Thursday, April 4, 2013

Auburn should follow Coach Bryant's advice

Auburn again finds itself mired in a media firestorm of accusations.  Most Auburn people do not believe any of them.  They are pretty much alone in their sentiment, but they have the right to believe their side of the story.  The Ghostwriter isn't the judge or jury for Auburn's transgressions and doesn't mind if Auburn never gets in trouble, as long as they know their place in a 49-0 world.

Maybe surprisingly to some, The Coach presumes Auburn's innocence and thinks they could use some advice right about now.  They'd do well to take it.

The Coach reminded the Ghostwriter of a couple of articles in the Saturday Evening Post beginning in 1962. First, The Post, through a writer from Atlanta, accused The Coach of teaching brutality to his players.  Immediately, The Coach filed a defamation lawsuit against Furman Bisher (the writer) and The Saturday Evening Post.

Before that case ever got to court, The Post ran a second article.  This time, accusing Georgia Athletics Director Wally Butts and Coach Bryant of "fixing" a game between Georgia and Alabama.  Again, both Butts and The Coach filed defamation suits.

The Coach eventually prevailed in both suits, and collected $300,000 for his trouble (which, The Coach has reminded, was worth a whole lot more than $300,000).

Thus brings us to the repeated allegations against Auburn brought forth from sources ranging from random blogs to ESPN.  For each of these, The Coach has a solution he sees as Auburn's only hope for reputation reparation:  SUE THEIR ASSES.  If everyone from Jay Jacobs to your local veterinarian is telling the truth, Auburn stands to collect a healthy sum of money.  It would stand to reason that if Auburn chooses not to sue the writers of these articles, then there must be presumption of guilt.

It is time to show America the truth.  Let's see the facts in a court of law.  Auburn can only benefit from it financially, right?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Will Auburn Have to Forfeit Its National Championship?

Uh-Oh. The disaster that was Gene Chizik continues to rear its ugly head. According to a  USA Today Sports report, Chizik and company offered "several thousand dollars" to entice would be draft picks to return for their senior season. According to the report multiple ex-Auburn athletes discussed the allegations with Selena Roberts who is a New York Times and Sports Illustrated columnist.

Mike Blanc, a multiple year starter, told Roberts that not only were players paid to keep them at Auburn their senior season, sometimes they were paid for simply "having a bad day at practice." Well, if that isn't the damndest thing I've ever heard. A guy has a crappy practice and you pay him? That explains a lot about Chizik's coaching practices.

Furthermore, Darvin Adams claimed that coaches offered cash to keep him from entering the draft. According to Adams, "It was like, we'll do this and that for you. But I'd rather do things the right way. I am happy I didn't say yes to that stuff. That's what I'd tell the kids."  Well, at least somebody on the Plains has some sense.

Auburn who is reeling from the worst season quite possibly in the history of the program is trying to start anew while hanging on to the memory of the National Championship from just two years ago. It would appear that the memory of that season is on the verge of being snatched out from under them.

Take into consideration that the NCAA is suffering from the Miami debacle, and is desperate to get something right, and that spells trouble for the Tigers.

Everyone knew Gene Chizik was an idiot with no control over his team. If it wasn't evident with all the innuendo that players were skipping class, curfew, and running the program, it became clear when they failed to win a conference game one short year after their National Championship run. Everyone also suspected he was a cheater following the Cam Newton fiasco. Now it looks as though the evidence is mounting. Is it possible that Auburn made their best and worst hire in the last 30 years all in one fell swoop. Looks like it might be. Time will certainly tell.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tribute: Moore's legacy defined by perseverance

As you already know by now, Coach Mal Moore passed away today.  Most college sports fans (note the lack of a limit to "Alabama" or "college football" fans) will remember Coach Moore as one of the most successful Athletic Directors in the history of collegiate existence.  His program won 4 National Championships during the LAST YEAR ALONE - one in the nation's most visible and richest men's sport, and 3 in women's sports.  By anyone who cares to measure such things, Coach Moore was an unbelievable success in his field, and a model by which other athletic departments are studied.

