Fiu's Cavalcade of
Frank Costanza's Festivus Airing of the Grievances
What's your beef? ... Fire
2006 Season |
If this column
sucks, it’s not my fault … the Notre Dame coaches had a laptop in the booth and they
figured out all the mildly interesting lines before I wrote them.
“I can handle this. This man has a bad heart, but I have plenty of
medicine. My name is Dr. Gonzo. Prepare our suite at once. We'll be in
the bar.” ... It was 5 a.m. and I was just
getting to bed after another long college football Saturday. While
brushing my teeth, I had an epiphany, or maybe it was a hallucination,
and then a cold shiver ran down my spine as if I had just found out
someone had died.
I saw the future of the 2008 college football season, and it is not
If you’re having a good day and are in a good mood, then stop reading
this right now. Go medicate yourself with an Oreo, take a deep breath,
and just keep telling yourself that everything is going to be O.K.
Tell me if any of this sounds even the slightest bit far-fetched
considering the recent history of all the teams I’m about to throw into
- USC might be better than it’s been in the last few seasons, but
considering the way the program occasionally plays down to the
competition, and how Stanford and Oregon pulled off wins last year,
let’s say the Trojans, stuck in the malaise of an easy run of Pac 10
games, gack at Arizona on October 25th. Then let’s say they
politely excuse themselves from the national title discussion as Rick
Neuheisel, Norm Chow and the UCLA Bruins pull a Tennessee-win
performance out of their behinds in early December. That might sound
crazy, but so did that 13-9 loss to a mediocre Bruin team at the end of
the 2006 season when everything was on the line.
- BYU loses at TCU but screws up Utah’s dream season in Salt Lake City
at the end of November, so there are no unbeatens from the Mountain
- Boise State goes 12-0, but no one thinks too much of it. The Broncos
go to the BCS, but they’re not really in any serious discussion for the
- Remembering Oklahoma’s problems at Colorado and Texas Tech last year,
the yearly brain-cramp will come at Kansas State and/or at Oklahoma
State. Texas loses to Oklahoma and Kansas but beats Missouri. The Tigers
are shocked by Iowa State or Nebraska and loses to Kansas, but ends up
getting to the Big 12 title game and gets their revenge against
Oklahoma. In other words, all the top Big 12 teams will beat each other up.
- The SEC teams start picking each other off. Florida beats LSU but
loses to Georgia. Georgia loses at LSU and at Auburn. The Florida/LSU
winner in the SEC title game has a loss and is an almost certain lock to
play for the national title.
Meanwhile, Beanie comes back and plays like the No. 1 pick in the 2009
I told you not to read this if you were having a good day, but
remembering all the craziness of last year, and remembering how Ohio
State found its way into the national championship game, if USC somehow gets upset twice, everyone of note outside of the
SEC champion will likely have two losses. There’s still a chance in this
long, long season that Ohio State rears its brutally ugly big game head
and stays alive for a third straight trip to the big show.
What happens if Chris Wells is back and healthy, Terrelle Pryor plays
like the world-beater he’s supposed to be, and the
Buckeye offense starts to rock? Really rock.
“All of a sudden, if Pryor starts to become a star, Ohio State changes,”
said Big Ten Network lead analyst Charles Davis. “Now, Ohio State
becomes a team everyone’s going to want to pay attention to
instead of a team everyone had to watch because they had to. Pryor could
Let’s say the Buckeyes pull off tough, impressive wins at Wisconsin and
Michigan State, they give Penn State its one loss of the year, and they
blast Illinois in Champaign. All of a sudden, everyone starts talking
about how the USC game might have been different if Beanie was alive and
kicking and if Pryor was running the show full-time. The voters will
start noticing that this is a vastly different team from the one that
looked so brutal at the start of the year. All of a sudden, it’s the
first week of December and it’s between the new look Buckeyes and a slew
of two-loss teams to play the SEC champion for the national title.
