Wednesday, December 16, 2009

18 comments TMQ: Gregg Easterbrook Hasn't Given Up Writing About the NFL Quite Yet

Gregg Easterbrook is writing today to clear up some misconceptions about college football. Anytime Gregg Easterbrook is the one passing on knowledge about football, you know there is a clear lack of knowledge somewhere on the part of someone somewhere. The ironic part is that Gregg will probably clear up the misconception by using more misconceptions, like his "If two teams of equal talent play each other the game will be low scoring" theory, which was proven incorrect yet again in the SEC Championship game this year. Enough of my rambling, let's let Gregg ramble some.

Charlie Weis and Bobby Bowden had to go -- Notre Dame and Florida State weren't winning every game! Get rid of the bums!

Bobby Bowden retired at the age of 80 years old because he was 80 years old and wasn't an effective football coach anymore. The boosters of Florida State saw this and nearly everyone outside of Bobby Bowden himself saw this. Charlie Weis was a coach who underachieved at a level where the tradition and recruiting of Notre Dame doesn't allow him to underachieve like he did. Winning every game is not the goal of Notre Dame and Florida State, making bowl games not named after a state, pizza company or a bank is the goal.

Why does Notre Dame or Florida State or any university need to win every game? Is it now official that big colleges care more about sports than education?

They do still care about education. The education a school provides is something completely different from the sports a school has. That's like saying if the Raiders fire Tom Cable they don't care about the quality of the concession stands anymore.

But a university exists to educate; winning football games is a secondary concern.

The football team's job is to win games and make money to support the other athletics at the school that lose money. Many Division I men's basketball and football teams support the other programs at a school. This isn't me being sexist, this is true.

Winning football games is not secondary for the freaking football coach, it's his job. Getting his athletes to go to class is important, but mostly he is hired to win football games and will lose his job if he doesn't.

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. Why is this distinction practically absent from sports commentary?

For one simple reason: It's retarded. A student's education has very little to do with whether the football team is any good or not. I am all about athletes getting good grades, but education and sports are two separate issues for head coaches. It's like saying Gregg Easterbrook is bad at writing about sports but it doesn't matter because he is good at writing books. Two. separate. issues. They must be evaluated separately.

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.

(Speaking to Gregg high a top his high horse) I am sure these men's basketball players who get tossed aside uneducated (examples????) have this happen to them primarily because these men's basketball players don't give two shits about their education. It's the student's fault in many cases, not the school's fault. If the student doesn't want to go to class, outside of suspending that student from the team, there isn't too much the school can do. Will taking away that student's sports scholarship really do any good? Then the student probably won't either (a) have a way or (b) find a way to pay for college and will drop out anyway.

Basically what I am saying is that it's not always the school's fault the players go away uneducated.

Prepped for the NFL? Each year, roughly 2,500 Division I football players leave college because they have exhausted their athletic eligibility, or are leaving early, or have graduated.

Oh my God, these athletes graduated?! Why didn't the school stop them from doing this?!

Each year, about 200 rookie players make NFL rosters. Thus, more than 90 percent of Division I football players never play a down in the NFL.

Which is why those who graduated got a degree. I didn't have a job for 7 months after I graduated from graduate school and I didn't see anyone getting all excited and protecting me from the big bad school that basically threw me into the job market and didn't give a shit about me, why should anyone care about ex-athletes in the same way? College is an opportunity to learn and acquire job skills, if someone doesn't take advantage of this opportunity, it's not completely the fault of the educators (head coach as the case is here).

If they don't study and don't go to class, they walk away from college football practically empty-handed.

Then the students need to go to class. It's pretty simple. If I had not studied during college I would have walked away empty-handed as well. Playing football shouldn't make these athletes any more special to the point they deserve extra attention so they don't skip class...I mean they do get extra attention, but that's beside the point.

