Cavalcade Of Whimsy: How Not To Coach, Dress, Tiebreak

Advice on how not to coach, dress, or tiebreak in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy.

After Week 4 Cavalcade of Whimsy

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Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …

The ruling is that the column did not get the snap off prior to the clock showing zero.

Really, Auburn? You’re really a “winner” after that?

If that game’s at LSU, the clock starts a half-second later and we’re all talking about Gus Malzahn’s job options right now.

lane-kiffinLSU, Auburn, USC (again), Notre Dame, and deep, deep, deep in your heart, Tennessee …

“I know you want me (want me)/
You know I want cha (want cha)/
I know you want me/
You know I want cha (want cha)”

Or we just make it a social media drinking game – I’m good either way.

I declare that Saturday, October 1st will be national Make A Play Awareness Day.

For one glorious moment in time, announcers will go without relying on the empty and lazy analysis that someone has to “make a play.”

There will be commemorative pins, a 5k fun run, and face-painting for the little ones.

Fortunately, over the next few weeks, Michigan has a Butt and Ohio State has a Hooker who might help with that

Really? I’m going to have to live the next four years of my college football life watching Wisconsin games with a quarterback whose name is pronounced Horny-brook?

In my eternal quest for material, please, please, please, please let this happen

If Clemson beats Louisville, and Florida State beats Clemson – both very possible – and the Tigers, Cardinals and Seminoles all finish the ACC season with just one loss, the league will then turn to SportSource Analytics – who handles the stat services for the College Football Playoff – to determine who should end up representing the Atlantic Division in the conference championship.

If only there was some sort of a system in place – say, a ranking system – determined by a group of 12 or 13 college football dignitaries who sat in a room just outside of Dallas on a weekly basis and meticulously and painstakingly combed through, argued, and debated the merits of each and every team, schedule, and outcome.

Then – and I know, Captain Wacky here with his nutty ideas – maybe, the ACC could take the highest-ranked team from that system FROM THE SAME COMPANY THAT’S ALREADY IN PLACE TO DETERMINE THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS and just go with the highest-ranked ACC team.

Do you know what this is? It’s the world’s smallest violin playing just for the Notre Dame head football coach.

You can always tell what kind of a person someone is by the way he or she treats the waiter or waitress.

Are you demeaning, since you’re the customer and you’re being served?

Are you fun, and trying to enhance the experience by interacting with the server? Are you a cheap jerk? Even if you worship at the altar of the Mr. Pink belief system, do you tip more than 15%?

Are you condescending, because Cody – complete with the four face-piercings and great-aunt Betty-waft after gunning a stick in between serving up the crispy beans appetizer and the mango-popping shrimp – has only brought you three Diet Coke refills instead of the prerequisite five?

And, in the same way, you can always tell what kind of a person a head coach is by what he does in job-crisis mode.

If you’re the coach of the Winnipeg Jets or the Phoenix Suns in mid-March, and the season is going absolutely nowhere and the players are packing it in, then yeah, of course it’s okay for the embattled coach to rip. They’re all professionals, and the players are getting paid to do a job. It’s on the players to always bring the Grade-A effort every night, and if they don’t, the coach has to fire away to do whatever it takes.

That’s not how it’s supposed to work in college.

Putting aside the player-compensation debate in terms of the worth of room-board-scholarship, the college coaches are the ones getting paid. They’re the professionals, and in the case of the big-time head guys, they’re the ones getting the generational wealth on an annual basis.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is making in the neighborhood of $4 million a year and recently signed an extension through 2021, but he’s now 1-3 after an inexcusable loss to Duke at home. That means he’s going to lose three games or more for the fourth straight season and for the sixth time in his “unremarkable” seven-year tenure.

While Ohio State managed to stay fantastic despite returning just six starters, and Alabama is No. 1 again after losing its entire offensive backfield and several key parts of a national champion, the Fighting Irish continue to fumble along in a hazy malaise of extreme over-averageness.

And now, with that 1-3 start, Notre Dame is the worst possible thing of all – totally irrelevant for the rest of the 2016 college football season.

There might be a spoiler win over Stanford here, or maybe a Miami victory there, and there could be a few thrilling exhibition games the rest of the way, but after losing to Duke, and with the New Year’s Six out of the mix, the 2016 campaign pulled into the right lane.

Kelly’s job should be safe and secure. After all, he’s got that extension, while last year’s team came within a few strange twists against Stanford from probably going to the College Football Playoff. Even if he did lose this gig, he’d probably fall up to the NFL. But now that his team is playing like crap, he’s following the embattled coach playbook step-by-step.

He did the “we have to do better” thing, and, of course, he included himself and the coaches.

He did the fire-the-coordinator thing, because defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, apparently, was the problem.

That’s all well and good, but as a college coach, you’re not allowed to do the it’s-the-players’-fault thing.

“So if you want to play for me moving forward, I don’t care what your résumé says, I don’t care if you’re a five-star, if you had 100 tackles, or 80 receptions, or 30 touchdown passes,” said Kelly at the post-Duke press conference. “You’d better have some damn fire and energy in you. We lack it. We lack it severely.”

What if the answer is no?

What if DeShone Kizer came out and said something similar?

“If you want to coach me moving forward, I don’t care what your résumé says, you’d better have some damn stronger gameplans.”

What if Notre Dame’s players decide that they’d rather play for a better head coach? Can they just leave? No, but you can, Brian, if the Cleveland Browns soon come calling.

