Tuesday, December 15, 2009

WMTMQR: Somehow, Gregg Actually Understands Less about NCAA Football than NFL Football

And that's really saying something. Hooooooooooooooo BOY. This one is a DOOZY.

Charlie Weis and Bobby Bowden had to go -- Notre Dame and Florida State weren't winning every game! Get rid of the bums! All we heard from sports commentators, and from alums and boosters, was get rid of the bums, we gotta win, win, win.

Well yeah. When you have plenty of talent, as FSU and ND did, winning is certainly expected. Both teams went 6-6 this year. Notre Dame lost its last four games, and had embarrassing close call wins over a few bad teams. Florida State opened 2-4, and eked out wins over a couple terrible teams.

Sorry to interject,

You're not. You're writing this column.

but why? Why does Notre Dame or Florida State or any university need to win every game?

They don't need to win every game. They need to win more than 6 of their games. They need to beat Navy, UConn, and South Florida. They need to not almost lose to Maryland, NC State, and Purdue. It's not asking too much of teams that consistently have top 20 recruiting classes to do so.

Is it now official that big colleges care more about sports than education?

No. It might appear that way if your only analysis of big colleges came from a sports website. But to suggest that the firings of 105 year old Bobby Bowden and can't-coach-his-way-out-of-a-wet-paper-bag Charlie Weis are a result of that made up phenomenon would be dumb.

Don't get me wrong. I attend way too many college football games, and I always like it when the school I'm rooting for wins. But I am not so misguided as to think that a college's winning games means more than a college's educating students, including athletes.

Let's start by getting a good chuckle at the straw man TMQ has built here. Let's build up to a mild laugh by considering his assertion that schools can't care more about educating their students than winning games, and still want to win a lot of games. And then let's just go ahead and let all our inhibitions go, laughing at the idea that firing a bad coach means a school cares more about winning games than educating its students.

Maybe the sports artificial universe won't face the uncomfortable reality that the NCAA system uses football and men's basketball players to generate revenue and great games -- then tosses way too many of these players aside uneducated.

That's very true. That's a real problem; something worth writing about. Unlike, say, complaining about schools which fire their coaches are somehow betraying their students by doing so.

Perhaps you're thinking, first, football players at big colleges are not being taken advantage of because they are being prepped for the NFL; and second, academics-oriented "smart schools" don't do well in sports, so if a college wants to win, standards must be low.

No one with a brain is thinking either of those things. No one. In fact, Notre Dame is specifically not thinking the second one. They want something which is very difficult to obtain- winning a lot, while staying academics-oriented. It's going to be hard to get that, especially in the current era of college football. But should they be criticized for trying? Fuuuuuuuuuuck no. As for FSU, it's a little less serious about its academic standards. But whatever, you can tell TMQ is mostly attacking ND here.

This generated a recruiting disadvantage -- and a recruiting disadvantage caused by high standards, not Weis suddenly forgetting how to coach, is the reason for the recent records of Notre Dame football. Notre Dame alums and boosters should have been proud that high standards keep the school from going 12-0!

OK. Everyone take note of this claim- that ND's recent lack of success is not due to Charlie Weis's lack of coaching ability, but their recruiting disadvantage (which is only a disadvantage against big football schools like Texas, USC, Florida, etc.; ND still has a huge recruiting advantage over 95% of the rest of the FBS). Now, take a deep breath. And read this:

What about the other commonly heard claim -- that "smart schools" can't win in football and men's basketball? Cal, Georgia Tech, Navy, Nebraska, Northwestern, Stanford and TCU -- all academics-first colleges where football players are more likely to attend class -- are on their way to bowl games. Most of them have been in the top 20 nationally this season, and Georgia Tech and TCU even made BCS bowls.



Notre Dame would be headed for a bowl game too, if it weren't for athletic director Jack Swarbrick's bizarre notion that winning "only" six games is something to be embarrassed about.

Notre Dame would be heading to a bowl game, barely, if its own players hadn't voted to not attend one. And yeah, when you have arguably the best QB, two of the ten best WRs, one of the best TEs, an experienced OL filled with heralded recruits, a defense which returned six starters from 2008 and is also filled with heralded recruits, and a fairly soft schedule, winning six games is something to be embarrassed about. At least in an athletic context.

Smart schools dominate the Directors' Cup standings of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. For Division I sports, Stanford has won the Cup 14 times;

No one is arguing that it's hard to get athletes who play volleyball, water polo, cross country, tennis, field hockey, etc., and also want to go to class and get a good degree. No one.

A college can field winning football teams and still have strict academic standards for players;


Why does the sports universe shy away from discussing these core points?

Because, right or wrong, the sports universe (and media) only really cares about sports on the field. The NCAA is a terrible organization; many schools exploit their athletes, no question; college sports has a large number of problems which should be addressed immediately before they spin even further out of control. Bringing these issues to the attention of the sports universe is an important pursuit. But it's probably not going to happen anytime soon.

