Monday, January 8, 2007

June 19, 2008 Note: This is a post that originally appeared on Golden's Football Rankings and is reproduced here for posterity

Greetings to my regular readers out there (all three of you), sorry about the absence of comments in the last week or so. Family took a short vacation on the west coast of Michigan in a pleasant little town of South Haven. Despite the lack of snow (what global warming?), it was a very relaxing little getaway.
-Of course one of the drawbacks of this trip was the lack of consistent internet access, and an inability to keep up with all of the various comments on all the games and goings-on in college football. As it turns out this isolation turned out to be a blessing in disguise given the results of the Rose Bowl.
-You would think as a lifelong Michigan fan, I would be used to Rose Bowl losses by now. In my lifetime Michigan has won four Rose Bowls, two of which I attended, and has lost eleven. But each loss is different and brings renewed pain. This loss was frustrating because it seemed like we added nothing to the offensive or defensive packages for this game. We made no halftime adjustments. No screens, no draws, no misdirection, nothing to account for USC’s constant blitzing that was destroying our offensive flow. I didn’t think our defense played with much intensity, especially after USC got up a TD. They showed little or none of the fire they had in the first 11 games of the year. I don’t think this was an unstoppable USC offense, or an immovable defense. We simply got out-coached.
-That being said, you won’t ever find me calling for Lloyd Carr to be fired. Carr is a man of integrity and is a great representative of the university. He’s pretty mediocre as an X-O guy, but he is a great recruiter, a good teacher, and a good role model for our student athletes. I think when Carr finally steps down, the chance that we get a coach who is better than Carr are not that great, maybe 5-10%. The chance that we get a coach who is measurably worse than Carr is greater than 50%. I take issue with what Herbstreit and Mush-burger were saying during the Rose Bowl broadcast about “the Michigan bloggers” being hard on Carr. I would not consider myself a full-fledged blogger, but most, if not all the Michigan blogs I read would not call for Carr’s ouster. There was quite a bit of mainstream media claiming that Lloyd Carr was under fire, when in fact that was never the case. The only ones talking about Carr getting heat were the national media. Now them seem to have figured out that the powers that be at Michigan will allow Carr to choose his departure time, they have decided to blame “bloggers” for what was really their fabrication. Check out this post at MGoBlog for a better explanation of this (down lower, below the college hockey stuff).
-My New Year’s Day was saved somewhat by the remarkable Fiesta Bowl win by Boise State. What a fantastic game! That game demonstrates the need for a playoff that includes all of the league champions, not just the BCS teams. Plus one, four team, eight team, all of those formats would have left the Broncos out in the cold. They could be the best team in the country for all we know.
-As I am writing this, The Florida Gators are putting the finishing touches on a shocking dismantling of the OSU *uckeyes. What amazed me the most is how unprepared the Buckeyes looked on defense. I understand why they struggled on offense once they lost Ted Ginn and fell way behind. But I would have thought that they would have practiced for Florida’s short passing game, and would have run more nickel and dime coverages to get faster DBs in the game instead of slower LBs. I also thought they would have blitzed more. I know the Florida’s offense throws a lot of different looks at you, but Jim Tressel is generally the best in the country at preparing his team to play. Or at least he was prior to this year. There’s a reason why he won three national championships at Youngstown State and was 4-1 in bowls. But Urban Meyer just totally out-coached him.
-Meyer has to be considered to be the top coach in the country right now. Two years at BGSU to turn 2-9 to 9-2. Two years at Utah to go 13-0 with a BCS win. Two years at Florida to win a national title. If he can recruit and doesn’t get wanderlust, he could create a real dynasty at Florida.
-Of course Florida is now the answer to the ultimate trivia question: The only school to win College Football and College Basketball titles in the same calendar year. Considering only five other schools have won both titles all time (UCLA, Ohio State, Syracuse, Michigan State and Michigan), that’s not likely to be duplicated anytime soon.
-Speaking of wanderlust, Nick Saban leaves the Dolphins to return to college ball. He swears this time he’s going to stick around for a while. No way is he in Tuscaloosa when the contract runs out. This guy makes Larry Brown look like a homebody. I understand why folks down Baton Rouge might have a slightly higher opinion of him, but I don’t see how he is worth $4 million a year, or whatever it is he got. I don’t think he’s one of the five best coaches in the country, I’m not even sure if he’s one of the ten best.
-Since Florida has locked up #1, the question turns to, who is #2? I think good arguments could be made for three teams: USC, LSU, and Boise State. The case for Boise is about giving the little guy a fair shake. They probably would get beat by the other two, but they did win every game they played, and no other team can say that. Heck you could argue that they should be #1 for the same reason. I think USC had the best quality wins, with four wins over teams with 10 or more wins, but they also lost to worse teams than LSU. I think that USC did better than LSU against two common opponents, Arkansas and Notre Dame (margin of victory 56 points vs 33 points). But I think Jamarcus Russell would be the best player on the field in a fictional matchup between the two teams.
-I wanted to comment about a recruiting matter. Joseph Barksdale, one of the top DT prospects in the country from Detroit Cass Tech committed to LSU at the Army All-Star game. Barksdale has been all over the map with his comments and leanings the last 10 months or so. At one time or another he listed Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Michigan State as his leader. In the end, UM, ND, and MSU all backed away from him. I don’t know if he ever mentioned LSU as one of his favorites. I don’t know if all this means anything or not, but it is the type of behavior which makes you wonder exactly what is going on.
-Loved the Dallas/Seattle ending. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer team or a nicer coach.
-I was kinda surprised by the Glen Mason firing. I understand the frustration at that loss, but Mason really has brought that program up from the depths. That being said, Minnesota is an athletic program that really has more tradition than people realize. For the first 60 years of the 20th century, they were on of the top programs in the country in just about every sport. They have a good baseball program, and perhaps the number one hockey program. They may seem like a mid-level Big Ten program to most, but I can see how those inside the program might expect more. I think they’re wrong, but what do I know.
-I included my updated college basketball rankings. Now that the college football season is done, I will try and do a full basketball comments.