ASK CFN - Do You Know This Star RB?
UCF RB Kevin Smith
UCF RB Kevin Smith
Posted Oct 4, 2007

Who's the best statistical running back in the nation right now? McFadden? Hart? Hill? Nope, no, and nope. The BCS at-large procedure, Jeff Tedford leaving Cal, and more, in the latest ASK CFN.

By 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.)

On the internet message boards I have noticed a lot of people whining about Todd Blackledge's "Taste of the Town" segments and how they don't belong in the broadcast. I usually hate the "fluff" pieces, ie interviewing a player's aunt, phone interviews during the game, etc., but I really enjoy watching Todd jack his cholesterol up 50 points every Saturday. Am I the only one? – SB

Yes, you’re only one. It’s the type of piece that seems like a great idea in a meeting, literally trying to get the flavor of the campus, but doesn’t really work in practice. Not only does it sort of kill the flow of the game, but it’s teasing us poor souls who had a dinner of baked chicken, steamed broccoli and cous cous. Basically, Todd gets to mock us by eating some of the greasiest, tastiest looking food in the world from each college campus, and we get to sit there watching the gluttony. It doesn’t work, and it actually makes me angry to watch it. What they should do is tell us how we can order some of the cuisine, cook one of the recipes, or be able to benefit in some way.

Past ASK CFNs ...  
- What's wrong with Texas A&M? 
- How bad is the Big Ten?
- Will Miles run to Michigan?
- Supersized Season Premier of ASK CFN
 The most loved & hated teams
- Is Miami still a power?
- CFN's West Virginia ranking
- 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?

Thoughts on Kevin Smith (UCF) for Heisman? – JM

That you had to write the (UCF) after Smith’s name should answer your question. I’ll make the world a deal. I’ll vote for Smith for the Heisman, and leave the rest of the ballot blank, if it means the other Kevin Smith is forced to sit through a marathon of his own craptacular films, with an extra helping of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Jersey Girl. UCF’s Smith has been amazing, rushing for 217 and two scores against NC State, 149 and two scores against Texas, 124 and three scores against Memphis, and 223 yards and three touchdowns against UL Lafayette. More important than his stats is how well UCF is playing. After an awful year, this is a legitimate Conference USA title contender again.

Say, # 2 USC and # 1 LSU are playing for the National title. Which bowl gets the first replacement pick? Which leads to my main question. If the Sugar Bowl gets the first replacement pick can they Pick California and mess up the Tradition Rose bowl Match between Pac 10 vs. Big Ten?
– MM

A: Short answer to your question is yes, but LSU would have to be No. 1, and it’s not quite that simple. Here’s the procedure …
- The ACC champion goes to the Orange, the Big Ten and Pac 10 champions go to the Rose, the SEC champion goes to the Sugar, and the Big 12 champion goes to the Fiesta. Whichever bowl loses the number one seed to the national championship gets the first at-large choice. So if it’s LSU 1 and USC 2, the Sugar Bowl gets the first pick, and the Rose gets the second. Flip-flop that if it’s USC 1 and LSU 2.
- Outside of the bowls that lose the national title teams, the pecking order this year as far as at-large pickups is 1) Orange, 2) Fiesta, 3) Sugar, 4) Rose
- The bowls basically have to ask permission from everyone to take the same at-large team two years in a row, create a rematch of last year’s bowl, a regular season game, and they can adapt and adjust if some matchup looks more appealing. So yes, if LSU is number one and playing for the national title, the Sugar could take Cal, but Fox, the Rose Bowl, and the American public would likely put pressure on for the Bears to play the Big Ten champion in Pasadena.
- One other thing to watch out for is Hawaii. A “mid-major” gets an automatic big if it finishes in the top 12 of the final BCS standings, or is in the top 16, and one of the major champions is ranked lower. Ex: Hawaii finishes 16th, but Colorado wins the Big 12 title and finishes 17th, then the Warriors get an automatic spot.

