Cavalcade of Whimsy - Understanding The U
Miami QB Vinny Testaverde
Miami QB Vinny Testaverde
Posted Dec 15, 2009

It's a U Thing; you wouldn't understand. Or could you? Along with analyzing the great era of Miami football, Pete Fiutak looks at the Mack Brown contract, the Brian Kelly hiring, and more in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy. Coming this afternoon ... The Ten Reasons Why Texas Will Win the National Title.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Dec. 15

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
- Week 11.. Part 1 | Part 2 - The 10 unsung things you need to know 
- Week 12.. Part 1 | Part 2 - Breaking Down The Award Finalists 
- Week 13 - The Notre Dame Circus | Part 2 Ten things to be grouchy about 
- Week 14 - The Texas Near Miss. Part 1 | Ten things to be grouchy about

By Pete Fiutak

- Dec. 15, Part 1 - Ten reasons why Texas will win the national title 

Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … it would've been better, a LOT better, if some Tennessee hostesses had "interacted" with me before I wrote it.

Marge, the cop : "You have the right to remain silent."
Homer : "I choose to waive that right. YAHHHHHH … YAHHHHHH" ...
No matter what you think about Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin and no matter what kind of success he has with the program, someday this is going to end badly. Very, very badly, and it's going to be very, very ugly, and Tennessee is going to end up owing Kiffin a lot of money to pay off the contract.

"She invites me up at twelve o clock at night, for coffee. And I don't go up. ‘No thank you, I don't want coffee, it keeps me up. Too late for me to drink coffee.' I said this to her. People this stupid shouldn't be allowed to live." ... I want names. I want names, addresses, and two men with a big butterfly net and a truck with a padded back so that the rest of America can be saved from the 43 human beings who voted Tim Tebow first in the Heisman balloting.

Like Gore not being able to carry Tennessee ... To all those screaming about an East Coast bias when it came to the election of Ingram over Toby Gerhart, blame the Blueheads who gave their first place votes to Boise State QB Kellen Moore. He's actually not that bad a choice considering he leads the nation in passing efficiency completing 65% of his passes for 3,325 yards with 39 touchdowns and just three interceptions, but if those ten first placers all go Gerhart, the Stanford star wins the Heisman.

Mike: "Well, Bob, what can you do?"
Bobby: "I can finger paint and glue things." ...
When is some econ professor at a major university going to step up and call out non-revenue sports for sucking the life and the money out of cash-strapped universities?

There's a hubbub at Texas after Mack Brown's salary was raised to $5 million a year, making him the highest paid head coach in college football. Like almost all universities, Texas has budget issues and has had to make some tough cuts, and now, Brown's contract is seen as poor timing and in bad taste considering all the other problems. When the football coach gets a raise and gets paid a salary that would be better spent on the academic side of things, feathers get ruffled. However, Texas football brought in $87 million in 2009 and Brown's ability to field winning teams has everything to do with that. Texas could have a lesser head coach who makes around $2 million a year, the football team might not have the same success, and the overall revenue brought in could be substantially less. But, of course, that's Econ 101.

Most FBS football programs led by someone with a brain will make money. While bowl games are usually break-even propositions after bringing the band, the secretaries, and everyone remotely associated with the team, the football side of things almost always takes care of itself. With the times being what they are, football programs are cutting costs to maximize the revenue; Boston College isn't taking the band to the Emerald Bowl. It's next step time.

Reality needs to kick in and colleges and universities need to finally wake up and realize that non-revenue sports serve no purpose whatsoever. They don't rally the students, because few ever go to the games (hence the non-revenue part of the equation), they don't function as a major public relations boon for schools like football and basketball do, and they're simply not necessary when the profits made by the revenue producing sports could be put to far better use.

Mack Brown isn't the problem. It's what Mack Brown's football team is paying for that's the issue.

