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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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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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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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