Cavalcade of Whimsy
Oct. 27 ... Part 2
27 .. Part 1
The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
You know you're an idiot if …
10. … you go with the squib kick.
Others have their issues with the prevent defense; I have a problem with the squib. How many kickoff returns for touchdowns are there? So far this season there have been 39 in over 1,500 attempts. If a team comes up with a late score to take the lead, there's around a 2.5% chance of losing the game on a kickoff return for a score, but how many times does a team play it safe and squib it, the team that's behind gets the ball around the 30, or better, and then makes a few throws to get into a position to take a shot or two in the end zone (Iowa vs. Michigan State) or a few plays to get into a position for a long field goal (Indiana vs. Northwestern)?
9. … you decide to play all your big bowl games on New Year's Day and hide one of your teams in the Gator Bowl.
The Alamo Bowl is moving from a nice spot in late December, when it had the sports world all to itself for a night, to January 2nd. It's a nice move this year because there won't be a BCS game that night, but the Big Ten is hurting itself by ditching the bowl in 2011 for a New Year's Day tie-in with the Gator Bowl. That means a non-descript Big Ten team will be lost in the shuffle instead of getting the spotlight. Any Big Ten fan will blow off the Gator to watch the Capital One Bowl or the end of the Outback Bowl, games featuring stronger teams playing at the same time. Non-Big Ten fans will watch the Cotton Bowl over the Gator in the overlapping time slot or will watch the higher-profile Big Ten teams.
8. … you eat Subway.
Remember how there were times in college when you hooked up with an ugly chick because you were bored, lazy, drunk, opportunistic, or all of the above? Me neither (in case this is the third time my wife has had the patience to get this far in one of my columns), but I've read stories. That's how I feel about Subway (and it has nothing to do with the light mayo-soaked green pepper that obscured something I wrote down a week ago about Urban Meyer's hair). I didn't feel like eating total garbage, and I usually would've walked the extra 50 yards to one the several other sandwich options at my disposal, but I got my footlong, I'm not going to go bragging to anyone that the sandwich did the job and filled the void, and I'm probably not going to go back again unless desperate times call for desperate measures.
7. … you want to move Terrelle Pryor to wide receiver.
Gentlemen, what are your intentions? If you're Ohio State, your goal each and every year is to win the national championship first, and play in the Rose Bowl as the Big Ten champion second. The Buckeyes can still accomplish the second goal this year, but the rest of this season is really about two words: maturation process.
Terrelle Pryor came to Ohio State to become a more polished all-around quarterback. The fatal flaw of Rich Rodriguez's high profile wooing of the No. 1 recruit in 2008 was that Pryor really didn't want to be just a spread quarterback. This is just Pryor's second year, and he spent last season running and handing off to Beanie Wells, while the offense all but blew off NFL-caliber receivers, Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline, to keep the passing game short and conservative. This year, Pryor is trying to become a better all-around player and he's struggling enough to cause some to suggest that the superstar prospect should move to wide receiver to better utilize his athleticism. (Heavy sigh.)
Every quarterback says the game slows down in the second year under center, and then it slows to a crawl in the third year. For Pryor, this is all part of the process, and if you're Ohio State, and your goal is winning the national title, this is the proverbial step back to take a giant leap forward. While he played in a different offense, Vince Young went from completing 59% of his passes for 1,849 yards and 12 touchdowns with 11 interceptions as a sophomore to completing 65% of his throws for 3,036 yards and 26 touchdowns with ten picks as a junior. Of course, VY also ran for over 1,000 yards in each year, while Pryor is on pace to get to close to 800 this year. Meanwhile, Pryor is completing 55% of his passes for 1,408 yards and 12 touchdowns with nine interceptions. While Pryor might not turn out to be Young, wait until next year before you want to make him Antwaan Randle-El. Which leads me to …
6. … you still continue to champion Jake Locker as a No. 1 overall pick.
I'm sorry if I'm harping on this over the last few weeks, and I really do hope that Locker turns out to be an NFL superstar. I like him and I like his college game, but his stock is shooting through the roof because of his size, arm strength, and athleticism, and somehow, he's Teflon when it comes the way he's being scouted. He has all the tools and is a special talent because he looks the part, but if you're talking about him as a top ten pick, he's a screaming Y.P. … Your Problem.
Never, ever, ever take chances with a top 15 pick, especially with a quarterback, because a miss sets the franchise back several years. You want Terrelle Pryor to switch positions after struggling, completing 55% of his passes for 1,408 yards and 12 touchdowns with nine interceptions? Fine, then what are you going to do with Locker, who's coming off yet another erratic performance and has completed 56% of his throws for 1,968 yards and 12 touchdowns with eight interceptions? I'm all for seeing him come back for another year to improve and show that he is the real deal, like Pryor, but it's hard to teach accuracy at the next level. If Locker and his 52% career completion rate can't hit open targets in college, he won't be able to connect with covered receivers in the pros.
5. … you automatically assume that you never take points off the board.
Yes, it really is acceptable, and smarter, to blow off the field goal you just kicked to get the ball in a better position to score a touchdown. Either you trust your offense, or you don't.
4. … you try to lose weight because of Chris Berman is telling you to do it on NutriSystem.
Alright, the ESPN star really did lose weight, and maybe being smarter about portion control and nutrition really does make the difference. Yeah, as a pitchman, Berman makes sense because of his popularity and his issues with his bulk. And then it all gets blown out the window (among other places) with his work in the ads for Applebee's. In the commercials, Berman is hawking cheesy goo, gooey cheese, fried fries and fries, and every other possible concoction of butter, fat, sugar, salt, and the other ingredients that make life worth living, albeit for a shorter period of time if you consume too much of them. There's no knocking Berman for making a buck, but NutriSystem might want a few of theirs back.
