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Cavalcade of Whimsy ... A Rough Heisman Race

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 17, 2009


Is this one of the worst Heisman races ever? No one has stepped up and turned into a college football immortal ... yet. The chase for the best individual prize in sports, the Ohio State win over Iowa, and what LeGarrette Blount had to do to be eligible, in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Nov. 17

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 ... Part 1 | Part 2 - You're an idiot if ... 
- Week 9 ... Part 1 | Part 2 - What if players couldn't leave early for the NFL?
- Week 10 .. Part 1 | Part 2 - Every conference race broken down

By Pete Fiutak

- Part 2 - 10 Unsung Things You Need To Know

Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault … my feelings are hurt after Stanford chose to go for two in a blowout. Because of that, I’m really going to try hard next year. Extra super duper hard.

I’ll spare you the groaner about Rich Rodriguez and Charlie Weis getting an outhouse … If you’re a coach who’s having the slightest bit of success, you march into the AD’s office right now and point out how Stanford is winning big because of Jim Harbaugh’s $70,000 bathroom. “Give me a souped up john and I’ll hang 55 on USC for you.” Football is a copycat business. Someone’s going to do it.

Fortunately for Utah, no one saw what happened because half the college football world thought the game was on Versus … I had a really good blurb intended for this spot, but I asked Utah’s Tony Bergstrom to handle TCU’s Jerry Hughes one-on-one and I didn’t have time to write it. I’m finding it hard to type with No. 98 sitting on my head.

But I still want Billy Sims to scream “Boomer!” no matter who wins … Worst … Heisman … Race … Ever.

I love the Heisman chase, I love being a Heisman voter, and I love the endless debating and second-guessing over something so silly. It’s the greatest single individual award in sports, and yeah, I do believe that a player who wins it earns a measure of immortality. Of course, in the real world, that and a hearty handshake might get you a job manning the counter of a Sunglass Hut, but it’s still important in my weird little corner. But to all of those who get the honor of voting for the winner this year, good luck. You’re on your own, because I can’t help you at the moment.

I’ll do my yearly piece about who should win the award and who deserves it, but I’m all for giving it to 2008 Tim Tebow (not the 2009 version) since he should’ve won it over Sam Bradford after the BCS Championship win. Maybe we should give it to Vince Young, since he would’ve won over Reggie Bush in 2005 if the voting was done after the scintillating Rose Bowl. Maybe we should right a few wrongs and give it to Rex Grossman after he lost to Eric Crouch in the bizarre 2001 chase. Herschel Walker should get another for his 1980 season, when he should’ve won over George Rogers, and maybe we should give another one to O.J. after he inexplicably lost to Gary Beban in 1967 (or maybe we should tell him he won and he can say he’ll spend the rest of his life searching for the truth). Frankly, I’m stumped.

To me, the Heisman should go to the signature player of a given college football season. Yeah, Ohio State got blasted in the BCS Championship, but Troy Smith was the star of 2006. Andre Ware was a system player and Ty Detmer had one monster game against Miami, but they were the spotlight stars of 1989 and 1990, respectively. This year, there’s absolutely no one worthy of being placed among the college football immortals and there isn’t anyone putting his stamp on the season … yet.

I was all ready to start championing Houston’s Case Keenum, but he’s putting up silly numbers partly because he’s good and partly because he has to, thanks to a defense that couldn’t stop you and ten friends from running for 300 yards. I like Colt McCoy and he’d be more than worthy of the honor for his great career, but has he done anything this year that deserves it? Yeah, he’s completing 72% of his throws, but he has only thrown 19 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. Tebow doesn’t deserve to even be in the discussion, much less on anyone’s ballot, and while C.J. Spiller has been dynamic, I’m not 100% sold that he deserves a first-team running back spot on the All-ACC team ahead of Georgia Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer or Virginia Tech’s Ryan Williams.

Toby Gerhart? It’s taking a lot of carries to put up the numbers he’s cranking out, but I’m starting to become a true believer and he could end up making a huge statement when everyone watches the Notre Dame game. Jimmy Clausen, Jordan Shipley, and a defensive player like Ndamukong Suh or Jerry Hughes will be on some ballots, but they’re not in the race. And no, I won’t go the 1985 Joe Dudek pretentious route and vote for someone like Wayne State’s Joique Bell, who has 2,084 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns in 11 games.

And then there’s Mark Ingram, the Alabama sophomore who’d win the thing if the voting was done today.

