Last week in TMQ...well there was no TMQ last week and the shock waves from the lack of Gregg Easterbrook's NFL musings reverberated loudly throughout the journalistic community. Actually, I completely forgot Gregg wasn't writing last week and woke up this past Monday worried I had missed writing a TMQ post for this week. So TMQ was missed only in that I forgot to miss it.
This week Gregg thinks we should celebrate Notre Dame's academic standards, doesn't realize college football is about athletics and not about academics, and tells us (sniffles a little bit) that Pulaski Academy lost this past week. I'm sure the reason they lost was not because Kevin Kelley failed to go for it on fourth down, thereby signifying to his players he was really super-serious about winning the game. It was probably a fluke they lost...or else they faced another quality high school football team in the state semifinals instead of facing another team outside of a Top 30 ranking in the state (which is all they had faced in the playoffs up until that point).
There is general excitement that Notre Dame will play for the BCS title.
Tuesday Morning Quarterback certainly is on the bandwagon. The mix of
Notre Dame's place in football lore, its standing as an academic
institution and its Irish traditions has broad appeal, including to
those who are not Irish. Don't take this personally, SEC, but much of
the nation, if not much of the world, will be rooting against you on
I'm not entirely sure Gregg Easterbrook has his finger on the pulse of the nation. There are a lot of Notre Dame haters out in the world who will be cheering for the SEC (even Nick Saban) just to watch Notre Dame lose. I don't know how Gregg thinks Notre Dame has such broad appeal to where much of the world will be cheering for them, but I'm cheering for whichever SEC team makes it. I don't like the SEC and really, really don't like Alabama, but I'm not sure I can cheer for Notre Dame this year...even if they are obviously the morally, ethically, athletically, academically, and most godly team in the history of college football.
There's an important aspect of the Notre Dame season that is being
overlooked. Taking into account the latest NCAA graduation stats, last
week Notre Dame became the first college football team to be ranked No. 1 in the polls and No. 1 in graduation success.
This has been completely overlooked! I didn't know Notre Dame had high academic standards. It's not like Sports Illustrated did an entire article about Notre Dame this past week or NBC ever focuses on Notre Dame or have a page called Notre Dame Central. There's even an article up about how magical the season is and mentions the academic standards of Notre Dame. Notre Dame has relatively strict academic standards and that's good for them. Being #1 in graduation success and in the BCS polls is an achievement, but Notre Dame's academic standards are rarely overlooked.
Hearty congratulations are due to coach Brian Kelly, Notre Dame president John Jenkins, and the Fighting Irish team.
Absolutely there are hearty congratulations due. Did we ever figure out which current Notre Dame player it was that Lizzy Seeberg accused of rape prior to killing herself?
I'm being snide. And yes, I am not naive. I know those scandals can occur at almost any college with any college football player. I'm not picking on Notre Dame, but picking on the hearty congratulations Gregg Easterbrook is giving Notre Dame. It's one player, one allegation and no one is guilty because of that accusation. It's just there is this perception of perfection that irritates me and Gregg is feeding into it. It's not really the perception given by the school, but by the media towards Notre Dame. Cheering for Notre Dame is like cheering for the Cowboys (much of the superiority about the program is based on achievements from nearly 20 years ago), combined with cheering for Duke (the whole program is seen as so fucking perfect and can do no wrong), and the Yankees (it's a popular bandwagon team) all in one. That's why quite a few people will be cheering for the evil they know (the SEC) rather than the evil they are afraid will rise up (Notre Dame).
Me? If I had to name the college football programs I hated the most, Notre Dame wouldn't crack the Top 10. Quite a few people I know seem to hate the Fighting Irish more than I do though, so I think Gregg is a little off in thinking Notre Dame is the fan's overwhelming favorite.
The NCAA ought to be intensely proud of Notre Dame's achievement. Instead, so far it has said nothing.
The "network partners" of the NCAA -- ABC, CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC --
ought to be intensely proud, rolling the drums for the double-first.
College football is not about academics. If you think it is about academics, then that makes you stupid and naive.
One can't help thinking the NCAA and its network partners hesitate to
draw attention to any big-college football program that does well in the
classroom. That only sets the bar high for everyone else, and the NCAA, plus
several of the big-money conferences, benefit from keeping the bar low.
Yes, I am sure that is the reason the NCAA hasn't highlighted this. You got them. Busted.
When Stanford and Virginia Tech met in the 2010 Orange Bowl, that
contest featured the highest combined football graduation rates in BCS
annals. So far as I am aware, only TMQ highlighted this.
