Rice Is Rolling Over in His Grave

Dedicated to Mocking Bad Sports Writing

An Existential Dilemma

Posted by biggusrickus on May 13, 2010

I created this little (updated) blog in the mold of the late, great Fire Joe Morgan, because I thought college football writing deserved to be mocked and they were too baseball-centric. So here’s the problem. I read a thing today that deserves the FJM treatment, but it’s about baseball, which is not my thing. So herein is the breaking point from my stated mission of “mocking bad college football writing” to more general sports journalism criticism. But really, when you write a shitpile like this, what else am I to do? I could not post to a snarky blog about it you say? Well I say, we gonna do the do. Brace yourself for a trip back to antiquity when Poseidon threw Oddyseus off course for beaning Hector and Zeus Prometheus gave man fire so they could play night games.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Baseball

No, this is not by Judy Blume but by some guy named Matthew Futterman. So, the headline’s the set, and here’s spike of a subhead:

Braden’s Perfect Game Bolsters Argument of the Believers

You wanna write about sports in the Wall Street Journal? Use some hindsight to make up shit about baseball being influenced by a hand of god or some such nonsense. 

In the debate over whether there are baseball Gods, score one for the believers.

Is there debate about this? Why the fuck is there debate? There are obviously a pantheon of baseball Gods who play with their mortal subjects as they see fit. Sometimes they make middling starters throw perfect games. Sometimes they make Dwight Gooden snort so much coke his nose falls off, but have no doubt that they are there, all around us at all times. Sometimes, when you’re pitching a no-hitter on acid, you can see them, and they are glorious.

On Sunday, an unheralded Oakland A’s pitcher named Dallas Braden threw Major League Baseball’s 19th perfect game. The accomplishment was extraordinary by any standard, but even more so for a lightly heralded pitcher who wasn’t chosen until the 24th round of the 2004 amateur draft. But when you consider the circumstances, it’s almost otherworldly.

Well, it was the 19th time it has ever happened, so it goes without saying that it was extraordinary. And while most of the guys who have done it were good to great pitchers, there’s also this guy, this guy, and this guy (who did it in a fucking World Series, crazily enough). So that’s 4 out of 19 from average or slightly below average major league pitchers. So it is not “even more extraordinary” that an “unheralded guy” did it. It is the exact same amount of extra ordinary-ness. And it is certainly not fucking otherworldly, no matter how much human interest fluff you try to tie to it. And also because there are no such things as baseball gods.

Late last month, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, one of the best but most-controversial players in the game, disrepected Mr. Braden by trotting across his pitching mound and then belittled him after the Oakland pitcher had the audacity to complain about the breach of etiquette. After the game, Mr. Rodriguez described the confrontation as “pretty funny” and Mr. Braden as “a guy that has a handful of wins in his career.”

Okay, maybe Cont-Rod (short for Controversy Rodriguez) is a kind of weird dick. I’m undecided on the whole mound controversy. It seems a little silly for a pitcher to get all pissy about it, but maybe it’s part of the dumb unwritten code of baseball. Whatever. This incident, however, has nothing to do with gods influencing baseball outcomes, because, as previously stated, that is made-up nonsense.

Flash forward to Mother’s Day, when Mr. Braden, who lost his own mother to melanoma while he was in high school, took the mound against Tampa Bay, the team with the best record in the American League, and without overpowering stuff (he had a mere six strikeouts) managed to retire all 27 batters he faced.

Whoa, let’s not just flash forward to Mother’s Day. At the conclusion of the start against New York where he was supposedly disrespected by A-Rod, thus getting the gods on his side because they hate A-Rod, he was 3-0 with a 2.77 ERA. His next two starts, both losses, saw him post a combined line of 11 IP, 18 Hits, 9 R, 9 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Where were your gods then Mr. Futterman/Braden?

As for the mom’s death/doing something so amazing on Mother’s Day angle, it’s kind of cute that such a thing happened. It is not a sign of divine intervention. I also like to think that somewhere, someone whose mom died when he was a teenager, went 0-5 with 4 Ks on Mother’s Day. After the game he was called into the manager’s office and informed he was being sent down to AAA to work on his mechanics, and he got home to find his wife had moved out and, like, killed his dog because he barked at squirrels, and it drove her crazy. If someone would write  a story about how shitty that guy’s day was I might not be so annoyed with the Mother’s Day-Braden angle.

Granted, it wasn’t Steve Bartman running over a billy goat on Lake Shore Drive before the Chicago Cubs clinch their first World Series win since 1908,

Still with the Steve Bartman references people? Jesus, let it go. Also, does this non-event mean that the gods, in allowing Bartman to arrive at the game, were punishing the Cubs for, like, hubris or something?

but it does add heft to an old theological question that’s been kicked around over many a pint of grog: Is there a God that watches over baseball?

Now we’re getting monotheistic in our baseball theology? The answer to the question is no, there is not a God watching over baseball. That is juvenile nonsense, and why the fuck are we drinking grog?

Whatever the case, there have been many instances in baseball’s Eden-like ballpark cathedrals where things happen that seem to defy all terrestrial explanations. Here are a few such moments:

“Eden-like.” Paradise with everything provided by God does not include $7 hot dogs.

And here are some “things (that) happen that seem to defy all terrestrial explanations:”

Mike Piazza’s home run.

Mike Piazza hit a homerun in the eighth to beat the Braves in the Mets’ first game back at Shea after 9/11. This is truly amazing because Piazza only hit 35 other home runs that year, and retired with a measly 427 for his career. Obviously, gods or a God were involved.

2004 American League Championship Series, Yankees vs. Red Sox.

Okay, I’ll include his reasoning for this one, because it is fucking crazy.

In a series where the Yankees blew a commanding 3-0 lead to lose four straight, it’s easy to overlook the divine characteristics of Tony Clark’s ground-rule double in the ninth inning of Game 5.

But in the top of the ninth, Mr. Clark of the Yankees screeched a line drive into right field with two outs and teammate Ruben Sierra on first. The ball took a hop off the Fenway Park ground and bounced into the right-field stands.

Had the ball stayed in play, Mr. Sierra surely would have scored the Yankees’ fifth run, giving Yankees closer Mariano Rivera a chance to close out the series. Instead, Mr. Sierra was stranded at third when Miguel Cairo popped out in foul territory. The long-suffering Red Sox won the game 5-4 in 14 innings—and we don’t have to remind Yankees fans what happened next.

Think about all the other events that had to come together for the Red Sox to come back and win that series. Even just in that game. They had to shut out an incredibly good Yankees lineup for five more innings. They had just had to plate two in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game, which included a second straight blown save by Rivera (though in fairness, blaming him for giving up a sac fly in a one-run game when he comes in with runners on the corners is unfair). Which brings me to: in the previous fucking game, they’d had to score a run off Mariano Rivera to tie the game that they won in 12 innings. What was I talking about again? Oh, a God or some number of gods in conjunction causing a ball to bounce over a fence. Think about how crazy that is. I SAID THINK ABOUT IT!

The Home Run King Gets No World Series Ring

Bonds struck out one inning and the Giants eventually blew a lead and lost 6-5 in game 6 of the ’02 World Series. They went on to lose game seven. Two words merged to form one: otherworldly.

Update: I checked the box score for the game. You know what else Bonds did? He went 1-2 with 2 BB (one intentional because nobody sane pitched to Bonds unless the bases were empty at that point in his career) and solo HR. He also made an error that led to an unearned run, so, I don’t know, gods teasing him and making him fail? Probably.

Hank Greenberg against the Master Race

Oh yeah, some more crazy:

Before Jessie Owens faced down Adolf Hitler, Hank Greenberg and the Detroit Tigers took their shot.

See, Hank Greenberg’s a Jew, in case his stereotypical Jewish name didn’t clue you in. Hitler: not so much a fan of Jews. So, fine. That a Jew did something good at a time when Hitler was running Germany is neat, but in what fucking way is that analogous to winning a fucking gold medal in the German capital, embarrassing Hitler and all that? Explain yourself!

In 1935, as Hitler was rising to power in Europe, a sturdy Jewish first baseman was belting 36 home runs and knocking in 170 on his way to his first MVP award.

Had he played for a hapless franchise, Mr. Greenberg’s exploits might not have gained the spotlight. But fate placed him on a team with the likes of Charlie Gehringer, Mickey Cochrane and Schoolboy Rowe that won that year’s World Series, turning Mr. Greenberg into a folk hero.

And Hitler watched all of this while gnashing his teeth because Hitler was way into baseball. (Was Hitler into baseball? Anyone?) Greenberg went on to win another one in 1940, but this troubled Hitler less as he was overrunning Europe and really didn’t get to the follow the season very much at all.

Oh, that’s how it ended. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty convinced now that gods are intervening in baseball games, and it’s time we hunted them down and put a stop to it. What do we want?! Free will!! When do we want it?! Now, but how do you kill a god?! Hmm.

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Dennis Dodd Really Hates Spring Games

Posted by biggusrickus on May 7, 2010

There was this from a couple years ago. I imagine he wrote something angry about them last year too. Now we have this:

Springing a few ideas to get rid of spring charades for good

I still hate puns, especially boring ones like that.

I’ve seen 90,000 crazed fans in brilliant sunshine. I’ve seen 2,500 lonely souls in the rain. I’ve seen celebrity coaches and I’ve seen scoring systems so complicated that BCS computers would go cross-eyed.

I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend…Oh, sorry.

I assume he means scoring systems that go something like this, which, I don’t know, seems simpler than algorithms used to rank football teams. But maybe it only seems that way to me because my brain is a Cray supercomputer.

Now that they’re done for another year, I’ve seen enough of spring games.

Do you have any idea what the odds are that the exact number played would be enough for Dodd? They have to be astronomical.

I’m done. Finished.

As are the games for the year, so chill out, man.

Not only are the shams currently foisted upon us mostly meaningless,

They’re entirely meaningless.

they’re almost always boring.