Fiiiiiine, he’s having a nice year with 1,308 yards and ten touchdowns, and fiiiiiiiiiiiiine, he ran wild on South Carolina and has been fantastic over the last six games against mediocre SEC competition (and yeah, I’m looking you, LSU D), but he’s not necessarily having a better year than two players on his own team, DT Terrence Cody and LB Rolando McClain. Is he doing more for his team than Gerhart, Fresno State’s Ryan Mathews, or Temple’s Bernard Pierce is doing for theirs? The Owls would have a losing season, much less be in the thick of the MAC chase without Pierce, Mathews was shut down by Nevada last week and he still leads the nation in rushing, and Gerhart has been every bit the yard-after-contact runner that Ingram has been.

I don’t know. But I’m looking forward to finding out who it’s going to be.

Because the first part of the schedule wasn’t cushy enough …
Houston Nutt gets it. The bonus of having games against teams like Northern Arizona in November is to be able to rest players like Dexter McCluster, and it showed wi …(FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!) argh ack ooooof. (Hughes beat Bergstrom again and got me from the blindside.)

But it was a bit much for Palin to devote a chapter to rip on Tressel for losing those BCS Championship games so badly … Do not criticize Jim Tressel for his conservative game plan (even by his standards) or Kirk Ferentz for not taking a few shots late in regulation in Ohio State’s thrilling win over Iowa. For Tressel, the formula was simple: don’t make mistakes, force a freshman quarterback to beat you, let the other guy implode. James Vandenberg didn’t self-destruct, but the rest of the Hawkeyes did at times throughout regulation, and then sure enough, there came the freshman mistake in overtime when he took a sack after the Buckeye D turned the intensity up to 11. And for all of those who dogged Ferentz for not making a bigger effort to get into field goal position in the final few minutes, did you not see what happened with 5:44 to play? Vandenberg panicked and threw a pick six that got called back. Ferentz had every right to be spooked at that point. Iowa had Ohio State 24-24 with a chance to win the game in overtime, and with all the pressure being put squarely on the Buckeyes. The kid got Ferentz a strong 60 minutes and he wasn’t being put in a position to make something happen that wasn’t there. Considering OSU’s ability to turn mistakes into scores (cough, Wisconsin, cough), it was the right move.

“S***, I can't believe a fine woman like this produced a guy like Stifler.” … There are defining moments in every life, subtle as they might be, that become game-changers. One, for me, was when former Georgia Tech point guard Kenny Anderson, who’s my age, turned pro. That’s when I realized that no, I’m really not going to grow to be 6’11” and yes, I really am cursed to be the slowest human being on the planet next to Charlie Weis trying to escape Lisa Salters after being asked about his job status.

Another moment came this weekend during the Iowa – Ohio State game. There was a lengthy shot of attractive young cheerleaders doing whatever it is that they do, and I barely looked up from my bowl of Peanut Butter Puffs and Fiber One (with skim milk, of course). And then came a shot of Amy Vandenberg, the mom of Iowa’s 19-year-old starting quarterback … I’m old. It’s over. I’m never going to play in the NBA and I'm not that interested in perky cheerleaders. I might as well get it over with and go buy a copy of Going Rogue for the pictures, start eating dinner at 4:30, and spend my nights watching CBS.

“The doctor said I wouldn't have so many nosebleeds if I kept my finger outta there.” … For about 24 hours last week I seriously thought about changing the name of this column to “Urban Meyer’s Season of Stuff.” C’mon, Urban. Outside of Tebow’s concussion, has any of the adversity really been that bad? It could be worse; he could have to kick players off the team for alleged armed robbery.

“I should be purged. I should be flogged. I shouldn’t walk among good people.” … All week long, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly and various Pac 10 types were commenting on how beleaguered RB LeGarrette Blount had taken the necessary steps to get back in everyone’s good graces. No one actually got specific about what he had to do, but I was able to obtain the list submitted to the Pac 10 offices of what the conditions were to get Blount back on the field, along with signs that everything was fine.

- He had to be able to spell LeGarrette without looking it up.
- He had to sit through a slide show of peaceful, tranquil photos and not start screaming like John Blutarsky seeing Kent Dorfman when a shot of Boise State’s Byron Hout popped up.
- He didn’t snap when someone told him to “hold your horses.”
- He cheerfully took the plain bagel after being taunted by a backup kicker who took the last donut.
- Surrounded by cheerleaders chanting, “B-E-A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E, Be, Aggressive, Gotttttta Be Aggressive,” Blount responded by taking a bubble bath.
- He didn’t break something tasteful after that egomaniacal nimrod Belichick went for it on fourth and two deep in his own territory, thereby allowing Peyton Manning to throw the winning touchdown pass to someone other than Austin Collie, which led to the extra point that cost him a fantasy win.
- He had to get this far in the column without pummeling anyone into a fine pulp.

