Cavalcade of Whimsy: Midseason Folly, Ohio State, Florida Uniforms … & Lane Kiffin
Midseason thoughts, including the red-hot Buckeyes, the Gators outfits, and a certain Florida Atlantic head coach.
Cavalcade of Whimsy: Oct. 10, 2017
To Start Off …
My spot-on impression of former Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen’s wife, upon hearing her husband took the moral high-road, instead of the remaining $13 million owed to him on his contract.
“Um … what?”
Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
A little bit of Cavalcade of Whimsy history here in honor of Mike Price taking over for Sean Kugler as the interim head coach at UTEP.
I started writing this stupid column back in 2002, with each version beginning with, “To start off … ”
And then came the Mike Price fiasco at Alabama.
For those who don’t remember, or have no idea what happened in one of the most bizarre controversies in college football history, Price took Washington State to two Rose Bowls, closing out his 14-year tenure on a 20-5 run and a trip to Pasadena.
Meanwhile, Alabama was reeling a bit in 2002, embarrassed that head coach Dennis Franchione was leaving the program for Texas A&M – seen as a total slap in the face to the Crimson Tide faithful.
Bama hired Price as the new head man, but he was fired before he ever got a chance to coach his first game after a report surfaced with wild rumors and accusations involving a strip club, unknown women, and a hotel room during a golf tournament in Pensacola, Florida.
Sports Illustrated was the one that took the story to another level, and it became the main focus of the sports world for a few days. Long blurb short, Price was canned, he filed a defamation suit against Time Inc., settled for an undisclosed amount, and – highlighted by its annual Up With Naked Women issue – Sports Illustrated is reportedly still publishing a print magazine.
Some Saban guy took over the Crimson Tide a few years later, and Price went on to do just fine as the UTEP head man for nine years, becoming a wonderful figurehead for the program.
At the time when everything went down in Alabama, Price denied several major parts of the SI story, but he did admit to being “heavily intoxicated” on the night in question.
With that, I began my May 19, 2003 COW with, “Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault. Mike Price was too drunk for me to remember what I originally wanted to write.”
And more than 14 years later, I’m still very, very sorry this column sucks. It’s not my fault.
Before we get going with all the quick-hitting midseason stuff …
Enough with the whole comparing Jim Harbaugh to Brady Hoke thing. Yes, Hoke and Harbaugh each started out their respective eras at Michigan 24-7, and yes, Harbaugh is a miserable 1-4 against Michigan State and Ohio State, and yes, Mark Dantonio and his staff just totally pantsed the Wolverines.
Hoke went 7-13 after that 24-7 start, including a 2-6 run in 2013 after beginning the year 5-0. If you really think Harbaugh is a repeat of Hoke, I can’t help you.
Yay for Iowa State. Yay for Nevada. Yay for Bowling Green. Unless you’re a fan of Goliath, it’s always good when a team pulls off the wild upset. It’s also always solid when bad teams – like Nevada and Bowling Green finally get a win. No college team should go 0-12.
October 7, 2017, Kyle Kempt, and Joel Lanning will forever be remembered in Ames as long as there’s Cyclone football. If OU had won, it would’ve been thrown on the pile.
I just KNOW that the second I hit publish on this, something tawdry will happen to screw it all up
The biggest surprise so far at the midseason?
College football has somehow sidestepped the scandal landmines.
While we all get our popcorn ready to watch the NFL’s holy war on its players – the historical ball is in your court now, Dak, Zeke & Witten – the kneeling controversy has flown under the college football radar, at least for the moment.
A bunch of New Mexico players took a knee during the national anthem against Air Force – helped by a quirk in the weather that meant the players were on the field, instead of being in the locker rooms like normal.
Did you hear anything about this? Nope. They kneeled, they rolled up 363 rushing yards and six scores in a 56-38 win, and that was pretty much it.
Also, it could’ve, and probably should’ve, been really, really easy for football to have been lumped in with basketball in the big FBI probe – and it still might be. But for now, that’s a hoops issue, so it doesn’t really register to most of the world and won’t matter come March.
Speaking of kneeling …
Ohhhhhhh, Brent, NOOOOOOO …
Your best team after the midseason will be …
The new 2017 redesigned model of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes
Remember how that 2014 team lost to Virginia Tech at home early in the season, and then kicked the bejeebers out of everyone over the next 12 games on the way to the national title?
