ASK CFN - Two Loss Teams & The National Title
Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno
Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno
Posted Nov 23, 2007

Can Knowshon Moreno and Georgia, even with two losses, play for the national title? Why is there a backlash against Tim Tebow? Should Darren McFadden turn pro now? These questions 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.)

Why is there so much negativity surrounding Tim Tebow winning the Heisman. It's the fans foolishness on top of the voters hard hearts that have caused the credibility of the award to be tarnished. I have never seen this much controversy over a guy winning the Heisman because he has run for 20 touchdowns and thrown for 20+ touchdowns. Even here in Gainesville there is negativity, that is ridiculous, I tell them where would be with any other quarterback, Dennis Dixon, Chase Daniel could and maybe Pat White could put up the same numbers. Ask Chris Leak if he appreciates a championship defense, because without one I think Gator fans would under appreciate him more than they do now.  What is going on? – Kevin

A: I’m not sure. I said this throughout last year that America isn't all that interested in Florida, and Gator fans vociferously disagreed with me. It’s only been one of college football’s premier programs for almost two decades, but for whatever reason, from my experiences and discussions, I’ve never felt like Florida gets the same attention or love like a USC, LSU, Oklahoma or Texas. Last year’s team never captured the imagination until it obliterated Ohio State, and by then it was too late; the sports world had moved on. Rex Grossman didn’t get the Heisman when he was the best player in 2001, and it seems like many are searching for anyone to step up and take it away from Tebow. As I’ve said for a few weeks, if Tebow was a senior, or if the Gators were in the running for the SEC East, this would be a landslide. He’s having an all-timer of a season, and it’s not like he’s doing it in the MAC. To me the race is over. Unless Chase Daniel or Todd Reesing do something special over their final two games, Tebow has my vote.

Past ASK CFNs ...
- The five worst recent champions 
- The Flakiest Teams
- A little BCS history
- Should USC be in the title hunt?
- The best RB you don't know
- 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?

I assume the UL-Monroe victory over Bama is the biggest win in Sun Belt history.  What's hallmark win for the other smaller conferences?? - Wes 

A: The UL Monroe win over Alabama was certainly a shocker, but no one saw it and no one was paying attention. Troy’s 24-14 win over Missouri in 2004 might have been bigger only because it was a Thursday night national TV game. I’m assuming you’re talking about the non-BCS leagues when you’re referring to the “smaller” conferences. I don’t know if the Mountain West exactly qualifies as one, but …
Mountain West – Utah 35-7 over Pitt in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. Pitt was a buster of a BCS team that year, but it was still a victory that made Urban Meyer’s Utes 12-0. TCU’s 17-10 win over Oklahoma in 2005 was close.
Conference USA – Louisville’s 26-20 win over Florida State in 2002. Obviously the Cardinals are now in the Big East, but it was a watershed win for Conference USA at the time. It also marked the unofficial beginning of all the talk of one of the bigger leagues raiding C-USA for its top teams.
MAC – Toledo’s 24-6 win over Penn State in 2000. This was in Beaver Stadium in the 2000 opener and it wasn’t just a win; it was a domination.
WAC – Boise State’s 2007 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma.

What is wrong with Steve Slaton? Is it the Oline? Are defenses keying on him? Lost a step? – Josh

A: He seems to be missing that hiccup quick step that makes takes seemingly little runs and turning them into back-breakers, but he’s fine. The offensive line has been terrific, yes, defenses are keying on him and taking their chances with Pat White, but the biggest issue is the number of carries. He only has run 17 times or more twice in the last six games, and those two were 100 yard games. The other four weren’t. How good is Slaton? The dude runs for 988 yards and 15 touchdowns and many are asking what’s wrong.

What has happened to Cal?  They were great until the bye week hit and since then they stink.  Nobody in the country can tell me they were overrated because for the first 5 weeks they played great and had big wins against Oregon and Tennessee.  I haven't seen that team since the Oregon game. What has happened and who is to blame? – Chris

A: According to some Cal fans, I’m to blame for disrespecting the Bears and not believing in them from the start. The defensive line is getting shoved around way, way too often, but having a D that gives up yards isn’t anything new around Berkeley. Where are the offensive stars? Justin Forsett has certainly been strong running the ball, but DeSean Jackson hasn't set the world on fire. QB Nate Longshore has been merely average. How can a team with so many offensive weapons struggle so much to put points on the board? It’s not the offensive line; it’s playing as well as any in America. Basically, the passing game isn’t consistently clicking and the defense isn't getting enough production up front.

Is it fair to say that a Big Ten team will never win the National Title until the Big Ten conference adjusts to the new BCS system and starts playing games into December? – MW

A: No. I know you’re implying that the desperately long layoff, over 50 days, nearly two months, between the end of the regular season and the national title game is way too long and allows Big Ten teams to get fat and lazy, like last year’s Ohio State team, but there’s a flip-side to that. That extra time allows a coaching staff that much more time to prepare. I know, no one should need much more time than a few weeks, but it allows the coaches to do that much more in-depth work on their own team before finding out who they’d play. Second, it allows injuries to heal. Short of the guys knocked out for the year, everyone is going to be 100% healthy. Of course, there’s always the question of football-shape. If a Big Ten team gets blasted again in a national title game, especially one as good as last year’s Buckeyes, then some changes might be made.

