College Football Reader Questions

I'm already ready for college football to return, aren't you? All we can do until September is talk, talk, talk, but fortunately that's what so many of us do best.

You may wonder how many people actually write in to Slant Pattern with questions. Well, let me assure you that it is a non-zero number. And by "non-zero," I mean I probably received a sarcastic "question" in the comments one of these years for one of my columns.

In terms of earnest questions asked in the relatively recent past, well, I don't think Stewart Mandel, Olin Buchanan, or David Ubben will mind if I do a little appropriating.

Now that more of these huge TV mega-deals like the Pac-12's are coming in from different conferences based largely on the popularity of college football's extremely popular regular season, how much money do you think is really being left on the table by not going to a playoff?

— Taylor Cooke
Austin, Texas

Well, your wording suggests you're looking for your own opinion to be validated, which I cannot do here. The "huge TV mega-deals" that are coming in are possible because college football in any form is fantastic. It will always be the number one sport of this writer and countless fans across the country.

But that certainly does not mean there isn't even more money to be made by going to a playoff system. Indeed, a playoff system that incorporated the existing bowls into the structure would effectively maintain the tradition with the bowls while sparing us meaningless clunkers like Michigan/Mississippi State in last year's Gator Bowl. (That's not to say there won't be clunkers; just that they won't be meaningless/)

The most certain way to make money is by giving people what they want, and the groundswell for a playoff gets larger by the day. As to the fears it will cheapen the regular season, talk to me after a playoff is implemented and regular season ratings do go down. Which they won't.

Preseason rankings are kind of cool, but I never really put much thought into them seeing as how every year the top 25 inevitably shuffle around. Having said that in your opinion how big of a target does OU have on its back from the word go and do you think this OU team has the maturity to handle the pressure week in and week out?

— "Barry Switzer"

Oklahoma is kind of an interesting case, because since their 5-loss season in 2009, they've almost stayed under the national radar despite winning the Big 12 last year. That will help them even if they do go into the year as the preseason No. 1, as it appears they will. Plus, this is a school that has already dealt with a lot of adversity, from the Rhett Bomar fiasco to the insanely unjust loss they took to Oregon a few years back, so I think that handling the pressure is something they stand to do better, not worse, than most schools.

My team is West Virginia, and I was wondering what you think we will do this season with our new offensive coordinator, Dana Holgorsen? Also, what do you think of TCU's chances in the Big East?

— Larry
Hamlin, West Virginia

Holgorsen is a proven commodity who has led three different schools to top-five offenses in the last five years, and I imagine there are head coaching jobs in his future. He should be a great fit for a storied offensive program like West Virginia. The transition will be most striking in his aerial attack; when I think of great West Virginia offenses, I think of great runners like Steve Slaton and Avon Cobourne, and speedy quarterbacks like Pat White. Holgorson is a throw, throw, throw guy, so there is a sea change in the midst in Morgantown.

Who knows how well TCU will do in the Big East? It such an odd fit. I guess they won't be traveling that much more than they were in the Mountain West, where they had to fly to such places as San Diego and Wyoming. The Big East is in a downswing. If TCU can continue playing at the level they have the last two years, then they should be an early favorite for multiple Big East titles, because the 2010 TCU team was better than any Big East team by some margin.

I'm sure the USC faithful are clogging your e-mail queue demanding that Ohio State get similar, if not greater, sanctions for the Jim Tressel mess. Which is why I ask: do the high-profile sanctions at other big-time programs influence the severity of NCAA discipline on similar programs? Does the NCAA have the stones to take down the Big Ten's flagship program?

— Tom Vasich
Costa Mesa, California

If by "take down" you mean give Ohio State the death penalty, no. That, I believe, they will never do again to a football program after we saw the decades-long effects it had on SMU.

As to whether the NCAA will compare the OSU situation to USC's I doubt it, because the violations are so different. The OSU players garnered less than $13,000 altogether for their misdeeds, while Reggie Bush became materially wealthy through his. On the other hand, while there were plenty of condemnations for the "lack of institutional control" at USC, I think it's safe to say that the NCAA brought the hammer down on USC mostly because of the crime. They will bring the hammer down on OSU because of the coverup.

So what happens when the Longhorns move Malcolm Brown (RB) to DE ... won't it be weird to have two players on defense named Malcolm Brown? How will they communicate?

— Andrew
Bryan, Texas

Truly, this is the most insurmountable challenge a college team has ever faced, and it has no solution. Every time someone says, "Hey Brown! Malcolm!" they will both look up, and the offenses will run roughshod on the 'Horns owing to that confusion.

In all seriousness, having two players with the same name is the least of Texas' problems in trying to get back to respectability in the Big 12.

Comments and Conversation

May 5, 2011


Great article. Gets me excited for college football, that’s for sure! And boy am I ever ready for a playoff system.

It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

One typo though….last section you capitalized ‘Horns.

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