Wednesday, December 10, 2008

don't these idiots have anything better to do?

It's an outrage, I tell you. More in a bit. First, recruiting. Some slightly overdue updates to the recruiting board:

- Moved DE Will Hill to Verbal. Obviously.

- Moved WR Tyree Watkins from Soft Verbal to Verbal. This here Rivals article is a pay article but dates from after the Mike Groh firing and includes Watkins' comments on the situation. Watkins says, basically, he's committed and will take his official, and if he doesn't like it, he'll "consider other visits." He's not paying for it. I suspect he will like it.

- Dropped WR Justin Brown. We never really were in great shape for him, and we fired his recruiter.

- Added OT Nolan MacMillan, who got hisself an offer. I wish there were more to know about MacMillan, but Scout gives him the One-star of No Bother Look, and that's a step or two better than ESPN, which doesn't even have him in the database. Awesome.

- Moved Lanford Collins from red to blue and changed his position from DE to LB, as we would use him in a Clint Sintim role. ($) Oh, and he listed a top four of us, VT, Md., and PSU, hence the move to blue. Nice.

I will tell you what, with early enrollments and all we probably have about 26-28 scholarships we can hand out. We have 22 commits. Give us Brennan Williams, Morgan Moses, one of either Collins or Luke Kuechly (or, hell, both), and Josh Evans (who is given meh ratings from the services but has something like 38 offers from damn good football teams) and I will be a happy camper.

One addition I did not make was OT Hunter Steward. This article lists the all-Tidewater offensive football team (and congrats to Perry Jones and Tim Smith by the way) and you would guess from it that he's a very logical choice to end up in blue and orange, given that his other choices are indicated as Marshall and JMU. We will see - I'll keep an eye on it, ya know, but his Rivals profile has an interview - a recent one, like, a December one - that says he has narrowed his choices to Marshall or prep school. Which would kind of indicate he doesn't really have a UVA offer after all, unless it came in the last week or so. So we'll see.

Regarding the OC job, Jay Jenkins at the CDP (and thanks to Mahini of the Good Ol' Blog who had the article up first) has three possibilities based on past ties with Al Groh, Bob Pruett, and/or the Commonwealth. One is a very familiar name: Ron Prince. Ed Zaunbrecher has just been let go from Purdue, and coached for Groh many moons ago. Dave Clawson is the third; Doug Doughty also mentions Clawson here, along with the very prudent caution that Clawson, having just been victimized by one coaching change, might not jump at another job where the head coach is in hot water.

This, in fact, is why we are going to find it difficult to find a real talent at OC. We're not going to get some "up-and-comer" looking to boost his resume. Think retread. Notice Prince and Zaunbrecher and Clawson are all guys who have just lost a job, not some bright new mind on the scene. I know little about Zaunbrecher and Clawson other than what I read, but this I know: I was never enamored of Prince's playcalling. Too much sideways stuff.

OK, so what's got me all worked up these days? Congress, of course. I'm already not real pleased with these fools over the auto bailout. I try to keep politics out of the football blog, but I will just say that Sen. Shelby of Alabama is a fucktard. Now, naturally, Congress wants to stick their meddling noses into college football and mandate a playoff. I'm only half mad about this because of my strong anti-playoff feelings. Don't you leaders of the free world have a war to win, a deficit to tackle, a national debt to pay down, an economy to fix, crime and hunger to solve, AIDS and cancer to cure, ANYTHING AT ALL??

This is probably as good a time as any to point out the Two Truisms of playoffs. Everyone has their own perfect system. Everyone thinks their own system is The Greatest, and everyone wants to share it with the world because it's Perfect and they're waiting for the world to fall at their feet with admiration for saving us from the Abominable Bee-Cee-Ess. If your Perfect Little System doesn't adhere to the Two Truisms, then forget it. It's not going to happen. Accept the Two Truisms, then see if you still like the idea of a playoff:

- Truism #1: It will be BIG.

Do not for a second delude yourself into thinking you can create a cute little four or six or eight team playoff. Here's why. Playoffs have autobids. All playoffs the NCAA has, have autobids. Believe it: None of the BCS conference commissioners will let go of this BCS thing unless all of them get a slice of that pie. So there will be at least six autobids.

Then one of two things will happen. One, the WAC, MWC, and others will cry bloody murder; after all, March Madness includes them, and dammit, so should football. So 11 autobids. That basically means a 16 team playoff, because one at-large bid isn't going to be enough. And what will Notre Dame say about all this?

Or, two, the WAC, MWC, and others will cry bloody murder and get ignored, and that leaves six autobids. Which doesn't fix a damn thing, because that means Texas is still out in the cold, brutha. You need a few at large spots; eight would be the absolute minimum playoff size. You'd actually probably have at least six at-large bids to placate the mid-majors.

And then, take a look at March Madness. You think it's got 65 teams because those are the best 65 teams in the land and they all have a great shot at the title? Hell no. It's 65 because the NCAA couldn't resist the awesome bracket-building, money-grubbing wonder of three weekends of March Madness, baby! It used to be 8 teams. Then it was 16. Then it was 20-some. Then 32. Then 48. Then 64. Then 65. And they're talking of expansion again! Your cute little perfect six team or eight team football bracket will not stay that way.

- Truism #2: It will be home-field sited.

Some people like to claim their little playoff "maintains the integrity of the bowl system" by simply playing the semifinals in Miami and New Orleans and calling them the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl. Why, then you could be the Cotton Bowl champ, Orange Bowl champ, and Rose Bowl champ, all in one year!

I got news for ya: The bowls ain't playin' ball. They're independent organizations. You think the Sugar Bowl is gonna like being the quarterfinals? You would have to get them to agree to this. They're non-profit organizations, and not looking to make a buck - many might simply fold.

And even more important: Fans will not travel twice. You think the ACCCG is so damn empty because there are no VT or BC fans? Of course not: Boston College fans actually helped fill the stadium for the C***** S***** Bowl last year for its best crowd in 13 years. It's so damn empty because it's 1300 miles from Boston to Tampa and the BC fans are going to wait for the bowl game before they spend all that cash and call in dead to the office so they can go. Michigan fans, numerous as they are, are not going to travel to El Paso then Dallas then New Orleans then Pasadena for playoff games.

These are the Two Truisms. If you think you can propose a Perfect playoff system that doesn't take these into account, stop it. It might be fun to think about and wish for. It might be fun to play out each season, like little kids with toy soldiers wishing they had real guns. If you think it's realistically implementable and doesn't take these into account, you're deluding yourself and wasting our time. Every other football division has a big-ass playoff with home-field sites until the championship game. If you still want a playoff, then you must accept that you're:

- Willing to destroy the best regular season in all of sports
- Willing to destroy practically 100 years of unique bowl tradition
- Willing to ruin a great excuse for a lot of people to take a great vacation to a warm spot to go see their favorite team play. Ever traveled to a bowl game? It's a blast. You putter around town, play a little mini-golf. You wear your teams colors at the airport and hi-five total strangers wearing the same colors and shoot dirty looks full of malice at total strangers wearing the other ones. You hit the bars, you go to the game and you enjoy the pageantry. Ever travel to hostile territory? You park your car backwards so nobody sees your license plate, and you hope it's not flipped when you get back.

Playoffs must die.

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