Cavalcade of Whimsy - The Deal With Iowa
Iowa S Tyler Sash
Iowa S Tyler Sash
Posted Nov 3, 2009

Yeah, Iowa might be good, but is it really that good? Mike Leach's all-timer of a comment, the coddling of SEC officials and what their role needs to be, Tim Tebow's rushing TD record that's not a record. All this and more in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Nov. 3

Past Cavalcades
- 2008 Season | Sept. 1, Part 1 | Sept. 1 - Part 2
- Week 1 (The Bradford Shoulder) | Week 2 (Time To Boot the Big East?)
- Week 3 (The Ten New Stars)
- Week 4 (ESPN's responsibility)
- Week 5 (The incomparable Bobby Bowden) 
- Week 6 (The 10 big college football arguments)
- Week 7 .. Part 1 | Part 2 - The Ten Best Players In College Football ... so far
- Week 8 ... Par 1 | Part 2 - You're an idiot if ...

By Pete Fiutak

- Part 2 - What if players couldn't leave early for the NFL?

Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … the first half of it was suspended by Urban Meyer because I eye-gouged a Georgia player.

Or, because this one was teed up so perfectly …

Sorry if this column sucks, but it's really not my fault … it would've been better if I didn't spend so much time listening to my fat little girlfriend telling me how great it was. Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach thought I wanted to write a good column, but didn't want to do the work needed to make it happen.

"Yeah, I called ya fat/Look at me, I'm skinny/It never stopped me from getting' busy/I'm a freak/I like the girls with the boom/I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom." … Leach went off on an all-timer of a rant blaming the players' "fat little girlfriends" for the team's lackluster effort in a 52-30 loss to Texas A&M. Forgetting that it's hard for a girl to be both fat and little (although she could be 4' 8" and 250 pounds), Leach's partly insensitive, fully hilarious ramblings showed that 1) the Yokos have more of a command of his team than he does, and 2) he doesn't really know his players. It's Lubbock, Texas, and it's Texas Tech. Think more Girls Gone Wild and less Vassar. There's a perfect convergence in place for the girlfriends of most of the players to be neither fat nor little. As Leach should know, if he's really in charge of his program, the way-hot, perfectly-kept stick-figures are probably more of an issue than the chubsters.

"I saw her on Monday/twas my lucky bun day/You know what I mean/I love her each weekday/each velvety cheekday/You know what I mean" … There's no truth to the rumor that Steve Phillips took the red-eye to Lubbock after hearing Leach's press conference.

"Well, I'll tell you one thing; play time is over. Your friends are no longer allowed in the house." … Pete Carroll has forged his reputation by being a good guy who has been able to succeed without being the typical coaching asshat, but that's easy to do when all is going well. It'll be far more interesting to see the fire and brimstone, grouchy Carroll over the next few weeks. Watch how quickly warm and fuzzy turns into crotchety and cranky after the performance by his defense against Oregon.

And it takes things to a whole other level if you jump around a lot after a big play … Oooooooh, black helmets (Georgia). Ooooooh, playing Enter Sandman when the team runs into the stadium (Virginia Tech). If you have to rely on gimmicks to jack your team up, as opposed to being better at blocking, tackling, preparing and executing, your team probably sucks. When the attempts to fire everyone up don't work, they look that much sillier.

"I wanna tell you something, anybody says anything about Iowa better be prepared to back it up, pal. I'll give you a fist-full of Iowa naiveté right in the puss! How about that? You know I don't need you to tell me what's what. I know what's what just as well as you do. So why don't you just crawl back in your bottle of booze and pickle yourself? Ha!" … Here's the deal, Iowa fans. We'll all keep treating your unbeaten Hawkeyes as the fun, ultra-resilient, roller coaster ride that they are if you promise not to go all Iowa-batspit goofy like you always do whenever your teams or players get really, really good. (Two words: Brad Banks.)

First of all, stop with the comparisons to 2002 Ohio State and 1998 Tennessee right now. It demeans us both. Those teams were loaded with gobs of NFL talent, and along the way, they just so happened to win every other game by the skin of their teeth. If anything, Ohio State was thought to be underachieving considering it had 19 players from the national title team drafted over the next two years, not including Maurice Clarett and PK Mike Nugent. The 1998 Vols had 15 players drafted over the following two seasons. This Iowa team isn't anywhere near the same area code as far as overall talent level.

