Fiu's Cavalcade of
Frank Costanza's Festivus Airing of the Grievances
What's your beef? ... E-mail with your
2006 Season | Preseason
Part Two |
Week 9 |
Week 10 |
Week 11, Part 1 |
Week 11, Part 2 |
Week 13 |
Week 14 |
December 18 Cavalcade Part
Two ... Every Team's Holiday Wish List
If this column sucks,
it’s not my fault … I was involved in the breeding and training of dogs so they
could tear each other’s flesh apart for sport, and despite being sent
away for 23 months, some of the Atlanta Falcons had FREE FIU written on
their undershirts. Then I decided to leave because I’d rather be
coaching the Arkansas Razorbacks, and now I'm a horrible human being.
At least he’ll get another job if he doesn’t fatten up on fried
chicken … Let’s see if I got this right. Atlanta Falcon owner Arthur
Blank, for all intents and purposes, canned former head coach Jim Mora
because of a joking comment about the University of Washington head
coaching gig being a “dream job,” but Bobby Petrino is a jerkweed for
leaving a dead team for another job. Makes sense.
All that was missing was the Howard Dean “yeea” … Petrino could
win ten national titles at Arkansas, leave to become President of the
United States, become a two-time Oscar winner, win People’s
Sexiest Man alive three years in a row, and when he dies, the nightly
news will open with that Woo Pig Sooey press conference.
All coaches are liars, and Petrino might have taken things to
another pondscum sort of level, but all the weeping and gnashing of
teeth over the midnight run from Atlanta was misguided and flat-out
Rich Rodriguez bailed on West Virginia before the Fiesta Bowl. No big
deal. Houston Nutt ducked out on Arkansas before the Cotton Bowl.
Whatever. Petrino leaves the Falcons in a meaningless season, and at the
end of the day, gave Blank more time to find a new head man, and he’s
considered history’s greatest monster.
When a college coach leaves his program for another opportunity, then
you could argue he screwed over the players. After all, every coach goes
into living rooms and tells the parents and families of
16-to-17-year-olds that he’ll take care of their sons for the next four
or five years. When a pro coach leaves a sinking ship with three games
to go in a dead year, it doesn’t matter. You just go get another coach.
The whiny Atlanta Falcons are supposed to be professionals. As the man
said, you play to win the game. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s Bobby
Petrino, Bobby Bowden or Bobby Brady coaching them, it’s their job, and
a very, very well-paid one, to go out and prepare and give their best
effort no matter what. Players get cut all the time and life goes on.
Coaches get fired all the time and the world keeps spinning. Do you
really want a coach who doesn't want you? Move on.
And all their fans expect an SEC title right now … With Petrino
entering the mix, the SEC coaching arms race has gone nuclear. Urban
Meyer, Phil Fulmer, Mark Richt, Steve Spurrier, Tommy Tuberville, Les
Miles, Houston Nutt, Nick Saban, and Petrino. It’s not like Sylvester
Croom, Bobby Johnson and Rich Brooks are exactly chopped liver. Try to
find a better conference of coaches in the history of the game.
Remember, Belichick was the New York Jet head coach for one day …
Enough of the “college coaches can’t handle the NFL” garbage. Steve
Spurrier is a punchline when it comes to star college head men and their
NFL experiences, but last I checked, Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs hasn’t
exactly set the world on fire since coming back to the Redskins.
don’t retire, they get canned. A lousy team fires its coach, it gives
the gig to a big-name college guy who’s used to being able to turn
things around by recruiting the right players, he can’t do that in the
pros, the team continues to stink and has no reasonable hope to win a
Super Bowl in the near future, and suddenly, the college world seems
like more fun. It’s that simple.
It’s the players, stupid.
That Bill Belichick sure is a genius. How in the world does he get it
done while shackled with Tom Brady and a Randy Moss who’s actually
deciding to try? How does he possibly fire up a defense with
unmotivated dogs like Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, Junior Seau and Rodney
Harrison? There are a whole lot of coaches out there that could do epic
things with this group.
The difference between Cam Cameron and Norv Turner is LaDainian
Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. Give Bobby Petrino Peyton Manning and give
Tony Dungy a starting quarterback who likes to watch dogs eat each other
and see what happens. Romeo Crennel can't coach worth a lick, and all of
a sudden he's Coach of the Year material now that Kellen Winslow Jr. is
healthy, Derek Anderson became a star, the light went on for Braylon
Edwards, and Jamal Lewis came over from Baltimore.
In college, a coach matters. The great recruiter and/or a coach with a
great scheme can
do wonders by getting the right players to fit the right roles. At the
pro level, it’s all about the general manager and the head of player
personnel. The difference between the good head coaches and the great
ones isn't that much.