Of course to be aware of anyone else who highlighted this Gregg would have to do an Internet search. Gregg refuses to do research and prefers to base his facts on assumptions he makes. I did an Internet search and ten seconds later I found this column. I also found this column. But in his mind, Gregg is the only one who dared to write about these two teams and mention academics. It's funny how he doesn't do any research so he just assumes he is the only one to highlight the graduation rates of these two teams. It makes him feel right and that's all that matters to him. He wants to feel like he is the only one who highlighted the academics of these two schools, so he doesn't pursue any knowledge that would tell him otherwise.
The very first stop for potential recruits on official visits to
Virginia Tech, for example, is an hour with an academic counselor. That
happens before the young man meets any coach, or sees the stadium and
its NFL-caliber facilities. Set the bar high, and athletes will respond--
Some of these athletes will respond by choosing to commit to another college.
because they are competitive by nature. Make excuses, and the graduation rate will be low.
While I don't disagree if a college makes excuses for athletes in regard to academics then they can find the graduation rate being low, college athletes are competitive by nature on the field, not necessarily in the classroom. Anyone who has spent any time tutoring certain college athletes knows this to be true. Challenge that player to understand a concept or get an answer right in the academic world and you don't automatically see the competitive juices that show up on the field. I don't know where Gregg lives. Perhaps not in a world where some college athletes go to school in order to become professional athletes.
Obviously this isn't true for every college athlete, but the competitive fire you see on the field doesn't necessarily extend to the classroom.
In other football news, Chicago leading Minnesota 16-3, the Bears lined
up for a PAT kick -- then holder Adam Podlesh kept the ball and ran
untouched for two points. On tries, why are NFL coaches so reluctant to
go for two from kick formation? In the rare instances when this play is
used, it's devastating.
Because the more NFL teams go for two from a PAT formation the more opposing teams will be prepared for this to happen. Not to mention, if a team wants to go for 2 points then it makes more sense to have a team's best offensive personnel on the field rather than have the holder (assuming he isn't the starting quarterback) try to run the ball in the end zone or throw a pass to covert the two point conversion. If a team is going for two, it makes much more sense to have that team's best offensive personnel on the field.
Last season in the NFL, 1,255 of 1,262 singleton tries succeeded.
Because PAT kicks are nearly automatic, NFL defenses tend to snooze
through them. Defenders take a step in the direction of the kicker, but
otherwise pay little attention. So line up in PAT kick formation, then
run a play!
Then after seeing teams do this a few times opposing defenses will start not attempting to block the extra point and this trick will no longer work for a while.
This seems to make coaches think, "If only 50 percent of two-point tries
succeed, compared to 99 percent of PAT kicks, just take one since you'd
come out the same in the end if you always went for two anyway."
But most NFL deuce tries are expected! The first-string offense stays on
the field, giving the defense ample warning. Tuesday Morning
Quarterback wants unexpected deuce tries, from kicking formation.
Because this strategy has worked a couple of times doesn't mean it would work if used more often. In fact, because this strategy isn't used often probably can be attributed to the current success of going for two from the PAT formation. It's not difficult for opposing defenses to start to defend this play. So unexpected deuce tries would soon become expected deuce tries.
Surprise deuce tries should work:
FOR A LITTLE WHILE ONLY! This isn't a permanent "trick" a team can use because NFL defenses aren't fucktards and will eventually just leave a couple players back from attempting to block the PAT to defend against this trick.
NFL coaches rarely go for two from PAT kick formation for the same
reason they rarely go for the first on fourth-and-short -- fear of
criticism. Do the "safe" thing, kick and lose later, the players will be
I don't think a coach would be blamed for going for two from the PAT formation if he did this once, but yes, a head coach would get criticism and deserve it when going for two from the PAT formation on a regular basis. It's not fear of this criticism that would cause a coach to stop going for two from the PAT formation, but fear of using a surprise strategy when the strategy is no longer a surprise.
Stats of the Week No. 3: Since the beginning of the 2010 season, the Bears are 27-9 with Jay Cutler at quarterback, 1-8 with anyone else.
Yes, but he didn't say "hello" to the cameraman upon entering the stadium on Sunday. May he burn in Hell!
Stats of the Week No. 10: On Thanksgiving Day, the Jets gained
405 yards on offense at home, and lost; the Cowboys gained 458 yards on
offense at home, and lost; the Lions gained 525 yards on offense at
home, and lost.
Well, two of those teams (the Cowboys and Jets) were playing catch-up for the entire second half. So their yardage is a bit misleading since it came against defenses that weren't being overly aggressive and the Jets/Cowboys were having to pass the ball a lot.
