Monday, October 25, 2010

Rick Reilly: Pipe Down

Well, I wanted to post something, and I didn't have to look far. Rick Reilly, champion of every underdog team, avenger of every wronged squad, restorer of justice to every defamed group of athletes on this planet, provides us with just what we're looking for.

It's the perfect combination of righteous indignation, overblown hyperbole and mindless ranting: Boise State Broncos can't buck this trend

So that's it, then. It's done. The fix is arranged. It's Game Over and everybody knows the score. The BCS computers TKO Boise State. Why keep punching when it's not a fair fight?

Yeah, especially when Boise State plays in a conference that is orders of magnitude weaker than the other teams in contention for the BCS title. Teams with drastically weaker strengths of schedule are not really fighting a fair fight.

Auburn and Oregon are No. 1 and No. 2 in the country according to Sunday's latest, most fraudulent compilation yet from the BCS rankings. If those two schools win the rest of their games, they'll play in the BCS Championship Game.

Boy, that seems fair to me. As long as you don't have a plus-one or a playoff, that's the most sensible way to go about it.

And Boise State? Members of football's lowest caste system? It doesn't matter. The BSUntouchables play Louisiana Tech on Tuesday night, but they're just cleaning windows on the Titanic now. If Auburn and Oregon win out, Boise State can wipe out every opponent 50-0 and not make it in now. And the Broncos probably won't even if the Tigers and Ducks don't win out. Yes, we're talking about Auburn. The team that has 13 fewer wins over the past five seasons than Boise State.

I'm going to count up the number of totally irrelevant statistics that Rick cites in support of his argument. Auburn's win total over the last five years is the first.

Yes, we're talking about Oregon. The same team Boise State punched out last season 19-8.


It's the biggest rip-off since the Nigerian prince scam. It makes you wonder why you watch college football at all. What Boise State is being asked to do isn't doable. It's like trying to win a Cuban election. Or break into the Genovese family.

Or trying to make sense of your argument.

The Broncos are 6-0. They've won 20 straight games, the longest streak in the country.


They've beaten two BCS automatic qualifiers -- 6th-ranked Virginia Tech and 24th-ranked Oregon State. Doesn't matter. BSU could whip the 103rd Infantry and it wouldn't get a sniff. The computers are in charge. The pod bay doors won't open.

This is just mindless rhetoric. I hate. Also, I don't know why Rick [Edit: I once mistakenly called him "Bill" here] cites VT as the 6th-ranked team. At the moment, they're in the 20s of all the ranking systems.

Boise State is going to get seated at the kids' table again.

They play at the kids' table for 10 of their 12 games every year.

The Broncos will go to some pointless bowl and beat somebody like they always do -- they've already bested Oklahoma and TCU in bowls like that -- and they'll come home with a win and a hatful of "You kids sure play with a lot of heart up there" put-downs from the BCS blazers.

Yawn. It's a good thing they have a champion of the little guy like Rick Reilly to further pigeonhole them into a spunky upstart. If Rick Reilly ever writes an article about my teams, I'll be pissed, because I know he's taking them on as a human interest story, not a sports story.

Amazing, isn't it? NCAA Division I football is the only sport in the world where continued, uninterrupted, hats-in-the-air winning doesn't mean you keep progressing. For Boise State, it gets you a squirt of vinegar in the eye. It's a three-card Monty game and all they get is two cards. OK, here it comes. Say it: Boise State doesn't play anybody.

Well, in FCS football, continued winning doesn't mean you keep progressing. You're still just the FCS champ. The same goes for every minor league organization on the North American continent. The Columbus Clippers and the Toledo Mud Hens can win every game this season and not make it to the World Series!

They could even win every game 50-0 and not even get a sniff!

Boise State plays -- and beats -- whoever they throw at it. It thumped San Jose State 48-0. Wisconsin, which beat No. 1 Ohio State and No. 15 Iowa, only beat SJSU by 13, at home!