I’m sorry. Now try to unring that bell in your head and try to enjoy the
rest of your day.
The 2002 Georgia team’s tickets were magically missing … There’s
no truth to the rumor that the empty seats in Ohio Stadium for the Troy
game were supposed to be filled by the 1973 SEC champion Alabama and
1969 SEC champion Tennessee teams, but were denied access because the chants of "S-E-C" would've
drowned out the honoring of the '73 and ’69 national champion Buckeye
And these are
just the teams that didn’t get caught for cheating …
Alright, with SEC love running amok after the last two
national title games, let’s run with the hip premise that the SEC
champion is superior to everyone else no matter what the records. Is
this a new thing? What would’ve happened if the SEC champions of recent
years played in the national title game?
I did some research to see just how many SEC champions might have won
the national title if given the right breaks like 2006 Florida and 2007
LSU received. You’ll see how far you have to go back before there’s an
SEC champion that really might have won the national title had it pulled
a two-loss 2007 LSU and gotten into the championship game. Where
applicable, here are the best guesses of what would’ve happened had the
SEC champion played the No. 1 team for the national title.
2007 National Title – LSU over Ohio State
2006 – Florida over Ohio State
2005 – Texas over USC
SEC Champion: Georgia … Beat Guess: No vs. USC. Georgia lost to West
Virginia in the Sugar Bowl.
2004 – USC over Oklahoma
SEC Champion: Auburn … Best Guess: No vs. USC. That Auburn team was
great, especially in the backfield, but USC was special.
2003 – LSU over Oklahoma
2002 – Ohio State over Miami
SEC Champion: Georgia … Best Guess: No vs. Miami. And no over that Ohio
State team, too.
2001 – Miami over Nebraska
SEC Champion: LSU … Best Guess: No vs. Miami, but had Florida not blown
it at home against Tennessee in the final game of the regular season,
flip a coin on what would’ve happened against Miami. That was an
ultra-talented Miami team, but it didn’t beat anyone with a pulse until
the Rose Bowl. The Rex Grossman-led Gators were loaded.
2000 – Oklahoma over Florida State
SEC Champion: Florida … Best Guess: No vs. Oklahoma. The Gators lost to
Miami in the Sugar Bowl.
1999 – Florida State over Virginia Tech
SEC Champion: Alabama … Best Guess: No vs. Florida State. The Tide lost
to Michigan in a classic Orange Bowl.
1998 – Tennessee over Florida State … BUT, I’d have taken the
loaded ’98 Ohio State team over the shaky Volunteers. FSU didn’t belong
in the championship over a Buckeye team that blew its title shot in the
fourth quarter in a loss to Michigan State, but it blasted everyone
else. That was arguably John Cooper’s best team.
1997 – Michigan over Washington State
SEC Champion: Tennessee … Best Guess: Yes vs. Michigan, but no over
Nebraska, who blasted Peyton Manning and the boys 42-17 in the Orange
Bowl to win a share of the national title.
1996 – Florida over Florida State … but remember, had Joe
Germaine not led Ohio State on the classic final scoring drive to beat
Arizona State in the Rose Bowl, Jake Plummer and the Sun Devils would’ve
won the national title.
1995 – Nebraska over Florida
1994 – Nebraska over Miami, and Penn State over Oregon
SEC Champion: Florida … No vs. Nebraska or Penn State, who were named
1993 – Florida State over Nebraska
SEC Champion: Florida … Best Guess: Yes vs. Nebraska, who was No. 1 in
the Coaches’ Poll, but no vs. Florida State, who was No. 1 in the AP.
1992 – Alabama over Miami
1991 – Miami over Nebraska, Washington over Michigan
SEC Champion: Florida … Best Guess: No vs. Miami or Washington.
