Classic CFN: Cavalcade Of Whimsy, Post-Ohio State-Miami 2002 Fiesta Bowl, January 6, 2003
CFN 20th Year Anniversary: An old CFN Cavalcade of Whimsy piece following the Ohio State win over Miami for the national title in an all-timer of a Fiesta Bowl.
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It’s the 20th anniversary of CollegeFootballNews.com this season. I stumbled upon a ton of old, weird, painfully dated articles that I’ll put up from time to time. I’m sorry.
This is the 2002 season-ending Cavalcade of Whimsy I just found opining on Ohio State’s historic and controversial win over Miami for the national title. I’m putting it up as it was originally published on CFN and Fox on January 6th, 2003.
To start off… I like to think of myself as a college football anarchist. I openly rooted for several teams to be undefeated at the end of the year to screw up the BCS, and I’m openly for the breaking of all of the silly NCAA rules that prevent these kids from making money. With the exception of ruining college football traditions like putting the Big Ten and Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl, I’m openly for the college football world, as we know it, to be completely turned upside down. Then I see a game like the Fiesta Bowl, and I realize I’m nothing but an S.L.C. poser punk buying into the system whenever there’s a great game. That’s as much fun as I can ever remember having watching a sporting event on TV.
For the first time ever, I don’t care one stinkin’ bit about the NFL playoffs. How can anyone give two hoots about another football game so soon after that Fiesta Bowl? I watched Mallrats instead of Indianapolis vs. New York.
For all the weeping and gnashing of teeth over the demotion of Pat Summerall by Fox to the B list of NFL telecasts, it was the right move. ABC, it’s time to do the same thing to Keith Jackson. That Fiesta Bowl demanded, and deserved, a far better call. Jackson never showed the proper emotion or excitement considering all the big plays and the magnitude of the plentiful moments. He missed plays time and again, and his stories were untimely, rambling and pointless. How many times did we hear Dan Fouts correct a call by starting, “Uh, Keith…?” Keith Jackson might have been the best of all-time, but it’s over.
I refuse to hear any more whining about the pass interference call on Glenn Sharpe. Miami fans, you’re preaching to the converted. That call shouldn’t be made in the third quarter of a 42-6 game against Akron, much less on fourth down for the national title. Even so, bad calls happen. Just like Oakland had a chance to beat New England last year after the tuck play, the Canes still had a chance to put their bad call behind them and win the game. After the call, Ohio State outscored Miami 14-0. One team was able to get it in from the one, one team wasn’t.
The worst complaint is that it took the official three seconds to make the call. It doesn’t matter if the flag comes out one second or one week after the play happened. If the official saw a penalty, he saw a penalty.
It wasn’t like the Buckeyes didn’t get screwed, too. If the official makes the correct call on the late, third down Chris Gamble catch when he dropped to his knees and rolled out of bounds, Ohio State would probably have been able to run out the clock and there’d be no overtime.
Some of the Miami fans showed the most class I’ve ever seen so soon after a heartbreaking loss. I received at least 15 e-mails from Hurricane fans saying how ticked off they were about the game, but still gave Ohio State all the respect in the world for pulling off the win. Considering all the controversy, and some of the e-mails I received after I picked the Buckeyes to win, this was really amazing. Take a lesson college football fans. Sometimes being a champion is being able to realize that even in a loss, your team was a part of something special. There were no real losers in this Fiesta Bowl, and it’s good to see that some Cane fans were able to realize that.
Number of e-mails I received from Miami fans after my column on why Ohio State would win disagreeing with me in a civil, analytical way: Roughly 250. Number of e-mails I received from Miami fans calling me some derivative of a pinhead and wanting sock me in the nose: Roughly 350. Number of e-mails I received wanting to bet me $10,000 to my $1,000 that Miami would win: 1. Number of times I actually thought about that, even though I never, ever bet on football: 14. Number of Miami fans shouting expletive after expletive at me, and then quoting a Bible verse about how Jesus is love: 1.
This was already talked about in my S.O.C. Game Notes on the Fiesta Bowl, but I’m still ticked off about the way ABC and ESPN handled the Willis McGahee injury. We all know that injuries are a part of the game, but the networks don’t have to show the grotesque way they happen. If you’re twisted enough to enjoy seeing legs getting bent the wrong way, bones broken and injuries happen, then I’m sure there are any one of a number of fetish videos you can go rent. We’re talking about an amateur athlete that might have lost out on millions of dollars on one play. How would you like it if one of the worst moments of your life was played, replayed, then replayed in slow motion on SportsCenter over and over and over again? Showing McGahee getting hit is fine, but there’s no reason whatsoever to show his leg getting bent in slow motion.