Second, those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and with an uglier professor. C'mon, Iowa lovers, you know exactly how this will turn out. It's hard not like this Iowa team and it really does have the makeup to beat Oregon … if the two played right now. There's the painfully long layoff of roughly six weeks to deal with, while the Ducks play Oregon State on December 3rd. Teams that rely on quirky twists of fate tend to cool down with time off. And then there are the past Iowa big-stage bowl performances. We're all just hoping the Hawkeyes don't soil themselves just before the planes fly over the top of the Rose Bowl.

There was the 38-17 loss to Carson Palmer and USC in the 2003 Orange Bowl that wasn't nearly as close as the final score might indicate. There was the 46-34 loss to Washington in the 1991 Rose Bowl, and, of course, there was the mysterious and extremely suspect Ronnie Harmon fumbling issue leading to a 1986 Rose Bowl loss to UCLA.

This is a very good team and it's one of the stories of the season. And yes, if the Hawkeyes go 12-0 they'll deserve to be in the national title discussion with win road wins over Penn State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State, along with a nice non-conference win over Arizona. But as head coach Kirk Ferentz said, the computers don't have eyes. The rest of us do, and we're using them.

His name is spelled Foles. F-o-l-e-s … Just a hunch, maybe because the Dennis Dixon Ducks are still too fresh on the brain, but don't count USC out of the Rose Bowl hunt just yet. Watch out for the Oregon trip to Arizona on November 21st, and the Stanford game this week could be tricky.

No one comes to a game to see the referee … unless he's Ed Hochuli … Awwwwww, do the SEC officials need a sippy cup of milk and a blankey? That's okay, you go on and keep making your little mistakes, and the coaches will all bite their tongues and point out just how cute the boo-boos all are. "It's just a part of the game" they'll all say, while you get to continue to enjoy your happy time in a bubble of positivity and denial. Heaven forbid, an official gets his feelings hurt or feels like he can't do his job properly after those big bully coaches say something that's not all happy, happy, joy, joy.

The SEC has put the kibosh on its coaches ripping on officials after Tennessee's Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, among others, openly commented on the poor officiating in the conference. And while that's expected, considering officials are coddled and untouched when it comes to criticism and analysis from anyone other than one of their own, it doesn't make it right.

It's time for everyone to go back to understanding the fundamental concept of officiating, and this applies to all sports; the only thing that matters is getting the call right. That's it. Anything else takes away from the point of playing the game.

It's time that officials, umpires, referees, etc. all be allowed to be criticized by coaches, players, owners, and the media without any fear of fines or suspensions. Baseball umpires are the biggest babies of them all, and the ridiculousness of the ongoing debate about whether or not the sport should have instant replay shows the worst side of the problem. The umpires think they deserve to be a part of the experience, as if getting a call correct isn't as important as their role in the fabric of the game. Other than the home plate umpire calling balls and strikes, everyone else on the field can be replaced by a monkey and a replay booth. Almost all the calls in baseball are black and white, safe or out, fair or foul. It's obviously much different in football.

A penalty could be called on every play if the football officials desired. Of course, no one wants that, and it's important to find the officials with the best judgment possible to decide the fine line between a penalty and letting the players play the game. But that doesn't mean they should be above analysis and questioning, and coaches should be able to comment on that aspect of the game just like they'd be able to talk about the weather if wind or rain had something to do with the outcome.

In the end, though, just remember that officiating it like air travel. No one ever notices that thousands of flights go off every day without a hitch, just like thousands of calls are made every football weekend without much of a problem. But when something goes wrong, it gets magnified 100-fold and people want answers and changes. The officials do a great job. Now it's time to let the coaches point out when they don't.

And your decision to go with that hat with those shoes is mind-boggling …
Here's the solution: tit-for-tat. Every time a coach publicly criticizes an official, that official is allowed to fire on the coach.

Coach: "We got screwed on that holding call."

