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Cavalcade Of Whimsy: Staying Strong, Leaving Oklahoma, Being Ohio State


Staying Charlie Strong, leaving Oklahoma, and being Ohio State, in a very special Cavalcade of Whimsy.


Cavalcade of Whimsy: Staying Charlie Strong

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

I lost to Kansas for the first time since 1938 and, apparently, that’s frowned upon.

Worse Charlie Thanksgiving Week: Strong vs. Brown. Discuss.

I tried, Charlie, and I’m still hoping you get one more year to see if all the work pays off.

I’ve tried to fight the good fight from the start that you, or anyone else taking over that Texas gig, were going to have a nightmare of a time considering the reset button was pushed on the talent level and the program really and truly needed a four-year overhaul.

And now, Texas type people, I ask this after that awful of all awful losses.

So what?

It might have been ugly, and it might be embarrassing, but losing to Kansas makes absolutely no difference this season, and it shouldn’t matter if you think Charlie Strong has the team in place to do something big next year.

If you’re Texas, you either win the Big 12 title, or you don’t. Everything else is just for show, and now, even after the problems in Lawrence, beat TCU and it’s off to a bowl game, and then the team gets 15 more practices and more work for what really matters: 2017.

You’re going to be in the exact same spot you would’ve been had D’Onta Foreman – who deserves two masseuses at the same time after that performance – been able to pop free and get that one first down to get out alive, or if you beat Kansas 159-0.

It doesn’t matter. That game doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the future of Texas is okay, comparatively speaking. There are other Big 12 teams that actually have it worse right now.

Texas could be Baylor, which is about to enjoy a total reboot, only without being Texas.

Texas could be Texas Tech, which is stuck in neutral, and whose season is over this week because Captain Handsome can’t get his defense to generate a meaningful stop.

Texas could be TCU, who’s probably going to get housed this week and could very easily miss out on a bowl game.

Or, on the flip side, Texas could be the new Michigan.

Michigan was fine after Lloyd Carr, but it was generally acknowledged that the program needed to make a major shift to potentially take a giant leap forward, and now, while no one wants to admit it after the lean times under previous regimes, Jim Harbaugh is winning because 1) yeah, he’s swell, and 2) all of Brady Hoke’s recruits are maturing at once.

Just like all of Strong’s recruits are going to be ready for primetime over the next two seasons for Tom Herman to enjoy.

”Oh gee, thanks Dave, bang-up job so far. Extortion, coercion; you’ll pardon me if I ask you to kiss my …”

By Texas AD Mike Perrin saying, “we’ll discuss where things stand after that,” that means Charlie Strong’s status after the TCU game comes down to this. If Texas loses, this will be easy. If Texas wins, then it’ll be harder.

Enough. Texas, go be Texas already.

If you want Strong and you see the future of what he’s already built, fine. If you don’t, get Tom Herman and get on with it.

Don’t worry about being nice – tell the man where he stands. No matter what, everything will be fine – Chuck Strong is going to get out with about $30 mildo from this gig.

Strong can take any college defensive coordinator job he wants, or he could probably get the head coaching job at Purdue or Cincinnati. Or, he can be all Will Muschamp – another coach who struggled at a highest-of-profile gigs, but was liked and respected – and wait his turn until a South Carolina-like gig comes up.

TBH, my recollection of that day is a tad fuzzy, but I’ll go with it

The last time Iowa State and Kansas won a Big 12 game on the same day? November 10th, 2007. Kansas beat Oklahoma State 43-28, and Iowa State beat Colorado 31-28. I remember exactly where I was that day. I was sitting in front of a computer, typing college football words.

The real shame is that the best running back in football wasn’t able to go with the season on the line from one yard out

Leonard Fournette is one of the ten best pro prospects currently in college football, so while it might be mean, and it might be unfair, and it might never, ever, ever be okay to question a college kid’s injury status, in terms of evaluating a multi-million dollar NFL franchise investment, it’s all part of the cold, heartless deal.

No matter how it gets spun, if I’m an NFL GM, I’m red-flagging why it took a kitten fight kerfuffle with a Florida assistant coach to be the play-or-not-play tipping point.

If this is Week 11 vs. the Cleveland Browns, the Jacksonville Jaguars, or the Houston Texans, and you’re the No. 6 pick in the draft, if you’re hurt, you play, and if you’re injured, you play.

And yeah, if it’s against Florida, and the Sugar Bowl might be on the line, and you’re able to gut-check it out for 40 yards before having to tap out after someone talked smack to you, you play.

Even so, all credit due to Fournette for giving it a shot, no matter how he got there – I can’t ever break away from my player’s rights belief system. So with that in mind …

LSU 21, Oklahoma 14. Two words: Justin Vincent

Oklahoma assistant coach Mike Stoops ripped apart Oklahoma defensive lineman Charles Walker for leaving the team to get healthy for the NFL and make sure his draft stock wouldn’t slip.

From the Dallas Morning News: “Quitting on your teammates is hard to take, as a coach,” Stoops said. “That’s everything we stand for — our commitment to one another and, for whatever reason, that wasn’t there for him.”

