Michigan Part Deux, evaluating the USC dynasty, Crush feedback, more
That's unfortunate, because while I generally like to cover as many different teams as possible in this space, I see no choice but to pen Michigan Part Deux in light of recent developments.
There's definitely a little bit of both at play here.
But what really stands out about this whole episode is just how truly radical a culture change the Rodriguez transition has been for Michigan. I say that because pretty much every time a new coach takes over a high-profile program, you immediately hear stories about just how much harder the players have been made to work (a colleague and I jokingly refer to
But I can't ever remember hearing the type of backlash that's occurred at Michigan ever since
Michigan may end up paying a price with the NCAA (a few docked scholarships or practices), but the more immediate issue here is the atmosphere surrounding Rodriguez's program just keeps growing more toxic. I've always believed the combination of Rodriguez's offense with the type of athletes Michigan is capable of recruiting spelled the makings of a championship program -- but it's hard to get there when a large segment of the public already wants your blood. The continued negativity surrounding Rodriguez (and oh, by the way, he's also being
Unlike those two, though, Rodriguez is a proven commodity whose system worked in the past. That said, he better get it working again, and in a hurry. As always, winning tends to cure a lot of things. If the Wolverines handle Western Michigan this weekend and follow that up by upsetting Notre Dame, I'm guessing most fans will forget this drama ever happened. But whereas last week I felt like a 7-5 season would appease most worried Wolverines fans, now I'm not sure Rodriguez would survive it. The climate may simply be too divisive.
Unless, of course, he beats Ohio State, in which case he'll probably get a contract extension.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could just remove the word "gimmicky" from the sport's lexicon altogether? If an offense, like Texas Tech's, is consistently successful and works at the highest level, I fail to see how it's any more "gimmicky" than anyone else's. It's just unique.
But I'm not naïve. I realize any Run 'n' Shoot-type passing quarterback is going to face an inevitable stigma. However, I don't believe voters view run-heavy offenses like
Generally speaking, you can safely presume the overall talent level across the country gets better with each passing decade. In almost every facet, the coaching and training methods employed with players -- starting at the high school level -- get more advanced with every year, and the end product is an ever-increasing proliferation of elite athletes. I would imagine the biggest difference you'd see if you compared a current college roster to one from 15 years ago is a change in size at certain positions. The safeties and linebackers would probably be sleeker and faster, as would some defensive ends, while the receivers and tight ends seem to keep getting taller.
As for the Florida State-USC comparison -- wow. That's a tough one. We may have to wait a few years to answer it. While I'm not a big fan of using NFL success to retroactively validate college players (as you'll see in just a bit), it's a fairly telling reflection of various programs' talent levels. Florida State in its heyday produced a ton of A-list stars, guys like
However, in terms of overall draft selections, it's about equal. USC has averaged 6.2 picks per year this decade; Florida State averaged 5.9 during the '90s (for current comparison's sake, I excluded those selected lower than the seventh round). Plus, most of Carroll's alumni are only a few years removed from college, so it's too soon to say what their legacy will be. Let's see how the most recent wave of Carroll protégés (
Yep -- Katy was a very popular choice. While there were a few, inevitable dissenters, no previous Crush selection has generated anywhere near the amount of gushing e-mails as this one. I feel bad now that I short-changed Katy a couple of months by taking so long to announce it. Fortunately, her vast LSU knowledge gives me a convenient excuse to work her in frequently.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised last week's Tebow column generated such backlash (these were just the clean e-mails). It's been clear since last January's BCS Championship broadcast a whole lot of you are really, truly tired of hearing about Tebow. I tried to make it clear I myself am not one to wildly toss around hyperbole, which is why I wanted to come up with a quantitative measure by which to address the "all-time greatest" question. But judging by my inbox, many of you either didn't read past the headline, or are simply violently opposed to someone even addressing the subject.
It's a curious phenomenon when you think about it. It seems to me that in pro sports, people are
The comments I most appreciated were those who suggested possible ways to improve my admittedly makeshift formula. In hindsight, I really wish I'd incorporated some variable that took into account the fact today's stars play one to two extra games per year than their predecessors (not to mention bowl stats weren't counted prior to this decade). Otherwise, the single most common question raised was ...
Obviously, it shows the vast differences between college and the NFL. For one, the pros put great emphasis on a quarterback's physical tools, to the point where actual college performance is almost secondary. Scouts saw something they liked in
Meanwhile, my sense is NFL coaches are very rigid with the offenses they run. They'd rather go find a QB that fits their traditional system than adapt their offense to better suit the unique abilities of a guy like Tebow or
Regardless, I take umbrage with anyone who suggests a college QB's legacy is somehow tainted if he doesn't go on to NFL stardom. Whether or not Young ever sees the field again for the Titans, his epic Rose Bowl performance against USC will remain the greatest I've ever seen by a college quarterback. Whether Leinart ever wins the Arizona starting job, his fourth-and-nine fade pass to
It's pretty simple: I don't have faith in
That said, I don't have a whole lot of faith in most of the other coaches in that league, either, with the notable exception of Cincinnati's
I must confess: Until it was pointed out to me, I could not have told you who sang
To make it up to Nazareth, here is
It's a tad depressing. I'm not as bent out of shape over the competitive-advantage aspect as many Big Ten bloggers seem to be; I just feel bad for Indiana. Obviously, times are tough, and it's hard for a downtrodden program like IU to pass up a $3 million payday (keeping the game in Bloomington would reportedly have netted closer to $1 million), but it doesn't exactly exude confidence about the Hoosiers' program. What does it say to your players and potential recruits when you're basically admitting: We have such little fan support we're going to have to turn ourselves into barnstormers.
It's sad to think just three years ago, the late
Well thank you, but it's really not that bad. Whatever people say, I know it's all in good fun.