2017 Cavalcade of Whimsy: It’s College Football Season, And We Really, REALLY Need It
After an offseason with too much to pay attention to in the real world, it’s college football season – and not a moment too soon.
2017 Cavalcade of Whimsy: August 22nd, 2017
Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
I didn’t have glasses like all the cool kids. My makeshift version, created by poking a pinhole in a Cap’n Crunch box, might have contributed to my fried retinas, making it difficult to see and type correctl5ert4&Eel aooerw olkhsld?d
With amazing hair, small hands, access to limitless firepower …
After daring to disrupt The Process, the Moon soon after paid a dear price for its insolence as the Death Star logo in the background unleashed its fury.
Step One: I admit that I am powerless to the BREAKING NEWS lower banner that isn’t really breaking any news, but instead is merely highlighting an interview with some retired professor
Hi … I’m Pete, and I’m addicted to the 24-hour news cycle.
It started at a young age, reading the newspaper over my daily breakfast of Quisp and Raspberry Coconut Zingers, which slowly became a gateway to the harder stuff.
All of a sudden, I was watching the evening news, which grew into eating dinner in front of 60 Minutes. When that wasn’t enough, I needed the speedball of the Sunday morning talk shows just to get through the week.
It all spiraled downward as I began getting straight A’s in all my government, history and current events classes. Soon I became the cliche, falling into the wrong crowd of reprobates society would sweep under the rug to places like Harvard, Amherst, and for the most pitiful of lost souls with nowhere else to go, Michigan.
Oh sure, I took other courses in college to try fitting in with everyone else, but when I thought no one was watching, I’d sneak in a few political science classes. Nights, mornings, summers – whenever I could get my fix.
Fast-forward to the 2016 presidential election cycle, with a debilitating concoction of non-stop cable programs, commentary, forced arguments, self-serving analysis, Brooke Baldwin, wacky speeches, and Chuck Todd-just-go-the-Matt Lauer-route-already hair, all flowing in a steady stream to keep the demon fed.
My pusher was able to hook me up with constant updates on my phone – as if I wasn’t already wired into at least two other forms of media at all times.
And it hasn’t slowed down.
So now I turn to you, 2017 college football season, to break me free from all of this – or at least give me some time off. And I’m getting the sense that a whole lot of you need this, too.
But it’s not going to be easy to go cold turkey.
It’s a problem that everyone across the sports media world is at least thinking about, and TV executives and NFL types are analyzing more and more. At the moment, sports just aren’t as interesting as the performance art docudrama playing out in the real news world, and it’s hurting ratings, views, clicks, etc.
I don’t care. I’m in. It’s college football time.
Because there really are good people on all sides at the Alabama-Auburn, Oklahoma-Texas and Michigan-Ohio State showdowns.
Because the angst of middle-aged men desperate to be heard has to once again fuel debates about whether or not (insert big-name head coach here) should be fired.
Because it’s time to get back to demonizing the dangerous rhetoric hurled towards five-star recruits who dare to be seen wearing the hat of the wrong school.
Because we need to once again argue over what’s truly important – should a team that couldn’t win its own division be able to get into the College Football Playoff?
Because we need this, America.
I know, I know, the sports gods tried to do us a solid with the unbelievable 2016 World Series, the all-timer of a Super Bowl comeback, LeBron vs. Curry/Durant in the NBA Finals, and of course, the epic College Football Playoff national championship. But that wasn’t enough. We need more.
Oh, I’ll be back. I’ll jump back on the newsy train again and immerse myself into the lifestyle of depravity and desperation once again on January 9th, 2018.
But until then, 2017 college football season … LET’S GO.
Now, with that in mind …
Really, college football? REALLY?!
This is much more than just a job. I, of course, love the sport of college football, so obviously I can’t wait for the season to get started.
I really do care about Oregon State vs. Colorado State to kick things off, and Hawaii vs. UMass should actually be an entertaining shootout, but again …
Really, college football? REALLY?!
