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Cavalcade Of Whimsy: Playoff Hope For Week One Losers


It wasn’t the Greatest Week One Ever for some big-time teams and conferences. The Week One Cavalcade of Whimsy tries to make everything all better.


Week 1 Cavalcade of Whimsy

To let me know how much this column sucks … @PeteFiutak

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

College football might have its issues, but every once in a while, the sport can get something absolutely right.

Thank you, Travis Rudolph.

Thank you, Nebraska coaches, for finding a really, really cool way to honor a fallen teammate.

College football needs to highlight the positive whenever possible so it can overcome the flaming bags of crap like this …

In search of an approval rating lower than Donald Trump polling 2% in Mexico …

There are few things our divided nation can agree on.

Politics, Colin Kaepernick, whether or not Luke or Nick should be your new Bachelor – we’re all in our separate camps on certain things without being able to find any sort of common ground. Fortunately, there’s one thing that can bring us all together.

Let us rise up in a moment as we all put aside our differences for a heartbeat while we sit back and enjoy the hurricane of a media (bleep)storm that’s about to hit with full force on Penn State for the mind-meltingly tone-deaf decision to honor Joe Paterno because he was a good football coach.

So here’s the answer. Here’s how we deal with this once and for all.

I declare September 17th, National College Football Placate The Stupid day.

Paterno truthers, go ahead and have your moment. Get everyone together in your stadium, pass out shiny pieces of tin foil and balls of string to keep your people occupied until it all starts, and then do whatever you feel you need to do to make yourselves happy about Joe Paterno in one blowout of a ceremony.

Go ahead … let it all out. Have speeches, make signs, make sure everyone knows exactly where you stand, and then go off and do anything but procreate.

At the same time, USC will have a Reggie Bush day – actually, it should – and give him back his Heisman.

Miami will bring out Nevin Shapiro and Luke Campbell to honor their contributions to one of the greatest dynasties in college football history.

Baylor boosters can all have one big hug on Art Briles Day; Ole Miss can retire Laremy Tunsil’s jersey; Ohio State can pass out free tattoos and leftover 2008 Fiesta Bowl swag; Florida State can use an airgun to shoot free shoes into the crowd; and Ron Meyer and SMU boosters can have a panel discussion about how they were able to perfect the art of the deal better than everyone else in the Southwest Conference who was doing pretty much the exact same thing.

There will be commemorative pins.

Unfortunately for Auburn, Clemson didn’t have the same gameplan with its quarterback

Ugh. Just when I start out the column with a productive blurb and start to get into a groove, Gus Malzahn tells 1904 Auburn starting quarterback Runt Perkins to get in there.

One heaping helping order of bad karma, coming up

There’s just no perfect way to properly commemorate the tragic passing of the terrific John Saunders, or anyone famous who dies. But I’m determined to find a better way to do this for future celebrity deaths.

This whole dying thing doesn’t look like a whole lot of fun, so I don’t plan on doing it, but if it somehow happens, I’ve got a plan with the hope that others follow my lead.

Instead of the plinky canned piano music accompanying a tribute read by ESPN’s Voice of Perpetual Poignancy, Tom Rinaldi – although Chris Fowler did the read on Saunders and absolutely nailed it – I’m going to make this easy on everyone.

Below is the prepared statement to be read so that no one has to sit around trying to come up with stories about how we ate a sandwich together or talked at length about how dopey Game of Thrones really is.

To be read with “Yakity Sax” playing in the background (I beg of you to click for full effect …)

“Pete Fiutak led a trite and meaningless life watching a lot of sports and eating way too many pork tacos, but he felt a little sad at times for men who didn’t have his hair, tipped 18%, and occasionally kept the toilet seat down.

Did he make a difference? Perhaps he helped someone make an extra shekel or two by coming up with the right pick against the spread here and there, but mostly, he had a knack for caring about people who could do things for him.

He leaves a wife and some kids, secure in the knowledge that years of life insurance payments will generously provide a glorious life of leisure for the Next Husband/Dad Up to enjoy.