But in the opinion of the Ghostwriter for the Ghost of Coach Bryant... It wasn't the remarkable and well-documented successes, rather it was the colossal failures that defined the man that was Coach Mal Moore.  Below are some notable failures of Coach Moore:

  • The "Dozier Flash" came to Alabama aspiring to be the starting quarterback for the Crimson Tide.  Over the course of the next four years,  the Bama depth chart never reflected young Mal any higher than second-string.
  • In December 1982, After serving as a long-time assistant coach under Coach Bryant, ultimately rising to the level of offensive coordinator, Coach Moore was passed over for the Tide's head coach in favor of the head coach for the New York Giants, Coach Ray Perkins.  Coach Moore was not retained on offensive-minded Coach Perkins' staff.
  • After his rehiring in 1990 on Coach Gene Stallings' staff as offensive coordinator, the offense gained just SIX yards rushing against Penn State in a 9-0 shutout loss at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  It was NOT a happy homecoming, as most folks known personally by The Ghostwriter were calling for a change in offensive coordinator.
  • Despite Alabama's school-record 31-game unbeaten streak coming to an end during the 1993 season, Coach Moore was not retained as offensive coordinator following that season.  Most blamed the lack of offensive production on the lack of originality displayed by Coach Moore, despite losing the starting quarterback (Jay Barker) to a knee injury half-way during the year.  Homer Smith was brought in to lead the offensive attack for 1994, and Coach Moore's on-the-field coaching career was over, quite unceremoniously.
  • Athletic Directors came and went while Coach Moore served in an Athletic Administrator role, notably Bob Bockrath and Glenn Tuckett.
  • After finally getting a shot to serve as Athletic Director for the Crimson Tide, more notable failures followed:
    • During August of 1999, Alabama Head Coach Mike Dubose brought scandal to Tuscaloosa when it became known of an affair with his administrative secretary.  Moore stayed loyal to Coach Dubose, despite a media firestorm calling for his dismissal.  Soon thereafter, Alabama lost to Louisiana Tech... before beating Florida once in Gainsville and once in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.  Despite the victories, most media opined that Coach Moore mishandled the Dubose situation, choosing victories instead of morality.
    • The 2000 season brought a 3-8 season and allegations of a major recruiting scandal involving a close personal friend of Coach Moore's, Logan Young of Memphis.  Ultimately, Alabama was penalized heavily for this allegation while members of Alabama's Athletic Department used the situation to spring-board their own careers (notably Gene Marsh).  Once again, many fans and media (notably Paul Finebaum) called for the immediate firing of Coach Moore.
    • Coach Moore hired TCU's Dennis Franchione after a well-publicized search.  Auburn fans referred to him as "Fifth-choice-ione" based on the information leaks during the coaching search.  Alabama fans never became comfortable with that decision, although Coach Fran led the Tide to a 10-win season in 2002 before agreed to leave Tuscaloosa for Texas A&M during the week leading up to the Iron Bowl (and subsequently and deliberately tanking the Iron Bowl).
    • After receiving hours of solicited and unsolicited advice from the father of Bama's future starting quarterback, yet apparently before conducting adequate background checks, Coach Moore hired quarterback-friendly Mike Price from Washington State that December.  By late spring, Coach Price had a reputation around Tuscaloosa as a bar-hopper.  Ultimately, Destiny did him in, and Alabama had to fire him in spectacular fashion in front of a nationally-televised audience and with players pleading for Coach Price to have a "second chance".
    • Given no other options, Coach Moore had to settle for a coordinator from the NFL with no collegiate experience since his playing days at Alabama, Mike Shula.  Despite having a 10-win season in 2005, 2006 produced a 6-6 season and the firing of Mike Shula prior to the Auburn game.  Most believed that Coach Moore was incapable of making a successful coaching hire for the University.
    • In early December 2006, Coach Moore received confirmation from Rich Rodriquez of WVU that he would be the next head coach at Alabama.  Two days later, Rodriquez reconsidered his commitment, and declined the opportunity.  The search was back on.
    • The search lasted over 6 weeks during the most hectic part of the recruiting season, during which time Alabama had virtually no leadership.  Most Alabama media and fans believed that Coach Moore had blown it, again, and that the whole athletic department needed to be evacuated and rebuilt completely.
    • Legend has it that Coach Moore flew to Miami in mid-January alone, without an appointment to see the Dolphins' Head Coach Nick Saban.  Moore was not told "yes" by Coach Saban for at least three long days after meeting with him and staying in South Florida until he was sure he had an answer.
    • Coach Moore offered Coach Saban a contract that drew headlines all across the country as being an example of the culture-problem in college athletics.  $4,000,000 was too much to pay a head coach, or so said the national media.  Again, Coach Moore was to blame.
The Ghostwriter doesn't know of a single example of a person who has persevered through more failures during their careers than Coach Mal Moore, yet the man is heralded today as an Alabama legend on equal with Coach Paul Bryant... and rightfully so.  No one man personified a greater dedication, humility, grace and love for his University than Coach Mal Moore.  It is The Ghostwriter's opinion that these highly-publicized failures are what has made Coach Mal Moore AND the University of Alabama what it is today, without which a lesser man would have simply given up and settled for average.

