A month ago, who would've guessed that having Jimmy Hoffa in your "Next Michigan Coach" pool would've given you a better shot at the kitty than the guy who drew Les Miles?
Yup, this Michigan coaching search is quickly becoming a disaster. A harmless process that once started with a few fleeting glances in the direction of Miles now seems destined to end with a handful of stalking charges and a subpoenaed Facebook account. Needless to say, things have not gone well. Perhaps the only question remaining -- aside from the zillion other questions remaining -- is whether the Wolverines will have a new coach before the general election of 2008.
No, folks, this isn't the kind of thing that Oprah Winfrey can sway -- the Michigan athletic department is in a pickle, and perhaps in a state of denial. The Wolverine brass is probably just as confused as you and I, asking the same things we'd wonder if staring down the abyss along the Big Blue sideline: how freakin' hard is it to find someone to coach MICHIGAN? Doesn't our strong recruiting pipeline and track record for developing NFL talent stand for something? Why is nobody jumping to get our job? And at what point do we start taking résumés from Monster.com?
Indeed, the groundswell of confusion and awkwardness surrounding this vacancy is utterly confusing. With the carousel of Miles and Greg Schiano talk, it's almost like the entire scenario is an ad-libbed, runway plot akin to season six of 24. And the sheer pageantry of Michigan football -- the kind of thing that should make it any coach's dream job -- doesn't exactly have the Kavorka it once did.
So how do we explain this? I was hoping you could help me. In order to truly understand this situation, there are several gaping holes that need filling. Maybe it'd work better if we just branded it as "Michigan Mad Libs."
Simply fill in the blanks below, then pair up your words with the story at the end of the column. Send in your responses and I'll post the most insightful essay next week. It's the best I can do to make sense of this all.
1) Type of job2) Verb (past tense)3) Verb (past tense)4) Adjective5) Type of disaster6) Troubled celebrity7) A cardinal direction8) A different cardinal direction9) Reality television star10) Type of entertainer11) Current college football coach12) Type of liquor
I sat in front of my laptop this weekend brainstorming the answer to a predictably impossible question: assuming Tim Tebow is a real, actual superhero among us, who is his nemesis? It's a fair question. Batman had The Joker. Superman had Lex Luthor. Spider-Man had Green Goblin. Heck, every superhuman character ever conceived has had some equal and opposite foe capable of destroying him. So if Tebow is flying by night wearing a cape and a Heisman Trophy T-shirt, there MUST be some arch enemy out there capable of taking him down, right? Otherwise the Earth would've spun off its axis by now.
But the problem is that no singular, notorious entity possesses enough evil to make this happen. Not Nick Saban. Not Britney Spears. Not Hugo Chavez carrying a black cat and a voodoo doll. Nobody fits the bill. At least nobody that I could think of in two full hours.
However, an organization could do it. An organization such as -- I don't know -- the NFL? Hypothetically, it's thinkable that, despite all Tebow's impressive accomplishments, the NFL could conspire amongst itself and one day expose him as a system quarterback with so-so passing skills and average speed compared to pro linebackers. I suppose this isn't beyond the realm of possibility, and it's something to watch for as Tebow embarks on his quest for a second Heisman, and perhaps the NFL Draft, starting in late 2008.
Naturally, this is all written with another assumption in mind -- the assumption that Tim Tebow won't annihilate the NFL and start his own league long before the NFL ever has the chance to get the best of him.
Can anyone really blame Bobby Petrino for running from Atlanta as if it were a burning building? Between Michael Vick's mess, DeAngelo Hall's whining, Joey Harrington's spiral and a generally apathetic fan base, Petrino fell three games short of coaching a full season in the NFL. Long live the old wives' tale of college coaches tanking at the next level.
