Cavalcade of Whimsy
Season | Sept.
1, Part 1 |
- Part 2
1 (The Bradford Shoulder) |
(Time To Boot the Big East?)
- Week 3 (The Ten New Stars)
- Week 4 (ESPN's responsibility)
- Week 5 (The incomparable Bobby
- Week 6 (The 10 big college
- Week 7 .. Part 1
| Part 2 - The Ten Best Players
In College Football ... so far
... Part 1 | Part 2 - You're an idiot if ...
... Part 1 |
Part 2 - What if players
couldn't leave early for the NFL?
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
- The Notre Dame Circus | Part 2 Ten things to be grouchy
Week 14 - The Texas Near Miss. Part 1
| Ten things to be grouchy
- Understanding The U. |
Texas will win the national title
Dec. 22, Part
1 - Ten reasons why Alabama will win the national
Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault … Scott Schenter bought it for my girlfriend and she’s making payments for it. I never wrote it or drove it, and I’m doing nothing wrong even though Schenter owns www.4fiu.com.
“It's that little souvenir of a colourful year/which makes me smile inside/so I cynically, cynically say, the world is that way/surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise” ... NCAA, if you can’t figure this one out, you’re going to have a whole bunch of fans at places like Oklahoma, Alabama, and Florida State ready to blow a gasket.
Why does the NCAA continue to turn a blind eye to some transgressions while letting others go? Why hasn’t USC had to vacate everything it did during the Reggie Bush era, while Florida State got tagged for academic issues that should’ve been a school matter and Oklahoma got honked at for work that Rhett Bomar didn’t do and got paid for at a car dealership? The Joe McKnight car thing is the tip of a massive iceberg, and at some point soon, USC has to be hit with something , if for no other reason than for the NCAA to show that it’s not totally and completely incompetent when it comes to investigations. But as this situation points out so clearly once again, the rules are silly and they should be broken.
I fought all week with various radio show hosts about this as the NCAA’s version of morality continues to have fans brainwashed. It should be absolutely fine if some silly man wants to buy a college player a car, or give him $200 just for being a star player, or wants to put him up in some sweet apartment. First of all, there’s nothing legally wrong with any of this, second allowing boosters to give players stuff would help level the playing field, and third IT’S GOING ON ANYWAY.
The schools shouldn’t have to give players a dime, but if a booster club wants to raise funds to give star players perks, or if uber-boosters like Phil Knight and T. Boone Pickens want to blow their dough to fund their teams to put the best players on the field that they can, then so be it. It’s not a right that every program must play by the same rules, because they can’t and they don’t.
Eastern Michigan could go 12-0 next year and win every game by four touchdowns and they still wouldn’t get a shot at the national title. Right now, you can eliminate 70 teams from the 2010 national championship chase just because they don’t play in the right conference (ask Boise State and TCU what that’s like) and you can assume that another 20 or so teams don’t have any realistic shot even though they play in the a BCS league (ask Cincinnati what that’s like). And you can eliminate those teams in the exclusionary BCS system from the national title chase in 2011, 2012, 2013, and all the way up until we’re all under three feet of melted icecap water. In fact, you can all but eliminate 115 teams each and every year, like this season, if the top teams win as expected. There was no way Texas, Alabama, or Florida were budging from the top spots in the polls after being put there in the beginning of the season, and yet there are some worried that the idea of allowing fan bases and agents give stuff to player would make the rich schools richer. No, it would give the little guy more of a shot to buy its way into prominence (ring, ring, SMU, it’s for you).
But I digress.
The issue here with the McKnight situation isn’t just that USC broke a few rules or took a few liberties with their female party guests; they did (wink). The real story is that this might be the beginning of the decline of the empire. Every seemingly untouchable program has its fall from grace at some point and there’s always one marking point that signaled that things were starting to go wrong. Miami had Luther Campbell and Pell Grants. Florida State had Jeff Bowden and Chris Rix. Nebraska had Steve Pederson. Oklahoma had Charles Thompson. And while some schools are able to overcome the problems and shine again, like OU did after hiring Bob Stoops and Penn State was able to do a few years after losing defensive coordinator and key assistant, Jerry Sandusky, it takes a while. Considering USC’s mediocre year even with a team full of tremendous prospects, the rest of the Pac 10 has to plan for a possible opening in the window and be ready to pounce.