I kind of agree here, though excitement level varies from game to game. Excitement, however, isn’t really the point.

In terms of lasting memories, they’re more disposable than a Bic lighter.

I’d have gone with dirty diaper, because that also sort of speaks to the true smelly awfulness of these games, Dennis.

Quick, name the leading rusher in Florida’s 2009 spring game.

Chris Rainey, maybe?

Answer: Doesn’t matter.

Then why’d you fucking ask?

Sixteen starters sat out for “precautionary reasons.”

Why the scare quotes, like sitting some guys who are dinged up so they don’t get further injured is some kind of sinister cover-up?

Quarterback John Brantley accounted for five touchdowns (three passing) and then went back into the witness protection program behind Tim Tebow.

It’s amazing he wasn’t offed, because that is the fucking worst witness relocation in recorded history. They didn’t even change his name!

Moving past his stupid hyperbolic joke and dealing with the point here: fans were excited by the five-touchdown performance. It made them feel some level of confidence that their QB would be good after Tebow left. Even if he’d never actually seen the field all season, it wouldn’t have changed that (he did see it in some mop duty and put up good stats in a very small sample size against shitty teams).

Anyway, back to the needlessly angry bullshit.

And that was from the defending national champions.

This was a paragraph unto itself. He really wanted to stress the fuck out of this point, which is puzzling. Because there isn’t one.

Alabama thought so much of its spring game that its coaches were former quarterback Jay Barker and a radio talk-show host.

Jay Barker, as in the winnigest QB in the school’s history, who led them to their most recent national championship until last year’s. What a lack of…respect for the spring game? Paul Finebaum was the “radio talk-show host.” He’s also pretty fucking famous in the state of Alabama and throughout the south. He’s also an annoying asshole, but that’s neither here nor there.

Nick Saban was still in charge, basically telling an official to throw a flag on the third play of the game.

I’m not sure if Alabama is one of the schools who brings in real officials for these games or not, but if they missed a call that Saban thinks will be called normally, and he wants his players not to make the stupid mistake again, telling an offical to call it makes sense to me.

Nick is always in charge. After the clock expired he decided to keep playing until a tie was broken.

Well, yes, as head coach he decides when practices begin and end. And a spring game is essentially a glorified practice.

I thought about making  a “Charles in Charge” joke but thought better of it. However, please enjoy these opening credits to the Scott Baio vehicle.

That’s not a game, that’s an off Broadway production of an SEC Saturday.

I saw the ArcLight’s production of “Cocktail Party.” It kind of left me cold.

Nebraska trumpeted its use of a television analyst as a side judge. At least everyone was respecting the game that day.

Respecting the meaningless game. Remember? It’s just a scrimmage. You called them “mostly meaningless just a couple short paragraphs ago. Having a celebrity side judge sounds kind of fun actually. Good an ya, Nebraska.

Never mind the injuries … no wait. Always mind the injuries. Coaches have long grumbled about staging those off-Broadway productions for nothing more than serving tradition.

He’s really showing a lot of confidence in that “off-Broadway” trope. I bet he typed it out the first time, and said to himself, “You’ve just nailed that one, Dennis. Nailed it!” 

I call bullshit on the point, and if it isn’t bullshit from Dodd it’s bullshit from coaches. College coaches run three scrimmages each spring (well, that’s what Georgia does, which I assume it’s the norm). The spring game is the third scrimmage. It would be a scrimmage whether fans were in attendance or not. I do not at all believe that the fans being there makes injuries more likely.

USC’s Lane Kiffin, in his second year as a college head coach, might be the newest to bitch.

That he cites Kiffin for this seems absolutely perfect to me.

Kiffin sent defensive lineman Jurrell Casey to the locker room after he hit quarterback Matt Barkley in Saturday’s game in the Coliseum. Barkley, who already had wrist surgery, injured his throwing hand after it hit Casey’s helmet. Because Casey couldn’t control himself — quarterbacks are off limits — who knows, USC could be playing with a backup quarterback in the fall. Hey, but at least everyone had a good time at the spring game, right?

Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett broke his foot doing spring conditioning drills. Miami QB Jacory Harris missed most of the spring with a thumb injury. Shit happens. Blaming the spring game for it is asinine. By Dennis’ logic teams should never practice to ensure they remain healthy for live games. And since ultimately the games themselves are pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things, we should probably not play them either to ensure that nobody gets injured. Holy shit! Dennis Dodd wants to do away with the entire sport of football! It all makes sense now.

Oh, the “games” are good for a tailgate and a starter tan if you’re not in, say, Minnesota, but other than that give me spring practice over spring games anytime. At least then, no one is pretending. Chatting up coaches and players in a relaxed offseason environment? I’m down. Always. It’s why we college football writers make our spring “tours” to various campuses. In fact, I got to know Jimbo Fisher a bit last month sitting in a conference room at a Florida resort near the Gulf of Mexico. It was, with little embellishment, like talking to Elvis before he went onstage.

First, the sun shines in Minnesota too. Second, who is pretending? What are they pretending to do? What the fuck are you talking about? Third, it’s nice for you that you get to make the rounds and, like, buddy up to coaches in Florida resorts. But for those of us who are not paid to write terrible columns about college football, the spring game is the only direct access we have to see what the team might be like. You arrogant dipshit.

I’m going to skip the part where he actually reiterated his complaints from two years ago about the Spring Bash stuff that some schools were doing, and go to this:

I don’t really care about MSL and its spring circus at this point, but I do have an alternative.

I beg to fucking differ, seeing as you just spent three paragraphs rehashing two fucking years later.

An answer to the meaninglessness, the unnecessary injuries, the quirky scoring: Scrimmages against other schools. It’s not a new idea. It just makes too much sense right now.

Dennis’ answer to the non-problem of meaningless games that could potentially cause unnecessary injuries? Different kinds of meaningless games that could cause unnecessary injuries! The sense, it’s too much for me.

He goes onto run through the plan, but I’m frankly tired of this article. It’s not even that I think exhibition games are terrible ideas, but they are still likely to be boring, with players sitting out or getting yanked early as they do in pro preseason games. Ultimately, you are still risking people getting hurt in a meaningless game, which beyond the tedium of scrimmages seems to be Dennis’ main problem. The point(s) being, I see no reason to change around the system and Dodd’s a fuckwit.

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Gregg Doyel: Sophist

Posted by biggusrickus on December 22, 2009

I’d kind of like to see Notre Dame join the Big 10. It would certainly be more interesting than Missouri or Cincinnati joining, and it wouldn’t cause a bunch of other conferences to reallign. However, I completely understand why they don’t want to, even it would net them more money on average. Gregg Doyel, well, he doesn’t get it.

Independence isn’t free — just ask Notre Dame

No, there’s a hefty fuckin’ fee.

When the Big Ten came calling in 1999, Notre Dame put its arrogant ideal of independence ahead of all else. Let’s see how that worked out:

They are pretty much the only major program who can afford to do that. So, I don’t know if they were arrogant so much as, well, rational, all things considered.

Since 1999, Notre Dame football has fallen off the cliff.

“Off the cliff” is a gross overstatement, Gregg.

The school with 11 national championships and seven Heisman winners has added zilch to those totals. Notre Dame has finished in the top 10 just once, way up there at No. 9 in 2005, and although it strong-armed a private door for itself into the BCS, it has used that door just three times — and gone 0-3 in those bowl games.

All of this, of course, happened because they did not sign on with the Big 10. It has nothing to do with the fact they have been coached by the imbecilic Bob Davie, the sub-.500 Ty Willingham or Ol’ Frontbutt himself, Charlie Weis. Nope, it was because they remained an independent.

Since 1999 Notre Dame has fired three or four coaches, depending on whether you count George O’Leary [For the purposes of this argument, I don’t], and has failed to land the coach (Urban Meyer) [Who has a dream job at Florida] of its dreams (Bob Stoops) [Who has a dream job at Oklahoma]. It has lost eight consecutive years to Southern California, which is understandable, and twice in a row at home to Navy, which is not.

Those losses to Navy? They were brought about by a clandestine organization of former Big Ten players led by Bob Griese.

Financially, its BCS payout has been reduced nearly 75 percent since the BCS was created in 1998, from $17 million then to $4.5 million now. That’s the same as Boise State gets, with one big difference: Boise State football is better. And the Fighting Irish’s exclusive network television deal? Notre Dame makes barely half as much from NBC as each Big Ten school — even Northwestern — makes from the Big Ten’s deals with ESPN, ABC and the Big Ten Network.

I suspect he’s only half-right or something here, but I don’t feel like digging up financial numbers, so I’ll just say: Whatever.

Read that sentence again.

Don’t tell me what to fucking do, Gregg. I got it the first time.

Independence isn’t the primary reason for the erosion of Notre Dame football — Lou Holtz is the primary reason — but it has been a contributing factor. Without a conference title to play for, Notre Dame stops being relevant every year in which it falls out of the national title picture, which since 1999 has usually been mid-October. NBC still shows its games, but on the other six days a week Notre Dame is in the news only when its coach is about to be fired. That kind of irrelevance cripples recruiting, and you only have to watch the Notre Dame defense get out-athleted by Navy to know what crippled recruiting can do to a program.

I guess Holtz deserves some blame for getting them on their minor probation, but you know who deserves the bulk of the credit? The guys who couldn’t coach worth a shit after he left! Yes that irrelevance has just crippled their recruiting. Let me start by acknowledging that recruiting rankings are imperfect at best, but that’s all I can really use here. Rivals only goes back to 2002, but here are their rankings under Willingham and Weis, keeping in mind that Willingham is/was kind of a shitty recruiter:

  • 2002 Rank: 24 – Willingham had about a month to put this class together.
  • 2003 Rank: 12 – Following a BCS bid in 2002.
  • 2004 Rank: 32 – Dipped to 5-7 in 2003, and Willingham’s status was up in the air.
  • 2005 Rank: 40 – Willingham fired after going 6-5. Weis had to scramble.
  • 2006 Rank: 8 – BCS bid and Weis shows he can at least recruit.
  • 2007 Rank: 8 – Another BCS bid and another good recruiting year.
  • 2008 Rank: 2 – Things were still looking pretty stable even after a horrible year, including a 1-9 start.
  • 2009 Rank: 21 – After following up a 3-9 with a 6-6, Weis’ job status wasn’t so secure anymore. He would eventually be fired after another disappointing 6-6 in ’09.

