Cavalcade Of Whimsy: The Gurley Situation

Cavalcade Of Whimsy: The Gurley Situation. It was selfish to not let him go early to the NFL - sort of.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Nov. 18

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- 2013 Cavalcades 
- Aug 26 Josh Shaw, playoff talk, and there's a new network?  
- Sept 2 College Football's big new problem  
- Sept 9 The impossible: defending the Big Ten 
- Sept. 16 More Big Ten issues, UCLA Jerry & More 
- Sept. 23 Read it right in the ...  
- Sept. 30 No, Florida State isn't No. 1 
- Oct. 7 Trevor, Katy & Ole Miss
- Oct. 14 Gurley, Jameis & Autographs 
- Oct. 21 The Play, and is Florida State that good?
- Oct. 28 What matters in the rankings
- Nov. 4 The Playoff Doomsday Scenario 
- Nov. 11 Return Of The Big Guys 

November 18th
- Part 2 The Ten Possible Playoff Curveballs

Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
if I had beaten South Carolina, I’d still have a job.

First, for those asking to find my 2012 "Get Out Now!" column on Marcus Lattimore and why players must leave early for the NFL.

”Sell your soul and sign an autograph / Big bang baby, it's a crash, crash, crash” … Okay, Todd Gurley. Get signing.

If Melvin Gordon had run 29 times like Gurley, at his average vs. Nebraska, he would’ve rushed for 473 yards … I know, I’ve been the Grand Marshal of the Top Pro Prospects Shouldn’t Play College Football Unless They Absolutely Have To parade, and that went for Todd Gurley, too … sort of.

Yes, if you’re told by an NFL advisory board – this should be a fluid service from the NFL, by the way, that allows players to always know where they stand – that you’re a sure-thing first round draft pick, then you’re completely and totally nuts to play one more down of college football than you have to, otherwise, you stand to lose millions of dollars you’ll never be able to recoup – not to mention potentially ruining your dream of playing in the pros. However, it’s a little different if you’re going for a national championship.

Of course there would’ve been a major backlash had Gurley said he wasn’t coming back so he could prepare for his professional career. He would’ve been called selfish, and he would’ve been labeled as a guy who walked out on his teammates. Okay, but are Gurley’s fellow players going to pass the hat around the locker room and collect the $7-to-10 million the superstar tailback probably just lost? How about the University of Georgia; will it repay him? Mark Richt? The NCAA?

Talk about selfish.

You wanted Todd Gurley to play. You wanted Marcus Lattimore to come back. You want all these top pro prospects to go out there for the glory of making lots and lots and lots of money for the schools, for ESPN, for the NCAA, for the university communities, and for everyone who makes a living off of the sport and these players, and yet the system will come down like a hammer on the first player who breaks the barrier and decides that he doesn’t want to risk his potential generational wealth and NFL goal by fighting on for old State U.

However, I’ll buy the argument for Gurley returning under the current circumstances, because if Missouri loses once, Georgia – even with two losses – going into the Auburn game was six wins away from a national championship, and a healthy Gurley could’ve been a main cog in making that happen.

So while fans always have to remember that college football is fun for us, and it’s a multi-million dollar business to the top NFL prospects, there’s still something to be said for the game itself and the fact that these guys are football players who want to play football.

Risk it all for the next game or even a conference championship? Not worth it. Risk it all for a shot at a national title, because you might spend the rest of your life regretting not going for it? I get it.

“That's alright, that's alright to feel you'd like/ Feel you'd like, a good time.” … Totally going out on a limb, Alabama was my preseason No. 1 team, and even after the Ole Miss loss I never wavered from my call that it would end up winning the national championship. But even with the win over Mississippi State, now I’m not so sure.

There’s no question that Bama has the most talent in college football, or is No. 1A next to Florida State, but this team just doesn’t quite feel like the killer of championships past – it feels a bit more like the really, really good 2010 and 2008 versions.

The 2009 team had its 2014 14-13 win over Arkansas moment in the close call against Lane Kiffin’s Tennessee squad, but that defense allowed more than 14 points just five times in the 14 wins. The 2011 version allowed a grand total of 106 points and wasn’t touched by anyone outside of the 9-6 loss to LSU. The 2012 team couldn’t handle Mr. Manziel, and struggled in the SEC championship against Georgia, but that offense throttled just about everyone, only scoring fewer than 30 points twice.

This year’s team is getting the job done, but outside of dominant offensive explosions against Florida and Texas A&M, it hasn’t quite looked the part.

And it’s still going to end up in the College Football Playoff.

Apparently, Wisconsin can run the football … I’m trying, Oregon. I don’t know why 29 touchdown passes and two interceptions isn’t moving my needle. I’m not sure why 524 rushing yards and eight scores isn’t enough to get it done. Marcus Mariota is obviously a phenomenal college football talent, and he’ll be a productive starter in the pros, but I’m not there. Is he really ready to be a college football immortal as a Heisman winner? Is he a true legend of the game, or is he just the really good quarterback on the really good team? I need my Heisman winner to be IT. I need him to be a no-brainer. I need him to be the signature guy in my college football season, or else I need him to do something at an all-timer of a level.

I’m not totally on board with giving my Heisman vote to Melvin Gordon – at least until he gets through Minnesota, Iowa, and maybe Ohio State - but I’m getting close.

