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Tuesday
Mar212006

The College Football Mix Tape

This entry is inspired by the movie High Fidelity.  My apologies in advance.

The movie High Fidelity was on TV twice last week, and in keeping with the John Cusack theme on here, I'm inspired to connect a movie in some way to college football via the CFR blog.  For those who haven't seen it, the movie stars John Cusack as a music savant and record store owner who has a midlife crisis and undergoes this drastic revisitation of some old relationships he's had.  The interesting thing about him is that he's got a "Top Five" list for practically everything; breakups/exes, favorite songs, things he likes about the current girlfriend and so on.  Towards the end of the movie he goes about making a mixed tape to play for his current squeeze, and get into the art and nuance of it all, including what songs to choose, what order to put them in, and the reasoning behind those choices.

At that point my mind started to wander, thinking about a much less serious or profound mix tape for college football.  To make things easier, I narrowed my thoughts down to "Mixed Tape for College Football of the Early and Mid 2000's".  It's specific, and covers a time period all but the youngest college football fans are familiar with.  It's contemporary and still fresh in our minds.

What follows is the list of "tracks" I'd have on my college football of the early and mid 2000's tape.  Feel free to contribute your own tracks, this is by no means comprehensive or thoroughly combed over.  It's meant to be lightly thought-provoking and interactive.  Here are the tracks:

  • Oklahoma/Florida State BCS title game

A surprising outcome, and marked the beginning of an Oklahoma resurgence under Bob Stoops to start this decade off.  Oklahoma completely throttled the Florida State offense, nearly pitching a shutout and killing the Heisman credibility of Seminoles' QB Chris Weinke (who narrowly beat out Oklahoma's Josh Heupel for the award).

  • Miami/Ohio State BCS title game

The Buckeyes stunned the world.  It was a dramatic game, including the appearance of a miffed Maurice Clarett, the horrible knee injury to Willis McGahee and that oh-so-controversial pass interference call.  Cemented Ohio State's legacy as the "Luckeyes" with yet another close victory in their 14-0 season.  Also stopped the Miami mini-dynasty.

  • USC/Oklahoma BCS title game

A visually stunning performance.  Oklahoma scrapped its way to a touchdown on a few busted plays, and then the USC offense and defense woke up.  That USC team was perhaps the best single-game football team in many years, if not the game's history.

  • Texas/USC BCS title game

Vince Young.  Reggie Bush.  Matt Leinart.  The Rose Bowl.  A thoroughly dramatic affair, one that wasn't resolved until the final :19 seconds.  Even then, USC got its offense past midfield in a desperate final push.  Like Ohio State, Texas put a halt to USC's 34-game winning streak.

  • Mike Price and the Alabama coaching carousel

The head coach job at Alabama is one of the game's most prestigious positions.  It's also a tough position of late, as the fans are title-starved and frustrated with the burdens of NCAA sanctions and the rise of bitter rival Auburn.  Almost immediately after his hiring, Price went on some kind of hyper-testosterone golf trip that involved strippers, credit cards, alcohol and God know's what else.

This wasn't far off the resignation of Dennis Franchione, who left the Tide high and dry for Texas A&M.

  • Alabama recruiting mess

Ahhhh, Albert Means.  This story was the vindication of all that is wrong with recruiting and SEC fans' hyper-involvement in the sport.  It's now been revealed that Tennessee coach and Alabama rival was one of the NCAA's main informants in bringing Alabama down.  This story is of high symbolic value to many who follow the game.

  • Offensive revolution

Love 'em or hate 'em, these schemes are here and are all the rage.  Spread, Norm Chow offense, sophistication, all that.  I don't deny that the game is in constant flux and defenses will adjust and then offenses will re-adjust---simply noting that the offenses are here now, and doing good things.  Money talks: the spread and offensive-driven coaches are getting hired.  Mike Price before his little inbroglio.  Steve Spurrier again.  Urban Meyer.  And that's just in the SEC.  Last year's Rose Bowl featured two of the 15 best offenses in NCAA history.