Four. Ugh, this is stupid.

Boise State smashed Wyoming 51-6. Wyoming nearly beat Air Force and Air Force nearly beat Oklahoma. You're telling me Boise State couldn't beat OU? Oh, wait. It already did.

Ugh, there are three irrelevant facts in one paragraph. I'm up to like 987 in this article already.

Boise State whipped Virginia Tech on the road. VT is undefeated in the ACC. Are you telling me Boise State wouldn't be carving up the ACC?

Are you, Rick, telling me the ACC is a conference equal to the Pac-10 or the SEC?

People think of Boise State as some kind of Tahitian ice skating team. It's not like the Broncos have to wait for the high school girls' field hockey team to get off the field at 5 p.m. before they can practice. They have killer facilities, blue or otherwise. They recruit against the best for the best. They have a head coach, Chris Petersen, who is 55-4 there. (Anybody remember Urban Meyer?) They've been to a bowl eight of the past nine seasons. They're trying to be the first BCS outsider to make the championship game, but who knew they'd have to whip a bunch of Geek Squadders, too?

This paragraph is a rhetorical disaster. It's a sign that you have a weak point to begin with. It has all the hallmarks of a moron. Rick's plan: confuse the argument (blue fields), call your opponents names (Geek Squadders), simplify your opponents' arguments (Tahitian ice hockey), and cite irrelevant facts (bowl record) . This is such a disaster of thinking. Who cares about their facilities?

Also: Auburn has been to a bowl nine of the last ten seasons. Oregon seven of the last eight. Ohio St. ten of the last eleven. Oklahoma twelve straight. So... that statistic isn't even all that impressive.

"If they played anybody in the country," said Oregon's offensive coordinator, Mark Helfrich, who used to coach at Boise State, "they could give them a game. One time? Against anybody? Absolutely, they'd give them a serious game."

Yawn. What is this, Little Giants?

"I think they'd be tough to beat," said Auburn's offensive line coach, Jeff Grimes, who also used to coach at Boise State. "They've proven that. They could beat anybody on any given Saturday. Could they win every Saturday in the SEC? No. But who can?"

If a rhetorical question has a disproving non-rhetorical answer - like Alabama in 2009 or Florida in 2008 - it's probably a poor rhetorical choice. But this is Rickworld we're living in.

Also: What the hell, Rick. Did you just go around interviewing former Boise State coaches? Did you expect some kind of unbiased opinion from them? Wouldn't it have been more relevant to interview the coaches who've lost to BSU?

Also: Jeff Grimes was offensive line coach at BSU for one season, in 2000. Mark Helfrich was the QB coach for three seasons - 1998-2000. Is their opinion valid here? Kinda.

How would Grimes feel if he were the Boise State coach, getting more shaft than Chilean miners?

I'm glad Rick kept that joke PG.

"I think I'd say, 'Bout time for a playoff, isn't it?'" Grimes said.


Of course, Petersen, who's just so annoyingly classy, won't say boo. "Coach Petersen likes to stay away from the topic," said a Boise State spokesman. "If he starts worrying about the polls and all the noise out there about it, it will just be a distraction to the team."

I like Chris Petersen! He has some decent sense! He realizes that fulminating like Rick Reilly is a quick way to make everyone hate him.

No, what Petersen needs to do is get noisy in Boise! He needs to be calling up reporters and seething about the short in the BCS mainframes. He should be asking anybody, How come your schizoid computers keep vaulting unworthy teams over us to No. 1? Two weeks ago it was Ohio State. They lost. Last week, it was Oklahoma. They lost. This week, it's Auburn. Who's the computer going to leapfrog us with next? Swarthmore?

Auburn beat a top ten team.

Boise State's athletes and coaches deserve better than this dog's breakfast. Fix the crappy data going into the computers. Get rid of the SEC bias. Update the strength-of-schedule logarithms. This is 2010, not 1960. The difference between the old-school schools and the new-school schools is a butterfly's burp.

