5 Thoughts - Left Out Of The Fun
Kansas QB Todd Reesing
Kansas QB Todd Reesing
Posted Nov 11, 2007

The only thing for certain about the BCS is that either Missouri, Oklahoma, or Todd Reesing's Kansas will be snubbed. Along with the bad BCS rule, there's the day of Zook, the madcap Mark Richt, helmet-to-helmet hits and a faking punter in the latest 5 Thoughts.

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Yes, you could be demanding to see Kansas

By Pete Fiutak   

1. The BCS isn’t going to be blown up any time soon since the powers-that-be actually like the debates. Oregon or Missouri? Kansas or West Virginia? LSU or Oklahoma? The banter that’s going to ensure over the next few weeks will be what keeps college football on the front-burner of sports discussion. Fine, that’s what we’re stuck with.

However, it’s time the system be tweaked so that it actually rewards the best teams in the country for their big seasons. There are ten BCS bowl slots, and so it should be only fair that the top ten teams according to the BCS rankings are in. If you’re going to have a ranking like this, then use it.

Wisconsin deserved to be in a BCS game last season, but couldn’t go, thanks to Ohio State and Michigan, because of a silly rule that doesn’t allow more than two teams from any one conference to get BCS bids. While that’s in place so the six leagues can make sure they all get a piece of the pie, it’s not fair to the teams, the fans, or to college football.

Here’s a quirky, but very possible scenario. Kansas could lose to Missouri in a classic and finish 11-1. Missouri could win the Big 12 title in a nail-biter over Oklahoma and go to the Fiesta Bowl. Oklahoma, at 11-2, would get an at-large BCS bid meaning Kansas could be in the top five in the rankings and not get a BCS game. And then there’s Texas, who’ll likely finish 10-2 and be passed over for a BCS game by at least one three-loss team because it’ll be fourth in the Big 12 bowl pecking order.

Equality is for the other bowl games. Give us the best matchups with the best teams who had the best years.  

Oh that wacky, wacky Richt

By Richard Cirminiello

2. What has gotten into Georgia’s Mark Richt over the last few weeks?  The usually buttoned-down, conservative head coach has let his hair down this fall, choreographing a bench-clearing celebration at the start of the Cocktail Party and breaking out black jerseys from storage for Saturday’s visit from Auburn.  What’s next, trimming the hedges inside Sanford Stadium into the shape of a Bulldog?  It’s completely out of character, and it’s working.  Richt’s motivational techniques are resonating with his young team and his fan base, creating a swagger throughout the Dawg Nation that was missing in the first half of the year.  Given up for dead in terms of a major bowl game after getting routed by Tennessee on Oct. 6, Georgia has responded with four straight wins to climb all the way up to No. 9 in the latest BCS rankings.  The running of Knowshon Moreno and the passing of Matt Stafford have been instrumental to the resurgence, which could lead to a once improbable BCS bowl game if the Bulldogs can complete the rally with wins over Kentucky and Georgia Tech.  Just how much credit does Richt get for the improved forecast around Athens?  While it’s impossible to quantity, it’s a safe bet that the coach has had an even bigger role than normal in the success of his program.      

Watch your back, UGA.  Yeah, you joined in on the fun by donning a black sweater on Saturday, but coach may have more hijinx in store for you before the season is over.

But KeepRonZook.com doesn't have the same cache

By John Harris

3. He used to be the butt of jokes throughout the nation.  The Florida coach did what – went to a frat house and stirred it up?  The Gators lost to hapless Mississippi State?  No matter where you were, you heard it loud and clear from those within Gator Nation – the Zooker was a joke and should never have been the coach at Florida in the first place.  Former Gator head coach Ron Zook was in a no-win situation from jump at Florida.  He was the consolation prize for a job that no one wanted, I mean, who wanted to follow Steve Superior at Florida?  Zook got it and then got blasted for, well, just about everything.  But, one thing that many Gator zealots missed was he could recruit, something that they had a chance to witness, and he could coach, something they never had a chance to experience.  Heck, this was his first head coaching job and Gator nation thought he should be Spurrier on his best day and Ray Graves on his worst.  He was neither and unfortunately, he took the fall for the lack of recruiting at the end of Spurrier’s run at Florida.  Ironically, it was the players he recruited that won a national championship last year.  He was the ultimate fall guy, but outside of the frat house trip, he was class to the end. 