Right. Okay.

“But, yeah, you can’t have guys coming and going and have a group of players committed to what they’re doing day in and day out, putting all the time and energy into it,” Stoops said. “It’s not fair to the players that are on our team if they’re not committed to the team.”

Soooooooooo, it’s not okay to leave a team to do what’s best for you, your family and your dreams.

Like, say, being the defensive coordinator of the 2003 Oklahoma team, and then being announced as the University of Arizona head football coach over a month BEFORE that team was off to play LSU in the BCS Championship.

Got it.

Walker isn’t remotely close to being a big enough college football player to be considered a possible Curt Flood in terms of milestone, ground-breaking names, and he’s certainly not doing anything worthy of being hailed as a hero, but let him be known as the trailblazer for the Leonard Fournettes, the Dalvin Cooks, the Myles Garretts, and the future Jaylon Smiths and Marcus Lattimores.

Of course Walker should leave the Sooner football team to make sure he’s healthy for the NFL Draft.

He missed a month with a concussion, and now, in the new world of protocols and sensitivities to how long a player might be active once brain trauma issues are a part of the puzzle, this is the smart business decision.

One big injury, or one more massive concussion, would’ve turned the likely third-round pick into potentially an undraftable free agent.

Get used to this, everyone. Charles Walker is just the beginning of players starting to do this more and more.

And it’s going to be okay.

“If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook,” or, Oh, poor you. You might have to go play in the Rose Bowl

If you’re good enough be in the College Football Playoff, you’d end up in the College Football Playoff.

Of course it matters that USC wet the bed against Alabama, lost by 17 to a mediocre Stanford, and collapsed late against a decent Utah squad.

If USC was good enough as a team, a college football program, a coaching staff, a Song Girl squad – okay, so that gets a free pass – and an organization, it would’ve figured out that Sam Darnold was its best quarterback before the season. And even with him, the Trojans beat all of two teams that’ll go bowling – Colorado and Washington – who’ve also combined to beat a fat load of jack-squat in terms of bowl-bound teams.

Oh, poor you. You have to go play in the Rose Bowl, Part 2

It’s taken a while, but when it comes to my College Football Playoff this season, here’s how I’ve decided to handle Ohio State if it finished 11-1 but doesn’t get to the Big Ten Championship, and assuming the SEC champ, Clemson, and Washington all win out.

An 11-1 Ohio State that doesn’t even win its own division, in a hypothetical situation …

– Shouldn’t get in over an SEC champion Florida, if the Gators also beat Florida State.

– Shouldn’t get in over a 12-1 Alabama that loses the SEC Championship.

– Shouldn’t get in over a Big Ten champion Penn State, since the Nittany Lions would be the champs of the best conference in college football this year and won the head-to-head battle with the Buckeyes.

– Should get in over Big 12 champion, Oklahoma. OSU won head-to-head on the road.

– Should get in over Big 12 champion, Oklahoma State. OSU lost to Central Michigan. It’s not fair, but you do not lose to Central Michigan at home.

– Should get in over Big Ten champion Wisconsin. I know, the Badgers would be the B1G champs, but Ohio State won head-to-head on road and the resume is better. AND …

– Should get in ahead of 12-1, Pac-12 champion Washington. If Huskies win out, their three-best wins: Pac-12 championship, at Utah, Stanford. Ohio State: at Wisconsin, at Oklahoma, Michigan.

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

Because you need more teams, otherwise, next year is going to suck if you have a repeat of this season. How dumb will it be if Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State decides the One True Champion one week, and then they have to play a rematch in AT&T Stadium just in case the first one didn’t take?

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

It’s get all puffy-chested about my ridiculous record against the spread, except for one problem: I missed on an all-timer level last week.

I nailed UTSA +27.5 over Texas A&M, and Oklahoma -3 was easy over West Virginia, but I also had Texas Tech -3 vs. Iowa State, and for that, I shan’t be forgiven.

In honor of Rivalry Week, and with a nice cushion, it’s time to take the big cuts.

Straight Up: 23-13, Against the Spread: 25-10-1

All straight up, too. Of course.

1. Florida +6.5 over Florida State
2. Michigan +6.5 over Ohio State
3. Texas -2 over TCU (this might be an all-timer of a lock)
4. Utah +10.5 over Colorado
5. (Flying … to … close … to the sun. Deep breath) Toledo +9 over Western Michigan

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …

The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world

1) Overrated: Apparently, Ohio State if the thing worked
Underrated: Mark Dantonio’s win-this-thing-now-or-close-to-it decision to go for two

2) Overrated: 2016 Baker Mayfield
Underrated: 2017 Baker Mayfield

3) Overrated: Thanksgiving football
Underrated: New Year’s Eve Football

4) Overrated: Wake-i Leaks: Louisville allegedly knowing some of Wake Forest’s plays
Underrated: Houston’s defensive line playing like it had Louisville’s entire playbook

5) Overrated: Turkey
Underrated: KFC: (Bleep)it, Let’s Get-A Bucket

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

Like Rutgers, I got a touchdown on Iowa, but against Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State I lost by a combined score of 224-0.