So Jeff Tedford and Cal are finally getting their big chance. If they win out, they go to the national championship. If they don't beat USC, will it be time for Jeff Tedford to leave Cal for a better program? Some ACC and Big Ten jobs might be a good match.
– Mike

Here’s my beef with this theory: if Cal goes to the BCS with one loss to USC, then what program would be bigger? I know what you’re saying, Michigan or Clemson might be considered bigger than Cal, but that doesn’t mean they have better situations than the one Tedford has created. It’s not like Tedford will go anywhere else where he can go unbeaten every single year; there’s always going to be some monster in a big conference to deal with. However, the good match is the NFL, where the rumors have always been swirling around Tedford.

Which team in the top 5 is surprising you the most so far this year? And then for fun, one of the reasons I love college football more than any other sport is how big of a role emotion plays in the sport. Does Ohio State have more to play for than a lot of other teams this year? Who else has a lot to play for emotionally this season?
– DG

1) No one in the top five (USC, LSU, Cal, Ohio State and Wisconsin) is all that surprising. Just outside of the top five, obviously South Florida is a bit of a stunner, but the real shocker was Kentucky. I guess with its schedule that it shouldn’t be a shock to be so high, and it'll change after the loss to South Carolina, but it was a bit of a stunner. 2) I’m not going to say Ohio State is playing with more emotion than anyone else, but from the coaching staff on down, there certainly appears to be plenty of fire. Right now, if you’re in the top ten, you have a lot to play for no matter who you are. 3) I’m not a fan of getting so vague to say emotion has something to do with every team, but certainly Virginia Tech is having the most emotional baggage/issues to deal with. South Florida is certainly playing like a team on fire.

Is Boston College overrated?  Of all of the teams they have played (NC ST, Wake, G. Tech, Army and Umass) only one has a winning record, none are in the top 50 for scoring offense, all in the bottom half in total offense.  On the defensive side, G.Tech and Wake (barely) are in the top 50 for total defense.  It's not like BC has blown out any of these teams and only beat I-AA Umass by 10.  It seems like they are in for a big crash at the end of the season playing at V.Tech, Maryland and Clemson and getting FSU and Miami at home. 
– JB

I’m not quite there yet, but I want to see more. That win at Georgia Tech was far more impressive than you’re giving it credit for, and all good teams (LSU vs. Tulane) go through the motions against clearly inferior opponents. When the lights go on, this appears to be a real deal team that has to be considered the favorite for the ACC title. There’s no glaring weakness right now.

How many skill position players from BCS Conferences would put "Heisman type" numbers against Hawaii's schedule?  20? 50?  Seriously, I'm not speaking hypothetically, I think this is a valuable question.  You're telling me Terry Grant of Alabama couldn't run for 200 yards a game and put up "Heisman quality" numbers against that schedule?  I think so.  What about Jonathan Stewart or Dennis Dixon of Oregon?  Justin Forsett at Cal?  Darren McFadden?  He'd have 2500 yards rushing.  They'd all put up ridiculous numbers against that schedule.  I'm not saying Brennan isn't a great player.  I really have no idea.  My point is that all there is to go on are great numbers against weak opponents.  How can a player in that scenario even be considered for the Heisman? 
– BD

Outside of a few exceptions, didn’t the guys you mentioned already have a shot to put up big numbers so far against weak opponents? Brennan is an NFL-caliber quarterback, and not Timmy Chang running a system. I asked Brennan the same thing, wondering what USC would do with the Hawaii offense, and he pointed out a few different factors that make Hawaii different. First of all, the facilities are a joke compared to the top notch programs. This is a program just trying to make ends meet. Second, it gets the under-the-radar talents. The troubled guys, the ones looked over by the Pac 10, and the guys from the area. That tends to form a bond that gives these guys huge chips on their shoulders that goes beyond mere talent. Third, the offense really is that good. Take a look at what it did to Oregon State, Purdue and Arizona State last year. Remember, we’re talking about a guy who might be the greatest statistical quarterbacking monster of all-time, and he’s doing it while sitting out large chunks of blowout games.