So, their recruiting has been so poor that when things were looking up under coaches they had an average ranking of about seventh. When there was turnover or questions about the future of the current coach their recruiting slipped, just like everywhere else in the country. If you would prefer the number of draft picks, they’ve produced 42 from 2000-2009, averaging about 4-5 a season. Not bad either. Point being, they’ve had talent. Enough talent that they shouldn’t lose to Navy, ever. The other point being, Gregg is 100% wrong about their recruiting being affected by “irrelevance.”

Back to my Holtz position: He started great at Notre Dame, but he started great everywhere he coached, then checked out. Look at his career for yourself. His year-by-year results at North Carolina State, Arkansas, Notre Dame and South Carolina share the same bell curve. Holtz was brilliant, then indifferent at Notre Dame — national title in 1988, 65 victories in six years; then 23-11-1 with zero bowl wins in his final three years — and then, for a parting gift, his tenure put Notre Dame in NCAA purgatory for successor Bob Davie. Notre Dame, as we knew it, was finished.

Feel free to look it up. Gregg is somewhat correct, I suppose. He didn’t have another year as good as ’93 in those final three. However, five of the losses and the tie came in ’94. Holtz got them to 9-3 and 8-3 in his final two years, which I think most people would think of as respectable. Notre Dame, under Holtz, was cheating, so…good riddance, I guess?

But Notre Dame didn’t know it. So when the Big Ten extended an invitation in 1999, Notre Dame predictably declined. The Rev. Edward A. Malloy, the school president, noted haughtily in 1999, “Notre Dame has a core identity, and at that core are these characteristics — Catholic, private, independent.”

What an arrogant fuckface. Catholic? Private?! Independent?! Oh, wait, that doesn’t seem all that haughty. I’d call it, I don’t know, factual.

Add a fourth core characteristic: Hypocrites. [sic] Remember, Notre Dame is a member of the Big East in all sports but football.

Where they are independent, as they were in all sports at the time of said quote. So, it wasn’t hypocritical. Even if it was, is there anything more boring than bullshit about hypocrisy?

And let’s add a fifth core characteristic: Mediocre. Since turning down the Big Ten in 1999, Notre Dame football has gone 75-59.

All because they didn’t join the Big 10! Did you know that Ty Willingham’s career record is 76-88-1? Did you also know he coached at two schools belonging to conferences where, at each school, he compiled a worse winning percentage than he had at Notre Dame? I’m just rambling though, because the Big 10 refusal is to blame for everything.

Joining the Big Ten for football wouldn’t automatically change that,

Wha-huh?! You have just blown my mind, sir.

but it would give Notre Dame the chance to turn itself around, including games against three or four Big Ten bottom-feeders every year and the benefit of playing for a spot in its league title game, which would keep even mediocre Irish teams relevant deep into most seasons.

They played Michigan (tied for last), Michigan State and Purdue (who tied for 6th). They went 2-1 in these games, losing to the worst of the three and eking out a win over the other two. I mean, unless they get to play Indiana and Illinois every single season, I don’t see the big easing of their schedule.

And as an added bonus, history shows that it’s three times as easy to get into a BCS bowl as the second team from the Big Ten — nine Big Ten runners-up have done it since 1998 — than it is to get into a BCS bowl as Notre Dame (three times since ’98).

And this has nothing to do with the fact that Notre Dame has been kind of crappy. They didn’t deserve to go to any of those three BCS games, but they got there because they are Notre Fucking Dame and worked out a special deal where all they have to do is finish in the top 12 to get one.

The money is demonstrably better and the football would probably be better as well, but Notre Dame refuses to join a conference. Why? For the same reason a stubborn child refuses to wear a jacket in the cold — because.

I thought the whole core thing was an okay reason. Better than your made-up reason, anyway.

So there.

Who’s the child here, Gregg? You just made up a thing  that nobody has said or thought and then, like, emphasized it with the most childish paragraph (to use the term loosely) possible.

If that’s not good enough, I’ll give you the reasoning of Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, but I have to warn you: It’s not good enough, either.

Well, it would have to be better than your made-up non-reason.

“All of this has a lot more to do with our priorities than it does with business issues,” Swarbrick told the Chicago Tribune. “Our independence is tied up in a lot of the rivalries we have. We play Navy every year and have the tradition of USC weekends. Frankly, it works pretty well to play USC in October at home and in November at their place.”

That sounds reasonable. Not the greatest reason ever, but I would say it is, to just pull a phrase out of the ether, good enough.

Let me get this straight. Notre Dame is staying independent so it can play USC in October instead of September? Is that what he just said?

Well, there’s the possibility the series would be dropped entirely with an 8-team conference schedule, or they’d have to drop Navy in all likelihood. And I think moreso than playing USC at home in October they would prefer to go to California in November. Because it is fucking cold in South Bend, Indiana that time of year.

I’ll be damned, that is what he said. No shock, really. The people in charge come and go, but Notre Dame remains Notre Dame. If Notre Dame were a historical figure, it would be snobby airhead Marie Antoinette — wasting away on a diet of sponge cake.

I guess one could think of Notre Dame as snobby, but airhead? You want to go with airhead, for a school that tries to hold its players to higher academic standards than the other major colleges? Marie Antoinette also said, “Let them eat cake.” Not, “Mm. I could live on cake.” You unfunny dipshit.

The Big Ten is offering a fresh supply of fruit and vegetables, but Notre Dame being Notre Dame, it’ll go Biblical and treat the conference like the forbidden tree. Notre Dame is big on fairy tales — like the one about the greatness of Fighting Irish football.

So, they will partake of the Big 10 and get kicked out of Eden? That metaphor makes the opposite of your point, you ignorant fuckwad.

Okay, I hate Notre Dame and like that they’re bad, but holy shit people (who might agree with Gregg). Notre Dame’s problem is not that they are not in a conference. I don’t even think it is atrributable to their slightly higher academic standards. As I demonstrated earlier, their recruiting has not suffered much. What their problem is is they have hired a string of bad to mediocre coaches. That’s it. If Kelly turns out to be good, they’ll win again. If not, he’ll be fired in a couple of years and they’ll go hire some other dude. Eventually they will hire a good coach and win again. Because contrary to what excuse-makers for various coaches say, it is not hard to recruit to Notre Dame. They are a marketable program with oodles of tradition and lore, and some players like that kind of thing. They are also highly publicized, so if you go there and do well, you’ll be featured on Sportscenter constantly and maybe win a Heisman or something.

Fuck, I hate arguing in favor of Notre Dame being a big-time program.

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10 Reasons to Hate Pete Fiutak

Posted by biggusrickus on December 22, 2009

I guess the five-reasons rule is doubled for national title games, which is why Pete came up with 10 “non-X-and-O reasons” why Texas will beat Alabama here. And when you see “non-X-and-O” you can be assured you’re about to get a giant helping of nonsense. Pete didn’t let us down.

Reasons number 10 and 9?

10. The Alabama pass defense

9. The Texas run defense

Those seem a little X-and-O-y to me, a non-professional sports analyst. The reasoning for 10 is where the real insanity comes in:

The Tide finished seventh in the nation against the pass allowing just 164 yards per game while it led the nation in pass efficiency defense.

This is the first sentence under the 10th reason, the Alabama pass defense, that the Texas Longhorns will beat the Alabama Crimson Tide. How many mushrooms must one consume before the idea that Alabama possessing the number one pass efficiency defense in the country is a reason that Texas will win seems like a good one? (Answer: There aren’t enough mushrooms on the planet.)

While that sounds impressive, the defense only faced one bomber of a quarterback, Ryan Mallett of Arkansas.

Who they completely shut down.

While the Hog sophomore started out the season with two great games, this was only his third game with the team (he completed 12-of-35 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown with a pick).

Like so. And what does his third game starting have to do with anything? He torched Georgia (who has a bad defense, not coincidentally) in only his second start.

South Carolina’s Stephen Garcia had some success, but he couldn’t get his Gamecocks into the end zone,

Some success in this case being a line of 20/46, 214 yards, 0TDs and 1 INT. Alabama turned the ball over four times and allowed 6 points. Do you know how good your defense has to be for that to happen?

Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead had a lousy year (‘Bama doesn’t deserve too much credit for shutting him down),

No, they shouldn’t, but they shut basically everybody down, you nitwit.

and Tim Tebow threw for 247 yards.

He also completed passes at a lower than usual rate (57% compared to a career completion percentage of about 65%), had only one TD and one INT. Tim Tebow is also, arguably, the greatest college QB to ever play.

While the Tide secondary is talented, Arkansas was the only team on the schedule ranked in the top 43 among passing teams (the Hogs were ranked tenth).

Yes, they played one really great passing team, and, I hate to keep stressing this, they fucking stifled them.

Florida is fifth in the nation in passing efficiency (and Tebow had a decent 120.1 rating in the title game) and Auburn 18th (Chris Todd’s rating was 139.2), but the rest of the SEC teams are ranked 40th or lower.

Tebow’s season rating was 155.6. Todd’s: 146.45. So, you have a point with Todd, not so much Tebow. I will counter that point on Todd by pointing out that it was probably their worst defensive performance of the season by a fair margin. Which is especially relevant since you close with this:

Colt McCoy didn’t have his most efficient season, and he struggled against Nebraska throwing three picks, but he’s too good to come up with another clunker.

