Sunday, December 6, 2009

College Football Ramblings

It feels like a while since I just shot out my thoughts in some random order...oh wait, that's because it's been quite some time since I didn't feel the need to add some gimmick to a blog post. I wasn't planning this post for a while, but then too many things happened in College Football that I couldn't help but vent my thoughts. But enough stalling, time for some rants!

  • How can I possibly be the only person that doesn't think that Texas is the 2nd best team in the country? Didn't anyone else see that pathetic Texas-Nebraska matchup that was supposedly a "championship game"? Facing a horrifically inept Nebraska offense (they pulled their quarterback after he started 2-13, then put him back in when the second stringer couldn't even execute a qb-sneak from his own end zone), Texas barely won, and you could argue that they didn't even deserve it. They started with 2 turnovers leading to 6 Husker points, and from there didn't look that much better than Nebraska on offense. They only won because Nebraska's last kickoff went out of bounds, and even then Colt McCoy almost screwed it up; that 1 second being left on the clock has to be one of the two or three most (or in Nebraska's case, least) lucky ocurrences in sports. At any point in the game did you ever think "I am definitely watching one of the two best teams in the nation"? Me neither. It could've been a blowout if Nebraska had any semblance of an offense. After Cincinnatti didn't exactly impersonate the 2001 Miami Hurricanes against Pitt, I can honestly say that TCU should play in the National Championship against Alabama (by the way, let me congragulate Alabama for that beatdown that would have made all of Jordan's Bulls teams proud. Nick Saban is a dirtbag, but he outcoached Urban Meyer even more brutally than Larry Brown when he handed it to Phil Jackson in the 2004 finals. The game showed that the Tide is the best team in America, and Tim Tebow and the rest of the Gators have been wildly overrated all season). I've seen all the top teams play this season, and If I had an AP ballot then my top five right now would be Alabama, TCU, Oregon, Boise State (Boise State was better than Oregon in September, OU is better now), and Cincinnatti. TCU has a ton of speed on defense and enough playmakers on offense that its spread offense can score on anybody; They've demolished all their competition, including Utah (a top-20 team) and Clemson (Clemson's offense was completely stiffled and C.J. spiller didn't dominate at anywhere near the level that he did against ACC competition. In other news, Clemson almost won the ACC Championship Game last night, and C.J. Spiller had more than twice as many rushing yards against Georgia Tech as he did against TCU). If you don't believe me and are still convinced that Texas must be better than TCU simply because it plays in a "power conference" and has more 4 and 5-star recruits, then you clearly aren't actually watching the games. Remember I told you this when Alabama beats Texas by 24 in the title game just a few nights after TCU demolishes its Orange Bowl opponent.
  • If there was a bright spot to that pathetic Texas-Nebraska match, it is this: maybe now everyone will realize just how good Ndamukong Suh is. He excels at all the typical defensive tackle stuff (drawing double teams, stuffing the run, collapsing the pocket), yet he still puts up ridiculous stats, like last nights 4.5 sacks and 12 tackles. At this point pretty much everyone knows that he's the best NFL draft prospect at his or any position in quite some time, but what I don't understand is why he isn't considered a serious candidate for the Heisman Trophy. I mean, why not when he's a one-man wrecking crew that makes Big-12 offenses look like pop warner teams? Oh wait, I forgot that Heisman voters interpret "Most Outstanding Player" (the stated criterion for the Heisman) to mean "Best upperclassmen (unless you're Tim Tebow, whom each media member loves like a long-lost son) skill position player (preferably a quarterback or running back; receivers are allowed to win, but only if they return punts and kickoffs, but under no circumstances can an offensive lineman or a defensive player win) who plays for a winning team with a storried history (so if we put Ladainian Tomlinson on TCU, he could run for 8 million yards and not even get consideration for the heisman...oh wait, that already happened before!)". And you wonder why so many heisman winners crash and burn in the NFL. Look, I like Mark Ingram as a player, but if you think that he's "more outstanding" than Suh, then I don't know what to tell you (and don't even get me started on Colt McCoy, the likely winner). My Heisman ballot: Suh, C.J. Spiller, and Kellen Moore, with an honorable mention for Eric Berry.
