Seven Questions That Demand Answers in 2009
1. Who is Greg Paulus?
Oh, you mean ’05 Gatorade high school basketball player of the year? The ’06 ACC All-Freshman? The guy who started for four years as the Duke point guard? Yes, that’s Greg Paulus.
What I didn’t mention is that he was also the ’05 Gatorade football player of the year...and current Syracuse Orange quarterback. New Syracuse coach, Doug Marrone, is giving a scholarship to a QB who hasn’t thrown a meaningful pass in four years.
Unless you count his game winning flea-flicker during the Paulus Family Thanksgiving Backyard Extravagaanza. I mean, this is insane! Did you know the Duke head coach even said Paulus wouldn’t be able to compete for the job? At Duke.
So he headed to Syracuse, the Big East doormat, a team which has gone 9-27 the past three years. And that’s perhaps the only BCS conference weaker than the Big Ten. So what? This story may never make it past Orange message boards.
Paulus hasn’t even won the starting job, and he may never even play. But what if he does start? What if they win six games? What if they make a bowl? That would be the craziest thing since the forward pass.
2. Will Lane Kiffin have to install a reverse peephole?
For the seven people who don’t watch Seinfeld reruns on daily basis, Kramer and Newman once installed reverse peepholes so they could see if anyone was inside their apartment waiting to ambush them.
It may behoove the new Tennessee coach to do the same. Before he has even sniffed the grass of Neyland stadium, he had managed to piss off just about everyone in the SEC and even one Florida high school.
From falsely calling Urban Meyer a cheater to implying that Nick Saban can’t recruit to questioning whether Pahokee High School, star recruit Nu’Keese Richardson’s alma mater, could even fax the letter of intent to Knoxville.
The hit list is already long for Kiffin and also includes: SEC legend Steve Spurrier, UF Athletics Director Jeremy Foley, SEC commissioner Mike Slive, and Georgia recruit Marlon Brown. Whew...and it's not even Fall yet.
Regardless of the Volunteers’ record this year, I think his first season will be a success if Kiffin doesn’t find someone waiting for him around the corner with a sock full of pennies.
3. How long will we have to endure “we’re coming to your citaaaay” as the Gameday theme song?
It's been what, five years of having this awful wannabe country-rap-rock oil spill as the anthem of the greatest Saturday show of all time? My apologies to Transformers and GI Joe, but College Football Gameday has always been the only thing that can get me out of bed before 11 on a Saturday morning.
But this song has got to go. At the very least pick ONE genre and stick to it! And since when was country the official football music? I guess Hank Williams Jr started it with his Monday night ditty. But at least that was good, “Are you ready for some football” became iconic. But will anyone be reciting Cowboy Troy 10 years from now?
No. Because its ridiculous and gimmicky. To make matters worse, I kinda liked it last year… which in turn made me resent it all the more. If I have to hear it one more time...well Ill probably just complain again and still watch the show.
4. Who will make the BCS look completely idiotic this year?
Ok, the BCS did have about four good years. Then we realized how much of a joke it was. Since 2003, just about every championship has had as much controversy as NBA refereeing. First, it was the split title in 2003 (USC in the AP and LSU in the Coaches).
Then undefeated Auburn got left out in 2004. Finally, smaller schools have been the thorn in the BCS side the past two years. Utah proved they deserved a shot in 2005 by defeating Pittsburgh and going undefeated.
Then Boise St beat Oklahoma in perhaps the best college football game ever played, demanding that small schools deserve to be noticed. Last year, Utah obliterated previously unstoppable Alabama en route to a 13-0 season. Not to mention the unsolvable problem created by the Texas Tech/Texas/Oklahoma triangle.
The ‘08 season really opened the floodgates, even leading some to question the legality of the BCS. A recent hearing in Washington DC addressed the system and a potential playoff.
Things got so nasty that Rep. Joe Barton (a Big 12 fan who just so happens to be from Texas) said it should be called the “BS system” then later compared it to communism during the meeting.
And its not only football people that are taking jabs at the BCS. Just yesterday when asked about his Orlando Magic being overlooked in their playoff series, coach Stan van Gundy said: ''The bottom line is this is not the BCS, where people get to vote for who the best teams are. We actually get to play on the court to decide that.” Yikes.
**Kiffin Update: I** Literally as I was finishing up this article, I find out that Tennessee will self-report a minor recruiting violation after Lane Kiffin posted on Twitter: “I was so excited to hear that JC Copeland committed to play for the Vols today!”
Good Lord. He might just have to watch his back even in Knoxville. I actually feel bad for the Tennessee faithful as they have to put up with this childishness.
5. Can the state of Washington learn to play football?
In one of the most embarrassing storylines of 2008, Washington St and the University of Washington sank to the depths of college football, a place reserved for Prairie View and whoever invented the BCS (see No. 4).
The schools had one Division I-A win between them, and that was when Wash St beat...wait for it...Washington. At least Wazzu’s season was partially understandable as their QB situation got so decimated by injuries they were literally holding on-campus tryouts for a backup.
The winless Huskies scrapped everything and got themselves a fancy new coach from USC, Steve Sarkisian. I’m about as jealous of Sarkisian as I am of my friend who contracted “a touch of malaria” (true story).
Hopefully in the dreary pacific northwest some light will shine on these teams in 2009. But no matter how bad it gets, at least they know someone has to win when they meet on Nov. 28.
6. Will Verne Lundquist finally man-up and ask Tim Tebow for his phone number?
All last year on CBS sports good ole’ Verne beat-around-the-bush about his man-crush on Tebow. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Lundquist and I think he is one of the better color guys still announcing.
But he is madly in love with Tebow. It became really obvious when I noticed he never mispronounced Timmy’s name! Typically, if player names were early '80s B-movie actresses, Lundquist would be Leatherface.
But in this case, Verne is obviously going the extra mile to make Tim notice his affection. Go for it Verne, ask him...we’re all rooting for you.
**Kiffin Update II** Just when I think I can finish an article, there is a new update from Knoxville. Looks like little Lane can’t even get along with his own staff! The new Vol has reportedly fired his strength and conditioning coach, Mark Smith. Kiffin might be taking the old adage “any publicity is good publicity” too seriously.
7. What does time travel have in common with going undefeated in the Big 12 South?
Both are mathematically feasible but practically impossible. Stephen Hawking wrote a book about it. Well, I don’t think he mentioned the Big 12 at all. I digress...anyway, Texas and Oklahoma would make anyone’s top five list.
Oklahoma State should make most top 10s. Baylor, don’t laugh, will be very tough. Texas Tech can put up 72 points on any given day, even without Crabtree.
Texas A&M isn’t what it used to be but they bring in blue-chip prospects and are really good for the worst team in a division. Much is written about UT, OK, and OKST, but let’s touch on Baylor a second.
Before you spit milk through your nose, mark my words: the Bears will have a win against one of those three teams this year. They return Freshman All-American QB, Robert Griffin, who by the way won the 400 meter sprint at the NCAA championships in his spare time.
Ten bucks says Baylor will be the No. 1 non-top-25 used team in on-line NCAA Football 2010 games. I know I would run the option like nobody’s business with Griffin, and any play with a QB rollout would just be unfair. Not to mention that Baylor returns RB Jay Finley, and top two WRs Kendall Wright and David Gettis.
Add in their best recruiting class in years and you’ve got yourself a monster. That Big 12 South division is probably more dense than a black hole, and I don’t think anyone can come out alive.
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