If you’re UCLA and Rick Neuheisel, here’s your 2010 wake-up call, pal. Go to work.
“You only see 'em drivin' cars out on the street/
Nobody's walkin' walkin' walkin' walkin' walkin'/
You won't see a kid walkin' home from school/
Nobody's walkin' walkin' walkin' walkin' walkin' /
Their mothers pick 'em up in a car pool/
Nobody's walkin' walkin' walkin' walkin'” … And now McKnight isn’t even playing in the Emerald Bowl.
He couldn’t get a ride to the game.
But it will only last until Timmy throws a fit and is pacified by his Wii … Two weeks ago I was at a birthday party for my friend’s one-year-old twin boys, and over in the living room in the corner were a few guys hanging around the TV, as men tend to do at these types of get-togethers. And they were watching ... (heavy sigh) soccer. It wasn’t because they loved The Beautiful Game or were die-hard Wayne Rooney fans.
We live in the richest country in the world and yet in today’s day and age grown men are being forced to watch soccer reruns when there aren’t any other sporting events going on. Yes, it’s hard to get too jazzed up for Little Caesars Bowl and the Poinsettia Bowl might not make your life any better, but there will be a point over the next several days when you’ll be at a holiday party or family gathering and you’ll hit your knees and thank whatever god it is that you pray to for the existence of something called the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl.
“Ma'am, were you aware that your car was on fire?” ... Cincinnati was so wronged and felt so betrayed by the idea of Brian Kelly leaving his team empty handed for its bowl game by taking off for Notre Dame early that it did the exact same thing to Central Michigan … again. Not only did USC hork Kelly from CMU the first time around before a bowl, but it grabbed Butch Jones this year before the Chippewas face Troy in the GMAC Bowl. So which is it, Cincinnati? Is it wrong to steal someone’s date before their big dance or not? Bearcats, you hereby forfeit the right to ever whining about losing a head coach to a bigger, better program (and yes, there are bigger and better programs than Cincinnati) ever again. And Central Michigan, you are allowed to go all Angela Bassett Waiting to Exhale on Jones and Cincinnati.
“And Leon’s getting larrrrrrrrrger.” ... The Big Ten is going to expand. I’d rather see the league go to a ten-game conference schedule and keep things as is, but that’s never going to happen. While the idea of adding three teams and creating a 14-team league is being floated out there, realistically, the conference is going to add one team that makes the most financial sense from a football standpoint. But Big Teners, spare us all the sanctimonious bullspit about demanding that the 12th school be a top-shelf academic institution.
While there are some great academic universities in the conference, like Northwestern, Michigan, and Wisconsin, there are also others that will take a student as long as he can mark an X on a dotted line.
Football-wise, check out the likely divisional split of teams, assuming the Big Ten adds someone from the east like Pitt, Rutgers, or Syracuse. If only one team is added and it’s a 12-team conference, you’d have …
East: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, 12th team.
West: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin
There might be some talk of splitting up Michigan and Ohio State, but geographically that likely wouldn’t happen and there would have to be some assurance that the two played every year. That would mean a massive imbalance between the two divisions with teams like Wisconsin and Iowa drooling. And it wouldn’t likely be much better in a 14-team league.
East: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse
West: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin
And I’m still pushing for GameDay to come broadcast from my breakfast nook, but we have three Christmas cookies left and there are four hosts. I don’t want Desmond and Corso fighting over the misshapen snowman with pink sprinkles … It’s Week Nine 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? I have pitched, sold, hocked, peddled, and done everything else a human being could do to sell these minor bowl games to America. ESPN, I’ve done my part for you. Now make sure these things are interesting.
And now, without further ado …
The 6th Annual Christmas/Festivus/Hanukkah Wish List for all 120 teams this holiday season. To ...
... A healthy Mark Herzlich who comes back as good
... A team as good as its pregame entrance.
... That Jimbo Fisher can come up with one season as
good as any Bobby Bowden had from 1987 to 2000.
... No more Middle Tennessee on the schedule.
... That Russell Wilson realizes just how boring
baseball really is.
