Cavalcade Top Ten: Michigan Fans, Kenny Hill

Sept. 9 Cavalcade Top Ten: Michigan Fans, Kenny Hill, BYU

- Part 1 - Defending the Big Ten 

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
Random acts of madcap whimsy and jocularity for the entire family ...

10. International I Don’t Care That You Went To Michigan Day
How can you tell if someone went to Michigan? You don’t have to – he’ll tell you within 15 seconds.

It’s time we put an end to one of our nation’s most troubling afflictions, and one that can be easily eradicated with just a little bit of time and attention. We’re this close to coming up with a cure for those ravaged by the horrors of lovely conversations ruined by Michigan graduates who feel compelled to unnecessarily interject that they attended the world-class academic institution.

Side effects include using the word we more than any other fan base - as if the Michigan grad was out there not blocking anyone against Notre Dame – in reference to the Wolverine football team. The Michigan graduate is also prone to fits of anger when reminded that the 1997 team didn’t have to play anyone from the SEC, missed facing a Nebraska juggernaut, and pointing out that there's still one second remaining on the 1998 Rose Bowl clock.

So won’t you help? Join us on Saturday, November 29th for the International I Don’t Care That You Went To Michigan Day, where we ask you to accept the challenge by walking around with Northwestern and Ivy League rejection letters ready to read from whenever a Michigan graduate randomly interjects where he or she went to school. And please, speak slowly.

9. You don’t take your smoke show girlfriend/wife inside an NFL locker room, and you …
... never, ever, ever, let your pro-style, No. 1 overall franchise draft pick quarterback run. Penn State head coach James Franklin, you were given the keys to a Ferrari with Christian Hackenberg. Work on tweaking that throwing motion a wee bit. Work on his accuracy. Work on cutting down on his picks, and work on getting the rest of the running game going, but keep him in the pocket do anything and everything to protect him. He only has seven carries on the year, but that’s seven too many. Penn State is averaging just 2.8 yards per pop so far against UCF and Akron, and if the team is going to get to one of those decent bowls it's now eligible for, it'll need him to keep winging it.

8. Coaches Poll
Considering the NCAA is unofficially recusing itself from the enforcement business, and Penn State gets to have its fun back, Coaches Poll, it’s okay to lift that ban on not voting for teams that are on probation. It’s not like the poll has any relevance in the national title chase anymore, anyway, and while it made sense to not be able to vote for naughty teams back in the BCS era – considering they couldn’t go to a bowl and the Coaches Poll had a hand in determining the BCS matchups – go ahead and vote for anyone you want to.

7. Florida State’s Jameis Winston investigation
Just hoping that Florida State’s Title IX, student-conduct investigation into sexual assault allegations against Jameis Winston doesn't devolve into anything fan related. Please, Florida State fans, don't get mad at anyone seraching for the truth or questioning the initial investigation, like the New York Times did in April. There's no thinking with your football head and heart here. Florida State, learn from what's happening right now with the NFL and the swaying of policies based on public opinion and reaction to the Ray Rice incident. Jameis hasn't been charged with anything, and he might be totally innocent, but dive deep and make sure there's nothing there that could come back to bite you.

6. So ask yourself, who’s the MAC?
It’s not just that the MAC went 2-2 against the Big Ten this weekend; it’s that the league is competitive at all with a Power 5 conference.

Recruiting is never an exact science, but for the most part, outside of a few good players who choose certain teams for the right fit, the MAC normally gets prospects who didn’t get an offer from the Big Ten or Power 5 schools, or get those who received an offer, but might have to fight for a spot. For example, in the 2014 recruiting rankings, the MAC ended up with no Top 100 prospect, no four or five-star guys, and 76 three-star types. The Big Ten came up with seven Top 100 prospects – the SEC got 27, by the way – with one five-star, 44 four-stars, and 128 three-star players.

But it’s more than just the Big Ten getting far more top players; it’s about the depth, the coaching, the facilities, the money, the amenities, and focus, and commitment, and all the other things that make the Big Ten the Big Ten and the MAC scratching and clawing for notoriety. So yeah, it really is shocking when a program like Central Michigan can rise up and thump a Purdue. It’s impressive when Ball State can hang with Iowa, and even after all the success, it’s still special when a Northern Illinois can beat a Northwestern.

5. But he dressed better this time
From SEC Network’s Tim Tebow after this week: “To the fans and everybody watching the SEC Network, I’m sorry. Extremely sorry. We wanted a good lineup of interesting games. That was my goal, something the new network has never done for a full season. I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this.