1990 – Colorado over Notre Dame, Georgia Tech over Nebraska
SEC Champion: Florida … Best Guess: No vs. Colorado, Yes vs. Georgia
Unless Pat White gets hurt, and then the bowls will be more about Car
Care than Oranges… To fully grasp just how bad the 1-2 start for
West Virginia is, remember that the Mountaineers under Rich Rodriguez
went 10-2 (with Bill Stewart earning the win in last year’s Fiesta
Bowl), 11-2, and 11-1 over the last three seasons. This was a program
that was among the elite, and it was on the verge of playing for the
national title. But there’s still time to turn this around. Beat Auburn
on October 23rd and go on to win the Big East title and all
will be forgotten.
“You heard me...I don't like losses sport. Nothing ruins my day more
than losses... You do good, you get perks, all kinds of perks. Stay home
tonight. Louis, take care of'im. Enjoy the lunch.” … After the
American economy apparently came within an eyelash of a complete and
total collapse, and with your mattress suddenly becoming every bit as
safe a place to keep your money as any investment, can we all finally
blow off the complete and utter bullspit notion that there’s anything
immoral or wrong about placing a wager on a sporting event?
Generations of wealth can be wiped out by “doing the right thing” and
investing heavily into a supposedly rock-solid company like AIG, but you
can’t make a buck on your belief that Northwestern will cover the eight
points against Michigan State. You can day trade to your heart’s
content, and can blow all your money with one click of a mouse, but
you’re not allowed to put $100 on Cincinnati -10 over Akron.
No, you shouldn’t gamble in place of investing and it can lead to
problems, but in a time when raising revenue in any way possible is a
must, it’s time to finally legalize on-line gaming, tax it, and make
tens of billions in new revenue.
“And when you’re gone, you stay gone, or you be gone. You’ve lost all
your L.A. privileges.” … Remembering that these are college kids and
not professionals, and always, always remembering that it’s more
important to err on the side of caution when it comes to injuries, there
has to be some sort of man-rule when it comes to how a player leaves the
Again, it’s never a bad thing to be too careful, but if you’re going to
get immobilized and carted off the field with an apparent neck injury,
like Auburn RB Brad Lester was, be out a week, at least. Fine, so he
made it back for the LSU game, but he suffered a knee injury and had to
be helped/carried to the sidelines. He came back in later in the game.
I’m not questioning Lester’s toughness or heart, quite the opposite, but
if a player appears to be hurt enough to need major help, keep him out
to make sure he’s 100%. Remember, Lester has to go to class and be a
“Ooh don't poo-poo a nickel, Lisa. A nickel will buy you a steak and
kidney pie, a cup of coffee, a slice of cheesecake and a newsreel. With
enough change left over to ride the trolley from Battery Park to the
Polo Grounds.” …
Forgive me for sounding like some old guy pining away for
the days of yore, but watch some of the classic games and then take in a
football weekend. The announcers just aren’t what they used to be.
The NFL Network replayed the great 1995 Green Bay vs. Dallas NFC
Championship game the other day. Yes, there was a time when John Madden
used to be good. Really good, and Pat Summerall was a peerless
play-by-play man. We’re now about 15 years removed from when Keith
Jackson was at the height of his powers, and now a new slew of fans only
know the slow, rambling, Gatorade-pitching version, if they remember him
at all. I’ve always been a Brent Musburger fan and Brad Nessler is
certainly competent, but football is missing a signature voice.
C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by
the feats of strength
Ten things I’m grouchy about this week.
10. Indiana State vs. Northern Illinois and Idaho vs. Utah State on
Talk about your niche markets, what were the ratings on the GamePlan
package for Indiana State vs. Northern Illinois and Idaho vs. Utah
State? I gave a look-see to both games for a little while just to see
what was going on, I sort of have to, but they might join the Geraldo
Rivera opening of Al Capone’s vault as the strangest pay-per-view
options of all-time.