Frank Solich is a Nebraska guy, too … Is someone at Nebraska asking
the good doctor Tom Osborne if he even considered throwing a phone call
over to Rich Rodriguez, who would’ve been a better instant fit for the
Huskers than the Wolverines, instead of insisting things had to stay in
the family with the hiring of Bo Pelini? It's more important to hire the
best person possible for a job, whether he's familiar with the school or
“Wake up pal,
if you're not inside you're outside. And I'm not talking a $200,000 a
year working Wall Street stiff flying first class and being comfortable,
I'm talking rich pal, rich enough to fly in your own jet, rich enough
not to waste time, 50-100 million, a player, Bud, or nothing.” …
Exactly why is it considered part of the deal for a coach like Rich
Rodriguez or Houston Nutt to abandon their teams for a new job before a
bowl game, while players like Steve Slaton and Darren McFadden would get
crucified if they chose to skip out on the extra game to save themselves
for the pros?
Yeah, if you’re going for a national championship, you play or coach the
game, but if a coach can leave before a non-championship bowl game for a
greener pasture, then surely it should be acceptable for a sure-thing
top 50 draft pick to avoid risking tens of millions of dollars by
leaving school as soon as possible to train and prepare for the NFL
combine and the draft.
If McFadden had declared he was leaving Arkansas before the Cotton Bowl
because he didn’t want to risk blowing out his knee, you’d be reading
article after article and hearing every talking head cry about how this
was the end of sports as we know it. After all the negative press, where
would No. 5 go in the draft? Top three. If it’s a business for the
coaches, it has to be considered a multi-million dollar business for the
top players, too.
"I was buying them for my wife, Morgan Fairchild, yeah, that's the
ticket.” … First of all, if you actually believe the fat load of
bull muffins that Andy Pettitte is cooking up, then stop reading this
column, go put pads on the corners of your tables and chairs, and hide
all the pieces of string and shiny metal objects that might distract you
from walking and thinking at the same time.
However, there is something to Pettitte’s claim that he just used
steroids a few times to quickly get back on the field when it comes to
Someday, some Washington-type hell bent on committing political suicide
is going to start asking questions about the role of steroids and human
growth hormones in the world of football, and it'll make the Mitchell
Report look like, well, the Mitchell Report. Let me help everyone before
it costs another $60 million to interview two clubhouse attendants and
surf the Internet. There’s an easy way to tell which NFL players are
shooting up, popping pills or applying some cream, legal or not: they’re
It’s almost impossible for fans to understand just how mangled and
destroyed an average NFL body becomes. How do most football players
recover as a long season goes on? Lots and lots of Advil, way too
much alcohol, and yeah, some are all over an undetectable HGH to help
muscles heal faster, play with
broken bones, dislocated joints, and an assortment of other ailments
that would force the average human being to understand what those AFLAC
ads are for. Remember, NFL contracts aren't guaranteed, so if a
player can't play because of injury, he might be gone.
Of course I’m not going to be irresponsible enough to fire off just a
few of the names that I’m 101% certain would be on a list of some sort,
but let me put it this way, if an older player is doing something
superhuman on a football field, and especially if he's magically playing
like nothing is wrong despite suffering a variety of seemingly serious
injuries, your mental alarm had better be going off. If a college player
goes from being 220 pounds to a faster 250-pound pass rushing terror
over the course of an offseason, you had better believe that things
might not exactly be kosher.
Whether you actually care or not is another issue, but don't bury your
head in the sand about what's going on.
Certainly T. Boone can do something to cook the books a bit … I’m
a huge Kevin Smith fan, but the UCF star really isn’t 180 yards behind
Barry Sanders for the all-time single season rushing record. In one of
the most bizarre of NCAA rulings, the bowl game numbers have only
counted in the record books since 2003. Therefore, add 222 yards to the
Sanders’ 1988 total for his epic Holiday Bowl performance against
Wyoming to raise his total to 2,850 yards for the 12 games he played in,
while Smith really won't come that close in 14 games. It’s not as hard
as you think to find the stats for most bowl games and change up the
airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
It’s over. LSU has been handed the national title in the court of public
opinion, so go on about your lives everyone. Find something else to do
on January 7th. In case they actually do decide to go through the
motions, here are ten reasons why LSU will win the national title.
(Buckeye fans, look at last week’s COW for the ten reasons why Ohio
State will win.)
10. Get into the backfield, screw up the Buckeyes
Penn State can rush the passer, had no luck in doing so against Ohio
State, and lost big. Michigan State can rush the passer, got to QB Todd
Boeckman several times, sacked him twice, and forced two big turnovers
to make it a game in a 24-17 Buckeye win. Illinois forced three
interceptions in its win partly because Will Davis, Jerry Brown and
company generated consistent pressure. LSU hasn’t been as good at
getting into the backfield as it should’ve been, with Tyson Jackson
having a surprisingly mediocre season, but with a month to prepare, the
dogs will be turned loose with the sensational Tiger corners left on an
island against the OSU receivers. If Boeckman is rushed consistently,
he’ll throw at least two picks.
9. Confidence, if things start to turn bad
What happens if LSU gets up 14-0 after its first two drives? There’s
certain to be a sort of “it’s happening again” thing happening in the
Buckeyes’ heads. It’s not just about trying to win the national title
for OSU; it’s about not getting blown out like last year. LSU has been
in several tight battles with six of the final eight games decided by
seven points or fewer, and one of the other ones, a 41-24 win over Ole
Miss, was tighter than the final score. Ohio State has only been in one
really tough battle, and it lost it to Illinois. Can the Buckeyes handle
pressure? We'll find out.