Jersey/A leading Green Bay 17-7, the host Giants faced third-and-6 on
the Packers' 9. Jersey/A came out "three by one," one of the year's
popular looks -- trips on one side, a single receiver opposite. Green
Bay showed a funky defensive front, with all 11 men standing and
everyone tight to the line of scrimmage, the deepest safety only four
This safety who is four yards off the line of scrimmage wasn't really tight to the line of scrimmage then was he? I don't know why I continually insist on ruining Gregg's points with meaningless facts that show the basis upon which he makes his points is a bit faulty.
Dallas leading 3-0 in the second quarter, the Redskins faced
fourth-and-15 on their 32. Washington is among NFL teams showing pistol
backfields -- usually one running back behind the quarterback, another
to his side. The Skins came out in in a pistol-flavored version of the
full house, with a tailback and two fullbacks in the backfield. So it
must be a power-rush! Instead it was a play-fake, 68-yard touchdown pass
to Aldrick Robinson, first of four touchdown passes on the day for RG3.
Two receivers went down the field, yet Robinson was able to get behind
the Cowboys' secondary. Cornerback Brandon Carr simply let Robinson blow
past him, as if he was in a short zone with deep help. The safety on
that side, Danny McCray, also ignored Robinson.
Troy Aikman made a point of showing an overhead shot of this play and explaining what happened. Yet Gregg still inexplicably writes that Brandon Carr let Robinson blow by him "as if he was in a short zone with deep help." I say "inexplicably" because this is exactly what happened. Carr thought he would have safety help, but McCray bit on the play action fake and Carr's help was no longer available. This touchdown was not on Brandon Carr, but on the safety who was supposed to be helping Carr out. So Carr wasn't playing "as if" he had deep help, he really was supposed to have deep help.
The ATS is zoomy, handles like Europe's best and offers quality
fit-and-finish. General Motors was supposed to go out of business; you'd
never know if from this car. And there is incredible reverse snob
appeal in saying, "Hey, want a ride in my brand-new stick-shift
Actually, there is douche appeal in saying this.
After Baltimore's fourth-and-29 conversion at San Diego, zebras
reviewed the down for seven minutes before deciding the ball was spotted
correctly all along. Decisions on the field are supposed to be
overturned only if there is clear evidence the call was wrong. If the
referee is watching the replay over and over and over, then the evidence
is not clear and the call on the field must stand.
should get to see the replay twice, then the viewer and the headphones
should be turned off. If you've seen the play live once and replayed
twice and you're still not certain what happened, the call on the field
There are two issues with this I see:
1. There is more than one angle the referee sees the replay from, so if there are three angles then it doesn't make sense to only allow him to see two of those angles.
2. Gregg is a terrible, terrible writer who makes too many assumptions. Why can the referee only see it replayed twice? Perhaps the referee didn't see the play live (which is very possible), so the replay is only his first chance at seeing what happened, and he only gets two chances to make a determination? Why not give the referee three shots to view the replay? Why have the arbitrary number of replays at two?
Gregg doesn't think before he writes. He doesn't think that perhaps there is more than one angle to view the replay from, nor does he think perhaps the referee didn't see the play live.
Wacky Food of the Week: This food critic reports he is "weary" of eating.
Fucking shit. That is not what the food critic said. Not at all. Gregg has such balls to misquote a person and then provide a link to exactly what the person wrote. Here is what the critic wrote:
Yes, food trends beg to be quibbled over. We grow weary of cupcakes, of
meatballs, of the overwhelming ubiquity of bacon. And yet it’s hard to
find fault with the recent ascendancy of Asian dumplings on a lot of
city menus, in part because it’s hard to snicker at the simple, plump
lovability of this globe-spanning culinary trope:
Find me where the food critic says anything related to "weary" in regard to "eating." You can't because he didn't write it. He said "we grow weary" of certain foods, but was not talking about growing weary of eating overall. I can't fathom how ESPN lets Gregg Easterbrook write this column when he so blatantly lies about what other people say or do. These isn't a common mistakes that Gregg makes. He read the article and then stated the author claimed he was weary of eating when that wasn't at all what was said. It's terrible journalism to misconstrue so obviously what a person writes.
It's like if I read the TMQ where Gregg stated he would no longer be doing the "Cheerleader of the Week" feature while wondering where the shirtless men in magazines had gone to, then I stated that Gregg reported he was tired of seeing women half-dressed and now is more attracted to men who are half-dressed.
