What the future holds for Meyer and Florida, plus more mail
I'll remember this past weekend for the rest of my life. It marked a wonderful milestone in my life, and it served as a testimonial to the ever-eventful sport I cover.
With a long, holiday weekend in store and only a handful of second-tier bowl games on the calendar, I seized the opportunity to do something I'd been awaiting for months: I got engaged. The proposal took place on Thursday night. On Saturday night, my now-fiancée and I were in a cab headed to a celebration dinner when my phone started buzzing.
That night, poor
All because of a coach who, as it turned out, didn't resign after all.
I know as a journalist I'm supposed to remain detached from the story, but after watching Meyer's press conference Sunday, I'll admit: I'm deeply concerned for the guy. I've spent quite a bit of time around Meyer, whether one-on-one in his office or covering his games and press conferences. He's usually upbeat, cocksure and commanding. But the guy who sat on the dais Sunday looked nervous, confused, beaten down and every bit the 20 pounds lighter (if not more) that's been reported.
The immediate reaction by most fans and media was to ridicule Meyer for "flip flopping," for seemingly turning on his family and for putting Florida's program in limbo. I can't bring myself to do it. The man is obviously sick and in need of help. His abrupt reversal Sunday morning (purportedly based on one "spirited practice") was undeniably bizarre, but it was also the product of a mind that seems truly and deeply conflicted.
He's torn because he doesn't want to let down either of his "families" -- the one at home, or the one in the locker room. He wants to get healthy for the sake of his wife and children. He's apparently contemplated stepping down for months, if not years. But he's also carrying the burden of the consequences that would come from that decision: A new coach would possibly tear down everything he's built; those on his staff might lose their jobs; his players might get lost in the shuffle. For him, the "leave of absence" may be about peace of mind. He can step away knowing his own hand-picked replacement (
Medical professionals would tell you he made the right choice. Someone who's plagued by poor stress management is going to have that problem no matter what job he holds, and leaving or changing jobs is often an even greater source of stress. But the question becomes, what is Meyer going to do with this time off (beyond whatever medical procedures he may be facing)? While it's admirable to want to spend more time with one's children, watching a few volleyball or little league games isn't going to "fix" him. And if he winds up calling the office every morning to check up on recruiting, then he might as well not take the break at all.
Meyer is dealing with some deep-rooted issues (the sources of which were abundantly clear in S.L. Price's magnificent and now eerie
Ding, ding, ding. While the BCS' p.r. machine was wasting its time Monday
Now -- imagine Alabama not trying to beat Auburn.
I've been making this case for years, but playoff zealots don't want to hear it. That's because playoff zealots refuse to acknowledge that the regular season as we know it would change irreparably in the face of a playoff. Just like the NFL,
The BCS is putting a lot of energy right now into fighting back against playoff proponents, but it seems to me it's picking the wrong battles. How the teams are selected, where the games are played -- these are issues, sure, but they're no less manageable than the BCS' current headaches. For all its pontificating, the BCS has yet to demonstrate to the masses just how radically a playoff would change the sport.
For instance, my colleague Andy Staples and others
Having said that, considering all the empty seats we've seen in most bowl broadcasts thus far, considering
It's absolutely true, but it's also inconsistent, which makes predicting the non-championship bowl games a complete crapshoot (as my mediocre record so far shows). Case in point: The BYU-Oregon State Las Vegas Bowl. If that game took place on a Saturday in October, I highly doubt it would have been so one-sided. The Beavers' offense hadn't played that poorly all year. But the Cougars were coming off a dramatic season-ending win in their rivalry game, while the Beavers were coming off a crushing defeat in theirs. I have to think that affected both teams' preparation.
But Pittsburgh was playing under much the same circumstances against North Carolina and still prevailed. One wouldn't have been surprised if USC rolled over in the Emerald Bowl, but quarterback
It was pretty amusing to read some of the e-mails that poured in during the first week of bowl season. You guys sure love to rub it in. I'd love to give you some scientific explanation for why I was so wildly off on Wyoming and Middle Tennessee State, but the simple truth is I'd seen those teams play as often as most of you.
I must have done a decent job on the All-Decade Team, because there were surprisingly few complaints. But these were the two most common (shocker: People think Tebow is overrated), so I'll address them both.
First of all, my intent was to honor the most accomplished player(s) at each position. Much like
In terms of a career award, the much tougher choice was between Tebow and
Speaking of which -- Leinart was just one of several USC players that barely missed the All-Decade cut. I didn't set out trying to allocate by team in any way, and I was surprised myself when I realized afterward that Bush was the only Trojan. But remember, you're dealing with a very small sample size (27 players) and position restrictions (with all due respect to
The only "experts" at predicting games are in Vegas -- and they started 1-5, too.
The issue isn't depth within each conference, it's the quality of the Mountain West's second- and third-tier teams versus those of the BCS conferences. The
The three criteria the BCS has said it will use for its current four-year evaluation period (2008-11) are 1) the average of each conference's highest-ranked team, 2) the average number of Top 25 teams and 3) conference computer average. In the first two categories, which involve only TCU, Utah and BYU, the Mountain West currently rates equal to or greater than several current AQ conferences. But in the third, which takes into account the whole league, it still rates a distant seventh. So the key over the next two years will be not only for the "Big Three" to maintain their current level, but for some of the bottom-feeders (New Mexico, UNLV, San Diego State) to get a lot better.
Just kidding. Nobody wrote that. The e-mails stopped showing up after 1-5, which is a shame, because I could have used more positive reinforcement like this:
Oh I will. I'm going to go drench my balding head in some of that Pasadena sun.