By the end of the year, LSU was as banged up as any bowl team and
wasn’t nearly the same powerhouse it was at the beginning of the season.
The time off should do wonders for all the bumps and bruises, and the
month-plus since beating Tennessee for the SEC championship also allowed
the Les Miles saga to play itself out. With Michigan hiring Rich
Rodriguez and Miles secure in Baton Rouge for the foreseeable future,
this is no longer an issue or a distraction in any way.
7. Power running game
Ohio State, meet Jacob Hester. The Buckeyes have faced one true
power back this season, Michigan State’s Jehuu Caulcrick (Wisconsin’s
P.J. Hill missed the game in Columbus), and shut him down, but LSU isn’t
going to stop blasting away with the running attack as it tries to
control the game early on. If Hester has any sort of success, the
Buckeye safeties will have to take their attention off Early Doucet and
the speedy Tiger wideouts.
6. Pass protection
LSU isn’t great at it. For most teams, having problems protecting the
quarterback is a really big deal since it throws off the timing of the
entire offense, but it doesn’t seem to affect the Tigers all that much.
Matt Flynn will take his shots, and there will be times the offense bogs
down because of the issues from all parts of the Tiger front five, Ohio
State should be able to get into the backfield from inside and out, but
again, it hasn’t really mattered much so far. Why? LSU is fabulous on
third downs. When the focus is there and the offense tightens up, the
line is fine.
5. The Ohio State best win was over …
Michigan? Whoopee. Penn State? Yawwwwn. Wisconsin? Probably, but
that was a banged up Badger team that had a lead going into the fourth
quarter. Ohio State was able to win that game, and plenty of others, by
letting its great offensive line wear down the defense, but that’s not
going to happen against the Tiger defensive front. No, Ohio State didn’t
play a bunch of cupcakes, it played the 34th toughest schedule, but it
didn’t have to deal with LSU’s slate and it certainly wasn't in the
weekly wars the Tigers were.
4. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers
For having such a great defense, Ohio State doesn’t force a lot of
turnovers with a pedestrian 18 takeaways, good for 97th in the nation.
Overall, the turnover margin isn’t too bad since the Buckeyes are stingy
when it comes to giving away the ball, but to pull off the win, they’ll
likely have to be plus-two. That could be tough against an LSU defense
that’s fourth in the nation in takeaways with 33 and 11th in giveaways
with 15. If LSU wins the turnover battle, forget about it.
3. Ohio State vs. the SEC
41-14 vs. Florida in the 2007 BCS Championship. 31-28 vs. South
Carolina in the 2001 Outback Bowl. 24-7 vs. South Carolina in the 2000
Outback Bowl. 20-14 vs. Tennessee in the 1996 Citrus. 24-17 to Alabama
in the 1995 Citrus. 21-14 to Georgia in the 1992 Citrus. 31-14 to Auburn
in the 1989 Hall of Fame. 35-6 to Alabama in the 1977 Sugar. Eight of
Ohio State’s 19 bowl losses have come to SEC teams, with no wins. Other
Big Ten teams have had success against the SEC, but when one of the
league’s big dogs has so many problems, it feeds into the whole slow Big
Ten speed myth. Even so, you never mess with a streak.
2. Home cooking
It’s LSU in the Superdome. Ohio State fans will represent, but it’s
still LSU going roughly 75 miles down the road to play in a home field
atmosphere from the time it arrives in New Orleans. This isn’t a team
that needs any extra advantages.
1. LSU is better
Ohio State can absolutely pull off the win. The defense is terrific,
the offense is full of NFL players, and the offensive line is strong
enough to neutralize Glenn Dorsey and the Tiger defensive front. LSU is
better. Jim Tressel is a better coach than Les Miles. He’s been in the
biggest of the big games before, he and his staff will learn from the
mistakes of Glendale, and they know how to slow a game down and control
it enough to keep it close for a full sixty minutes against anyone. LSU
is better. OSU can use the us-against-the-world mantra for the first
time since it late won the national title over a juggernaut Miami team,
it can play the disrespect card, and it can play far looser than the
Tigers. LSU is better. This isn’t going to be the Florida debacle by a
long shot with both teams almost certain to bring their A games in a fun
defensive battle. I picked LSU in the Staff Picks for the confidence
pool, but to be honest, I haven’t quite made up my mind yet on who’s
actually going to win.
shameless gimmick item …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
... Underrated: Tara Guelig
2) Overrated: Jessica Simpson … Underrated: Tony Romo
3) Overrated: Submitting the paperwork to get evaluated by the NFL ...
Underrated: The NBA rule that allows players to be drafted, but can go
back to school if they don’t hire an agent.
4) Overrated: Empty seats ... Underrated: Bowling Green asking Ohio
State fans to help out with GMAC Bowl ticket sales
Mountaineers" ... Underrated:
"Let's Go Drink Some Beers"
Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault … apparently, a
Michigan man needed to write it.
December 18 Cavalcade Part
Two ... Every Team's Holiday Wish List