ASK CFN (2/1) ... Is Charlie On The Hot Seat?
Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis
Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis
Posted Jan 31, 2008

Is Charlie Weis really in trouble? What are the main factors for a recruit's decision? Do some Florida fans hate Tim Tebow? Shortening the length of college games, and a lot 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.)

Past ASK CFNs ...
- The Reggie Bush situation

- Is Bob Stoops the new Lloyd Carr?
- Why LSU winning matters
- Bowl winners & losers
- Can a two-loss team play for the title?
- 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?

As the battle for the top recruits rages on, I wanted your opinion on what matters most for the 5 star All-Everything recruits: 1. Proximity to Mom, 2. Coaching staff/players, 3. Immediate playing time, 4.  Track record of putting guys in the League, 5.  Academics, 6. Campus life/surroundings. – MT

A: Can I add a seventh involving pictures of ex-presidents and easy housing/jobs/loans for a parent? I’d also like to add an eighth, which I like to call “Recruiting Visit,” my idea for a late night Cinemax movie based on the Jesus Shuttlesworth visit to Big State in He Got Game. Don’t discount how one weekend of whoop-de-doo time can influence a 17-year-old (or a bitter 37-year-old sportswriter). Based on your factors, for the most part, I’d rate the importance for the 5-Star recruit … 1. Immediate playing time, 2. Track record of putting guys in the League, 3. Coaching staff/players, 4. Campus life/surroundings, 5. Proximity to Mom, 6. Academics.
Back in the late '80's and early '90's Nebraska would have great regular seasons and than get pounded in a bowl game. The last two years Ohio State has done the same. With the way people talk about Ohio State I'm getting major flashbacks. This is a great team that just so happen to play against greater teams. I feel a monster is slowly being created in Buckeye land just like Nebraska in the mid '90's. Agree? – Bryan

A: Disagree. There’s one major difference: Ohio State has recently won a national title. The beef with Nebraska back then was that it couldn’t get over the hump. It hadn’t proven it could get the job done. Also, it’s not like Ohio State is getting pounded in just any old bowl games; it lost two straight national championships, while the Huskers lost seven straight bowl games before beating Miami in the 1995 Orange Bowl for the national title. The other major difference is that the last two Buckeye teams were loaded, LOADED with NFL talent. Those Husker teams had one or two first round guys, but most of the talent was late round NFL stock. The monster has already been created in Buckeye-land. It just needs tweaking.

Is Charlie Weis' job on the line in 08?  Supposedly their recruiting class is killer.  Do you also think that he's gotten a longer rope than Willingham?  I think Willingham got a raw deal there, but I am a Notre Dame loather (is that a word?). – AS

A: The only way Weis is fired if he has another year like 2007 since the schedule is way easier (San Diego State, Michigan, at Michigan State, Purdue, Stanford, at North Carolina, at Washington, Pitt, at BC, Navy (in Baltimore) and Syracuse). He doesn’t have to get back to the BCS, but there had better be a general sense that he’s building something special around a slew of young, talented players. Willingham, by comparison, did get a raw deal now that Weis is struggling, and that will be brought up again and again if the Irish don’t have a big season. The knock on Willingham was that he wasn't bringing in the recruits. Now, Weis has the recruits coming in, but he has to prove he can win with them.

From time to time you mention that the national media and even the Florida media and Florida fans do not particularly like Tim Tebow. I’m an Ohio State fan in Chicago and haven’t heard much about this beyond your comments on CFN and I’m a little bit baffled by it.  What’s not to like about him? He is talented, smart, articulate, hardworking and clean cut. He doesn’t drive around Tallahassee in an alumni donated SUV and his family isn’t on the booster club payroll. I wish that he played in Columbus (And believe me, that’s a painful statement for an OSU fan to say. There is no love in Buckeye Nation for anything associated with that smug, arrogant, twerp Urban Meyer). Do Florida fans not appreciate what they have? What’s up with this? – Barry

A: Not sure where that idea came from; the Gator fans LOVE him. They loved him from the moment he set foot on campus, to the point that some were ready to shove aside Chris Leak from day one. No, Florida fans don’t hate Tebow; everyone else does. Any time any player, especially a really good one, is overly peppy, he’s a target. I equate him to former Duke basketball players Steve Wojohowski and Chris Collins. The rah-rah players always draw the ire.