3. … you don't treat missed third down conversion chances as seriously as turnovers.
It's time to recognize a turnover as a turnover. With punt returns thrown into the equation, dropping a pass, missing a throw, or getting stuffed on a run on third downs are every bit the killer that losing a fumble or throwing interceptions are. While third down conversion percentage doesn't always mean everything, some teams don't need to dominate on third downs because they make so many big plays on first and second downs; this is a key stat for the midrange offenses.
2. … you think Sam Bradford's return for the 2009 season was anything but a total and complete disaster.
That's great if Bradford chose to come back to Oklahoma for a year to enjoy time as a kid playing video games with his friends and living the life of a college student, but football-wise, it was a horrible decision in January and it looks even worse now. Not only did his NFL stock drop and not only did he lose millions of dollars, but he didn't do what he set out to do and complete the unfinished business of winning a national title. If that's what he really wanted, then why is he leaving now? If money isn't the issue, which it should've been last year, and he wants to get better and try to win a championship, then why isn't he coming back? All NFL general managers look for the same thing in interviews. They want a top prospect to eat, sleep, and dream 24-hours a day, seven days a week about being an NFL quarterback and how to be the best player possible. Coming back this year did nothing to help Bradford in that department. If you're a top football player, you want to go play in The League. Now.
1. … you believe Tim Tebow currently belongs in the Heisman debate.
I have worked tirelessly over the last few years trying to convince the Heisman voters of the world that Tebow deserved the honor in his record-setting 2007 season and also last year. I've also championed the idea that he's the greatest college quarterback of all-time, so I feel I've earned my stripes to be able to say that, right now, Tim Tebow doesn't belong in the Heisman discussion and if you currently have him as your front-runner, you need to give at least three reasons why besides his intangibles.
One of the most important pieces in my case over the last few seasons was Tebow's ability to put the team on his back and carry the way to wins. Has there been a game this year that Florida wouldn't have won with John Brantley under center? Tebow was great against Tennessee, but Ahmad Black and the defense weren't going to let the Vols win. I thought Tebow played better than his statistics in the LSU win, but the defense and Jeff Demps were the stars of the game. The two pick-sixes against Mississippi State allowed a blowout game to stay close, and his bad, bad, bad interception at the end of the LSU game was a needless chance taken when the game was already in hand. This year he has completed 64% of his throws, but he has only thrown for 1,159 yards and eight touchdowns, with four of them coming against Troy, and four interceptions, while he has rushed for a pedestrian (for him) 466 yards and six touchdowns.
This isn't a lifetime achievement award and it really isn't just about leadership. Tebow isn't the best college football player in America this year, and it's not even close. To have him as the leader in so many Heisman chase pieces and to have him a First Team All-American on some Midseason All-America teams is just plain lazy. Now, if he turns his game up a notch and Florida blows away Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida State as part of a five-game run at the end of the regular season, and if he does what he did last year in the SEC Championship, then yeah, he might be at least a finalist. But not at the moment.
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.
- This isn't the same Nevada team you were so unimpressed with in early losses to Notre Dame and Missouri. The running game has become unstoppable and the offense is playing at a whole other level cranking out 773 yards, 511, 502, and 662 in the last four games. The nation's No. 1 rushing attack has gone from 559 yards, 345, 313 and 484 over the last four weeks with 19 touchdowns. Up next is Hawaii and a run defense that's 110th in the nation. Aloha.
- My two favorite fun stats of the week: Navy beat Wake Forest without attempting a pass, while Ball State beat Eastern Michigan with 463 rushing yards and four scores, while QB Tanner Justice completed 2-of-10 passes for one yard with one interception for a passing efficiency rating of 0.8.
- Dog Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin all you want for going conservative against Florida and late against Alabama, but he deserves credit for helping make Jonathan Crompton a player. After two lousy outings against UCLA and Florida, Crompton has been a playmaker with nine touchdown passes and just three picks over the last four games.
- Check out the job Brady Hoke is doing at San Diego State. The disaster of a program under Chuck Long has won two of its last three games, thrashing Colorado State 42-28 last week on the road after battling with BYU. The passing offense is growing into something special, and it's going to bomb away on New Mexico this week.
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Momentum going into halftime … Underrated: Oregon 43 … Washington 19
2) Overrated: Steve Spurrier's problem with Alabama putting tape on the kicking ball … Underrated: Bama's four field goals against Tennessee
3) Overrated: Nike ... Underrated: UCF basketball player Marcus Jordan
4) Overrated: Guitar Hero ... Underrated: DJ Hero
5) Overrated: Congressional bickering over the BCS ... Underrated: Congressional bickering over the health care debate
"Couch. C-O-U-C-H. … I AM THE SMARTEST MAN ALIVE!" … The three lines this week that appear to be a tad off. Sorry to all of you getting fat off my weekly 1-2 clockwork-like performances … 3-0, last week, baby. … 1) Idaho -3.5 over Louisiana Tech, 2) Florida -17 over Georgia, 3) West Virginia -3 over South Florida
Week 8 Results: 1) Georgia Tech -4 over Virginia (W, Georgia Tech 34-9), 2) Central Michigan -7 at Bowling Green (W, Central Michigan 24-10), 3) Texas A&M +21 over Texas Tech (W, Texas A&M 52-30) … Record So Far: 9-14-1.
My Heisman ballot this week would be (if the college football season ended right now) … 1) Case Keenum, QB Houston, 2) Mark Ingram, RB Alabama, 3) Dan LeFevour, QB Central Michigan
Sorry this column sucked, it wasn't my fault … the SEC suspended me for getting a few calls wrong, chastised me for ripping on the officials, and reprimanded me for questioning a miss by a replay official.
27 .. Part 1