Cavalcade, Part 2: Archie, Pecking Order, CFP

Cavalcade, Part 2: What does Archie Manning leaving CFP mean? That, and the ten things to be grouchy about

Cavalcade of Whimsy

October 21, Part 2

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- Part 1 - The Play, and is Florida State that good?

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
The ten things I'm grouchy about this week ...

10. Jameis being Jameis in the NFL
There’s no possible way to watch Jameis Winston’s second half against Notre Dame – especially the brilliant game-winning drive – and still think Marcus Mariota is the best NFL quarterback prospect. Mariota will be a good, solid NFL starter, but Winston is just better. He needs to tighten up and quicken his throwing motion, and, of course, there’s a massive red flag in terms of his off-the-field issues, but it’s all there in terms of talent.

Winston might never be Peyton Manning or Russell Wilson in the maturity department, but in a league that’s starting Colt McCoy, Austin Davis, Kyle Orton, Mike Glennon, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer, and Geno Smith – and is waiting on Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles – either you’ve got a star quarterback or you don’t, because they aren’t that common. You pick Mariota if you’re hoping to win. You pick Winston if you want to win.

9. Herschel Code
Look, you old school superstars, understand your own era first before you start getting all high, mighty and moral. As I keep saying every time people try to infuse morality into evaluating production on the field, once you start, you have to go all the way. Herschel Walker might have been the greatest college football player of all-time, and he’s at the very least in the top ten, but if he’s going to take a stand on his Heisman vote and not give it to Winston or Todd Gurley specifically because of things that happened off the field, that gets extremely sticky. If you want a snapshot of the 1980s – and this doesn’t even start with the sports' steroid world – watch the terrific 30 for 30s on Marcus Dupree, SMU and Miami.

8. College Football Playoff rankings next Tuesday
As I’ve railed on all year, the AP and Coaches polls don’t matter anymore, and they sure don’t mean anything in the College Football Playoff committee world. You want to know what else doesn’t matter? The first College Football Playoff committee rankings that’ll come out next Tuesday, and why? In terms of the top four, we won’t know anything until the conference championships are decided. Go ahead and put anyone you want in your top four, but with the way this is logistically playing out – there are only three teams and Marshall left unbeaten – it’s probably going to be more cut-and-dry than you think once the championship games are done. So please, for me, don’t get into a twist over whatever comes out first from Grapevine, Texas.

7. The best Mountain West team is …
… not going to win the Mountain West title. Boise State is probably going to play San Diego State for the championship, and that’s going to screw the Mountain West’s chances at possibly getting a team into the Group of Five automatic big bowl slot. If East Carolina loses one more game, and if Marshall trips up at all, there’s going to be an opening for an 11-1 Mountain West team to dive in. But if the best team in the MW doesn’t win the conference title, it’s out.

Colorado State is 6-1 and rolling, but that one loss came to Boise State in Boise on September 6th. Since then, the Rams have had a few tough fights, but they beat Boston College, Nevada, Colorado and Utah State, and with a balanced offense, decent defense, and a Biletnikoff-worthy receiver in sophomore Rashard Higgins, they’ve improved. CSU is going to beat Wyoming, San Jose State, Hawaii, New Mexico and Air Force, while Boise State gets San Diego State and Utah State at home and has to go on the road to face New Mexico and Wyoming. Outside of a total disaster – like the turnover meltdown in the loss to Air Force – 10-2 Boise State will be in – to be totally fair, that other loss was to Ole Miss - and 11-1 Colorado State will be out.

6. The unwinnable argument: poking holes in Shawshank
I’m trying to do three things at once: write a column, watch an NFL game I’d never sit through in a million years if I didn’t need Arian Foster and DeAndre Hopkins to show up, and get through an e-mail battle with my friends about The Shawshank Redemption.

This all started after we read the terrific Vanity Fair article about the Shawshank backstory - BTW, the absolutely brilliant making of Pulp Fiction piece was better – and beyond a few nitpicky points here and there – like the bizarre and unnecessarily convoluted way the money was left for Red in case he got out, and the suspension of disbelief that the hole in the wall behind the poster wouldn’t have been discovered over two decades – there’s one massive problem.

That was one really awful manhunt.

Consider the sheer logistics of the escape. Andy Dufresne – Mr. Stevens – had “visited nearly a dozen banks in the Portland area that morning.” Okay, but the banks probably didn’t open until nine, and even if they opened earlier, it would’ve taken a half hour, minimum, to get the warden’s money out of each bank. Meanwhile, Dufresne would’ve been noticed missing before the banks even opened, at which time Warden Norton would’ve done everything within his power to make sure the entire law enforcement community was on the lookout for a 6-6 guy in a wrinkled suit – NO CHANCE that suit comes out pressed – and smells, literally, like crap no matter how much he scrubbed after crawling through a half mile of sewage. You’d think the entire city police force would’ve been on alert after a prison break, but Dufresne went to all the banks, bought a car, went to Buxton, and drove off in a convertible, top down, without the law finding him.