Being a Tennessee/SEC booster, I was wondering…if the bowl games were played predominantly in the north or west, do you think the southern teams ( i.e. SEC ) would be the big dogs on the block, or would the Big 10 and the PAC 10 be the ones standing tall when the smoke cleared? – Sedman

A: So basically, can the warm weather teams play in the cold when it comes to, say, a New York bowl game? Yes, Big East, Big Ten and Big 12 teams do play in more cold games than the SEC, but it’s not like they play in 5-degree weather in November. The key would be the field conditions. If there’s snow, that would slow down any perceived SEC speed advantage, and it would be a new world for a Florida or LSU to deal with. West bowls don’t matter if you’re thinking geography makes a difference. Florida did just fine in the 2007 BCS Championship game.

What is the college football corollary to Reggie Miller scoring 8 points in 11 seconds, or Cleveland coming back from 12 down in the 7th inning against Seattle in 2001?  I'm thinking it has to be something along the lines of TD, onside kick, TD, onside kick, FG to win, but honestly have no idea. – Skip, San Francisco

A: If I’m reading you right, you’re sort of asking two different things. 1) The Reggie Miller zone, where one player goes ballistic and comes up with ridiculous stats to change a game, and 2) the Indians-Marines run, where a team goes ballistic to pull off a win. In its last two bowl games, Texas Tech fits the team role. The Red Raiders were down 28-14 to Virginia in the 2008 Gator Bowl with just under four minutes to play. Michael Crabtree caught a 20-yard touchdown pass with 3:31 left, and after a forced turnover, Aaron Crawford tied it up 21 seconds later, and Alex Trlica nailed a field goal as time expired. In the 2006 Insight Bowl, Tech was down 38-7 to Minnesota with less than 20 minutes to play. A furious rally, helped by 24 points in the fourth quarter, forced overtime with the Red Raiders winning.

As far as a Miller-like individual performance, the best scenario I could come up with would be a defensive back/kick returner taking a punt back for a score, and then picking off a pass for a touchdown on the ensuing drive.  Arizona’s Antoine Cason took a pass for a 42-yard score and returned a punt for a touchdown in the second quarter against Oregon, but the two came almost ten minutes apart.

I ask you to devote a whole column/article explaining to the college football playoff enthusiasts why they probably don’t really want a playoff (at least not one that remotely resembles what they do in the NFL and that is run and sanctioned by the NCAA).  You and the occasional talking head or columnist mention this fact, but most college fans don’t have a clue about how the money works in the BCS versus in an NCAA sanctioned playoff.  There is some big time misinformation out there about how this would work.  BCS means the BCS conferences control the dough and don’t have to share it with anyone but Notre Dame and the occasional party crasher like Hawaii or Boise.  For the SEC, Big 10 and Big 12 this year that is $34 million each from the BCS.  While the amount of TV money that a playoff could generate certainly dwarfs the BCS money, any NCAA sanctioned playoff money would be controlled and distributed through the NCAA.  I don’t know exactly how the basketball money is divvied up, but I do know that everyone gets some, including the bureaucracy of the NCAA and the power conferences probably figure they would come out a net loser in that scenario. – JMC

A: You’re right in that colleges have no interest in creating an NCAA playoff because of the revenue set up, but it doesn’t have to be that way to make most fans happy. If the BCS Championship game was a week or so after January 1, playing the two top teams from the BCS games, you’ve got your championship, you’ve got your playoff, and most would be relatively happy. As I keep saying, put BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 4 in one bowl, BCS No. 2 vs. BCS No. 3 in another, and play the two winners in the national championship.

Major college football fan here. I'm one of those of us who watched all 32 bowl games, and will spend the summer looking for whatever "classics" are on. Over the last couple of years, I have started hunting down more of the lower division games, and I have to ask: How long do you think before App State joins D-1A? Many people think their win over Michigan was a joke on Michigan, but let's face it-they are now three-peat champions. An upset, yes, but a fluke? I think not. Actually, I was a little upset that Delaware didn't show for the CG; they sure looked a lot better the week before against Southern Illinois – Scotty

A: D-I of FBS status has nothing to do with talent and results. The best D-IAA teams would do well at the higher level, and be better than at least the bottom third of the D-Iers, but again, it’s more than that. You need to be able to grant more scholarships for all sports, not just football, and you need to average a certain attendance level. If it were as simple as boosting up the football program, ASU would be FBS tomorrow, but it requires a big overall athletic department commitment. Attendance isn’t an issue as ASU averaged over 22,000 per game; numbers many MAC and Sun Belt teams would kill for.

