Cavalcade of Whimsy: Greg Schiano, CFP Situation & Championship Week

Cavalcade of Whimsy: Greg Schiano, CFP Situation & Championship Week

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Cavalcade of Whimsy: Greg Schiano, CFP Situation & Championship Week


The Greg Schiano mess, the College Football Playoff mess, and cleaning up everything else in the college football world.


Cavalcade of Whimsy: Nov. 28, 2017

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

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

The Tennessee fan base wanted Jon Gruden to write it.

Check out all the past Cavalcades

And especially after spending three days of family discussion about what is and isn’t an acceptable form of sexual assault

Oh goodie. Nothing puts more cranberry sauce on a lovely Thanksgiving weekend than spending an entire Sunday diving back into the nightmare that keeps on giving.

No, thank YOU, Penn State.

Okay, everyone mad at Tennessee, if he’s really that awesome, then you hire him as your next head football coach

There are two key parts of this whole weird, creepy Tennessee/Greg Schiano mess getting totally ignored by the incensed sports national media types who, apparently, forgot how major college fan bases roll.

1) Cranked up even more in our hyper-politicized tribal culture, it’s amazing that so many brilliant writers and columnists continue to underestimate the level of anger that’s out there on everything. Seriously, what did you think was going to happen?

Is the Tennessee head coaching situation in the same solar system as Roy Moore, the movement against too-grabby men, or anything that truly matters in the real world? Of course not, but mad is mad, and Volunteer football fans have been a powder keg waiting to blow.

2) At the end of the day, as demented as this all might have been, the Tennessee fans have a point.

Yes, the Penn State side of the Greg Schiano story is based on third-party hearsay – there wasn’t anything to it that anyone felt warranted a deeper dive, and nothing else came of this in any civil litigation.

Yes, it’s not fair to Schiano to have been dragged through something like this, considering investigators were going after everyone who they thought legitimately had any knowledge of what Jerry Sandusky was doing.

But yes, Tennessee Athletic Director John Currie totally blew it by not sending out a trial balloon. This could’ve been avoided by simply floating the idea of Schiano as the head coach and seeing how it would fly. Tennessee didn’t leave itself enough time – too many pounced all over it that morning, warning what was about to happen if Schiano was really about to be hired that afternoon.

Yes, Clay Travis went all Clay Travis, and that screwed Tennessee up big-time. Whatever you think about him, he’s been consistent in his Nuke Anything Penn State First, Ask Questions Later stance from the moment the controversy started. But that led to …

Yes, some Tennessee fans grossly used Penn State as an excuse and a justification, because they wanted someone else other than Schiano to be the head football coach.

But yes, there is a sincere portion of the Tennessee fan base – looking for a fresh, new start for the football program – that, fair or not, wants nothing to do with anyone associated with that Penn State coaching staff at that time.

Yes, if there really was an issue with the Penn State part of the Schiano resume – Ohio State, Tennessee and Tampa Bay all adamantly claimed they vetted the situation thoroughly – then Schiano wouldn’t be the OSU defensive coordinator. Because now, Ohio State and Tampa Bay are all in, and they came to his defense in a hurry.

But yes, there’s a ten mile-wide difference between being a defensive coordinator that 1% of the fans outside of Columbus could name, and the scrutiny of being the most popular and recoginizable figurehead, representative and spokesman for the University of Tennessee.

And yes, if Tennessee football fans really want a different guy as their football coach, that’s okay. No, a mob mentality to tear a guy down and besmirch his name obviously isn’t kosher, but what’s wrong with protesting the hire?

As long as there’s nothing violent about it, even if they’re totally misguided and off-base, can’t the fans beef?

What if the raving pack of Vol fans were totally transparent about the situation, going batspit crazy over Schiano only because they wanted someone who they thought was going to win more football games?

Take a step back from all the how-dare-you-deny-a-man-a-job rhetoric, and this is a big-time business deal.

The next head football coach at Tennessee is going to be the state’s highest-paid employee. The contract is going to start around at least $20 million in guaranteed money, with a massive buyout clause, inevitable raise, and extension that’ll come after an 83-7 Week One win over St. Josaphat’s School For the Blind.

This hire matters for the school, the athletic department as a whole, for the local businesses, and yeah, for fans who just want Tennessee football to not suck anymore.

Can’t the fans have some say in all of this? Yeah …

And can’t the administration show a spine and say no to the donors, the noise, and those who didn’t know what happened throughout the search process?

Auburn fans went wackjob when the school hired a guy who stunk at Iowa State, and then Gene Chizik won a national title.

USC fans did a spit-take of their non-fat lattes when Mike Garrett hired that washed-up retread Pete Carroll guy.

