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College Football Mailbag (cont.)

Posted: Wednesday October 10, 2007 11:10AM; Updated: Thursday October 11, 2007 2:11AM
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Dennis Franchione is under fire for an insider e-mail newsletter he offered to a select group of Texas A&M boosters for $1,200.
Dennis Franchione is under fire for an insider e-mail newsletter he offered to a select group of Texas A&M boosters for $1,200.
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Last year's 11th-hour Michigan-Florida switcheroo showed the voters are more dedicated than ever before to ensuring that the two "most deserving" teams wind up in the title game, and I'm sure they'll attempt to do the same again this year if several teams are closely bunched. But even most Florida fans would admit that last year's national champion Gators weren't necessarily close to being the best team in the land in late October or early November. Fortunately, they put themselves in position to be selected for the game, but take away a Jarvis Moss field-goal block against South Carolina, and those same, seemingly dominant Gators could have wound up in the Capital One Bowl. Meanwhile, as demonstrated against LSU, it's entirely conceivable this year's younger Gators could be one of the two best teams in the land by Dec. 1, but realistically, they don't stand the same chance right now as a USF or Boston College.

Personally, I don't have a problem with seeing a USF in the championship game if the Bulls prove they deserve it -- and as of now, only two teams, No. 1 LSU (with wins over No. 7 South Carolina, No. 12 Virginia Tech and No. 13 Florida) and No. 2 Cal (with wins over No. 9 Oregon and No. 25 Tennessee), can say they have as strong or stronger a case than USF (with wins over No. 8 West Virginia and No. 22 Auburn).

But as Ben suggests, I'm not sure the rest of the country would agree. So far, the public has shown little interest in seeing newer-age teams in the major bowl games. For all the fanfare it received after the fact, last year's Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl garnered the third-lowest TV rating of the 37 BCS bowl games played to date. The only two lower? Utah-Pittsburgh (2004) and Louisville-Wake Forest (2006). Notice a common theme? While the commissioners and athletic directors who run the BCS are undoubtedly thrilled with the excitement this regular season has generated, both they and Fox would likely be fairly mortified by a USF-Missouri BCS title game, even if both teams were undefeated.

Which is why I'm fascinated to see how these next six weeks will play out. I assume the ever-heated debates about team and conference superiority -- which started up even earlier than usual this year -- will only intensify once the season's first BCS standings are released Sunday, creating the first official title-game "pecking order." I don't pretend to know how all of this will shake out, but I will say this: Seems like a pretty ideal year for anyone trying to sell a book about college football controversy.

We all know Dennis Franchione made a mistake of monumental proportions with his now-infamous "VIP newsletter." I was already on the "Fire Fran" bandwagon after the colossal beatdown in Miami. This only adds salt to the open wound that we Aggies all have with regards to our football program. Texas A&M AD Bill Byrne has a policy of not discussing a coach's future during the season. Will you do us the favor of not having a similar policy and giving us your take on the whole situation?
--Justin, College Station, Texas

Dear Dennis (because you no longer deserve the more affectionate "Coach Fran" alias):

In light of your recently disclosed cash-for-injury-info booster scheme, one that simply boggles my mind as to the sheer extent of its stupidity and greediness, please kindly do me the following favor. Make sure that any personal possessions in your office are neatly boxed up and shipped to an address of your choosing by Nov. 24 -- the day after your team's regular-season finale.

Your laughable, staged "rally" at last week's press conference -- complete with a standing ovation from your players and tears streaming from your eyes -- was an Oscar-worthy performance. (Thanks for doing it while I was out of town, by the way, or my office wall might have had a large hole in it by now). Because back here on planet Earth, I'm sure you're well aware you have about as much chance of being back here next season as Britney Spears' children have of growing up normal.

Sure, your current 5-1 record (which includes no victories over a current top 60 opponent, according to CollegeBCS.com) helps mask your precipitous status to the outside world a little better than the doomed plights of, say, Arizona's Mike Stoops (whose record makes yours look like Bob Stoops' in comparison) and UCLA's Karl Dorrell (who somehow forgot to have a backup quarterback ready last week ... can you believe that?!), but let's be realistic. Your defense made Miami QB Kyle Wright look like Carson Palmer for the only night of his career; I shudder to think what Texas Tech's Graham Harrell is capable of this week. After that, you go to Nebraska, host undefeated Kansas, visit top 10 squads Oklahoma and Missouri and finish with Texas. You and I both know you'll be fortunate to win more than two of those contests.

If so, that would put your season-ending record at a meager 7-5 and bring your five-year record to a maddeningly mediocre 32-28 mark. The $2 million a year we pay you would have been better spent trying to keep Billy Gillispie around. That guy did more in three years for a formerly dead-end basketball program than you've done in five years at one of the proudest football schools in the country.

That's all for now. By the way, if you're really that desperate for cash, I'm guessing far more than 12 Aggies fans would gladly pay you $1,200 for the rights to this newsletter.

Sincerely,

Bill Byrne, your soon-to-be-former-boss

Why is it A&M gets so little respect? Granted, we have our problems, but we're No. 1 in the Big 12 South and we're still unranked?
--J.D. Foster, Red Oak, Texas

Please see above.

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