James 1:2-3 (NASB) says "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."  The Ghostwriter can't think of a more perfect example of this than Coach Mal Moore.

Today, we celebrate the successes of Coach Moore.  Let us also not forget WHY he, and the organization he led, was so successful.

Bielema Calls Out Nick Saban

"The reason the SEC is talked about all the time is one team, because of their dominance. But I didn't come here to play Alabama. I came here to beat Alabama."

That was new Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema's comments when talking about the SEC and the University of Alabama to a group of Arkansas boosters yesterday.

Those are mighty strong words from a coach who has yet to play his first game in the SEC. Now granted, he was just thumping his chest as he spoke to a group of his dedicated followers, but talk about poking the tiger with a stick.

It's always easy to tell which coaches that enter the nation's most dominant conference are show over substance. Take for instance Gus Malzahn or Mark Stoops who have quietly come into their new conference and their new team, and are trying to take care of business in their own back yards and build teams that will compete. Compare those coaches to Lane Kiffin who entered the conference shooting off at the mouth. Kiffin never won a game of any relevance in the SEC and quickly scooted off to the PAC 12 where he is further destroying his reputation.

Bielema went on to compare his Big 10 record at Wisconsin to Saban's at Michigan State, using that as proof that he is the better coach. Wisconsin, who consistently played a pathetic schedule, managed to beat Northwestern year in and year out, and also managed to consistently get routed in the large majority of bowl games that Bielema dragged his team into unprepared and outmatched.

Since Saban's arrival to the SEC, the Tide has owned the Razorbacks, and apparently Bielema intends to turn that around this year. Not to mention that also, in the same breath, he managed to disrespect, Florida, Auburn, LSU - three of the teams that have been instrumental in establishing the SEC's dominance over the BCS in recent years.

Bielema sees the SEC as a one school conference that has managed to dominate the entire nation. Boy, he has got a lot to learn, and school is only six months away from being in session. Man, I can't wait for football.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

An Alabama Icon Stepped Down Today

Mal Moore, one of the SEC's biggest leaders and nicest men, stepped down as athletic director of the University of Alabama today.

Moore, who once played for Bear Bryant, can claim ten national titles from his tenure of player to coach to athletic director. Although he fought through a few tumultuous years as athletic director, in the end, he made the most impressive hire, quite likely, in the history of the SEC in Nick Saban.

I've had the pleasure of talking with Mal Moore on several occasions, and I can testify, that he is a genuinely nice person. Although he is going to continue in a role as an assistant, he will be sorely missed by everyone associated with the University of Alabama and it's athletic department. Whoever is brought in to take the place of Moore will have big shoes to fill. The good news is they will be taking over a program that couldn't be in a better position to move into the future.

SEC Gets the Shaft

The SEC, along with a multitude of other conference teams, got the shaft this year, so that a 15-20 Liberty team could be in the NCAA tournament, and we could stand by our United States motto that everyone deserves a trophy, regardless of whether or not they suck.

Three teams in the SEC's power conference were knocked off the bubble this weekend to make room for Liberty, and one could also argue N.C. A&T (19-16) as well, although at least they had more wins than losses.

This argument, of course, is as old as the NCAA tournament, and frankly we are all tired of the debate, or at least I am. I have succumbed to the fact that we are going to allow conference champions in regardless of their record, and with 68 teams being allowed in the field, it is kind of hard to argue if you are team 69.

I am, however, not ready for this to happen in football, and it is going to. If you doubt it, take a look at the number of bowl teams that play with .500 records. This, of course, was a money decision, apparently made by an idiot, considering these games almost 100% of the time lose money, but they, as usual, figured more is always better. That's the same theory that took us from 64 teams to 68 in the basketball tourney just a couple of years ago.

First thing that will happen will of course be the four team football tournament in 2014, and that will in all likelihood last through 2015. Then the debate will start. Actually, the argument will start the first year, but it will simmer for a short time before it comes to a complete boil.

In 2017 we will expand to 8 teams and within another five years we will be at 16. That is where it is headed, and anyone who believes otherwise is fooling himself. Once, we reach eight, that is where the problem will begin. This is all assuming we haven't by that time divided into a four power conference setup and separated from the NCAA governing body.

