We’ll call it “Spot the Set-Aside.” Apparently the Marine Corps likes to put them in commercials, so that makes it easier.
The Good: Blatant Homerism’s excellent Dobbs for Heisman campaign continues with a pair of podcasts. First, he talks to Heisman Pundit writer Chris Huston about the award in general, including Ricky’s chances. In the second podcast, he interviews the man himself.
Adam Nettina conducted his own interview of Huston here.
Speaking of notorious set-asides like Ricky Dobbs, he’s been nominated for the American Football Coaches’ Association Good Works Team. One more black eye for Canoe U.
The Bad: The new NCAA Tournament format, if you ask Billy Lange. And if you were a head coach in the Patriot League looking at a tournament with four auto-bid teams going to play-in games, you’d probably say the same thing. John Feinstein says that while the new 68-team tournament could have been worse, that’s a far cry from saying that it’s better.
The Good Again: Since we’re on the topic of basketball… The Naval Academy doesn’t announce its new class of athletic recruits until after I-Day, since incoming athletes don’t sign LOIs and therefore have nothing binding them to the school until they’re actually enrolled. That means that even though we’re gearing up for football season, we also get our first official look at the new class in every other sport at the same time. Billy Lange talked with the Sun’s Matt Bracken in pretty good detail about Navy’s incoming basketball class and how they’ll fit into the big picture.
The Ugly: This week has served as a reminder as to why athletic departments have compliance directors. It can be really, really easy to commit a violation. Florida and Ole Miss coaches also got a slap on the wrist for writing on recruits’ Facebook walls. Far more serious for Florida, though, are the allegations that Maurkice Pouncey was paid $100K by an agent prior to the Gators’ Sugar Bowl appearance. The NCAA is apparently cracking down in the wake of the USC/Reggie Bush investigation, because Florida isn’t alone; similar stories are coming out of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Alabama. For the record, Pouncey says that he received no such payment.
I usually have no problem reveling in the DAMN DIRTY CHEATING SEC talk that usually follows such stories, but it’s hard to point fingers at these schools when agents are essentially predators hunting their players. You can educate your players, but those lessons can be hard for them to remember when someone is waving thousands of dollars in their faces.
The Case Study: Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson stepped down after 8 years in Nashville. For spread option fans, Johnson is an interesting case study. No coach has faced Paul Johnson’s offense more. Not only is Bobby the only head coach to have faced Paul at Georgia Southern, Navy, and Georgia Tech, but they also squared off as coordinators in the 1985 I-AA title game. There will probably be a blog post on this in the future.
The Poetry: You all know of my fondness for haiku.
The Industry: I’m fascinated by the newspaper industry. I enjoy getting glimpses into how the news world works. Knowing how things operate leads to more educated criticism, which helps if you want your lousy blogger opinion to be taken serously by anyone. HAHA WHO AM I KIDDING WE DON’T CARE IF WE’RE INFORMED THIS IS THE INTERNET. There were a pair of boomshakalaka haymakers thrown this week. First, we have Pete Pelegrin’s parting shot as he left the Miami Herald and the FIU sports beat. Then there was Jason Whitlock’s piledriver on Mitch Albom and the newspaper industry in general, which I hesitate to link because I’m pretty sure half my readers like Mitch Albom. My willingness to alienate all of you is second only to my work ethic when it comes to reasons why I will never be paid to write this blog.
The Air Farce: Pre-Snap Read looks at Team Jesus Christ in his countdown.
The Chargers: As much as I want to believe this study on Petco Park’s economic benefits, the critics make some good points.
The iPod: Liz Phair– May Queen
The Padres: Having swept them to start the second half of the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks are the cure for what ails you. Unless you sneeze.
Adam Nettina is getting way too high-falutin’ for us, getting interviewed by ESPN’s Bruce Feldman about a story he wrote on Andre Byrd. The story is about yet another football set-aside embarrassing the Naval Academy while he skates through his priviliged set-aside life, if “embarrassing” means “bringing credit to” and “skates through his priviliged set-aside life” means “works his ass off while inspiring others.” Who decided to let this slacker in?