9. Michigan State’s Nick Saban
Spartan fans have to be happy with the job Mark Dantonio is doing
with the program as he cleans up the mess from the John L. Smith era,
but at the same time, they have to be a little bit ticked that when it
comes to Nick Saban, they got the Who’s The Boss Alyssa Milano
and LSU and Alabama got the matured, Embrace of the Vampire
version. Saban has Alabama rolling in just his second year on the job,
and he obviously did wonders with LSU. At Michigan State, he went 6-5-1,
6-6, 7-5, and 6-6 before bolting after a big 9-2 season. Speaking of MSU...
8. Texas A&M RB Mike Goodson
What Javon Ringer is doing at Michigan State, Mike Goodson should be
doing for Texas A&M. Goodson is a premier, superstar caliber back, as
evidenced by his breathtaking early touchdown this weekend against
Miami, but he’s stuck on a bad team with a bad offense and a bad
defense. Goodson can’t tackle, he can’t make the passing game go, and he
can’t block for himself. Is it possible Texas can trade backup QB John
Chiles for him?
7. The Hotels.com workers blowing bubbles with straws in a bath ad
It wouldn’t be so disturbing if it was a woman taking the bath. The ad
control types should’ve tried other options to figure out how to make
two guys blowing into a bathtub not seem like, well, uh ... moving on
Knowshon Moreno’s touchdown dive
It’s not like Moreno did a Reggie Bush like dive-and-roll for a score.
He took a full leap over the top of Arizona State’s Rodney Cox for a
spectacular first quarter touchdown in Georgia’s 27-10 win, and he
landed full-bore on his shoulder. Just for giggles, take a ladder out on
your lawn, climb up it, and then dive off on your shoulder. It's amazing
what football players can survive.
5. Offsetting penalties
It always seems like offsetting penalties end up penalizing the
defense. Whenever both the offense and defense gets flagged on the same
play for penalties that walk off equal yardage, the play becomes a
do-over. While a big offensive play is negated once in a while, the
extra play usually means the defense has to be out there a little bit
longer and the offense gets to try something different.
Of course, most offensive coordinators would complain that the O gets
hosed because if the play didn’t work, the defense most likely did
something to prevent it from happening, while the offensive penalty
didn’t turn out to matter. There is no right answer; you can’t penalize
the other offense when it comes on the field for the sins of the
defense. Maybe you penalize the offense the yards, but give it a down.
For example, if there were offsetting ten-yard penalties on 2nd
and 7 on the offense’s 45, it goes to 1st and 7 but on the 35.
4. Energy efficient light bulbs
Sick and tired of flying blind with the bombardier continuously
searching in vain for its target, it finally became time change the
burnt out light bulb in my office bathroom. I took out one of those
energy efficient bulbs, because using it will make me a good person, and
without thinking, popped the package open only to see the bulb go flying
out in what seemed like slow motion. It shattered all over the floor in
a bazillion pieces
Only later did I realize that 1) these things have mercury in them, 2)
mercury is bad for you, and 3) you’re not supposed to vacuum up the
pieces (which I did) because the vacuum spreads the mercury though the
air, and you’re supposed to open a window (which I didn't) .Oh
yeah, and you're not supposed to touch anything. Fine, so we all have to die of
something. That I can live with. What I can’t handle is the
energy-efficient, soul-sucking bluish-gray glow that makes every trip to
the “office” a little reminder that our planet is about ten minutes away
from melting down.
3. “(Insert team here) should run the table.”
Carolina should’ve won every game on its schedule after the upset win
over West Virginia. Tulsa will be favored in every game the rest of the
way, including the date at Arkansas. BYU, Utah, and TCU will probably
all kill each other off. I know it’s fun and exciting to think about the
what-if scenarios, I’m the Grand Marshal of that parade, but like
always, everyone’s going to get picked off until there are just a few
real choices come early December.
2. My yearly checklist
All apologies for the same beefs being repeated for what seems like
the ninth straight season, but they’re going to be brought up every year
about this time until the world changes. It wouldn't be late September
without these two whines.