Tedford Deserved the Ax: Many touts were surprised last week when
Cal fired head coach Jeff Tedford, who guided the Golden Bears to nine
winning records and eight bowl appearances in 11 years, plus developed
future NFL star Aaron Rodgers.
Not really. If Gregg followed college football writers on Twitter he would find not very many were surprised. Tedford has also put Marshawn Lynch, Kyle Boller, Jahvid Best, and Desean Jackson (plus others) in the NFL. So Tedford has had success with putting players in the NFL outside of Aaron Rodgers.
The Big [TK] offers about $7 million more annually in football
television revenue than the current conferences of UMD and Rutgers.
Since Maryland's ACC agreement includes a $50 million exit fee, spending
$50 million for an extra $7 million suggests the Terrapins may not come
out ahead for years, if ever. Perhaps the plan is to stiff Maryland
taxpayers with the ACC exit fee. Or perhaps, subtract that amount from
academics by cutting classes and professors to free up more funds for
football coaches and stadium upgrades. The University of Maryland
already charges all students a $398 annual fee to support the athletic
This is a lie. Find me where $398 is charged to support the athletic department. There is $67.30 that goes to athletics but more money goes to "Recreation Building" and "Stamp Union" fees. Nearly every college charges an "activity fee" that encompasses more than just helping out the sports team. The University of Maryland is nice enough to break this fee down to show that Gregg is misleading his readers...again.
UMD president Wallace Loh declared with a straight face the reason was
not football money or TV marketing clout -- but that joining
whatever-it's-called will improve Maryland's academic standing,
by creating an affiliation with Northwestern and the University of
Michigan. Those are fine colleges. But leaving the ACC means Maryland
loses its affiliation with Duke University, notably superior to
Northwestern and Michigan in academic standing.
Wouldn't an affiliation with two fine colleges be better than an affiliation with one fine college?
Maryland has an open-meetings law that requires meetings of the
university-system regents to be open to the public. Yet UMD regents met
in secret to approve the conference shift, raising their middle fingers
to state law. The regents claimed exemption from the open-meeting law because football conference discussions were an "emergency." An "emergency," though the change does not take effect until 2014.
We all know Gregg has a fundamental misunderstanding of time. I don't know if this was an emergency or not, but Maryland had to make a decision to join the Big 10 once the offer was extended and probably didn't have until 2014 to make this decision.
In my Oct. 23 column, I praised Andy Ashkar of Camillus, N.Y., who
"was revealed to have won $5 million in a lottery six years ago, and to
have waited till the last possible moment to claim the prize." According
to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Ashkar feared the huge sum "would
negatively influence his life." He claimed the money only after deciding
to split it with his brother Nayel.
Many readers, including Michael Dietrich of Bethlehem, Pa., noted that follow-up stories show Ashkar has been charged with grand larceny.
What Gregg doesn't tell his readers who don't click on the link is that the lottery money didn't "negatively influence" his life to where he committed grand larceny after he won, he got the winning lottery ticket because he had committed grand larceny. This isn't a case of money ruining him, this guy was already an asshole criminal before he falsely won the lottery. In fact, he won the lottery because he is an asshole criminal.
Last season, Pulaski punted once and won the state title. This season,
the Bruins did not punt at all, and reached the state semifinals. Pulaski won its playoff game held during the TMQ bye week, going for it
five times on fourth down and converting four. Friday, Pulaski was
defeated in the Arkansas semis.
Pulaski won their first playoff game 77-35 without punting, running the ball 25 times and throwing the ball 55 times. Does that sound like somewhat bully coach behavior to you?
Then Pulaski ran into the 12th ranked team in the state and lost. Pulaski ran for -13 yards and threw the ball 40 times. Gregg would normally criticize them for being a pass-wacky team but he has an agenda to make them sound like no-punting heroes so he doesn't do that. Gregg also doesn't detail how well Pulaski did on fourth down against a team that was ranked as highly as they were. I can only assume (based on his history of leaving information out that doesn't support his view) this is because Pulaski didn't convert many fourth downs in the game.
The Bruins ended their 2012 campaign at 11-3; they converted 35 of 75
fourth downs. A 47 percent conversion rate is lower than might be
expected; the New Orleans Saints this season are 55 percent on fourth
downs, for instance. But Pulaski goes on fourth-and-long as well as
fourth-and-short. A conversion on fourth-and-15 is a game-changer play.