Who was Pete Fiutak? He liked big games, bigger boobs, and even bigger slices of pie, and if there’s a just and reasonable God – and that’s in question if you’re an Ole Miss fan at the immediate moment – he’s somewhere right now in the middle of a Russ Meyer movie set with access to two screens on a November Saturday while being served a giant sampler plate of pecan, cherry and strawberry rhubarb, and yeah, I said it, an extra helping of whip.”

It’s not a positive when the reaction from the opposition to the quarterback change is a nap

Gus Malzahn – in an attempt to keep the defense on its heels – sends in Rip Major off the 1912 team to quarterback the column.

Okay, NOW you start with the stock ESPN music and Rinaldi VO

I’m sorry, Alabama. I know we had some good times last year when I said all season long you were a lock to win the national title and there was no reason to watch the rest of the season. And I know we had our moment in front of 75,000 people at the national championship when I declared my love for your team, but I moved on.

I left for you for LSU because, maybe, I needed a change. Maybe I fell for all that talent, all that experience, all those things I didn’t think you could be anymore. I’m so, so, so sorry.

Please, take me back, Crimson Tide.

At least until November 5th.

Because naming the Alabama backfield of Bo Scarbrough and Peoples is too much of a reach

It’s a life goal to give someone a nickname that actually sticks. I so hope to go down as the guy who came up with something like Magic, or Primetime, or Chrissy Everett, so here it goes …

From here on, the burgeoning star Alabama quarterback will be known as Jalen “The Truth” Hurts, since it fits in so many … oh dear Lord. I’ve turned into 1988 Chris Berman. Scratch that. Jalen is fine.

If you have three starting quarterbacks, you have a gig as an insurance salesman in your future

Gus Malzahn – sensing a momentum shift after that disastrous blurb – tells 1915 starter Homer Pendergast to get in there and shake things up.

Don’t go doing something stupid like losing to Connecticut again

Look, people. Don’t make do this again.

We already went through this with 1998 Tulane, and 1999 Marshall, and 2001 BYU, and Boise State in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Houston is great, and it looks like the real deal with real players who could produce at any level.

Could the Cougars beat anyone in the country on the right day? Yeah, but that’s not the point of being in a Power 5 conference.

Beat Oklahoma, and then a few weeks later, win at TCU, and then beat Texas, and take on Baylor, West Virginia on the road, and then close up with Oklahoma State. And for good measure, throw in a home date against Ohio State while you’re at it.

But I have nothing for Ole Miss fans except for the Laremy Tunsil draft night video route

Fans about to lose it after a rough Week One, let me talk you off the ledge here. Everything is going to be okay, and here’s why …

Tennessee fans – Your team actually won. It’s just one game against a veteran team that might be the best in the Sun Belt, and you won. Survive and advance. No one will care about how you beat Appalachian State if you beat Florida in a few weeks.

Notre Dame fans – All of your tough games are at home until the end. It’s not going to be easy beating Michigan State, Stanford and Miami, and there’s no more margin for error, but run the table, close it out with a win at USC, and you’re in the College Football Playoff.

Oklahoma fans – You did this last year. You lost to Texas and needed to be perfect, and you were. Same deal. Beat Ohio State, win the Big 12 title again on an 11-game winning streak, and you’re in the CFP.

LSU fans – You really do still have the most experienced talent in the country. Wisconsin’s D really is that good, and all that matters is winning the SEC title, anyway. Alabama did it last year after losing to Ole Miss, and this season, with the way things are shaking out, you’ll get in the CFP if you go 11-2 with an SEC championship.

Pac-12 – The South might be over and done with – I can’t help you, UCLA and USC – but Stanford survived against a strong Kansas State team, Washington looked amazing against Rutgers – even though it couldn’t run the ball – and Oregon will be fantastic with a little bit more time.

SEC – Don’t look at how the sausage was made. Kentucky, Missouri and Mississippi State weren’t going to be factors anyway, and at the end of the day, Tennessee, Florida and Arkansas won. The LSU loss was a hit, and the Ole Miss collapse was epic, but Alabama more than made up for that.