Miami, the 2001 national champion, was among the most talented collegiate squads ever, with a roster that included Andre Johnson, Vince Wilfork, Clinton Portis, Ed Reed, Bryant McKinnie, Jonathan Vilma, Sean Taylor and Jeremy Shockey. That team sent 20 players to the NFL for at least five years, 12 for two to four years, and four for one year. This was one of the most talented college football teams ever assembled, and almost two-thirds of its players never played a down in the NFL.

I'm sorry, I am looking for proof that the University of Miami sent these players into the job market unprepared and I am just not getting any. Players are already getting free rides to school, if they are delusional and think they will all play in the NFL or don't want to go to class, it's their business. Schools can only do so much, especially after the player completes his eligibility or graduates.

Brooks and Willis also checked out Nick Saban's 2002-2004 LSU teams, including the 2003 team that won the BCS title. (Saban has not been at Alabama long enough to assess how his recruits there will do in the pros.) From those LSU years, 11 players played at least five seasons in the NFL, 10 played two to four years, and three played one year. That means 80 percent never played an NFL down.

Has Gregg ever seen the NCAA "X percentage of college athletes go pro in something other than sports" commercials? If so, there's his answer to this problem he has. If not, he needs to. The NCAA is aware every athlete doesn't go pro and tries to convey this message to the masses. Whether it works or not is up to the viewer I guess.

A couple of weeks ago, Saban told reporters he got the Crimson Tide fired up for its game against mega-underdog Chattanooga by warning players, "You would someday be an NFL player in a Mercedes-Benz and roll your window down to talk to a pretty girl and she'd say, 'You lost to Chattanooga when you played at Alabama.'" The overwhelming majority of the players on the current Alabama roster will never be an NFL player in a Mercedes-Benz.

Players have dreams and apparently Gregg Easterbrook likes to take a big piss right on their dreams.

Perhaps to get his point across Nick Saban said this and it was better than saying, "Ten years from now when you are in a sales job you don't like and you are wooing a prospective client so you don't get fired, you don't want this person to recognize you as part of the Alabama team that lost to Chattanooga do you?"

See, that's not sexy.

Notre Dame was among the few prominent holdouts, insisting its football players be students too. This generated a recruiting disadvantage -- and a recruiting disadvantage caused by high standards,

This is an overblown problem. I am not a Notre Dame fan so I am admittedly speaking out of my ass on this, but name me more than one Notre Dame recruit in the last 10 years who didn't get to play football for the Fighting Irish because he couldn't get into the school. There may be one, but I don't know his name. That's my point.

Rumor has it Brian Kelly's deal to replace Weis includes Notre Dame's agreeing to lower its academic standards for top football recruits. If so, this is a sad, sad day for Notre Dame, and for college football.

I am sure you can believe all the rumors that are being told about Notre Dame football these days, which is why Bob Stoops, Urban Meyer, and Randy Edsall have all been hired by Notre Dame over the past couple of weeks as the head football coach. Why does Gregg base his criticisms on unconfirmed rumors? That's pretty sloppy work.

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.

I hope he isn't talking about the same Nebraska that was more a collection of inmates than football players for a period of time: Unless we forget Lawrence Phillips, Thunder Collins, Richie Incognito, Jason Peter, or countless other athletes that Tom Osborne (and company) coddled at Nebraska and are now in jail, were in jail or have had personality problems. I don't think we should forget these guys simply because they had personal problems and not academic problems. They weren't all bad guys, and Nebraska may have a high graduation rate but to act like their players are angels and always make something of themselves is shitty journalism.

Of course I would expect nothing less from Gregg Easterbrook who takes the cake for cherry picking his facts and presenting misleading facts to his audience in the hopes they believe him.

Villanova and William & Mary just met in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, while Coe, Illinois Wesleyan and Johns Hopkins made the Division III playoffs. Penn and Amherst also would have advanced to the playoffs, if the Ivy League and the New England Small College Athletic Conference did not prohibit member schools from sending their football teams to the postseason. It is simply not true that colleges where football players study hard and go to class can't have winning seasons.

Here is another example of Gregg cherry picking his facts. I am pretty sure Villanova basketball players aren't taking the hardest available courses and I am pretty sure Villanova counts as a "basketball factory," but of course Gregg leaves this out because the football team isn't that way in his mind.