Yeah, that. Only better.
Granted, Army, UNLV and Rutgers are no big deal, but Maryland is a real team with real players good enough to beat Texas at Texas and hand Minnesota its first loss. The Buckeyes rolled 62-14 over the Terps.
They’ve figured it out. Let J.T. Barrett do his thing – he’s been fantastic, by the way – crank up the zone-read to another level with the running game, turn the fabulous defense loose, and then win the most recent four games by a combined score of 210 to 42.
Before finishing up the season at Michigan, the remaining road games are at Nebraska and Iowa, with Penn State, Michigan State, and Illinois coming to Columbus.
This team should be a killer over the next six weeks.
Your best coach at the midseason might just be …
Wait for it … wait for it … wait for it …
Or, at least he belongs in the top ten.
FAU hasn’t won more than three games in a season since 2013, and it hasn’t been bowling since taking down Central Michigan in the 2008 Motor City Bowl. And now, ol’ Kiff Kiff has taken a total dud and made it 3-3 with wins over Middle Tennessee and at Old Dominion over the last two weeks.
There’s still work to do – there was that loss at Buffalo, a solid MAC team – but the Owls will beat Butch Davis and FIU, and they’ll whack Charlotte – as bad as that sounds. That means FAU will only have to win one game against UNT, WKU, Marshall, and Louisiana Tech to get to six wins.
Kiffin’s team is playing almost error-free on offense, the D is taking the ball away in bunches, and the ground game has been fantastic.
He’s doing what he was supposed to. He’s rebuilding the program, he’s winning, and then he’ll leave.
Gearing up at the midseason for the phrase I’ll say 1,520,341 times from here until early December …
I need to get a T-shirt printed.
12-1, Win Your Power Five Championship, Get In.
Oklahoma, USC, Ohio State, Michigan, Georgia, NC State, Washington State, and any other team that’s currently unbeaten or has one loss. What does it have to do to get into the College Football Playoff?
Go 12-1 or better, win the Power Five conference championship, get in.
The discussion we need to stop before it all starts …
13-0. Win Your Group Of Five Championship …
I know, everyone will beat the drum for whatever Group of Five star emerges from the pack, but until the CFP does it right and has a playoff with six teams, the top two get a bye, and only the top five Power Five champions and the top GOF champ gets in, it’s not going to work.
But it actually is possible. Last year, Houston whacked eventual Big 12 champ Oklahoma to start, then it thumped Louisville late. Had the Cougars not gagged away the season against Memphis and Navy, and had they gone 13-0, they’d have gotten in.
South Florida, this year, played San Jose State, Stony Brook, and Illinois in non-conference action. No – it’s not getting in, even if it beats UCF, who has blowout wins over Maryland and Memphis. For both the Bulls and Knights, the rest of the schedules won’t be good enough.
San Diego State faced UC Davis, Arizona State, and Stanford. That’s fine, but that’s not enough, especially if the Cardinal don’t win the Pac-12 title.
It stinks, but that’s the deal. The GOF conferences just don’t have the depth and talent.
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. Ohhhhhhh, Florida, NOOOOOOOOOO
Forgetting for a moment that Florida might have some of the best uniforms in the business – the oranges are fantastic and the blues are outstanding – this is just too easy ….
1) Oh, honey, the roadkill look is so 2014.
2) Your 2017 Florida Gators, apparently trying to disguise that they’re bad at college football.
3) Florida had better beat Texas A&M, or else. The cancellation of the Northern Colorado game might be a killer, considering the Gators are 3-2 with A&M, Georgia, at Missouri, at South Carolina, UAB and Florida State the rest of the way. The Gators could absolutely lose four of those games and be 5-6.
4) You might not like this talk, Florida fans, but start rooting for Duke, Vanderbilt, Maryland and Indiana to either keep winning, or lose enough to finish with just four wins. Those are the four likely teams to worry about when it comes to APR and bowl eligibility for teams with five wins.
4. McKenzie Milton
He’s the best quarterback rolling right now, and you have now clue who he is.
The 5-11, 185-pound UCF sophomore from Hawaii doesn’t really look the part, but he’s a mad bomber who’s making big things happen for the Scott Frost offense. He joins Baker Mayfield as two of the only passers to average over 11 yards per throw, hitting 68% of his throw with 13 touchdowns and two picks.