Georgia got by North Carolina by double-digits, Auburn played well against what might be the second best team in the country, and Texas A&M came up with a nice victory. I’m not going to lie to you, SEC, there’s no excuse for this last weekend, but again, that’s why you have Alabama.

And to talk Auburn in off the ledge … stick with JFIII and see how that goes

Gus Malzahn – wanting to give me a break in the heat – rotates the trio of Ripper Williams, Porter Callahan and Frank Tuxworth to alternate writing ever other sentence.

Forgetting for a scant second that the guy is probably concussed

Early season rule change that has to be made – a player shouldn’t automatically have to sit out one play if his helmet comes off.

I’m Mr. Head Trauma Sensitivity when it comes to football, but I saw at least five instances of a guy losing his lid just because, and then he missed a key play even though he appeared to be more than fine.

I know, I know, I know, and I’m right there with you. If a guy loses his helmet, it’s not a bad thing to make sure everything is fine and to give him a moment to take a little break – there had to be some head collision to cause it to happen – and to make sure it’s back on properly.

Officials can take three seconds, wait until he puts it back on, and then keep going.

“Thanks, I had it stuffed yesterday.”

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Minnesota head coach Tracy Claeys. Of course you go for two after scoring to go up seven late in the game.

Against Oregon State, the Gophers scored a touchdown to take a 30-23 lead with just over a minute to play. Instead of playing it safe and kicking the extra point – forcing the Beavers to score a touchdown and a two-point conversion – Minnesota went for two in an attempt to effectively end the game.

There’s no real downside. Miss, and Oregon State almost certainly kicks the extra point to send the game into overtime if it miraculously scores a touchdown. And if Gary Andersen decided to go for two and the win, then you tip your cap to the guy who brought more Dabo Swinny guts than you did.

Minnesota missed the conversion but still won.

And in honor of the Auburn gameplan, I’ll rotate the leftover chicken, final scoop of mac and cheese, and maybe a Frito or three

Gus Malzahn – realizing that I’m starving and need to end this column soon – calls on Jeff Burger to finish this up.

It’s not like Denver could’ve used a quarterback right now drafted in the 2010 first round and should now be coming into his own.

Enough with the Tim Tebow Is Taking Up A Spot That Could Be Held By A Legitimate Baseball Prospect rant. That baseball player who’s being denied a chance sucks. If he was any good at playing baseball, he’d be playing baseball.

Or dressed like an idiot college football writer trying to mercifully end his way-too-long column

Really, Northern Illinois and East Carolina? You’re upset about being rejected by the Big 12? You’re trying to push up on Adriana Lima wearing a chartreuse J Riggins suit.

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

Find anyone else on the planet who watched college football from 7 am when Georgia Tech and Boston College were getting rolling to around 4 am when weather-delayed Wyoming vs. Northern Illinois – a fantastic game by the way – finished up in overtime. It’s not like I had anything more pressing to do.

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

So far … Straight Up: 3-0, Against the Spread: 1-2

Really, Iowa defense? Since when did you decide not to tackle? I press on …

1. Nebraska -25 over Wyoming
2. Arkansas +10.5 over TCU (but TCU to win)
3. Oregon -24.5 over Virginia

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …

The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world

1) Overrated: Steve Aoki
Underrated: Spoonman

2) Overrated: Neutral site non-conference games
Underrated: Power 5 non-conference games on a home campus

3) Overrated: Waiting to announce your starting quarterback when running out of the tunnel
Underrated: Changing your mind two series in and going with the other guy

4) Overrated: Trevor Knight, Oklahoma
Underrated: Trevor Knight, Texas A&M

5) Overrated: Getting a win over an FCS team
Underrated: Getting a win a five-year-old at a Chuck E. Cheese Whack-A-Mole

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

ABC showed the poor taste of continuing to focus the camera on me as I endured one of the scariest moments of my life watching my son, Torri Hunter, Jr., lay motionless for a few moments on the Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium turf.