So, Alabama’s awesome pass defense is a weakness because McCoy came up with a clunker last game, and presumably, used up his allotment of bad games for the season? Make sense to everyone? Cool.

The reasoning for 9 is fine. However, skipping down we get:

7. Utah

What? You don’t see the relevance of a team not even participating in the game? All will be made clear.

Yes, it’s a different year and there are different circumstances, but the ‘Horns can learn a lot from the 2009 Sugar Bowl. Alabama was down after the loss to Florida in last year’s SEC Championship, didn’t have Andre Smith at tackle, and didn’t appear to be interested from moment one, but Utah had a lot to do with the butt-kicking. The Utes came out with an up-tempo offense, was in a great rhythm from the start, and sold out on defense to get into the backfield.

So there you go Texas, just emulate the model that Utah followed last year:

  • Have Alabama’s national title hopes dashed a month prior to the game, thus ensuring:
  • They come out flat.
  • Get into rhythm (I suggest having the team reenact the dance training montage from Dirty Dancing).
  • Be agressive.

6. The Heisman Factor

This popular myth – “Heisman = Bad Performance in Bowl Games” – is everywhere, so it pleases me to have a chance to refute it here.

Teams full of 18-to-22-year-old kids always go for the easy motivation, and when they have a prize of a Heisman winner to stop, and with weeks to prepare, they tend to shut down the star and/or get the win in the bowl. The trend doesn’t lie. 2008 Heisman winner – Sam Bradford, Oklahoma. Loss to Florida.

Bradford: 26/41, 256, 2 TDs, 2 INTs. Not outstanding, but not “shut down.”

2007 Heisman winner – Tim Tebow, Florida. Loss to Michigan.

Tebow: 17/33, 154 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 16 carries, 57 yards, 1 TD. Not “shut down.”

2006 Heisman winner – Troy Smith, Ohio State. Loss to Florida.

Okay, he was famously shut down.

2005 Heisman winner – Reggie Bush, USC. Loss to Texas.

Bush: 13 carries, 82 yards, 1 TD, 6 catches, 95 yards, 5 kick returns, 102 yards. I guess you could argue they shut down his kick returns. Otherwise, not “shut down.”

2004 Heisman winner – Matt Leinart, USC. Win over Oklahoma.

A direct refutation since his team won, but to keep up the stat thing, Leinart: 18/35, 332 yards, 5 TDs.

2003 Heisman winner – Jason White, Oklahoma. Loss to LSU.

Shut down.

2002 Heisman winner – Carson Palmer, USC. Win over Iowa.

Palmer: 21/31, 303 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

2001 Heisman winner – Eric Crouch, Nebraska. Loss to Miami.

Shut down.

2000 Heisman winner – Chris Weinke, Florida State. Loss to Oklahoma.

Shut down.

The point of all of this is that there is no trend, you numbskull.

Going back further, the Heisman winners rocked in the 1990s, but in this decade they’re just 2-7 in bowl games and 1-6 in national championships.

And two of those six national title game losses involved good performances by the Heisman winner, three of the seven total losses. More important, the “Heisman winners rocked in the 1990s” completely refutes this entire point. Sometimes players perform well in bowl games and sometimes they don’t. There is no magical Heisman effect.

Of course, Alabama knows this and Mark Ingram should be ready, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be a marked man.

I think it would behoove Texas to ignore the best offensive player Alabama has, myself.

There’s more, but I’m tired of taking this apart. Here are 5-1:

5. “Nobody Respects Us” (Teams never lose when they are disrespected.)
4. Colt McCoy is better than Greg McElroy (So was Tebow, but fair point.)
3. Air Travel (The entire Alabama team suffers from aviaphobia.)
2. The No. 2 vs. No. 1 thing (2 always wins, except when they don’t.)
1. Texas really is good (Well, you’ve got me there.)

Look, I think Texas has a chance to win this game. They play good defense, and they have a great QB. The ball bounces funny sometimes. Bowl games are inherently unpredictable (well, I guess all games are, technically) due to the month off. The point is that the reasons listed in this article are nearly all stupid, stupid reasons to assert that Texas will win. Come back next week when I take apart Pete’s “10 Reasons Alabama Will Win” article (seriously: he’s doing that).

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Gregg Doyel: Self-Loather

Posted by biggusrickus on December 14, 2009

There’s nothing quite like a media member criticizing his own profession, especially over things for which he is partially responsible. It’s a bizarre combination of self-loathing and a total lack of self-awareness. If it were done tongue-in-cheek in a self-deprecating way I guess I could understand it, but when it’s angry and strident, like this, I’m just left shaking my head. So here’s the beginning of this shit storm:

Heisman race, BCS matchup products of media’s self-fulfilling prophecy

It’s like he isn’t responsible for hyping up teams or players. He doesn’t even give a nod to his own culpability in the hypefest anywhere in the column. It’s stunning really. You’d think he was a blogger ripping on shitty journalism, when he is in fact part of the shitty journalism problem. A big part. Anyway, let’s get going with the article.

These past four months were a complete waste of time. The 2009 college football season? It was superfluous. Unnecessary.

I suppose in a big-picture thinking sort of way this is true, but since this is not how you mean it Gregg, I’m going to ask you to defend this nonsense.

Back in August, if not earlier, the media foretold the 2009 season. We told you who would play for the national championship, and we told you who would be the serious candidates for the Heisman Trophy, and then — dammit — we made it happen.

To some extent this is true. Predicting that SEC Champion would play the Big 12 Champion was kind of a no-brainer in the world of predictions. A Big 12 team has played in five BCS Title Games this decade. The SEC has won the last three. So way to go media. You predicted something sort of correctly. As for the Heisman, was anyone pimping Mark Ingram, Toby Gerhart or Suh (I’m not fucking up his first name) before the season? Those are three of your five finalists. Also, you all probably don’t know this, but the media has willed every outcome of every game for the past seven seasons. This was immediately after the R&D team at ESPN produced the Willamatronic T930. It’s housed in a secret mountain laboratory in the Catskills and serviced by gnomes.

Never mind that we were wrong in August. Never mind that we didn’t see Cincinnati coming, or Texas Christian, or Boise State. We saw Texas or Oklahoma playing Alabama or Florida in the BCS title game. So it was written, and so it was.

Preseason polls are dumb, but TCU and Boise State started the year at 17 and 14, respectively, in the AP, which is voted on by the media. Cincy was so off-the-radar they were 26th. Sure, none of those teams were considered likely to go undefeated, but they were thought of as quality football teams who could potentially make runs at a BCS bid. Texas, Alabama and Florida, all playing tougher schedules than the three “overlooked” teams went undefeated leading up to their conference championship games. The media thought they would be good. They were good. They are not good because the media has some sort of supernatural power to affect the outcomes of games.

The same goes for the Heisman. As soon as all three finalists from last season announced they were coming back for 2009, we decided they would be the most serious contenders again. It was obvious, after all. Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford won, and he was back. Florida’s Tim Tebow and Texas’ Colt McCoy almost won, and they were also back. That would be your top three this season, and if anyone insisted on injecting a slice of fresh meat into the conversation, fine. We’d scan the roster of the other best team in the country — like we told you, that team was Alabama — and we’d pick someone from the Crimson Tide. We settled on Mark Ingram. If he had a good season, he’d be a finalist, too.

So it was written, and so it was.

And the media in their collective wisdom decided to will Sam Bradford to be injured, because Fuck Sam Bradford, they thought. Nobody thought Ingram would be a serious Heisman candidate heading into the season. Then he had some monster days in nationally televised games and people thought, Hey, this guy is pretty f-ing good and plays for a title contender. Maybe we should consider him. Because that’s the way the Heisman shit works. Tony Pike of the little-known Cincinnati Bearcats was climbing the Heisman ranks too, and then he was hurt. If he’d played in those four games he missed he’d probably have another 1,200 yards and 10 TDs or something, and he’d probably have won the Heisman. He certainly would have nudged Tebow off the finalist list. But the media didn’t want that, so they willed his injury too. The media are assholes.

It’s embarrassing. We turned the 2009 football season into a self-fulfilling prophecy by determining before the season began who should get the biggest team and individual awards, and then by refusing to consider other alternatives as the season unfolded.

And this is why your national title game features preseason number 1, Florida and preseason number 2, Texas. Colt McCoy won his Heisman, based in part on his gritty performance against a one-loss Oklahoma team that saw Texas win 56-54 as McCoy’s desperate heave to the end zone as time expired was caught by Jordan Shipley. It will be known in Texas history as “The Play.” Now, Ingram won the Heisman, but seeing as Doyel is lying about him being a front-runner before the season I’ll call him an alternative to the Big Three. Toby Gerhart, who nobody considered at all before the season finished second, barely. A God damned defensive tackle was one of the five players invited to New York. That’s two out of five alternative cnadidates by Gregg’s own logic. Three out of five in reality.

I don’t know why I’m so angry,

I’m a little baffled too, seeing as you’re a media member and everything.

but I am. It’s not like this is news. The gaseous media likes the smell of its own hot air? Good Lord, I already knew that.

Take this article, for example…

Most people, and sportswriters are no different, prefer not to think outside the box. They don’t want to even consider the possibility of life outside the box.

You’re all sheep! Sheep, Gregg says!

Put me in a box and I feel claustrophobic, but put them in a box and they feel safe. Protected. There is structure inside that box, and structure matters for a group of people who see possibilities in only one shade — the same shade as the slacks most of these people wear: beige.

Are sportswriters known for wearing beige slacks? That sounds like a made-up stereotype. That’s just the kind of antiauthoritarian rebel Gregg is though. He thinks outside the box and invents his own stereotypical attire. “Why can’t Dutch people drive?!,” he might wonder…angrily.

That’s the 2009 BCS national title game. It’s beige. Alabama clearly belongs, and I won’t suggest otherwise, but you know what Texas is? Texas is a boring pair of khaki pants.

So it’s more like a pair of beige slacks with an ironic t-shirt.

