’t quite ready for primetime yet on September 9th,
the Buckeyes didn’t face a living, breathing offense until it dealt with
Michigan. This year, we all need to take a harder look at the schedules
and what the teams are doing with them, and we can’t assume that a
blowout win is as meaningful as it appears at the time.
2. No more playoff ideas.
I love hearing from the fans all the time, and I really do try to do my
best to read and respond to as many e-mails as possible (as long as
they’re not more than three lines long). But I’m sorry; I can’t do any
more playoff ideas. Everyone has one, and it goes to show that while
everyone wants some sort of new post-season format, no one will ever be
happy with the final solution. A plus one? A 16-team playoff? Eight
teams? Only conference champions? All the conference winners? No non-BCS
teams? Again, I’ve read and seen every idea under the sun, and the simplest
and most fair solution, according to most, would be an eight team
playoff of the six BCS league champions and two at-large spots for
champions from other conferences to give the little guy a shot.
1. No whining about the lack of a playoff
This goes out to the media more than the fans. You’re not getting a
playoff this year, so instead of grousing about not having one, or how
nice it would be to have one, do your homework and analyze who the best
teams really are and who the most deserving national title participants
should be. I’m for a plus one system (No. 1 vs. No. 4, No. 2 vs. No. 3
and play the two winners), but until then, we all have to find the next
Florida and the next Texas, and we have to do what we can to get it
right. After all, unlike any other sport, the college football media is
way too much a part of the system, considering the polls mean everything
in the BCS race.
Random Acts of Nutty
… Provocative musings and tidbits to make every woman want you and every
man want to be you (or vice versa).
- I rip on ESPN for accelerating the general decline of sports by
shooting for the sensational more than the accurate, but they get
college football right. The addition of the College Football Live show
is a very, very good thing. It’s a must-watch just to get a good daily
fix. Just turn the channel before the obnoxious fan video comes on. I’m
really interested in seeing what the NFL Network is going to do with its
college football show, but I’m thinking it’s going to be College
Football For Dummies for a few weeks (at least until they get me on).
- Sports Illustrated called this The Year of the Running Back. So far,
it’s the year of the injured wide receiver. Oklahoma’s Malcolm Kelly is
coming off a knee injury, Marcus Monk of Arkansas is out for a few
games, Florida’s Percy Harvin is banged up, Pitt’s No. 1 target Derek
Kinder is out for the year with a knee injury, and Indiana’s James Hardy
suffered a broken finger.
- To all the Michigan fans still complaining about getting left out of
the national title last year, watch the Rose Bowl again and then make
- We’re going to have a new BCS Championship crisis when one obvious
team, like USC or Michigan, goes unbeaten, and one non-obvious BCS team,
like Rutgers, also goes unbeaten and the SEC champion, think LSU,
finishes with one loss but appears to be dominant at the end of the
year. SEC fans are going blow a gasket when it comes to comparing
schedules, and after what Florida did to Ohio State last year.
- It’s not your money. Why do you care how
much Nick Saban makes? He could be making 57 cents and there’d still be
the exact same pressure to beat Auburn.
- Teams that will be far, far better than you think: Oregon State,
Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, Boston College, Maryland
- Teams that will get by in the early rankings on name recognition:
Auburn (until its O line comes around), West Virginia (until its D line
comes around), Arkansas (until Casey Dick can throw the forward pass).
- Prove it teams: USC (For all the fanfare and attention, Pete Carroll
only has one BCS national title. This might be his best team yet.),
Wisconsin (won one really good game last year beating Arkansas, and
looked horrible doing it), Tennessee (2006 was a nice bounce-back year,
but now the program has to be Tennessee again), Nebraska (blowing
up the offensive philosophy that made Nebraska a superpower had better
start paying dividends), Florida State (if the new coaching hires didn’t
work, it’ll be time to officially declare FSU as just above-average),
Miami (now we’ll find out if Larry Coker was really the problem).
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
... Underrated: Felix Jones
2) Overrated: NFL Preseason … Underrated: Watching every awful preseason
game twice on NFL Network
3) Overrated: Barry Bonds suing those who make “false statements” ...
Underrated: Poking a bear who hasn’t eaten in three days with a stick
while wearing a suit made entirely of meat
... Underrated: Winning a Mike Ness
of Social Distortion look-alike contest
Kia Vaughn’s alleged defamation of character and reputation
... Underrated: The Geico Caveman’s,
Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault … I got a few
hundred dollars off a new car last year. Now the NCAA has forced me to
vacate all my columns written in 2006.