Last week against Cincinnati? 16-of-19 for 374 yards and five scores in a 51-23 win. He’s going to be a factor – get in early on the tech stock.
3. NFL Overtime
Sorry, NFL. Along with all of your other issues, you still have a stupid overtime system.
The Western Michigan-Buffalo seven-overtime craziness was marvelous theater. It was exhausting, it was wild, and it was fantastic.
The NFL system is still way too reliant on the coin-flip. College still has this right, and it was proven again. You don’t, NFL.
2. Bob Stoops
First of all, it is sort of spooky that the Iowa State game is the first Oklahoma game he’s missed since the late 1990s. But more importantly came this from the legendary head man this week …
“Don’t believe any rumors; I’m retired for good. … You won’t see me on a college sideline or a pro sideline.”
That’s not going to stop him from being No. 1 on everyone’s wish list at – potentially – Tennessee, Nebraska, Arkansas, LSU, UCLA, and the Cleveland Browns.
In this case, I believe him. I also believe it’s possible to lose your fastball and edge with a little time away.
Now, Jon Gruden just looks like a goofy announcer who wouldn’t quit bothering Buccaneers in Hard Knocks. Now, Bill Cowher has had enough time away to settle into a new gig. Now. Stoops will probably become a whale of an analyst whenever he’s ready.
I realize I’m the only person in America who cares about this, but to the current polls that have been the standard for so long, if you’re going to continue going through the exercise of doing your rankings, at least try.
Michigan State has one loss, and it came to a Notre Dame team who’s one loss was to Georgia. Michigan State – allegedly – beat Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday.
So, of course, the ranking order of those four has to be Georgia, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Michigan.
In this week’s AP Poll, Notre Dame is 16th, Michigan is 17th, and Michigan State is 21st.
The Coaches Poll was even worse, with Michigan 16th, Notre Dame 19th, and Michigan State 22nd. Also, Utah was 23rd, and Stanford – who beat Utah, and whose two losses came to No. 18 San Diego State and No. 13 USC – was ranked two spots lower.
This week’s reason why Nick Saban didn’t suspend me for the season opener against Florida State …
He actually did, on the grounds of me being a horrible, horrible parent.
My kid told me she wants to see a Chainsmokers concert.
Once my spit take was cleaned up, she did say she liked that song I played for her by “The Nirvana.”
I’m not okay.
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: 33-11 SU, 25-16-1 ATS
After holding serve with a second straight 3-3 week, fortunately, these are dead-on right …
Virginia -4 over North Carolina
TCU -4.5 over Kansas State
Texas A&M +3 over Florida and its awful uniforms
Michigan State -4 over Minnesota
Stanford -10.5 over Oregon
Houston -13.5 over Tulsa
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
5) Overrated: Ole Miss Rebels
Underrated: Ole Miss Land Sharks
4) Overrated: Everything about Star Wars after the introduction of Ewoks in Jedi
Underrated: The complete ineptitude of stormtroopers shooting
3) Overrated: Paul Bunyan Trophy
Underrated: Paul Bunyan Axe
2) Overrated: Dad’s face
1) Overrated: Tater tots
Underrated: Arizona QB Khalil Tate
Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault …
The column wasn’t self-indulgent enough.
I stumbled across this from May 4, 2003, riffing off the Mike Price controversy as it was in full gear.
I’m putting this up because it applies to every Cavalcade of Whimsy from here until the end of time as something I’d write for any future job opening.
To start off … I’d like to once again submit my name as a candidate to be the head football coach at the University of Alabama, but I’ll get this out in the open so there aren’t any future surprises.
I’ve been to a couple of strip clubs, and I may go again. Even though I’m married, and have always thought those places were kind of dumb, I have a few bachelor parties on the horizon.
I apologize for my future actions, and my wife has promised she’ll stand by me. I’d also like to apologize in advance for a woman charging $1,000 worth of room service to a hotel room somewhere.
While that woman will be my wife, I admit it’ll be unacceptable that she’ll put 300 Diet Cokes, 20 manicures, 15 pedicures, five massages and a few bags of M&Ms on the tab.
If you can get past that Alabama, I’ll hire the best of the best assistants while I travel around the state looking for the next Forrest Gump. Oh yeah, and I’ll beat Auburn.