We're supposed to believe that every year for 75 years, the best player in college has been a quarterback or running back -- that a lineman has never been the best player?

This is from a section complaining about the Heisman. And while his general point is correct, even casual NCAAF fans know that Charles Woodson won the award primarily as a CB and KR. (Note: this is something that even casual fans know, or would say "Hey, yeah, that's right!" if they didn't know offhand but were reminded of. Unlike which bowl Notre Dame attended in 1993. Dan-Bob, looking at you.)

And speaking of TV ratings records, what if 18-0 Indianapolis meets 18-0 New Orleans in the Super Bowl? A few people would watch. Tuesday Morning Quarterback continues to think both teams are better off losing a regular-season game -- getting the monkey off their backs, while renewing their competitive drive. A Colts loss could give the starters something to play for down the stretch -- otherwise it'll be a month before the next Indianapolis game that means anything to the Colts.

They have homefield advantage locked up for the AFC playoffs. How does a loss "give them something to play for?" It certainly gives them nothing tangible to play for, which would be the case if they hadn't clinched yet. And I think that they have a lot more to play for at 15-0 trying to go 16-0 than they would at 14-1 trying to go 15-1.

For the final Indianapolis touchdown, also from in close, the Colts had linebackers Glenn and Gary Brackett in as extra blockers. The result was a play-fake, and again no one covered Clark on a simple down-and-out.

When a talented, quick, tough-to-cover player like DeSean Jackson or Dallas Clark gets open, it doesn't mean no one tried to cover them. It means they got open. Which is what happened on this play. But don't tell Gregg that- he's busy trying to establish that everyone in the league (or THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, for all you Dilfer/Jaworski enthusiasts out there) except guys who were undrafted out of D-III schools are too dumb to play.

The CBS announcers gushed about the tackles made by San Diego linebacker Brandon Siler, a well-known player who went to Florida, a glamour college.

They did. Because on San Diego's goal line stand against Dallas, he made some great tackles right at the goal line.

The key to the three stops was that undrafted defensive tackle Jacques Cesaire of Southern Connecticut State perfectly "submarined" the Dallas offensive line, driving underneath to knock down blockers so the linebackers could move in.

That was one of the keys. The other key was the tackling of guys like Siler. It's not that hard to understand.

As for Dallas -- the same play was called four consecutive times.

No. It was not. There were four runs called for Marion Barber, but all four were different plays. All had some kind of misdirection (which Gregg has been claiming for weeks is the key to picking up 3rd and shorts or 4th and shorts), including the 4th and goal play where Barber lined up at fullback and was given a quick handoff as Tony Romo faked a pitch to the guy lined up at halfback. Why do I know so much about this sequence of plays? Because that useless piece of shit Barber is on my fantasy team, and hasn't done shit in about seven weeks. AND I'M UPSET ABOUT IT.

On the San Francisco side, the Squared Sevens tried an interesting defensive trick -- barely rushing the passer.

They also rushed the passer pretty intensely on several downs, bringing five or six guys. But blitzing is always bad (except when it works, and then Gregg doesn't write about it), so Gregg didn't write about it.

many of the NFL's officials, who unlike MLB and NBA officials are not full-time, haven't memorized the rulebook.

They may interpret the rulebook oddly at times, but on the whole they're miles ahead of MLB and NBA officials in terms of quality. The favoritism shown by both those groups to star players is flat out embarrassing at times. Oh yeah, and isn't there some kind of gambling problem swirling around the NBA officials these days? I feel like I've heard something about that.

Shameless Self-Promotion: My next book, "Sonic Boom," about the pluses and minuses of the evolving global economy, is in stores on Dec. 29.

Buy it any of your friends who happen to be both braindead and huge elitists.

Robert Goetz of Bend, Ore., notes Major League Baseball's annual winter meetings ended on Dec. 10 -- 11 days before the solstice that marks the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere.

CREEP! SUCH CREEP! They should be called the late fall meetings! That's so much more accurate, we should totally change it. Actually- better yet- let's call them the Christmas meetings.

Football snobs may look down their noses at the Wildcat -- it's not "real" offense like constant passing!

No one looks down their nose at the Wildcat. No one. No one on TV, no one on local sports radio, no one in the blogosphere, no one I've talked football with in the last year. No one. It seems Gregg's stupidity is in part fueled by his vivid imagination.

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk: Trailing Baltimore 10-0, and coming into the contest on a 2-26 stretch, Detroit faced fourth-and-goal on the Ravens' 3. Detroit coach Jim Schwartz sent in the field goal unit, and TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook -- even though it was the second quarter.