Bottom line: If John Currie and Tennessee were absolutely certain that Greg Schiano was the best head football coaching hire possible, Greg Schiano would be the new Tennessee head football coach. They would’ve been able to sell it better.

And now, the punchline …

“Then get me his non-union Mexican equivalent!”

Greg Schiano would’ve made a whale of a head football coach at Tennessee.

However, after the Butch Jones era, and after all of this, Tennessee needs to find someone who’s ultra-personable, younger, cooler, and … Scott Frost. If Tennessee is even thinking about the astronomical money it would take to get Gruden, it can crush any offer Nebraska or UCF would bring to the table.

And as for Schiano, Arkansas, Mississippi State … you’re not going to do it, but if you have a strong enough athletic department, and the stones to roll the dice on greatness, you might get a guy who has a ton of backing from some of the brightest of football minds. Forget about the Tampa Bay experience; what he did at Rutgers mattered.

You don’t think another SEC school would love to stick it to Tennessee if Schiano turned into a superstar?

There’s a whole lot not to like about Schiano’s past as a football coach, but in terms of wins and losses, he would’ve been a whole lot better than …

THIS Guy …

People, why are you assuming that Jon Gruden would be any good as a college football head coach?

Why would he be the right fit for Tennessee, because he’s a media celebrity?

Seriously, who would ever put a guy in a position of power just because he’s now recognizable from his days as a TV star, with an ability to talk fast and say wacky things?

Gruden hasn’t been a football coach in almost ten years, but more than that, he doesn’t really fit the college mold like you think.

THIS guy loves nothing more than to sit in a room 27 hours a day breaking down film. The college coaching routine – and all of the periphery things that take away from doing coachey coach things – would drive him up a wall.

Why would he possibly want to suck up to 16-year-old kids to get them to come to a school, when he could take just about any open NFL gig he wants and deal with nothing but being a coach?

Oh yeah, the College Football Playoff …

I’m about 1000% cool with the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC champions being my four in the College Football Playoff.

No, Alabama. Apparently you’re not good enough at college football to win your own division.

No, UCF. 1) You’re probably going to lose to Memphis, 2) if you don’t, you still haven’t played anyone worth a bucket of piddle. (But I’d rather see UCF get its shot than put in an Alabama that’s not even the best team in Alabama.)

No, Wisconsin doesn’t get in at 12-1 if it loses to Ohio State.

No, Oklahoma doesn’t get in if it loses to TCU and Ohio State wins.

No, Clemson doesn’t get in if it loses to Miami and Auburn wins (all of which I’m about to totally contradict in articles coming out this week, but I’m on my #NoConferenceTitleNoCFP kick).

We don’t need six teams. We really don’t need eight teams. And we really, really don’t need Alabama.

Committee, why you HAVE to leave out Alabama

No conference title, no College Football Playoff. All in.

However …

This isn’t that hard, people. It’s all going to be okay

There’s no chaos here – other than Rod Gilmore spending the entire Wisconsin-Minnesota broadcast saying the Badgers needed help to get in, even if they finish 13-0 with a Big Ten Championship.

Here it is. Here are your four teams.

ACC and SEC champs. In. Done.

Oklahoma and Wisconsin are in with a win.

If the Sooners or Badgers lose, despite a resume as mushy as a bowl of pudding – or my gut after typing and eating for three straight months – Alabama is in.

If the Sooners and Badgers lose, Alabama is in, and there’s a cage match to the death in that committee room arguing over TCU vs. Ohio State for that fourth spot.

Clap … clap … clap … clap clap … clap clap … clap clap clapclapclapCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAP

You win, David Beaty.

My man, when Rocket Man decides to finally put an end to all of this, the only things remaining will be the cockroaches, the leftover turkey in my freezer, and David Beaty as the University of Kansas head football coach.

Not only did Beaty get to keep his job – being given another year at the helm – after starting out 3-33 in his first three years, but his Jayhawks beat the spread.

I set the over/under on points Kansas would lose its final six games at +190.5, and with the 41 point loss to Oklahoma State, it came in under by 15 points.

Well played, sir. Well played.

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. John O’Korn

“I can’t imagine a worse feeling right now.” – Michigan QB John O’Korn in his post-game press conference about how he feels after struggling in the loss to Ohio State.

1) Someone needs to help the kid out with the “7.5 billion people in the world and about 7.48 billion don’t know or care that Michigan and Ohio State played on Saturday” line.

2) Someone needs to help the kid out with the “just wait … life gets a whole lot easier and more fun than this after you’re no longer the Michigan quarterback and you’re done living the life of a college guy” line. You know, just to cheer him up.

