Cavalcade of Whimsy - The Chizik Hiring
Auburn head coach Gene Chizik & AD Jay Jacobs
Auburn head coach Gene Chizik & AD Jay Jacobs
Posted Dec 16, 2008

From the (BOOMER!!!) Gene Chizik hiring at Auburn to (BOOMER!!!) the 10 reasons why (BOOMER!!!) Oklahoma will win the national title to Sam Bradford's (BOOMER!!!) Heisman win to (BOOMER!!!) a really annoying screaming fit, all this (BOOMER!!!) and more in this week's Cavalcade of Whimsy.

Fiu's Cavalcade of Whimsy ... Dec. 16

a.k.a. Frank Costanza's Festivus Airing of the Grievances
By Pete Fiutak   
What's your beef? ... Fire off your thoughts  
Past Whimsies
2006 Season | 2007 Season
Preseason Cavalcade | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4
- Week 5
| Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10
- Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15

If this column sucks, it’s not my fault … I’ve been (BOOMER!!!) working my entire (BOOMER!!!) life for this column. (BOOMER!!!) I’ve dreamed about this (BOOMER!!!) moment. I’ve sweated (BOOMER!!!), bled, (BOOMER!!!) and cried when (BOOMER!!!) deep down (BOOMER!!!) I never really knew if (BOOMER!!!) it would (BOOMER!!!) come … fine, (heavy sigh) SOONER!!!

“Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
All those in favor of having Billy Sims’ Heisman taken away from him after psychotically mistaking a sense of school spirit with hogging the moment for himself by yelling Boomer! over and over again at the Heisman Trophy presentation, please raise your hand. It’s okay, Sam. Your vote counts, too.

With all due respect to Yahoo Serious, who got the Graham Harrell treatment on this list … Slip in Sims, because of his screaming, just ahead of the cast of Sex and the City and post-Erotica Madonna, and closely behind Robin Williams and anyone in an Enzyte commercial, as America’s Most Annoying Human.

But somehow, I think there’s probably one key element that Sam might be missing from the shtick … Now that Sam Bradford won the Heisman, and there’s a few weeks off before the national title, he can go back on tour for a couple of dates in the role of the mythical fourth Jonas brother.

“The war is not over, (BOOMER!!!) it is decisively on it’s way to being won.” (BOOMER!!!) (throwing of the right shoe) (BOOMER!!!) (throwing of the left shoe)

But he has a quick release … There’s no truth to the rumor that UCF, after finishing dead-last in the nation in completion percentage, was impressed by
Muntadar al-Zaidi’s arm and is looking to see if he has any eligibility.

“In my country, they would go crazy for these two! (gestures to Tebow) You, not so much.” … “Okay, so Mr. McCoy, I have you booked for a return trip here at the Plaza here in New York for April 22nd and 23rd of 2010. Really? You don’t want to hang on to that reservation for this April in case you change your mind? That’s fine; we look forward to seeing you in 2010. And for you Mr. Bradford, we have you all set for a suite on April 23rd and 24th. Great. See you in a few months. Mr. Tebow? Um, I don’t seem to have you down here. No, I don’t seem to have you reserved for anything for April in either 2009 or 2010, but I do have you tentatively down for early next December.”

Three of these things belong together/Three of these things are kind of the same/Can you guess which one of these doesn't belong here?/Now it's time to play our game.”… No, the Heisman people didn’t hose over Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell by not inviting him to the New York party last weekend, the Heisman voters did. 213. That’s the meager Heisman point total Harrell amassed as he finished a distant fourth in the race. The Heisman people can see how the voting is going and they invite the finalists accordingly. This really is an exclusive club and it’s an honor just to be there. As good as Harrell was this season, the voters didn’t elevate him to that special level; there were only three spots on the ballot in a year with three clear cut finalists. It’s sort of like the NFL Draft. If you’re not a possible top 15 pick, you don’t get the royal treatment.

“I do solemnly swear that I, Barack Hussein (BOOMER!!!) Obama, (BOOMER!!!) will faithfully execute the (BOOMER!!!) office of President of the United (BOOMER!!!) States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect (BOOMER!!!) and defend the Constitution (BOOMER!!!) of the United States.”