In fact, athletics can even help improve academics. Studies have shown that in high school, male members of sports teams have better grades than male students as a whole. Some critics have suggested this outcome is deceptive, owing to "self-selection" -- the sort of boys with the work habits to be on time for sports practices are also the ones likely to do their homework.

That's a great point about "self-selection" and it seems to be something Gregg doesn't disagree with it. I searched frantically for his counterpoint to this and couldn't find it. It's an interesting way to argue his point. He acknowledges what the critics of his point say and then doesn't attempt to prove them wrong by counterpointing the original point. So basically he is saying, "others think I am wrong because of this, this, and this, but I have no proof I am right, so you should probably believe my critics." Brilliant.

In other sports news, if ever a lineman was going to receive the Heisman Trophy, it was Ndamukong Suh. Since he didn't win, TMQ renews the suggestion I've made before, that the name of the award be changed to the Heisman Trophy for the Running Back or Quarterback Who Receives the Most Publicity. Seventy-five of these trophies have been handed out -- never once to a lineman. 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?

I hate to say it, but I completely agree with Gregg about this point. Rename the award or in some way publicly acknowledge it will only go to an offensive player.

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.

Partially because this matchup will also be in the Super Bowl, which is a pretty popular event as it is...because it is the FREAKING SUPER BOWL! I would think that if any two teams in the NFL match up in the Super Bowl a lot of people will watch. Maybe more would watch this particular matchup, but this is a stupid thing to say by Gregg. The Super Bowl is always the top rated telecast for a network, a matchup between two undefeated teams will only make it even more highly rated.

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.

I am torn on this issue. Is it better to lose a game and give a good playoff team a blueprint to beat your team in the playoffs? Or is it better to go perfect and have the competitive drive to stay perfect? I really am torn. I lean towards a team trying to stay perfect personally. I would think possibly having a perfect season would feed the competitive drive of a team enough.

With New Orleans leading 26-23, and the ball on the Atlanta 15-yard line, the Saints lined up for a field goal attempt. It was a fake -- a first down or touchdown would have iced the game -- but the fake was to an offensive lineman going deep. Guard Carl Nicks, who reported eligible as a blocking back, sprinted to the end zone but was covered -- incompletion. You've gotta love a team that sends a lineman deep for a pass!

If by "you gotta love" Gregg means "why the hell did the Saints try to get the ball deep to a guy who never catches the ball and weighs around 300 pounds," then he is right about this. Of course Gregg loved this play because they got the ball to a player that rarely gets the ball. Never mind this could have cost the Saints their perfect season, it's not about winning, it's about getting good grades in college and designing plays for lesser known players.

The incompletion was thrown by holder Mark Brunell, the Boy Scouts' 39-year-old backup quarterback, and was his first NFL pass attempt since 2006. Is this the Achilles heel of New Orleans? Should Drew Brees get hurt, the reins go to Brunell.

I would say that the Achilles heel of nearly every single team is if their starting quarterback gets hurt then the backup will have to play. Does Indy really want Curtis Painter starting? Do the Chargers wanting Charlie Whitehurst (I think) starting for them in the playoffs? How about the Vikings do they want---oh yeah, that's right they made the playoffs without Favre last year.

Best Replay Play: Watch the replay of Derrick Mason's 62-yard touchdown reception. As he catches the ball, he is hit simultaneously by two Detroit defenders, one in front and one in back. The two defenders bounce off him and tumble to the ground: Mason is left standing and runs to the house. If either one of the defenders had hit him alone, he would have fallen; because they both hit at once from opposite sides, he couldn't fall!

How great! Wow! What a weird, wacky world we live in! (Vomits into a trash can)

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. 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.

Brandon Siler was a 7th round draft choice in 2007. I think he should qualify for Gregg's "late round/unwanted team" shouldn't he? Why is Gregg hating on Siler? Because he went to Florida for college and that is a football factory? I need all the rules Gregg has for players he likes or doesn't like and why he feels this way. He likes late round draft picks and unwanted players unless they went to big colleges, in which case Gregg doesn't like them.