As a Texas fan, I'm disappointed with the scheduling by Mack Brown and DeLoss Dodds.  Future schedules include either Arkansas, UCLA, or Mississippi as a respectable out of conference opponent, but I think Texas would be better served to add an addition huge opponent every season (Michigan, LSU, Notre Dame etc).  The beneficial hype associated with these matchups far outweighs the additional loss Texas would incur every couple seasons, in my opinion.  In fact, if I were Texas' AD, every year I'd open with a cupcake, then play Arkansas (home and home), then play another cupcake, then play LSU in Houston much like the Red River Rivalry in Dallas, and then go on to the Big 12.  Texas is already a powerhouse but such scheduling could potentially make Texas the leading rival of four top programs (OU, A&M, Ark, and LSU- they need a rival!), which would thereby make Texas the running-away most visible program in the South, the country's most fertile recruiting region, and potentially make Texas a MONSTER.  Am I on to something or do Mack and DeLoss have it right? 
- AP

It’s not like Texas ducks a challenge, unless it has to go to Hawaii. As a fan, I love to see all the top teams play all the other top teams. If I’m Texas, I don’t touch a rough non-conference matchup with a ten-foot pole. Why would you? I’m not saying I’d schedule a bunch of FCSers, but start off with Arkansas State, play a UCF, take on someone like Ole Miss, and then dive into the Big 12 season. Remember, if you’re Texas and you go unbeaten, you’re almost certain to be in the national title game no matter what your non-conference slate. 

I would like to know why teams like Florida and OU did not get knocked out of the top 10 when losing to an unranked foe but teams like Purdue, Kentucky, and South Florida are all 4 or 5 and 0 unbeaten and are still in the picture for the national title got ranked below them. Is this just another example of the BCS and the polls being completely off base with the real world  or is there more to it than just being unbeaten and the best team?
– Jason

A: Right now, you have to bet the house, the farm and the kids on Purdue or Kentucky vs. Oklahoma … make your pick. Right now it’s South Florida vs. Florida on a neutral field … make your pick. Yes, if all things are equal, and if there is a way it works out (an unbeaten South Florida beat Auburn, Auburn beat Florida, USF should be ranked ahead of Florida), then you do have to rank accordingly, but very soon, that gets to be tough to do. Should Colorado be ranked ahead of Oklahoma right now? Then where do you put Florida State? Clemson? It’ll all quickly shake out.

Did the ACC manage to get a measure of national respect back this last weekend with wins over ranked Rutgers and Alabama?  Also that win by FSU over Colorado seems a lot more impressive now after their defeat of OU.  Will people still view the Big East as the “better” conference with all its top teams losing except for USF? – BS

Yes, but every conference has its moments. The Big East looked great a few weeks ago when Cincinnati blew out Oregon State and South Florida beat Auburn. The Pac 10 looked great when USC beat Nebraska, Cal beat Tennessee and Oregon blasted Michigan. Yeah, the ACC made a big statement last week with Florida State beating Alabama, Miami beating Texas A&M (two weeks ago), Maryland beating Rutgers and Virginia beating Pitt, but the league also got roasted when the Terps lost to West Virginia, Virginia Tech got stomped by LSU, Miami was flattened by Oklahoma, and Virginia lost to Wyoming. Everyone views conferences by what they’ve done lately, unless it’s the SEC, and then it gets its butt kissed no matter what.

Has there been any freshman receiver (redshirt or otherwise) that you can recall who has made such an impact and put up such monster numbers right off the bat as Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree? 
- AD

A: I can’t remember any freshman rocking like Crabtree right off the bat, but for a season, how about Hawaii’s Davone Bess? In 2005, he caught 89 passes for 1,124 yards and two scores with seven 100-yard games and five games with two touchdowns. That’s not Crabtree-like, who has made 60 catches for 920 yards and 14 scores in five freakin’ games, but it’s not bad. If Crabtree keeps doing this in the meat of the Big 12 schedule, then it’s time to truly take notice. Right now, the Texas Tech star would be in my top three in the Heisman voting.