Cavalcade of Whimsy - Predicting the BCS
Posted Oct 16, 2007

Who's the right coach to Nebraska? How should coaches handle overtime? What ten teams will end up in the BCS, and how? Steve Slaton and West Virginia could end up in an interesting situation if everything breaks the right way. These topics and more in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy.

Fiu's Cavalcade of Whimsy

a.k.a. Frank Costanza's Festivus Airing of the Grievances

By Pete Fiutak   
What's your beef? ... E-mail with your thoughts  
Past Whimsies
2006 Season | Preseason Part One, Part Two | Week 1
2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6

If this column sucks, it’s not my fault … I fired Frank Solich, who was only a year removed from playing in the national title game, and  in an attempt to prevent the column from making a freefall into mediocrity, hired Bill Callahan. Unfortunately, I ignored what had made it so dominant for so many years. I’m now at the end of an off-ramp holding a sign saying, “Will Direct Your Athletic Department For Food."

And unlike Nebraska, his team is sure to get in a bowl …
Nebraska, ready to make everything all better? Want to push the back button on the DVR and try this whole thing over again? One name: Paul Johnson. He has his Navy team at 4-2 with the nation’s number one rushing offense. He’s taken a program that’s unable to get any appreciable D-I talent and molded it into a disciplined mini-juggernaut that’s gone to four straight bowl games with a 39-17 since 2002. Again, he's doing this with a different level of athlete. Nebraska, I’m begging you. Pull down your drawers and flash a big, fat vertical smile to the spread offense, realize that you actually had it right all along, and go back to running the option. Don’t be afraid of the wishbone. Go back to what you do best, and you’ll scare the bejeebers out of the rest of the Big 12.

If you’re going to put it on a tee for me …
The body of George Gipp, the legendary Notre Dame star, was exhumed this week to test his DNA, for unspecified reasons. 1) Technically, it's true. The Notre Dame running game couldn't be ranked any lower with Gipp at tailback. 2) And you thought Ty Willingham had a tough time recruiting. 3) The corpse took a limo to the College Football Hall of Fame and announced it'd be quarterbacking for the Irish next year.

You'd think he could at least help Notre Dame get a running back or two … Those Pep Talks Lou Holtz is doing on ESPN are the real deal. I know from personal experience. In between the second and third periods of a Minnesota North Stars game, a young Pete Fiutak walked past Holtz, then the Minnesota Golden Gopher head coach, on the way to the john.

Young, impressionable, nervous Fiu with voice crackling like Peter Brady singing “Time To Change”: “Um, uhh, hi Coach Holtz. How’s it goin’?"

Holtz: “Son, I’m doin’ fine.” (slaps young Fiu on the back and walks on by)

Inspired, young Fiu goes out the next day and pulls off an improbable C+ on his math test.

Yeah, and in 1986, a show about four old biddies starring Bea Arthur could be a hit …
Here’s my TV show pitch. “The Golden Coaches.” Picture four mature coaches living together and experiencing the joys and angst of their golden years in Miami. Strong-willed Holtz, spacey Bowden, lusty Southern Belle Spurrier, and the matriarch, Paterno, occasionally clash, but are there for one another in the end, with the signature moment coming each week when they raid the refrigerator for an ice cream sundae binge session. I’m only half joking here. Listening to those four is as entertaining as anything else on television.

If you have four cases left, and one has a million dollars, and the rest have less than $10,000, you play the odds and always, always, always pick another case so you get a better deal from the bankerPitt head coach Dave Wannstedt and Minnesota’s Tim Brewster, after each lost tough overtime games this week by unnecessarily going for the win, would each like to personally thank LSU's Les Miles for taking the overtime coaching spotlight away by running on third and fourth down. If you’re in overtime, you don’t go for two, or a touchdown, until you absolutely have to. If you’re so confident in your offense, then kick the extra point, or the field goal, score a touchdown on your next overtime possession, and put the pressure on the other team.

At least she didn't miss a block …
Last week, Joe Paterno chastised a woman driver for blowing through a stop sign. After the legendary head coach was through, a man came out and said he was her husband, causing Paterno to remark, “Boy, that’s your problem.” Pass rushers dream of the moment when they have a free shot on a quarterback. I dream of someday being able to nail a moment like that right on cue, and this week, to be able to come up with a decent line about Gipp..