What's weirdest about many cruise ships is that practically everything is indoors: basically you're inside a building that's moving.

This also goes for every single thing on the planet Earth. The Earth is always moving, so basically we are always in a building on something that is moving.

So maybe it's a good sign for Arizona that the Cardinals looked cover-your-eyes awful again Monday night at San Francisco, committing seven turnovers.

No Crabtree Curse this week apparently because the 49ers won! There must only be certain weeks the Crabtree Curse makes an when the 49ers win.

Even so, the figures should shock -- half the schools appearing in bowl games this holiday season have substantially lower graduation rates for African-American football players than for white players. The boosters don't care. Do the deans, regents and coaches care?

They care to an extent, but the coaches also care about doing the job they get paid for, which his to win football games. If a head coach doesn't win football games, he won't have a job much longer. So there is a balance that is seen here.

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.

I think it is so interesting how Gregg worries all the time about "creep" and phrases like "winter meetings" being so specific as to be correct all the time, but he doesn't worry that his TMQ contains misconceptions and cherry picked facts every week.

If touchdown celebrations are bad -- TMQ does not think they are -- then don't encourage them, right? After the score, on the Red Zone Channel, which is NFL-produced, host Scott Hanson said, "We're not going to break away; we'll keep it right here to see if Ochocinco does a celebration."

This doesn't make sense, but I don't we should complain that the NFL doesn't have much editorial control over the Red Zone Channel. I would prefer the NFL not have control over what is shown and said during a football game. So while Gregg is correct in noticing this contradiction, I am glad there is a contradiction present.

In 2008, the Steelers were healthy and had good luck; this year they're injury-plagued and having bad luck. Maybe there's not much more to it than that.

There is also this guy named Troy Polamalu who hasn't played for the Steelers that much this year. That has something to do with it, along with luck. I don't believe it is news to many that luck is a major reason teams do well in the NFL in a given year. I think part of the Steelers problems lie in the fact they didn't improve their offensive line in the offseason and Polamalu got hurt early in the year.

I am shocked no one is talking about Polamalu and the "Madden Curse" that much this year. Maybe I am just missing this talk, but Polamalu was on the cover of Madden this year and he has been injured. The Madden Curse has struck again!

(Some of Cribbs' records were broken by Julian Edelman, also shunned by NFL scouts, and now playing well for New England.)

Edelman was drafted in the 7th round at #232, which is 8 spots higher than Brandon Siler was drafted in 2007. Gregg loves Julian Edelman but not Brandon Siler. Just thought I would point this out.

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.

The game ended because the head coach for the Lions dared to cut the lead into the single digits and give his team a chance to win the game against a tough run defense. What a dumb move he made to put his team in position to win or at least keep the game closer!

The Lions were only down 10 points at this time and the Ravens aren't widely known for being an easy team to run the ball on near the goal line...hence Schwartz made the move to go for the field goal. Even if he had gone for the touchdown and gotten made it, there would have been no difference in the outcome of the game. I don't think the Lions would have gotten inspired because their coach went for it on fourth down to the point they didn't give up the other 38 points either.

I bet TMQ writes, "game over" in his notebook 10 times a week and only tells us when he is right about it.

Yes, the Chiefs had failed on a fourth-and-goal at the Buffalo 1 earlier -- but that was then, this is now -- fortune favors the bold!

Who cares if the Chiefs are constantly leave points off the board by going for it on fourth down? They should ignore this and just blindly believe in a mantra that being bold will favor them down the road. Even if it is not true necessarily.

Isn't the definition of insanity, "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?" I like this mantra better than Gregg's.

Note 3: The worst decision of the 2009 draft may turn out to be Buffalo's wasting the 11th overall choice on defensive end Aaron Maybin, rather than tabbing defensive end Brian Orakpo, who went 13th to Washington. Maybin has been invisible -- no starts, no sacks -- and is being whispered about on the NFL grapevine as a bust.

