Cavalcade of Whimsy
Sept. 7 - Week One
Jan 19, Part
1 - Oh those wacky coaches
Part 2 - The sucky 2009 season
One, Part 2 - Ten Things To Be Grouchy About
Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault … the NCAA ruled me ineligible two hours before the column was supposed to start.
“Boys, the rules don't make much sense. But I believe in the rules. Some of us broke them. I broke them. I can't do this. I can't win like this. “ ... There are rules when it comes to agents, and then there are rules when it comes to cheating in school. One is a made-up problem that really shouldn’t be considered a big deal, while the other goes to the heart of the integrity of an academic institution and can’t be tolerated. Even so, for just one big game against Bob Knight and Indiana, it would’ve been awesome to see Butch McCrae, Ricky Roe, and Neon Boudeaux out on the floor at the same time to see what kind of magic they would’ve created. I really wanted to see that North Carolina defense going full-throttle against LSU on a national stage.
"The Human Fund. Money for people." ... In order to become eligible again, Alabama DT Marcell Dareus must repay the benefits of $1,787.17 to the charity of his choice. Marcell, let me help you here with five very worthy, top-rated causes.
- The Anti-Marcell Dareus Defamation League
- Make-A-Wish, Marcell
- Players Without Borders And Agents
- Toys for Marcell Dareus Foundation
- The National Center for Missing and Exploited Marcell Dareus
Or better yet, if you don’t give your dough to the Houston Nutt People Helpers, write your check to a worthwhile cause, preferably something that involves children, and then have your agent pay you back.
And the snap from Mike Pouncey ... Excuse me, I’ll be right back.
“C'mon, what are you? And are you a businessman or are you a newsman?! Because that happens to be what Mike and I do for a living. "Put the corporation at risk"...? Give me a f***ing break!” ... Very soon, the perfect storm that’s brewing is going to explode.
Because of the NCAA’s Jihad against agents, boosters, Nick Saban’s pimps, and all the evils surrounding them, more and more programs will get tagged with sanctions and we’ll have more zaniness like there was this weekend when Georgia’s A.J. Green had to sit out at the last second, Ole Miss QB Jeremiah Masoli got a reverse, and North Carolina was held in limbo. Don’t expect this to stop.
If the NCAA is going to do this, and I mean really do this, it’s going to have to take an honest and hard look at every program to apply some semblance of consistency and fairness. USC might have gotten crushed by the Reggie Bush problems, but that only happened because Bush was sloppy and was such a high-profile figure. Every program (with the possible exception of the military academies) could get flagged for something major when it comes to agents, loans, and the various rules if the NCAA wanted to look hard enough, and if you’re a USC fan, you’re demanding the NCAA turn the same screws to everyone else that were applied to the Trojans.
However, soon, all the NCAA’s law enforcement is going to butt heads with the bottom line. At the same time the NCAA is penalizing stars left and right, after years of sticking its head in the sand in a Bud Selig Steroid Era sort of way, the business of college football has never been bigger. ESPN is dropping a billion for the rights to the SEC, and that’s just scratching the surface on what’s to come down the road with all the new media involved. The new Big Ten is going to be a cash machine for the Big Ten Network and for the conference over the next several years, the Pac 10 will certainly improve its standing, and the expanded Mountain West is going to get richer. BYU is leaving the Mountain West and will probably make around an extra $10 to $12 million a year by being an independent, the Big 12 might be leaner and more profitable with ten teams, and Notre Dame is certain to make more if Brian Kelly really can turn things around.
However, ESPN, Fox, CBS, and the rest of the networks who carry college football are going to have a problem with any advertising agency with a brain. If I’m a high-powered media buyer and NBC is trying to sell me a 30 second spot for the Notre Dame – USC game, or if ESPN is trying to pitch a package surrounding SEC football, or if ABC wants to push the primetime Saturday night showdown, I have to be assured that the star teams aren’t going to be gutted by the NCAA. A USC team that has a shot at a national title is worth a far bigger ad buy than one that can’t go bowling.