“All you did was weaken a country today, Kaffee. That’s all you did. You put people in danger. Sweet dreams, son.” …
O.K. Kentucky, you can admit it now. When you made the controversial decision to keep on Rich Brooks, never in a hundred million years did you actually think the program would actually be good under his command. Appalachian State is now the new comparison for every big upset, and for the foreseeable future, the Rich Brooks situation will be used by every sucky head coach as the reason why he should get more time.

There’s less than two feet between a halo and a noose …
You can’t call LSU head coach Les Miles gutsy and brave one week after powering the ball on Florida time and again, and then dog him for going with what worked all season long in the third overtime on the road.

I like to think the last thing that went through his head...other than that bullet...was to wonder how the hell Andy Dufresne ever got the best of him.” … I could be reading this all wrong, but I get the sense that LSU was getting way too full of itself, and it proved costly. It seemed like Les Miles and the entire program never dreamed Kentucky, or anyone, could crank out 375 yards of total offense and 43 points on its defense in 12 quarters. “I’m surprised at how well Kentucky moved the football,” Miles said right after the game. Everyone keeps asking how all the upsets keep happening all across the country, and the short answer continues to be arrogance. The big programs, say all the right things, but they just don’t believe in their heart of hearts that they can be beaten by a supposedly inferior team.

“Thank you Mr. Cowboy, I’ll take it under advisement. Hit it again.”  … In the NFL, where the talent level is about dead even, give or take a Tom Brady or LaDainian Tomlinson, a defense can pretty much focus on stopping one player and erase him from the opposing team’s gameplan. The offenses adjust, and then the chess game kicks in. In college football, where you often have a wild disparity in talent level, particularly in certain areas, with a future NFL draft pick sometimes matching up against a guy who’ll be working the Pizza Hut/Taco Bell counter at the local Target 18 months from now. The good college offensive coordinators don't get cute, and hammer the mismatches over and over again. I know Wake Forest came up with a big pick, but if you’re Florida State and you don’t have a running game, and you have Greg Carr, you throw him a deep jump ball on first down. You throw him a deep jump ball on second down. Third and ten? Throw a deep jump ball to Carr. Everyone knows it's coming, and it takes a special play to stop it.

Hmmmmm. Turner Gill. Nebraska, Hmmmmmm  … A big college football pajamagram goes out to two of the most downtrodden bottom-feeders of the last few years. When asked who the best college football fans are, I always say they’re the longtime season ticket holders for programs like Temple and Buffalo. A two-game winning streak is hardly anything to get excited about at most places, but consider this. After beating Akron on a last second touchdown pass, Temple has won as games in the last two weeks than it had over the previous 36. The program’s last two-game winning streak came in the middle of the 2002 season. For Buffalo, after beating Toledo, it’s now 3-4 and actually in the race for the MAC East title. Only once has UB won three games in a season since getting to the D-I level, and this is the first two-game winning streak since late in the 2001 season.

Extremely curious Mike Rozier ankle injuries and Irving Fryar dropped passes aside …
It’s mid-October in 1983. How many out there were going, “Miami in the national title hunt?” And then the Canes beat an unbeatable Nebraska team in an all-timer of a national championship. It’s mid-October in 2007. How many out there are going, “South Florida in the national title hunt?” Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the new Da U.     

Upon further review (tongue sticking out), thhhpptptphhhth …
To anyone out there still dim enough to be against instant replay, watch the Alabama – Ole Miss game and then say it doesn’t make the game better. The Rebels probably win it if there wasn’t an extra set of eyes on a final deep catch that was correctly overturned. The receiver was clearly out of bounds and came back in play.

What, you didn’t see the promos for the game when you were getting your NHL fix? … If the nation’s number two team loses a game televised on Versus, did it really happen?

You think that’s bad, try getting him to brush his teeth, wipe himself every time after “blasting a dookie” on the potty, and to let you listen to anything other than The Wiggles on a car ride lasting more than six minutes …
Never work with kids or animals. Every parent has been there, metaphorically watching their little redshirt freshman quarterback hoplessly trying to scramble for a touchdown with no time outs left and no chance to spike the ball. Like Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, who hasn’t slammed a proverbial clipboard or thrown a headset when dealing with kids?

If you’re a man, then don’t act like you need a time out …
Amazingly, the Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy rant is still getting play all over the place. To keep the fun going, and working on the Gundy classic, “I’m a man! I’m 40!” line that’ll have a spot in our sports hearts for the rest of time, here are five other ways to know you’re a man if you’re a college football fan.

