Tag Archive: Tony Dorsett


Believe it or not, college football finally got it right.

Now let’s not screw it up.National Championship - Oregon v Ohio State

Think of it this way, there have been three eras in college football: The Bowl Era; the BCS and for the first time this past season, the College Football Playoff.

Using these three systems, only one would have produced the Ohio State Buckeyes as the national champion even though they would have played Oregon in the terminal bowl under each of the trio of regimes.

The other “champions” would have been Florida State (bowl system) and Alabama (BSC).

The Bowl Era

As a young tadpole, the author of Almost DailyBrett remembers spending virtually all of New Year’s Day watching the bowls.

As a football manager of the USC Trojans in 1976, we lost one damn game, our opener against Missouri at the LA Coliseum. That loss cost us dearly. We were contractually tied into the Rose Bowl. We beat Michigan. We ended up No. 2 in all the land.

Pitt with Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett went to the Sugar Bowl and ended the season, No. 1 and undefeated. We never had a chance to play them.

Using this very same bowl system, Florida State as the ACC champion would have gone to the Orange Bowl. Alabama as the ESECPN champ would been dispatched to the Sugar Bowl. Oregon and Ohio State would have played in “The Granddaddy of Them All,” the Rose Bowl.

If Florida State prevailed in the Orange Bowl, regardless of the opponent, the Seminoles would have been the national champion because of its perfect season and an unbeaten streak of 30-straight. There is zero doubt about this conclusion because everyone else had at least one loss.

Reality check time: This is the same Florida State team that survived a series of close calls against basketball schools only to be literally destroyed by Oregon 59-20 in the Rose Bowl (e.g. first playoff semifinal) as the Ducks feasted on five Florida State turnovers.GTY 460965378 S SPO FBC USA CA

So much for Florida State as the national champion, and its 29-game winning streak.

The BSC Era

In order to solve the automatic bowl tie-in conundrum, the college football gods came up with the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).

Reflecting back on the unfortunate BSC era, the idea was to create a non-subjective human/computer ranking system that would disregard bowl tie-ins and conceivably send the best two teams in all the land to the BCS Championship Game.

Besides triggering coast-to-coast controversy, the flawed subjective system paved the way for sanity to ensue in the form of a four-team playoff.

If the BSC still existed this past season, is there any doubt that Florida State and Alabama (e.g., the two semifinal losers) would have played in the Championship Game? And the winner most likely would have been Alabama, making everyone at ESECPN (e.g., Rece “Alabama” Davis, Jesse “Florida” Palmer, David “Georgia” Pollack, Lee “Florida State” Corso …) real happy.

The two playoff finalists (e.g., the teams that handily beat Alabama and Florida State respectively) would have played in the Rose Bowl. Translated: the result of the Ohio State vs. Oregon Rose Bowl would have been irrelevant in determining the national champion.

Thankfully: The Playoff Era

Ohio State would have been locked into the Rose Bowl under the auspices of the bowl era. Under the BSC, the Buckeyes would have been relegated to the Rose Bowl because the college football Pharisees would have selected undefeated Florida State and ESECPN champ Alabama.

In neither case would Ohio State be able to compete for the national title even though the Buckeyes have now proved they are the best team in the land.

The college football playoff provided the backdrop for Ohio State to play for and win the national title. Baylor and TCU may be upset about being left out of the dance, but doing the Texas two-step … there is no way the Bears or Horned Frogs would have beaten the Buckeyes.

There are some who may clamor for an eight-team playoff or a 16-team playoff, a 32-team playoff, a 64-team playoff, a 128-team playoff (e.g., Oregon State would be playing for the national championship).

Yes, there are five major conferences and increasingly inconsequential Notre Dame and one champion obviously will not make it to the four-team dance. Three wouldn’t have made it to the BSC championship game.buckeye

Let’s leave well enough alone. The College Football Playoff worked. Let’s salute The College Football Playoff for a job well done, and also the Fighting Chestnuts of Ohio State.

http://www.collegefootballplayoff.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowl_Championship_Series

http://www.collegefootballplayoff.com/rose-bowl

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_Bowl_Game

 

 

 

“When you’re winning, no one can hurt you…

… and when you’re losing, no one can help you.” – Former Hall of Fame Coach and Broadcaster John Madden

A rogue student manager has been deflating footballs at USC.

The Pac-12 reprimanded and fined USC for the practice.

And according to Head Coach Lane Kiffin, the (now fired) student manager was acting as a lone ranger, even though footballs are easier to throw when they are slightly deflated.

lamekiffin

How do I know this?