If we haven't, the MAC and WAC and Big East will whine about why their conference champion isn't given an automatic berth, and of course the government will get involved and after congressional meetings and a few million in tax dollars wasted, we will decide that Ball State worked just as hard as any team in the SEC and they deserve their shot.

That's when you will see a 10 win Florida or Alabama, or South Carolina sit out while a 7-5 Ball State or Akron take their place. I'm sure I will get the argument that I am being a bit of an extremist, but remember that is exactly what happened in the basketball tournament this year. And the scariest part is that we have all been programmed to accept it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

NFL Considering Idiotic Rule

In one of it's most asinine attempts to turn football into a non-contact sport, the NFL is considering a ruling that will not allow running backs to lead with their head. This stands to be one the most controversial, unmanageable rulings yet.

Emmitt Smith for one thinks that it is insane. He wanted to know if the NFL expected running backs to lead with their chin. Jim Brown, however, said he always lead with his hand, forearms or shoulder pads. According to Brown, " At least it doesn't sound like a good idea to me (leading with his head)  if I'm not guaranteed that my head is going to be strong enough to hurt somebody else and not hurt myself." The flaw in Brown's statement is that the whole point is to not hurt someone else.

When was the last time that a linebacker was carted off the field because a running back hit him too hard with his head. I'm sure, with enough research, someone can point to a helmet to helmet hit between a linebacker and running back that resulted in a stunned linebacker, but it is rare. The whole point of leading with the helmet is so that the aggressor cannot blindside a defenseless player. I've never seen a man making a tackle as defenseless.

The Future of the NFL?
Look, concussions are a serious issue, and they are making strides to curb them, but stopping running backs from running is a little ridiculous. They have eliminated the kickoff, and tackling the quarterback, and now they are going to stop the running backs from hurting the defensive linemen.

Why don't we just buy everybody a belt, strap flags to it, and get this over with. Football is an aggressive sport by design. Let's not take every bit of manhood we have out of the United States while we still have a little left.

Les Miles is Stone Cold Crazy

More proof that Les Miles is a lunatic and I kinda like him for it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

This Week's Signs of Apocalypse...

This Week's Top Five Signs We are Going to Hell and Sports are the Reason Why
5. AEK Athens Soccer Player Giorgos Katidis Nazi Salutes Crowd

What a Dumbass. He was banned for life from all Greek teams by the Greek Soccer Federation. That's the best they could do?

4. UCLA Head Basketball Coach Ben Howland Throws Temper Tantrum
Howland, after losing to Oregon, has a tantrum and throws his jacket into the stands. I guess UCLA fans are happy their coach isn't Bobby Knight, or it coulda been a chair.
3. UCLA Head Basketball Coach Ben Howland Plays Beer Pong with Players
Maybe if he wasn't hung over, he would have won the Oregon game, kept his jacket on, and not made this list.
2. Michael Vick Receives Death Threats
Vick was supposed to have a book signing in Atlanta, but it was called off due to what authorities considered serious death threats from animal activist. Don't get me wrong here, my dogs are like my kids, but is it odd for an animal rights activist to avenge the death of a dog with the death of a human? Yep, we are definitely going to hell.
1. Nick Diaz is Probably Going to Jail
Nick Diaz wins the Dumbass of the Week award. After losing his last fight, he gives an obscure reason why, then retires, then ask for a rematch. Now, as strange as that is, it's hardly enough reason for Dumbass of the Week. No, Diaz takes it a step further and states on national television that he has never paid taxes. What an idiot.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bama Basketball can't get over hump, asking "what if"

As stated in the earlier post, this Bama Basketball team had a hump that it could not climb.  By turning a 10-point second-half lead into a 10-point deficit at the pivotal moment, the Tide substituted the roller-coaster ride forward into the wild excitement of the NCAA Tournament with the terror of having to look back on it's previous path.  What it will see isn't pretty.

Specifically, the loss at Auburn was as embarrassing and costly of a loss as there has ever been in the 100-year history of Alabama Basketball.  Never has Alabama lost to a worse basketball team in a game that had so much riding on it.  Make no mistake, if Auburn was as good as Montevallo in basketball, this would not have been as big an issue.  The fact that Auburn is SO BAD at basketball IS THE ISSUE.

IF Alabama had won that game, they would have been the #2 seed, and playing either Vandy or Ole Miss today in the semi... a game they would have easily won on a neutral floor.  So an appearance in the SEC finals would have been a given.  Yes, A GIVEN.  Furthermore, Alabama would not have even been listed as "last 4 in" in the bracketology.  It would have been safely in regardless of today's outcome.  That loss hurt them that bad.