Or, in the It Actually Could Be Worse category …

4. Mississippi State’s Weekend

How’s this for a few days for Mississippi State fans? Your Thanksgiving night ends with your star heart-and-soul quarterback Nick Fitzgerald breaking his ankle in horrific fashion, then you lose the Egg Bowl to your archrival Ole Miss, then you lose your successful head coach to Florida.

And the cowbell fell silent.

3. “I guess we’re going to need a bigger boat.”

It’s great to be P.J. Fleck.

He took over a program that overachieved its way through scandal and issues to win nine games last season – finished off by going to its fifth straight bowl game.

And Fleck roared right in, and promptly went 5-7.

Not only did he crank up a losing season, but his Gophers lost their final two games to Northwestern and Minnesota by a combined score of 70-0.

They lost four of the last five games – failing to score more than ten points in any of the losses – and they went 2-7 on the year in the Big Ten, with the only wins coming over hapless Illinois and Nebraska teams.

And for that, P.J. Fleck got a contract extension.

2. Conference Championship Game Times

I get that the timing isn’t great, and that the American Athletic, Conference USA and MAC championship games might overlap with some of the other big games of the day, but college football has to figure out how to spread out the Power Five championships.

The Pac-12 title game is on Friday, and the Big 12 kicks off early with a 12:30 ET start. followed up by the SEC Championship at 3:30. But the ACC and Big Ten title games are going on at the same time.

Granted, in most years the ACC Championship = ratings death, but this year it’s a playoff game, as is the Big Ten, to a certain extent.

We’re all professionals, and we’re all good at channel flipping, but it would be nice to give undivided attention to the the most important games of the season so far.

1. Bryce Love vs. Notre Dame

It doesn’t work this way, and it never will, because football people are football people through and through, but if anyone was going to be smart enough to figure this one out, you’d think it would be Stanford.

The Notre Dame game was totally meaningless for the Cardinal.

The only thing that matters to Stanford is the Pac-12 Championship. Win that, and – duh – it’s the Pac-12 champ, and then it’s off to a New Year’s Six game, likely the Fiesta Bowl. But to get to the Pac-12 title, it needed Washington to beat Washington State.

As the Irish and Cardinal were playing, someone should’ve noticed that Washington was destroying the Cougars. Had it been the other way around, fine, play everyone, and get a month off to heal up and rest. But with the Huskies rolling in a blowout, why was Bryce Love still playing?

He’s already gutting it out on a bad ankle – why give him more chances to get hit? He ran for 125 yards on 20 carries, but Stanford should’ve put him in bubble wrap the moment it became obvious the Apple Cup was all but over.

They need him to beat USC. They need him healthy. They need him to get the win over the Trojans, so then he can pull a Christian McCaffrey and not risk millions of dollars by not playing in a meaningless bowl game.

This week’s reason why Nick Saban didn’t suspend me for the season opener against Florida State …

I should’ve been. We sent Papa – not my Papa, but A Papa – home with a giant bag of leftovers. But before sticking him in an Uber, I just so happened to forget to put in the bag the rest of the amazing beef tenderloin that kicked overrated Thanksgiving turkey ass.

I’m comfortable with that. It’s beef tenderloin. It’s not my fault.

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: 68-29 SU, 50-45-1 ATS

7-7 ATS? Considering I totally whiffed on the Iron Bowl, Apple Cup, and Kentucky and Arizona belief system, I’ll take it and move on. And now, so you can go shopping and not watch the championship games, here’s what’s going to happen.

–  USC -3 over Stanford
– Memphis +7 over UCF
– Georgia +2.5 over Auburn
– Akron +21.5 over Toledo (but Toledo SU)
– Fresno State +8.5 over Boise State (but Boise State SU)
– Wisconsin +6 over Ohio State
– Oklahoma -7 over TCU (I hate this pick, BTW)

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …

The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world

5) Overrated: “How was your Thanksgiving?”
Underrated: Being the first person in recorded history to say, “Sucked.”

4) Overrated: The Florida State Defensive Game Board

Underrated: The “Your Mom Likes U2” version of the Turnover Chain

3) Overrated: Dan Wetzel making his point …

Underrated: … by tweeting out a statement from Penn State trustee and Joe Paterno statue die-hard Anthony Lubrano.

2) Overrated: Moving from Orlando, Florida to Lincoln, Nebraska
Underrated: UCF stepping up big-time in an attempt to keep its head coach

1) Overrated: Everyone about to complain about expanding the College Football Playoff
Underrated: Best Championship Week ever?

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

Urban Meyer is really, really, mad, and he’s about to investigate why his quarterback ran into me and my column on the sidelines.

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