Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Cynic's Guide to College Football, Week 11

My apologies for the lateness of this week’s entry. Much like Phil Fulmer and Ron Prince, I’m a short-timer in my current job. (Unlike them, I’m pulling a Nick Saban and heading for greener pastures of my own accord.) But as a result, I’m suddenly being inundated with requests for “work” and “information,” which has greatly cut into my writing time. As such, this will be an abbreviated version of The Guide this week. But, like most coaches on a short leash, I promise that next week will be better.

1. Rocky Bottom

I wrote about Phil Fulmer losing his job last week and, while I hate to pick on a guy while he’s down, I wouldn’t be doing my job of writing about bad football if I didn’t at least note the Volunteers’ 13-7 loss to Wyoming last weekend. As one local newspaper columnist put it, “UT Stands for Utter Travesty.” Others said it was the worst UT loss in more than 30 years, if not longer. Let me put this as gently as I can. They lost at home. On Homecoming. To Wyoming. You know, dead last in scoring offense and 112th in total offense Wyoming? You know, held to seven points or less five times this season Wyoming? As much fun as we all made of Michigan’s loss to Appalachian State last year, this one is way worse. Appalachian State, while a small I-AA team, was at least a good team. I can’t say remotely the same about Wyoming. Or Tennessee.

Make the hurting stop.
Photo courtesy : Loserswithsocks

2. Sometimes They Just Make It Too Easy

In honor of Movember, the Oregon State football team has stopped shaving this month.

Insert your own beaver shaving joke here.

OSU’s new middle linebacker

3. When Sportswriters Attack

Mainstream sportswriters have lots of critical comments (some deserved) about sports bloggers. But the most common is that, as opposed to traditional news outlets, bloggers “aren’t accountable, their information doesn’t have to be factual, they can just put it out there and criticize and never have to be questioned about it.” Well, if that’s the case, the Kansas City Star’s Jason Whitlock would make one hell of a blogger.

As the Wiz of Odds first noted, earlier this week, Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis announced that he would be taking over playcalling duties from offensive coordinator Mike Haywood. Whitlock went ballistic, calling Weis “a bully and a coward” and accusing the rotund coach of “throw[ing] his offensive coordinator under the bus.”

Just one small problem with Whitlock’s theory: Haywood won’t be calling the plays because he’s not with the team this week following a death in the family.

Look, I’m not by any means a Charlie Weis or Notre Dame fan. Personally, I think they’re perfect for each other—smug, egomaniacal, overpaid and an overinflated sense of worth. But then I could say the same about certain sportswriters.

Whitlock at work on another hard-hitting piece of investigative journalism.

4. Rooting for the Good Guys


In honor of Veteran’s Day this week, I thought I should mention that the service academies are quietly putting together some pretty good teams. Navy, even without Paul Johnson at the helm, are 6-3 and have a realistic shot at a nine-win season (remaining games vs. Notre Dame, @ Northern Illinois and vs. Army). Air Force is flying high (pun intended) at 8-2 and, in a normal year in which Utah, TCU and BYU were not all top-20 teams, would be competing for the MWC title. And Army, well, they’re 3-7. But they’re still more man than you or I. So to all of our cadets, service men and women and veterans, a big thank you for all that you do.

No matter who gets the Commander in Chief’s Trophy, the U.S. of A. is the big winner.

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