As Archie ran around on the field making play after play, it occurred to me, not for the first time, how amazing it is that he sired not one, but two, Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. By the time the cameras found his youngest son, Eli, in a suite, I was still attempting to contemplate how amazing the fact was. By Sunday, after Peyton Manning led his Colts to 21 points in the final 12 minutes of a victory over the Patriots, there could be no doubt: Archie Manning's sperm is one of the greatest national treasures in our country.
Right up there with Abraham Lincoln, the flag outside Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key to jot down "The Star Spangled Banner" and Dorothy's ruby red slippers. That's why I'm making a humble suggestion to the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Archie's sperm should be an exhibit. (Lets see you do that, exhibit on late 19th century wheat threshers.) Otherwise, the museum is worth nothing.
On to the Starting 11.
1. Is TCU's Gary Patterson the next Urban Meyer?
Granted, the comparison doesn't fit squarely since Patterson has been at TCU for eight years and Meyer was only at Bowling Green for two years and then Utah for two years before he arrived at Florida. But if you look at their last four seasons as a head coach, Patterson is presently 40-9 while Meyer went 39-8.
My point, someone is stealing Patterson away at the end of the season, the only question is who?
And here's where it gets interesting, I played coaching dominoes on the phone driving back from Oxford. I had each of the people I talked with assume that Charlie Weis is gone. Then I assumed that either Brian Kelly or Urban Meyer would take over at Notre Dame.
Kelly leaving Cincinnati really doesn't cause the entire coaching universe to scramble since it isn't an amazingly desirable job, but what would Florida do if Meyer left?
I formulated a couple of working hypotheses, A.) Given the Ron Zook failure, there is no way Florida takes someone who isn't already a head coach and B.) What head coaches are the most attractive out there regardless of conference affiliation?
Isn't the answer Gary Patterson? And if Meyer left, wouldn't there be a really good shot that Jeremy Foley would head back to the Mountain West conference and poach another rising coaching star?
I think so.
Anyway, coaching dominoes is great fun. I highly recommend it when you're on long drives by yourself.
2. Do you also feel cheated as a college football fan that teams like Stanford, Cincinnati -- even though I dogged them above -- Boise State and Georgia Tech don't get to throw their hats in the ring and compete for a championship at the end of the season.
First, how hot is Stanford on offense?
Jim Harbaugh going for two against Pete Carroll when he already had 48 points was one of the best things I've seen this season.
Can you imagine how sweet that was for Stanford fans? To kick the dirt in USC's face for a change.
So I miss seeing Stanford in a playoff, assuming they find a way to win the Pac-10, but I really miss Georgia Tech.
Can you imagine a team trying to gameplan against Tech in an eight or 16-team tournament. When you don't even know you are going to play them until less than a week before? How do you get ready for them without any previous preparation?
Also, how many points would it take to win, say, if Cincinnati and Georgia Tech played? Seriously, is there a more exciting game out there? Maybe Boise State against Stanford.
I'm drooling now.
3. Would Cincinnati's defense hold up against Florida, Texas or Alabama?
They gave up 202 yards rushing to West Virginia. Granted that was on 46 carries, but still, the defense has shown some ominous cracks that don't befit a national title contender. At least not when you compare their defense with Texas, Alabama, Florida, or TCU.
Put it this way, does anyone think that Cincinnati would be less than a double-digit underdog on any neutral site game against Texas, Alabama or Florida?
Would Cincinnati even be favored in a neutral game against LSU or Ole Miss? (The oddsmakers love Ole Miss. Perhaps they've been bribed with excess BenJarvus Green-Ellis jerseys).
I don't think so.
And if we don't think that, and the market wouldn't think that in Las Vegas, isn't it ridiculous when we don't even allow the market to dictate the best match-up between the two best teams? Instead we rely on polls and a computer.
In other words, we're not even using the best market to determine the match-up, we're allowing a flawed and limited perception of teams to govern our selection.
4. Did anyone else see the kid celebrating Mississippi State's apparent kick return touchdown that came back?
I'm not sure why this clip is so addictive to me, but I watched it four times on DVR replay, and then voluntarily leapt up from my seat when my editor found it again on Youtube.
There's something about the curious arm pumping with the pom pom, the slightly askew cap, the chubby cheeks, and the head movement that all lends itself to greatness.
Of course, now I feel like there's a 90 percent chance that kid is going to grow up and start a blog called claytravissucks.com.
5. Michigan is still awful in year two.
Assuming he survives, which is a big assumption, is Rich Rodriguez going to fire defensive coordinator Greg Robinson? You'll recall that last offseason Robinson replaced Scott Shafer, who was hired by Syracuse. Last year Shafer's Michigan defense finished ranked 67th in the country.