Gregg knows nothing about the NFL grapevine so I don't know why he is talking about it like he does. Maybin is also being whispered about on the NFL grapevine as a player who was a defensive end in college and is trying to be a linebacker in the NFL. That may have something to do with his slow adjustment. Of course Orakpo hasn't had that problem, so kudos to him.

"The same NCAA report you cited shows that 57 percent of football programs and 56 percent of men's basketball programs turn a profit. Football and men's basketball are the only athletic programs where the median college turns a profit. Those two programs generally are subsidizing the rest of the athletic department, which is where the majority of the losses come from."

This is a reader comment to Gregg. This is EXACTLY why college football teams worry more about their team doing well and making a profit than worrying the academic standards of the school are too low. I am not saying it is right, but the big programs like this are subsidizing the rest of the athletic programs at a I said earlier in this post. This is a great example of where Gregg cherry picks statistics and gets busted by his readers doing it.

TMQ regularly complains about needless taxpayer-funded bodyguards for officials, including state troopers next to college football coaches. Brian Johnson of Gainesville, Fla., points out this article saying many state troopers work college football sidelines on a volunteer basis.

Who would really expect Gregg to check his facts before he writes these things? Certainly not ESPN.

Kelly bolted from Central Michigan after three years because money was waved, now bolts from Cincinnati after three years because money was waved. Does anyone seriously think he won't shaft Notre Dame if money is waved again? Kelly misled his Cincinnati players, then abandoned them the instant it benefited him.

I think Brian Kelly won't leave Notre Dame if money is waved at him again because Notre Dame will wave even more money at him to keep him. If any school can afford to wave money at a head coach, it is Notre Dame.

TMQ dislikes that coaches get away with self-serving behavior which would never be tolerated from players. When NCAA football players transfer to a new college, they must sit out a year. There should be an equivalent rule that when an NCAA coach leaves before the expiration of his contract -- Kelly's contract ran two more seasons, though had a buyout clause -- he must sit out a year before starting the next job.

I am sort of embarrassed because this sounds like something I would say. Of course I don't think NCAA coaches should have to sit out a year before they can start a new job, so fortunately Gregg and I think a little bit differently.

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).

However you say it in Latin, Gregg should change his motto to "I write the same crap every week and only have a minor grasp of the intricacies of NFL football and like to cherry pick statistics and mislead my readers."


ivn said...

Re: Notre Dame, this is how I see it, assuming TMQ's arguments are all correct:
I. Notre Dame won six games this year
II. Notre Dame is an academic-first school
III. Notre Dame gets top-ten recruiting class year-in year-out (seriously does he do any research?)
IV. other academic-first schools like Georgia Tech and TCU won double-digit games and conference championships, and went to BCS Bowls despite having less talented players than Notre Dame
V. therefore, Notre Dame's problem was its fucking coach

does he seriously proof read his shit at all?

"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."

As someone who actually watched most of this game (via Red Zone Network and my Lions fan friend watching it via a Baltimore TV station website--the game was blacked out in northern VA) I can say that had Detroit gone for it and scored the touchdown it would have made a big difference in the game: Baltimore would have won 48-7 instead of 48-3. Seriously this game was never close. I think Detroit lost because Ray Rice outgained their entire team and Daunte Culpepper is a sub-UFL-quality quarterback. Just a hunch.

Also he forgets to point out that the Cowboys went for it on 4th down against SD (even using some of his precious misdirection plays!) and still lost (by three points too).

ivn said...

and I felt like being smug about his blanket statement about the Heisman, but for the most part he's right; there have been like 3 guys (Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard, and Tim Brown) in the past 60+ years who have won the Heisman who didn't play running back or quarterback.

"How can eight guys fail to defend the relatively small area of the end zone? Two covered Robert Meachem, three covered Jeremy Shockey -- and no one at all covered Marques Colston."

again completely inaccurate (thank you Red Zone Network!); Atlanta dropped back into a zone on that play and Marques Colston found a hole in the zone, with Drew Brees throwing a great pass just as Colston got open.