The official who made the call: "Yeah, well that was a dopey idea to run it on 3rd-and-13 when the quarterback had connected on eight straight passes."

"It's funny that you would say that. They don't make schnozzes. They make semiconductors for a very reputable computer company. What's wrong with that? Is there something wrong with that? Why, why, why is that something wrong to do? I don't understand that. Why are you pointing the finger at other people all the time? Why don't you point the finger at yourself? Do a little more reading, maybe? Some time in court - maybe that would be effective for you." … Former and current college football players; keep a very, very close eye on what's going on in Washington as NFL head honcho Roger Goodell and others continue to deal with the congressional types about the concussion issue. Predictably, the NFL is doing its best job of denying everything regarding knowledge of concussions and the after-effects, mostly because it has to or else the mother of all lawsuits will come from the players. College players who suffered concussions and still have to deal with the lingering aftereffects might want to check with someone to see if the NCAA is liable in any way. I don't know anything about the law, and suing the NFL or the NCAA for past injuries seems a little like blaming McDonald's for being obese, but there's a lot of suffering going on and it's a shame that the NCAA and NFL aren't doing more to help.

And we'll come disguised like an SEC team to make it more interesting … In today's day and age of trying to cut corners and save money where able, instead of Ohio State paying New Mexico State $850,000 for a 45-0 win with just 62 yards of total Aggie offense, I'll offer to get together 21 friends and play the Buckeyes next year for a mere 50K. There, I just saved tOSU $800,000. And the same deal is on the table for Clemson, who paid Central Carolina $235,000 for a 49-3 win. How many jobs could be saved by paying me and my guys the 50? It would certainly be more interesting. One of us would die.

Another opening kickoff return for a touchdown?! … I know, I know, I'm a bad person, but I enjoy it whenever something wacky shoehorns its way into a somber mood. For example, after Tim Brown's miraculous touchdown catch to give Rutgers the lead late against Connecticut, and provide more pain for a Husky team looking for something positive in memory of the death of Jasper Howard, there were several shots of a stunned crowd with each fan in a No. 6 jersey looking more forlorn than the last. The ESPN director kept going for shot after shot of depressed fans, only to make one cut too far to kill the mood and inadvertently provide a punchline, focusing on a kid sitting among a slew of No. 6 jersey clad fans wearing an Itappa Kegga t-shirt.

Channeling my inner Bob Costas … If no one else is going to take on the role of watchdog to the hallowed NCAA records, then I will. For some ridiculous reason the NCAA record books don't reflect bowl statistics for players before 2002, and the numbers aren't being adjusted. That's why the current rushing record mark, held by Wisconsin's Ron Dayne, is 7,125 and not the 6,397 that it's listed in the official record book. The same goes for Tim Tebow and the SEC touchdown record.

Tebow is always out to do the right thing, and he's certainly not the type to take something he hasn't earned. Herschel Walker ran for 54 touchdowns in his career, and Tebow has rushed for 51. The record is still Walker's.

It's always worth the price of admission to hear him say "the Hock-eyyyyyess." …
I've been unabashed in my love for Brent Musburger. The guy is a legend, he brings the noise to every event he's covering, and although he might be a bit goofy, when combined with Kirk Herbstreit, who reins everything in, he's a guy worth spending four hours on a Saturday night listening to. And because he's Brent, he's able to get away with more than anyone else since it's all about being caught up in the moment. Seriously, who else could deliver this gem and sell it the way he can? After Oregon's Jeremiah Masoli came up with a big touchdown play against USC … "What (Oregon head coach) Chip Kelly looks for is a quarterback who can run. In other words, he's got to be a young man who can throw ... (dramatic pause)... and throw he did."

And I'd be pushing for GameDay to broadcast from my breakfast nook, but some goofy Washington State fan would show up waving a flag in my backyard … It's Week Two of my open lobbying of the ESPN College Football Final show guys to give me a helmet sticker. Why do I deserve one this week? I could've eaten the only Butterfinger in the bag and no one would've ever known, but I gave it to my kid and suffered through the gummi LifeSavers.

- Part 2 - What if players couldn't leave early for the NFL?