Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Cynic’s Guide to College Football: Week 5

Today marks the anniversary of one of the most infamous days in college football history (more below). So, I thought it might be a good time to do a now-and-then theme for this week’s Cynic’s Guide.

A Long Time Coming
Today is the 20th anniversary of arguably the all-time worst officiating job in the history of college football. In the waning seconds of their game at Missouri, Colorado was not only given an extra down, but replays clearly showed that the Colorado QB carrying the ball on 5th down never got the ball across the goal line but was awarded a touchdown anyway. CU went on to win a share of the national championship, becoming not the first, nor the last, but certainly one of the most obvious beneficiaries of bad officiating. But football karma always catches up with you. And how far has CU fallen in the last 20 years? Instead of competing for national championships, this last weekend their fans rushed the field . . . after beating Georgia . . . who is 1-4.

“Gotta get pumped to help tear down the goal posts when we play Baylor in a couple weeks.”

Les Miles: The New Homer.
In 1991, there was an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer saved the Springfield nuclear plant from a meltdown when he just happened to push the right button by playing Eenie Meenie Miny Moe. Later, the term “pull a Homer” was added to the dictionary with the definition “to succeed despite idiocy.” As such, I propose that LSU replace its mascot Mike the Tiger with Homer Simpson. I mean, what better representation of the term “pulling a Homer” is there than Les Miles? The man makes more boneheaded decisions and clock management blunders (see Exhibit A: the last minute of last week’s LSU/Tennessee game) by Week 5 every year than most coaches do in a career. And yet he still manages to pull out wins. It’s uncanny.

Previous mascot experience? Check.

Keep Your Friends Close . . .
Earlier this week, North Carolina head coach Butch Davis said, “I’m sorry that I trusted John Blake.” Funny. That’s the same thing Oklahoma fans were saying in 1998.

“Remember that time when I was just a 12-22 coach, instead of a crook?”

Too Early to Pull the Plug?
In 1983, Turner Gill was the triggerman for one of the most prolific offenses in college history. Gill, Heisman winner Mike Rozier and #1 overall draft pick Irving Fryar were the cornerstones of the "scoring explosion" that dominated football that year, but came up one play short in the national championship game. My, how things have changed. I’m usually a firm believer in giving new coaches at least 3-4 years to get their own players and systems in place before making any drastic moves. But I’ve gotta say that rule may be getting more flexible all the time in Lawrence, KS. Turner Gill’s tenure as the Jayhawks' head coach started off rough with a home loss to FCS North Dakota State. And, aside from an upset of Georgia Tech, has kept going downhill, most recently getting blown out, 55-7, by Baylor. (Yes, Baylor.) Gill has made more news for his “no cell phones the night before games and no girls after 10 pm” rules than anything the Jayhawks have done on the field.

Don’t worry, Jayhawks. Basketball season is almost here.

A Simpler Time
Amazing fact of the day, courtesy of ESPN’s Ivan Maisel: Before this week, the last time Texas was unranked was October 15, 2000. Today, more coaches of ranked teams in that poll (Mike Bellotti at Oregon, Dennis Franchione at TCU, Lou Holtz at South Carolina and Bob Davie at Notre Dame) work for ESPN than are still at the same schools (Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech, Bob Stoops at Oklahoma and Bill Snyder—who left but has now returned—at Kansas State).

The last time UT was unranked, Meet the Parents was the #1 movie in America, the economy was good and most people had ever heard of BALCO, hanging chads, Al Queda or Justin Bieber. Ah, the good ol’ days.

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