But here's the real question: Is this actually an upgrade? Think before you answer. The last coach at Arkansas, Houston Nutt, had to deal with some bold-minded mouthbreather who used the Freedom of Information Act -- you know, the federal law that declassifies sensitive documents -- to dig through Nutt's phone records and launch a de facto coup against him. (Yes, this actually happened.) Nothing spells euphoria quite like an overzealous fan base thinking its second-tier program should be USC.
All that aside, I still think the Arkansas job is a better job for Petrino. That is, as long as the zoning board approves plans for a moat around his mansion with a black knight standing guard at the main entrance. Or at the very least, a strong deadbolt.
Believe it or not, they're playing basketball these days, and with college football plunging into the depths of irrelevance for the next month, we best be working a little 40 Minutes of Hell on the hardwood. (By the way, Campus Quick Slants will be with you throughout the college hoops season -- if you're into that sort of thing -- and we'll be transitioning to more basketball over the coming weeks.)
For my money, the real beauty of college basketball -- other than March Madness -- is the exaggerated nature of the commentary. Your name doesn't have to be Dick Vitale or Jay Bilas; this trend has whisked across the nation to the point that anyone sitting courtside is brewing up a quotable. No matter how hard you try, you simply cannot avoid a stray pun, analogy, or wisecrack that makes you roll your eyes, laugh aloud, or ... umm ... write a weekly blurb in nationally syndicated column. So that's exactly what I'm doing. Each week, send in your favorite over-the-top, out-of-place, or ridiculous comment, and I'll promise to expose it to as many wary eyes as possible.
This week's winner is ESPN's Steve Lavin for trotting out a dead horse from Goldilocks and the Three Bears while describing Arizona standout Chase Budinger last Saturday: "He's lacking some vitamins or minerals. Looks like he needs some porridge."
Uh, sure. Porridge is the panacea for a bad jump shot. Everyone knows that.
1. More overrated 80s game? Dizzy, Dizzy Dinosaur / Mousetrap
2. Better bowl bet? Ohio State (+6.5) / Florida (-10.5)
3. Quirkier bowl sponsor?R + L Carriers / PapaJohns.com
4. Better cartoon theme song?Gummi Bears / Inspector Gadget
5. More anonymous college star? Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech) / Kevin Smith (Central Florida)
6. More underrated appliance?Oven / Electric can opener
7. More credible predictor? Ouija board / Magic 8-ball
8. Bigger online fad?"Virtual" college football playoffs / Mock drafts
9. More overrated Ashley?Tisdale / Olsen
10. Tastier kind of French fries?Regular / Curly
Both Kansas and Virginia Tech were in action this week, though it was a far cry from the Orange Bowl. You might remember how I compared the Jayhawks and Hokies to Doink the Clown and Steve Blackman, respectively, last Wednesday. Well, little did I know that both Doink and Blackman would be participating in the WWE Raw 15th Anniversary Special as part of a 15-man battle royal of old school wrestlers. Special thanks to Tony from Pennsylvania for bringing this to my attention -- I nearly spit out my juice upon learning that something like this actually took place.
And if you were wondering, both wrestlers were eliminated, though Blackman, in all his blandness, looked much more like an actual wrestler. Doink remained impossible to take seriously.
(Don't forget to send in you entry)
Upon learning that Lloyd Carr had resigned his post as Michigan's head football (1) ____ , Ann Arbor (2) ____ knowing that it'd have a legitimate chance at beating Ohio State next season. But once Les Miles ___ (3) ___ the position, things started getting ____ (4) ____. And after Greg Schiano rebuked an offer, fans started fearing a ____ (5) ____ the way _____ (6) _____ fears rehab. Now (7) ____ is (8) ____, up is down, and Michigan is no closer to finding a coach than (9) _____ is to becoming a(n) (10) ______ . So unless (11) _____ feels like offering any recommendations, the Wolverines may be forced to turn to the only consultant who can help. A bottle of (12) _____ .
Ty Hildenbrandt writes Campus Quick Slants every Wednesday. E-mail Ty at email@example.com with your comments, questions, and random observations.