"The result was a play-fake, and tight end Dallas Clark simply ran an out and no one covered him!"

ditto. TMQ fails to realize that it's not that "no one covers" guys like Colston and Clark; they're good receivers who happen to get open on plays like that.

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

ah so that's why TMQ is a douchebag: he's an economist!*

"Jyri Paavilainen of Helsinki, Finland, writes, "Finland's largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, reported last week that tickets for the 2012 ice hockey World Cup will be available for purchase next spring -- two full years before the games. A badly machine-translated article on this can be found here.""

Because it's not like the hockey World Cup is a global event that requires a lot of planning and coordination beforehand!

"As for the Jaguars, who have a plodding style and a league-worst eight red zone turnovers, how can they still be in the postseason hunt? In the fourth quarter of a 14-10 loss to the Dolphins, Jax twice went for it on fourth-and-3, converting neither. Miami defensive end Randy Starks made a nice stop on a Jax quarterback draw on the second fourth-and-3, icing the contest."

But I thought fortune favored the bold? Weren't the Football Gods supposed to verily bless Jacksonville with a win or something stupid like that?

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

No, actually, no one looks down their noses at the Wildcat. In fact, many people quite like it. Does TMQ have any friends or anyone that he talks to other than his son (who, to be fair, is smarter than every NFL assistant coach)

"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. Fun Note 1: At 3:03 p.m. ET, the Bucs recorded their initial first down"

I'm guessing they kicked the field goal because A) it took them almost two hours to get a first down and B) Josh Freeman likes to do his best Jay Cutler impersonation when Tampa gets in the red zone or close to it.

"TMQ favors the banning of all forms of prizefighting. Players get hurt in football, but harm is not the intent of the game -- ballet dancers may ruin their knees or skiers break bones, but those are accidents too. 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."

But people choose to box. Make people more well-informed on the health risks of boxing? Absolutely (look at poor Muhammad Ali these days), but don't fucking ban it. Let people make their own goddamn choices you know-it-all dipshit.

* - now granted not every economist is a prick (Robert Heilbroner is one of my favorite writers) but as a general rule, yeah they are.

Bucky said...

I love how TMQ whines about the recruiting disadvantages that Notre Dame faces while ignoring their tremendous recruiting advantages (what, having every game televised nationally by NBC helps recruiting?) and the fact they frequently pull in top ten recruiting classes. Meanwhile, Navy (who actually is at a tremendous recruiting disadvantage) can't even pull in top-100 classes and yet manages to beat Weis' teams twice in three years.

But my favorite part of this week's column is the following quote. "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." I find this hilarious given TMQs oft-repeated assertion that an orangutan could coach a "football-factory" school to six wins. But I guess consistency has never been TMQs strong point.

KentAllard said...

Aargh. First of all, in regards to the saintly Bobby Bowden, a recent article noted that one-third of the football players at FSU were classified as learning-disabled, so Gregg should have been all for his ouster.

Notre Dame didn't lower its standards to get Kelly because it didn't have to. If you aggregate the ranks of the last four recruiting classes there, they would almost certainly be in the top five. A little better than being 6-6 and losing to UConn, Navy and Syracuse would suggest.

The recruiting problem that ND has is largely a mirage. Yes, there are players who couldn't get in. But Notre Dame "pre-qualifies" it's recruiting targets, making sure the student could get accepted before devoting resources to woo him, which evens things out, as opposed to some schools which lose players from their recruiting classes who fail to qualify.

Football under Charlie graduated 96 percent, which is commendable. But the low point for that statistic since it has been kept was during the Willingham era, where it dipped to...93 percent. So I doubt the players will all become drooling idiots next year under Kelly.

If Kelly is successful at ND, there will be talk of him leaving for somewhere else. Just like there is for Stoops, Meyer, Carroll, and just about every other successful coach other than Paterno. I'm sure ND will be able to pay him a decent wage, so I imagine if he leaves by choice there will be other factors as well as money, just like his decision to leave Cincinnati. The truth is, if your favorite team is a big-time name, they probably "stole" their head coach from some poorer, less visible school. Unless you are a Penn State fan, they got Paterno directly from Emperor Augustus Third Legion.