Texas Christian beat the crap out of everybody it played, and Cincinnati beat more Top 25 teams than Texas, and Boise State beat the highest-ranked opponent of the bunch (No. 7 Oregon), but those teams are unconventional. TCU is a pair of horn-rimmed eyeglasses, and Cincinnati is a funky shirt with a wide lapel, and Boise State is a camel-hair blazer that’s just out there

And Florida is one of those crazy island shirts with bright colors and parrots and shit. And Georgia Tech is a pair of Wrangler jeans. And Oregon is a pair of Lennon-style glasses. And Oklahoma is a pair of old ratty underwear. And what are we talking about?

and the media doesn’t relate to things that are out there. So the media will stick with what it knows. And the media knows Texas, which is why Texas is in the BCS title game despite having probably the fifth-best résumé in the country.

Well, perhaps they don’t go for things that are out there as a rule, but you know, I’m betting a lot of them would like to have seen TCU play for the title. I mean, your counterpart in shitty college football writing on CBS Sportsline is mocked a little ways down this page for not really feeling Texas.

And when the Heisman is awarded this weekend, the anointed quartet, minus the injured Bradford, will be there. Colt McCoy was pretty good this season, then absolutely horrific in the Big 12 title game, and somehow pretty good plus absolutely horrific equals a Heisman finalist. Tim Tebow was nothing special in more than half of his team’s 13 games. Check out his stats. They’re nothing special. But he’ll be in New York as well. And Mark Ingram? He’s not the best running back in the South (that would be C.J. Spiller of Clemson), or even the SEC (Dexter McCluster of Ole Miss). But he’s going because he’s the most famous player on the most famous team. He’s Gino Torretta.

McCoy was not as good as last year, when he should have won the award. However, even with his bad performance in the championship game, he completed 70% of his passes for over 3,500 yards and threw 27 TDs to 12 INTs. He added another 300+ yards on the ground and three more TDs. I don’t think he deserved to win (and he didn’t), but he certainly belonged in New York. Tim Tebow accounted for 31 TDs, and over 3,200 total yards in his worst season. He also protected the ball for the most part. From purely a running back perspective Ingram is obviously better than Spiller. He outrushed him by 400 yards, scored four more rushing TDs, averaged .5 more yards per carry and had similar receiving stats. You could make an argument that Spiller’s return stats make him a better Heisman candidate, but they don’t make him a better running back. McCluster was awesome the second half of the season, but that’s the problem. He wasn’t a running back for half of it. Are you going to give him the nod as best running back when he has 600 fewer yards and nine fewer TDs? Do you really think he could have taken the pounding over the course of a full season as a running back? He’s like 4’8″ 140 lbs. However, the worst part of this paragraph is comparing Ingram to Toretta. There should be a new word to describe that kind of stupidity. I’m going with “asininipidity.”

Neither Spiller nor McCluster is going to New York, of course. Ingram will go, and probably even win, because voters are idiots.

Or because he’s been really good for one of the best teams in the country.

Simple as that. Mark Ingram’s serious Heisman candidacy confirms that voters are idiots. Hell, Mark Ingram wasn’t as good this season as the true freshman running back at Pittsburgh, Dion Lewis, who had more carries, yards and touchdowns. And Lewis won’t finish in the Heisman Top 10. If he’s in the top 20, I’ll be shocked.

Well, sure. He also played fewer good defenses. When you consider that, the fact that he outrushed him by about 100 yards and scored one more TD is not quite as impressive. There’s also the fact that he averaged .7 yards less per carry and caught six fewer passes for more than 100 fewer yards and two fewer TDs. So, I do not buy your argument that Ingram is worse than Lewis.

Maybe you think I’m giving the media too much credit for the scummy residue on this college football season, but I’m not. The media poll doesn’t contribute to the BCS formula, true, but the media poll sets the tone, and the BCS-approved coaches poll mostly follows it. The media poll went into this season with Florida first, followed by No. 2 Texas and No. 5 Alabama. Boise State was No. 14. TCU was No. 17. Cincinnati was unranked. Assuming all six teams went undefeated — which they did, until the SEC title game — the bottom three had no chance of surpassing the top three. Sad but true, and I offer the coaches’ poll as proof.

As proof of something that everyone already knows? Really, you could have left this whole paragraph out. I will also add that Oklahoma was no. 3 and finished behind TCU, Cincy and Boise State, because they lost. I only include that because he made a big deal out of Oklahoma earlier and chose to leave them out when they weren’t useful to his argument.

The Heisman situation is even worse. Week by week, McCoy and Tebow and Ingram put up modest numbers, and week by week that trio stayed near the top of most of the most prominent Heisman lists online. And you can imagine where the typical voter goes for Heisman information: to the most prominent Heisman lists online. Maybe a maverick voter here or there will substitute a new name into the Chosen Trio — They have Ingram, McCoy and Tebow; I’ll put McCoy ahead of Ingram, and add Toby Gerhart — but by and large, the names are the same. And we have the NYC invitation list to prove it.

I think there is an argument to be made that Spiller should have gone over Tebow, but Spiller finished sixth and Tebow fifth so I don’t see much of an injustice. Ingram and McCoy put up awesome numbers most weeks. Tebow was a little spottier, but he pretty much was the Florida offense. Toby Gerhart barely lost to Ingram. All things considered the two players were almost the same. I’d have gone with Gerhart because of his larger TD total. That said, it is not a huge injustice that Ingram won.

Prediction: Lots of college football voter-types will read this story, and a bunch of them will look up Dion Lewis or Dexter McCluster, because until I wrote those names, lots of voters had no idea how good those guys were this season. You’ve already looked, voters, haven’t you? Good. And look up Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore while you’re at it. He had a better year than one Colt McCoy, and he had a better year than two of Tim Tebow.

That’s nice and smug. I’ve already refuted your Dion Lewis/Dexter McCluster nonsense. Boise played the 98th toughest schedule in the country. There are only 21 teams out of 119 who played lesser competition. You might want to factor that into your votes people who read Gregg’s column and actually take his argument seriously.

But Kellen Moore didn’t fit into the media’s narrative for 2009. We knew how the season would start, and we knew how it would end.

All that stuff in the middle? Details. Pointless details.

Details like Texas and Alabama going undefeated while playing tougher schedules overall than TCU, Boise State, and Cincinnati. Pointless.

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Stewart Mandel Still Likes Arguing with Himself

Posted by biggusrickus on December 10, 2009

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Breaking Barriers

Posted by biggusrickus on December 8, 2009

Remember when Obama was elected? David Whitley of AOL sure does. He wrote a Heisman column. It’s awesome! And funny!

Heisman Change We Can Vote For

“Heisman Change We Can Believe In” is actually what this should be titled. Oh yeah, it’s chock full of lame political reference “jokes.” You’re gonna love it.

The Heisman Trophy votes were due Monday. To borrow a phrase from the last major U.S. election, it was time to hit the reset button.

Lame reference joke one right off the bat. Good start. Also, “time to hit the reset button” makes no fucking sense in this context.

No, I didn’t vote for Barack Obama. He hasn’t been nearly as dominant lately as the players on my ballot.

Keep ’em coming David. This is comedy gold! I don’t understand not voting for Obama though. Did you know he has a TD/INT ratio of 6:1 in 500+ attempts? Unreal.

They represent true hope and change. Hope that a Heisman win will change the way people think about white running backs and grunts of all color.

Oh no. You just sort of did that “great white hope” thing there. I don’t understand white people or black women who think like this.

I pulled the lever for Ndamukong Suh. Sorry, Colt McCoy fans. I double-checked Suh’s birth certificate and he was born in the United States.

Did you know that being a native citizen is a requirement for the Heisman? Well, it is. I need to see some sort of proof that Suh was born here though, Dave. I’m not just taking your word for it. Bring me the original so I can have it analyzed by my team of experts. This is the fucking Heisman Trophy we’re talking about here. You don’t take chances with something so important.

OutSports’ thumbs-up is not why Toby Gerhart got my second-place vote. He was simply the best player out there except for the monster at defensive tackle for Nebraska. My third-place vote went to Clemson’s C.J. Spiller, the only truly breathtaking player in the land.

I had never heard of OutSports until now. This is the site. I pulled it up briefly and saw a lot of shirtless men. I would probably go with whatever that site says. I tend to agree with the Gerhardt thing. I’d probably give him the award since defensive players are essentially excluded from winning it. C.J. Spiller as the only breathtaking player though? That is batshit. Did you watch what Gilyard of Cincinnati did against Pitt. That was pretty damn breathtaking. Have you watched AJ Green of Georgia play receiver? He’s insanely breathtaking. I could go on and on with examples of “truly breathtaking” players. The point is, that sentence is nonsense.

Here is how one might argue in favor of C.J. Spiller. He has carried 201 times this year for 1,145 yards and 11 TDs. He’s added 33 catches for 445 yards and 4 more TDs. He has had a phenomenal return year with 210 punt return yards on 13 attempts with 1 TD and 708 yards on 21 kickoff returns and 4 touchdowns. He’s a great player, though he’s not as good an inside runner as I’d like. I’d have him in my Heisman top 5. 3 is fine.

If for any reason Suh is unable to fulfill his duties as Heisman winner, I’d have no problem with Gerhart assuming the stiff-arm position. Both break stereotypes that need shattering.

I don’t think Suh is breaking “stereotypes.” Unless you mean the stereotype that defensive tackles who can stuff the run and get pressure are only sort of okay. Which is not a real thing.

According to Heisman stats, a defensive player is allowed to win every 62 years. Charles Woodson did in 1997, but he was a glamour-boy cornerback/punt returner. Suh spent his Saturdays slogging about the trenches, and those guys are supposed to win every 6,200 years.

Well, that’s kind of true, the Woodson part, but there were like 20 winners who played both ways before that went out of style. A few of those trench sloggers have finished reasonably high in the balloting, and according to the Heisman bylaws they are supposed to win one every 3,437 years. Do some research!

