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Frank Costanza's Festivus Airing of the Grievances
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2006 Season | Preseason
Part Two |
Week 9 |
Week 10 |
Week 11, Part 1 |
Week 11, Part 2 |
If this column sucks,
it’s not my fault … I recently had the number one column in the country. I beat
Kansas, beat Illinois, lost to one other column, admittedly one of the
best in the country, twice, and had the sixth-highest rated column after
last week, but now Kansas and Illinois are in the VIP lounge while I’m
sitting out here figuring out why I just tipped the bartender $2 for opening a bottle of beer.
Usually they like to be kissed first … Who feels more victimized
after this weekend, Missouri or Pitt WR Oderick Turner. Did Turner once hook
up with the wives of the officials doing the Pitt – West Virginia game?
He got hit with two phantom holding calls that cost the Panthers big
plays that would’ve made the 13-9
final much, much worse. Meanwhile, all Missouri did was finish sixth in the final BCS rankings with wins over Illinois and Kansas
only to be left out of the fun.
With that said, it’s not like Missouri missed out on the playoffs. It’s
not like it’s being denied a shot at the national title, and it’s not
losing a dime since it’ll get the same share of the pot with Kansas making
the BCS. The program doesn’t necessarily need the extra exposure after
being in the spotlight on two straight everyone’s-watching primetime
games. If it’s so ticked off at being left out of the show, then it
needs to go out and blast Arkansas by 20 in the Cotton Bowl.
"Two orders of split plea soup to go, please." …
this one in the bud right here, right now, so we can dismiss the topic
and go on to more useful, important banter. Oklahoma can beat West
Virginia 85-3 and USC can trounce Illinois 184-14, but there will still
only be one national champion. I don’t care what the AP, CFN or the
Opelika-Auburn News says, the winner of the LSU – Ohio State is your
national champion for 2007. The only team that could have any beef
whatsoever is Hawaii if it beats Georgia in the Sugar. Everyone else, go
unbeaten and then you can talk.
Those who don’t learn from the Irish are doomed to end up like them …
Is Michigan not going after Les Miles harder because it’s trying to save
money? Miles is now an elite, national title-level head college football coach who commands,
and deserves, $3+ million a year, but Michigan athletic director Bill
Martin might want a coach to take an I-get-to-coach-at-Michigan-yippee
discount. Ask Notre Dame how that worked out when it low-balled Urban
But he's absolutely, positively not going to take the Miami Dolphins'
job ... Les Miles emphatically stated he was going to be the LSU
head coach next year. Well, yeah, the national championship is in 2008.
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto
… I’ve been the lead lobbyist in the Computers, Yes!
campaign when it comes to the BCS. Not only should the computers count
for far more than 1/3rd of the final vote, but they should
have more say than the humans … if there’s a correct formula
in place. Well, no
more. I’ve tried. I’ve tried in vain to complain about how the humans
are the kink in the chain because they simply aren’t informed enough to
put together an educated ballot, but after the final computer rankings
came out, the system is due for another oil change.
The six computers combined had Virginia Tech ranked No. 1 (which is
actually not that bad a call based on who the Hokies beat and where), LSU No. 2, Ohio State No.
3. No real problems there. Arizona State is eighth and USC ninth despite
the Trojans beating the Sun Devils in Tempe. USC lost to Stanford, so at
the end of the day, that’s probably kosher. The real problem is with the
Big 12 with Kansas ahead of Missouri who’s ahead of Oklahoma.
If the computer formulas dictate that Missouri deserves to be ranked
ahead of Oklahoma, considering the Sooners lost to mediocre Colorado and
Texas Tech teams that the Tigers beat, I’m fine with that. However, you
lose me when it comes to Kansas.
The Jayhawks played the nation’s 109th best schedule while
Missouri played the 26th toughest slate. The two losses to OU
ended up counting more than the one Kansas head-to-head loss than
Missouri, and that’s hard to argue away. There isn’t one single
reasonable reason to have KU ahead of Mizzou, but the Billingsley and
Sagarin formulas spat it out that way. Now I’m asking; why should these
two computer formulas be trusted from here on after such a colossal
“’Tis but a scratch” … One of the key things to watch for this
bowl season will be the injured teams getting time to heal up. Last year,
John David Booty was banged up and was a sitting duck in the loss to
UCLA, and then he got healthy and danced around the pocket like
Baryshnikov in the win over Michigan. Michigan will get Mike Hart and
Chad Henne back at almost full strength. Wisconsin was decimated on both
sides of the ball at the end of the year, and now it’ll be healthy
again, led by the return of P.J. Hill. UCLA will finally have time to
get its skill players together. And, of course, there’s LSU, who
should finally be the team that ripped through the first part of the
year before all the injuries struck.