“Brrrrrrrrppppptttpphhttthwwwwpbrrpt. Ha, ha. Very funny. No, really who did they hire?” … Nick Saban’s first words after being told Auburn hired Gene Chizik. Soon after, an intern cleaned up the lemonade fired out by Saban’s spittake.

Michael: “
Samir and I are the best programmers in that place. And you, you haven't even been showing up and you get to keep your job.”
Peter: “Actually, I'm being promoted.”
Michael: “What?!” …
It’s become fashionable for everyone to fire on Auburn’s out-of-left-field hiring of former Iowa State head coach Gene Chizik as the new head man to replace Tommy Tuberville. Let me take out my Hermes purse and join the club.

Read more at... Craving the inside scoop at Auburn? Check out Inside the Auburn Tigers on the Scout network for the latest news and recruiting rumblings.
I’m always in favor of not making a knee-jerk reaction to a coaching hire because you just never know. Dan Hawkins was supposed to make Colorado a superpower and Steve Kragthorpe was supposed to make Louisville a national title-caliber player, while Pete Carroll was considered by the L.A. media as an NFL hack when he took over at USC. However, the hiring of Chizik is bizarre at best, devastating at worst, and will be scrutinized and analyzed in every which way over the next few years. This isn’t Iowa State and Chizik won’t have a grace period.

It’s the equivalent of a 53-foot shot in the middle of the first quarter of a basketball game. Even if it goes in, there’s still no excuse for taking this dumb a shot.

Much has been made of Chizik’s 5-19 record as the Iowa State head coach, but that’s not even telling the entire story. Two of those wins came this year against South Dakota State and Kent State, before going on a ten-game losing streak. Last year, Chizik’s Cyclone team beat mediocre Iowa, Kansas State, and Colorado teams. None of the four FBS teams beaten by Chizik finished with a winning record. Along the way there were losses this year to Baylor and Texas A&M by a combined score of 87 to 45, and last year the Cyclones lost to Kent State and Northern Iowa. Chizik’s defenses allowed 30 points or more 14 times in the 24 games and the teams were outscored 811 to 522, or an average of 34 to 22 per game.

Chizik’s teams played hard, and granted, the cupboard was left relatively bare, but it’s not like he made Iowa State better in two years and he hasn’t done anything to remotely suggest that he can punch his weight in a conference full of strong head coaches and loaded programs. If he couldn’t win in the Big 12 North, the Fredo of the Big 12 divisions, then why is he going to suddenly blossom into a superstar in a division with Saban, Les Miles, Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino?

In the end, Auburn has to ask itself this important question: Is this the guy who can go head-to-head with the burgeoning Alabama juggernaut Saban is putting together and not only compete, but thrive? To put it another way, Chizik’s program got lapped by Baylor.

And by then, the UTEP job should be open again … Sorry Auburn fans, but anything short of a (allegedly) wild night on the town in Pensacola during a pro-am golf tournament (allegedly) involving strippers, (alleged) room service charges to the room to the tune of $1,000 by a woman who’s not the wife of the Alabama head coach, to go along with other problems with “inappropriate conduct,” this might not be a fun decade.

I've got this thing and it's (BOOMER!!!) golden. And I'm just not giving it up for (BOOMER!!!) nothing. I'm not going to do it. And I can always use it. I can (BOOMER!!!) parachute me there."

I want rustlers, cutthroats, murders, bounty hunters, desperadoes, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con-men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglars, horse thieves, bull-dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, sh**kickers, and Methodists!”… We can all be in agreement here that O.J. Simpson is a bad guy. Because of his transgressions and his incarceration, both the Pro and College Football Halls of Fame have had to deal with the idea of removing Simpson’s memorabilia. The pro version isn’t changing up anything, and the Buffalo Bills aren’t planning on taking away Simpson’s number off the Wall of Fame, but the college version isn’t so sure.

Simpson is arguably the greatest running back of all-time if you combine college and pro production. He won one Heisman, he should’ve won two, and he carried a woeful Buffalo team while hitting the 2,000-yard mark in 14 games on the way to one of the great pro careers. Instead of trying to erase him from football history, keep everything as is but add on all the problems that followed. Nothing is ever gained by trying to cover up the truth, and part of that truth is that Simpson is a vital part of the history of football. If you’re going to start going on a morality kick, how about opening up the books on all those players in the Hall of Fame who were steroid users? Yeah, right.         