"You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well, I am not licked! I'll stay and fight for this lost cause. Even if this room gets filled with lies like these." ... Don't assume that Congress is going to do anything about a college football playoff. For all the bluster, there's almost zero chance of a bill ever passing that would force a change, and if something really did get through, then the BCS schools would quickly change things around to make sure that its schools got the best spots and were in the best position to get all the dough. Either the BCS conferences would form some sort of uber-league, like a D-I-Plus while knocking out the non-BCSers, or it would come up with a playoff format that would keep the little guys out. No matter what happens, don't plan on the government to do anything.

Or as my five-year-old niece put so eloquently, girls go to college to get more knowledge, while boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider ... Cincinnati players and fans, there's this thing called the "Internet." On it, you can find out the latest news stories and articles on things that are of interest to you. This "Internet," along with all the other traditional media outlets, had been saying that Brian Kelly was one of the leading candidates for the Notre Dame gig for roughly a year. Had you been able to access and use this "Internet," then you might not be as shocked as dismayed as you were over the loss of your head coach.

There's just no good way for a coach to leave a school. The team he's leaving will always feel spurned and bitter, even if he's taking off for a much better and much bigger opportunity. But isn't that what going to school is all about? Aren't you supposed to get some college so you can leave and go make big coin and/or be able to do what you want with your life? And really, would you feel that much better if he had been on the sidelines for the Sugar Bowl?

Kelly was in a no-win situation. Coaches can't even hint at wanting another job, because if they don't get it they're completely screwed when it comes to recruiting. So they can't be truthful and then everyone's feelings get hurt when they move on.

The only coaching departures in recent memory that went without a hitch were at Oregon, where Mike Bellotti stepped aside and Chip Kelly had a fantastic year, Wisconsin, where Barry Alvarez left a winning team and seamlessly passed the torch over to Bret Bielema, and Navy, where the success has continued under Ken Niumatalolo. Paul Johnson had done so much for the program that everyone seemed to be genuinely happy that he was getting his shot at Georgia Tech. Everyone else's most recent coaching change has come because of 1) a firing, 2) leaving for a bigger opportunity while hurting everyone's feelings, or 3) a retirement from a team that wasn't playing well (Florida State and Purdue fall into that category). Had Kelly been able to leave Cincinnati without some collateral damage, it would've bucked the trend.

Like Central Michigan collapsed when Kelly left before the bowl to go to UC ... What does Kelly's leaving prove definitively once and for all? Bowl games, including BCS games, don't really matter in the scheme of the universe. National championships matter, and that's why Les Miles is still in Baton Rouge instead of Ann Arbor, but Orange Bowls aren't that big a whoop.

And if Florida State had a kicker, the movie would be about the program that couldn't win squat with all that talent ... So let's see if I properly understood the open-mouth kiss from director Billy Corben to his beloved Miami football team in his documentary, The U.

1) The players didn't like to be seen as criminals and thugs and got mad whenever anyone suggested that Miami was an outlaw program.
2) Several players actually were criminals and thugs, but according to Corben and former quarterback Steve Walsh, when those delightful scamps were partaking in typical college hijinks, like stealing car stereos, they were simply "doing what they had to do."
3) They tried to break every NCAA rule in the book with Luther Campbell making this the most well paid team in the city (which everyone knew at the time, but the NCAA did nothing about).
4) The Dolphins apparently didn't matter to the city of Miami, even though there was some young Marino guy making the rest of the National Football League look ridiculous.
5) The players only played really well when they were able to prance, preen, and taunt, but …
6) … when they lost big games after prancing, preening, and taunting, they focused more on playing football and won national championships.
7) That silly Tad Foote. How dare he try to make the University of Miami an elite academic institution? Of course …
8) … Miami was a football school and only a football school, and to try to change that didn't show the proper respect to the players who should have monuments erected in their honor.
9) Yeah, yeah, yeah, the old players hang around and help the young guys in a type of fraternity (or a gang, as some of the old Canes called it). All the big teams have that. Miami has Michael Irvin, USC has Keyshawn Johnson.