Anthony Piccioni– hard-hitting special teamer, reserve linebacker, and by extension a taxpayer-robbing, unqualified set-aside from some school where the streets are paved with misery and the tears of the disillusioned– has acquired a new label from ABC News: “counter-insurgency guru.” Be sure to write your congressman in protest.
A snapshot of the random crap that’s on my mind…
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was supposed to be a Wednesday thing, but last Wednesday I was busy driving a 1999 Buick Park Avenue with 3 hubcaps, a cracked windshield, and no A/C from Jacksonville to my parents’ house in Virginia Beach. I know what you’re thinking; how can a baller who makes it rain with his mad blogger cash be rollin’ in a decade-old Buick? Because the paparazzi gets all up in my business when I drive the Bentley, that’s how. I like to take the Buick when I want to travel on the DL.
The Good: While I’m pretty sure that this is the only Navy football blog out there, most of you know that it wasn’t the first. That was Pitch Right, written by Adam Nettina. Despite the fame, fortune, and respect that come from being a blogger, Adam gave up this glorious life to concentrate on frivolous details like “college.” He still writes though, both for the Utah State Statesman, and by doing the bulk of the original content– player interviews, recruit profiles, and all the other things people expect from a Scout.com site– for GoMids.com. Adam recently wrote an excellent piece on Eric Douglass that you need to read if you haven’t already.
I’m sure that my my rather low opinion of GoMids.com is no secret. Their handling of whole Fleming thing is a great example of why. To interview Bruce Fleming is to put a microphone on a human vuvuzela. What’s the point? Is anyone unaware of his opinion? Is he going to reveal anything that he hasn’t already said in a dozen other media outlets? And at this point, do you even care if he does? Yet here’s GoMids, stretching Fleming’s 15 minutes into 15 weeks by keeping him front and center while the rest of the world has (rightfully) moved on. While the “countdown to the special sneak peek at part two of the preview to the video of the interview” is downright spine-tingling, one would hope that if GoMids insists on dwelling on this “story,” they could at least take a different angle on it. While probably not his intention, that’s exactly what Adam did– detailing one football player’s academic struggles, how he’s overcoming them, and how the coaches played a role in his academic development. In an issue that deals primarily in high-falutin’ theoretical arguments, Adam wrote a story about real life, and lets us be the judge on how well the situation was handled. It’s a fine piece of reporting. Douglass also deserves credit for being as candid as he was.
The Bad: Don Coryell, offensive mastermind and one of the two greatest coaches in Chargers history (along with Sid Gillman), passed away last week at 85. Anything I could possibly say about Don Coryell would fail to do the man justice. He is the embodiment of the two things I value most in a coach: innovation, and winning in San Diego. Howard Balzer wrote a fine column for USA Today lamenting that Coryell won’t be around to see his overdue Hall of Fame induction. His piece includes some great quotes from Dan Fouts and Charlie Joiner.
Coryell isn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame yet, but he is in the College Football Hall of Fame. While more famous for the Air Coryell Chargers, college fans will also remember that he was the architect of the best stretch in San Diego State football history. From 1961-1972, Coryell was 104-19-2 on Montezuma Mesa, including three undefeated seasons and two NCAA College Division national championships. His success was the primary motivator for San Diego State making the move up to the University Division (the predecessor to what is now known as Division I) in 1969. The Aztecs’ success didn’t end with the move; from 1969 until Coryell’s last season in 1972, SDSU won three Big West Conference titles, won the Pasadena Bowl, and claimed victories over Arizona, Oregon State, BYU, and Iowa State. I doubt that Coryell will ever get the kind of credit he deserves outside of San Diego County.
The Ugly: We’re all tired of conference expansion talk, but it isn’t going to go away just because you want it to. Somewhat lost in the Big 12- Pac 10 brouhaha is the WAC, which lost Boise State to the Mountain West. Does that mean that more dominoes will fall as that conference looks to make up for what it lost? Probably not. It seems that– for now, anyway— the college football version of Hungry Hungry Hippos is done, and all the little white marbles have been consumed. That is, unless you believe BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe.