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
Ten reasons why Oklahoma will win the national title. (Relax, Gator fans. Next week will be the ten reasons why Florida will win the national title.)

10. Dan Mullen
It’s never a plus when there’s a coaching change before a big game like this. The media likes to make a lot out of the idea of distractions, and almost all of the theories are full of beans. Almost nothing fazes players who are so used to their regular routine. However, losing the offensive coordinator is one thing that really does screw things up. Now there’s a question about who’ll be doing the play-calling for the Gators, if Mullen, who’ll be the new head coach at Mississippi State, will have any role in the attack, and Tim Tebow appears to be a bit rattled over losing the guy who helped him become a superstar.

9. Does Florida really have the firepower?
Florida has a tremendous attack finishing third in the nation in scoring and first in the SEC in total offense. However, Oklahoma was playing at another level at the end of the year. Even if the Gators go on a run, the Sooners have shown the ability to answer every challenge since the loss to Texas. Most importantly, they’ve been able to take teams out of their gameplans as teams have to adjust and press a little bit more knowing that they might have to keep up in a shootout. Florida knew it wasn’t going to need 45 points to stay with Alabama. 45 might not get past the maitre’d against OU.

8. The SEC offenses were really that bad, and the defenses just weren’t that great.
The SEC’s defensive statistics look great, and while Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and Ole Miss really could play a little D, they were helped immeasurably by the horrendous SEC attacks. Offensively, this was an abysmal year. Chalk it up to injuries (Kentucky), inexperience in key spots (LSU), poor planning and coaching (Auburn), the loss of a key coordinator (Tennessee), turnovers (South Carolina), adjustment periods (Ole Miss and Arkansas) or just a world of bad (Vanderbilt and Mississippi State), but the offenses had issues. The SEC defenses were fine, but they were hardly killers compared to past seasons. Six SEC offenses, half the league, finished 97th in the nation or lower, seven finished 94th or lower in passing, and seven finished 87th or lower in scoring. In other words, Florida’s defense, as good as it might appear, didn’t exactly deal with the Big 12 South.

7. Oklahoma’s defense is just fine.
The Sooner D gets a bad rap because it had problems in the second half against Texas with LB Ryan Reynolds got knocked out with a knee injury. The pass rush is tremendous, cranking out 42 sacks, and the defense forces takeaways with 32 on the year. Wake Forest led the way with 35. Most of the yards and points allowed came late in games or against teams that had to pull out its A game just to try to keep up the unrelenting pace. Texas did a great job in the second half and Oklahoma State and Kansas were able to keep up for several laps, but few other teams came close to putting up meaningful points. Texas A&M was down 28-0 before it started scoring. Nebraska was down 35-0 before it got on the board and started rolling. OU got up 28-7 on Kansas State and was up 52-7 on Texas Tech before anything worked for Graham Harrell. In other words, more often than not, the Sooner defense did what it needed to do, when it needed to do it.
6. The Oklahoma special teams are better than they get credit for.
The kickoff coverage team has been abysmal, allowing 24.05 yards per attempt and four touchdowns, most by anyone in the nation, and Florida’s Brandon James is a special return man. However, OU’s special teams aren’t all that bad. The kickoff returners are averaging over 25 yards per try, the punt returners are fine, even though they could be better, and freshman Jimmy Stevens is a solid 8-of-11 on field goals. Florida has an advantage here, but it might not be enough to be the deciding factor.  

5. The Sooner offensive line
Alabama’s offensive line was effective against Florida, especially on what appeared to be the game-turning third quarter drive that ate up most of the clock and the length of the field. Oklahoma’s offensive front is better. It’s brilliant in pass protection, helped by an offense that revolves around getting the ball out of Sam Bradford’s hands in a hurry, and Florida’s pass rush might be neutralized by the design of the Sooner attack. The front five has been phenomenal for the running game, paving the way for over 205 yards per game. Oklahoma can produce in a ground war or with the passing game. If the offense can get control of the game early, the line should be able to take care of the rest.

4. Julio Jones
The superstar Alabama freshman receiver caught five passes for 124 yards in the SEC title game. Florida was able to adjust and keep No. 8 in check, mostly because there wasn’t much else to worry about in the Alabama passing game. It also helped that the Tide stopped throwing to him in key situations. Florida might be able to stop Juaquin Iglesias, but can it also stop Jermain Gresham? How about Manuel Johnson, Ryan Broyles, and the DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown coming out of the backfield? The Gator D hasn’t seen anything remotely like this OU offense when it comes to weapons.