5. You remember a time when Nebraska, Notre Dame and Miami didn’t suck.
4. When you wear a jersey, you get the same looks as the creepy mom with the mini-skirt, teased hair and mass produced Fleetwood Mac t-shirt.
3. The AIG commercials make you think.
2. There’s a part of you that you don’t particularly like that thinks those cheerleaders should probably put some more clothes on, and then feels sort of wrong when you're happy they didn't. .And then you rewind the DVR. Twice.
1. The game that’s making or breaking your mood for the week is being played by people at least half your age.

You’re a dillhole. Make up for it … Do you have extra tickets? Have a spare $20? Go to Special Spectators is an organization that takes seriously ill children to college games for a unique experience. They have raffles available for the BCS Championship game and the Rose Bowl, or you can just donate your extra tickets to help out the worthy cause.

If only JaMarcus Russell, Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, and Marshawn Lynch were around to make the 2007 season interesting … Whether or not you personally agree with the concept, it’s undeniably time to admit that there’s no real reason for a limitation on when a player can go to the NFL. Adrian Peterson would’ve been able to rip apart NFL teams three years ago. Darren McFadden would’ve been the starting tailback on at least 15 teams last season. The college game will be just fine. Let the kids go earn their millions whenever they want.

Just like you don’t fall in love with, and by a cappuccino maker for, the masseuse who does that ,,,
don’t make the mistake of getting to comfy cozy with anyone in the Pac 10. I like this Oregon team. You like this Oregon team. This Oregon team will get tagged at least once more. So will Cal, Arizona State is overdue for a loss, and USC has at least two more coming its way..

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength

There’s no need to watch college football until January. Now that the initial BCS rankings are out, I’m going to clue you in on what’s going to happen in the BCS race. The ten teams in the big money matchups will be …

10. Arizona State – Rose Bowl
No one is believing in the Sun Devils, mainly because no one has seen them play. Those late night games in the desert are always off the map for most, but that’ll soon change. The offensive line has a few issues in pass protection, but with a physical style, to go along with all the normal ASU speed and athleticism, ASU should be able to keep up in home games against Cal and USC, and should be able to overcome an upcoming loss at Oregon to go 11-1 and win the Pac 10 title. Dennis Erickson's team will then go to Pasadena to play ….

9. Boise State – Rose Bowl
The Rose Bowl will lose the number one team to the BCS Championship game, so it’ll get its first pick from all the at-large teams. Even so, the selection people will be a bit hamstrung by their options, and will end up being happy to get all the Bronco fans streaming down from Boise, while getting huge TV ratings with everyone looking for the 2007 Fiesta Bowl magic to kick in again. There won’t be any Big Ten teams available, and after Boise State beats Hawaii when everyone is watching, and runs the rest of the table, it’ll move up enough in the BCS rankings to get into the top 12 and earn an automatic spot.

8. LSU – Sugar Bowl
The LSU schedule eases up big-time, with the two road games left, after a home date with Auburn, coming against Alabama and Ole Miss. Nick Saban will pull out all the stops against his former team and give the Tide the early signature win in his tenure. The Tigers will still win the West and will still go on to win the SEC title, while also eliminating the East representative from the BCS chase. LSU will sell out the Superdome against …

Kansas – Sugar Bowl
If you’re waiting for the schedule to get nasty, it doesn't get too bad, with road games against Colorado, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, along with home dates against Nebraska and Iowa State. 13th in the initial rankings, Mark Mangino’s team will keep moving up and up as others start dropping with key losses late. KU won’t win the North, losing to Missouri in the regular season finale, but it won’t be by much. Mizzou will lose a rematch in the Big 12 title game to …

6. Oklahoma – Fiesta Bowl
The Sooners will obliterate Iowa State, Texas A&M and Baylor to get into the number two spot in the BCS rankings, after South Florida loses to Rutgers, BC loses to Virginia Tech and LSU loses to Alabama, and then they’ll run into a Texas Tech buzzsaw in Lubbock to ruin the national title hopes. However, they’ll get a whale of a showdown against …

5. Oregon – Fiesta Bowl
The world will jump all over the Ducks, currently tenth in the BCS, after they beat USC (and badly), and ruin Arizona State’s unbeaten season. Just when it seems like they’ll be in the national title discussion, UCLA will pull a performance out of its ear in a shootout in Pasadena.  