... An overtime win and about 13 more total points
against Baylor, BC, Navy, Miami, and Georgia Tech.
... That no bigger name program wakes up and
realizes that David Cutcliffe might just be the best
head coach in the ACC.
Tech ... That no bigger name program wakes up and
realizes that Paul Johnson is the best head coach in
... That all the superior talent, speed, and
athleticism translates into wins.
Carolina ... An offense half as good as the defense.
... The recruiting of Al Groh and the production of
... Darren Evans and Ryan Williams in the backfield
at the same time.
Big 12 North
Colorado ... More money to be able to buy out Dan Hawkins.
... A phone call from Jim Delaney.
... That Turner Gill does to Nebraska what his
Nebraska teams did to Kansas.
... Fewer FCS games.
... More receivers where Jeremy Maclin and Danario
Alexander came from.
... One fewer second and three more feet to the
Big 12 South
Baylor ... A safe and sound Robert Griffin
... More consistent wins outside of the State of
Oklahoma, and a Norelco for Landry Jones.
... That T. Boone has enough money to make Oklahoma
and Texas a little bit worse.
... That Bama gets the copy of Wining National
Titles For Dummies, written by the 2005 Ohio State
... Consistency on defense to match up with the
explosion on offense.
Texas Tech ... Fewer fat little girlfriends.
Cincinnati ... More Central Michigan coaches when Butch Jones
leaves for West Virginia.
... A drama-free 2010 with a few more
... Charlie Strong to get just a few of the players
to work with that he had at Florida.
... Written proof that Mardy Gilyard is out of
... Tom Savage ends up having a career as cool as
Florida ... That the defense hits as
hard as Jim Leavitt does.
... That, magically, Steve
Wojciechowski has a year of football eligibility
Virginia ... More pins for the Rich
Illinois ... That Harold Hill, er, Ron Zook brings in one more big
recruiting class for the next head coach to win
Indiana ... That Darius Willis
really is as good as he appears and Ben Chappell can
... A healthy Ricky Stanzi and a running back with
two legs that aren't busted up.
... Said like Cready ... I wish ... you had ... more
time (to practice).
State ...That Mark Dantonio really is the
best of the former Cincinnati head coaches.
... A team that looks as good as its stadium.
... That the team plays with half as much
intensity as Pat Fitzgerald coaches.
... A USC/SEC-free season.
... A real, live non-conference game.
... That Danny Hope's tenure is as successful as the first year was fun.
Wisconsin ... A plus-2 turnover margin against Ohio State.
Conference USA East
. That the 2010 team plays half as well as Joe Webb
played this year.
UCF ... A bowl opponent its own
... That someone notices, or cares, that the Pirates are
the two-time defending Conference USA champions.
... A coach who gets the Herd to a bowl game and
then wants to coach in it.
... That Larry Porter gets half as much talent
as he had to work with at LSU.
Another running back who can produce like Damion
... A defense that can hold someone to under
200 rushing yards per game.
Rice ... The Mr. Peabody
wayback machine to go back to 2008.
That June Jones not forget that Shawnbrey McNeal
might be the team's best player.
... The Bob Toledo of the late 1990s.
... Gus Malzahn.
A November win that means something.
Army ... A wee bit more patience before Rich Ellerson does for
Army what he did for Cal Poly.
Navy ... That no one wakes up and realizes that Ken Niumatalolo
isn't just keeping Paul Johnson's program rolling.
Notre Dame ... That the Irish fans realize that the program
needs a five-year plan and not a five-minute one.
Akron ... That Rob Ianello
was the reason the Notre Dame offense was so potent.
Green ... A running back who steps up when
Tyler Sheehan and Freddie Barnes are gone.
... That Jeff Quinn was the reason why the
Cincinnati offense was so potent.
... One more year with a healthy Eugene Jarvis.
A reset button for the Mike Haywood era.
... That Frank Solich not get offered a different
Temple ... Two more years of Bernard Pierce before he proves to
be good enough to leave early for the NFL.
Ball State ... A copy of the 2007 Ball State regular season team
video, Cardinal Football ... Ain't No Stoppin' Us
Michigan ... Another coach worthy of being
the next Cincinnati head man.
Michigan ... The How-To Win In The MAC
manual from Turner Gill and Al Golden.
