I interview the stars... well... close enough.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

T.J. Carpenter

T.J. Carpenter hosts the T.J. Carpenter show on 92.1 The Ticket in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He is also a contributor to arkansassports360.com.

Me: Who is YOUR #1 in the BCS right now?

T.J.: As a general rule, I hate the BCS. I think it is absolutely absurd not to allow margin of victory be used as a factor in computer calculations. Oregon deserves to be number one in the BCS. There are no elite teams in college football this year, but Oregon is the closest. They took USC's best shot over the weekend and was absolutely brilliant in a comeback. Some say Auburn, some say Cam Newton is unstoppable. I think Auburn's offensive line is the best in college football, but in each of the games they've played this year they were remarkably fortunate to win. I don't buy that Auburn is unstoppable because they are doing it in the SEC either. They have one of the easiest conference schedules on the board and all of their major games at home save one, a finale with Alabama to end the season, which they will lose. Auburn doesn't deserve to be number one. But they are a great football team. They are top 5. Boise State is hanging around there, but they probably won't get a shot at the top two. If Bama beats Auburn at the end of the season and goes on to win the SEC Championship, they will be in the National Title against Oregon.

Me: Will Boise State ever make it to a title game?

T.J.: No. But that doesn't mean they don't deserve it. Some people look at this as the last opportunity for Boise State to make it to the national title game. I disagree. I think it will be the last time it will be this easy to keep them out of it. Boise State is probably the most balanced offense and most physical defense that never really gets tested in the country. They beat Virginia Tech, who is well on their way to winning the ACC and an automatic BCS bid. But, people will disrespect Boise St because Virginia Tech lost to James Madison? No one thought VT was a National Title team at the beginning of the season, the same is NOT true of Boise State. Yet, the only loss that really hurts either team is James Madison, and it doesn't hurt VT, it hurts Boise St. It's a royally screwed up system.

Me: Which player is more NFL ready? Denard Robinson, Cam Newton, or Terrell Pryor?

T.J.: Cam Newton. He reminds me of a slightly larger Randall Cunningham. Although I have to say, Newton doesn't have the arm or the accuracy Cunningham did. But there is no doubt, Newton will go as a QB at this point. Pryor will get drafted, but I doubt he plays. Robinson will find a home in the NFL, but it won't be as a QB.

Me: Would you be negligent to the fact you are wearing a Gator hat? (Was it your station that sent that reporter?)

T.J.: I would not. But at the same time, I wouldn't wear garb affiliated with any team, regardless of the sport of the level. There are a ton of reporters in the Arkansas Media who do not abide by that unspoken rule. I see Dodgers hats, So. Miss t-shirts, Green Bay jackets, and (I kid you not) Laker and Celtic Jerseys on a somewhat regular basis. Does that rule change because Florida was in the SEC? It's okay to wear a Louisville or Atlanta hat but not an Ole Miss or a Florida hat?

There are a few of things that must be addressed:

1. If you are Renee Gork (the reporter) don't wear the hat. I didn't think it was a fireable offense, but it isn't smart and other people do similar stuff in the same press room all the time and go unmolested.

2. Petrino was pissed off about practice a heck of a lot more than he was about the hat. She just made the mistake of asking a fair question at the wrong time. Petrino shouldn't have said anything about the hat, but he's probably the sole member in all of this who can be a jerk (because he gets paid to coach football, not be nice to reporters) and get away with it.

3. The radio station that fired her (a mom and pop called the Hog who competes with us in the NWA market) were idiots and bush league for doing so. If your management is so whimsical and afraid to stand up and back their reporter against first off fan outcry on message boards and secondly the university's rebuke you have no business running a radio station. Their inability to have any sort of courage or journalistic fortitude is as sad as it is comical. It should also be noted all of their employees at the time other than Gork were not allowed at practice or to cover games. They were not considered a member of the professional media. So this little thing happened and they panicked. At least that is my conjecture of what happened. Since then they hired Michael Smith (former Arkansas RB) which was a good move, and Renee has gotten a great gig in Florida with a new radio show in a great market. So I think things worked out for everyone.

Me: Is Florida going to rise up again within the next 5 years? And was Tim Tebow the best college QB ever?

T.J.: Yes, but I think Florida fans are witnessing something most of them aren't quite ready to admit yet. Urban Meyer, while still one of the greatest coaches in college football, is someone who runs a very acute and somewhat quirky offense by modern standards. And if he doesn't have the right pieces to run it, the offense won't work. He struggled to make his offense fit his personnel, which is something a lot of younger coordinators and head coaches don't seem to have a problem doing. But I expect Meyer to stay at UF for a long time, win another National Title and go one to be remembered as one of the greatest college coaches of all time. Although I should mention there are many among the media in the South who question Meyer's commitment to football. In the end, Florida's success from here on out hinges upon that.

Tim Tebow is the greatest College Quarterback ever. In this day and age to win the Heisman on a team that ended up with four losses is absolutely amazing. He did a lot of things well, but it was his competitiveness that ultimately set him apart and I think all fans of this great game are forced to respect that.

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