The Coach is still in Anthony Grant's corner.  There's a fire about Coach Grant that he appreciates.  His recruiting has been good by SEC standards (look around if you don't believe it).  Bama finished top-4 in the SEC, AGAIN.  BUT, Coach Grant HAS TO WEAR that Auburn loss.  It has got to be such an embarrassment to him that he is reminded of it during every passing minute between the NIT and their next SEC game in January 2014.  The phrase "NEVER AGAIN" comes to mind from a another familiar embarrassment.


Bama Basketball again near the "hump"

From the end of November until now, this year's Alabama Basketball team has shunned prosperity like the Pope shuns a hooker.  The season started promising with a very visible early-season tournament win in New York, but then came the 1-6 December record.  At several points during the SEC season, the Tide would put itself in position to get noticed nationally, only to lose inexplicably.

The Tide has been flirted with by the prettiest girl in school, but so far there has been no date.  This prolonged sense of "almost there" is exhausting to fans, but probably more so to the players.  Every time you watch a game on TV, no matter who's playing, there you are...a "first four out".  For a solid month, Alabama's been among or around this highest of loser groups.  In some circles, being among the "first four out" is worse psychologically than being among the elite group of bottom-dwellers where Auburn currently resides.  The expectations are different, and so is the disappointment.

The Tide can make up for a month's worth of "almosts" today with a win over Florida... so in effect HERE WE ARE AGAIN... at the hump.  Can Bama get over that hump today and punch it's ticket into the NCAA tournament?  Most bettors believe it won't.

Just so we are clear, The Coach has always maintained (and he has the posts to prove it) that this team IS an NCAA Tournament-caliber team.  If Bama doesn't lose to Tulane, Mercer and Auburn (smh), this wouldn't even be a discussion as the Tide is a solid lock for a 7-9 seed.  But they did lose to those teams.  And they counted.

With a win today, the Tide can get over that hump, where they can begin to look forward into a downhill joyride.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Who's the Best Coach - Spurrier or Saban?

Who's Better?

Steve Spurrier said this about Nick Saban “He’s got a nice little gig going, a little bit like (John) Calipari. He tells guys, ‘Hey, three years from now, you’re going to be a first-round pick and go.’ If he wants to be the greatest coach or one of the greatest coaches in college football, to me, he has to go somewhere besides Alabama and win, because they’ve always won there at Alabama.”
That's a bold statement, but if you are a college football fan, you are used to Steve Spurrier making bold statements. The question is not whether or not Spurrier is going to shoot off at the mouth, but whether or not what he says has any validity. In this case, as crass as it may be, it is the truth.
Spurrier, from his earliest days at Duke, has a reputation for turning around college football programs, and while Saban is clearly one of the best football coaches of our generation, he is mostly known for returning sleeping giants to prominence. So, the question remains, who's the best college football coach, Saban or Spurrier. Let's take a look.
Overall record: Spurrier leads 3-1

Saban's Overall Record 17 years  159-55-1 (.742)  4 National Championships  4 SEC Championships
Spurrier's Overall Record 23 yrs.  208-77-2 (.728)  1 National Championship  6 SEC Championships
                                                                                                                              1 ACC Championship

These statistics alone prove that the two coaches are on equal footing. One could easily argue that Saban's four National Championships trumps Spurrier's one, but remember we are looking for the best coach, and one must take into consideration much more than National Championships.

 Nick Saban started his head coaching career at Toledo where he complied a 9-2 record and quickly moved on to Michigan State. Michigan State was no powerhouse upon his arrival, and Saban didn't turn them into a powerhouse either. During his tenure he went 34-23, with his last year being 9-2. His first four years, he was more or less a .500 coach at Michigan State.

It was in 2000 that Saban punched his golden ticket and was called to the helm of the LSU Tigers. Here he took a program that was no doubt floundering and returned them to prominence. LSU had suffered through a string of subpar coaches, but they were sitting in one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the nation and all they needed was a top notch recruiter like Saban to give them the kick in the pants they needed. At LSU Saban went an impressive 48-16 with a National Championship, before a brief stint in the NFL. He then returned to Alabama where we all know the results.

This is where Spurrier's comments come to fruition. Saban again awoke a sleeping giant, but let's be honest. I could win 10 games as the coach of Alabama. If you don't believe me see Mike Dubose or Mike Shula.

While Saban is the best recruiter in the nation, he is only a very good coach. His talent and his staff win his games. He clearly deserves credit for bringing in the talent and staff, but when Saban runs an average college football program, it remains just that -- average.

