Friday, January 8, 2010

The real title game was in Atlanta

We got the result I expected in the national title game - Alabama winning by a couple of TDs - but what a weird way to get there. I hate it that Colt McCoy injured himself and wasn't able to at least get his shot at leading his team to the championship. Even when he was in for a few plays, the Longhorns failed to take advantage of some bizarre early choices by Alabama by putting it in the end zone. A first posession fake punt on 4th and 23 deep in your own territory? Did someone hack into the Crimson Tide staff's headsets?

I would have thought that fake punt would be the worst play call of the half, but then came the Texas shovel pass attempt that began with 15 seconds remaining. For the play to even set up a possible long field goal attempt, it had to gain roughly 40 yards - good luck with that against Bama's D. Why would you ever call that play in that situation and give yourself the chance for it blow up in your face that way? It reminded me of the Jack Squirek interception for the Raiders against Washington in Super Bowl XVIII.

Jordan Shipley's a terrific receiver, but by himself he could not carry the Texas offense. Only one other player generated more than 39 yards, and his was largely on one play. Garrett Gilbert will probably be a good quarterback for the Longhorns down the line, but I doubt their gameplan was tailored to his strengths as a more traditional dropback passer than McCoy. Bama didn't get great play from their QB, but when you have two 100 yard rushers that isn't essential.

One of yesterday's comments took me to task for my skepticism about Mack Brown's coaching ability in big games...

"Mack Brown is not a big game coach? Have you not been paying attention? Since 2004 he's 5-0 in bowl games (3-0 in BCS bowls). 6-3 against Oklahoma and Ohio State. 2-0 in the Big-12 Championship. 2-0 against the SEC. Funny how the missteps of Texas teams from 10 years ago still shape public perception of Mack Brown's coaching abilities to this day"

Sorry, no sale. Just because you manage to win a game does not mean you were well coached in doing so. (Les Miles won a national title while going out of his way to prove that point two years ago.) Texas beat Nebraska to win the Big 12 title DESPITE their coaching, not because of it. That was some of the worst clock management I have ever seen, and they didn't look well prepared to play at all. Likewise, a narrow win against a depleted Oklahoma squad this season - one that saw McCoy's best play be a tackle to stop a potential gamewinning Oklahoma defensive TD - did not cause me to bow to Mack's coaching wizardry. Brown is a terrific guy and has done a wonderful job as an organizer and recruiter of making the Texas program the force it should always have been. Game coaching is not his strength. I'm all ears if someone wants to cite games where they feel Mack Brown won with great strategic choices rather than superior personnel. I suppose you could argue letting Vince Young take over the 2005 season's national title game was a strategy, but for me that's about it.

BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock continues to put out incredibly amateurish PR talking points to try and sell the idea that it's the best system that we could ever possibly want to determine a college champion. Here's his latest effort, delivered before the game...

"[One] result of a playoff would be more injuries, more Wes Welkers happening in college football. Imagine if Wes Welker were Kellen Moore or Mark Ingram or Colt McCoy."

Yes, imagine if McCoy got hurt. Thank goodness that doesn't happen thanks to the BCS. Beyond that, Welker got hurt during the NFL's REGULAR SEASON. What the hell does that have to do with whether we should have a college football playoff system? How do those FCS level kids survive their playoff, anyway? Did the title game resemble a scene from Braveheart and I just missed it?

I'm always skeptical of kids who don't want to compete for a job. Drew Henson was like that, insisting Michigan not recruit any other QBs for two years except for him even though he was supposed to be All-Everything. He turned out to be a disappointment in two sports, despite all the hype. What is there to be afraid of if you're so good? Jevan Snead has been that way too. He bailed on his UF commitment because he didn't want to compete with Tebow. Went to Texas and left after a year because he couldn't beat out McCoy, even though both were playing. After he transferred to a QB desert at Ole Miss, he was able to start two years even though he struggled badly this season. Earlier this week, Houston Nutt indicated there would be competition for the starting job in Oxford rather than it being Snead's by default. Time to leave again - Snead's going pro. Any team dumb enough to spend anything better than a sixth round draft pick on him deserves exactly what they get. Ryan Mallett is making a better decision than Snead by staying at Arkansas, even though he probably would have been drafted higher on his physical tools alone.

NBC is a joke. The network reportedly is looking to move Jay Leno back to his 11:35 time slot and shove Conan O'Brien's show back to either 12:05 or 12:35. They'd supposedly make the move because Leno is tanking at 10 (as everyone fully expected would happen) and it's killed their affiliates 11 PM news ratings. O'Brien has had half a year to try and grow his audience in a new timeslot, with a garbage lead in audience thanks to Leno. He also has to deal with Leno's show trying to book the same guests as his since they're both in Los Angeles and Letterman getting an incredible publicity boost out of his sex/blackmail scandal. That's supposed to have been a fair shot? NBC actually called Leno "one of the most compelling entertainers in the world today" this week. Apparently jokes you can see the punchline for 20 seconds ahead of delivery are considered really compelling stuff by NBC execs. Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here Monday.

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