There probably should be some changes made regarding coaches not being able to jump from contracts, etc., but it would be difficult to come up with the right way to do it.

KentAllard said...

Oh, and the decision not to play in a bowl is not unprecedented - Notre Dame chose to do the same in Holtz' last year as well, and there was a feeling the team would be in turmoil without a coach, and wouldn't be able to focus well enough. And Sawbrick actually left it up to the players, who voted not to accept a bowl invitation. I guess Detroit didn't sound that appealing.

A lot of the pundits bitching about ND turning down the bowl are the same ones who gripe that 6-6 teams don't belong in bowls.

Mantis said...

TMQ is here again, awesome.

"Stats of the Week No. 2: In the past four seasons, San Diego is 16-0 in December, while Dallas is 5-10. (Dallas has one less December outing, owing to the timing of a Thanksgiving game.)"

Amazingly, I have nothing against TMQ here. This reminded me of an article by Mike Silver on Yahoo. He used the same San Diego stat, but used a stat for Dallas being 18-33 since 1996. I think that if you go back to 1996, you'll see the Chargers weren't too great. I'll get the accurate numbers for that, but I'm sure they'll be much closer given all the down years the Chargers had from the Ryan Leaf years.

"Sweet Plays by a 13-0 Team No. 1"

Besides TMQ talking about the lineman running down the field to catch a pass stupidity, he mentions at the end of this section that Atlanta is 6-8 since the playoff game they lost last year. Once again, 11 of the 12 teams that made the playoffs will have that lose carrying over in this stat. I hate it. Atlanta is a 6-7 team this year.

TMQ acknowledges San Diego and Minnesota might be good this year now. I guess those teams had to defeat good teams on the same week for TMQ to realize that.

Had Kansas City kicked the first FG instead of going for it, they'd only have been down 3 points late in the game against Buffalo. If Dallas had kicked the FG instead of going for it on 4th down, that last TD would have tied the game. Fortune wasn't favoring the bold for those teams.

The 49ers won, no Crabtree Curse. Until the next time they lose.

"Maroon Zone Plays of the Week"

TMQ mentions Indy and Green Bay going for it on 4th down and getting touchdowns later on. Great. He also mentions Tennessee going for it with 12 seconds left and kicking a field goal later. Bironas kicked a 50 yard FG later in the game, he could have made the kick without going for it on 4th down. It seems unnecessary. But I guess fortune favors the bold and such.

Brian Kelly is now a weasel coach. Good to see TMQ replenishing his weasel coaches since it looks like Nick Saban wont be appearing in this part of TMQ again. Weasel coaches must only be weasel coaches when they lose early on, then lose the weaselity they've accrued when they win.

Mantis said...

TMQ brings up boxing. In regards to concussions, boxers cannot fight for 60 days after being concussed. If the NFL followed the lead of boxing, perhaps their concussion issues would dramatically decrease. Then again, TMQ believes boxing to be a barbaric sport, and we don't want the NFL to follow the lead of savage barbarians.

ivn said...

"This reminded me of an article by Mike Silver on Yahoo. He used the same San Diego stat, but used a stat for Dallas being 18-33 since 1996. I think that if you go back to 1996, you'll see the Chargers weren't too great. I'll get the accurate numbers for that, but I'm sure they'll be much closer given all the down years the Chargers had from the Ryan Leaf years."

to be fair using the last four years makes more sense; how many players on this year's Chargers or Cowboys team were even in the league in 1996? the basic core of either team has been in place for around the last four seasons so it's better to focus on that timeframe. in my opinion at least

next week on TMQ: a painstakingly thorough dissertation on every scientific inaccuracy in the movie "Avatar"

Bengoodfella said...

Ivn, Notre Dame didn't seem to get a lot out of the players they had and they have put several players in the NFL over the last couple of years, so I don't think the problem was talent really. They may pre-qualify students and that could be part of the academic problem. That's why I wanted a ND to chime in, so thanks for that Kent. A field over a TD doesn't make any difference in a game where the difference in the teams scores is 40+ points.