I’ll admit I went into last Saturday thinking inside the Heisman box. I wanted to vote for Tim Tebow, if for no other reason than I wanted the first two-time virgin winner. Alas, Timmy was deflowered by Alabama.

Virginity is an undervalued asset in football. You’ve got me there. Also, ew.

I turned my gaze to McCoy. The Heisman’s not supposed to be a lifetime achievement award, but McCoy’s college lifetime has been so good he deserves at least a stiff elbow, if not the entire arm.

He probably deserved the award over Bradford last year. This year, however, not so much.

But the more I watched Nebraska-Texas, the more obvious it became that Suh was by far the best player on the field. It also didn’t help that McCoy had as many interceptions in that game (three) as Boise State’s Kellen Moore has had all year.

Suh probably was the best player on the field. I wouldn’t mind him winning the thing. He’s awesome. He won’t win though, because the Heisman is basically awarded to the best offensive player.

I’ll also admit I never thought I’d vote for a Stanford player unless Tiger Woods paid me off. Then I started watching Gerhart and realized just how great he is. I also realized he is — how do I put this nicely? — caucasian.

It’s nice to know you can be bribed. How do we know Tiger didn’t pay you off. If he’ll commit adultery he’s capable of anything.

According the NCAA, NFL, CFL and ACORN, white guys can’t run. Who was the last white tailback anyone heard of, Brian Piccolo?

I don’t think those organizations say that all white guys can’t run, but in general, black guys are faster than white guys.

I’m thinking back on white running backs, and I seem to remember a plucky little guy in a Boise State uniform scoring a game-winning touchdown and after the play, going to a knee and proposing to his cheerleader girlfriend. I can understand not remembering this though, as it was not reported by any media outlets. I only heard about it because I knew one of the seven or eight people in the stadium that night.

Seriously, the last 1,000-yard rusher in the NFL was Craig James in 1985. It hasn’t been much better for backs of pallor in college. And we all know why, right?

Because they aren’t as good at playing running back?

“They can’t compete with us,” Eric Dickerson told the Orlando Sentinel in 2004. “The black athlete, especially at that position, is faster, more elusive. That’s just a position made for agility. It’s kind of like our chosen position.”

Eric DICKerson (see what I did?) is kind of an asshole, but he’s not entirely wrong here.

I’m no anthropologist, but the facts back that up. Still, you can’t tell me that of the millions of white males born in the United States over the past 30 years none have been fast or shifty enough to tote the rock.

There are white running backs scattered around college football. They are not usually that productive. Most don’t get to play in the NFL. I’m no anthropoligist, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that it is because black people are generally better at the position.

There’s an institutional bias at work, the same kind of mindset that used to turn black quarterbacks into receivers and defensive backs. Forget his 1,736 yards and 26 touchdowns, you just know NFL scouts have Gerhart penciled in as a fullback or tight end or owner’s son-in-law.

Look Dave, I don’t want to question your completely made up assertion of bias, but you know, proof would be useful. I am guessing (I wouldn’t dare say I “just know”) that NFL scouts do not have a white running back who put those numbers up in a major conference penciled in as a fullback. Because I trust that they are reasonably sane human beings who try to assess who the best players are.

Not that a player’s NFL prospects matter in the Heisman. If they did, Suh would take home the entire Downtown Athletic Club trophy case Saturday. The only argument against him and Gerhart is that they played on four-loss teams.

That seems kind of hyperbolic. You realize other really good pro prospects have won the award, right? They didn’t just give Barry Sanders every Heisman award in perpetuity despite the fact that he’s the best running back of the last 40 years. Arguably the best ever.

The last player to win the Heisman on a team with that many pre-bowl losses was Jay Berwanger, the original winner in 1935. Paul Hornung won it for 2-8 Notre Dame in 1956, but that just proved how sportswriters would have voted for J. Fred Muggs if he were a Domer.

It did demonstrate bias. Paul Hornung was a really awesome football player though.

Where is it written that only players from teams with zero or one loss can win the Heisman? You know what that gets you?

Nowhere is that written. Tebow won it on a 9-3 team. Andre Ware won it on a 9-2 team. George Rogers won it on an 8-3 team. That’s just off the top of my head.

Troy Smith. Jason White. Gino Torretta. If not for Suh and Gerhart, Nebraska and Stanford would have been Iowa State and Florida Atlantic.

Troy Smith and Jason White put up huge numbers. Torretta is probably one of the least deserving winners in history, so you have me there. It also gets you Herschel Walker, Eddie George, Charlie Ward, Vinnie Testaverde and a score of other really awesome college players.

Nebraska’s offense was so abysmal that he may be right that Suh was the difference. But Stanford would not have ben Florida Atlantic bad without Gerhardt I think.

What we have here is another perfect electoral storm. People are tired of the old ways and we have two once-in-a-lifetime candidates.

Or, you know, none of the frontrunners from the awesome teams have put up numbers good enough to put them out front. But maybe it’s change people want…in their Heisman winners. Sure, makes sense.

Gerhart could alter how coaches look at tailbacks. Maybe they’ll see potential first, not color.

Seriously, if you’re going to keep going to this could you at least offer some evidence of bias beyond “there aren’t a lot of white running backs?”

Ndamukong could prove that a boy named Suh could grow up, become a defensive tackle and still be named America’s most outstanding college football player.

Is that a fucking “Boy Named Sue” joke? How fucking old are you man? So he will be striking a blow for people with nontraditional American names? What the fuck are you talking about? I’m sure his personal story is really compelling. Was he born in Hawaii?

Either one would be change we could truly believe in.

No, you lead with this awful joke. You don’t make people finish your shitty column to enjoy this nugget. I mean, what if they get bored?

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The Not-So-Great Debate Part II

Posted by biggusrickus on December 7, 2009

A quick look at an over-reaction from Pat Forde’s 3-Point Stance:

1. Texas coach Mack Brown spins so well that if he owned ice skates, he’d be favored to medal in Vancouver. Maybe when the disbelief evaporates and my jaw returns to its upright position, I’ll return to thinking that the Longhorns deserve to play in the BCS National Championship Game. But the slapstick finish to the Nebraska game, coupled with the inability to put mediocre Texas A&M away the week before, are reason enough to believe that the wrong team from Texas will play Alabama.

Pat Forde writes jokes so badly he’d be voted off “Last Comic Standing” the first week. What is so unbelievable about a very, very good Nebraska defense, a defense that carried an abysmal offense all season, holding Texas’ offense in check? I don’t really want to carry water for Texas. I wanted them to lose, so we could find out just how good TCU is. I find them intriguing too. However, you can’t just discount Texas’ total body of work because of two bad games to close out the year. They averaged to win about 40-15 over the course of the season. They had two very poor offensive performances against Oklahoma and Nebraska. They had one very poor defensive performance against Texas A&M. TCU beat Air Force, a military academy with players who are undersized and less athletic than those at every major college by a fair magin, 20-17. They beat a four-loss Clemson team who lost by 17 to a very average South Carolina team, 14-10. Are those games less meaningful because they happened earlier in the season? If so, why? Also, to beat this point to death, TCU played the 84th toughest schedule in the coutry and Texas played the 44th.

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The Not-So-Great Debate

Posted by biggusrickus on December 7, 2009

Well, we’ve come to the end of another college football regular season. And so, the annoying jabber about fairness, playoffs, non-BCS teams, etc. begins anew. Some of these “takes,” to use a Rome-ism, will be rational. Some will be emotional. Most will suck. One will come from the keyboard of Dennis Dodd. It will be emotional. It will suck. It will be headlined:

Messy BCS: Longhorns in title game doesn’t seem right

I’m not sure that Texas, or Alabama for that matter, is better than TCU or Cincinnati. Statistically speaking, both certainly look better on paper than Cincinnati. The evidence is less compelling in TCU’s case. That said, both teams have been ranked ahead of TCU and Cincinnati all season, they haven’t lost, and neither TCU nor Cincinnati has played a particularly tough schedule. Cincinnati’s is ranked 63rd toughest by Sagarin, TCU’s 84th. Alabama (20th) and Texas (44th) both played tougher schedules. Sagarin is imperfect, but it does try to apply some scientific method to the process of deciding who the best teams are. So, it kind of seems right to me.

It just doesn’t feel right, not when the two happiest men in college football Sunday were Dan Beebe and Walt Anderson.

Ah, but does it feel right? I didn’t consider that in my opinion. I don’t know. I mean, I’m kind of curious about what sex would feel like, but I’m also kind of nervous. I mean, this is a big step. You want it to be more than just an awkward backseat encounter. Maybe if the mood was right and it was with the right person (Johnny is really dreamy), I’d be ready. What were we talking about?… Oh right, national title game participants. It feels wrong…because…two guys are happy. Um, huh?

It doesn’t feel right because the Big 12 commissioner (Beebe) and his supervisor of officials (Anderson) were just as much a part of Saturday’s furious finish to the season as was the football.

The commissioner and the supervisor of officials were a part of Satruday’s furious finish? Is Dodd insinuating a conspiracy? Defend this statement, Dennis.

It doesn’t feel right because half of the BCS title-game matchup was decided from the video replay booth. The commish and his supervisor had to put the final stamp of approval on Texas’ 13-12 non-loss over Nebraska. Yeah, they got it right even after Texas almost got it unforgivably wrong.

So, you’re blaming them for…getting a call correct in an immensely important game.
 
Many of you saw it and you still can’t believe it.
 
It was kind of amazing how nonchalant McCoy was on that last play, but I totally believe it happened.
 
Colt McCoy rolled out with eight seconds left with a timeout in his pocket and treated the play like it was a seven-on-seven drill. His leisurely pass out of bounds was flat enough — and Ndamukong Suh was a split-second late enough in sacking him — that it hit the ground with one second left. And as we all know, “The clock doesn’t stop until the ball hits something,” Anderson said.