Portland State vs. BYU? South Florida at San Jose State? Forcing Stanford and Rice on the Australians? That’s the soft-opening that’ll get drowned out by McGregor-Mayweather?
I say this every year, and someday I’ll be known for being dead-on right.
Use this weekend like a preseason tune-up, with all FBS teams getting to play an FCSer in a game that doesn’t count in the College Football Playoff analysis.
Of course I’m fired up for Florida State vs. Alabama, but wouldn’t it be better if both teams got the kinks out first against a cupcake?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of the still-open quarterback derbies could be settled a bit with a live action game to go off of?
Make it a home date for the FBS team, cash in on the massive easy revenue by making the games part of the ticket packages, and then that’s it for the FCS portion of everyone’s slate. That way, we don’t get Alabama vs. Mercer, Florida State vs. Delaware, or Clemson vs. Citadel on November 18th.
Anything related to any Hall of Fame debate is No. 3, anything Deflategate is No. 2, and …
The No. 1 dumbest sports argument possible is always, of course, whether or not the top college team could beat the worst NFL team.
The best college football team would, of course, go 0-16 in the NFL because of age, maturity, talent level, better conditioning, better studying, better coaching, better pharmaceuticals, better training, and on and on, and on.
It’s a dumb argument made by dumb people who can’t understand the difference between a team with several good pro prospects, and a team full of actual pro players.
However, let’s twist this a bit.
Could an Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, USC, Florida State, or any team good enough to win the national title beat what’s on the field in the fourth quarter of the second game of the NFL preseason?
Again, forget about beating a final 53-man roster, but what about a pro team full of wannabes, has-beens, and soon-to-be delivery drivers and stockbrokers who don’t have the talent to make the NFL cut?
Considering the top college teams are probably fielding at least ten future NFL regulars and several other eventual backups, the game would at least be competitive.
Now for the flip side. Take the fourth quarter on-field 22 of just about any NFL team from this last weekend of preseason games. Where would it be ranked if it had to play in a Power Five conference?
Just start with the quarterbacks. Jake Rudock was out there slinging it for Detroit against the Jets last weekend. Outside of, maybe, Wisconsin, does he start for anyone in the AP preseason top ten? Among the preseason top 25 teams, Christian Hackenberg would be guaranteed the starting job at …
I apologize for making America a little bit dumber.
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. Why college fantasy football will never be a thing
Right now, assuming you don’t know anything about the rules or the scoring system for the 14-team Rotowire Experts Fantasy Football Draft I just did, you could probably guess that Lamar Jackson went No. 1 overall.
If I gave you a gajillion guesses, you couldn’t come up with the No. 2 overall pick.
And you still couldn’t get it – or believe me – if I told you it was Richie James.
The fabulous Middle Tennessee wide receiver caught over 100 passes last season for 1,625 yards and scored 16 total touchdowns. But you almost certainly didn’t see him play.
Without looking, I know with the seventh pick on Friday I’m taking Cam, or Tom, or Jameis, or Julio, or Antonio, and the fact that I don’t have to give you a last name proves the point of why – as much as we’ve all tried – we just can’t make college fantasy fly.
4. Your 2017 Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
Please don’t be one of those people who thumbs your nose at a bowl game just because the name is sort of strange.
Ha ha, you’re sneering at a sponsor of a football game – but GO (insert some professional team nickname here)!
What if it was called the Red Sock Bowl? How about the Thunder Bowl? Because that wouldn’t be weird.
Or maybe the Indian Bowl, or Redskin Bowl? Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla doesn’t sound so bad now, huh?
It’s a college football post-season exhibition in St. Petersburg on December 21st between a representative from the American Athletic Conference and a team from Conference USA. Watch, or don’t watch. Whatever.
3. Shorter halftimes
Lost a bit in the news shuffle was the Pac-12’s experiment to cut halftimes down from 20 minutes to 15.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Short halftimes are one of the few things the NFL does far better than the college game, and now conferences and TV executives are starting to figure out that not losing viewers after an interminable intermission might be a good thing.
