Cavalcade of Whimsy - The Michigan Situation
Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez
Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez
Posted Sep 1, 2009

Rich Rodriguez is having more problems than just last year's 3-9 record, but is all the controversy warranted? Is Tim Tebow the greatest college quarterback of all time? This and a lot more in the mega-sized opening week edition of the Cavalcade of Whimsy.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Preseason ... Sept. 1

Past Cavalcades
- 2008 Season | Sept. 1 - Part 2

Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … I spent more than the NCAA mandated four hours working on it today, and like the 2008 Michigan Wolverines, nothing positive came from the extra effort.

If you're going to get tagged, at least go the Rick Pitino route and have some fun along the way. … Getting slapped on the wrist for making your players practice too much is like going into a job interview and saying your biggest weakness is that you work too hard. (By the way, if you're ever asked the biggest weakness question when applying for a job, say that you're not a good enough dancer. Say it straight, don't blink, and don't expand. Let your interviewer groove on the B.S. question that got thrown back in his face.) Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez might get in trouble because his players got in some extra work instead of having free time to play video games, nap, and play more video games, but USC is still running free after the Reggie Bush era. Got it.

The problem isn't that Michigan players lifted extra weights or did more film study beyond the mandated time allowed, every program worth its salt obliterates the four hour a day, 20 hour a week time frame dictated by the NCAA, the problem is 1) that Rodriguez appears to have lied his tail off, feeding his critics even more fuel, and 2) he appears to be getting crushed by the enormous pressure of trying to rebuild a program at a place doesn't take too kindly to 3-9 football seasons.

It's important to note and to keep in mind that Michigan allegedly broke an arbitrary, NCAA-created rule that's universally accepted as a joke. Even if football staffs keep within the number of hours allowed by the NCAA with the strictest of schedules, the players are often doing other things on their own beyond the attention of the coaches … they have to. From running extra route trees to doing more conditioning work to taking home video to study, playing college football is a full-time job. At least it is for any program that's any good. Rodriguez knows that, and so does every other college coach. It's really not that big a deal, but Rodriguez threw gas on the fire with his weepy press conference.

Rodriguez needed to take a walk around the block, get his emotions together, and come in to his press conference and say, "Yeah, we're working overtime around here. We have to get Michigan football back to the level our fans, our students, and our players demand, and to do that, we have to do more. Much more. The college experience should teach these young men that you have to work overtime to achieve anything positive, and if they don't like it, then they can go play for Ohio State, because I'm suuuuuure they're following the time allotment guidelines to a T. Now if you'll exsqueeze me, I have a football program to rebuild. Good morrow to you."

You want to come back to my place for some hot smooching and some pizza? No? What, you don't like pizza? … Schools often like to put pictures of the families in the media guide bios of the coaches and key staffers. Never trust a recruiting coordinator who doesn't have a hot wife. If you can't gab well enough to outkick your coverage when it comes to getting a mate, you're probably not going to be able to woo some fathead 17-year-old prima donna who runs a 4.5.

"Jesus, say hello to Buffy and Suzie. Don't worry about the names." … UCLA Director of On-Campus Recruiting, Angus McClure, should be immediately fired unless every prospect the Bruins are targeting has seen the Entourage episode of Turtle's first day of college three times.

"What's my name? F*** you, that's my name." … Thanks, Auburn. You've finally gotten rid of the one name I've never been able to master without looking up, wide receiver Rodgeriqus Smith, and then you recruit tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen. I'll eventually get Lutzenkirchen just like I forced myself to master Roethlisberger, but I'll never remember how many Ls are in Philip. However, I have no problem spelling the name of the head coach, Gene Chizik-Really?.

"No, go ahead and read your Bible, Dennis, and you go to your church, and with any luck you might win the annual raffle, but if you're looking for God, he was in operating room number two on November 17th and he doesn't like to be second guessed. You ask me if I have a God complex? Let me tell you something; I am God. … Before all the bullets start flying and all the time is filled/wasted trying to answer the question of whether or not Tim Tebow should be considered in the discussion of the greatest college football players of all-time, let me save us all the effort and trouble and end it right now.

Tim Tebow, even before this season starts, is the greatest college quarterback of all-time. It's not even close, and it's not even debatable.

Now, if you're talking about the most talented college quarterback ever, that's a whole other discussion. A case could be made that Tebow isn't even the best pro quarterback prospect on his own team, John Brantley might have the better NFL skills, and, of course, Tebow isn't a more talented quarterback than Peyton Manning was at Tennessee, or Dan Marino was at Pitt, or Troy Aikman was a UCLA. The spiciest of Mark Sanford's love letters to his piece of strange in Argentina couldn't touch the flowery prose written by pro scouts back in the early 1980s when it came to describing John Elway. He was the perfect prospect with the best combination of arm strength, mobility, and smarts ever put together in a potential NFL quarterback, but he never got Stanford to a bowl game.