Ivn, I think you should do a TMQ and catch the parts I missed. It's true that boxers choose to go into that sport, so they sort of know what they are getting into. I think MMA is a bit more barbaric than boxing, though I don't like either.

Bucky, you are right that ND has an advantage in that they get on television a lot and have name recognition. It helps them for sure, but I am not sure how much it does actually help. I respect the ND AD for not putting them in a bowl game when the team is in flux like it is.

Kent, I don't think ND is going to lower their academic standards next year. It's just a rumor that TMQ heard and he has no connections so it is probably baseless.

Mantis, Minnesota & San Diego have to beat teams Gregg thinks is worthy before he admits they are good teams. I hate how he carries over wins from the previous playoffs as well. It's how he cherry picks. The Crabtree Curse doesn't exist and I wonder what Gregg will have to say when Nick Saban wins a national title. I thought he was a weasel coach that wouldn't do well at another stop?

I didn't know that rule about boxing and I bet Gregg doesn't either.

Chris W said...

If ND were to somehow lower its academic standards for football players it would be more than counteracted by Notre Dame's continually rising academic standards for its non scholarship-athletes.

I don't think a handful (10-20) people getting exempted is going to a reverse the trend of increasingly stringent admissions requirements.

Like I said (or meant to say?) on fjaym, I'm not sure I could get into ND if I applied today. And I was in the top 5% of my matriculating class in terms of test scores. Now I would be more towards the middle. Weird to think about.

KentAllard said...

Standards have risen since my day, too (obviously). If you want a one-man example of ND's problems, I'd like to submit the name of John Sullivan. He's the starting center for the Vikings,and everybody talks about how great he's played, but I thought he was the worst offensive lineman I had ever seen while at Notre Dame. It's probably coaching, but here's a guy who had the talent to play on the college level, but mixed up hiking the ball over the quarterback's head with waving at pass rushers as they jogged past him. It could drive you to drink.

Mantis said...

I agree with you Ivn. In his article, Silver compared the stats of the Chargers when Rivers was the starting QB in December (15-0) to the stats of the Cowboys in December after the 1996 season (18-33). It makes more sense to compare the stats of the teams in the past 4 years, but Silver didn't do that. I apologize for not making that clear in my post.

Anyways, from 1997 the Cowboys are 18-33, and the Chargers are 25-28. If you choose to go that far back in time, the records are comparable. As Ivn said, it isn't a really useful comparison due to so many changes in the teams. But Silver brought it up, so I thought I'd bring it up here.

ivn said...

Mantis: I see. I didn't actually see Silver's article on Yahoo.

BGF: I would actually like to have a go at TMQ one week. I reckon I'd have to get an actual Blogger account but it would be worth it. TMQ is to me what Peter King is to kissingsuzykolber.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I agree with what you are saying. Even if ND lowers the standards for football players, which I don't believe will necessarily happen, it will be offset by the raising of standards for the non-athlete population. I don't believe ND is lowering the standards though.

Kent, for some reason I didn't know Sullivan went to ND. He has done a good job in place of replacing Matt Birk. I can't believe a guy who looked that bad in college could be a productive pro. It may have been the coaching...

Going back to 1997 isn't completely productive, but it does show a larger sample (admittedly with other players) for how the Chargers and Cowboys have done. I would agree data from the last four years is much more useful.

Ivn, Getting a blogger account just takes a minute. I know FJMariotti does Easterbrook too and Jeff on GGatSports does as well, so if you covered his weekly TMQ then I could be 4th best at it from the ones I read and probably wouldn't mind.

HH said...

Ben Roethlisberger rides motorcycles without a helmet, and he's STILL way smarter than Gregg Easterbrook:

Bengoodfella said...

I hate to keep repeating what I am saying but players are going to try and cover up injuries. You are right that he is still smarter than Gregg. I am for the NFL concussion policy, but players are going to try and cover up their injuries.

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