Until Saturday night, few people knew Chuck Oliver, but this week hes being talked about like he matters.
Oliver had a question for Mark Richt after the Georgia football coach came up four seconds and 5 yards short in a game that gave Nick Saban and Alabama the Southeastern Conference title and sent them to the brink of another national championship.
The Crimson Tide's 32-28 victory was brilliant. So was the Bulldogs' 32-28 loss. Afterward, opposing coaches were escorted to a media room to answer predictable post-game questions.
That's where Richt met Oliver.
Oliver is a creation of sports radio, a former high school coach who for 12 years has been promoted as a college football expert. He and Matt Chernoff host a show on Atlanta's 680 The Fan.
Nothing was out of the ordinary until Oliver asked the question of the night, questioning Richt about his record in big games and about the performance of quarterback Aaron Murray against ranked teams.
It wasn't what he asked as much as how he asked it. He said he heard those questions every day, and even when Richt pressed him to own up to the opinion, Oliver was a wimp. He refused to embrace it.
Richt got up and left only to return as SEC officials were redecorating the podium for Saban. "If anybody thinks our guys didn't play their tail off, and Aaron Murray didn't play his tail off, they're crazy," he said.
Their exchange is still being discussed.
Birmingham radio host Paul Finebaum called it "a clown question" but added that the more he sees of Mark Richt's "hissy fit" the worse he feels for his players. "They were brilliant. Their coach was petty."
Columnists and bloggers jumped on Oliver who issued an apology Monday. He said his question was ill timed, adding he used "awful, terrible, wretched, horrid judgment."
Oliver should apologize for his performance, not his question. He asked what should have been on the mind of every reporter in the room though others would have asked it more deftly.
Someone with stature and courage would have been direct. Richt would have been uncomfortable, but that would have been part of the story. His response would have been interesting and perhaps memorable.
I come down on the side of Sam Mitchell, the former NBA Coach of the Year and the host of "Time Out," which airs on Fox Sports Radio 1460. He said Monday that Richt should have used the question as a challenge to the way he coaches, the way he practices and the way he prepares. Don't run from it. Use it.
As it is, all we know is that Oliver fumbled the question and Richt never faced an insinuation that will haunt him whenever big games get in his way.
-- Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.