Now, Spurrier is a horse of a different color. He not only turns around weak programs, but welcomes the challenge. Spurrier took Duke to their only conference championship. Yeah, you read that right - Duke. Granted, it was a share of the title, but still that is one hell of an accomplishment.

After three years with the Blue Devils, Spurrier returned to his alma mater, where he had won a Heisman Trophy, and began to repair the damage. Now Florida wasn't a terrible team, but when compared to Michigan State, they can't be considered anything better than average. In the late 80's, the Gators had a record of 20-16 prior to the arrival of Spurrier. When you compare their year's to Michigan State's tenure with Nick Saban, they are eerily similar. While Saban was leading the Spartan's to 7-6 records, Spurrier was creating the feared Fun & Gun offense and running up a ridiculous record of 122-27. I could run off all of the Championships and weeks spent in the top 25, but you can look that up. The statistics are amazing.

Then much like Saban, Spurrier had a failed experience in the NFL and returned to the college ranks. Instead, though, of taking over what some consider the best program in the NCAA, Spurrier went to the lowly Gamecocks of South Carolina. Without getting into too much statistics, we all know what a bottom dweller they were. Spurrier thus began a transformation that once history has time to evaluate will be one of the most remarkable coaching jobs ever. South Carolina, which was once the laughing stock of the SEC, is now, not only a threat, but an extremely credible one, who will before Spurrier's tenure is out win at least one SEC Championship and potentially more.

Nick Saban is a great coach, and the best recruiter. No one can argue that. Steve Spurrier is a better coach, and no one can argue that either. The most telling stat of all is that Saban lives and breathes football. He gives up everything else, to eat and breath his occupation. Spurrier, on the other hand, plays golf and has been quoted as saying he makes time for other things in his life.

Just think, if Steve Spurrier were devoting 100 percent of himself to football. we wouldn't even be having this conversation. Instead we would be saying, there is no doubt that Nick Saban is the second best football coach in the college world. Instead, we have to concede that he is very close to the first. And, on top of that, he is also second to Spurrier in golf- just not as close.

Pat Dye Has a Decision to Make

Auburn Football 2012 - Overall record  3-9  SEC record 0-8
Auburn Basketball 2012-13 -  Overall record 9-22  SEC record  3-15
Auburn Baseball 2012  Overall record  31-28   SEC record 13-17
Auburn Softball 2012 Overall record 33-23 SEC record 12-16

This is what Jay Jacobs accomplished last year as the Auburn University athletic director. He managed to salvage his job with the hire of Malzahn after firing his football coach that was two years removed from a National Championship, but after Tony Barbee's disastrous basketball season, it looks like Pat Dye better prepare to start looking to replace his first in command.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

University of Tennessee Makes Pathetic Move

An Alabama group was expelled from a University of Tennessee building for chanting "Roll Tide." The Alabama group had used the building since the 1970's to hold luncheons, but the University of Tennessee acquired the building in 2006. The building is the first that campus tours come into contact with.

UT spokesperson Karen Simsen said, "We want our visitor's center to be all about UT, campus traditions and what it feels like to be a student here. So, we had to talk to the alumni group about how we have a new use for the building."
I thought the chant of "Roll Tide" was letting visitor's know what it felt like to be a student at UT. Alabama leads the series (notice I didn't say rivalry) 50-37-7, holds the longest winning streak at 11, holds a current win streak of 6, has the largest margin of victory in a game at 51-0 and won last year 44-13.

It would seem to me that Tennessee, an institution that claims to pride itself on football, would be playing "Yea, Alabama" on a loop in the Tennessee convention center if it wants to give the incoming students the true feeling of what it feels like to be a burnt orange Volunteer.

Boy, we have come a long way, from the days when Fat Phil was sneaking around in back alleys, trying to dig up dirt on the University of Alabama. Now they are just running scared, and with the Butch Jones hire, I've got a feeling they will be running for awhile.

Big East Football Dead - What This Means for College Football

The Big East football conference has officially dissolved. It only took two years, but it was a slow painful death that was a long time coming. The world of college football has taken a giant step towards the four major conference theory, which again proves  has no idea what it's talking about, and with the recent controversy surrounding the NCAA this has to be a concern that the governing body of college football is on its last leg.

For those of you who have not been following the recent events, the Big East will not lose its name, but it will now be strictly a basketball conference, which ironically is all it was before the split. The seven schools that will now make up the Big East are Georgetown, St. John's, Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, Marquette, and DePaul.