Ah, interesting. Trailing San Diego 10-3 late in the second quarter, Dallas went for it on 4th and goal from the 1. As described above, they failed (BECAUSE OF A GUY FROM SOUTHEAST RHODE ISLAND STATE! ONLY BECAUSE OF THAT ONE GUY! NOT BECAUSE OF ANYONE ELSE ON THE DEFENSE!), and went on to lose by 3. Hmmmmmm. Innnnnnteresting.

Trailing 19-0 in the third quarter, City of Tampa punted from the Jersey/B 42. Still trailing 19-0 in the third quarter, City of Tampa kicked a field goal on fourth-and-5 from the Jersey/B 25. The Bucs went on to lose 26-3 -- but kept a shutout off the résumé of Raheem Morris.

It's back! Yes! He must've noticed I complained about this a couple weeks ago! The accusation that coaches kick field goals when they're being shut out stictly to "keep shutouts off their resume"- as if anyone cares how many times their team has been shut out vs. how many times they've been held to three points- is back! Finally! I may be wrong but I don't think he's used it this season until now.

I derided LaRon Landry for wearing a wristwatch on the field -- the zebras should make him take it off, and how can the Redskins' countless assistant coaches not have noticed that he wears a watch on the field? John Martin of Dallas reports that the Redskins' many assistant coaches not only know Landry wears a watch, they encourage this. Supposedly the watch reminds him that "it's time to shine." After the New Orleans game, he should wear a wristband that says in bright letters, "It's time to cover the deep man."

No sarcasm- probably the best line I've ever seen from Gregg. Just wanted to give some credit where credit is due.

There can be fantastically well-played, hard-hitting football games in which no harm occurs to any player. Boxing is about causing harm. The sport is barbaric, and the sooner it's banned the better.

Hooray for paternalism! Also to be banned when Gregg takes over as Supreme Commander- rugby, cigarettes, alcohol, fast food, staying up late, and watching TV.

The Lakers (a Division II NCAA football team, not the NBA team) exchanged a roughly 50 percent chance of a touchdown (at the fourth-and-2 point) for a roughly 10 percent chance of recovering an expected onside kick. Football coaches at all levels typically make the wrong decision in this situation, kicking from point-blank range and then facing a length-of-the-field problem at the end. TMQ thinks coaches do this -- even in championship games! -- because they are more concerned about being able to say the final score was close than going all-out to win.

Right. Coaches in championship games, with their legacies and pride on the line, not to mention potential contract extensions or more lucrative jobs, are more concerned with the potential margin of defeat than winning. Winning a championship game. Welcome to the mind of TMQ. It's like smoking peyote while eating asbestos.


Biggus Rickus said...

Detroit lost 48-3. Is his contention that the terrible Detroit defense would have been inspired to only give up maybe 17 and the not much better Detroit offense would have been inspired to score two more TDs, if they'd gone for and gotten the TD there? Am I overthinking this?

dan-bob said...

I like how he completely misses the fucking point. His thesis: athletes aren't held to high expectations and aren't graduating because schools are taking advantage of them to make money off athletics.

So he spends half the article talking about NOTRE DAME. NOTRE DAME is graduating its players.

Why the hell doesn't he talk about Texas or Alabama or Florida or all the other schools who don't graduate their players?

It blows my mind that he completely ignores the obvious schools that support his thesis and instead chooses to pick on Notre Dame.


Tonus said...

That last part (about coaches wanting a close score instead of a victory) is maybe the biggest nonsense of all. Everyone knows that the Pats won three super bowls, but how many people remember how close they were? Or even who coached the losing teams? Or even who those teams WERE?

But yeah, that's how Mike Martz is remembered today, as a coach who lost a super bowl by only three points.

Chris W said...

This is just plain funny:

Gregg: "We're supposed to believe that every year for 75 years, the best player in college has been a quarterback or running back -- that a LINEMAN HAS NEVER BEEN THE BEST PLAYER?"

from wikipedia: "[Leon Hart] was the last and one of only two lineman ever to win the Heisman Trophy"

Angelo said...

1. I wrote "game over" before the Ravens-Lions game started. And look at that, I was right.

2. Thank you for picking up on the Dallas-San Diego stop from 1st and Goal at the 1. I watched that game, then read TMQ's analysis. What the what? The same play four times??

3. I don't know enough about Nebraska and TCU to know their academic reputation or graduation rates, but they're not ranked in the top 60 for universities. So they're probably not the best choices there. And I'm sure that the rest of those schools have athletes passing through without really getting educated, even if some go to class and graduate.

4. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I swear that previously TMQ has complained about people wasting time at the end of games by not kicking field goals early. The idea was that you need two scores, so you should score quickly by taking a field goal, then get the onside and have at least a chance to throw it to the end zone on the final play.

