Good, Bad & the Ugly - College Football '03

I know the season isn't over, but what can I say, I can't help myself. There's just so much, too much really to ignore and some things (or people) that need their props and some, well, we can do without. So, without further adieu, let's take a little-past-mid-season recap of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.



I have to say that I didn't buy into the whole deal. I figured that if you were a Florida State, Nebraska, Texas or one of those "elite" types, you were always going to get the cream of the crop regardless of how many ships you were allowed. Just because you get 85 only, it's going to be the best 85 or at the very least, much better than anything a team from the MAC might get.


Without going into what the MAC specifically has done, top ten teams have been upended by unranked teams no less than 7 times this year. In fact, it's been one of the most topsy-turvy seasons that I can remember in the polls changing dramatically from one week to the next. They are up, they are down, one team is in, next week it's out, it's been a year worth remembering, but honestly, I can't remember a thing. It's like upset-overload. There have been so many, you need a stat-book to keep track of it all.

Parity is rearing it's head in a major way this year and you can decide for yourself if that head is ugly or not. I doubt anyone from the MAC would argue the benefits of those limitations. The MAC BCS eligible? Don't laugh. Parity makes that a distinct possibility in the future.



Ahh yes, the infamous incidents with Ohio State's, Robert Reynolds who tried tearing out the windpipe of Wisconsin QB, Jim Sorgi and Kellen Huston of Nebraska, who decided that he hadn't gotten enough punches in during the loss to Missouri, opting for one more on an unsuspecting (and probably crappy-drunk) fan.

You could look at this in one way, believing that all Robert Reynolds was doing was showing Sorgi how to REALLY choke, the asphyxiated performance of the Buckeyes that day evidently not convincing enough in his mind and Huston, well, if you can't beat the other team, like the old saying goes, find some 105 lbs. fan and beat the living snot out of them.

That'll show ‘em.



Have we run out of adjectives for Larry Fitzgerald? Are there any that can truly describe this guy? Forget his nation-leading average of yards per game. That tells you nothing about this young man's ability unless you see it for yourself.

1,2,3 or even 4 guys can't cover this kid, Fitzgerald able to grab anything and everything within and sometimes, a little beyond arm's reach.

The only thing keeping him from being a legit Heisman contender is the fact that his team isn't going to have a very good record when it's all said and done.

I'm telling ya, the Heisman has always been corrupt in how it decides what is important year to year. The voters can't make up their mind if it's a sympathetic trophy this year, rewarding a "star" for staying his last year (see Ron Dayne), it's statistics, the team record be damned (See Paul Hornung) or it's regional bias, that individual not leading in stats, nor their team leading in total wins (see Eddie George).

This wideout from hell deserves to be amongst the elite, because if you have seen any of the games, you know he's doing most of this on his own.


ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY w/ Trev Alberts & Mark May

Just when you think it can't get any does. I understand that you have to create chemistry in this business while providing entertainment and that stems from analysts often having different opinions on games, players, etc. and so on. But, come on, this is about the most ridiculous cartoon of a show I have seen in all the years of watching this show early Saturday mornings as I gear up for another grand day in college football.

Yeah, I am a Husker fan and as a Husker fan, I have a certain affection for Trev Alberts, but last year he was wrong so much, I think the Las Vegas bookmakers were adjusting their odds after he made his prediction. Tulane vs. Michigan, Tulane's odds of winning: 65-1. Alberts picks Michigan to win, subsequently, the new odds for Tulane are 2/5. Yeah, it was almost that bad.

This year, his record is better, but is it just me or is the only time he actually admits he was wrong was when his opinion was the same as his partner in crime (yes, this show is a crime), Mark May.

And, what's with Mark May? Does he have an opinion of his own or does he simply ask Trev what he likes and goes the opposite way?

Both of them spend way too much time bickering back and forth as if that's what fans want to see. Somewhere between chemistry and controversy, they forgot the game itself.

I thought Mike Fransesca was bad, but this takes the cake.

BRING BACK BEANO!!!! (Yep, it's that bad)



I know you probably love it. You are sitting there and saying that watching a game go 6 sessions past the regular time-frame of the game is excitement personified. Me? If a movie lasts more than 3 hours, I'm in a coma and though college football games are infinitely more exciting (unless you are a fan of Penn State or Notre Dame this year), there is a limit to just how much of this back and forth I can take.

