31 May 2008
26 May 2008
Will the Spread Offense, or whatever modification of the offense that Rich Rod chooses to run, succeed in the Big Ten? Will the 2008 version of the Rich Rod Spread fail miserably and make
Rich Rodriguez’s move from
Isolating one part of the field and taking defenders out of the play
Misdirecting the defense
Many different players touching the ball
Offensive sets that threaten run or pass on every play
Rodriguez has inherited a
"The 2007 Wolverines gave us a historic loss to Appalachian State and a loss to Ohio State so one-sided that Jim Tressel ran the ball Woody Hayes-style the whole 2nd half because he realized Michigan had no offensive ingenuity and/or skill to overcome a 14-0 lead."
The Wolverines are a mystery right now – no one knows how Rodriguez will tweak the offense. Will he run 75% of the time, like he did at
Who cares? The 2007 Wolverines gave us a historic loss to Appalachian State and a loss to
1st down, running play for 3 yards
2nd down, running play for 1 yard
3rd down, 7-step drop followed by Sack/Incompletion
4th down, punt
Maybe the Rich Rod Spread will result in fumbles and embarrassments. But right now, the change is a chance worth taking.
23 May 2008
15 May 2008
10 May 2008
As a Michigan football fan, I am disgusted and underwhelmed whenever I see Buckeye fans chant O-H-I-O and accompany this intellectually challenging chant with arm motions. This repetitive chant is not original or witty (i.e. when an inspired crowd cleverly mocks an opposing player). The chant is not deep and meaningful, like an English soccer crowd singing a one hundred year old drinking song. The O-H-I-O chant leads me to believe that many Ohio State fans are not very educated and truly rejoice when they realize they can spell the name of their beloved state.
"The O-H-I-O chant leads me to believe that many Ohio State fans are not very educated and truly rejoice when they realize they can spell the name of their beloved state."
As a college football fan, I think the O-H-I-O chant is the kind of ritual that is as important as football game and the players themselves. The chant shows pride and tradition (however simple that tradition is). The chant breeds familiarity: if you're an OSU fan screaming O-H-I-O in the Horseshoe, you're surrounded by 100,000 of your closest friends.
It is easy to be cynical about college football. College football is a behemoth system built on the hard work of unpaid young men, work that borders on exploitation. Furthermore, the BCS system has made college football even more of a business than it ever has been. For these very reasons, the simplicity and tradition of the O-H-I-O chant makes it a vital part of college football. So next time you see fans with O-H-I-O on their lips and there arms raised, do not instinctively throw tomatoes or obscenities their way. Just appreciate the spirit and purity of thousands of people being of the same mind and sharing the same passion, college football.
09 May 2008
Now I know, every gold-laced leprechaun in South Bend just rushed out of the communion line to defend their beloved Irish. I can feel the fires of hell heating the hardwood floor beneath this infidel's Birkenstocks. A chorus of winged-seraphs chanting, "Eleven National Championships...800 wins...seven Heisman Trophy winners..."
08 May 2008
"I always been one to never make excuses and not go about airing it," Weis said. "We’re going to start on September 6 with San Diego State. I think that the first opportunity we’re really gonna have to make a statement is that day.
"And then we’ll listen to Michigan have all their excuses as they come running in and saying how they have a new coaching staff and there’s changes. To hell with Michigan!"
Weis also commented on his recruiting philosophy:
"I could get hoodlums and thugs and win tomorrow,'' Weis said. ''I won't do it that way."
With these comments, Weis's reputation as an uncompromisingly crass coach with a sense of entitlement will be solidified. And one must wonder where exactly Charlie Weis is coming from. Didn't he just take College Football's most storied program through a 3-9 season? Shouldn't all his top recruits be making some kind of impact? Why is Chuck so rude?
The superiority complex and ability to belittle others works well for Belichick; he has embraced the Gordon Gekko meets Darth Vader comparisons and has become respected for his constant winning and fantastic in-game adjustments. But Weis has taken the most storied program in College Football and given them a record breaking 3-9 season and a chance for pundits and broadcasters to mock them for a full year. And yet Weis still fires salvo's like "to hell with Michigan" and also (indirectly) asserts that other schools win only because they have thugs and hoodlums. This is the equivalent of losing a fight and then mocking your opponent as he is sitting on you, victorious.