Of course, buying time for sporting events is always a bit of a crapshoot since a top team could stink or a conference could be down and not have a slew of interesting matchups, but there’s a difference between that and trying to pay money for a Pac 10 slate that doesn’t include a top-shelf USC squad. If I bought time on ABC for the LSU – North Carolina game, I’d be really, really ticked that most of the Tar Heel stars were out and that the game stunk early on because of it. How many fans turned it off at halftime thinking is was over?
The fact of the matter is that the Notre Dame – USC game loses its luster now. If the NCAA keeps sniffing around the SEC teams like it’s currently doing, and if someday in the near future Florida, or Alabama, or LSU, or Georgia, or all of the above end up getting in trouble because of some Bush-like situation, ESPN will rightly go ballistic. Sure, college football fans cheer for the uniforms and the die-hards will watch no matter what, but the big TV numbers only come when the top teams are really, really good and the casual fans are interested.
At some point in the near future, some ESPN executive will place a phone call to someone in the NCAA to ask which shoe is dropping next. You can’t promote a game surrounding a top team or some top-shelf stars and then have the NCAA rule the Heisman-caliber quarterback ineligible a few hours before gametime. If you’re selling the idea of Tim Tebow on a Saturday night, or Brett Favre on a Thursday preseason game, or LeBron on Christmas, outside of injury, the star had better be shining or the sponsors are going to be peeved. Over the coming months, keep an eye out for how NCAA justice is metered out and the timing of the various rulings as more scandals come to light.
Urban Meyer Meltdown Clock as of … now ... 64 days, 21 hours, 31 minutes, 43 seconds
“Well, that's not really a meal Jerry. I mean if he had gotten Chicken Gumbo, or Matzah Ball, or Mushroom Barley. Then I would agree with you. Those are very hardy soups.” ... A few years back a former coworker mentioned she had a basketball autographed by Michael Jordan, given to her by Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, sitting in her closet. I made a little joke that she should give me the ball, and shockingly, she did. I demanded to pay her something for it, but she truly didn’t care about sports memorabilia and just gave it to me. I insisted that I give her something in exchange and we finally agreed that I’d bring in her favorite dinner, the barbecued pork chops from Carson’s in Chicago.
Let’s say that several years later it turned out that the autograph was a forgery and it wasn’t Jordan’s signature (not true, but we’re going hypothetical here). I could ask for money back that I spent on the pork chop dinner, but that seems a little hollow considering I like the ball, I got plenty of mileage out of the “Pork Chop Ball” story, and really, no one would care much unless I said something. Meanwhile, I obviously can’t ever get the original pork chops back. They were eaten, the transaction is complete, and nothing can change that.
The 2005 USC Trojans are the consumed pork chop of college football history. What’s done is done, they won the national title, and it can’t be taken away just because a few self-righteous blowhards feel like it.
Urban Meyer Meltdown Clock as of … now ... 64 days, 21 hours, 27 minutes, 11 seconds
“Yeah, but Mr. Brown? That's too close to Mr. S***.” ... I have no beef with the man. I don’t know him, I’ve never met him, and I’ve never talked to him. I’m sure he’s a fine fellow, a snappy dresser, and a gentleman among gentlemen. However, after doing a minimal amount of research, I’m prepared to officially submit Tennessee Tech’s Watson Brown into the discussion of the least effective head coaches in the history of college football.
Brown started his head coaching career in 1981 at Austin Peay where he took the Governors to two straight 7-4 seasons. Since kicking things off with two straight winning campaigns, Brown has come up with just four winning seasons over the last 23 years as a head coach … but he always found a gig.
After the success at Austin Peay, he took over Cincinnati in 1983 and went 4-6-1. He parlayed that into a job with Rice the following year where he went 1-10 in 1984 and 3-8 in 1985. 4-18 with the Owls meant a bump up to the SEC and Vanderbilt where he came up with five straight losing seasons and a 10-45 record. Five years later, he was able to latch on at UAB where he went 62-74 over 11 years, and it’s where he had the most success going 7-4 in 2000, 6-5 in 2001, and 7-5 in 2004 finishing with a 30-29 Conference USA record.