I hear the NFL is actually thinking of going to the college football way of doing things, but I propose they don't try to copy college football, rather copy what's considered to be the most popular sport in the world.

Soccer or as they say across the "pond", futbol, that's how you should decide who wins. Penalty kicks, only in this instance, it's your kicker trying to make field goals from successively longer distances until someone misses. Nope, that's not very exciting either, but at least I'm not up until 4:00 in the friggen morning watching the same darn game.

It would be great, the game would get over quick and I think that there should always be an emphasis on special teams. Of course, if they did do it this way, Florida State would never beat Miami.




Yeah, this is about as bad as it gets. Ok, I know they have only been in Division 1-A for a brief amount of time, but out of 117 teams, they are 110th in total defense, second to last in total offense and you don't even want to know how many points they are giving up a game. I give up, I'll tell ya as I can't stand not kicking a team when they are down and when you give up over 35 points a game, it adds up to being about as down as you can get.

Who lets these teams in Division 1-A? What are the criteria for competing in a division where you are about half a century away from a good team? Parity is one thing, but do we really need teams that have so little chance of being even competitive, as a coach of even a marginal team, you snicker at the thought of playing them?

Granted, Bill Snyder of Kansas State loves these teams, but do we have to let them into Division 1-A so he doesn't look like he's scheduling nothing but patsies all the time?

There's only one team that can possibly feel worse than Buffalo right now and that's the University of Ohio. Why? That's the one team Buffalo beat.

GO BULLS!! (That's the Buffalo mascot, by the way)



Yes, this is a "homer pick" if ever there was one, but when it comes down to voting for an assistant coach of the year (do they do that?), if Bo Pelini isn't on the list, everyone that decides who makes up this lists needs to be shot or if that's not viable, make them watch a 6 overtime game or a homecoming contest at the University of Buffalo.

Look at what this guy has done.

Last year, Nebraska's defense could have been called a variety of things, but some are actually printable. "Swiss Cheese", "Matador" or my favorite, "Coach said all they were going to do was run up the middle". All are acceptable.

The "Blackshirts" turned into the "Blackskirts", but now thanks to the addition of Bo Pelini, not to mention Secondary coach, Marvin Sanders and LB coach, Jimmy Williams, this defense is one of the stingiest around.

Just a few stats as an example and yeah, I know the season isn't over, but not even an act of God would have NU's defensive stats at the end of this year, where they were at the end of the season prior.

Last year's total defensive ranking was 55th. This year, 3rd. In pass efficiency defense, last year NU was ranked 27th and this year, they are currently atop everyone in division 1-A. Last year, NU was ranked 85th in total turnovers gained through a total of 14 games, tallying 21 in all. This year, the Big Red "D" is again, at the top of the division, through 8 games having stolen a total of 32.

Are you kidding me? Is there any doubt? If it wasn't for this defense, Nebraska would once again be going through a season like last year, but thanks to one of the very best units in all of college football, NU doesn't just have a nice bowl in sight, but they have a legit shot at the conference title game.

Call this a "homer pick" if you want, this guy is good.



If you want to see every adjective available all rolled up into one team, the Red Raiders are the perfect choice. Watching a single game Texas Tech plays, I can't decide whether to laugh, gape in awe or shake my head in disgust.

What else can you say for a team that is first in the country in total offense and in total defense, dead friggen last?

They actually scored 49 points in a game and LOST.

You say that's the good and bad, but where's the ugly? You ever watch Arena Football? That's ugly and Texas Tech is the personification of an 11-man Arena football team. It's a cartoon and I know people like scoring, but when it goes this far, that's not real football, it's a video game.

I'll give B.J. Symons props for being definitely amongst the "good", but when you lead the country in scoring over 45 points a game and you are just 2 games over .500, man, that's not just bad, it's ugly.

There's oh so much more that I know is out there that can fit the adjectives above. Notre Dame, Northern Illinois, Mark Mangino down at Kansas and Bobby Bowden surpassing "Joe Pa". There's too much. In any college football season, there's simply too much. You can't cover it all.

This is just a stab at a decent start.

Steve Ryan can be reached at or 402-730-5619

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