Watch Out -- Your Character is Showing

>> Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This past week in football was both satisfying and distressing, all wrapped up together.

I neglected to watch ESPN Game Day on Saturday, and I have not yet caught up on my DVR'd version of "College Football Final" (yes, I'm a dork), so I'm sad to say that we have no individual awards to give out today. Instead, we will substitute the honor (dubious though it is), with some team and group awards.

First award -- the "That's More Like It!" Award goes to Penn State for stomping Michigan on their own turf and for owning Michigan two years in a row. You know it's a great football weekend when people come bounding across the pews in church to come talk about how nice it was to watch the Lions hang a bunch on some weasels. I mean wolverines. Eh, same thing. Really.

The "Enough Already" award goes to the entire staff at ESPN for mentioning at least once every 5 minutes that Penn State has not beat Michigan in Ann Arbor in 11 years. You can stop saying that now.

For a lightening change of heart, the "BOO! HISS" Award goes to Florida State. No, this isn't what you think. We are proud to be anti-Bobby Bowden in this house because, like all good Penn State fans, we think "Samford Shouldn't Count". (If you need an explanation for that statement, look here at this article. The article is old -- Joe is back in the lead now -- but it explains what the gripe is about in a more unbiased and polite way than I would.) All the booing and hissing relates to the way FSU is treating Bowden now, mid-season demands for his resignation and all that rot just because the team has hit some bad times. Let's think about that. One: You gave the guy a statue outside your stadium. Two: He built your football program. Three: He's one of very, very few active College Football Hall of Famers, and they changed the rule so he and (Joe) the other one (Joe) whose name I won't mention (Joe) could get in while they were still alive. Four: Great football coaches don't live long after they retire, so griping on him now is just plain mean. FIVE: EVEN IF YOU GET ANOTHER COACH IT WON'T STOP THE BLEEDING.

Just think about it -- ask Notre Dame, Michigan, Illinois, Miami, even Alabama. You can't replace a longtime coach, especially a legend, and expect things to improve right away. All you are doing for the next year or so is moving a new guy into the hotseat as the sacrificial lamb to the fans and alumni until you find the "real" coach. Why rush the transition years? (Again, let's look at Notre Dame, or how long it took Alabama to come back to life. Miami is still waiting for redemption.) If Bobby shows up to work, does his job, tries to make improvements, and nothing works, then sometimes you need to let nature take its course and let the cycle work itself out. Bobby can do a lot with a football squad, but he can't upgrade kids who just don't have the talent to perform. Not every team will win the conference every year. Not every coach can pull wins out of the ether. Not even Joe. FSU -- don't send Bobby out this way. Don't be the school that did that. Please. Seriously -- how can you build the guy a statue, and appeal the NCAA sanctions just to preserve his record, and then pull the plug on him? Frankly, it makes you look like the mean-spirited idiots we all like to think you are on Saturday.

Moving on to other subjects, this weeks "Huh?" Award goes to the referee team for both the Penn State-Michigan game and the Michigan State-Iowa game, both of which called defensive holding at crucial moments of their respective games. What the heck is defensive holding? Did they just invent it for this weekend? How is it that I've never heard of it before and yet hear it twice in the same weekend?

Although I have said something like this before, the "Groundhog's Day" Award goes to Michigan State for once again managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the game against Iowa. Iowa threw a touchdown pass in literally the last few seconds of the game. (Ouch, I'm remembering an old PSU-Michigan game in Ann Arbor in 2005.)

And finally, the "Grudging Respect" Award goes to Iowa for achieving an 8-0 record for the first time in school history. (I still have a hard time believing that stat, but ESPN said it, so it must be true.) I am pulling for Iowa to lose every week since they beat PSU, which is why the Michigan State game was such a heartbreaker for me, but I have to admit the team has spunk. Maybe it is their turn. Aww, na. That's too nice.


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