Cavalade of Whimsy, Part 2 - The USC Talent
USC QB Matt Barkley
USC QB Matt Barkley
Posted Sep 7, 2010

The ten things about the world of college football to be grouchy about, in Part Two of the opening weekend Cavalcade of Whimsy

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Sept. 7 - Week One, Part 2

Past Cavalcades
- 2008 Season | 2009 Season 
- Jan 19, Part 1 - Oh those wacky coaches 
- Jan 19, Part 2 - The sucky 2009 season 
By Pete Fiutak

- Sept. 7,  Cavalcade of Whimsy, Part One

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
The ten things I'm grouchy about this week …

10. USC's Talent
It has become fashionable to pile on with former USC stars flopping at the next level, but there have been more hits than misses, even though they haven't all been sexy. Yeah, the Matt Leinart thing was bad, Joe McKnight is a dog, as is LenDale White, and Mike Williams and Dwayne Jarrett don't help the cause. However, Reggie Bush isn't a bust. Everyone with a brain knew he wasn't going to be an every down workhorse, and he has turned out to be a nice specialist and a key piece to a championship puzzle. Steve Smith is a bright young star for the Giants, Sam Baker has been a good part of the Atlanta line, Ryan Kalil was a 16-game starter on a great Carolina line, and Winston Justice, Deuce Lutui, and Chilo Rachal are legitimate NFL starting blockers. The Sanchize, mopey moments on Hard Knocks and all, is the quarterback of a Super Bowl contender, TE Fred Davis is coming off a nice year for the Redskins, and Matt Cassel is starting for Kansas City.

As time goes on, the bigger story will be which former defensive players, who fit the profile of the Brian Cushing too-hard-workout plan, end up getting nailed for something suspension-worthy.

9. USC isn't going to a bowl? … Ooooh
Of all the motivational factors USC has to deal with now that it's on probation, not going to a bowl game shouldn't be among them. It would be one thing if we're talking about a school in Ames, Iowa or Syracuse, New York, but USC is in a place that you go to for bowl games. What, the Trojan players aren't going to be motivated because they don't get a basket full of free stuff? They're going to be grouchy because they don't get to take an extra road trip to San Diego or San Francisco? They live in Los Angeles, it's sunny every day, and they live on an oasis of a campus with some of the most beautiful women on the planet. Bowl games? At USC, it's national title, Rose Bowl, or nothing, and for most Trojan players, the carrot at the end of the stick is the next level payday (and maybe the NFL, too … ba-dum, chhhh).

8. Mike Rowe
I don't know who Mike Rowe is, I don't know what he's on my screen during every commercial break, and I don't know why he decided to buy that generic hat at the Kum ‘N Go after stocking up with beef jerky and a blue Icee (all while pretending not to sneak a peek at the covered up copy of Swank in the stand behind the counter). No, his butt doesn't look good in those jeans, and yes, he's No. 2 on the list (behind Phil Mickelson) of men on TV who desperately need a Bro or a Manziere for a little extra support.

7. UCLA's passing game
Rick Neuheisel and Norm Chow are two of the best offensive teachers on the planet, so why does UCLA suck so much at playing football? The mediocre passing game of last year can be explained away by youth and various injuries, but with a full year to prepare, the Bruins stunk it up against Kansas State coming out of the gate. It's not like the Wildcats did anything through the air, either, completing 12-of-17 passes as a team for 64 yards and a score, but UCLA needs to throw to win and Kevin Prince struggle completing a mere 9-of-26 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Next up is Stanford, and the offense had better be in high gear and ready to go.

6. Paul Hornung Award
New this year is the Paul Hornung Award that goes out to "the most versatile player in college football." If the people involved with this really want to do it right, they need to make sure the criteria includes 1) doing your best work on a losing team and 2) producing at a high level both on and off the field. Not the classroom, the bars. Each candidate needs provide a detailed list of hot chicks he scored with. The Golden Boy must approve. 3) The candidates must demand that their school lowers the academic standards in order to "get the black athletes." 4) The final part of the exam is a betting sheet. The one who picks the most winners against the spread gets special recognition.

5. Mack Brown saying Vince Young should receive 2005 Heisman
Brown has said that he thinks Young should be given the 2005 Heisman if the powers-that-be take it away from Bush. But before we anoint Young the winner, the NCAA should do its due diligence and at least ask Young it he ever had any "improper" involvement with an agent or a booster. They don't have rabid boosters in Texas, do they? Nooooooo. Agents aren't going to be interested in a potential top draft pick, right? Never. The NCAA, and the Heisman types, and Brown, certainly wouldn't want to rock the boat.

4. The new Big Ten
1) Enough with the whining about what's happening with Michigan and Ohio State. Of course they should be in the same division, and of course a rematch will be awful, but it'll take a lot of landmine stepping for those two to ever meet for the title. 2) In a perfect world, the Big Ten adds a 13th game, every team plays an 11-game conference schedule, and the championship is settled on the field like men instead of in a goofy gimmick.
3) It doesn't matter where the game is played as long as it's sold out. The only way a title game will stink is if it's friends, family, and bands in the stands like it is for the ACC Championship.
4) You can't call yourself the Big Ten and have 12 teams. Call yourself the Big 12 and make that other league change. Why should Michael Bolton change his name when it's the other one who sucks?