How can you be so obtuse?

5. Homecoming
It was a great fundraising idea back in the early 1900s to get the alumni to come back to campus and spend money, but it’s okay to ditch the concept of the homecoming game meaning something extra in 2014. It’s one thing if you’re scheduling the homecoming game to try to sell more tickets, but did Ole Miss need the gimmick to get people to show up for Tennessee? Really, Washington, you need homecoming to get fans to care about the Arizona State game next week? This was going to help LSU’s cause when Ole Miss rolled in, and how’d that turn out, Florida, scheduling Missouri? Go ahead and keep the tradition alive, but it’s not like fans are going to be extra-special upset if their team loses because it’s homecoming.

4. Oklahoma “lost” because of its kicker
Oklahoma’s kicking issues didn’t help the cause against Kansas State, but knock off the idea that the Sooners lost just because of the misses. It would’ve been one thing had Michael Hunnicutt missed an extra point or a field goal on the final play, but he missed a 32-yarder in the second quarter and whiffed on a 19-yarder with just under four minutes left. The blocked extra point happened with 10:35 to play – there was still lots and LOTS of time to overcome the mistakes. Had he made any of those kicks, who knows if Kansas State would’ve turned things up a bit with the scored tied or if down. The Sooner defense could’ve come up with a stop, and Kansas State ran out the clock, so yes, OU did lose the game, but give Jake Waters and the Wildcats credit for winning it when they had the chance.

3. Non-conference games and the playoff world
What are we quickly learning about non-conference games and Power 5 conferences? There’s absolutely no need whatsoever to play anyone good outside of your league ever again. If Michigan State had played Oregon Sisters of the Poor instead of Oregon, it would be unbeaten right now and ranked in the top five as a lock to be in the playoff by going 13-0. With the loss to the Ducks, now there’s no margin for error and the Spartans have to finish 12-1 to have a chance. Everyone might scream and cry about bad non-conference slates, but as we’re all going to quickly find out, if you win your Power 5 conference and have one loss, you’re probably in no matter what. Schedule three tune-ups, and let your league wins do the talking.

2. Archie Manning’s injuries
Few quarterbacks in the history of the NFL were as beaten up as Archie Manning, but it’s the College Football Playoff committee that he’s injured for.

Tony Barnhart and I played the role of Archie at the media mock selection simulation in Dallas a few weeks ago and are more than happy to step up and step in – we nailed it the first time around. However, the thing to remember about losing one member of a 13-person committee is that Manning probably wouldn’t have done much anyway. He would’ve had to physically leave the room whenever Ole Miss was being discussed, and that would’ve been about 40% of the entire event. Also, the fact that he’s sort of an SEC representative doesn’t matter. He wouldn’t have had to have voted for SEC teams, just like Barry Alvarez doesn’t have to represent the Big Ten in his voting. This whole idea of committee members joining in to represent conferences and interests is wrong – affiliations don’t matter when voting.

Also, whatever comes out of that room is the committee speaking as one – there can’t/won’t be any 6-6 deadlock, because that’s not how it works.

1. The pecking order
College Football Playoff committee, I’m here to help. If your goal is to pick the four best teams, here’s how the pecking order will/should go as you’re trying to decide between apples and cupcakes, if all things are equal.

1. Undefeated SEC champion
2. Undefeated Florida State
3. One-loss SEC champion
4. One-loss SEC team, not champion (there can be more than one)
5. One-loss Florida State, ACC champion
6. One-loss Pac-12 champion
7. Two-loss SEC champion
8. One-loss Big Ten champion
9. 11-1 Notre Dame
10. One-loss ACC champion, not Florida State
11. One-loss Big 12 champion

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: 2012 West Virginia … Underrated: 2014 West Virginia
2) Overrated: Michigan job … Underrated: Florida job
3) Overrated: SEC getting four in AP top 5 ... Underrated: Georgia at No. 9
4) Overrated: Rutgers getting blown out by Ohio State ... Underrated: Maryland at 5-2 after beating Iowa
5) Overrated: Peyton Manning’s 509th ... Underrated: Demaryius Thomas on 510th

"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." … KInd of on a roll, but I'm not feeling it quite so much this week. Beware .. So Far: SU 259, ATS 21-13

1) USF +10.5 over Cincinnati (UC straight up)
2) South Carolina +18 over Auburn (Auburn straight up)
3) Akron -1 over Ball State
4) Georgia Tech +3.5 over Pitt
5) Maryland +12 over Wisconsin (Wisconsin straight up)
6) Ole Miss -3.5 over LSU
7) West Virginia +1.5 over Oklahoma State

Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault … Jeremy Foley let the disastrous column go by saying the “sole focus right now” is supporting the column as it “prepares for Georgia.” And then he’s going to dump it.

- Part 1 - The Play, and is Florida State that good?


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