Not only is Gordon on track to set the NCAA record for career yards per carry, there’s a chance he obliterates it. Former Nebraska superstar Mike Rozier owns the mark averaging 7.16 yards per try – Gordon averages 8.3 career yards per carry. At 1,909 yards, barring a disaster, he’s a mortal lock to hit the 2,000-yard mark, and if the Badgers play in the Big Ten championship, at his current pace he’ll run for 2,660 yards. That’s not going to happen, but he has the potential to put the numbers into the stratosphere.

”Thank you, Mr. Cowboy, I'll take it under advisement. Hit it, again!” … How much did UTEP hate LaDainian Tomlinson? Not only did LT crank out the at-the-time greatest single season rushing day ever in 1999 with 406 yards, he also buried the Miners with 305 yards the following year. However, that was against UTEP.

To put Melvin Gordon’s day into perspective, it’s not like LT was some nice college player who never panned out, but still, it took 43 carries to get to 406 yards and six touchdowns. Tomlinson broke the record of Tony Sands of Kansas, who in 1991 needed 58 carries to crank out 396 yards. Gordon needed just 25 carries to average 16.3 yards per pop on the way to 408 yards in just three quarters. To get stupid, average it out, and Gordon averages 701 yards on 43 carries, or 945 yards on 58.

This just in, Urban Meyer quarterbacks tend to be pretty good … The 2014 Heisman race sucks, mainly because there’s absolutely no one else available other than Marcus and Melvin. However, it’s time to start making the case for Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett to at least be in New York.

I tried, unsuccessfully, over the last few years to state the argument for Braxton Miller in an MVP sort of a way, but it never worked out. Barrett, though, has a better overall possibility because he’s it. He’s the reason Ohio State is knocking on the door of the college football playoff, and he’s the one who’s stepping up and doing the sensational when needed.

He’ll get dogged for the Virginia Tech loss – completing 9-of-29 passes for 219 yards and a score with three picks – but that wasn’t his fault. Yes, he held on to the ball too long, and yes, he made a few big errors, but he also spent the game buried under mounds of Hokies. Yes, he struggled against Penn State, but he also managed to come back and pull out the win in overtime.

He’s not Miller as a runner, but he came up with 189 yards and a score against Minnesota. He’s not the most polished passer, but he threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns against Michigan State. There’s still work to do, but if Ohio State gets into the playoff, yeah, Barrett, at the very least, might be college football’s second most valuable player behind Jameis.

“The grabbing hands grab all they can/ All for themselves - after all/ It's a competitive world” … Get this through your heads, everyone. Point differential matters. Everything matters. The College Football Playoff committee is using anything and everything at their disposal, and while a win is a win is a win, yeah, style points matter. These 12 members are human beings – I think – and they’re going to form their opinions based on everything at their disposal.

The conference of One True Champion might have co-champs … Here’s why it’s going to be tough for TCU and Baylor to make a case to get into the Final Four – the Big 12 is struggling. Kansas State is solid, but that loss to Auburn isn’t quite as forgivable now that the Tigers have shown they aren’t the world-beaters of last year. Texas, at the moment, is the No. 4 team in the Big 12 standings, Oklahoma and West Virginia have been relegated to also-ran status, and Oklahoma State is going to need a major upset to go bowling with road games at Baylor and Oklahoma to close things out, and needing to win both games. Even so, assume the league gets two teams into the New Year’s Day bowl-o-rama, and there will likely be several bowls with Big 12 tie-ins looking for teams. Army isn’t bowl eligible, to the Armed Forces Bowl will need to find an at-large team – there won’t be a seventh available Big 12 team – and the Texas and Cactus Bowls will probably have to go looking, too.

Corporate Magazines Still Suck … The whole Sonic Highways series is terrific, and Foo Fighters are outstanding in their own way, but having lived through the 1990s, it’s hard to listen to them without at some point thinking, “yeah, this is okay, but it ain’t Nirvana.”

I’m desperately trying not to turn into the farty old guy who whines about how things used to be better, because they weren’t.

Music is stronger now, and college football is far better, far more interesting across the entire landscape, and far more accessible thanks to the Internet along with all the sports outlets that now exist. But last week I found myself trying to explain over and over again to the twentysomethings that I work with just how amazing Miami-Florida State used to be, and why if you care about college football in any way, you have to watch the 1987 26-25 Miami win that turned out to be the national championship game (probably my favorite game of all-time), the 1991 Wide Right I, and the 1992 Wide Right 2 in what might be the greatest three games of any series or any rivalry.

The 2014 Florida State-Miami game was very good, and certainly the Hurricanes and Seminoles kept rocking and rolling after the early 1990s – the 2000 27-24 Miami win takes a backseat to no game - but it’s impossible to overstate just how massive those three games – 1987, 1991 and 1992 – turned out to be in terms of NFL talent at the highest levels, speed, athleticism, hype and raw ferocity. Those games, like Nirvana, were phenomenal epics that haven’t been duplicated.

Part One would’ve been better … the column almost received the “death penalty” according to an email that stated a majority of those on the NCAA executive committee favored it, but instead, I had to pay $60 million and now I’m bowl eligible!

- Part 2 The Ten Possible Playoff Curveballs 

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