3. WAC committee to look for teams
After losing Boise State, Fresno State, and Nevada to the Mountain West, and with Louisiana Tech all but gone to Conference USA and Utah State possibly bolting if BYU really doesn't join the league some day, the WAC will form a special committee to find teams to add in an attempt to stay alive. Uhhhh, okay. Let's go down the checklist of possible matches that could play in the Western Athletic Conference. USC … it's vulnerable now with that whole probation thing. Washington State … it sort of stinks right now and might want an easier league to beat up on. California … no one east of the Rockies knows it exists, so maybe it's ripe.

The reality is that the WAC either finds a way to join forces with Conference USA, or it goes to try to pick off a few Sun Belt teams to come up with a sort of WAC East in an attempt to keep Louisiana Tech around. The league that has sent teams to BCS games in two of the last three years is in big, big trouble.

2. The Nebraska Farewell Tour
As we now know, Nebraska hated being in the Big 12 and was ecstatic to accept before the Big Ten could get the invite out of its mouth. There's no Big 12 nostalgia when it comes to Nebraska. There was Big 8 nostalgia with Oklahoma vs. Nebraska the superpower battle of all superpower battles back in the day, but the once-great rivalry got squished when the two were put in separate divisions. The Big 12 is the Texas League with Oklahoma as the sidekick. Nebraska didn't like playing third chair, never really had a rival after the once-growing battle with Kansas State started to fizzle, and it's jacked up to have a new rivalry with Iowa that will be among the best in the game. It'll be a complete and utter disaster for the Big 12 if the Huskers end up winning the conference title.

1. The Mountain West
Enough with the lobbying about deserving an automatic berth into the BCS. You need to do more than just have a few good teams to prove that the conference deserves to change its status.

As is, the league is almost certain to get a team in every year anyway, and if it doesn't have one worthy of the criteria, it doesn't deserve to have a team in, period. Just because the Big East has one, that doesn't mean giving the Mountain West one would automatically make it right.

Yeah, getting Boise State, Fresno State, and Nevada is a nice touch, but losing Utah and BYU is a killer and might end the debate right there. TCU already has its bags packed waiting for the Big 12 to step up and create an invite, and then you're basically the WAC on the Brian Cushing plan.

In order for this work, the Mountain West has to beef up the bottom. There's a reason that everyone is assuming TCU is going to blow through its schedule, and it's not because the team is untouchable. Air Force is fine, but San Diego State still needs work, Wyoming is a mirage, UNLV has never been able to turn it around, Colorado State can't pull up out of its nosedive, and New Mexico is a mess.

The conference has been proactive and isn't going to sit still. If it expands further by grabbing Houston and UTEP, all of a sudden, TCU has some friends to play with and the league is just good enough to really make a claim that it's stronger than the Big East with the Horned Frogs and Broncos two legitimate national title contenders. But for now, the conference should get another big payday from another BCS bid, and the respect will keep on coming once Boise State joins..

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.
- Just a gut feeling; Arizona will come up with a breakout performance against Iowa in two weeks, and Penn State is going to get destroyed by Alabama this week.
- Fine, I'll be the one who says it. The Most Interesting Man in the World seems like a jerkweed.
- It was nice of Virginia Tech to wait until Monday night to excuse itself from the national title debate. That's later than usual.
- Note to Wisconsin's John Clay, look into the single brat at State Street Brats and avoid the waffle fries. He looked fast against UNLV, but he's HUGE. The pros are going to want to see that gut gone three months from now.
- It's that time of year again for my annual rant. You never go for two if you don't have to because you never know what's going to happen. Vanderbilt went for two late in the third against Northwestern and missed, and it had to go for two in the final minute instead of being down one. The Commodores lost 23-21.

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: The possibility of East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill in ESPN3D … Underrated: The possibility of the USC cheerleaders in ESPN3D
2) Overrated: Pat Haden as the USC athletic director … Underrated: Mike Mayock as the Notre Dame NBC analyst
3) Overrated: The offseason flak over Deonte Thompson suggesting that Florida has an NFL-caliber quarterback now ... Underrated: Deonte Thompson dropping a perfectly placed bomb from the NFL-caliber quarterback
4) Overrated: Shia LaBeouf ... Underrated: Idaho S Shiloh Keo
5) Overrated: Fig Newtons ... Underrated: Auburn QB Cam Newton

"Tracy did mention we shouldn't let him gamble. Or drink too much."… If you're a regular reader of this column and you're an investor, then you know exactly what to do with this can't miss, five-star, Master Lock picks of the millennium. … Week 13 Results: 1) Central Michigan +8 over Temple, 2) Alabama -11 over Penn State, 3) NC State +3 over UCF … Record So Far: 0-0.

If the college football season ended right now, this would be my Heisman ballot cast for the Most Outstanding College Football Player in the United States for 2010. However, in protest, I'll vote Reggie Bush No. 1 and leaving the other two spots blank if he gets his Heisman taken away. … 1) Denard Robinson, QB Michigan, 2) T.J. Yates, QB North Carolina, 3) Kellen Moore, QB Boise State

Sorry this column sucked, it wasn't my fault … I was beaten out for the starting job by Denard Robinson, and I wasn't even listed as the No. 2, so I spent the column on the bench sulking with a towel over my head.