He took over at Tennessee Tech in 2007 and went 4-7 and 3-9 before starting to turn things around with a 6-5 2009 season. After losing to Arkansas on Saturday, Brown’s overall record now stands at 107-172-1. He has won fewer won fewer than 40% of his games over his long career, and now he’s due.
For all those years of service and with the great big pile of yuck he has had to go through coaching mediocre program after mediocre program, I’m rooting for the guy. Being a college football coach is a tortured existence, and this dude deserves his first ever eight-win season. Better yet, if TCU’s dream year is going to be ruined at some point, I’m hoping it’s this week when it faces Brown’s TTU squad.
“Just take what you want, Mr. White. Pay us back anytime. Or don't. We don't care.” ... The whole Ole Miss all-white thing (which just sounds wrong in a variety of ways), asking fans to wear white for the opener, didn’t exactly work. Considering the way the team played against Jacksonville State, the Red Out against Vanderbilt on September 18th can’t come soon enough.
And the snap from Mike Pouncey ... Crap. Sorry, but I have to go fall on this.
“Tonight, taped live from the all-new sportsbook, we present the premiere showing of Aces High. With the Sasha Semenoff Orchestra . . . and the Sam Rothstein Dancers!” … Mike Leach as a CBS College Sports announcer is a special match.
Roger Twibell: “Mike, the quarterback had the receiver open and he just couldn’t seem to connect.”
Leach: “THAT FREAKIN’ ADAM JAMES …”
Twibell: “Uhh, 2nd and ten and down goes Jackson with a huge hit for a loss of three.”
Leach: “I told him to stand NEXT to the garage. NEXT … TO … IT. Not IN it.”
Twibell: “3rd and ten … and the pass falls … “
Leach: “THAT FREAKIN’ GERALD MYERS …”
Twibell: “Uhhh, Sims back to punt …”
Leach: “Now, Myers and Craig James, they should go stand in the garage along with their fat little girlfriends.”
Twibell: “And we’ll be back.”
Urban Meyer Meltdown Clock as of … now ... 64 days, 21 hours, 23 minutes, 33 seconds
But maybe he could field a shotgun snap ... This week’s Jesse Palmer Spiky Hair Gel Factor, sponsored by Axe: 8
And would you have still eaten that burrito that smelled a tad fun on June 21st, 2008? ... Alright, Michigan fans. It’s 2007 and you know everything that’s going to happen up until this moment. Do you still hire Rich Rodriguez? Do you roll the dice that this thing is about to go ballistic? It’s going to be a fun ride.
Harry Doyle: [before the playoff game] Monty, anything to add?
Monty: Ummm... no.
Harry Doyle: He's not the best colorman in the league for nothing, folks! ... Analysis of the week. Lou Holtz on why Boise State would win: “Uh … too strong, um, too good … offense … er … defense.”
Runner-up: The crawl on the bottom of the ESPN screen that said: “(3) Boise State to face (10) Virginia Tech in stiffest test of season.” Technically, New Mexico was Oregon’s stiffest test of the season, too.
And the snap from Mike Pouncey ... Seriously dude? Oh well, I guess this is better than putting my hands under the sweat soaked cheese and biscuits.
“Me Fail English? Thats Unpossible!” ... Note to Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. The problems your team were having in the first half were inexcusable, not “unexcusable,” like you said to Alex Flanagan going into the locker room, but ...
Those who throw unexcusable stones ... Notre Dame fans, I beg your mercy to be kind and forgiving as I keep writing about starting quarterback Dayne Christ. I have a Chuck Knoblauch-throwing-to-first brain lock whenever I write Crist’s last name. At the very least, be nicer than you’ve been when I continue to refer to your fantastic No. 1 wideout, Malcolm Floyd.
And I’m still pushing for GameDay to come broadcast from my breakfast nook, but then I’d have to put on pants now that Erin Andrews is a part of the show … It’s Year Two, Week One 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? Five words, and I can only pray that you have sons and don’t have a clue why this is such a big deal. Disney On Ice Princess Classics.
And the snap from Mike Pouncey ... That’s it. You go get it yourself. I’m not diving in there to clean up your mess. Fine, I’m on it, but that’s it.
I bet Tebow wouldn’t have to deal with this crap.
7, Cavalcade of Whimsy, Part Two