And take an extra shot for every time Dan Fouts’ voice had a little
lilt whenever Oregon did something decent. … Looking to spice up
your holiday season? Forget that key party idea you were originally going
to work with and find a tape of the Oregon State – Oregon game to play
The Civil War drinking game. Every time Dan Fouts or Tim Brant say the
words civil or war, drink. It was one of the few times when the call of
a great game became a distraction.
“Pork bellies, which is used to make bacon, which you might find in a
bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.” … From Mike Patrick in
the Pitt – West Virginia game when the Panthers were going for a field
goal: “This would put the Panthers up by six. This would mean West
Virginia needs a touchdown.”
not being defensive! You're the one who's being defensive! Why is always
the other person who's being defensive? Have you ever asked yourself
that? Why don't you ask yourself that?” … As Les
Miles so openly displayed with his little pre-SEC Championship
performance, coaches are awful, awful at PR and even worse when
it comes to lobbying (even though his move actually worked).
It’s now become one of my favorite holiday traditions. After the regular
season, I put a log on the fire, curl up on the coach with a warm
blanket and hot cup of tea, and watch the coaches try to sell the world
their undeserving teams belong in the national title game. Of course,
their position depends on what’s actually happening to them this
My favorite performance this season was from Georgia head coach Mark Richt, who knew he didn’t have a
leg to stand on since his team couldn’t even win a tie-breaker to play
for its own conference title, but he had to appease the fan base by
trying to fight the good fight. He had a smirky look on his face that basically
said, “I know you’re not buying this, but I’ll throw it at the wall and
see if it sticks.”
Suddenly, it’s the equivalent of being the hottest chick on The
View … That USC-is-hot theory doesn’t fly now that the
conference has turned into a quivering bowl of mush. First of all, kudos
to the poll voters for not forgetting that USC lost to Stanford. In his
lobbying efforts, Pete Carroll should’ve just come out and said, “We
lost at home to the Cardinal, we’re better now, and now we’re going to
throttle Illinois in the Rose Bowl.”
Second, to Pac 10 fans who bashed us for some perceived bias that isn’t
there, you have to allow the possibility that we actually were watching
this year and saw through the smokescreen. At least Oregon has an
excuse. What’s Cal’s?
The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
Ten huge storylines to make the bowl season more interesting and to
improve the quality of your life.
10. Show up time for the Big East
Big East fans liked to chirp about how their conference went 5-0 in
the bowls last year. Well, the Big East was supposed to do that after being
heavily favored in all the lousy bowl matchups. West Virginia played a reeling Georgia
Tech without its starting quarterback, and Louisville getting Wake
Forest in the Orange. The games are better this year, and now it's
put-up time for the conference. While Cincinnati is
stuck playing Southern Miss in the Papajohns.com Bowl and Rutgers is
going to Toronto to deal with Ball State in the International, the rest
of the league has a shot at making a big statement with West Virginia
playing Oklahoma in the Fiesta, Connecticut facing Wake Forest in the
Meieke Car Care, and South Florida facing Oregon in the Sun.
9. Did the BCS get the right teams in the right places?
Illinois vs. USC sounds nice because of the Big Ten – Pac 10 ring,
but a Georgia – USC Rose Bowl would’ve gotten everyone’s juices flowing.
Almost no one really seems to care about Kansas playing in the Orange
Bowl after it didn’t even win its own division, while a Missouri vs.
Virginia Tech battle would’ve had a big-time feel. When the non-BCS New
Year’s Day games look far, far more appealing than the BCS games,
something is wrong, and now the selection process will come under fire
if the big games are yawners.
8. Pac 10 pride
After stinking it up over the second half of the year, the Pac 10
has a chance to make amends with a good showing in the bowls. Forgetting
about the impending USC coronation over Illinois, Oregon needs to flip
the switch back on against South Florida in the Sun, Cal needs to come
remotely close to playing up to its offensive talent level against Air
Force in the Armed Forces, Oregon State needs to show that it really is
as good as it looked at the end of the year by wiping up Maryland in the
Emerald, Arizona State needs to prove it belonged in the BCS by beating
Texas in the Holiday, and UCLA has to beat BYU for a second time when
they play in the Las Vegas. Anything less than a 4-1 bowl record would
be bad for the league, 3-2 would raise a few eyebrows, and 2-3 or worse
would be disastrous.