  • I can't believe that I'm actually saying this, but I have to defend Charlie Weis. He didn't do a great coaching job, but it wasn't all that bad considering he made two BCS bowls. The biggest problem is that he had to deal with wildly unrealistic expectations (partially his own fault, but I digress). When Notre Dame was in it heyday, Knute Rockne was 10000 times smarter than anyone else, the Irish were the only ones appearing regularly on national TV, and if anything the high academic standards were a selling point. When Lou Holtz continued Notre Dame's success, it was because he got away with greatly lowering the academic standards that his players were held to. But to expect a coach to come to South Bend and annually compete for national titles is absurd. Notre Dame's independent status is no longer a big deal, and its TV deal doesn't provide a unique advantage anymore because there are so many games broadcast every saturday (and Thursday for that matter) that every team can get on national tv when it wants. More importantly, Notre Dame can't recruit a lot of blue chippers because they don't meet Notre Dame's lofty academic standards....I bet that 3/4 of the players on all the teams of the Florida Schools (especially Florida State) have G.P.A.'s that are half of what they would need to be in order to be eligible to play at Notre Dame. And that's something to be proud of! Isn't it a good thing that the Irish actually make their players attend class, stay out of trouble, get good grades (you know, stuff that you're normally expected to do at a supposed institution of higher learning)? While Weis is certainly no Bill Belicheck, its unfair to criticize him for not winning 10 games a year. Unfortunately, Notre Dame fans are unlikely to temper their wildly unrealistic expectations; the Irish will hire some hot candidate (probably Brian Kelly), he'll put up 6-8 wins a year (and maybe have a double digit win total one year), and he'll get canned for not being a perennial top-10 team (and everyone will explain it off by saying that Kelly simply lost all his coaching ability once he came to South Bend, that the losing has nothing to do with Notre Dame's academic standards, and that they just made a mistake and will become a dynasty with the right coach, forgetting that they all said the same thing about Bob Davie, Ty Willingham, and Weis).
  • I can't believe how many inane arguments are being made about why Mark Mangino shouldn't be fired from Kansas. Do you realize what he said? He threatened to send a player back to St. Louis to get shot with his homies, and he made extremely vitriolic and hurtful references to a player's alchoholic father while chewing that player out in front of the whole team. Umm, aren't those comments horribly insensitive, inappropriate, offensive, and unacceptable, especially considering that this is the kind of information that his players told him about in confidence? I love how everyone claims "this happens at every school, Mangino's just getting a raw deal because he's losing". First of all, there are a lot of dictatorial coaches out there, but what coach out there would go so low as to bring such socioeconomic factors into football discussions and make his rants so personal? Bob Stoops and Nick Saban may do a lot of yelling, but I don't think they're taking personal shots at any player's past or threatening to let anyone get shot up in the hood. Furthermore, even if every other coach is saying these things, that's still a horrible reason not to fire Mangino. Imagine if someone tried to rob a bank, but he got caught because while he was escaping some intern accidentally pulled the fire alarm and the thief got spotted in the commotion, but the police said "you know what, lets let him off the hook; lots of people rob banks, he was just happened to be caught because of random events". Wouldn't that be an outrage? Furthermore, as Jason King detailed in this fantastic article, Mangino had terrible people-skills problems, repeatedly chewing out nearly all his coworkers and feuding on a very personal level with nearly everyone at the university. I respect Mangino for starting from scratch and eventually succeeding at the highest level through pure hard work, but considering all this he had to be fired.
  • At some point somebody has to call out Urban Meyer for all the problems that he has had keeping his players under control. Since he arrived at Gainesville, there have been 25 legal incidents involving Florida football players (and that doesn't even include Brandon Spikes's attempt to gauge someone's eye out in the middle of a game), 19 of them involving players that Urban himself recruited. Just to prove that I'm not simply giving Mangino grief when its convenient to do so (namely when he's losing), I will also argue that Meyer's program should face NCAA violations (probation, lost scholarships, something like that) for his inability to control his football team. His players repeatedly get into trouble and rarely face serious consequences from Meyer; he's never suspended a big-time player from a meaningful game (unless you count Carlos Dunlap as a big-time player; personally I don't think that Meyer lost much sleep when he decided to suspend a lazy defensive end that doesn't play the run, has no pass rush repertoire besides the speed rush, has overrated physical abilities, and plays hard on 1 out of 20 plays). And everything I said applies to every other program, such as Penn State or Tennessee, with major player-conduct issues.