“You will never see any analyst in the entire country analyze as hard as I will analyze the rest of the season. You will never see another network push as hard to sell the idea of crappy matchups as I will push the rest of the season. You will never see the network show games like Arkansas State-Tennessee, Florida Atlantic-Alabama, Nicholls State-Arkansas, Sam Houston State-LSU, Lamar-Texas A&M the rest of the season. God bless.”

4. Blocking 101
Coaches who don’t run the triple-option offense or don’t deal in certain types of spread attacks despise playing teams that incorporate various cut blocks as part of the attack. This week, Citadel O lineman Victor Hill got his team in hot water for saying the offense was “going for knees” against Florida State. There’s a difference between going for knee to try to injure, and going for knees to get the blocks necessary to make the running game go. Now Hill is being disciplined for his choice of words, but not for the blocks. That three key Florida State linemen got hurt is the cost of doing business against FCS triple-option teams – that’s how they hit, knees or not. Speaking of questionable hits …

3. Targeting Hayes
USC’s Hayes Pullard getting tossed for targeting is what started the whole bizarre chain of events that eventually led to Pat Haden’s run to the sidelines. For the most part, though, in the first week of the NFL and over the start of the college football season, the players and coaches seemed to have figured it out. Whether or not the rules have changed things too much for the offensive side isn’t really debatable – they have, since more and more defenders have to watch what they’re hitting, but players are obviously being more careful now. There will always be bang-bang plays that will get the defender in trouble, but the idea of the kill shot is starting to fade away, and football is just fine.

2. BYU
It never works out the way it looks early in September, but is it possible BYU could be a real, live fighter for one of the big bowl games, if not the College Football Playoff? Already contracted to play in the Miami Beach Bowl, BYU might be able to honestly set its sights higher after the 41-7 win over Texas. As long as QB Taysom Hill stays healthy, there shouldn’t be any problems at home against Houston, Virginia, or Utah State over the next three weeks, and if the team is good enough to do that in Austin, it should be able to get by UCF in Orlando and be ready for Nevada at home. Going to Boise State is a good thing – it’ll be a real test that should perk up the interest of the playoff committee if the Cougars can come away with the win. Then it’s Middle Tennessee on the road, UNLV at home, and a stat-filler game against Savannah State before closing out at Cal. Would 12-0 against this schedule be enough? The playoff implications for most teams and conferences are being micro-analyzed, but in this case, whatever Texas does the rest of the way might matter.

1. Kenny “T-Bone” Hill
You don’t get to decide what your nickname is, especially if you’re trying to be true and real all in one as in Trill. The idea of Kenny Football works – whether Hill likes it or not – in sort of a Michigan No. 1 jersey, Nebraska Blackshirt sort of way. If you’re good enough, and you earn it, you might also get to be named Football. Along with the 12th Man and Yell Practice, A&M should make it a part of the team’s tradition with the word/name Football on the jersey of the one bestowed the honor, but Hill doesn’t seem to want any part of that. For now, there’s something nice about the business-like way Texas A&M is doing things without all of the Manziel periphery stuff. If things keep going the way they are, Kenny Hill might be able to earn a nickname Manziel wasn’t close to getting – Kenny Champion.

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Michigan’s offensive woes vs. Notre Dame … Underrated: Michigan’s defense allowing 280 yards of total offense and just 54 on the ground
2) Overrated: Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett’s 70 rushing yards … Underrated: Ohio State QB J.T.. Barrett’s 24 attempts and 9-of-29 passing game.
3) Overrated: Stanford's first half ... Underrated: USC's fourth quarter
4) Overrated: Bob Stoops anti-SEC rhetoric... Underrated: Tennessee
5) Overrated: The idea of ever playing an injured Bryce Petty vs. Northwestern State ... Underrated: Seth Russell: 16-of-25 for 438 yards and five scores

"If it were me, I'd bet everything. But that's me. I'm an aggressive gambler. Mr. Vegas. Come on. Go for it. Go for it. Yes, yes, there we go. I'm in." … Like the Big Ten, we're just going to keep moving forward and trust that these things are cyclical .. Last Week: SU 3-2, ATS 2-3 - So Far: SU 7-2, ATS 4-5

1) Baylor -31 over Buffalo
2) NC State -2.5 over USF
3) East Carolina +11.5 over Virginia Tech (VT straight up)
4) Georgia Southern +20.5 over Georgia Tech (GT straight up)
5) Tennessee +21 over Oklahoma (Tennessee straight up)

Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault … the Pac-12 fined me $25,000 and reprimanded me for being inappropriate.

- Part 1 - Defending the Big Ten 

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