7. The eyes of Texas are upon Mack Brown
After a second straight disappointing season without a Big 12 title,
and with losses to Texas A&M, Texas could use a boost. The defense was
gouged over the last month, it took historic performances from Jamaal
Charles to beat Nebraska and Oklahoma State, and Texas turned out to be
fourth in the overall Big 12 pecking order. Considering Arizona State
was in the mix for a BCS game, a big win in the Holiday Bowl would do
wonders for Brown and Texas, while a loss would mean the first four-loss
season since 1999.
6. New blood
What teams are going to show up and play like the bowl is the biggest
game of their lives? Going to the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl isn’t
that big a deal to Florida State compared to Indiana going to the
Insight. Florida Atlantic is a first timer going to the New Orleans
Bowl, Michigan State will be jacked up to be back in the bowls against
BC in the Champs Sports, Mississippi State is going to play hard against
UCF in the Liberty, and Ball State will certainly be pumped to face
Rutgers in the International. Of course, Kansas, Hawaii and Illinois in
the BCS will add some interesting storylines to the mix.
5. Where are the wacky upsets going to come from?
Boise State beating Oklahoma was obviously the signature shocker
from the last bowl season, since everyone has forgotten that Ohio State
was an 8-point favorite over Florida, but that wasn’t the only
coming from out of left field. Kentucky, a 10-point dog, beating Clemson
in the Music City was technically the biggest upset of the bowl season.
On a much, much smaller sale, Troy blasted Rice, a 7-point favorite. The
bowl upset usually comes when the favorite doesn’t really care, while
the underdog plays its guts out, so with that in mind, watch out for
Southern Miss, in head coach Jeff Bower’s final game, as an 11-point
underdog against Cincinnati, Indiana as a 5.5-point underdog against
Oklahoma State, and Michigan, in Lloyd Carr’s last game, a 10.5-point
underdog against Florida.
4. Prove it time
In this craziest of seasons, the new kids on the block have to
actually show they belong among the top players in the game. Kansas has
to prove against Virginia Tech that it wasn’t just a very good team with
an easy schedule. Connecticut has to show against Wake Forest that has
the potential to be among the better teams in the Big East. Missouri has
to prove against Arkansas that it belonged in the BCS all along. Most of
all, LSU and Ohio State have to prove they were the two best teams in
America over Oklahoma, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Missouri, and everyone
3. Kevin Smith
The UCF junior is 181 yards away from setting the record for the most
yards gained in a single season. So how good is Mississippi State’s run
defense? It held Darren McFadden to 88 yards, but gave up 206 rushing
yards in the loss to Arkansas. It’s allowing 159 yards per game, but
Smith will be given the ball 40 times in an attempt to carry the Golden
Knights to its first bowl win.
2. The Big Ten – SEC challenge
Big Ten bashing has gone from being fashionable to the norm, but the
world conveniently forgets how Wisconsin beat Arkansas in the last
Capital One Bowl on the same day Penn State beat Tennessee in the
Outback. For those of you who keep clamoring for a type of
inter-conference matchup like the ACC and Big Ten have in basketball,
this bowl season gives you your chance as Michigan and Florida face off
in the Capital One, Wisconsin and Tennessee play in the Outback, and, of
course, Ohio State plays LSU. The Big Ten doesn’t have to necessarily
win the series, but it needs to be more than just competitive.
1. Is Ohio State going to suck again?
A weary, skeptical nation is going to assume that poor, slow Ohio State is
going to stink it up in a second straight national championship. Don’t count on it.
Last year was an aberration, there’s no way the team will come in
unprepared again, but it might not matter. The Buckeyes can play their
best game, but if LSU plays up to its full capability, it’ll win in a
blowout. That’s not going to be an indictment of OSU; it’ll be just
a healthy LSU
finally showing up like it’s supposed to.
Nuggets and tidbits,
now made with white meat, at participating restaurants …
- One of the key pro-LSU arguments was that it didn’t lose in
regulation. Like losing two games in three overtimes is better than
losing late in the fourth quarter. It sounds like a nice theory, but it
doesn’t hold water. If there wasn't a college football overtime, the
games would’ve been coached differently, especially by Les Miles. You
think he would’ve ever played it safe and gone for a tie?
- Verne Lundquist the new and improved Keith Jackson. He’s old school
enough to make a game feel important while still sounding fresh and
relevant, unlike Jackson at the end of his run. He might be the best in
- That holiday popcorn tin sitting on the desk of Dave Wannstedt comes
from Cal as a thank you for taking all the focus off a clunker of a
regular-season ending loss to Stanford.
- After the way the Big 12 season finished up, does Chase Daniel really
deserve the first-team nod over Sam Bradford?
