2017 Cavalcade of Whimsy: Is Baker Mayfield An All-Time Great?
Just how good is Baker Mayfield? The havoc wreaked on the college football season by Irma, too many good games, and more, in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy.
Cavalcade of Whimsy: After Week 2
Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
Yes, the column is a bit overrated and probably wasn’t No. 2 in the country coming into the college football season. After all, I’m still trying to replace all the lost parts from last year’s version, and the inconsistencies and concerns are still there.
Was it exposed? Has it been getting by on brand name, talent and flash? Perhaps a little bit, but I’ve rallied and rocked before after a bad early loss, and rolled when it mattered most.
It had a bad day on Saturday, and it’s still reeling from a putrid Fiesta Bowl prediction. But this is THE Cavalcade of Whimsy. It’ll be fine.
Maybe it’s because the lines are still fresh for him after unsuccessfully trying out for the role of Candy
America, it’s time to play …
Line of dialogue from “The Deuce” – HBO’s new big-thing Sunday night drama about the rise of the porn industry in early 1970’s New York City – or BTN color analyst Matt Millen calling the Florida Atlantic vs. Wisconsin game last Saturday.
Contestants ready? Here we go. “The Deuce” or Millen …
“He had to readjust his body and get his hands to the backside … reallllly well done.”
If you’re going to apologize, say you’re sorry for kicking their butt
Considering Julius Caesar Watts – now you might know him as former Oklahoma congressman J.C. Watts – had the coolest name, the coolest game and the coolest hair in all of college football, and Jamelle Holieway still ranks as No. 1B – just a smidge behind Deion – as my favorite player of all-time, I choose my words carefully here when it comes to gushing over an Oklahoma quarterback.
Baker Mayfield is on the verge of submitting his application for acceptance into the Greatest College Quarterbacks of All-Time discussion.
It’s too late in his career to be the unofficial Best College QB Ever – based on accomplishments and stature, Mr. Tebow has that thing wrapped up – and he’s nowhere near the talent of the potential all-timer group of NFL-caliber quarterbacks for the 2018 Draft, but with this win at Ohio State, he’s starting to compile an interesting resume.
Start with the raw numbers. In his first two seasons at OU, he hit close to 70% of his passes for 7,665 yards and 76 touchdowns with just 15 interceptions – setting the all-time NCAA single-season passer rating record last year – while running for 582 yards and 13 scores. And remember, he started his career at Texas Tech before walking on at Oklahoma, throwing for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Now, even with a new receiving corps and new starters in the backfield, he appears to have taken his game up a few notches, averaging a ridiculous 13 yards per attempt in his first two games for 715 yards and six touchdowns with no picks. The guy’s hitting 84% of his throws while taking a whole slew of chances on his downfield throws.
He’s already a two-time Heisman finalist, a two-time All-Big 12 quarterback, and a two-time Big 12 champion. He won a Sugar Bowl, and took OU to a College Football Playoff.
That was all good, but his stock just went up a level after turning in that performance last Saturday night in what will forever be known as the Baker Mayfield game.
So now, if he can win a third Big 12 title, take home the Heisman, and get OU to the College Football Playoff, where does he rank among the greatest college quarterbacks ever?
He has to win the national title to click glasses with Tebow, Leinart, Young and Watson, but none of them – as amazing as they were – did anything remotely as neato as …
“The Deuce” or Millen: Line 2
“A little issue with the tissue?”
“My dear young man, don’t take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It’s quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that’s all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect.”
I’m a professional. Like Jason Bourne can walk into a room and instantly have every potential scenario analyzed if it all goes down, I can have several screens and games going at once and still properly break down everything that’s happening – while still mostly paying attention to hurricane forces battering the news types reporting from right in front of the in-laws place in Naples.
But the circuits overloaded on Saturday night.
It started with the Nebraska-Oregon game that just … wouldn’t … die. That bled into the start of Auburn-Clemson, which worked its way into Oklahoma-Ohio State, Georgia-Notre Dame, and then Stanford-USC.
At some point, networks and advertisers are going to figure out that if you put all the good games on at the same time, 1) everyone will click around and no one will see any of the ads, and 2) absolutely NO ONE will watch a lick of the halftime stuff, which is always where the bulk ads kick in.