Miami has played in two national title games in the Fiesta Bowl. It has committed 12 turnovers in those two games, and is now 0-4 in the Fiesta Bowl all-time.
I don’t know why this amuses me so much, but I find it hilarious that Larry Coker and Jim Tressel wear suits and ties to the game, and then dress down for the game itself. I can’t picture a Wall Street stockbroker taking the train in a tuxedo, and then changing into a suit at work.
Oh yeah, there were other bowl games this week.
Record setting stats have become meaningless now that the NCAA is including bowl game stats and not including the stats of former players from their post-season games. Setting a single season record is now a joke considering that teams can play as many as 14 of 15 games with preseason games, conference championships and bowl games.
One stat that will never be broken in our lifetime if you counted the bowl game will be the single season records set by Barry Sanders in 1988. In that year, Sanders set NCAA records with 2,628 rushing yards, 3,249 total yards, 39 touchdowns and 234 points. In the 1988 Holiday Bowl, Oklahoma State beat Wyoming 62-14 with Sanders rushing for 222 yards and five touchdowns on 29 carries. If you go by the current NCAA system of stat keeping, Sanders ran for 2,850 yards, gained close to 3,500 total yards, and scored 44 touchdowns in 12 games. Once again, that’s 2,850 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns in ONE SEASON.
The biggest disappointment of the bowl season wasn’t Iowa, the non-Fiesta BCS bowls or Georgia Tech; itwas my decision to fire Subway after the sandwich I ate at halftime of the Humanitarian Bowl. After years of tuning, tweaking and perfecting my order (6” meal, double meat, roast beef with Swiss on honey oat with honey mustard, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, green pepper, salt, pepper and just a few of the hot peppers with regular Lays and a Pepsi, while bitching that they don’t have Coke, and on special occasions, getting the three cookies for a dollar), I’m afraid it’s over. I’ve spent (this includes the free subs from the Sub Club card) about $2500 in my lifetime on Subway, so I’ve done my part. Yet there are too many other good sandwich places around for me to deal with these average subs anymore. I sense my dissolution with Subway came right around the time of the Henry, Clay Henry ads.
Those of you who voted for Willis McGahee or Ken Dorsey for the Heisman over Carson Palmer can still be proud. Everyone else, had to watch the bowl games and go, “Oops.”
With all the long punt returns in this bowl season, I’ve come to accept the halo rule. As far as the competition of the game, it’s a bad rule. As a fan of exciting plays, the halo rule rocks.
The Wile E. Coyote Award for coming up with a brilliant plan, only to realize the boomerang with the dynamite is coming back to hit them goes to the Arkansas coaching staff. Arkansas has one of the best rushing games in America and can’t throw the ball a lick. Minnesota couldn’t stop a junior high rushing attack over the last few games of the season. So what does Arkansas do? It tried to win the Music City Bowl by throwing the ball and almost completely abandoned the run. Minnesota won 29-14.
Why do coaches get so mad when a kicker misses a field goal? It’s not like the kicker is trying to shank it. During this bowl season, both Fresno State’s Pat Hill and Colorado’s Gary Barnett were shown on the sideline yelling expletives following a missed field goal.
If I’m an NFL general manager, I’m a little concerned about Larry Johnson’s lack of a speed burst against fast linebackers. I’m even more worried about his open bitching and moaning of the play calls when things didn’t go perfectly.
Record set by a person saying “right now” in a three minute span: 19 times by Ray Lewis. On a halftime piece on Monday Night Football, Eddie George and Ray Lewis were being interviewed about the upcoming Fiesta Bowl, Lewis kept saying right now after every sentence.
Was there anything more painful to watch than ESPN’s Curry Kirkpatrick’s piece on Larry Coker?
If you lost your conference title game this year, (Colorado, Toledo and Arkansas), you sucked in the bowl game. Were these teams demoralized, or would Kansas State, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois or Auburn have been stronger in the league title games?
And finally… thanks for all of your thoughts this college football season and all your feedback on this goofy, pretentious article. I’ll be doing this at least once a month during the off-season, or when some bizarre things happen in the college football world. THANKS!