Tip Of The Hat, Wag Of the Finger: College Football Style

Jay HendryCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2009

First off, Wag of the Finger (WoTF) to me for stealing this shtick from Colbert.  Dear Stephen, if this is some sort of copyright violation, bring me on your show and I'll apologize. 

Anyway, now that the legal mumbo jumbo is out of the way, a Tip of the Hat (ToTH) to this website.  I've been here for close to a year, and to my knowledge there isn't a better site to talk sports.  Forums are fast and fun but they don't generally make for well thought out conversation.  Really, they're little more than bar talk in written form.  Here, though, people actually spend time thinking about what they're writing; kudos, guys, keep up the good work.

If you don't watch the Colbert Report or you haven't caught on to what's going on yet, Tip of the Hats are things I'll be giving the stamp of approval for, things like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, first row tickets, and free apple pie. 

Wags of the Finger are the opposite, consisting of things that suck, such as drinking milk two days past the expiration date, losing in overtime by more than seven, or being a Jacksonville Jaguars fan (blacked out for the season).

Well, that's about enough explanation; let's get to some college football!

Tip of The Hat to Jacory Harris.  I wrote him off too soon after that disaster of a game against Virginia Tech.  While the numbers were impressive against FSU and Georgia Tech, it was fairly evident that neither opponent had much of a pass defense to show. 

After VT, I assumed he had finally played a real defense and that defense had exposed Harris as a promising young QB, not quite ready for the national coverage he had suddenly received.  Then he went out and led his team to a win against with big passes when necessary against a title contender.  That is how veteran leaders win games, Jacory, and you're just a sophomore.  Enjoy the win, the limelight, and this tip, No. 12.

Bonus ToTH to Miami's scheduling.  FSU, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are tough, but they're in conference.  They don't have a whole lot of say there, but instead of grabbing Charleston Southern and Troy for their out of conference play, Miami channeled their former selves and grabbed Oklahoma and suddenly scary USF.  Their gimmies are FAMU and UCF; both are in-state opponents, an always acceptable course of action since it's good for the state.

When Notre Dame was trying to get back to losing big time games instead of making crappy bowls they went the opposite route, scheduling cupcakes, which sold their team short and backfired tremendously an action that may ultimately cost coach Weis his job. 

Conversely, Miami's no fear approach, despite being "too young to compete" has given the team confidence, which very likely will set the tone for the team for the next few seasons.  Hats off to you, Coach Shannon; you did it right and your program's on the fast track to success.

Wag of The Finger to way too early Heisman speculation.  In this on demand world, it seems we demand things that don't make sense, like wondering who's leading the Heisman race at all times.  I'm guilty of perpetuating this so I'm partially self–wagging right now.  Why were we even talking about Jacory's Heisman chances prior to the Va Tech game?  He had only played two games.  At least the BCS holds out until week seven before giving us rankings; I can't imagine the crapfest of 14 weeks of BCS rankings.

ToTH to big time games.  FSU–Miami started off the season right.  Week two gave us Notre Dame–Michigan and USC–Ohio State, and Week three treated us to Florida–Tennessee.  Week four's big time games didn't quite measure up with Miami and Penn State failing to show up in potentially season breaking losses.  Week five totally redeemed week four though.  LSU–Georgia, Oklahoma–Miami, and Michigan–Michigan State got me through the whole day.  Oh yeah, FSU–Boston College and Auburn–Tennessee made pretty good commercial breaks too. 

So far, this season's biggest matchups have been great games.  Flashback to last year, where the "best games" rarely measured up (FSU–Miami and the Big 12 showdowns were the exceptions), and most good games were found during post–game highlights.  It's refreshing to stick to the major networks, with their HD coverage and perfect camera angles and still get to see great game.

WoTF to big time injuries, especially concussions.  In week four my favorite quarterback and my favorite fictional serial killer suffered nasty hits and were diagnosed with concussions.  Now I'm left wondering how each will come back.  Can Tebow still play like Mike Alstott?  Will Dexter remember the Code?  Are both ticking time bombs who are going back to work too soon?  Their injuries couldn't have come at more inconvenient times, either. 

Tebow had an extra week in between his hit and LSU, but why did it have to happen before the LSU game?  There's not really a good time to have a concussion, but the game before the only team ranked in the top 10 on your schedule is brutal.  Then again, suffering the same injury after killing a murderer and failing to recall whether you dumped the body (or where) is pretty bad too.

Big WoTF then a Michael Jackson moonwalk and crotch grab to SEC officials.  That might be excessive.  What AJ Green did following his TD was not, and because of a stupid, outdated rule the UGA–LSU game was decided by a penalty.  I hate to say the phrase "decided by a penalty" because of the other often more important 59 minutes played around the one play that is often keyed in on as the decider, but in this case it was.  UGA had just pretty much won the game.  Without that call Charles Scott doesn't get to run the ball trying to get closer for a field goal and he doesn't end up in the end zone.

Now, could that series of events have played out without an unnecessary flag?  Probably.  LSU didn't have problems moving the ball so much as they had problems scoring.  They were the more talented team, and with the game on the line, they got it done.  However, a great game was marred by the worst type of penalty in college football. 

Contrary to the official's beliefs, celebrating after a touchdown isn't always excessive.  Chad Ochocinco going all CHAD OCHOCINCO! is excessive, but a chest bump with your teammate or a finger to the sky is not a taunt, or inconveniently time consuming.  This isn't the robot football league, and you can't expect players to play a game without showing emotion at some point. 

Actually, that robot on FOX's NFL coverage celebrates excessively too... maybe the zombie football league?  No, then I'd celebrate excessively.  Just can the penalty unless the celebration is a taunt or a 15+ second ordeal. 

Sad Panda WoTF to Bobby Bowden.  Bowden, you've been heading this way for nearly four years now, so it should come as no surprise that your divorce with FSU will end messy as hell.  Doggone it, it seems like every big time figure in sports who hangs on too long has the same ego problem. 

I grew up with guys like Michael Jordan, Brett Favre, and Bobby Bowden and they were heroes.  Watching them now, I feel sorry for them.  Jordan still acts like he has to prove his worth, bringing up long forgotten nay sayings even in retirement; Favre and Bowden refuse to ride off into the sunset, instead dragging everyone down with them in a last ditch "What about me?" effort to reclaim a youthful spark that sadly will never return. 

Bowden's is the most surprising though.  For such a humble man, his "What will that do for me?" statement following a reporter questioning whether he'll step down shows exactly why he's still coaching.  He doesn't do it for the school or the kids, he's doing it to feed his enormous ego, and finding that out in such a way makes even this Gator frown.