Penn State-Pitt and TCU-Arkansas were okay, but if those are the top afternoon games, at least one of the other big boy matchups needs to be moved.
“The Deuce” or Millen: Line 3
“When you get as far as you’re going to go you have to do something. It’s called, ‘the top.’ Make a move. A lot of guys don’t. They kind of turn into, like, a banana or something. He’ll make you have to make … a movement.”
And both of those minds aren’t exactly sound
I’m of two separate and equal minds – one totally rational, one totally meatball – on Miami cancelling its road game at Arkansas State.
Yes, of course dealing with the hurricane is more important than anything else, but Miami had to evacuate anyway – FAU and FIU figured it out.
Yes, the players were going to have their focus on other issues, but the team was and is still practicing.
No, Miami wasn’t ducking Arkansas State, but yes, it totally sucks for an ASU program that was pointing to this game as a big moment to get a mega team in its house.
Obviously, everyone has to be understanding, but if you’re on the Red Wolves, and you’re just coming off the near-miss upset of Nebraska on the road, this is the game you’ve been dreaming of.
Yes, it matters, because if Arkansas State could somehow pull off the upset, it would be front-and-center in the race for the automatic big money Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six bowl.
But no, Miami couldn’t play this game – and there’s no real argument against this.
Players and coaches had to help out friends and families, they had to deal with preparations for what was coming, and to ask everyone to stay focused when playing a game that could get someone really, really hurt just wasn’t fair under the conditions.
“The Deuce” or Millen: Line 4
“Did you see his head? He bobbed his head, and he got Woods.”
If anyone really has a problem, then just turn around and flash a Category 5 moon
Meteorologists and hurricane forecasters can’t miss – ever. So to those on-air personalities who feel the need to apologize in any way for Irma not erasing Florida off the map like many had feared, please stop.
Only the stupid will be mad at you for being extra cautious when even the slightest last-minute shift could be catastrophic.
“The Deuce” or Millen: Line 5
“Keep your eyes on your man … he’s the only one you have to worry about. Don’t sneak a peek.”
Five Cavalcade of Whimsy footballey opinions and, like, other stuff
Five conversation starters at your next dinner party, and/or to impress that special someone at the right moment …
5. Overreaction to big losses
Obvious statement of the day alert: someone has to lose.
Someone has to lose when Ohio State plays Oklahoma. Someone has to lose when Clemson plays Auburn, and Notre Dame goes against Georgia. But the overreaction and sky-is-falling reaction doesn’t seem to accept that.
Ohio State is fine – Oklahoma played great and just so happens to be really, really good.
What’s wrong with Auburn? Take a (bleep)ing guess. It had to deal with the defending national champs in their house. Oh, by the way, Clemson just might have the best defensive line in the country, and still, Auburn was in the fight until the end.
Notre Dame needs to find answers? After a fabulous game and a one-point loss to a LOADED Georgia defense full of veterans and NFL talent?
Now, if you’re Nebraska, or Arkansas, or Oregon State, yeah, freak the freak out. Or if the Buckeyes, Tigers or Irish got destroyed, then that would be an issue. But the games were awesome, they could’ve gone either way, and they’re why we want the big-time matchups from the big-time teams.
“The Deuce” or Millen: Line 6
“He drops down in the box, and that’s a strong man. He did a nice job of coming down hard on the inside.”
4. Duke 41, Northwestern 17
You know how everyone from Alabama on down likes to use the “no one believes in us” line of hooey? In the case of Duke, yeah, no one believes in you.
So go ahead and puff out that chest, Blue Devils, after an absolutely dominant performance on both sides of the ball against a good Northwestern team.
The Wildcats were outgained 538 yards to 191, converted just one of ten third down chances, and were destroyed up front by a Blue Devil D that sat in the backfield all game long.
3. Always Be Closing … ALWAYS, Beeeee, Closing
Much like former NASA director Gene Kranz needing his white vest before a mission could get started, the college football season doesn’t get going without my promotional notepad.
One finally came in the mail the other day. Now it’s Season On.
I have no real feelings for Iowa one way or another, but I’m going to live on this thing. And why? Because they sent me one.
No joke, As I write this, I’m wearing a Heisman t-shirt sent to me ten years ago.