The players are stuck – Malik Zaire would look awfully good at LSU right now – and that means it’s your job to teach, coach, and scheme better.

You’re getting paid the millions of dollars, Brian. You recruited these players. You’re the one in charge of the entire operation. Go ahead and say what you want about heart and effort behind closed doors and in the sanctity of the locker room or in team meetings. But to step up in front of the media after a loss and dog your players for a severe lack of “fire and energy,” and threaten them publicly by saying that every position is vulnerable, then that’s 100% on you, the college coach, to be a better teacher.

“All 22 of (the starting positions) will be evaluated.”

Yeah, no (bleep). Welcome to what you’re supposed to be doing each and every game as the $4 million-a-year college football head coach.

You think the players are happy going 1-3 after being promised the moon, the stars, and the College Football Playoff when you recruited them? This is their team, too, and for a lot of them, this is it for football. Notre Dame is their dream, and very soon, it’ll all be over.

And, to paraphrase what the NCAA promo ad likes to say, most of them will go on to do something other than football.

And they won’t be getting paid millions of dollars to do it.

First we kick, and then we kiss – and this includes Brian Kelly, too …

It’s easy to think of high-profile college football coaches as very rich, very silly, very overinflated guys with way too much power and influence, but what gets lost and forgotten is just how much good they do, too.

Hopefully you noticed the Coach To Cure MD patches worn by a variety of coaches this weekend in the fight to defeat Duchenne, a horrific muscular dystrophy disorder that affects young men by robbing them of their muscle function, and almost always, their lives in their teen years.

There’s no cure, but with the research, support, and awareness from initiatives like the one this past weekend, life expectancy is starting to increase.

Ron Turner didn’t win enough football games at FIU, and because of that he was fired this weekend. That’s the nature of the business, and all coaches know that going in. But as he’s a footnote across the crawl at the bottom of the screen, and as all coaches are being scrutinized and judged right now by their records, check out the look on this mom’s face and ask if it makes one lick of difference how many games Turner won.

You don’t have to wear a patch, or do anything but text the word “Cure” to 90999 to make a one-time, $5 donation, or please go to coachtocuremd.org to learn more.

For purposes of my fabulous Ed Orgeron imitation bit, please, please, please make this work, LSU

What if Ed Orgeron beats Alabama?

LSU really is one of the most talented teams in college football, and what if all that’s needed is a different voice – a gravelly voice – a different energy, and a massive shake-up, like firing the superstar, national title-winning head man?

Forgetting what’s next for LSU in terms of head coach, what happens if LSU puts it all together now and beats Missouri, and then it grinds out a win at Florida, pushes past Southern Miss and slows down Ole Miss, and then, with Alabama coming to Baton Rouge, the team rises up and rocks? And then, what if Arkansas and Texas A&M continue to be good, and LSU wins those two games on the road to finish the year 10-2 and on a brilliant eight-game winning streak?

All the College Football Playoff committee members say it’s all about who the four best teams are. If LSU does that, it’s one of the four best teams, no matter what.

Speaking of players and their options …

I made the deal with you earlier in the season, America, that I wouldn’t crank up the 19th annual Top NFL Draft Prospects Shouldn’t Play One More Down Than They Absolutely Have To rant as long as you agreed that Leonard Fournette should quit college football the moment LSU lost its second game. They guy’s already hurting with leg injuries on a program in chaos, but I’ll amend my deal.

If LSU wins out, it belongs in the College Football Playoff. But one more loss along the way, and I ask that you join the fight – and this especially means you, NFL GMs.

“Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press’ll think you’re colorful.”

Sep 24, 2016; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Taj Griffin (5) breaks a tackle in the fourth quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 24, 2016; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Taj Griffin (5) breaks a tackle in the fourth quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Look, Oregon. You might have built a foundation on gimmicks, starting with the Joey Harrington billboard in Times Square in New York back in 2001 and continued with the quick-pitch attack that fails once it gets that boulder to the very tippy-top of the mountain against a physical team, but this stupid uniform initiative has to stop.

This not kicking the extra point idea has to stop, too.

All of this silliness has to stop until you start being really good again, and then all this outside-the-box stuff is cool. Until then, you just look ridiculous. And while you’re at it, get off my lawn.

This week’s reason why the Big 12 should consider me for expansion …

Unlike the rest of the league, I guarantee I could get out to a good start against SMU.

The sure-thing, 100%, rock-solid lock, sell the house, sell the kids, no doubt about it picks of the century for this week

I got the LSU-over-Auburn pick wrong, and for it, Les Miles had to go. Florida State over USF was the layup of all layups, but any genius notion gets squashed fast by Army not only not covering the 14 against Buffalo, but losing outright.

Straight Up: 9-3, Against the Spread: 6-6

1. Wisconsin +10 over Michigan
2. Pitt -1 over Marshall
3. Cal -1 over Utah

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …

The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world

1) Overrated: Butch Jones
Underrated: The “local media”

2) Overrated: Ducks
Underrated: Pulling trucks

3) Overrated: Von Miller’s Madden NFL 17 ad
Underrated: “If you put your mind to it you can be anything. Like a doctor … or a dancer.” – Justin Bieber

4) Overrated: James Franklin hot seat status
Underrated: The Penn State faculty with a spine

5) Overrated: Stanford up 15-13
Underrated: Stanford winning 22-13

Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault …

All I did was have a few drinks, set a few rolls of toilet paper on fire next to the iconic oak tree, and then the whole column was burning. Who knew?