Starting 11: Now that Auburn Is at the Top, Gene Chizik vs. Gus Malzahn
I think that storyline is short-sighted. The better question is this one: what will Auburn fans think when Cam Newton leaves a year early to be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft and Gus Malzahn gets a several-million-dollar offer to become a head coach? Even at 8-0, do Auburn fans really believe Gene Chizik is the mastermind of this team's rise? In fact, I'll even ask this question: could Auburn fire Chizik and replace him with his offensive coordinator rather than let Malzahn leave?
Is there a compromise here? Could Auburn name Chizik and Malzahn co-head coaches and give them the same salary? I'm not even joking. Chizik is a defensive coach. The best thing he's done with the Auburn offense is get the hell out of the way and let Malzahn work his magic with Newton and the offense. (By the way, for all the idiots out there who think Malzahn is just lucky to be coaching Newton, did you see what he did with Chris Todd last year? Todd had the arm-strength of a girl's powder puff backup quarterback and the pocket mobility of a non-spry octogenarian).
Auburn's defense under Chizik has been pedestrian; Malzahn is the rock star on the Auburn coaching staff. Some program out there will make him a multi-million-dollar offer to become its head coach this winter and Tigers fans will be left with a true dilemma.
Unless they go ahead and announce co-head coaches beforehand. Name Chizik the head coach of the defense and Malzahn the head coach of the offense. Could this work for a few years? Maybe. Especially if Chizik is smart enough to realize what an advantage he's got by acceding to this idea.
1. I told you Cam Newton was going to win the Heisman a month ago.
Before anyone else even had any idea about him. The Heisman is a foregone conclusion and now I'm wondering this: what could he get away with on Auburn's campus now? For instance, if he got a chainsaw and just started cutting people's cars in half like the scene from Any Given Sunday, don't you picture an entire crowd of Auburn fans cheering him? The cops would show up and pour more gasoline in his chainsaw. The people whose cars got cut in half by Newton would put the cars on eBay and sell them for more than they were worth beforehand.
I'm not sure what he couldn't get away with on the Plains. His star has ascended faster than any player in SEC history.
I wondered about this when I saw Newton celebrating in the Jordan-Hare crowd with 15 seconds left on the game clock. Have you ever seen anyone do this before, start walking along the ramparts of the stadium and leading cheers before the clock even finished counting down? This was Cam's, "I'm Cam Netwon, bitch," moment.
The time when he believes he can truly do anything.
How did he not get flagged? Not that the penalty would have mattered, but this has to be a celebration penalty, right? He might as well have climbed into the stadium and started slamming the cymbals together.
2. Oklahoma got a much-deserved whipping to prove it wasn't a legit No. 1 in the BCS.
Missouri will lose this week to Nebraska and the entire Big 12 Conference will be nationally irrelevant for the remainder of the season.
Have television executives not thought about this? You know, the people who are supposedly going to pay tons of money for the 10-team Big 12? If Oklahoma and Texas both lose a game early in the season -- and one of them will lose to the other one by the first weekend in October regardless -- is anyone going to watch these games on television for the remainder of the year? Especially when there isn't even a divisional race to see who will play in the conference championship game?
Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Texas Tech.
That's not the punchline to a joke, that's half the conference!
If Texas A&M were smart -- and ever wanted to be relevant again -- it would fire Mike Sherman this offseason and hire Gus Malzahn.
3. Talk-show host and writer Chelsea Handler made $19 million this year.
Nick Saban made $4 million. (Keep in mind that's a million less than The Situation).
I'm just going to keep mentioning the salaries of other stars every few weeks to illustrate how underpaid the best college football coaches in America are. Again, I reiterate my challenge: why doesn't a school like Oklahoma State that is drowning in the T. Boone Pickens' money just offer Nick Saban $10 million a year and see what he says? Isn't that the best possible way to make your program immediately relevant?
At $10 million a year, Saban would still make nine million less than Chelsea Handler.
4. On Thursday night, I did push-ups for every Oregon Duck point.
This was not smart.
That means I did sets of 7, 15, 22, 29, 32, 39, 46, 53, and 60 push-ups.
If my math is correct, that's a total of 303 push-ups. My arms and chest were shaking by the start of the fourth quarter. And I was praying that UCLA would just run the ball.
Now, a promise: I want Auburn-Oregon to be the BCS title game so badly -- what would the over/under be, 100? -- that I promise to do a push-up for every point scored by either team in that championship game.
We're talking 600 push-ups, maybe. Screw P90x, what if our entire nation just committed to push-ups for every point scored by our favorite football teams?
