Charles Chiccoa: Idling

Our resident columnist, Charles Chiccoa, has too much time on his hands during the bye week -- which we only can benefit from when he starts looking around the country and commenting, about such things Bob Stoops, USC, LSU and more...

There's nothing like a bye week following a big win.  Too bad Oklahoma was also off and we couldn't get a little better line on them.  If the first three games could be said to comprise the opening to BRUINS, THE AWAKENING?... October 8th should provide scene two, whereupon Oklahoma gets Texas and the Bruins host Jeff Tedford (Bruin fans seem to fear the man more than the school).  Right now, that's as far as I want to go.  Smart players take it one game at a time.  The rest of us, since we're irrelevant to the outcome, can take it anywhere we want and, for me, right now, that's October 8th.  Oh, and I refuse to worry about the Huskies (just like I refused to worry about the Cougs last year - lightning can't strike twice in the same place).                    

Speaking of Oklahoma, their coaching staff certainly scored some points for finger pointing.  It wasn't Bob Stoops' finest hour.  Remember when this guy was the fair-haired boy, the "genius" of the age (like Urban Meyer is today)?  He was fresh, young, straight-talkin,' no-excuses Bob.  Everyone admired him, even when he beat up your own team.  Then, gradually, cracks started appearing in the facade: His secondary began leaking touchdowns; upset losses began popping up.  Then came 19 - 55 (anyone still believe losing by 1 point is just as bad as losing by 36?).  Margin matters.  Always has, always will.

So now it was… Rhett Bomar isn't used to taking the snap under center, since he was a shotgun quarterback in high school, and the center, Chris Chester, isn't used to snapping the ball, since he's a converted tight end.  And Chester's fumbled snap "cost us a drive in the first half."  And Adrian Peterson needed to "quit trying to hit a home run on every play."  And freshman Brandon Braxton was "tippy-toeing like he didn't know what the play was."  And one of their DBs "must have been affected by the crowd" (yeah, the Sooners aren't used to playing before 50,000 on the road).  And the DBs were missing tackles and "playing too far off the receivers."  Hey, Bob, when your schemes dictate playing off the receivers, that sort of thing will happen.  It was all reminiscent of their Orange Bowl salvage operation, when Bob was whining about how the coaches could only put their DBs in the right positions (as if…), but couldn't make the plays for them.  It also reminded me of the late Bob Toledo's public burning of his red-shirt freshman, Jermaine Lewis, immediately after the notorious Washington St. loss in Pullman.  Finally there was the old fumble card: "Until we {read they} can be responsible with the ball, it's impossible to win."  Right now Stoops might not be the best guy to deliver lectures on responsibility.  Sure, he's a good coach, but he's also lost a little shine.


So how does Nick Aliotti stay employed, and is Mike Bellotti a masochist?  Maybe Mike enjoys "shootouts," too.  Did Nick really think the Autzen crowd was going to get it done for "GangGreen"?  The Oregon defense is nothing special but surely they were capable of bringing just a little pressure.  I had less time to water my back yard than Matt Leinart had to survey the field.  And while we're on the subject of Ducks, isn't it about time to acknowledge that any school (and there are quite a few) that allows Phil Knight to splash his ubiquitous swooshes all over their unis is a school that either has no football tradition or has no respect for whatever tradition it does have.         

We all know that Pile-it-on-Pete is out of control.  And now he seems to have his very own "12th man," in the form of the zebras, eating out of his hand (as if he needed one more advantage).  The Bruins have a hard time getting a decently officiated game at home, against no-names, whereas SC appears to be flying in their own private crew for road games (don't leave home without them).  I don't believe in conspiracies, but when such an overwhelming number of backbreaking calls favors one team, and when so many of those calls are of the grotesque variety, and when even the replay zebras can't get them right, you can only shake your head and wonder.  

From the little I've forced myself to watch (Trojan hype is way too rich for my blood), it would appear that Pete Carroll, now that he's kept Leinart safely in school, is nudging Reggie Bush for the Heisman (not that Reggie isn't deserving).  Pete's undoubtedly figured out that two different Trojans winning Heismans is better than one guy hogging two (it also makes for a longer list of SC winners).  And you know he's dying to sell a Reggie/Leinart scenario to Jimmy Clausen and Marc Tyler.  The Bruins' staff needs to realize they're dealing here with something approaching a pigskin vampire; the guy must never sleep, measuring every possible angle of benefit.  Nothing less than a stake through the heart will do, which is to say he must be beaten.  I realize there are more than a few Bruins who wish UCLA had a mad bastard like Pete… wish that he was our bastard… but the way reality works is that you get the guy who fits your culture.  Unfortunately, USC breeds sharks and UCLA breeds… nice guys.  Leo Durocher got it wrong: nice guys don't finish last… they finish second.  Down the line, KD's going to have to deal with that.              


How 'bout those Tigers?  Just another example of how conservatism, in football, kills.  And I'm not just talking about Les Miles.  How 'bout Bob Davie up in the booth.  Every time it came time to "sac up," Bob failed, too.  Actually it's a rare color commentator who doesn't funk it.  Anyway, LSU was a disgrace.  And Phil Fullmer should have gained a lot of respect, along with Rick Clausen.  Those great shots of stunned LSU fans reminded me of us during BT's classic chokes vs. Oregon.  Arizona State must be kicking itself for having blown it to LSU in Sun Devil Stadium.  And how 'bout that "pass" from Eric Ainge?  Imagine if Drew Olson would've thrown that one.  Both of these teams were ranked in the top 10.  Would you bet on either of them, over the Bruins, on a neutral field?  I wouldn't.  

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