- With Mike Sherman getting hired immediately at Texas A&M and without
much of a process, and with Turner Gill the only minority candidate
within earshot of one of the head coaching openings, until Bo Pelini got
the Nebraska job, the Black Coaches Association will have a busy
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five
Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
getting a three-year extension ... Underrated: Karl
2) Overrated: Getting left out of the BCS … Underrated: Bobby
Bowden taking Florida State to its 26th straight bowl
3) Overrated: Evil Knievel ... Underrated: Playing with house money
4) Overrated: Hawaii’s 13-game winning streak ... Underrated: Mount
Union’s 36-game winning streak
The BCS games...
The non-BCS January 1 games.
To the best of my knowledge, he conforms to the rules governing this
vote … at least from the one time I saw him play … I’ve always been
an anti-voter registration guy. If you’re not smart enough to figure out
how to register to vote, you’re probably not smart enough to make an informed
decision on a candidate. For every two people who don’t vote, my vote
counts triple. I’m now asking for the Heisman people make it harder for
the pathetically uninformed to be able to vote.
If you turned in your vote before last Saturday, you’re out. You can’t
possibly make a call on the Heisman race before everyone has had their
say (this also goes for those publications and conferences that jump the
gun with their all-star teams before their seasons are over).
If you voted for Colt Brennan just because of the numbers, you’re out. Texas
Tech’s Graham Harrell threw for 1,124 more yards, seven more touchdowns,
and had a higher completion percentage against better competition.
If you take career statistics or past season performances into account, you’re out.
As the soccer guy in the shaver ad says, "I never fink about yesterday."
Or as Roger Federer put it, "Yesterday is history. Just a nice mammary." Last year doesn’t matter and next year isn’t a promise to anyone. You’re
supposed to vote for the ‘most outstanding college football player in
the United States in 2007.”
If you never saw Kevin Smith play, or have to look up who he is, you’re
If the LSU game was the only time you saw Darren McFadden play, and you
voted for him just because of that performance, you're out.
With that in mind, I struggled way too much before hitting Process when
I filed my Heisman ballot. Before last Saturday, I was waiting to see
what Chase Daniel and Pat White were going to do. I put a lot of stock
in the MVP aspect of the award and give credit to the guys who lead
their teams to a title. If Daniel had done to Oklahoma what he did
to Kansas and got Mizzou to the national championship, he’d have been my
one. After the Pitt loss, White was out.
To me, Tim Tebow’s all-timer of a year deserved the number one vote. I
spent the last week hearing from the Tebow bashers, but the last time I
checked, a five-yard touchdown run counted as much as a 45-yard dash.
Tebow was the one who got the team in a position to score from close
range in the first place. If what he did was so easy, how come no one
else in the history of the game could do it? Florida didn't run up the
scores nearly as bad as it's being made out, and it's not like past
Heisman winners didn't have stats laced with garbage. Remember, Herschel
Walker, Shaun Alexander, Emmitt Smith, Bo Jackson, Jamal Lewis, George
Rogers, and every other all-time great SEC running back didn't get the
touchdown runs in a season that Tebow did, and they didn't have to
My second choice was Colt Brennan. There’s pressure, and then there’s coming
through to pull off a win that’ll double the school’s football budget.
With all that happened throughout the season and throughout last Saturday,
completing 82 of 103 passes (80%) for 937 yards and ten touchdowns
against Boise State and Washington to lead Hawaii to a 12-0 season
it for me.
The third slot went to Kevin Smith, and yeah, the numbers had something
to do with it averaging 5.9 yards per carry (Darren McFadden averaged
5.67) with 2,448 yards and 29 touchdowns. He cranked out 217 against NC
State, 149 against Texas, and he carried his team to a title with a
breathtaking 284-yard, four touchdown day against Tulsa.
I wish there were four choices on the ballot, but there were only three
so I had to leave out Darren McFadden. If you want to argue that he
deserved to be a finalist, I won’t put up a fight.
“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. (2-1. I’m on fire. I close out
the regular season 13-23-1 overall, so to make it up to you, here are
ten picks for the bowl season to get to .500.) … 1) Michigan +10.5 over
Florida. 2) Hawaii +10 over Georgia, 3) Wisconsin +3.5 over Tennessee,
4) Missouri -3.5 over Arkansas, 4) Navy +9.5 over Utah, 5) New Mexico -3
over Nevada, 6) East Carolina +11.5 over Boise State, 7) Texas -1 over
Arizona State, 8) Boston College -3 over Michigan State, 9) TCU -4 over
Houston, 10) Oregon State -4.5 over Maryland
Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault … I was trying
to concentrate on the column, but I lost all focus and had to call a
press conference after Kirk Herbstreit reported that I accepted the