Band comes out, band plays Uptown Funk, band leaves, game starts.
2. The Tyler Huntley experience
In a team-to-watch-out-for-that’s-not-getting-a-ton-of-love category, keep an eye on what Utah does to start the season against North Dakota, BYU and San Jose State.
All of a sudden, the Ute offense should open it up a bit more under new coordinator Troy Taylor. With the multi-talented Tyler Huntley pushing out veteran Troy Williams from the starting job, the team might have just made the right tweak.
The power element should still be there on both sides of the ball, but again, watch out. There’s a chance this move could do for Utah what the offensive adjustment did for TCU a few seasons ago.
1. Graduate transfers
Here’s how this works. If a player earns his degree, and he still has eligibility remaining, he’s free to transfer to another school so he can pursue his graduate degree without losing a year. It’s a loophole that players are using now to either push for a possible starting spot, or get into a better situation to show off what they can do for the pros.
A list of the top grad transfers is here in this ESPN.com story, along with the explanation of how things aren’t changing for the moment. For now, this all appears to be okay – but watch out for all sides of the issue to soon start making a wee bit of a stink.
From the coaches’ side, it makes life harder. Here’s the choice – play the more talented underclassman and possibly lose the veteran guy who can step in at any time, or figure out how to juggle the situation and not have the best player on the field at all times. Meanwhile, coaches always have to deal with open season any time there’s a slight issue for any of the smarter upperclassmen.
For the players, it’s sort of a “let the fools have their tar-tar sauce” concession that’s just not enough. It’s something, but it’s still not fair considering that once a player is locked into a scholarship deal, he has to give up a year of eligibility to get out.
Eventually, the players are going to see the hypocrisy of the theory behind the graduate transfers – “but I want to transfer to XYZ State because it has a better basket weaving program” – and they’ll want a piece of it.
The NCAA isn’t quite sure what to do with this, and the conferences are sort of letting it all go. It’s college football, so rules are meant to be bent backwards – meaning this will quickly need more regulation from somewhere.
Eventually, this will become a bigger overall issue. The rule first needs a bit more time to be abused.
This week’s reason why Nick Saban didn’t suspend me for the season opener against Florida State …
I spent the last weekend before college football gets started clocking in time at a Forever 21, a Lush, a Bath & Body Works, a Lululemon – to be fair, I sort of enjoyed that – and some extremely creepy thing named Pink that no man should ever set foot in. There was a mani-pedi involved – although I didn’t partake – along with the better part of an afternoon at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.
Whatever mistakes I made, I’ve paid for them and then some. That hotel, that boat, a fantastic college football season – I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
The sure-thing, 100%, rock-solid lock, sell the house, sell the kids, no doubt about it picks of the century for this week
To go along with a preview of the first wave of picks from the first big weekend …
FIU +17.5 over UCF (but UCF to win)
Marshall PICK over Miami University
Boston College -2.5 over Northern Illinois
Let’s start this whole thing off with four correct picks for this Saturday.
Colorado State -3.5 over Oregon State
UMass +1 over Hawaii
South Florida +20 over San Jose State
Rice +31 over Stanford (but Stanford to win straight up)
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Getting yelled at by Nebraska fans for thinking the team just isn’t that great
Underrated: Nebraska QB Tanner Lee
2) Overrated: Getting yelled at by Alabama fans for suggesting that Nick Saban will one day retire
Underrated: Getting yelled at by UAB fans who think their team is going bowling this season
3) Overrated: Solar Eclipse 2017
Underrated: Solar Eclipse 2024
4) Overrated: The end of boxing if Mayweather loses
Underrated: The end of a slew of sportsbooks if Mayweather loses
5) Overrated: Saturday, August 26
Underrated: Thursday, August 31
Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault …
I rushed to finish this up. The masseuse I ordered is expected to show up at any minute. What could possibly go wrong? …