The football conference, which has yet to be named, is now Connecticut, South Florida, Cincinnati, Temple, Rutgers and Louisville, Memphis, Central Florida, SMU, and Houston. Now that is a powerhouse if I've ever seen one. This obviously finishes off any notion that the Big East was a competitive football conference, and takes a giant leap towards creating another 1-AA conference.

It would serve everybody involved better if the PAC12, Big10, SEC and ACC split from the NCAA, created their own governing body, left the NCAA to govern the remaining conferences, which would then become a second tier division which could hold its own playoff system, and crown its own champion.

Of course, playing separately from the big league of four (assuming the two new divisions didn't schedule games against one another), would be financially devastating to a number of small schools, but that would in the long run probably be a good thing for both basketball and football.

Where college football has been headed, ever since money became the driving factor, has been inevitable. Eventually, assuming the big four division develops and separates, we will see a league very similar to the NFL. I can't imagine schedules getting shorter, as a matter of fact, I would expect them to get longer. I also would be shocked not to see the new playoff system rapidly grow to eight and maybe more games. Of course all of this hinges on the future of paying college players, but Manziel and Clowney took a major step in that direction last week with the insurance policies they took out as injury precautions.

The most painful part to watch for the true college football fan will be that eventually certain games will reach a level of importance so high that being undefeated will no longer be necessary. This fact is already being established in the four team playoff system. If a team reaches its final regular season game (let's say Alabama vs. Auburn) and Alabama is already a shoe-in for the playoff, what would keep a coach like Nick Saban from pulling starters to rest them or avoid injury. Many will scoff at this idea, but it is fact, and it will happen, especially after the playoff system grows to eight teams.  Rivalries will eventually die, and that is the saddest part. This, in turn, will alienate a large percentage of college football fans, but it is the direction in which we are headed.

With the decimation of the Big East as a football conference this week, we passed by the point of no return. We had already taken a huge stride in that direction with the playoff. All that's left is paying players, and college football has become the NFL. The backbone of college football has always been its close relationship to it's fans and it is a part of the game those in charge should take a long hard look at, but what is most important when talking about college football? Rivalries? Fan base? In case you haven't guessed the answer is neither - it's money.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Does race matter to SEC officials?

A Houndstooth Hat tip to for having updated stats from which facts from this blog are derived.

SEC officials are a strange bunch.  The pay is probably pretty good, but one has to wonder if they aren't making supplemental money through other means only now legally allowed online in New Jersey, but that's another blog for another day.

This one has to do with foul calls.  Specifically, the differential between fouls called on a team during their games at home versus on the road.  Not surprisingly due to the obvious lack of integrity among SEC officials, EVERY SEC team commits more fouls on the road than they do at home.  But it's what else the stats tell us that surprised The Coach:  SEC officials are blatant racists when it comes to the differential.

Facts are facts.  The following is a ranking of SEC basketball teams based on that differential, from least to most, and the ethnicity of their head coach.  See any coincidence?

Rank Team 2012 Last 3 Last 1 Home Away 2011 Differential Race
1 Mississippi 17.3 20 19 17.3 17.4 18 -0.1 White
2 S Carolina 20 20 23 19.7 20.4 18.1 -0.7 White
3 Vanderbilt 15.9 16.7 13 15.2 16.6 16.1 -1.4 White
4 Texas A&M 16.9 17.7 13 16.3 17.8 17.9 -1.5 White
5 Georgia 16.9 16 16 16.3 17.8 17.2 -1.5 White
6 LSU 18.9 17 16 18.1 20 17.9 -1.9 Black
7 Arkansas 20.3 23.7 29 19.1 21.6 19.2 -2.5 Black
8 Florida 14 14.3 17 12.7 15.4 15.5 -2.7 White
9 Kentucky 16.9 18.7 24 15.8 18.6 14.8 -2.8 White
10 Tennessee 18.4 17.3 16 16.7 20.1 18.6 -3.4 Black
11 Missouri 16.3 14.7 11 14.8 18.3 14.3 -3.5 Black
12 Auburn 20.3 24 27 18.8 22.3 18.4 -3.5 Unknown
13 Miss State 16.4 20 28 13.9 18.4 13.8 -4.5 Black
14 Alabama 17.6 22.3 29 14.9 20.4 18.4 -5.5 Black

For the record, Alabama's 5.5 differential is 5th largest out of 347 college teams in all of America.

Draw your own conclusions.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Silberman Makes Mockery of Women and the NFL

Well in one afternoon Lauren Silberman has made a mockery of the National Football League, and set womankind back one giant step. Last year, the NFL made their regional combines open to women, and one year later, Silberman stepped on the football field and became a laughing stock.

