Rankman's Friday Mailbag: Ode to Bob (Dylan, not Stoops); SEC mess, Stuck inside of Fresno with the Oregon Blues Again

Well my sense of humanity has gone down the drain

Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain

She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind

She put down in writing what was in her mind

I don’t see why I should even care

It’s not dark yet but it’s getting there.

Bob Dylan, Nobel Laureate[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

The SEC knew a week in advance of the oncoming hurricane. The only fair thing for the Playoff Committee to do is to treat both teams (LSU and Florida) with a “loss” since the SEC commissioner chose not to take any action to get the game played. This is a fair resolution to the rest of college football.

Irish Jim, irishjimg@gmail.com

Thank goodness, Jim, this whole mess was solved Thursday when the teams “agreed” to play Nov. 19 at LSU. In exchange, Florida will host LSU the next two seasons. To make room for the game, Florida will buy out South Alabama for $1.5 million while Presbyterian will receive $500,000 for not playing LSU.

Thank you Jesus! Although Rankman does feel bad for putting $10 in the collection basket last week at church—and asking the usher for five dollars back.

Imagine what Presbyterian can do with that money now that it won’t have to pay for the medical costs associated with getting clobbered at Baton Rouge?

Maybe purchase a new steeple, or a statue of John Calvin?

While dropping off the check, SEC hierarchy should take a look at the Presbyterian way of conducting business, which involves a “Book of Order” to keep its flock in line.

You nailed it, though, Jim, when you said this game should count as a loss. What got this book in order was a bylaw that stipulated SEC teams had to play eight conference games to be eligible for the championship.

Um, that will get your attention, huh?

The problem here was no one was sure who was in charge, so Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley decided he was.

This embarrassment should lead, next spring, to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey getting more power to make unilateral decisions.

You know, um, like the power NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was supposed to have in the Tom Brady case.

Hopefully, Florida-LSU won’t end up on the wrong end of a writ of certiorari.

@DufRankman I’m thinking David Shaw used up Christian McCaffrey last year ala Lane Kiffin with Robert Woods and Marqise Lee.

Tom S. ‏@ObiWanKobe Oct 8

I think the player Shaw used up was quarterback Kevin Hogan. I know he fumbled a couple center snaps last year in a tough loss to Oregon, but Hogan was an invaluable part of Stanford’s success for the last four years. He was a smart, tough quarterback who could run the ball on the zone read. This was huge, especially last year, in keeping defenses honest and freeing up McCaffrey for a record-setting year.

One problem I see this year is opposing teams having little respect for the quarterback run, meaning they can focus more on McCaffrey. Funny how that works.

Kevin Hogan wasn’t a pretty college quarterback, or an all-time great like predecessor Andrew Luck, but he was very, very good.

@DufRankman I can tell you for an absolute fact, Lane Kiffin will not be considered for an Oregon coaching vacancy.

Mark Twitty ‏@Marklen916 Oct 11

Why not? What if Alabama wins a second national title with Kiffin as offensive coordinator? What would Oregon have to lose? What if Kiffin has matured and learned some tough lessons under Nick Saban?

Here’s the decision Oregon has to make about its program. Does it go inside again or think outside the box?

The Ducks have only had only four head coaches since Rich Brooks took over in 1977: Brooks, Mike Bellotti, Chip Kelly and Helfrich.

It’s nice Oregon has always promoted from within and that it's worked out well.

But if Helfrich doesn’t survive the year, that trend has got to end, unless you think promoting Brady Hoke is a good idea.

So, what are the options? You could bring Bellotti back (not likely), or go fetch former offensive coordinator Scott Frost from Central Florida.

Or beg Chip Kelly to leave San Francisco (fat, Fisherman’s Wharf chance).

This might be the right time for Oregon, which has led a revolution on innovation and boldness, to take a new direction.

The program certainly has the resources to hire a big-time coach for a big-time salary. In the right time and place, Chris Petersen would be in Eugene, not Seattle.

So why not Kiffin? Or someone like Kiffin? A guy who will shake a track school by its running shoes.

It’s funny that a program funded by a company owner whose motto is “Just Do It,” has never taken a bold leap at head coach.

But Phil Knight is approaching 80. Maybe now is that time.

@DufRankman Rutgers vs Oregon would be the worst Rose Bowl ever.

Sam Valley ‏@SamValley Oct 8

The parade alone would require a volunteer army of pooper scoopers. Rutgers has been outscored, 136-0, in its last two games, while Oregon fans need to watch that Fonzi “jump the shark” episode of “Happy Days.” The Ducks have allowed 121 points in consecutive losses to Washington State and Washington. Remember, after the Colorado loss, when coach Mark Helfrich remarked Oregon was only two plays from being 4-0? Well, on the positive side, his team is now only 73 plays from being 4-2.

Oregon Ducks worse than I thought they were and I was a delusional alum

Kristensen Weisberg ‏@LALitigators Oct 8Los Angeles, CA

Dear delusional Duck: There’s help out there so don’t be afraid to ask for it. I was delusional too in thinking Oregon was still the class of the Pac 12 North until proven otherwise. It has been proven otherwise. A season is a fragile thing, and you never know what might have been had Oregon not blown games it should have won against Nebraska and Colorado. Those losses mostly fall on Helfrich and the coaching staff. The anatomy of this season will go back to Helfrich allowing his team to attempt five, two-point conversions in a three-point loss at Nebraska. Who knows what might have been had Oregon started 4-0 instead of 2-2? It seems to me a few Duck players have decided there’s nothing left to play for and so they are not playing for it.