4. Virginia Tech – Orange Bowl 
The Hokies enter the national title picture with a win over Boston College, and then they’ll lose to Georgia Tech to bring things to a screeching halt. However, they’ll beat Florida State, Miami and Virginia, and the Cavaliers will have already lost at least once along the way, forcing a BC – VT rematch in the ACC title game. The Hokies will come up with a second win over the Eagles.

3. South Florida – Orange Bowl
Here we go with the big debate of the 2007 season. South Florida will lose at Rutgers in a thriller, but will beat Connecticut, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Louisville and Pitt to finish 11-1 to earn an automatic spot in the BCS as the Big East champion. The computers will all have the Bulls in the top two, with at least one having them number one, but because of the recency effect, with the voters remembering the Rutgers loss and forgetting about the West Virginia win, the humans will screw things up by putting them just low enough to open the door for ….

2. West Virginia – BCS Championship
Currently ninth in the BCS rankings, the Mountaineers will start creeping up with impressive win after impressive win. They’ll beat Mississippi State, Rutgers, Louisville, Cincinnati, Connecticut and Pitt to finish 11-1, and get just enough love from the computers to go along with the respect from the human polls. I’m not saying it’s right that West Virginia will get in over South Florida, I’m just predicting here. The Mountaineers will get the number two spot, USF will be three, and the college football world will be buzzing.

1. Ohio State – BCS Championship
You’re not happy about it, and SEC fans are going to have a conniption over a Big Ten team getting into the big dance again, but Ohio State is going to make up for past sins. With wins over Michigan State, at Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, and at Michigan, in yet another classic, the Buckeyes will earn more respect than it’ll likely receive, and on a mission, they’re not going to make the same mistake two years in a row.  

Nuggets for the upcoming week, now made with white meat, at participating restaurants …
- In case you missed it, Houston WR Donnie Avery has been on fire over the last three weeks, coming up with one of the best performances of the season with a 13-catch, 346-yard, two touchdown day in the win over Rice. However, if you want to get ahead of the pack, start paying attention to Cougar RB Anthon Alridge. A wisp at only 5-9 and 175 pounds soaking wet, he’ll slide to around the third round of the draft next year, but he’ll end up being a situational superstar. He'll be the type of player every scout will beg their GMs to take..
- In the hard-to-do department, Baylor threw the ball 43 times against Kansas, completing 22, and only came up with 154 yards. The Bears averaged 3.58 yards per attempt.
- Watch out for two eligible Big Ten teams, likely Northwestern and Indiana, to get shut out of bowl spots. With almost no chance of two Big Ten teams getting into the BCS, there simply aren’t going to be enough openings.
- Miami is in big trouble for a bowl. It’ll likely beat NC State and Virginia at home, but will likely lose all three road games against Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Boston College to finish 6-6.

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Kodi Burns and Tyrod Taylor (for now) ... Underrated: Brandon Cox and Sean Glennon
2) Overrated: Ron Zook   … Underrated: Getting a three-year contract extension after a decent start to one season
3) Overrated: Reggie Bush and $280,000 ... Underrated: Joe McKnight
4) Overrated: USC right now ... Underrated: USC in about a month when it starts to get healthy
5) Overrated: Tim Tebow getting crushed by phone calls from LSU fans ... Underrated: Tim Tebow, as a recruit, getting crushed by text messages from Urban Meyer

My Heisman ballot this week would be … I vote based on a combination of three things: Most valuable player, most outstanding player, and the signature player of the season. I might wildly change my mind weekly, but I’ll sort it all out at the end. 1) Michael Crabtree, WR Texas Tech, 2) Matt Ryan, QB Boston College, 3) Mike Hart, RB Michigan, 4) Graham Harrell, QB Texas Tech, 5) Brian Brohm, QB Louisville

“You know I'm born to lose, and gambling's for fools/But that's the way I like it baby, I don't wanna live forever” …
The three lines this week that appear to be a tad off. (Keep riding the horse. I’m 1-2, but I’m 1-2 every week. 5-13 overal. As always, enjoy these just for pure amusement.) … 1) Oklahoma -28 over Iowa State, 2) Oregon -11 over Washington, 3) Southern Miss -4 over Marshall.

Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault …
 the computers loved my column and had it ranked high, but the humans hated it, and now it needs others to fall so it can get into the hunt.