Never did get around to the TMQR, did I? Or... DID I? No, I definitely didn't. But since the holidays are coming up and no one will probably be posting here later this week (which will be a big departure from the way things normally work around here, what with all the posting from all of the blog's named authors going on all of the time), I figured I should toss something up there. And so, I bring to you, the dumbest thing Easterbrook has said about college football this year... so far.
Non-Obscure College News: Sportstalk radio continues to call for the head of Charlie Weis of Notre Dame, whose team is "only" 6-4 after close losses to power schools.
In college football, 6-4 is not good. It's certainly not good enough to justify the use of sarcastic "only" quotes. As in, Bill Simmons is such a gambling expert he has "only" lost to his wife in a season-long ATS NFL pick 'em twice. Also: Navy (this was written before the UConn loss, unfortunately, so I can't include them in this) is apparently now a power school.
Must be that when Weis got to South Bend, immediately he forgot how to coach.
No one really knew for sure that he knew how to coach in the first place. He had a very good first two seasons, winning 19 games, but only one of those wins was against a team which finished the season ranked. He lost in a BCS bowl game both years, neither time in a game which was particularly close. Anyways, what is going on with this bizarre straw man? Who said that Weis was a great coach before he got to South Bend? He was acknowledged as a great coordinator, sure. But even with his early success, no one whose opinion matters thought he was being hired as a great head coach. They might have gotten a little carried away and said he was a great coach after his first two seasons, I guess. But that's not what Easterbrook wrote here. I suppose that analysis would have been too hyper-specific.
Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham, his predecessors, saw their coaching careers hit the rocks, too, upon arrival at South Bend, followed by boosters' demands that it become 1966 again and Notre Dame roll over opponents.
Davie was never a head coach before picking up the job at ND. He clearly wasn't right for the job, which is why he was fired and has worked in broadcasting since. Willingham flat out wasn't any good. He went 44-36 during his time at Stanford. The fact that he went 21-15 at Notre Dame isn't surprising at all. Oh, and he ran Washington into the ground after that. This isn't an issue of perception or unrealistic expectations. Neither of these guys were good head coaches. Sure, expectations at a place like Notre Dame are often unrealistic. But these guys sucked. And Weis has been bad this year too, given the talent he's brought it.
TMQ thinks Notre Dame alums should be proud of the football program's recent struggles --
because the reason for the struggles is that Notre Dame still requires football players to attend class.
Even with that explanation.
Over the past couple of decades, increasingly most top 20 football schools have discarded any pretense of education.
Sure, but ND is still bringing in great recruiting classes. Weis should have won 9 or 10 games this year with the talent he's assembled, and he didn't. The fact that ND's players actually sometimes go to class is not relevant to that discussion. It may be relevant to a discussion about the long-term goals and aspirations of the program. Wait, what were we talking about?
With a 94 percent football graduation rate, Notre Dame is competing against programs with a 68 percent football graduation rate (Florida), a 55 percent graduation rate (Alabama) and a 50 percent graduation rate (Texas); other football power schools have similarly miserable grad rates.
I'm totally down with the idea that this is a massive problem. But it doesn't really have anything to do with Weis's poor game plans, complete inability to make halftime adjustments (ND has been outscored by like 500 points in the third quarter this season), terrible defense, and horrific special teams. This year. In 2009. Unrelated to whether or not the school is perceived by top recruits as a place where they can go and not have to do any work in the classroom.
Low graduation rates at big football schools mean players cut class to concentrate on sports, being pros in all but pay. "Don't go to Notre Dame, they make you study there, come to our college and party, party, party" has become a recruiting pitch that undercuts the Fighting Irish.
Like I was saying.
It is extremely cynical of other football powers not to educate their players; Notre Dame is among the few football powers (others are Boston College, Nebraska and Stanford)
Stanford and Boston College are "football powers" like Notre Dame and Nebraska are basketball powers.
to refuse to give in to such cynicism.
Which is great. But doesn't really help them win more games.
Want the Irish to win more games?
Yes. Like any rational fan of any team anywhere.
If the school stopped making football players do term papers, results would improve. That would hardly be in the best interest of the players -- or of Notre Dame.
Very true. But the best result would be for the team to keep its current policies, and not lose to Navy, and most importantly not lose in the ways they've been losing. By which I mean with crappy preparation, crappy game planning, and a complete lack of discipline on defense.
Two weeks ago, when Navy defeated Norte Dame in the closing seconds at South Bend,
Perennial power team Navy!
both teams and 80,795 people stood quietly and respectfully in the twilight as "Blue and Gold," the Navy alma mater song, was played -- only a genuine institution of learning like Notre Dame could produce such a moment. Wasn't it worth more than a victory?
I mean, yeah. But when you take that perspective you make sports pointless. Which is more worthy of making me upset- the fact that my favorite baseball team lost in the first round of the playoffs, or that there are homeless people starving to death in the streets? Which is a more worthwhile moment- my favorite NBA team winning on a buzzer beater, or a soldier in Afghanistan giving his life for his country? Fuck, man. We like sports because they let us escape from the real world and give us something to care about that's not really that important but still captivates and intrigues us. Saying "Hey, stop worrying about whether your team wins and loses and start being happy that they're friendly to the service academies!" is fucking pointless.
Wasn't it far more impressive than the mindless fist-shaking exhibited by some big-deal football programs after 40-point wins against cupcakes?Saying that is also fucking pointless. OK, if there's anything really awesome in today's TMQ, I'll try to get to it before 1 AM on Tuesday 12/1. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Or as I call it: "Are you fucking kidding me? Raiders/Cowboys and Lions/Packers? Seriously? That's what they scheduled?" day.