@DufRankman they've been waiting to put it on Oregon for a decade. Who didn't see this coming?

Corey ‏@BearDownCorey Oct 8

Yeah, 12 straight losses to one school will make you cranky. Washington caught Oregon football at the perfect time—autumn of 2016. But this wasn’t just about vengeance. It was about a really good team playing one that no longer has its ducks in a row. Remember, Washington State did a similar number on Oregon the week before.

@DufRankman every Duck fan is secretly loving this cause we're one step closer to whacking Helfrich

Ryan Brinks ‏@ryanbrinks Oct 8

Congratulations. Hoping your team will lose so the administration will make a coaching change puts you in the company of three all-time great programs: USC, Notre Dame and Texas.

The only thing those schools have that Oregon doesn’t are national championships.

@DufRankman Any chance Rutgers schedules Cumberland?

James Gregory ‏@JasGregory Oct 8

The schools I hear are planning to meet someday, on a neutral field, in football hell. You know, these programs both got off to promising starts. In 1869, Rutgers defeated Princeton in the first college game ever played. The score was 6-4. Cumberland kicked off in 1894 with a 6-6 tie over Peabody.

Who knew one team would go on to lose a game, 222-0, in 1916 to Georgia Tech? And the other, 100 years later, would lose consecutive games, to Ohio State and Michigan, by score of 136-0?

@DufRankman what's P.J. Fleck's phone number?

Gridiron View ‏@GridironView Oct 8

I don’t have a cell for Western Michigan's talented, 6-0, coach, but his office number in Kalamazoo is (269) 387-8620. His administrative assistant is Jessica Larmony. The coach’s Twitter handle is @Coach _Fleck. If you’re calling from Notre Dame, please don’t pretend you are Lou Holtz calling on behalf of a disgruntled Domer Nation. If you’re from Oregon, please don’t leave a message detailing how cool your uniforms are, because everyone now has cool uniforms. If you are from Texas, please don’t ask Coach Fleck to send you his resume and four references. Also, please don’t call Friday morning because that’s “quiet time.” And don’t call Saturday because that’s “winning time.”

@DufRankman Who's name was misspelled more in tweets or emails? Petersen or Kiffin? (e.g. Kiffen. Peterson)

Punt On ‏@plh55 Oct 8

That’s a close call. You also have Gary Anderson\Andersen at Oregon State. The correct answer is “Andersen.” For the record Lane’s last name is “Kiffin” and Washington Coach Chris spells his last name “Petersen.”

Don’t even get me started on the spelling of Navy’s coach.

College football would be a lot easier to spell if John Smith was still coaching.

Rankman has his own name problems. I quit calling into conference calls because of the butchery committed against my last name: Dufresne. The worst was the Pac 12, where the operator once introduced me to a coach as “Christy Fries” of the Los Angeles Times. I mean, how hard is “Dufresne” if you’ve seen the movie “Shashank Redemption,” staring Andy Dufresne? I thought that movie put "Dufresne" on the map. I asked the Pac 12 once if it could hire Morgan Freeman to serve as operator on its weekly coaches’ conference call.

Never heard back on that one.

@DufRankman - for the mail bag: remember when Fresno St was good? What happened to that program?

Brian Clark ‏@TripDad06 Oct 10

Wow is that a good question. I think certain moments, even seconds, can turn programs. I pinpoint Fresno State’s downfall to Nov. 19, 2005, the night Pat Hill’s Bulldogs took No.1 USC to the brink at the Coliseum.

I was there. Fresno State should have won. Only an incredible, all-time performance by Reggie Bush saved the Trojans in a 50-42 win.

It remains one of the handful of greatest games I’ve ever covered.

Fresno was ranked No. 16 and a win would have vaulted the Bulldogs into the top 10. Who knows what that win would have meant for Hill and the program.

Instead, defeat sent the program on a skid. Fresno State lost 11 of its next 12 games. I visited Hill the following October and we sat on a hill after practice and talked about that game.

“I’m not going to say the SC game is the reason we had a slide,” Hill maintained.

I sort of disagreed. Hill was a pusher whose motto was he would play “anyone, anytime.”

Fresno State took on all challengers in trying to bust through the glass ceiling that was the BCS. He got his team to No. 8 in 2001 after wins over Colorado, Oregon State and Wisconsin. In 2004, Fresno whipped Washington, Kansas State and Virginia.

But the strain of playing at that high of a level finally burst against USC. A win that night at the Coliseum might, on adrenaline alone, have pushed Fresno to the next level.

But that’s not what happened. Fresno lost to USC, went 4-8 the next year, and the magic was gone. Hill was replaced by Tim DeRuyter, who has gone 11-2, 6-8, 3-9 and now 1-5. That’s what you would call a downward trend.

The thing about “non-power” programs is that outside people only care about them when they’re good. When they’re not, they fade into the recesses of mediocrity.

I have not, frankly, even thought about where Fresno State is now.

I only remember what it was, a decade ago, and how one close loss to USC changed everything.[/membership]