Now Robinson has, wait for it, the 89th-ranked defense in the country.
Last year, Shafer's Michigan defense allowed 347 points, the most in school history. This year the Michigan defense has given up 309 points through 11 games. With Ohio State coming to town and Michigan's defensive woes against Big Ten schools, don't be surprised to see that record fall for the second year in a row.
Meanwhile in the ultimate irony, Shafer's Syracuse defense has been better than Michigan's.
Leaving us with this question, can we just acknowledge that nothing is going right at Michigan?
6. Kellen Moore rewarded my faith in his Heisman campaign.
Moore passed for five touchdowns and 299 yards. Through 10 games he leads the nation in passing efficiency, has the second lowest interception percentage of the nation's top 100 most efficient quarterbacks, and now has 32 touchdowns against just three interceptions.
When are people going to take notice of this performance in a year when the other top candidates keep dropping like flies.
You know what doesn't help?
The fact that Boise State's Heisman campaign is not ready for primetime. I e-mailed the powers-that-be at Boise State and asked him to send along whatever facts and figures they'd put together to buttress Moore's Heisman case and make sure I had those facts lined up in my endorsement.
Boise State didn't respond to me.
Seriously, what are they doing out there?
7. Let's talk some more about Archie's sperm.
How many men have successfully become fathers in America between the years 1969 and 1988 -- the age range of current starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Conservatively, 40 million. (Currently 4.3 million children are born every year).
How many quarterbacks have started a game in the NFL during this generation?
How many quarterbacks born during this generation have won a Super Bowl?
And Archie Manning has fathered two of them!
Seriously, just think about the odds on this.
I'm going to do a full column on this at some point, but it's unfathomable that the same man has sired two of the greatest quarterbacks in football history.
We're talking about the toughest position in all of sports.
I want to actually run the odds on this happening. Put it this way, each of these kids, including me, had a .00000003 chance of winning a Super Bowl.
And Archie pulled it off twice.
What football fan out there woudln't want their smiling son or daughter posing alongside Archie's sperm?
8. If Boise State doesn't get a BCS bid and either Iowa, Penn State or Wisconsin does, which seems likely, aside from dooming the Big Ten schools to another lackluster season by requiring them all to play up in their bowl games, what does this signify?
That the BCS doesn't even play fair when they aren't excluding half of the teams from competing for a championship.
I've linked this before, but read the BCS selection procedures again just to demonstrate how lawyered up this thing is.
I've read easier legislative histories.
Honest question, after reviewing this, what percentage of college football fans could accurately apply the rules and get all five game match-ups set in an adequate manner according to the rules if you gave them the final BCS standings and an hour to complete the assignment.
Maybe 10 percent.
This would be a great test.
9. How many Georgia fans cringed when Todd Blackledge said it was up to Willie Martinez's defense to win the game for Georgia?
But, credit to Martinez, his team won, stopping a driving Auburn team to win the game.
In the process, every SEC fan should breathe a sigh of relief. Because as long as Martinez is at Georgia, their defense is going to be average at best.
I'm rooting for Martinez to survive the season, but I'm convinced that the epic beating that Georgia Tech is going to lay on Georgia in the final game of the season is going to seal his fate.
That is, assuming Georgia can beat Kentucky this weekend.
10. Unless it's an NFL contract, all bets are off when it comes to coaching openings.
One of the things that drives me the craziest is when a coach signs an extension and people trumpet that as clear evidence that he's not going anywhere else. Granted I'm playing coaching dominoes in my spare time, but the only contracts worth anything in football are NFL contracts.
Everything else, college head coaching, analyst contracts, assistant coaches, you name it and those contracts can be broken at will. Now there might be a buyout, but I'm sick of people trotting out the contract argument as if it's the gold standard of unbeatable arguments. If you're playing coaching dominoes and anyone mentions a recently signed contract extension, cite my expert legal opinion and tell them to find a new rationale.
11. And, last of all, I need to vent some more about Hotty Toddy Man at Ole Miss. He's giving me nightmares.
There has to be a Youtube of this clip somewhere, but I couldn't find it.
Can someone help me out?
I want to share this travesty of football excess with the rest of the country.
I will not rest until Hotty Toddy Man is put out to pasture and whoever approved that video being filmed publicly apologizes to all of us.
All of the e-mails that I've gotten since writing about Hotty Toddy Man have agreed with my position. That's Ole Miss fans, Tennessee fans, and other fans who have been unfortunate enough to see him. That leaves me wondering this, who is the part of the fan base that is in favor of him?
The video puts me in mind of one of my wife's best descriptions of a Southern man who was overly friendly. "He's either really religious or gay, I get confused sometimes about that down here."