Back Nine: College football needs czar
Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 4:43 p.m.
The Back Nine comes at you after a crazy weekend with good friends, good football and especially good food. I need a workout.
10. Sunday was fascinating if you are a Twitter junkie like me. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. Everybody was trying to figure out who was going where and by the time the BCS Selection Show came on the only people who didn't know were those without a laptop or an iPhone or television. The social media is going to make that show obsolete. What will be interesting is when we go to the four-team playoff if the information will leak out of the selection committee room the same way. But it was wild on Twitter — especially when USA Today accidentally made it appear that Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema confused Oklahoma and Oklahoma State — and I only rarely looked up to see an NFL play. But I did watch the first half of the selection show just to see the reaction of the ESPN crew to Northern Illinois getting in. One thing they have to all understand, these rules were put in place to avoid lawsuits from the non-automatic qualifiers. We have one more year of this before the four-team playoff kicks in, but you see what a mess these conference commissioners have made of our bowl system and why the sport needs a czar. Six of the top 12 teams in the AP poll are not playing in BCS bowls. That's a broken system.
11. Now I will admit that part of the problem with these smelly BCS bowls is that the Big Ten-ish has an unbeaten team on probation and another better team with the same problem. So there's nothing we can do about Wisconsin (I think they just scored again on Nebraska). So we'll give the Rose Bowl their archaic tie-in. But what if there were no BCS rules about two teams from a conference? You could have had some great bowl games. Instead, not so much. Northern Illinois-Florida State? If FSU scheduled NIU in the second game of the season everyone would be ripping their non-conference schedule. It's not Florida State's fault, but it will be interesting to see the attendance, especially because Northern Illinois averages 15,670 per home game. But, Gator fans, you are not allowed to make fun of the empty seats in Miami Gardens if you're not going to New Orleans. The last time the Gators played there, they didn't come close to selling their allotment despite the fact it was Tim Tebow's last game.
12. There is a chance Florida could be playing its second straight Sugar Bowl against an interim coach. Charlie Strong is at least rumored to be in the running at the three open SEC jobs. I think his best shot is Arkansas. But who knows? You'll remember Cincinnati faced Florida three years ago without Brian Kelly, who had bolted for Notre Dame. How'd that work out for him? Speaking of the SEC openings, I've said this before but I don't think any of those jobs is as good as the fan bases of those programs think they are. Kentucky fans, I think, understand where that job is in the pecking order and embraced a coach who called them asking for an interview.
13. There was a lot of gnashing of teeth in Sunday evening about Louisiana Tech being left out of a bowl. They were more-than-deserving, a 9-3 team that is second in the nation in offense. But LaTech athletic director Bruce Van De Velde (isn't that a Seinfeld character?) blew it. The Independence Bowl offered, but he was waiting to see if a prettier girl was available. What Van De Velde didn't foresee (although many of us knew there was a real chance) was Northern Illinois jumping into the top 16 and knocking a Big XII team down a slot. The Independence lost its patience with LaTech and invited Ohio. There are some people who believe the AD didn't want to play in-state rival Louisiana-Monroe. Dude, no matter the explanation, you blew it.
14. I struggled more with this Heisman Trophy vote than any before. Even on Sunday as I went to fill it in I changed it twice. In the end, I voted for Johnny Manziel. I had Collin Klein second on my ballot. And in third I voted for Alabama center Barrett Jones. The guy is playing his third position in three years on the best offensive line in college football. Here's why I didn't put Manti Te'o on my ballot — as good as he is, I don't think he's the best defensive player in the country let alone the best player. Maybe that's the SEC in me, but I'd take Jarvis Jones or Jadeveon Clowney in a heartbeat.
15. So the Jets benched Mark Sanchez on the weekend Tim Tebow was inactive? It should be pretty clear to anyone that they brought Timmy in, realized he wasn't the guy they needed to be a back-up quarterback and there was no way he was going to play a full-time role. I've never said Tebow is a great NFL quarterback, but to treat him like this is sad. Just let him go.
16. While I was taking a break from Twitter Sunday I glanced at the early RPIs for college basketball and they revealed what I expected. It's a good thing Billy Donovan has a tough non-conference schedule. The league stinks. There are only three teams with RPIs better than 45 right now (Florida at No. 6, Texas A&M at No. 19 and Alabama at No. 22). Half of the league's 14 teams are below 70th in the nation. (Kentucky is at 64). I know it's early, but I've watched a lot of these teams play and I don't think it's going to get any better.
17. The Tweet of the Week — and there were plenty to choose from — comes from The Mailman. Louisiana Tech alum Karl Malone was not very happy that his school is not going bowling — “I am Bulldog to the core, I am heartbroken and embarrassed that our university would do this to Tech Nation. To our football and staff this is exactly what is wrong with our university. Now it's time to get former athletes to run our program. I'm 6-9 and not hard to find.” OK, it was actually two tweets. He was ticked off.
18. For those who are wondering, I've postponed my hip surgery for a number of reasons. One of them is because I need cataract surgery first and that's happening today. The iPhone will be my friend. Try these downloads — “I Don't Know” by The Sheepdogs, “Change” by Churchill and for the old school in you the Byrds version of Bob Dylan's “My Back Pages.”
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.