“Things may settle for a little bit,” Holmoe said, “but there’s opportunities — great opportunities for BYU that did not exist last week.”
Opportunities that didn’t exist last week? Holmoe wouldn’t get specific, but by being vague he is obviously trying to imply that some other conference wants BYU. Maybe it’s true. Or maybe he’s just trying to save face after their biggest rival was invited to the BCS party while BYU was left behind. For all we know, this “great opportunity” might be the women’s golf team taking a summer trip to Scotland.
The Animating Contest of Freedom: As long as nobody else leaves the WAC, Hawaii probably won’t have to consider anything drastic like going independent. It’s an interesting idea, but good luck filling THAT schedule. The most interesting part of that article, other than the quotes from Niumat, is this stroke of genius from Birddog-endorsed coach June Jones:
When June Jones was the UH coach, he floated the idea of selling ESPN on a last-game-of-the-night package for UH home games, a concept that has long had appeal at UH but is currently prevented by the school’s rights being tied to the WAC agreement with ESPN.
What a fantastic idea.
The Schedule: Speaking of June Jones, when he was coaching Hawaii he made a point to mention that he’d like more games against service academies. He said that they were good games to expose Hawaii to a national audience that would otherwise never see them. If the creation of the Gansz Trophy and an ongoing rivalry with Navy is any indication, Jones still feels that way at SMU. Meanwhile, Navy played in Honolulu last year, and the ‘Bows are starting a series with Army this season. And it might not be ending there.
The Benefit Of The Doubt: We’re going to assume that Ken Niumatalolo wasn’t included on this list because it’s for “non-Big Six” conference coaches and not “non-Big Six conference” coaches. Especially considering that he’s 6-2 against coaches that are on the list.
The Thaw: If you’re in Anne Arundel County and wondering what that joyous sound was coming from College Park last week, it was probably Maryland fans celebrating the news that their athletic director, Debbie Yow, has left to take the same job at North Carolina State. I really have no idea if she was a good AD or not, and don’t really care. If you’re wondering why some Terps fans might be happy, though, John Feinstein sums things up pretty well. In the interest of full disclosure, Feinstein is hardly an impartial observer; he freely admits that he’s good friends with Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams. However, Yow’s relationship with the Naval Academy certainly doesn’t conflict with anything Feinstein wrote. She tried to use the media to pressure Chet into closing the deal for this year’s Navy-Maryland game in Baltimore, and I have heard from two different people that she once made less-than-gracious comments about Chet at a Maryland booster event. If you were hoping for a thaw in relations between the two schools’ athletic departments, Yow’s departure doesn’t hurt.
The More You Know: The secret to football success? Schoolhouse Rock!
LOS LIIIIIIIINKS: Sandlapper Spike, author of the Birddog-endorsed The Citadel blog The Sports Arsenal, twittered a link to this interesting story about West Virginia and the break of the original ACC schools from the Southern Conference. Speaking of the ACC, Pre-Snap Read continues its countdown, including Navy opponents Wake Forest and Duke. Mouse Davis, father of the modern Run & Shoot, is back on the staff at Hawaii. Some hometown loves their set-aside so much that they couldn’t waste any time editing; they just had to get this article out as quickly as possible. I can’t blame them.
The iPod: Lush– Light From a Dead Star
The Padres: How bad have the Padres been in their 42-year existence? This is only the 7th time in franchise history that the Padres have had a lead of 3 or more games in the division.
The team is also trying to push Heath Bell for the final fan vote for the All-Star team. While I think the best pitching staff in the National League should probably have someone representing them in the All-Star Game (even if Bell wouldn’t be my first choice), my vote went to Joey Votto. The fact that Votto’s inclusion has even come down to the last-chance vote is incredibly absurd. A quote I read earlier on Facebook sums it up:
“Leaving Joey Votto off the All-Star Team is like…leaving Joey Votto off the All-Star team. That’s the only thing that’s that stupid.”