Then, he was given a blank canvas at Illinois.  Since the Sugar Bowl trip in 2002, the Illini had done little to nothing to gather the nation’s attention.  Consider that time over.  With the win at Ohio State yesterday over the #1 ranked Buckeyes, Zook proved what very few wanted to accept – the Man can coach.  He can recruit, he can sell and, most importantly, he can coach.  Yes, he can coach.  The Illini had a well-conceived plan to beat Ohio State yesterday and it’s a plan that has worked well all season long.  The Illini have eight wins on the season, but perhaps it was yesterday’s win that should provide Ron Zook with some vindication.  He’ll never say it, so I will, Hey Pike House, how you like ‘dem apples?

"My brain hurts."

By Pete Fiutak   

4. It’s not getting your bell rung. It’s not getting dinged up. It’s not funny or cute in any way, shape or form. It’s a concussion, and it’s the brain smashing on the inside of the skull.

Of course, concussions are always going to be a part of a violent game like football when heads are butting against each other, off the ground, and basically off everything a head can bounce off of. That’s part of the game, and that’s unavoidable. However, it’s time the college game wakes up and takes a cue from the advances made in the pro game and punish the helmet to helmet hits.

Hawaii QB Colt Brennan was torching Fresno State, completing 28 of 39 passes for 396 yards and two touchdowns in early in the fourth quarter. He left himself wide open on a scramble, and Fresno State’s Marcus Riley made him pay with a brutal collision that caused a concussion and a gasp of concern. If Brennan had been knocked cold on a shoulder pad to helmet hit, then fine, but Riley led with his head like a guided missile and cranked Brennan on a helmet-to-helmet shot that not only didn’t get penalized, but was later praised as a “big play” by the lobotomized Fresno State homer announcer. (To be fair to Riley, he showed great concern about the hit and even went to check on Brennan, who by all indications should be fine, after the game.)

I’m not talking about the type of hits where the helmets touch because the angle changes at the last split second. I’m talking about the spearing shots with a helmet cranking another player in the head. I'm not calling Riley dirty; I'm saying the helmet-to-helmet hits have to stop.

We have replay for a reason, and it’s time to give it more authority to punish hits like these. I was able to replay the perfect camera angle on it in freeze-frame motion, back and forth like the Zapruder film in JFK, and there was no question about the shot. Riley wasn’t penalized, and he won’t and can't be lightened in the walled by tens of thousands of dollars like he would be if he were in the NFL. The way these shots are handled has to change immediately before something bad happens.

A replay official should be allowed to have the teeth to see a true helmet-to-helmet kill shot, confer with the on-field officials, and throw the player out of the game just like the NFL has instructed its officials to do. The conference should then suspend the player and fine the head coach. There’s no reason for these types of hits to ever have to occur.

He fell, but he could get up

By Matthew Zemek

There were lots of iffy calls made in Saturday's Auburn-Georgia game, but with that said, SEC referee Penn Wagers still earned a huge amount of fresh respect.
When Georgia punter Brian Mimbs flung his body to the turf after a second-quarter kick, Wagers--like a basketball official to a player who flopped on a block-charge call--lifted his hand to make the "play on, son" gesture. As the two jogged upfield when the play was over, Wagers could be seen giving a warning to Mimbs: the young man almost drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Finally, a referee wasn't seduced by a punter who did an acting job.
Finally, a referee told a punter to get his butt off the ground.
Finally, a referee threatened to throw an unsportsmanlike conduct flag against a player who took a dive.
Finally, a columnist has a new Penn pal among the ranks of college football arbiters. At long last, a Hollywood punter received a deserved rebuke. I would not have Wagered that this kind of moment would happen so soon.