Rice Is Rolling Over in His Grave

Dedicated to Mocking Bad Sports Writing

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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