Guessing the politics of college football coaches
I missed the
Traveling in Pennsylvania and Ohio last week, I felt as if I were being stalked by the candidates, all four of whom are positively haunting these swing states during the final fortnight of the campaign. In fact, there was Obama, greeting me in
Obama was actually posing with Jay on the coach's screensaver. Jay was kind enough to share extensive background on the evolution of Penn State's Spread HD offense, very little of which made it out of my notebook following the team's 13-6 squeaker in Columbus. (Sorry about that, Jay. Surely those notes will come in handy in ... Miami?)
It turns out Jay is a fervent Obama supporter. Before the candidate visited campus last March, one of his people called Jay. They wanted to pay obeisance to the legend. "We know Joe can't endorse him," went the message, "but we wanted to reach out, as a sign of respect." Jay got his father on the phone with the Senator.
JoePa couldn't endorse Obama because he's a staunch Republican. Remember that Paterno actually gave a speech for his good friend,
Fine. Be that way, guys. I will
And no matter how wrong I am, I'll take comfort in still having a better record than
There may be no more gifted, natural politician in the coaching ranks than charming, folksy Texas head coach
"You know," Brown recalls Bush telling him that evening, "your job is a lot harder than mine."
Before he was introduced at halftime, Brown asked the Gov. for advice on what to say, and Bush did him right: "Just get up, tell them, 'I love coaching in the great state of Texas,' then flash 'em the Hook 'em Horns sign, and sit down." Brown did, and the crowd went wild.
It's easier to peg the politics of
Leach is also obsessed with pirates -- the original "redistributionists," to borrow
Closer inspection clouds the issue. By obstinately refusing to make star players
Possible clue: Leach has befriended quintessential capitalist and McCain-backer
But what's the one thing Carroll requires before he will even consider an NFL job? (He reminds us every offseason, after entertaining his obligatory offer from some desperate NFL owner or owners.) The answer: complete control over football operations. It's
Consider also the distilled essence of Carroll's philosophy: "Win Forever." Am I alone in hearing, in that slogan, echoes
And ponder the single most robust principle undergirding Carroll's program. The man has made a religion of competition. On this rock he has built a cardinal and gold superpower. And what is that, other than a paean to free-market economics? Maybe that's why 'SC got spanked by unranked Oregon State on Sept. 25. Simple cause and effect: that was the day WaMu became the biggest bank failure in U.S. history.
As part of his work with A Better LA, a foundation devoted to transforming Los Angeles, Carroll drives around some of the city's sketchiest neighborhoods, late at night, with an ex-gang member, stopping periodically to talk to young people on the streets and find out more about their lives. That's something I could easily see McCain doing -- provided the Senator was permitted to bring a few of his friends along.
What about Carroll's Notre Dame nemesis,
On the other hand, Notre Dame is a pretty conservative place, despite what you may have heard last spring about roving bands of dangerous women hell-bent on
How else is he ... conservative? There is reason to believe that Weis may be sympathetic to the Bush administration's controversial warrantless surveillance of unsuspecting Americans. There was a time, reportedly, when he was sympathetic to the warrantless surveillance of unsuspecting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Weis required no such cloak-and-dagger ops to dispatch woeful Washington last week. Notre Dame's 33-7 victory ran the team's record to 5-2, dropping the Huskies to 0-7. After the so-called Ty Bowl, Washington AD
One is tempted to point out, for Willingham's sake, that Candidate McCain has proposed eliminating taxes on jobless benefits. But that would be piling on a good and decent man. It would be insensitive. And impolitic.