Rocky times for Rocky Top, mid-majors' assault on polls, more (cont.)
Thanks for recommending Always Sunny. Absolutely hilarious. Have you ever referred to your own life as the life of John Rambo?
No, even if I tried, I could never insert myself into the ultra-warped mind of Frank Reynolds. But I have found myself spending an unhealthy amount of time lately pondering the Ghostbusters paradigm. Clearly, Harold Ramis was the brains and Bill Murray was the "wild card" -- but who was the looks? Or was it that Murray was the looks and Dan Akroyd was the wild card simply because he dreamt up the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man?
Oh well. Time to go sell some gas.
People have asked about the possibility of the Mountain West earning an automatic BCS bid, but consider if the bowls were to go in the other direction and eliminate automatic bids entirely. In your opinion, how many times in the BCS era would the champion of one of the big six conferences NOT have received a BCS bid?
1998 Syracuse (8-3, No. 15)
2004 Pittsburgh (8-3, No. 21)
2006 Wake Forest (11-2, No. 14)
Note that in a free-market arrangement, program prestige and fan following would supersede on-field record in some cases. Hence, why Wake Forest likely would have been left out in '06 while four-loss Florida State teams in 2002 and '05 would not. Also, no Big Ten or Pac-10 champ -- most notably 8-3 Stanford in 1999 -- would have been left out due to the leagues' Rose Bowl partnership.
Mind you, this does not mean a non-BCS team would have necessarily replaced any of them, and in fact, if you throw out those automatic bids as well, 2004 Utah, which was ranked sixth, is likely the only such team that would have been chosen. That mentality may be changing, however, in light of Boise State and Hawaii's massive fan turnouts the past two seasons.
Stewart, as a Georgia fan I am happy with the win at Arizona State, but can we finally do something about the Pac-10 refs??!! The "tripping" and the "jumping" calls were bad enough, but failing to count the number of players on the field on a third-and-goal is beyond insane! (See video).
Unbelievable. At this point, Pac-10 refs have about as much credibility as ... well, NBA refs.
Mr. Mandel: Any theories on why the new and fairly hyped coaches at Michigan, Arkansas and Texas A&M seem to be having mediocre-to-poor results? Did the previous head coaches at these schools really leave the talent cupboard that bare?
Well most people seemed to realize before the season even started how bare the cupboards were, as all three teams were predicted to struggle.
I think each situation is a little different. Michigan would have been in for some rebuilding this year regardless of the coaching change after losing a four-year quarterback (Chad Henne), All-America running back (Mike Hart), No. 1 draft pick (Jake Long) and two pro receivers (Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington), but then it only got worse when the heir apparent at quarterback (Ryan Mallet) and four potential starting offensive linemen left following the coaching change. Arkansas -- very similar. Not only did the Razorbacks lose two first-round running backs (Darren McFadden and Felix Jones), but their quarterback of the future (Mitch Mustain) and potential star receiver (Damian Williams) are currently suiting up for USC.
As for Texas A&M -- that one's pretty much a case of negligent recruiting. It remains a mystery what exactly Dennis Franchione did during his five years in College Station besides update his Web site and his secret e-mails.
Regarding this blurb from your Sept 17. column: "And yet for some reason people still seek this idiot's opinion on football matters."
What people think your opinion on college football matters?
Apparently the people cutting my checks.
As much as I'd love to end this edition of the Mailbag on yet another "What an idiot" joke, I have a couple of serious topics to address.
First of all, I hope you'll join me in extending our best wishes for a speedy recovery to Ball State star Dante Love, who suffered a career-ending spinal injury against Indiana. Love, the nation's second-leading receiver, was one of the most exciting players in the country that, sadly, not too many people got to see. I'm sure fans of Nebraska (10 catches, 214 yards last year), Indiana (10 catches, 177 yards) and Michigan (six catches, 107 yards) won't soon forget him. After watching the Cardinals' Friday night game against Navy earlier this year in which he racked up 336 all-purpose yards, I included him on my HeismanPundit.com ballot that week.
So you can imagine my horror upon learning Sunday that Love suffered a devastating collision Saturday night after which he was carted from the field and later required five hours of emergency surgery. He broke his spine and suffered a spinal cord injury. The good news is, he was able to move his arms and legs Sunday and was to be released from critical care. Still -- what a scary and unfortunate injury that will likely eliminate any chance of an NFL career.
On a more uplifting note ... thanks to everyone who contributed to the Mailbag's Conference Showdown to Benefit DonorsChoose.org. You guys can debate the on-field stuff until the cows come home, but when it came to raising money for public-school classrooms, one conference wound up dominating the others: The Big Ten.
"We at DonorsChoose.org congratulate the victorious fans of the Big Ten and greatly appreciate the generosity shown by all conference fans, who have given nearly $24,000 and made winners out of 5,300 students across the country," said Jeff Wood, executive director for DonorsChoose.org. "From pedometers in Louisiana to dodge balls and jump ropes in L.A. to special education math games and puzzles in Detroit, you have made a tangible and real difference in these students' lives and we are grateful for your support."