I was a student manager at USC during the 1976 and 1977 seasons. Even more precisely, I was the student manager working with the offensive coordinator at the time, Paul Hackett, the quarterbacks (e.g., Vince Evans, Rob Hertel and Paul McDonald) and wide receivers (e.g., Shelton Diggs, Randy Simmrin).

For each game, I was responsible for getting the USC football into the game when the Trojans were on offense. That meant following the line of scrimmage, carrying at least two footballs, for the better part of three-plus hours.

During the Rose Bowl played on January 1, 1977 against Michigan, our quarterback, Vince Evans, kept a ball-inflation needle in his sock. The needle was not used to inflate footballs, but for the opposite reason.

The referee and other officials kept throwing the under-inflated balls to me and demanding an inflated ball. Vince, in turn, kept on deflating the balls. This put me in a classic Catch 22.

When I told Vince about the officials tossing the underinflated balls out of the game, he responded with an imperative. I think it was something like, “Duck you, Kevin!”

We managed to win the game over Michigan, 14-6, and finished #2 behind Tony Dorsett and the Pitt Panthers for the national title. The incident with the ball-pump needle went into the DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) of my brain and remained there…until this week.

How serious is an underinflated football on a bending-the-rules scale of 1-10? How about a “five”? Yes, it may be easier to throw a football and that certainly is a factor for USC with a great passing quarterback, Matt Barkley, and all-world receivers. Conversely, one would think it would hurt the performance of the punter and field-goal/extra point kicker. USC punted only once last Saturday against Oregon.

My problem with this story is why would a 19-20-21-year-old student manager be deflating footballs without anyone else on the football team (e.g., coach and/or player) knowing anything about it?  This one doesn’t pass the giggle test.

And was it the (scapegoat?) manager that was deflating the balls or maybe a player with a ball-pump needle in his sock? It’s happened before.

What is more germane about this story is how it relates to Kiffin. Let’s face it. This guy is an Oakland-Knoxville-Los Angeles public relations disaster zone always waiting for the next installment. When you open up the dictionary looking up the word, “arrogance,” Kiffin’s mug shot will most likely jump out of the page.

His predecessor, Pete Carroll, was Mr. Public Relations. Pete was everyone’s pal. He was a player’s coach. He was a good interview. He was the face of USC football. Heck, he even risked his life night-after-night, driving into the worst parts of LA to give youths a third option besides jail and death.

Have you ever heard about Kiffin giving back? Opposing teams aren’t even allowed to walk through the LA Coliseum the day before games with the Trojans.

The marauding student manager story follows the quick and painful end of USC’s over-inflated dream of playing in the BCS national championship. The team has lost two straight, surrendered 101 points in the process, and is looking at the prospects of playing in the…Holiday Bowl.

Besides generating controversy du-jour during his relatively brief stays with the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and now USC, Kiffin has consistently parlayed Viagra expectations into Low-T results, 43-37 overall.

What does the fired student manager, underinflated football-gate mean to squeaky clean, play-by-the-book USC Athletic Director Pat Haden? If this was an isolated incident in the nation’s second largest media market, it most likely would be noted and quickly forgotten.

But with USC coming off the third most severe set of NCAA penalties (exceeded only by Penn State and SMU) and considering Kiffin’s repeated bouts with controversy, this may be another small nail (or ball-pump needle) in Kiffin’s coffin.

Haden must know that someday, sooner or later, he will have to terminate Kiffin and maybe even spend literally millions to buy out his contract. Sometimes acknowledging mistakes of your predecessor (e.g., Mike Garrett) is costly. You sure can buy a treasure trove of ball-inflation pins, even with millions of inflated dollars.

Editor’s Note: As mentioned, I managed the USC football team for two seasons, earning a Tommy Trojan statue for my service. I have a Rose Bowl ring and watch, and graduated from Troy with my undergraduate degree in broadcasting journalism. I also managed the football team at the University of Oregon. I am a 23-year season ticket holder at Autzen Stadium and a member of the Duck Athletic Fund. I received my master’s degree from, and presently teach public relations at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/ncf/story/_/id/8608359/usc-coach-lane-kiffin-says-manager-deflating-footballs-acted-alone

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-usc-football-lane-kiffin-no-comment-delated-footballs-20121108,0,5616530.story

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-usc-football-culture-dufresne20121108,0,822130.story

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-1109-plaschke-usc-footballs-20121109,0,6907619.column

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