Silberman's first attempt at a kickoff sailed a whopping 19 yards and her second went a more embarrassing 13 yards. She then complained of a quad injury and called for a trainer.

The injury was a sham as was the tryout and anyone who watched the event was aware of it. Silberman had to get assistance to properly place the football on the tee and her form was at best a joke. She tried zero field goal attempts.

At the risk of angering women everywhere, I must be honest. I don't believe women should play in the National Football League. I have seen kickers take hits, and on occasion give hits that, in all honesty, would kill a woman. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a female kicker out there somewhere who could drain a 35 yard field goal in the Super Bowl, but that doesn't change my opinion.

I'm not sure at what point equal rights became the idea that everybody had to do every single thing that every other person does. Why men and women can't have things they do opposite each other and still get along, I'll never understand. There are a multitude of things that women do better than I, athletically and otherwise, and I have no problem admitting it. I also have no problem admitting that there isn't a woman on the planet that can take a blindside hit from a special teams NFL player running a 4.4 forty and leading with his helmet.

It has come out recently that there is a strong belief Silberman was intentionally doing this as a publicity stunt, and that would stand to reason, but that sucks for all the men trying out that were really hoping for their shot in the NFL. All Silberman did was waste a lot of coaches time and in all likelihood piss them off in the process.

If we are so dead set on blurring the boundaries between male and female, then we should open up the Miss America Pageant to men (actually I'm surprised that hasn't happened) and we should allow men on the women's softball team at Alabama (not that they need us).

If Silberman had been standing on the deck of the Titanic and freezing water had been lapping at her feet, I wonder what her reaction would have been when the man in charge of the life boat yelled women and children first. My guess is she would have elbowed her way to the front screaming I'm a woman the whole way.

All Silberman did for women, who one day might be serious about becoming an NFL kicker, is put a barrier in their way and for that, as a man, I owe her a debt of gratitude.

Why Can’t Schools Dominate in Football and Basketball?

I really don’t have any solid answers for this and I hope some of you reading this will give your comments and opinions. I read an old article written back in 2011 that listed the top 20 football/basketball schools. The top 3 were Ohio State, Florida, and Texas,. So, why can’t  Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia,… do this? Is it facilities, coaching, or what? I always assumed those who said our schools (SEC) are football schools and basketball takes a back-seat to football were correct.  This seemed to mean that schools can’t  dominate in both sports. Then, Florida happened. This is during the years of their SEC and national dominance in football. Now they are winning national championships in basketball. How can this be, and better yet why can’t Alabama/Auburn/Georgia/LSU… this?  All these schools seemed to have been on the right track at some point, then it just fizzles away. So, can these schools attract big name coaches or do they have to hire a “rising star” and hope he turns into a Billy Donovan?
Is North Carolina State a better job than Alabama/LSU/Auburn/Georgia? Yes
Is North Carolina State a better job than Florida?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

This Week's Signs of the Apocalypse

This Weeks Top Five Signs We are Going to Hell and Sports are the Reason Why
5.  Les and Nick have recruiting war for an 8th grader.

This is getting a little ridiculous don't you think? What's too early? If Tom Brady were to impregnate Mia Hamm, would it be to early to sign their baby in the womb?

4. Bo Pellini does the Harlem Shake.

Maybe he should focus more on his coaching and less on his dancing.
Then again, I would love to see Nick Saban do this.
 3. Rory McIlroy walks off course because his teeth hurt.

Must be nice to be a stinking rich teenager. I started to leave work the other day because my teeth hurt, but then I remembered I had a family to feed.
2. Florida beats Alabama in basketball.
Oh wait, never mind. Alabama sucks.
1. Dennis  Rodman goes to North Korea.

Well, if those bastards weren't going to shoot a missile at us before, they sure as hell are now. What are we thinking?

Malzahn Makes an Important Statement

On the surface, releasing a player, who at best played a part time roll for a major football program doesn't seem like news, but when the previous coach was Gene Chizik, and couldn't even get his players to make curfew, the news becomes a bit more substantial.

Gus Malzahn released junior Devaunte Sigler for violation of team rules. It's nice to see an Auburn coach with some balls. Best anyone could tell, Chizik didn't have any team rules. So in his defense, it would be hard for him to release a player for violating them.

Sigler only played 18 games in his career recording five tackles, so it's not like Malzahn cut Cam Newton, but at least he is sending a message to his team that the old regime, that had the players running the program, is no longer in place. It's a small first step, but it is a step in the right direction.