Illinois ... A November road win.
Toledo ... A 2010 that was as thrilling and as exciting as the
first five games of the 2009 campaign.
Michigan ... That this little Central
Michigan dominance thing has left along with Dan
LeFevour and Butch Jones.
Force ... A hot chick on the program's arm so it
can get into the Mountain West VIP lounge.
... More 25-year-old players!
Colorado State ... A witness who got the license plate of the truck
that ran over the program over the last few months
of the season.
Mexico ... The realization that getting a Ron
Zook protégé might not have been the way to go.
Diego State ... A text containing the
Weather.com ten-day forecast for the greatest San
Diego area sent to every top recruit currently
living in the Northeast part of the country.
... That Gary Patterson doesn't wake up tomorrow
morning and realize he should be coaching at a much,
much bigger program.
... The realization that if you think Dennis
Franchione is the answer, the question might not be
... That Orrin Hatch actually wins his BCS
Wyoming... A visit from Trinny and Susannah
to work on the color scheme of the uniforms.
... Nothing. Arizona State's Kyle Williams gave the
Cats their gift a bit early.
Arizona State ... That Dennis Erickson be
the offensive head coach that made him Dennis
California ... All that NFL talent to start
to produce at the collegiate level.
Oregon ... A pair of Reeboks.
Oregon State ... The Rose Bowl to be wrapped up before the Civil
Stanford ... Another few bells and whistles added to Jim
Harbaugh's $70,000 bathroom to keep him around an
UCLA ... Nothing. Joe McKnight is helping to provide all the gifts
Rick Neuheisel will need.
USC ... Another coat of Teflon.
...That Jake Locker plays more like the prospect
that has the pro scouts drooling and less like the
actual Jake Locker.
Washington State ... Mike Price!
... That Urban Meyer doesn't make John Brantley, a
potentially big-time NFL prospect, all spready.
Georgia ... The realization that the window slammed shut last
... The realization that Rich Brooks might have
been the best coach in America in 2009 considering
what he had to work with.
South Carolina ... For Steve Spurrier to start doing
some of that Ball Coachin' that made him such a
Tennessee ... A butt that can cash all the checks that Lane
Kiffin's mouth is writing.
Vanderbilt ... Three offensive touchdowns in a single game.
... That ESPN doesn't call the 2009 Tide the
Greatest Team In The History Of The Planet in some
Arkansas ... That Ryan Mallett doesn't fully understand the
complexities and nuances of what the 2011 NFL
collective bargaining agreement might be..
Auburn ... That Gus Malzahn sticks around for a long, long time.
LSU ... The Time Trap: The Classic Book on Time Management.
Available new from $3.27 on Amazon.
... For Houston Nutt to not be in the rumor mill
for every job opening, and for Nutt to go out of his
way to keep his name out of any job searches.
Mississippi State ... More cowbell.
... To change the nickname to the Red Bulls and get
some dough for it.
Florida Atlantic ... To be able to at least put a fence around the
State of Boca Raton.
Florida International ... A Luther Campbell created song with the
chant, "The FIU, it's all about the FIU." This would
go along with the tagline, "It's a Golden Panther
thing, and you wouldn't understand."
MTSU - A little more help around Dwight Dasher to finally bring
the program a Sun Belt title.
... For all that fancy Southlake stuff to
finally kick in and produce wins.
... More chances to show what it can do against
the big boys.
Louisiana-Lafayette ... That everyone starts to call the school
Louisiana and leaves off the Lafayette.
Louisiana-Monroe ... A meaningful win over
the second half of the season to finally get to a
... An FBS football program.
Boise State ... The opportunity.
Fresno State ... For the team to play as well against Nevada as it
does against someone from a BCS league.
... A fight song as good as Notre Dame's.
... That Boise State soon becomes the state's
... To have enough success to make bigger
programs come calling for Derek Dooley.
Nevada ... A pass defense half as good as the running game.
New Mexico State ... For DeWayne Walker to quickly show why he was
in line for some much bigger gigs.
State ... For Mark MacIntyre to be the
defensive head coach that Dick Tomey was supposed to
Utah State - For a few more players as good as Diondre Borel and
Dec. 22, Part
1 - Ten reasons why Alabama will win the national