Remember when everyone was wondering how to shorten college football games, and the NCAA decided to implement those ridiculous rules about the clock running before kickoffs and changes of possession? Fans cried foul (rightfully) and the rules were changed back without implementing any other time saving measures. I agree that the length of college football games is too long (with kids it's impossible to devote four hours at a time to a football game), so I was wondering: why doesn't the NCAA implement the NFL rule where the clock stops momentarily when a player goes out of bounds, then starts again when the referee whistles the ball is ready for play (not when the play actually starts). This has made NFL games significantly faster since it was implemented, yet I've never heard anyone bring it up as a possible solution for college football. Why? – CW

A: It’s a decent option, but not a necessary one. It hasn’t gotten any traction because college coaches cry and whine if you take away a few minutes and the chance to run more plays. The solution is simple: cut down halftimes. The bands can come out before and after the games, can run through their rendition of We Built This City at halftime, and the game, overall, would be cut by roughly 15 minutes. The schools don’t want this because the longer the halftimes go, the more weenies and pretzels they can sell. NFL halftimes are a mere 15 minutes, and it’s always a stunner on a Sunday that the action comes right back after seemingly waiting for days for games to resume on a college football Saturday.

After reading your stance on the Reggie Bush issue (and "cheating" in college FB in general), I mostly agree with you.  However, I wanted to get your take on a specific case.  Say a blue chip recruit is deciding between USC and UCLA.  USC gives the recruit $50K and a new car, UCLA doesn't.  Johnny B. Good goes to USC.  Do you consider that "cheating"? – BA

A: Cheating, yes, Wrong, no. Most of the counter-responses to my ramblings last week about how the Reggie Bush situation is more common than you think regarded morality and college athletics. Morality is in the eye of the beholder, and don’t confuse the NCAA rule book with a guide to morals and values. Yes, according to the rules, USC, in your chase, would absolutely be cheating. However, I don’t have a problem with breaking a silly rule that’s in place to keep the players down. If a player is skating by academically, doing performance enhancing drugs, or breaking the law, the real kind, then I have a problem.

That Reggie Bush response was total horses***. You think the players should be paid? I guess getting free school, free meals, free housing, academic support AND a stipend isn’t enough for these pampered primma donnas? You want them to get paid, too? You’re an idiot. – JK

Really, players can’t be given salaries by the schools. So what’s your perfect solution, within reason, for the Bush situation? - NJ

A: First of all, I absolutely 100% completely and totally agree that the schools shouldn’t be paying the athletes anything. In fact, I’m against athletic scholarships altogether, but that’s getting off the point. My solution is simple. Allow the players to have agents and be allowed to take money from boosters, advertisers, and anyone else who wants to give it to them. The NCAA rules should then be in place to say that a school or university can’t give a player any money, therefore taking the pressure off a university to bid for a player. If T. Boone Pickens wants to build Oklahoma State into a superpower by putting the top players on a salary, whatever.

The common backlash response to this concept is, “but only a few schools would dominate.” What’s happening now? Who’s going to be good next year? LSU, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC. Who was good last year? LSU, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC. Who’ll be good ten years from now? LSU, Florida …. Under my plan, Oklahoma State has a shot at being a consistent national player; it doesn’t now.

Now, if the debate is about the scholarships being enough of a payment for the top stars, then that’s just flat wrong. For example, Hawaii wouldn’t have gone to the Sugar Bowl without Colt Brennan. Because of him and what he was able to do, the Warriors ended up making roughly $4 million more than if they had finished 11-1 and stayed home to play in the Hawaii Bowl. Brennan saved the Hawaii athletic budget. Another example is Brady Quinn. Notre Dame wouldn’t have gone to two straight BCS games without Quinn, who pulled out enough late wins to get to the big money games, so he made the school tens of millions of dollars, not to mention all the revenue produced by T-shirt sales, keeping the TV contract rolling, etc. College football is a multi-billion dollar business for everyone. Everyone except the players who are producing the revenue. Again, I’m not saying players should be paid by the schools, but a Brennan or Quinn should’ve been able to do ads, take money from boosters, and make some side dough.