Making a decimal point or two about the BCS, UCLA and Billy Cannon

Paul Perkins
UCLA running back Paul Perkins (24) and the rest of the Bruins wore uniforms with numbers that look like the foil wrapping from a frozen TV dinner last week against Arizona.
(Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)

Each week during the college football season, national analyst Chris Dufresne will burn a timeout to answer questions and exchange opinions. You can email him at and reach him on Twitter: @DufresneLATimes.

Unbuckling the mailbag:

Bring back the Bowl Championship Series system. This system is no fun at all.

Jack Buss



Count me in. The BCS to me was like covering the circus while standing behind the elephants. I miss quartile ranks and computer averages and strength of schedule components.

I miss all those decimal points and having to inform the public that Team B won the second playoff spot over Team C by 5.37 to 5.69 in 2000 and, the very next year, by 7.23 to 7.28.

My stock answer to how any of it happened: “Beats me.”


I even almost miss the Jeff Sagarin ratings.

I loved how, in 2006, Florida and the Southeastern Conference insisted Michigan didn’t deserve a rematch against No.1 Ohio State for the national title because it already had its chance. Then, five years later, the same league insisted the Alabama did deserve a rematch against Louisiana State because it was the American thing to do.

I love how, in 2003, USC was No. 1 in both polls during the season with a chance of not finishing in the top two of the BCS standings.

“That can’t happen,” a BCS official said around midseason. He then paused and added, “Can it?”

It did.

I’m not sure yet about this new playoff system. It seems way too logical and fair — and not half as much fun.


I understand the uniforms that UCLA wore Saturday night are for sale somewhere. If we hurry up and buy them all, does that mean we’ll never have to see them again?


Kurt Kemper

Sioux Falls, S.D.

UCLA has, arguably, the best uniforms in college football. Why anyone would change the powder blues to powder-keg black is beyond me.

It’s like Coke coming out with New Coke.

The gold lettering on those UCLA uniforms looked like the foil wrapping from a frozen TV dinner.

But maybe I’m just old fashioned — I still like TV dinners.


As an Ole Miss fan, you perfectly articulated the pain we experienced last Saturday night. I was at the game. As the clock expired I said to my friends, “This is our Billy Cannon moment.” The loss was devastating.


G. Morgan

I can only imagine the pain of Mississippi’s 35-31 loss to Auburn in Oxford, Miss. It was hard enough as an outsider to watch a team have everything stripped away on a single play that ended with a broken leg to a star player.

Just when you were starting to get over Billy Cannon.

It’s spooky that Ole Miss’ two most painful football memories are connected to Halloween weekend.

Cannon ripped through Mississippi on Oct. 31, 1959, when the LSU star returned a late punt for score on a foggy night in Baton Rouge, La.

I just watched a replay of the punt return on the Internet. The grainy, black-and-white footage of Cannon’s run is almost ghostly.

That play has become as painful as a root canal for Ole Miss, which is interesting because Cannon later became a dentist.

He broke about eight tackles on that famous punt return in a 7-3 win, and he broke a lot of Mississippi hearts.

As far as I know, though, no Mississippi player broke his leg trying to catch Cannon.


You nailed it. Tough loss, one of the toughest since Billy Cannon in ’59.

Martin Hegwood

Canton, Miss.

One more thought on Billy Cannon. Even after Cannon scored, Ole Miss had a chance to win. The Rebels drove downfield but were stopped just short of the end zone — just like last Saturday against Auburn.

Helping out on the game-stopping tackle in 1959 was ... Billy Cannon.


I was surprised you didn’t mention Boise State’s Kyle Brotzman in 2010. It’s been a long time ago, but at least Ole Miss has been to the mountaintop. Boise State has never been there.

Kurt Kemper

I thought of Brotzman when reciting other painful losses, but that one was too painful for me. Boise State was my preseason No. 1 in 2010, and his two chip-shot field-goal misses against Nevada ended the Broncos’ title hopes.


The Florida State haters are pathetic … really pathetic. It really just is so over the top of being bias and unfair.

I cannot believe this article … and you consider yourself a journalist.... How about proof? … How about the very American principle of being innocent until proven guilty?

Just because you can put one word in front of another doesn’t mean you should share it with others.

Karen Lucarelli


Thanks for your comments on my story last week suggesting that many Americans, including a few sportswriters, are simply tired of Florida State’s football act.

I’m not quite sure where you stand but my sense is you disagree.

For the record, I am looking at my college diploma as I sit here putting one word in front of another. Nowhere does it say I should now consider myself a journalist. It states the school had conferred upon me a bachelor of arts in the major of communications, “with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.”


If you are going to write stuff like this, as a journalist, you need to do more research to ascertain the facts that are present and public right now. You are making judgments that are still under scrutiny. Your conclusions could be correct, but you do not have enough real information in my opinion to be sure. I think journalism school teaches that.

Don A. Thigpen

As a columnist, I am paid to make judgments, and I should have stopped reading your email after you wrote “your conclusions could be correct.”

Then again, that’s just your opinion.

The newspaper comes out every day and we can’t always wait for the jury trial to end before going to print.

I read about a civil trial in Guam that took the jury 14 months to sort out the liability for a hotel collapse during an earthquake. The deliberations lasted so long the jury asked for a refrigerator. And, to think, there have been even colder cases.

That’s why, as the college football columnist, I sometimes have to be the prosecutor, defense lawyer, judge and jury.

I’ve read as much as possible on Florida State. I read the police report on Jameis Winston, the New York Times story on how the Tallahassee Police Department has a history of granting preferential treatment to Florida State players.

I saw the photos of bruises allegedly posted on the Internet by the girlfriend of Karlos Williams.

I may not have enough evidence to form a criminal case, but I feel I do have enough to form an opinion.


Terrible article.... I’ve never heard of you before this article and if this is your Pulitzer Prize-winning article, something the media has beaten to the ground months over, I guess you will remain a no-name journalist waiting for your one great story to make a name for yourself.

Why, Lord4bid, does everyone insist on calling me a no-name journalist?


Bravo! Your wonderful piece should have been on the front page of the C section.... Here is to wishing [Florida State football Coach] Jimbo Fisher could see the light. That said, your unabashed focus, content and layered prose are a joy to read.

Charlie Hewes

People have no idea how hard it is to layer prose. It’s like building a house out of bricks without cement.


College football’s best writer: Can’t properly express how much I love your work.... Thank you for what you do. To me, you are the College Football pen to Keith Jackson’s voice.

Mark Ogle

All I can say to that is thank you and “Whoa Nellie!”

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