Obama should get behind this.
5. What if Northwestern had a safety with a vertical of more than 16 inches?
I'll tell you, Michigan State wouldn't still be undefeated.
In one of the recurring nightmares of white men everywhere, Northwestern's safety had a sure interception if he had any hops at all. I mean, any. Instead Northwestern's safety barely left the ground, still managed to swat the football, and Michigan State's wide receiver snagged the ricochet as the winning touchdown catch.
I'm sure Northwestern's safety will go on to be a doctor and absolutely dominate in rec league basketball games with his hook shots.
6. Derek Dooley now owns the worst defeat in Neyland Stadium history and the worst loss to Alabama in Neyland Stadium history.
And he's only coached seven games at Tennessee.
So far Dooley's entire coaching strategy seems to be pointing out the flaws of his team. How about starting with your own inability to get 11 players on the field for the snap? The Vols have had either too many or too few players on the field for snaps in five of their seven games. Will it get better any time soon? Nope. Dooley's currently put together the SEC's 10th best recruiting class for 2011 despite being able to point to every position and offer playing time to anyone who is interested.
At least we can rely on the program that Dooley "built" at Louisiana Tech to offer hope for the future.
Wait, it is a 38-point underdog to Boise State this week?
Time to stop drinking the Dool-Aid. He's not the answer to what ails the Vols.
7. South Carolina is still winning the SEC East.
I know it's become sexy to point out that if Georgia beats Florida at the World's Largest Cocktail Party this weekend, it will win the SEC East, but this is a joke prediction. Georgia has a 1.5-game deficit to South Carolina and the more difficult remaining schedule. South Carolina and Florida have a much easier path to Atlanta than the Bulldogs.
South Carolina has Tennessee -- Alshon Jeffrey may go for 300 yards, I'm not lying -- Arkansas and Florida. Sitting at 3-2 in conference, the Gamecocks are guaranteed to get to four wins with a win over the Vols. Then all they'd need to do is split Arkansas and Florida to win the SEC East outright at 5-3.
That's assuming that Georgia beats Florida in the cocktail party, far from a foregone conclusion. If Florida beats Georgia, all the Gators need to do is beat South Carolina at home and Vanderbilt on the road and the Gators would win the East. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs still have to play on the road at Auburn.
Beat Florida and Auburn and the best Georgia can do is 5-3. Who else is likely to finish 5-3? The Gamecocks. And they have the tiebreak.
Georgia just beat the three worst teams in the SEC back-to-back-to-back. Don't let that convince you that the Bulldogs are a budding juggernaut.
8. Hawaii and Nevada are borderline Top 25 teams remaining on the schedule for Boise State.
Would it help Boise's cachet if it could point to four Top 25 matchups on a 12-game slate? I think it would, immensely. Especially since Virginia Tech has won six consecutive games after losing to James Madison. Is it fair to say that Tech lost to James Madison because it put everything it had into the Boise game the first week of the season?
Especially since that game took place just five days after the Hokies got home to Blacksburg.
A one-loss Alabama team still gets in over Boise State, but would any other one-loss SEC team? I'm not so sure.
9. Florida State is completely under the national radar.
I feel like I'm the only person who has realized that Florida State is going to be favored to go 11-1 in Jimbo Fisher's first full season in charge of the Seminoles.
How has no one taken note of this? No idea. But you know who has taken note of this? Recruits. Right now, Florida State has the No. 3 class in the nation, behind only Texas and Alabama.
One season may be too soon to argue that Florida State has surpassed the Gators in the Sunshine State, but it's definitely a contest for state superiority now.
10. Les Miles ran out of Milacles for the moment.
But did everyone see the way the first half ended? Snap the ball after the play clock has expired. Roll out your quarterback with 19 seconds left and no timeouts. Have him escape a sack that would have probably ended the half and then scamper into the end zone for a touchdown to tie it at 10.
Admit you were terrified when you saw this happen, Auburn fans.
That's why I missed the opening kick of Tennessee-Alabama, because I wanted to watch until there was no time left on the clock.
11. Auburn fans, seriously, do you take Gene Chizik or Gus Malzahn?
In other words, how much confidence do you have in Chizik if Cam Newton goes pro after this season -- I've talked to several people who believe he'd be taken in the first round because he has better mechanics than Vince Young or Tim Tebow -- and Malzahn leaves for a new job?
So you better find a way to lock up Malzan now. Name him co-head coach.
Follow Clay Travis on Twitter here. With All That and a Bag of Mail returning for the football season, you can e-mail him questions at Clay.Travis@gmail.com