Monday, January 10, 2011

"National" "Championship" Roundup!

It's that time again! Time for two teams chosen by subjective criteria by biased voters and flawed computer scores to play against each other in a game held so long after the regular season that all the momentum they had built up may well be gone! It's time for the "National" "Championship"!

Fortunately, this game actually should be pretty good. You'd have to be made of stone, or perhaps just indifferent to the sport of football (same difference?) not to be excited about the Auburn-Oregon matchup. These are two exciting teams with pants-crappingly dynamic offenses. If they score fewer than eighty combined points, we'll all be disappointed.

Auburn is the favorite and rightfully so. They've put up almost as many points as Oregon against tougher overall competition, and they will have the single best player on the field. However, no one should count Oregon out. Oregon's strongest single opponent, Stanford, finished the season better than any of Auburn's opponents; Oregon had fewer close victories; and the Ducks will have the second best player on the field.

I'm picking Oregon to win, because I believe they certainly can, and because I want them to. I really don't want to have to listen to Gary Danielson if the SEC makes it to five "championships" in a row. (Not that I want to listen to him anyway, but you know what I mean.)

My predicted first half score: Auburn 10, Oregon 7. Final score: Oregon 38, Auburn 37.

And now for a "National" "Championship" carnival of links:

See who professional football opinion-havers are picking in Dr. Saturday's BCS Prediction Thread!

Marvel at Pat Forde's comparison of the teams! (Ex: "Campus vibe: Crunchy/Preppy")

Be amazed by statistical analysis from Football Outsiders! (I admit, I couldn't make it through the whole thing, but I did pick up good nuggets like "The good news for the Ducks is, after tonight, they still won't have faced a truly elite defense" and "Of all the mind-blowing numbers to come out of Newton's Heisman-winning season, this might be the most likely to spread gray matter all over the wallpaper -- he's 19 for 19 through the air on game-opening drives.")

And finally, nod solemnly in agreement with Stewart Mandel's argument that the game needs to be pretty good, considering that it's been kind of an ugly season.

Monday, January 3, 2011

LeachWatch 2011: Will No One Hire Mike Leach?!?

The news broke yesterday that no, Maryland will not be hiring Mike Leach after all. And who could blame them, when a coach that just lost 48-20 in a BCS bowl was available? (Plus, he had a 1-16 record against ranked opponents! How can you say no to that?)

Seriously, nobody is impressed with Maryland that they got rid of Ralph Friedgen only to replace him with Connecticut's Randy Edsall, who is--in a joke already stolen by several people around the internet--a younger, thinner Ralph Friedgen. The story is that Maryland "got cold feet" about the Mike Leach hire and decided to play it safe.

This makes no sense. The only reason they fired ACC Coach of the Year Friedgen was to build excitement in their fanbase. The only reason! You don't make a move to create excitement and then back off the most exciting part. There are other reasons to avoid hiring Mike Leach--his ongoing legal battles with Texas Tech and ESPN, the unattractiveness of his "system" offense for kids who want to go into the NFL--but those reasons existed two weeks ago.

The conclusion I've come to is the one I've made all the other times Leach seemed to get close to a new job, only to get turned down at the last minute. The man must give the world's worst job interview. We all know that he comes across really awkwardly on TV and as a weirdo in print interviews. Maybe when an AD faces down Leach's whole weird deal across the desk, he can no longer focus on the man's resume.

C'mon, ADs of the world. I know the whole "pirate fetish" thing might not appeal to you, but your student body will love it.