As a Michigan fan, I am of course excited to have Mr. Weis on the schedule year in and year out. Weis's arrogance and rudeness seems to substantiate all those stereotypes of the Notre Dame Superiority Complex and allows Michigan fans to mock, ridicule, and boo the Irish all they want. He spices up the rivalry much more than say, Jim Tressel, who wins games in a classy manner and doesn't resort to outright insults or complaining.
Here is my advice for Chuck: If you want to continue with the whole "arrogant coach who knows better than all of you" persona, win some games and develop a cute trait, something the media can grab onto to make you more human (because everyone loves a winner!). Belichick always mumbles into the microphone after his troops have destroyed another opponent, Woody Hayes tackled players on the field just to show he was crazy, Bob Knight made crazy faces...My suggestion for you is to sweat profusely at all press conferences (think Billy Bob in Varsity Blues) and wear a fun hat...Everyone likes large sweaty men in fun hats, it's jolly.
02 May 2008
Cooper's cognitive opus, however, exposes exactly what he lacked: an understanding of team dynamics, approachability, and pride in a team's history and tradition. (Charlie Weis struggles in the first two columns). Like an executive VP at a medium-sized financial services firm Cooper saw programs as opportunities to sharpen skill sets and resumes. His mission was not to be a Buckeye, but rather, the best. As a child at the Horseshoe in the mid-90s, I always felt the man in the oversized windbreaker was more interested in scanning his clipboard for the next play than the players themselves.
Yes. That's why he was good. Distanced from the emotion of the game, Cooper was able to concentrate on its mechanics. But that's also why he couldn't appeal to the soul of the sport. The Game was a game. Week 11. Nothing more, nothing less.
I've always been impressed that after the 2000 Outback Bowl ouster Cooper stuck around. He didn't go the NFL (at least beyond its scouting office) and he didn't go back to Phoenix. Instead he lives in Columbus, in a comfortable corner of the city that still blames him for a decade he can't change. Cooper takes the garbage out on February mornings in the rain just like the rest of us.
So, I'd like to profile a different Cooper. A Cooper I saw on January, 1st, 1997. I was twelve years old with my dad in Section 14 of the Lower Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Jake "the Snake" Plummer's eleven yard scramble put Arizona State 1 minute and 40 seconds away from the school's first National Championship. Cooper must have felt some admiration in watching the program he carried to a Rose Bowl victory in 1987 on the threshold of immortality. Or perhaps not. Perhaps it was like watching a startup firm you left before the dot-com boom become silicon royalty.
Irregardless, Cooper put down his clipboard, placed his hand on Joe Germaine's shoulder pads, and wafering the bill of his block O cap, put two fingers into the air. He then turned his back and wondered down the sideline. Fifty-nine seconds later Germaine hit David Boston in the north west corner of the end zone from five yards out for the game.
There's no better encouragement than preparing a team to play and stepping aside. Cooper won games on Thursdays, not Saturdays. Maybe that's why he was always No. 2 at the end of the season. Then again, out of 118.
01 May 2008
Delany is probably correct, oddly enough, because Delany spends time in boardrooms with college trustees, presidents, and businessmen who directly profit from the BCS and its set up. The BCS has been a tremendous boon for D-1 Major Football Conferences because of the way the bowls are setup. Gregg Easterbrook, the resident ESPN Page 2 football writer (mostly NFL, but he delves into NCAA) explains the numbers but I will sum it up: Every Big Ten program receives a fixed amount of TV money under the BCS format, so there is no changing format. Every year, the University of (Insert Big Ten School here) receives a set amount of TV and advertising money. The Big Ten gets 7 bowls, the Universities many programs get support, and everyone is happy. As Easterbrook points out, the BCS system is working exactly as it was planned out.
But I will stop being an apologist for the BCS and Jim Delany for just one moment. If Jim Delany and others stood up at press conferences and said "We are making money and you get to see great matchups," I would feel better about things. But periodically, they will jump in and offer these rationalizations:
- The BCS has done a wonderful job picking the championship match ups.
- Adding more games would upset the players lifestyles and their academic schedules.
- It never fails that every year, 1 or 2 teams who feel they deserve to be in the national championship will end up complaining and complaining about their exclusion; and they end up turning a joyous season (not Christmas, Bowl season) into a time for wining. Do you hear UNC and UCLA whining about not having a chance to play in the NCAA Basketball final this year? No...you never will.
- To hear Athletic Commissioners whine about one extra game in January to protect an academic schedule makes me think out loud: "Aren't you the same commissioners who now allow a normal D-1 team to play 13-15 total games?"