Listed on the injury reports as Doubtful (poor competition) … Someone needs to be fired if Tim Tebow plays one down against FIU. (I had to rush that blurb. Hughes was breathing down my neck and made me go for the short one.)

“My new salesman boyfriend took me out to celebrate his promotion. I had the roast beef.” … Gut feeling, and it’s the same gut feeling I had the last time I ate Arby’s (it led to me thinking that USC was going to end up rebounding from the Oregon loss to win the Pac 10 title). Out of Michigan vs. Ohio State, Alabama vs. Auburn, and Texas vs. Texas A&M, there will be one upset, one blowout, and one extremely close call that’s going to change a few opinions on the ceiling that TCU and Cincinnati are butting up against. After eating the potato cakes, I had another nervous stomach thing-thought; the last thing Texas wants to deal with is a jacked up and disrespected Bo Pelini defense if Nebraska beats Kansas State and get to the Big 12 Championship.

“I tried that once, it don't work. You get four guys fighting over who's gonna be Mr. Black. Since nobody knows anybody else, nobody wants to back down. So forget it, I pick. Be thankful you're not Mr. Yellow.” … Last weekend, the each name on the jerseys of the South Carolina Gamecocks and Maryland Terrapins were switched to a word of one of the core values of the military. Courage, Duty, Honor, Commitment, Country, or Integrity, were on the backs of the jerseys to call attention to the Wounded Warrior project. A few backup linemen got Don’t Ask and a reserve defensive back got Don’t Tell.

(Attempt No. 2) Maybe it’s just me, but I thought it was in poor taste that Nike put Cha in place of the name on Florida DE Carlos Dunlap’s jersey and Ching in place of the name on fellow end Jermaine Cunningham’s uniform.

Dress up the marketing ploy however you want to, but Under Armour is in the business of selling more product, and they used the backs of South Carolina and Maryland as a public relations outlet to try to achieve that goal. Don’t think for a split second that the company doesn’t realize how hard it’s going to be for the schools to switch to Nike because of the warm fuzzies surrounding the honoring of our injured veterans.

http://www.militaryfamily.org/ … Yes, it was just Veteran’s Day, and yes, there is a national feeling of pride and concern for the men and women who fight for our country and for those who already served, but it’s time for everyone associated with football to stop using war and our troops to try to provide inspiration or motivation when it comes to winning a game. The Florida Gators weren’t full of bad people because they didn’t have buzzwords on the backs of their jerseys, and it was obviously okay to root for Virginia Tech even though the players weren’t dressed in camouflage like Maryland.

It takes some serious gall, even if the intentions are good, to belittle the horrors and sacrifices that soldiers have to go through by comparing football to what they do in any way, shape, or form, or to use them as inspiration for a big football game. Wearing the specially designed uniforms was a nice tribute, but that’s where it stops. War is war, and football isn’t. Honor the troops, of course. Bring attention to their causes, absolutely. Use our military men and women as motivational props to try to make crappy football teams play at a higher level against superior opponents, wrong. Honor them; don’t exploit them.

And while I’m at it, every kiss does begin with K, as in Krap … I’m not going to Jared, I don’t even know where there is a Jared, and if I actually found a Jared and bought a gift there, my wife, upon seeing the box, would give me the same “who farted?” look she shot me when I willingly turned the channel to MMA. So let’s just stop the dance now. I don’t want to see the guy biffing his attempt at sign language as he tries to get all smooch-smoochy with his deaf chick, and I don’t want to see the kids hiding in the other room and spying on mommy and daddy’s make-out session after daddy maxed out the credit card for something shiny that could’ve been had for $4 at Claire’s. However, if the opportunity presents itself, I’ll be more than happy to give my wife Jared, as long as he’s bringing along two footlong sweet onion teriyaki subs with light mayo and extra cucumber.

And he has to get used to Brian Kelly measuring the office to see if his couch fits … Chuck Weis, you have to get used to handling questions about your job status better. It’s the only thing anyone wants to talk about, it is a huge story, and your opinion does matter. Fight for it. Show the world why you should be the head coach next year, because you do have a reasonable case that the team has the potential to … boooom ooooof. Utah has got to start giving me a back to help Bergstrom at least chip Hughes.

And I’m still pushing for GameDay to come broadcast from me breakfast nook, but I don’t have any cheerleaders. However, my house is littered every bit of Disney princess crap ever sold … It’s Week Four of my open lobbying of the ESPN College Football Final show guys to give me a helmet sticker and the signed T-shirt, suitable for framing. Why do I deserve one this week? At the store, I told the nice old lady in the funny hat that the gourmet stuffing sample she offered me was delicious, and I even asked questions about preparation time and serving sizes even though it tasted like it was made at the first Thanksgiving.

- Part 2 - 10 Unsung Things You Need To Know