Regardless, the Lakers didn't exchange a 50 percent chance of a touchdown for a 10 percent chance of recovering an onside kick. Touchdown or no, they still had to recover an onside kick. So they traded a chance at a touchdown now for a chance at a touchdown later, assuming they recovered the kick.

It's like talking to a child or a woman- no logic.

Jack M said...

1. It's funny that Easterbrook lauds the 49ers for not rushing Warner and dropping 8, when he often lambasts teams for rushing any less than 4. As Larry said in a previous edition: "If it worked, it's a good call! If it didn't, it was a bad call!"

2. The no one covering Dallas Clark thing is so retardedly retarded. Maybe his first year in the league no one covered him, but anyone who saw his touchdown on Sunday knows that he was covered but made a great move to get open.

Adam said...

This little bit is nice:

Notre Dame alums and boosters should have been proud that high standards keep the school from going 12-0!

So you're saying Notre Dame alums should be proud that their football team sucks?

Go Irish! Fumble that ball! We can't be too good at football lest people will think we aren't good at academics anymore.

Smart schools dominate the Directors' Cup standings of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. For Division I sports, Stanford has won the Cup 14 times;

The Director's Cup is something to be proud of if you're part of the school administration and it's a nice acheivement. But seriously, do you think the fans and alumni really give a shit about the freaking Director's cup? Last time I checked, the Director's cup ceremony is not on live TV unlike say, the Heisman. Do you think the majority of college sports fans even know what the Director's Cup is?

Adam said...

Ha! Busted. Check this out. I would say Stanford dominates the Director's cup not "smart schools". The Top 5 in Director's Cup standings are filled by the same exact schools Gregg is ripping on for not graduating players. All of them in spots 2-5 are powerhouses in football, basketball or both.

2001-02 Stanford Texas Florida North Carolina UCLA
2002-03 Stanford Texas Ohio State Michigan Penn State
2003-04 Stanford Michigan UCLA Ohio State Georgia
2004-05 Stanford Texas UCLA Michigan Duke
2005-06 Stanford UCLA Texas North Carolina Florida
2006-07 Stanford UCLA North Carolina Michigan USC
2007-08 Stanford UCLA Michigan Arizona State Texas
2008-09 Stanford North Carolina Florida USC Michigan

Chris W said...

I also love this quote from Gregg that you didn't cite, Larry:

"Next Week: Notre Dame changes its motto from Vitte, Dulcedo, Sipes (Life, Sweetness and Hope) to Nos quam celerrime nostras regulas decrescamus (We Are Lowering Our Standards as Fast as We Can)."

Notre Dame's academic standards have risen astronomically over the last 5 years. When I applied in 2002, the average ACT was something like 29 or 30. Now it's something like 32.

Ditto to gpa and extracurriculars.

But but but but they fired their football coach!

Angelo said...

also, how hard is to check that their motto is vita dulcedo spes

If he's going to put the new motto in Latin, or at least his version of Latin, I think he should have identified that misprint.

Chris W said...

alert danbob!

Venezuelan Beaver Cheese said...

You enjoy elongating words, don't you Larry?

Chris W said...

this simple equation:

more syllable=more funnynaciousness

Anonymous said...

"Notre Dame would be headed for a bowl game too, if it weren't for athletic director Jack Swarbrick's bizarre notion that winning 'only' six games is something to be embarrassed about."

Good point Gregg. Because you've never said anything like this before:

"Alabama, Cal, Colorado, Maryland and Oklahoma State made bowl games at 6-6. Considering TMQ's theory that an orangutan could coach a football-factory school to six wins -- not because coaching is easy, rather, because football-factory schools have such vast advantages in recruiting and gimmick schedules -- the Independence Bowl, pitting 6-6 Colorado against 6-6 Alabama, could have been renamed the Orangutan Bowl."

dan-bob said...

Yes, I noticed that the first time around.

Also, I hate people, but really that's why anyone on this blog is friends, right?

Andy said...

It also bears mentioning that there was no mentioning of the "Crabtree Curse" this week. I wonder why that was?

Elliot said...

Andy, thank you for mentioning that, because I had the exact same thought. I would bet about 10 charlie weiss contract extensions that if the 49ers had lost, it would have been immediately blamed on the dreaded Crabtree Curse.

Mr. Samurai said...

Sweet Play of the Week #1

Down 24-0, Coach Greg Zorn bravely attempted a fake FG instead of just kicking a FG so he would not have a shut-out on his resume. Jersey/A may have called time-out, but this delay tactic could not deter our hero Zorn from achieving his goal.

Greg Zorn proved the "buck buck brawwwwk" theory correct, and heard the call of the football gods. He knew, at that moment. I know what you're thinking, the color of cabs are yellow. But, in that moment, Greg Zorn validated my entire career as a genius, and I came all over the pictures of cheerleaders that I keep creepy shrines of.