With the way this year has played out with all the upsets and parity, do you ever envision a time in which we are debating which two lose team should get into the BCS Championship game? – TS

A: I was thinking about that when it comes to Georgia. Arizona State already lost to USC, now let’s say Tennessee loses to Kentucky, West Virginia loses to either Connecticut or Pitt, and the Big 12 North winner loses to Oklahoma. Georgia is then in the SEC title game, and if it beats Georgia Tech this week and then knocks off the number one team in America, then it might move up from that seven spot into the top two to face Ohio State for the national title. You’d get a contingent screaming about Hawaii, if it’s unbeaten, about deserving a shot, but it would be a tough fight.

Let’s take this a step further in the philosophical discussion. Say West Virginia doesn’t lose the rest of the way, but the Big 12 North winner loses the title game and Georgia shocks LSU with a double-digit win. At that point, the Bulldogs could claim they beat up the number one team in America on a big stage with everything at stake. There would be a huge segment of voters who’d argue the Dawgs would deserve to go ahead of either Ohio State or West Virginia.

To your original question, the one way a two-loss team would truly be in the hunt, without a ton of help, would be if it lost its first two games of the year with its top two players out. For example, say Oklahoma is ranked No. 3 to start next year, loses Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray for both of those games after offseason injuries, and then the two stars come back and the Sooners obliterate everyone by 30 the rest of the way. It would still be a tough sell, but it would make for an interesting debate.

The one question I have never been able to answer about college football is how some teams who don't (or can't) recruit well at all routinely exceed expectations.  Recent case in point is Boise State, which hasn't finished in the top 50 ever.  But there are others too like Utah under Urban Meyer, Southern Miss, Fresno State, Wake Forest, Kentucky.  Of course, the obvious answer is that they have great coaches.  But, without good players, good coaches don't win.  I think it has all to do with being able to see qualities in players the elites ignore like size, speed, determination and heart.  But what do they see, and how do they see it? – EK

A: Because college football recruiting is a ridiculously overrated waste of time. Check that; covering college football recruiting is a ridiculously overrated waste of time. The non-superpower programs might not get the four and five-star players, but they get guys who fit their systems and they recruit a certain type of under-the-radar talents who might have chips on their shoulders. How many top recruits actually pan out and become superstars? Many top programs spend so much time and energy courting the stars that they’re screwed if things don’t work out.

You have to remember what an inexact science this is. A superstar recruit who’s getting courted at 16 and 17 by Oklahoma might develop different physically than a mid-range recruit who goes to Boise State. You’re right in that some of the unheralded guys might tend to come to campus ready to eat glass and run through a brick wall, and if you get enough of those guys, you can put together a top team. And then there are teams like Kansas and Missouri who get the guys that the really, really big boys aren’t showing much interest in, and then sprinkle in a few other guys who blossom late. To answer your question, yeah, Boise State might be fantastic in a one game shot, but with the talent it gets it’d be no better than fourth on a yearly basis in the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac 10. Of those teams you listed, how many have had sustained success against the big boys?

Pete the Oddsmaker...Rank'em 1 thru 5, (longest odds being No. 1).
A) Saban finishes his career at Alabama;

B) Tedford finishes his career at Cal;
C) Miles finishes his career at LSU;
D) Weis finishes his career at Notre Dame;
E) Notre Dame finishes Weis' career.

Discuss. – SR

A: 1) (least likely to happen) Weis finishes his career at Notre Dame, 2) Miles finishes his career at LSU, 3) Tedford finishes his career at Cal,  4) Saban finishes his career at Alabama, 5) (most likely to happen) Notre Dame finishes Weis’ career.

Should players like Darren McFadden & Brian Brohm who are likely top 10 NFL draft picks risk their payday to play in meaningless Bowl games for underachieving teams?  And if not, then what's the point of playing in those Bowl games after disappointing seasons for teams like Arkansas & Louisville?  Is it for all the luster & prestige of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl? – MP

A: It depends. If you’re in a national title hunt, you play no matter what. If you’re in a conference title hunt, you play. If your team is an also-ran, and you’ve been told by the NFL advisory committee that you’re a first round draft pick, you should sit. I’ll never, ever understand why a sure-thing top ten draft pick on a mediocre college team would play one more down than he’d have to. If you’re a certain to 50 pick, you always leave early. Ask Michael Bush. You don’t wash your pants with a winning lottery ticket in the back pocket.

Most college fans can’t seem to grasp the business side of the equation, and my NFL prospect-quitting-team belief is one of the two topics (along with my rant that college players should have be able to have agents and be allowed to be given money and gifts from boosters) that generates the most negative reader feedback. There’s SO much money at stake, not to mention NFL career potential, that it’s big business for the top 50 draft prospects, and fun for everyone else.

If you’re a quarterback you can probably suffer a big injury and not be too affected. After all, most teams are going to want to take at least a half a year before getting its star quarterback rolling anyway. If you’re a running back, or a player who can’t afford to go from a 4.4 to a 4.6 40, you get out now. I said this last year when it came to Adrian Peterson, and I’ll say the same thing now for Darren McFadden. What happens if McFadden blows out his knee? Are the Arkansas fans going to hold a bake sale to repay the tens of millions of dollars he’d lose? Oh sure, he could heal up, come back for his senior year and come out for the draft in 2009, but he’d lose an entire year of NFL salary along with the interest and investment dollars from his bonus. Ask Matt Leinart how much money he gave away to play at USC for one more year. I’m a college fan and want all these guys to come back, but again, this is a multi-million dollar business here.

Of course, if McFadden were to come out before the LSU game to say he’s quitting the team to focus on the NFL draft, he’d be destroyed by the media and the fans, and there might be one or two teams questioning his character. And then Jerry Jones would trade the naming rights to his new stadium and a date with Tony Romo for the No. 1 pick to take the former Hog star and give him a $20 million signing bonus.