Yes, we all know that, but do we feel it? That’s the important thing.

Cue the confetti streaming down from the rafters. Wait, first clear the field of celebrating Huskers. Given that precious extra second, Texas’ Hunter Lawrence punched it through from 46 yards for the winner.

Hunter Lawrence defines clutch.

That’s how the 12th BCS title matchup was decided — Texas not so much celebrating as exhaling. It was finalized only after Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini screamed at Texas, “You should be ashamed to accept that trophy,” at least three times according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Well, it was, you know, settled when the replay official made the correct call and Texas made a last-second field goal. You know what might also have made a difference? If Bo Pelini’s kicker hadn’t kicked the kickoff out of bounds after they’d taken the lead or Carl Pelini’s defenders hadn’t horse-collared a guy after a completion, setting Texas up at the 30. Shouting that someone should be ashamed to accept a trophy after you blew your shot at it defines sour grapes.

His brother, head coach Bo, dispatched legend/AD Tom Osborne to the middle of the Cowboys Stadium field to fetch Beebe. The commissioner had some ‘splainin’ to do. The pair talked out of earshot although the World-Herald reported hearing curse words.

Rumored cussing aside, they got the call right however much Nebraska wishes otherwise.

“BCS,” Bo was quoted as saying, “That’s why they make that call.”

Really guys, you lost. You melted down. It’s not a conspiracy.

In the fog of war we all say, do — and write — stupid things. No, it wasn’t a BCS call, Bo. If Texas would have lost, it would have guaranteed the Big 12 more money by getting two teams in the BCS.
 
 
You’re all over the place Dennis. You alluded to a conspiracy. Then you said the call was correct. Then you listed quotes and rumors about Nebraska feeling cheated. Then you come back and say it wasn’t a conspiracy. Jesus Christ, pick a side.
 
As it is, the conference has a team in the BCS title game for the second consecutive year and third time in five years. We’re going to be asked to celebrate a title game featuring grand programs with two brand names. But something doesn’t feel right because Texas is TCU is Cincinnati at this point. Might as well throw Boise State in there too because after Alabama, no one can convince me that the Longhorns “deserve” anything.

 

If only there were some way to compare these teams in a dispassionate, scientific way using some sort of “thinking machine” that compiles a bunch of different statistics and takes this “data” to rate the teams accordingly. Boise’s schedule is ranked 98th. Texas has an overall rating two points higher than TCU, about three-and-a-quarter higher than Cincy and nearly five higher than Boise. So inasmuch as anyone “deserves” to play for a college football national title, Texas does.

Their best victory is over an Oklahoma State team that couldn’t beat Houston. Please, hold your applause. Their closing statements were anything but convincing, giving up 39 points to Texas A&M, then having Anderson clear up any misunderstanding about how they mismanaged the clock. Texas was one silly second from making Chris Webber’s timeout in the Final Four look like a mere oversight.

Per Sagarin, their best win was over Oklahoma (no. 23),  Nebraska (no. 24), then Oklahoma State (32).

At least TCU went on the road twice in the ACC to win. The Frogs beat two other ranked teams. Cincinnati beat three teams ranked in the top 20. But Texas is in and when Saturday blows over we’ll spend most of the next month flogging its honorable place in that brand-name final.

TCU went on the road to beat Virginia (no. 70) 30-14 and Clemson (no. 21) 14-10. Cincy beat Oregon State (no. 15) 28-18, Pitt (no. 18) 45-44, and I think, maybe he means WVU (no. 27) 24-21. Did I mention that Cincy’s schedule was 63rd and TCU’s 84th overall while Texas’ was 44th?

Texas’ biggest advantage it turns out is starting higher in the polls. TCU and Cincinnati finished a fraction behind in the BCS because they are Holiday Inn Express to Texas’ Ritz. If you want to celebrate, look beyond January to a year when one of the non-traditional schools playing for the title. Soon. We came within a second of it happening this season.

Well, yes, that was good for them, but they also rank higher in at least one of the computer rankings, the most well-known one, and probably most others.

That’s why it doesn’t feel it right. It’s the same feeling we all got in 2001 when Nebraska lost by 26 at Colorado, didn’t win so much as its division and still played Miami for the national championship.

Look, I’m on record in this blog saying that the Nebraska championship game year wasn’t nearly the travesty people make it out to be, but the two situations are not comparable at all. Texas won their division and their conference. They are undefeated. They have played better competition overall than the other undefeated teams except Alabama. Not. The. Same. But, then I’m not really using my feelings here. Let me just emote here…. Oh, wow. He’s right. It totally feels the same.

Something is missing.

That something? Love.

Drama, maybe? The whole season seemed to be a prelude to Florida/Alabama winner vs. Texas. When it actually happened it was a huge letdown for me, at least. What looked like a good game on paper a few weeks ago now looks like Alabama 27, Texas 14.

And who can forget the drama everyone felt heading into 2008 Championship Game between LSU and Ohio State. It was palpable.

I was just as intrigued about the Fiesta Bowl when it began considering Boise State and TCU. The Sugar Bowl is giving us Tim Tebow’s final college game against Notre Dame’s next coach (Brian Kelly) who may or may not be in attendance with Cincinnati.

Yes, those are pretty interesting games. I will watch them. They are not more compelling than a national title game.

The end doesn’t feel right because there are voters in the Harris and coaches polls who can’t give me a good reason why their No. 2 is the right choice.

Unlike every other year when it is set in stone. If you’re reading this Dennis, and I’m sure you are, you have plenty of reasons why Texas should be number two. Of course, I’m not a voter, so fuck me, right?

They still can’t tell me how to separate Longhorns from Horned Frogs from Bearcats from lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

I bet some of them can, not that I really think you’ll ask.

Something bothers me because those coaches have been hiding in anonymity all season. That’s what the coaches do with their votes. For all we know some voters have had Kelly’s next team at No. 2. We’ll know this week when the coaches go legit and release their final ballots.

Maybe some did. They would be foolish to have done so, but it’s possible. And why are you whining about secrecy when the final ballots are about to be released, you dummy?

Until then we’ll have to rely on the text of one Gary Patterson. He’s the TCU coach who I asked Sunday if he was upset at the prospect of being left out of the championship game.

You mean, the coach of one of the teams in question? I bet it will be completely unbiased.

“I don’t know about upset,” Patterson wrote, “but I did vote us No. 2. I had voted us No. 4 up [through] the games of yesterday. I watched all of them and this is what I thought.”

Dick Cheney, 2000: “I have considered all of the potential candidates for Vice President and determined that the one who is best qualified, gives us the best possible chance at taking back the presidency for our party, is the sexiest man alvie is…me.”

Gary Patterson, 2009: “Having watched college football games one weekend this year, I have decided that the second best team in the country, the team most deserving of playing Alabama is…mine.”

After a strange, strange finish to a strange, strange process, that feels about right.

Too bad we have to rely on feelings, because I think if there were some way to quantify these teams objectively we might really know who should be ranked second.

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Keep Away From My College Football Jemele!

Posted by biggusrickus on October 2, 2008

Jemele Hill has a question: Where all the white running backs at? Is it racism? Is it genetics? Is it a plot by the KKK to get white people riled up about something and bring about the race war predicted by The Beatles’ White Album? Jemele Hill reports. You decide.

When Michigan played Notre Dame, a freshman pounded the Irish for 131 yards rushing, slashing and slithering around defenders like an eel.

Ah, the old “slash like an eel” descriptor. How cliché.

It was some coming-out party. But other than his ability, one thing really stuck out about this Wolverines tailback.

He’s a complete fucking asshole.

He’s white.

Same difference. WOOO! Black power!

Michigan hasn’t had a white player start at tailback since Rob Lytle in 1976, which also was the last time a white tailback led the Maize and Blue in rushing.

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, the University of Michigan hates white people.

If Sam McGuffie’s breakout game against the Irish is any indication, maybe he’ll be the one to break new ground for white tailbacks, who have become as rare a sight as Halley’s comet.

It’s about time white folks caught a break. You only see white guys at tailback once every 76 years, and that needs to change. You’re representing us all Sam. Don’t fuck it up.

“I really don’t have too much to say about that,” said McGuffie, who ran for 1,711 yards and 23 touchdowns as a senior at Cy-Fair High School in Cypress, Texas, and gained YouTube fame for hurdling a defender. “If you can play the position, you can play the position.”

Insightful. Thank God this was included.

Many of us watch sports not caring if the men on the field are purple or magenta, as long as they produce.

If I saw someone purple on the field I think I’d care, as it would mean either that aliens have infiltrated our Universities or I need to stop dropping acid. Either way, it would be meaningful.

But watch sports long enough and you inevitably notice trends and rarities. One of them is that white tailbacks at the college and professional level have become virtually nonexistent.

I really don’t notice it much or care at all. At most it garners a “Huh, a white guy” from me. I will admit to noticing white cornerbacks though, and if your team has one it usually means your secondary sucks.

In 2007, just 13 of the top 100 rushers in the Football Bowl Subdivision were white. The SEC and Pac-10 each have just one white starting tailback in their respective leagues, Vanderbilt’s Jared Hawkins and Stanford’s Toby Gerhart.

13% doesn’t seem all that out of whack. It might even be a little higher than say, top 100 receivers or top 100 in interceptions or something. More importantly, who gives a shit?

And McGuffie is the Big Ten’s lone starting white tailback.

When are the whites going to wake up and smell the racism?

In the NFL, white tailbacks are even scarcer.

You don’t say.

Not one white player starts at tailback on any of the NFL’s 32 teams. The last time a white tailback was taken in the first round of the NFL draft was 1974, when the Los Angeles Rams selected Penn State’s John Cappelletti with the 11th overall pick.

Huh, and that sort of coincides with the college game really becoming integrated. Perhaps there’s some connection there.