College football, historically, is a running back sport. Who's the greatest college running back of all time? Herschel? Ricky? Dayne? Sanders? Kinnick? Griffin? Jim Brown? There are several right answers. It's not so easy when it comes to quarterbacks because the sport has changed so much in the last ten years.

The numbers have blurred the concept of greatness when it comes to judging quarterbacks. So the question becomes this: if you could pick for your team Player A, who threw for gobs of yards and turned out to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, but was known for always losing the big game, or Player B, a marginal talent who beat Player A and his uber-talented team over and over again, won a Heisman, took his team to two national championship games and won one, which career would you rather have? It's the Peyton Manning vs. Danny Wuerffel debate, and while Manning might have been the better pure quarterback, Wuerffel had the better college career and accomplished far more. However, you then have to take the debate a step further and ask if you'd rather have the career of Manning or Tee Martin, the quarterback who took over the Volunteers the year after Manning left and led the way to a national title. Martin might have come up with big play after big play to make Tennessee a champion, and he did the things in the clutch that Manning didn't, but Manning will still go down as the better college player.

There has to be a balance between accomplishments and college football talent (pretend the NFL doesn't exist for purposes of this discussion), and Tebow has now leapfrogged Nebraska's Tommie Frazier, TCU's Sammy Baugh, Boston College's Doug Flutie, USC's Matt Leinart, Texas's Vince Young, Wuerrfel, and the entire Manning family for the top honor based on 1) two national titles, 2) being the first sophomore to win the Heisman, 3) he would've won the Heisman last year had the voting been done after the bowls, 4) the way he carried the team through the fourth quarter of last year's SEC Championship and with his performance against Oklahoma, 5) his efficiency and rushing numbers, and 6) his legendary, Paul Bunyan-like status. No one else has the same résumé, and there's still more to add.

Yes, the churchy stuff is annoying, and yes, he got too much mileage out of being messy in the Florida State game, and yes, his dippy speech after the loss to Ole Miss is more of an eye-roller than a goosebump inducer, but Tim Tebow, right now, is the greatest college quarterback of all-time. He won't push out Red Grange as the greatest player in college football history, but he has a chance to knock out Herschel Walker from the No. 2 spot with one more big year.

"I hear there're rumors on the uh internets" … Just throwing it out there. The Player of the Year for college lacrosse isn't announced until after the season, since the national championship and the playoffs actually matter when determining which player really is the signature star of a given year. Voting for the Heisman takes 15 seconds to do on-line and it should be the mandatory way to vote. 1) Anyone who doesn't have Internet access can't be trusted as an informed voter and shouldn't be allowed to pick a Heisman winner and 2) there's no reason the voting can't be done in a 24-hour span right after the national championship.

"And you want to be my new latex salesman" ... For those of you really pumped up about the idea of ESPN taking on an even bigger role in the college football world (much more on this next week), and for those of you who thought Fox was going to gunk up the BCS with a lot of strange bells and whistles, I bring you the most exhausting press release you will ever read (and we get hit with tons of these). I defy you to read this whole thing without your brain going, "meow, meow, meow, meow." Good luck.

"Award-winning country music star Kenny Chesney, known for his high-energy stadium concerts, has written a song exclusively for ESPN's college football game and studio telecasts during Dick's Sporting Goods Kickoff Week (Sept. 3-7) and Championship Saturday (Dec. 5) as well as select contests throughout the season and bowl games. ESPN will have the exclusive premiere of the song during its pregame show Thursday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. The song, "This is Our Moment," captures the passion and dedication of the players to perform at the highest level each week with the understanding that every game counts.

It will be used during game and studio telecasts and during promotions of upcoming programs and show elements across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU,, ESPN Mobile TV and ESPN International. On select occasions, the song will be accompanied by a video montage of Chesney performing at a recent concert, along with college football highlights. ESPN's college football coverage begins with the second annual Dick's Sporting Goods Kickoff Week (Monday, Aug. 31-Monday, Sept. 7) and will feature extensive studio programming and 28 games.

Kenny Chesney, the reigning and four-time Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year and winner of four consecutive Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year awards, is the only concert act in any genre to sell more than 1 million tickets in North America in each of the past seven years. The songwriter from Luttrell, Tenn., is known for his sense of what it means to come of age in the 21st century and a laidback vibe that defines what it means to "chill out/play hard/work hard.""

Wake up. WAKE UP.

- Sept. 1 - Part 2 The ten aspects of the college football world that have disappointed, demoralized, depressed, or flat-out annoyed me before the season has even started.