I have a daily rotation of ten other free t-shirts that all have the word football on them, and they’re usually worn underneath a giveaway pullover from the Orange Bowl or USA Today.
And if by some miracle I’m not wearing a promo item of some sort – because I don’t want to double-dip on the sportsy apparel – the go-to hat is from the Mountain West.
My Rose Bowl coffee mug is resting on a 97th Rose Bowl Game promotional coaster, sitting right under the framed poster from the 2014 BCS Championship hanging on the wall.
My phone is powering up in a multi-outlet device given to me by the College Football Playoff, while the wires are wrapped around a CFP-logo cord-wrappy thing. That’s only used when I don’t need the external charger currently sitting in the 2015 National Championship backpack, both given away by the CFP.
At the time, we all mocked the College Football Playoff floppy hat handed out in Tampa – but it didn’t leave my head for two weeks this summer (I tried to get a picture of the camel wearing it, but was sternly warned against it by Mr. Qatar Camel-owner.)
The point? Listen up schools, conferences, and anyone who wants to promote anything. I’m not alone. EVERYONE who writes about sports stuff for a living/hobby/pastime has the same wardrobe/office/problem that I do.
Pens, posters, key chains – whatever. Dumb media people like me will use all of it, but the swag has sort of dried up over the last several years and we need it back.
Really? You think we read the promotional e-mails or see the tweet pumping up your really big star player?
If you really care, you’ll put it on a beer cozy.
2. Sam Darnold overreaction
I actually want to know. Who hot-taked – or is it hot-took? – after the Western Michigan game that Sam Darnold was overrated, or not the same guy he was in 2016? He wasn’t all that bad against the Broncos, but who really and truly thought he was suddenly lousy at being a quarterback?
I heard people say that others said it, but is that really true, and if so, why are they allowed to live and work among us normals?
It certainly wasn’t the …
1. FOX broadcast of Stanford vs. USC
Maybe it’s because we’re all so conditioned to the style and tone of what ESPN and CBS do with their college football broadcasts, or maybe it’s because Chris Fowler, Brad Nessler and Mike Tirico are just so good, but the gushing over USC by Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt towards the end of the win over Stanford just sounded and felt … weird.
I’m trying, FOX.
I realize you do things with jazz-hands, but the No. 1 team calling a massive game can’t be so exhausting. It’s not your job to play cheerleader.
“The Deuce” or Millen: Line 7
“Last week, he snapped one over his head, like, five times”
This week’s reason why Nick Saban didn’t suspend me for the season opener against Florida State …
While having to go pick up food and, somehow, being roped into driving for a few other errands on my busiest college football night of the year, not wanting to watch and drive, I stopped and sat in the parking lot to watch the end of the Nebraska-Oregon game. It’s not my fault dinner was 20 minutes late. And cold. And half eaten.
The sure-thing, 100%, rock-solid lock, sell the house, sell the kids, no doubt about it picks of the century for this week
PICK SO FAR: 18-5 SU, 13-6-1 ATS
Okay, okay … 3-2 against the spread thanks to the Utah layup, Pitt getting 20.5 and an Iowa field goal. Stanford? Oops. Missouri? Wowie sauce.
Fortunately, these four are the correct answers.
Illinois +18 over USF (but USF straight up)
Arizona -20 over UTEP
Oklahoma State -14 over Pitt
Clemson -3 over Louisville
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Pitt
2) Overrated: Tom Herman’s fairy dust
Underrated: Urban Meyer going 12-0 in his first season at Ohio State
3) Overrated: Cancelling FIU vs. Indiana because of “logistics”
Underrated: A bunch of peanut butter sandwiches, a few buses, and nine hours to kill from Birmingham, AL to Bloomington, IN
4) Overrated: Watching trained, award-winning journalists reporting while standing in hurricane winds
Underrated: Watching trained, award-winning journalists doing phone interviews at 3 a.m. with stoners who didn’t evacuate Key West
5) Overrated: Sad, pathetic people who choose to send that to a football coach, or anyone
Underrated: Kevin Sumlin
Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault …
After a disastrous piece, how do I keep this from snowballing? It’s not going to snowball. Next question. There’s nothing different. I go to work every day, and I write my column. Is that good enough for you?