  • 2003 BCS Fiasco

Yes Virginia, split titles were not done away with despite the creation of the BCS.  Don't think that created much of a divide?  One word: Onepeat.

  • Mike Williams

Although he hasn't become a revolutionary player, his personality and on-field dominance caught peoples' attention.  The one-handed grab against Oregon State is forever replayed.  Symbolic of USC's resurgence.

  • Maurice Clarett

He played one year of college football.  One!  And yet he's talked about to this very day.

  • Reggie Bush

If you follow recruiting, you know every single program pitches to backs, quarterbacks, receivers, whoever can run, that they'll give him a "Reggie Bush" role.  He's become the symbol for offensive versatility and explosiveness.  Two titles, and a Heisman trophy and will probably be the #1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft and a good kid to boot.  Not bad.

  • Joey Harrington and the billboard

His Heisman campaign fizzled, but the promotional billboard in New York City generated tremendous buzz and gave Oregon a little more national attention.

  • Oklahoma's ownership of Texas

Until last year, of course.  Before Vince Young was Vince Young, Texas was Oklahoma's gimp.  The Red River shootout had become the symbolic divide between the two programs and their coaches, Bob Stoops and Mack Brown.  Stoops was the winner, the self-assured and proven coach who could back up his team's hype with a BCS title and several BCS title game appearances.  Mack Brown was the great recruiter who couldn't get it done.  Or so they wrote.  Few will forget the play where Texas was backed up in its end zone, Chris Simms set to throw a pass and Oklahoma safety Roy Williams going superfreak and literally flying in the air to get a piece of the ball, redirecting it to teammate Rocky Calmus who caught it and walked in for the demoralizing defensive touchdown.

That's my list, what would you add?

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Reader Comments (8)

1)some mention of Nebraska or Oklahoma reaching the BCS championship game without winning their conference.

2)The re-affirmation that if you have to choose between a great offense and a great defense, take the defense. (Read: Oklahoma '00, Ohio State '02, LSU '03 and the other side of the coin, USC '05)
March 22, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjj
Could you be any more of a USC homer?
March 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
Well if I'd done this two years ago this list would be nothing but Oklahoma.

I'd also have Roy Williams on here instead of Mike Williams.

Two years earlier than that, we'd be talking Miami.

And I'd have DJ Williams instead of Roy Williams.

See how this works?
March 25, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
Mike Williams? His lack of speed has been totally exposed in the NFL, where he's probably the third best WR and the second best WR named Williams on his own team! I'm not an SEC homer, but I really doubt he would have been special in the SEC.
And it's absurd to think that 2004 USC was better than 2001 Miami.
March 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAlex
"And it's absurd to think that 2004 USC was better than 2001 Miami."

Why?
March 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTorBear
2004 USC was 2001 Miami with an offense that was much more unpredictable and just plain better.

Mike Williams has been exposed in the NFL.

But his contribution to the college game is hard to ignore.
March 26, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
That's one way to look at it, but one could also say that 2001 Miami was USC with much more talent on defense.
And as far as Mike Williams is concerned, sure, he was fun to watch, and sure, he was dominant in a conference not noted for its defensive backs (though he did well, I think, in the games in 2003 vs Auburn and ND, but didn't see much action, for whatever reason, in the Rose Bowl). But contribution to the college game? What contribution is that? Whatever it was, it certainly pales in comparison to that of Vince Young, whom you mention only two or three times in passing.
March 29, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAlex
Alex,

Vince Young wasn't "Vince Young" until this season. He'd basically had the same winning percentage as Chance Mock until this year.

Mike Williams' efforts were at least over a two year window, starting as a true freshman. Young really didn't light things up until late in his junior year.

Williams had 8 catches for 88 yards in the Rose Bowl and famously dragged half a million Iowa defensive backs on at least two plays in the Orange Bowl.

Miami did have more talent on defense, for sure, but I'd also argue their scheme wasn't as good as USC's.
March 29, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR

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