And then there's that ridiculous, "It's a U thing; you wouldn't understand." Oh no, we all understand. What you at The U don't understand is that we all understood what you think we didn't understand, and always did … understand?

We all understand that for around two decades, Miami assembled the greatest array of talent in college football history. We also understand that the Canes should've won seven national titles in a row but was a grossly underachieving 6-6 in bowl games from 1983 to 1994. We also understand that two of the four national titles during that era go bye-bye if Florida State could've hit a straight kick, and a third national title came in a year (1989) when the Noles won 24-10. We also understand that two of the four national titles go bye-bye if the coaches didn't go for the glory with Tom Osborne choosing to go for two in Nebraska's 1984 Orange Bowl loss and Bobby Bowden's ill-fated decision to go for two in the classic 1987 loss (although, to be fair, the FSU kickers weren't hitting a thing that game). We also understand that considering the talent, this program pulled off some of the biggest chokes of all-time starting with the biggest collapse in NCAA history (at the time) against Maryland in 1984, the national title loss to Alabama in the 1993 Sugar Bowl, and the blowout loss to Tennessee in the 1986 Sugar Bowl.

Everyone understood that many of the top players came from impoverished backgrounds, which was nothing new for many college teams, and everyone also understood that the players assumed the stuffed-shirt world of college football didn't like The U because of the brashness, when in reality, the players played up the bad guy, rebel part because they wanted to and they thought it made them better. And then, the Canes took exception whenever anyone dared to call them out for trying to act all thuggish and commando.

We all also understood that the entire persona of the program was hypocritical. Miami wanted and demanded respect on the field, which it always received, but it couldn't figure out why the establishment was so critical when the program far too often crossed the line between exuberant attitude and rule and law breaking. And at the time, it's not like Miami was the only program out there getting hammered for bad behavior. Oklahoma, the other main power program of the mid-to-late 1980s, was even more lawless and out of control, and it paid the price in the 1990s until Bob Stoops changed things around. And we also understand that the best of all the Hurricane teams, the 2001 version, didn't need all the excess garbage, and that Randy Shannon is rebuilding Miami into a potential powerhouse again built on discipline. That's not to say that the old Hurricane teams weren't more fun or more colorful; but we all understand that they won because they were better at playing football than everyone else.

Or, the NCAA could realize that taking $100 from a hyped-up fan really isn't that big a deal ... Alright you vacate-happy NCAA. If you're going to try to strip wins from Florida State and Oklahoma, then after watching The U., isn't it time to all but erase everything Miami football accomplished during its pre-Butch Davis dynasty? I don't think the NCAA should ever take wins out of the record books, and I certainly don't think the Miami wins should be vacated, but if the NCAA is going to be consistent, then bu-bye to those four national titles from 1983 to 1991. But, of course, that would mean the NCAA would have to take an honest look at the Bear Bryant Alabama teams, the Barry Switzer Oklahoma teams, the John Wooden UCLA hoops teams, and just about everyone who has ever won a national title.

And I'm still pushing for GameDay to come broadcast from my breakfast nook, but my daughter would mistake Herbstreit for the Ken doll she just got as a holiday gift and would try to force him to make smoochies with all her Barbies. … It's Week Eight 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? Actually, I don't. The guy in front of me at the bookstore's free gift-wrapping table accidentally put $20 in the jar to help buy books for abused kids living in a shelter when he meant to put in a five. When the lady offered to open the jar to give him back his 20, he told her no and instead put in another 20. Happy holidays, and thanks to everyone out there who makes the world a little bit better … even if it isn't acknowledged with a sticker.

8 Maids-A-Milking … That same guy was earlier looking at Playboy's subtly-titled special edition called, simply, Boobs, tucked inside a copy of Time. He came within three seconds of getting busted by the wife.

- Dec. 15, Part 1 - Ten reasons why Texas will win the national title