With such a deeply entrenched trend, you wonder if ESPN college football analyst Craig James might be the last white player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in the NFL or if former Washington Redskins legend John Riggins will be the last white feature back to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

I just want to remind everyone that James is an asshole who played for the cheatingest program in NCAA history. That has nothing to do with anything else in this post, but I really hate Craig James. Some white dude will someday play tailback in the NFL and maybe even make it to the Hall of Fame. That Ian Johnson guy at Boise looks like he might be good enough to at least get a starting gig in the NFL. It won’t be common or anything, because black people tend to be better atheletes than white people, but I don’t know why you’d rule it out entirely. However, the main reason I don’t wonder if there will ever be a white running back who accomplishes anything in the NFL is because I don’t give a fuck.

“Fans write me all the time calling me ‘The Great White Hope,'” said James, who ran for 1,227 yards with the New England Patriots during the 1985 season.

Seriously? Fans write him all the time and call him “The (fucking) Great White Hope?” Because of that one good year he had 23 God damn years ago? That is some self-aggrandizing bullshit. I’m almost in awe of it.

“One of these days, someone will come along.”

Craig James molests goats.

There’s a lot of junk about nature vs. nurture arguments. My favorite quote is this:

“I don’t ever want to put a spin on it and say it’s profiling,” said Floyd Keith, the executive director of the Black Coaches Association. “I think it has a lot to do with the quality of player.”

I find it ironic that the president of a group formed to combat profiling against one race refuses to accept that premise going the other way. I happen to agree with him about the quality of player being the determining factor though.

But what does someone who actually studies shit have to say about the rarity of white running backs?
“Once the population designations were set,” Entine said, “there are real differences in the gene frequencies in the east and west African population, which is quite different from populations around the world.”

Entine points out athletes with East or North African ancestry and also those from Mexico and South America are likely to dominate endurance activities because they have evolved in highland terrains whose populations tend to have a larger lung capacity and lean physiques.

“It’s geography and ancestry,” Entine said. “It’s not race.”

Geography and ancestry lead to racial differences, so it’s kind of race. But that’s quibbling. In summation, white people tend to be slower than and not jump as high as black people. Both of those things are important in playing the position of running back. Fewer whites play running back at the highest levels of football. Duh.

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Breaking News! FSU Not as Good as They Used to Be!

Posted by biggusrickus on September 24, 2008

I decided to see what stupid thing Dennis Dodd wrote this week, and lo and behold I found this:

‘Noles down low, ‘Dores up high … what’s going on?

The same thing that’s been going on for the last couple of years as far as FSU is concerned, and a large amount of luck in the case of Vandy. There, you can stop writing now.

One is a football factory, a flat-out jock assembly line with various classes and professors getting in the way.

One that has gone 14-12 the last two seasons.

The other operates without an athletic department, without much care, it seems, whether it contends for championships.

Which is probably part of the reason they haven’t been to a bowl in 26 years.

Florida State or Vanderbilt. Which would you rather be this week?

Florida State always and forever. They actually devote money to their football program and build facilities and have gone to a bowl game pretty much every year that I’ve been following football. We’re only three years removed from them winning their conference title. Vandy hasn’t won a conference title since 1923 (in the no longer existant Southern Conference). This is a no brainer. FSU, for all of their difficulties, would likely have beaten Vanderbilt each of the last two years.

If you said Vanderbilt go to the head of the, uh, class. If you can. Ninety-five percent of the school’s freshmen score at least 24 on the ACT.

Ugh. Vandy has high academic standards?! I never knew that.

At Florida State — where ACT used to mean Always Catching Touchdowns — the ‘Noles would settle for a score, any score.

Then they should be pleased by their field goal the other night, you unfunny hack.

The two programs are headed in opposite directions for the first time in, well, forever.

No. No they are not. If anything you could argue that FSU is slouching towards Vandy, but even that would be an overstatement.

College football awoke to a bizarro world Sunday that saw Vanderbilt ranked for the first time since 1984. Florida State was just rank.

That rank-rank trope is an affront to comedy. I love the mention of 1984, which was one of the other seasons Dodd mentions later where they started 4-0. Their final record was 5-6.

If you wanted an example of parity, folks, here it is. Vandy is 4-0 for only the fourth time since World War II.

First, this is not an example of parity. Vandy has played four of their seven potentially winnable games, including two of the most likely. Second, they have been outagined by three of their four opponents (by a combined 283 yards in their two SEC wins). They have won largely because they have a +9 turnover margin. While it’s possible they could ride this wave of flukishness to a seven win season – as Mississippi State did last year – it isn’t likely, nor is it sustainable over time – as Mississippi State’s fall back to the bottom of the SEC this year would indicate.

Playing an easier schedule than the Commodores, Florida State is 2-1.

Vandy was largely dominated by a team that lost to the same Wake Forest team who represents FSU’s only loss so far. It might be a bit premature to compare the two teams.

FSU continues to sink into the tar pit that has become the latter part of Bobby Bowden’s career. Two 7-6 seasons have been followed by Saturday’s statement that a turnaround isn’t near.

Yet those two 7-6 seasons are still better than Vandy’s 4-8 and 5-7 records over the same period.

You want an indicator? For the first time in five years, Joe Paterno is ahead of Bowden on the all-time victories list, 376-375.

What. The. Fuck? Indicator of what? What does this have to do with Vandy vs. FSU as a football program?

You wonder if Papa Bowden is ever going to catch up again. The coach himself has hinted that this might be his last season. A pity that we would have to stick a fork in a great career, instead of remembering Chief Osceola flinging that lighted spear into the Doak Campbell turf.

He probably won’t if this is his last season, as Paterno has managed his program better in recent years than Bowden. This still has nothing to do with Vandy as compared to FSU.

If it’s only a painful week at Mega U. that would be a good thing. But FSU’s problems look deep and profound.

Their main problem seems that Bowden let his son run their offense into the ground and they are only in the second year of recovery with a lot of new assistants. That doesn’t seem all that deep or profound considering the kind of talent they can attract.

The 12-3 loss to Wake Forest marked the second-worst offensive performance at home by the ‘Noles in the Bowden era. The worst was two years ago in a 30-0 skunk job by Wake.

So they lost by three fewer touchdowns and played defense pretty well this time. That’s an improvement, yes?

There were seven turnovers — seven! — before an adoring public just waiting to see if the ‘Noles were showing signs of returning to prominence.

That will sometimes happen when young quarterbacks are playing against their first quality opponent.

Oh, and wasn’t this about the relative merits of Vanderbilt compared to FSU?

“We’re not where I hoped we were,” Bowden said. “That was evident.”

Hey, a useless quote!

It appears that there is more than academic fraud at FSU, where the school started the season missing several players, suspended for cheating on tests.

What?

It’s never good to have more penalties (12) than points (three),

You don’t say.

especially after your quarterback, who is making his third career start, feels compelled to guarantee victory …

Especially after that? It would have been somehow more acceptable to have more turnovers than points if he’d said something like, “They’re a tough team. We just want to go out and compete, and hopefully we come out on top.”

… Over Wake.

Who is still not Vandy. We’ve gone about six or seven paragraphs now with no comparison between the teams referenced in the fucking headline.

Also, Wake has won the conference title within the last two years and has beaten FSU two (now three) years in a row. Why was the guarantee thing so shocking. (Fun fact: Wake beat Vandy worse than they did FSU last year.)

It’s time to face a stark reality in Tallahassee. Wake Forest has the better program. Tiny Wake. Laughable Wake. Sure, the Seminoles recruit better players — the 2009 class is ranked No. 5 by Rivals.com — but the Demon Deacons do more with their guys. That’s what makes it even worse.

All true. Wake Forest is still not Vandy. Had you started out to make the point that Wake Forest has passed FSU you could easily make that point. You have three years of solid evidence to support that assertion. You, however, were arguing that Vanderbilt has passed FSU and have spent about two sentences trying to support that claim. This is bait-and-switch journalism.

Bowden is passing the baton, at some point, to offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher. Deacons coach Jim Grobe has a 10-year contract, and now owns three consecutive victories over the school that dominated Wake from 1992-2005.

I suppose the point of these facts is that Wake is more stable at the moment and thus a better program or something like that. Wake, however, is still not Vandy. And it just goes on like that for a few more paragraphs. This is the journalistic equivalent of listening to an eight year old tell a story. It rambles along with no clear line of logic and at the end you’re left wondering what the fuck just happened. I’ll skip to where it finally veers back into Vandy.

The ‘Dores are suddenly two victories away from bowl eligibility. Here’s a brain-teaser: What comes first, Vanderbilt’s next bowl game — the last was in 1982 — or Florida State fielding a capable quarterback?

Vandy has two games left that they should win: Mississippi State and Duke. They’ll probably lose the rest, but they will be bowl eligible if they win the ones they should. So, in summation, this is a stupid question posed as a brain-teaser because Dodd suffers from some sort of disease that causes him to write stupid things.

Chris Rix, please come back. All is forgiven.

For example, this implies that Chris Rix was a capable QB, which is disproven by Chris Rix’s career.

By some cosmic chance, the underdog subjects of this column, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest, end the regular season on Nov. 29 in Winston-Salem. Florida State plays Florida the same day.

Cosmic chance or their ADs scheduling the game? You decide.

The label is waiting for one or both games: The SemiNo Bowl.

One or both? What the fuck will Vandy making a bowl have to do with FSU not making one? For the record, I’d go with option C. Neither.

If something positive doesn’t happen quick in Tallahassee, FSU’s dynasty will be a footnote because this is not just about the decline of a football factory.

This rates a 3.1 on the Mitzelbaum Scale.

The Seminoles were embarrassed twice by institutions of higher learning over the weekend.

Don’t do it Dodd.

Wake on the field and Vandy in the polls.

Sigh.

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A Brief Reminder That Terry Bowden Is Not To Be Trusted

Posted by biggusrickus on September 18, 2008

Headline for this column:

Bowden: Ohio State will be ready…and win

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