Musings on College Football Lately

A few ramblings from college football over the past several days…most important first:

5 MEMBERS OF ONE FAMILY KILLED BY BAD DRIVER

Last Monday, former Alabama RB Siran Stacy was driving his minivan with his family inside, when a yahoo driving on the wrong side of the road ran a red light and t-boned Siran’s vehicle. The crash (Montgomery Advertiser story) killed his wife Ellen and four of his five kids, leaving only his little 3 year old daughter Shelly and himself as survivors. The driver of the pickup died too.

This is absolutely horrible…the saddest news I’ve heard about in the sports world in a long, long time.

From another Land of Crimson, I join all Oklahoma fans in wishing the best for Siran, his surviving daughter, their extended family, and all ‘Bama fans in this time of crushing grief.

I got t-boned similarly in Norman several years back with my family in the car (ex and two kids), and somehow we all survived almost unhurt. It helped to have some luck, quick brakes and a 5-star crash rated vehicle with air bags. The driver was high on meth and pot and ran a stop sign unabated at 50 mph. I can’t imagine where life would be right now had I lost any one of them, much less so much of a large family, as Siran did. Pray for him and his surviving daughter.

Buckle those seat belts too. We did, and that also helped to save us from serious injury. Siran’s kids were buckled up, which at least seems to have helped save one of them, but he and his wife weren’t.

I’ve also got faith all the big ‘Bama boosters will rise to Siran’s aid and take good care of him and his little girl too. Let it be not just the fat cats helping out, either. The Stacys will need everybody’s support in the coming years, no matter what school you cheer for. In that light, here is the info on the benefit fund, set up by Wachovia Bank (which employs Siran): Siran Stacy Fund, P.O. Box 892, Geneva, AL 36340 (more information on the fund from the Alabama Athletic Department).

I also hope and pray this doesn’t happen to some other family as a result of a reckless storm chaser’s inattentive driving out in a town or the countryside of the Great Plains. It is something I’ve been concerned about for a number of years now, and we’ve been fortunate for it not to happen so far. I wish the storm observing community doesn’t have to answer for something like this someday.

OU JEKYLL OR HYDE?

Which Oklahoma team will show up against Missouri in the Big-12 title game in San Antonio Saturday night? Mizzou has an offense that can’t be stopped – just slowed and avoided. OU’s defense did slow it down just enough in their previous meeting to win the game, thanks in part to a timely forced fumble and recovery for a defensive TD, but gave up too many big plays for my liking. MU’s offense also can be avoided by long, methodical OU drives that keep the Tigers off the field.

I was encouraged with the way OU powered the ball right down OSU’s gut today. Do that to Mizzou, and they won’t get the ball as often. For keeping the defense fresh, that’s a good thing. OU needs to beat the crap out of the Mizzou defense at the line — use the OU offensive line’s superior size and strength to just pummel them, opening up running lanes while also set ting up play-action opportunities for the Sam Bradford (a play-action ace who is astounding in his poise and accuracy as a freshman). No stupid mental penalties (personal fouls, offsides, false starts and such) or turnovers, which combined with the early injury of Bradford against Tech to cause that debacle.

OU’s secondary play and pass rush each have been shaky all season since Big-12 play began, both at home and on the road. The difference has been the offense, which has been almost unstoppable at home and sluggish on the road. Needless to say, OU needs to treat this like a home game!

Even with OU missing explosive DeMarco Murray, both teams are talented enough, with a big variety of offensive weapons to spread the field, to hang a ton of points on each other. It could be a wild and high scoring game, but something tells me it instead will be sloppy on both sides with the margin of victory being decided through scoring as a direct or indirect result of turnovers.

It sure would help if pass rush specialist Auston English can play at or near full speed, after being out a couple weeks with a hairline, impact fracture in the fibula (non weight bearing calf bone). Harassing Chase Daniel into bad decisions will be crucial in winning the turnover game, and therefore, winning the game outright.

THE PINK SKIRT DEFENSE

It was no surprise that Nebraska canned Bill Callahan. Like OU with John Blake, they suffered absolutely embarrasing losses not only to rivals like Colorado, but to what used to be far weaker football teams like KU and OkieSU.

A large part of Callahan’s problem was that the Blackshirt Defense turned into the Pink Skirt Defense while he was there. Seeing teams like KU and OkieSU thrash them every which way made me convinced that it is going to take several years of hard, solid recruiting to get some skilled, impact players back on what used to be a tough, physical unit that seldom yielded many yards via ground or air.

Under Callahan’s watch, there were way too few Adam Carrikers and Bo Ruuds, and too many “Billy Ray Boneheads” and “Wally Who’sthiskys” back there whiffing tackles and waving the white flag while the Big 12’s growing collection of high-powered, multiple set offenses ran and threw right past them.

Even though I (as a Sooner fan) used to detest Nebraska, I respected the heck out of them. Now Nebraska is neither hated nor respected. They’re even worse: irrelevant! And Saint Thomas Osborne knows this. Hence, Callahan goes bye-bye.

Best to the Bugeaters in their search for a new coach. I want this rivalry back!

PLAYOFFS PLEASE!

When, O when will the average late-sixties, white-haired, stick-in-the-mud Division I university president begin to support a playoff system as is done in the other football divisions and in basketball? I asked this back in the 1980s. I wondered more in the 1990s. Same for this decade. So have millions of others before me and through today. The best we can do is this half-baked BCS? It’s not as bad for college football as the total dominance of human polls and bowls we used to have, but much like arsenic is not as bad as cyanide. A BCS “Plus One” game would be diluted mercury — still toxic to the game, just slightly less so. Why take baby steps every 15 years in the right direction? Start playoffs — next year!

The BCS was a lame attempt to placate the fans and TV people; but this helter-skelter season, along with the recent split title of LSU and USC, and two recent blowout title games that exposed overrated opponents (UF over OhioSU and USC over OU), just serves to build an already airtight case against the bowls and the BCS. For a variety of reasons hashed out ad nauseum, in many forums, for decades, there’s no good reason (not even economic!) to continue with the bowls as they are now. Enough of the stodgy old fools. This isn’t 1959.

Let’s have an 8 or 12 team tourney over three or four weeks. Hey, cigar-chomping fuddy-duddies in your presidential office Barcaloungers under all those framed portraits of the past old-fart presidents: Wake up and take a look at March Madness in hoops, and see the future with top-tier football — a sport of even greater cash flow! You love your TV and bowl money, just keep your stinkin’ revenue sharing, make the bowls into playoff games and watch the dough and attention roll in as never before.



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