What? Rick seems to have this impression that people are throwing random numbers into these computers and coming out with equally random numbers. Now, I'm no expert at the BCS computers, but seriously? The lack of substance in these allegations suggests that the real absurdity comes from the Reilly himself.

Sports isn't fun when you take the anything-can-happen out of it and that's exactly what the computers have done.

Better yet, get us a damn playoff.

Do I think a plus-one is a good idea? Yes.

Do I think Rick Reilly's rhetoric is insanely stupid? Yes.


Elliot said...

Is Rick really referring to the 2007 Fiesta Bowl when he says Boise St. "already" beat Oklahoma? That has got to be the dumbest thing I've ever seen. It's so dumb on so many levels. I can't even begin to describe how idiotic and, not only irrelevant, but downright illogical, his bringing up that game is.

Dude, Rick, is Adrian Peterson still playing for Oklahoma? Do you think the Sooners might be kinda, I dunno, watching for a hook and lateral and a statue of liberty this time around? I mean, don't get me wrong, that was one of the greatest games in the history of college football (and one of my all-time favorites. I still get chills when I watch that 4th quarter/OT again. That's not the point. The point is that it's been nearly 4 years since that game. The rosters may have changed just slightly since then. It might just have a different result.

Oh I know, hey Rick, I bet that Notre Dame and Michigan St. will probably tie again because they did it 1966. It's not exactly the same piss poor logic, but it makes about as much sense as Rick's!

Chris W said...

This article was so terrible that this post wasn't even fun to read. It's not that Larry wasn't funny or whatever it's just that every time I read his comments I cringed, knowing that when Larry's copy was done I would have to go back to reading Rick Reilly's maddeningly stupid bullshit.

What a cockmouth.

Angelo said...

I feel bad for boise st because they are one of the best teams in the country and deserve a shot at a championship if they go undefeated. It's not really their fault that their conference sucks. However, I don't see how you can argue to put them in the championship game if you have two other undefeated teams. Apparently Rick doesn't see how you can argue it either.

Chris W said...

Oops! This is Dan Bob not Larry B! My bad!!!

Biggus Rickus said...

This - "No, what Petersen needs to do is get noisy in Boise!" - made me want to punch Rick Reilly in the cunt.

Anonymous said...

Sports isn't fun when you take the anything-can-happen out of it and that's exactly what the computers have done

Sports aren't fun when you reward a mediocre team for playing a shit schedule with a chance to play in the national championship game.

matty_ice said...

I love that Larry accidentally calls him "Bill" at one point. Simmons writes so much dumb stuff that anyone else who does it too is naturally called "Bill".

Jack M said...


Notre Dame and Michigan State were tied at the end of regulation this year. Way to prove Reilly right, you big dummy.

Chris W said...

I also like how Rick's article about how Boise State deserves to be in the NC game this year also mentions that their opponent next week is...LA Tech

dan-bob said...

Larry B stole my identity.


dan-bob said...

Good point, matty_ice. Fixed.

Elliot said...

I meant a tie. Like an actual tie. Like there was in 1966 when both Michigan St. and Notre Dame split the national championship.

But I died inside a little at the notion that I may have made Reilley right in any way, shape, or form.

SOB in CA said...

I guess Reilly's next columns will be about TCU (undefeated, #4), Michigan State (undefeated, #5), Missouri (undefeated, #6), and Utah (undefeated, #8), all of whom have no shot at the championship game if any of them and Oregon and Auburn win the rest of their games. Oh the tragedy!

Tonus said...

Tune in for Rick's next human interest story, featuring a small town team and how it copes with being crushed 50-0 by Boise State.

Slade said...

It should be noted that the 2008 Florida Gators lost a game in the SEC. At home. To Ole Miss. Who had lost to Wake Forest already.

Anonymous said...

Now that Mariotti got fired perhaps change name this blog