1. Stop publicizing anything that happens in the AP Poll. It doesn’t
matter. The Coaches’ Poll is the one that’s part of the BCS, along with
the Harris Poll. All concentration and all analysis and all scrutiny
must be paid to what matters.
2. A concussion is never cute and it’s always serious. After LSU
quarterback Andrew Hatch’s brain bounced off the inside of his skull and
was unable to continue. According to Mike Patrick, Hatch was, “seeing
cobwebs, that’s all.” Bones and joints heal. You get a few of these
knocks on the noggin and you have issues that won’t go away for the rest
of your life.
1. The missing Ohio State fans
It’s the old adage that you can say 99 good things and it’s the one
negative that everyone will remember, and that applies to stadiums, too.
It all has to be put into perspective. It’s not like Ohio Stadium was
half empty for Ohio State’s game with Troy, close to 103,000 fans still
showed up, but it wasn’t filled to capacity and it was the smallest
crowd in years. Had the Buckeyes beaten USC, the place would’ve been
jammed for Troy.
Die-hard Buckeye fans probably dismiss the no-shows as the bandwagon
riders who no one wants around anyway, but it does go to show that the
entire program is a general malaise and appears to be shell-shocked
after the three high-profile beatings in the last 20 months. It also
goes to show how quickly things can turn for a program that’s in
desperate need of some positive PR.
Random Acts of
Provocative musings and tidbits to make every woman want you and every
man want to be you (or vice versa) a.k.a. things I didn’t feel like
writing bigger blurbs for.
- It’s working. Georgia Tech new rushing attack rumbled for 438 yards on
a Mississippi State defense that held Auburn to 161 yards and Louisiana
Tech to 94.
- This week’s edition of What I’m Going To
Change My Name To: Tulsa’s fantastic receiver Slick Shelley. Minnesota
RB Shady Salamon and Southern Utah WR Tysson Poots got the honor the
first two weeks.
- I dogged the WAC officials for a bad replay call against Wisconsin in
its win over Fresno State. Now I have to give credit to the WAC
powers-that-be for admitting the call was wrong when it could’ve easily
been swept under the rug.
- Mea culpa No. 2. I joked about Jesse Palmer being added to the ESPN
mix, and even though he always seems like he’s going to fire out a “duuuuude,”
he’s been solid. He’s at his best when he’s dealing with Xs and Os more
than when he’s in banter-mode.
- What would happen if an SEC offensive line came out and simply tried
to go smashmouth? The beef and the talents are in place, especially at
LSU, and it would be interesting to see more teams take advantage of the
smallish, quicker SEC defenses by committing to the run no matter what.
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five
Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Eva Longoria ... Underrated: The law student with a French
accent in the I’m A PC ad.
2) Overrated: The Ryder Cup … Underrated: The Euro
3) Overrated: Arizona State ... Underrated: Arizona
4) Overrated: Yankee Stadium, Mickey Mantle, and Billy Crystal ...
Underrated: The classic college football stadiums still serving as
The first two weeks
of the ACC season ... Underrated: The ACC now and going
“I hearby designate Chase Daniel, Missouri as my
First Choice to receive the Heisman Memorial Trophy awarded to the most
outstanding college football player in the United States for 2008. The
the best of my knowledge he conforms to the rules governing this vote.”
My Second Choice Is: Javon Ringer, Michigan State
My Third Choice Is: Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
“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. As always, I went 1-2 (and 4-8
overall), which is impressive that I can do this each and every week
considering I’m over .500 against the spread on the Expert Picks. I
press on … 1) Arkansas State +1 over Memphis, 2) Colorado +6 over
Florida State, 3) UCF -5 over UTEP
Last Week: 1) West Virginia -3 over Colorado (Loss), 2)
Ohio +11 over Northwestern (Win), 3) Rutgers -5 over Navy
Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault … as if the
column wasn't bad enough, now I feel worse after getting slapped in the
head by Rutgers QB Mike Teel.