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Football

Blum: Adjustment Bureau Returns

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Note: Parts of the following are fictional…..we think.

Lost in the chaos following Iowa State’s shocking win over Oklahoma State in 2011 were a group of men in hats roaming the Jack Trice concourse. After Jeff Woody plunged into the end-zone on that November evening, their job was complete – eliminate the outlier and restore order. This Adjustment Bureau has been around for years.  (Read more about them here.) They operate in the dark shadows in complete secrecy. Their duties rest in keeping the world operating in an efficient manner, any preventable event that could cause significant unrest is restricted. Throughout the years, these men in hats have kept the power of college football in the hands of a select few, namely schools who need football success to keep their citizens occupied and sane.

They created the BCS bowl system in the late ’90’s to convince the restless public that indeed every school could in fact win a national championship. The Bureau developed a magical formula that was complicated enough to eliminate the masses from questioning its results. Yet the formula kept the college football power structure in-tact to retain the natural order of life. It is the same thought process why Ross Perot never won the Presidency and why the Mambo Number 5 guy only had one hit. Order was needed.

After the Woody touchdown and some intrepid reporting by Cyclone Fanatic, the public began to uncover the deep truths about the Adjustment Bureau’s role in college football. The pre-arranged matchup between LSU and Alabama in the BCS Championship game really ruffled some feathers. The Bureau started to get nervous.

Feeling guilty about the dirty all-SEC match-up, the Bureau decided they would cleanse their hats by escorting Notre Dame to the BCS Championship game the next season. This plan had worked in previous years when they guided Butler all the way to the NCAA Tournament Final in consecutive years. The public is always distracted by a feel-good story. Of course, Alabama was pre-determined to win the entire time. To fully thwart any Irish pride, The Hats operated way out of the box by impersonating Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend. It ballooned into a bigger story than they wanted, but it derailed Te’o, the Irish and the masses. The Tide rolled.

The next year was Auburn’s turn to dance; every few years The Hats have to include the Tigers so they don’t cause a civil war in Alabama. The returned field-goal for a touchdown was one of the Bureau’s finest moments. Traditional power Florida State won the National Championship and order remained.

Unfortunately, the magical BCS formula had become stale. Once again, the non-traditional programs felt they were getting squeezed. The system was "not fair."

The demand came from Adjustment Bureau chief, Large Hatted One, to alter the system to quell the uproar. The Bureau put their hats together to hatch a strategy that is nothing short of brilliant, The College Football Playoff. By including four teams, more rogue schools have the false belief they could be in the running to play for a Championship. Even better, the Playoff is governed by a committee full of mysterious individuals handpicked by the Men in Hats. The group includes a former Air Force general, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, a former VP of the NCAA, and former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne. It is pretty obvious that The Men in Hats have been working with the US Government and military for centuries. The NCAA is obviously under control and Osborne has to be a sophisticated Adjustment Bureau spy….how else do you explain Nebraska winning multiple titles?

It appears to be a lock solid plan, but four weeks into the season and a certain squad from Waco, Texas is already causing Men in Hat heartburn. Baylor is a problem. The Bureau never had to give them a second look for decades. When Baylor won on the road in Ames in 2005, it was their first Big 12 road win EVER. They joined the conference in 1996.

The Bears hired Art Briles in 2008. They made their first bowl game in 16 years in 2010. They won the Big 12 title last season. Baylor came uncomfortably close to damaging the college football structure by leaping all the way to number three in the BCS rankings before the men in hats took care of business in Stillwater late last November. Oklahoma State buried the Bears 49-17 (the Bureau felt some remorse for the Cowboys after the Iowa State incident in 2011.)

Yet here the Bears are again in 2014, nipping at the heels of The Hats, ranked sixth in the nation and already flirting with the Playoff.

The Bears are a tough nut to crack for the Bureau, because there is some growing speculation they may be recruiting another planet. The Hats have been in cahoots with their sister Bureau, the Men in Black, to figure out Baylor. The Men in Black of course handle the sub-human field.

Just perusing the Baylor roster raises a few eyebrows. They have a 6-9, 280 pound defensive end from Pennsylvania. Weird. Their offensive line includes a 6-8, 400 pound offensive guard, a 27 year old sophomore offensive tackle from London, and two more offensive lineman who were born in Australia and transferred from Hawaii. Bizarre.

Not to mention, they have a running back named Shock and a wide-receiver named Lynx. Strange, right? The other galactic planets must be fans of the WNBA or the 90’s TV show American Gladiators. Their newest sensation is a speedster whose full name is KD O’Keith Cannon. For real, he has two letters for a first name. He leads the country with an average reception of 34 yards. Cannon has five touchdown receptions all over 40 yards in length, including an 81 yard and 89 yard touchdown.  

Simply put, Art Briles must be recruiting the galaxy from the movie Avatar.

The Bears have scored 60 or more points eight times in their last 16 games. Their average touchdown drive is a shade under 90 seconds. And they appear to have added a defense, allowing a scant 221 yards per game, third best in college football.

Baylor is completely out of control and needs to be reined in sooner rather than later. How would the citizens of the SEC react if the National Championship trophy resided in Waco? Chaos wouldn’t even begin to tell the story.

It sets up an intriguing scenario on Saturday night for the Men in Hats. They love night games, drama and national TV. The last time a top 10 team visited Jack Trice at night, we all know what happened. Paul Rhoads has proven to be a capable executor of the Bureau’s plan. He eliminated top ranked West Virginia in a night game in 2007 as the Defensive Coordinator at Pittsburgh, keeping them out of the BCS title game. Four years later, he did the same against Oklahoma State in 2011. And honestly, have you ever seen Rhoads on the sideline without a hat?

With the power-structure disrupting Bears coming to town, Rhoads’ craftsmanship may be called upon again. So I ask you to beware of any suspicious men dressed in suits and fancy hats lurking at Jack Trice on Saturday. Don’t bring any attention to them, they are just righting the world. They may even be accompanied by The Men in Black. It is all part of the plan. This Baylor riddle is tough to solve, but the Bureau is undefeated. Be prepared to get weird.