3. 2008 Oklahoma isn’t 2006 Ohio State
Ohio State simply didn’t show up. Give Florida credit for winning the game, but several Buckeyes admitted they thought they could run out on the field and be handed the national championship. Forgetting that Oklahoma is the underdog, the last two Fiesta Bowls and a poor recent history should provide a little extra motivation. Because of all its weapons, OU can keep on rolling even if one piece of the puzzle is gone. Ohio State lost Ted Ginn early and never recovered, and making matters worse, the offensive line couldn’t pass protect. The Sooners won’t have those issues.  

2. Tim Tebow

Read more at... Craving the inside scoop at Florida? Check out Fightin' on the Scout network for the latest news and recruiting rumblings.
Tebow really is a special player. He’s a better passer than he gets credit for. Those receivers were covered on his touchdown passes in the win over Alabama, and he’s the consummate tough guy who’ll run through a wall to get a win. However, from Colt McCoy to Graham Harrell to Robert Griffin to Todd Reesing to Chase Daniel to Josh Freeman to Joe Ganz to Zac Robinson, the Sooner defense is used to dealing with a top-shelf signal caller every week. Florida faced Matthew Stafford and forced three interceptions. The second best quarterback the Gators dealt with was … John Parker Wilson?

In a game like this, Tebow might want to do even more to put the entire offense on his shoulders, like he did in the SEC title game. Oklahoma’s defense will revolve around covering Percy Harvin, letting Tebow try to pound the ball, and taking chances against everyone else.

1. Sam Bradford
He isn’t Jason White. Bradford is a top five-caliber draft pick who doesn’t get rattled and took his offense to a level college football has never seen before with such a glaring spotlight on. TCU beat Bradford up and he still threw for 411 yards and four touchdowns. He got hurt against Oklahoma State and he still threw for 370 yards and four scores. He threw two interceptions against Texas, but he also threw for 387 yards and five touchdowns. The Heisman winner is a special talent who’s good enough to rise up and produce when needed, and he’s not going to make the big game-changing mistake. Yeah, Florida is No. 2 in the nation in turnover margin, but OU is No. 1 partly because Bradford has thrown one interceptions in the last eight games.

Random Acts of Nutty … 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.

- Don’t get too hung up on the idea of Connecticut RB Donald Brown coming back. He said he’s returning, but he will graduate this spring and he’s still going to go through the NFL Advisory Board process. He’ll be told he’s a first day pick who’ll likely go in the top 50, and if he rips up Buffalo in the International Bowl, it’ll be tough to pass up the big payday.  

- Brady Hoke leaving Ball State for San Diego State shows once again just how hard it is for the MAC to compete consistently at even a mid-range level. Ball State couldn’t come close to matching San Diego State’s offer of $3.5 million, five-year deal, while Muncie, Indiana is hard to compare with San Diego. It’ll be interesting to see if Hoke turns out to be the next Urban Meyer. Meyer went from Bowling Green to Utah to Florida. If Hoke can make San Diego State a winner, he’ll be able to choose his next job.

- Syracuse’s hiring of New Orleans offensive coordinator Doug Marrone flew under the radar, but it could turn out to be a good one. The former SU player will have the PR side of things down. He’ll be great with the fans, the alumni, and the media, and he’ll stir up interest with a far more exciting brand of football. Of course, only a winning team will get everyone back on board.

“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.

Again, my picks for the bowl season after rallying to close out the regular season 20-24-1 overall, which isn’t bad considering where I was six weeks ago.

I press on by taking the three bowl games I’m sure of  … 1) BYU +3 over Arizona, 2) Notre Dame +1.5 over Hawaii, 3) Louisiana Tech -2 over Northern Illinois

Last Week: 1) East Carolina +13.5 over Tulsa (WIN), 2) Oklahoma -17 over Missouri (WIN), 3) Cincinnati -7.5 over Hawaii (LOSS)

Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault … I won the MAC title game to complete one of the greatest turnaround in college football history, yet I got passed over for a guy who won five games in the last two years. Fortunately, I have Charles Barkley on my side to defend the column.