Pundits Get Pwned
And believe me...I get a lot of crap for that…especially in the last few years because I have a tendency to remind you of things I said would happen…shortly after they do happen. In case you haven’t guessed it yet I’m talking about my own statement to you just two days ago that said that you could count on USC not going undefeated this season.
Regardless of “I told you so’s”, USC’s rather predictable implosion should remind us all of something that is extremely important, yet rarely discussed. That fact is this: The internet age has given us so much information, we tend drown ourselves in it. Hell right now, as you read this journal entry, you could click your mouse a few times and find out who Hofstra beat in their final regular season game in 1977. The Internet is the greatest single information-based technological advance of our life time….but it’s killing common sense in terms of college football fans.
Does anybody else realize how ridiculous it is for not one media outlet…not one website…but pretty much EVERYBODY ON EARTH to just assume USC would roll into Miami undefeated in early January? (Especially when they have a long history of taking games off) Isn’t it a bit silly to be making claims like that when we still have a handful of days left in SEPTEMBER!?!? I love those websites and networks as much as you do…but is there ANY REASON whatsoever to have a top-50 Quarterbacks ranking list in July?
Again, I appreciate discussion about college football year round, as well as embracing all of the speculation that goes with it. And yes…TWO posts a year, I go through the North and pick what I think will happen. Then a week later I always go through Nebraska’s schedule and give you my opinion on what I think will happen there as well. Everybody is entitled to things like this, which is why I take more credence in the ESPN fan poll than I do the Coaches poll. I don't tell you that's GOING to happen...I tell you what I think will happen. I don't expect you to bet your farm on it...nor do I expect it to carry any more or less weight than some yokel who is getting paid big bucks to sit on a set in Bristol, CT.
But what gets out of control is when teams that aren’t THAT good or THAT bad get better/worse during the week simply because pundits, message boards and columnists talk about them constantly. Again, that is one of the best parts about the sport; the conversations that go on during college football season…but do you people REALLY think Georgia is the best team in college football? OK, they beat Arizona State, but didn’t they get beat by a MWC team the week before at home? OK, Knowshawn Moreno leaps into the end zone and starts to get “major Heisman consideration”, but did you see him against a very mediocre South Carolina team? 20 rushes for 83 yards isn’t exactly spectacular.
But regardless, the whole thing is ridiculous. USC got beat last night, because it was painfully obvious that two things happened: 1) They believed the hype about themselves and 2) On any given Thursday that kind of shit can happen. This is also the #1 reason why talk about a playoff is idiotic and shortsighted. Yes, those last 3 games leading to the championship game would be great…but would last night’s game be anywhere NEARLY as exciting…knowing USC will most likely win the Pac-10 anyway and likely make their way into any possible future playoff bracket?
This stuff isn’t rocket science people. College football is subjective and should always remain so. But YOU as a college football fan need to remain objective enough to at least be able to cut through the bullshit that the national and local media is trying to feed you. Realize that people like Collin Cowherd, Lou Holtz, Tom Deinhart, and Tom Shatel are just as full of shit as you or me. They have no more insight or aren’t privy to any more information that you can’t find yourself on the internet.
As soon as you figure all of this out, you will find yourself less and less “shocked” that football games are actually played in stadiums and not on paper or on a message board.
* One of my readers had a very interesting question for me earlier this week. You may not have caught it, but it went something like this (paraphrasing): “Do you think the departure of Chase Daniel will hurt Mizzou next year, and how much credit does he have over Gary Pinkel in turning the Missouri program around.”
Gary Pinkel deserves a lot of credit for sticking to his guns and adjusting his game toward the shifting winds of college football. When people were calling a 5 wide spread with Brad Smith in the gun crazy….Missouri OC Dave Christensen stuck with what he thought would work. 6 years later, the spread is all the rage, and Mizzou’s offensive squad has its inner workings down to a science.
With that being said, I do NOT give Gary Pinkel credit for one big thing, and that is something that you will relate to if you haven’t already: Losing is a sickness. It is WAY easier to slip into a pattern of losing than to pull yourself out by the bootstraps and succeed on a consistent basis. If anything , Pinkel made things WORSE by being crotchety with the media and those who questioned his approach.
Chase Daniel is the one person that brought that “Screw you” mentality to the program that was simply missing for decades. The kid knows the offense, which admit it or not..is way more complicated than it looks. He’s going to make a damn good coach someday and Missouri will very much miss his services next year.
But to answer the question, I do see a drop off for Missouri over the next few years while trying to break in a new QB and most likely replacing a damn good offensive coordinator. Gary Pinkel will be faced with his most difficult challenge as a head coach. Anybody can throw together a few great seasons behind a damn good QB with a gunslinger attitude. It’s tougher to keep that standard up, while bringing in replacements worthy of the hype.
Now whether or not they’ll be better than Nebraska next year? Probably, but I’ll bet you anything that your pompous and self-absorbed arrogance will still ooze from your keyboards, just as it has for decades. We shall see about Missouri.
* Speaking of the Hicks, big game with Va Tech on Saturday night. Like many, I’m pretty torn about what is going to go down. On one hand, this Virginia Tech team has struggled at times…especially on offense. Memorial Stadium will be whipped to a Soybean fueled frenzy, as you and 85,000 of your fellow Co-op members hoot and holler at top volume for the ABC regional cameras.
But then again, can you really look at the collection of stiffs you’re throwing out there these days? Can you really look at Va Tech’s defensive talent and say to yourself, “May, Roy Helu is going to have a field day on these guys!” Or, “Va Tech is really going to have one hell of a time containing Nate Swift.”
Just doesn’t fit does it?
Hate week inches closer on the horizon. Enjoy the games Saturday.