I'm sorry, all I am reading are excuses for why Pulaski converted at a lower percentage than the Saints, even though the level of talent between Pulaski and their competition is wider than the level of talent between the Saints and other NFL teams. I am not against never punting, but Pulaski's low percentage even when going against competition they had a clear talent advantage over (at times) leads me to believe occasional punting isn't a bad thing in terms of being a competitive football team.
Pulaski had several big-margin wins this season, including 56-0 and
77-35. Asked if not punting in the fourth quarter, once attaining an
insurmountable lead, is running up the score,
It sort of is.
Kelley gave this answer:
"The very people who say I am wrong for not punting, because it will
cause us to lose, also say that not punting runs up the score. They
can't have it both ways -- not punting can't be a bad strategy and
unstoppable at the same time.
I see Kevin Kelley subscribes to the "Gregg Easterbrook of Faulty Logic." Kevin Kelley is creating two polar opposite points of view with no middle ground in an effort to prove his point. This isn't a black-and-white issue where one side says punting causes
you to lose games and the other side says not punting is unstoppable.
There is a middle ground. The "punting isn't bad" crowd just doesn't think a team should blindly
go for it on every fourth down. So therefore, once Pulaski is up 40-0, not punting can be seen as running up the score. It's been shown Pulaski is superior to their opponent at that point. So Kelley's logic fails in that the critics aren't saying punting will cause a team to lose if they are up 40-0, they are saying in a 14-13 game blindly going for it on fourth-and-10 could cause them to lose the game. Once a team is up 40-0 is it clear they are the superior team, so continuing to not punt can be seen as running up the score. Once Pulaski's offense has proven to be unstoppable, then not punting becomes unstoppable.
Thus the kind of running up the score behavior that is objectionable in
high school and college is not at the NFL level. But it's stupid!
Leaving starters in the game at risk of injury, when holding an
insurmountable late lead, is really dumb. Why does Bill Belichick,
seemingly a master, expose starters to risk when there is nothing to be
As has been pointed out several times over the last week, most NFL teams don't have backup PAT blockers and use starters in those spots. It's very normal for an NFL team to do this and injuries rarely occur on a PAT.
In 2011, the Whizzies used the sixth pick of the draft on Jan Vesely,
whom Washington general manager Ernie Grunfeld said was "a scoring
machine." Vesely averaged five points per game in Europe, and has been
rippling the nets for a 2.6-point average in the NBA. In one recent
Wizards contest, the scoring machine recorded zero points, assists or
steals -- but four personal fouls.
This one game sample when Vesely is 22 years old proves he will suck forever.
Hidden Play of the Week: Hidden plays are ones that never make
highlight reels, but stop or sustain drives. Seattle leading 14-7 in the
fourth quarter at Miami, the Marine Mammals had possession on the
Bluish Men Group 7, and threw an interception. Seattle safety Earl
Thomas was called for roughing the passer. Regaining the ball, Miami
scored a touchdown on the next snap, and went on to win by three points.
I'm not doing my typical, "Because a play doesn't appear in a 60 second highlight doesn't mean it wasn't important" rant. It's just common sense at this point anyway. This play ended up being the difference in the game since the Dolphins scored a touchdown on this drive, they later won by three points and this was a fairly controversial call in that Earl Thomas didn't necessarily rough the passer. I don't think it was hidden at all.
This year's big trend in college football continues to be putting the
best athletes on offense for pass-wacky scoring. The Oklahoma-Oklahoma
State contest ended 51-48 with the teams combining for 801 passing yards
versus 307 rushing yards. Calling plays at the line in quick tempo,
Oklahoma snapped 101 times in regulation; Sunday against the Packers,
the Giants snapped 62 times. The University of Tennessee finished its
season averaging 36 points per game, and with a losing record. In
today's college football, 36 points a game just is not enough!
This from a guy who just got done fawning over a high school coach whose team scored 56 and 77 points and just had -13 yards rushing in a game, simply because he refuses to punt the football. It seems Gregg pick and chooses when he comments on a team for being too "pass-wacky."
Single Worst Play of the Season -- So Far: San Diego appeared to
have Baltimore beaten, trailing and facing fourth-and-29 as the clock
ticks down. Ray Rice takes the flare pass, is hemmed in by multiple
Bolts defenders -- Demorrio Williams, Corey Lynch, Takeo Spikes, Marcus
Gilchrist among them. None makes much of an effort to tackle Rice, acting as though the game was already over.
Doesn't Gregg mean "highly paid glory boy" Ray Rice is the one who got the first down?
Next Week: TMQ uses ELF to warn the submarine on "Last Resort" to rise to periscope depth and check Twitter.
Just hilarious. I wish every week was a bye week for TMQ.