Friday, January 12, 2007

My Take on Pete Carroll’s Recent Flirtation with the Dolphins

Over the last six years, Pete Carroll has been consistent about at least three things: he is happy at USC; he is constantly in search of new challenges; and he would only return to the coaching in the NFL if given the level of control he enjoys at USC, which is total control. Until approached by Wayne Huizenga of the Miami Dolphins, Carroll did not believe that such a situation existed at an NFL franchise, and so did not seriously entertain the notion of returning to the NFL.

Huizenga described a setup at the Dolphins that was exactly what Carroll thought could not exist in the NFL. According to Carroll’s nature of seeking new challenges, he seriously considered the Dolphins job. After all, he has conquered just about every challenge at USC with five straight Pac-10 championships, five straight BCS bowl appearances (with four wins), and five straight top five recruiting classes. In fact, I believe he was closer to declaring himself a candidate for the job than maybe anyone realizes. However, when Carroll sat down to earnestly work through his decision-making process, he came to the conclusion that there were still challenges to address at USC, and he loves his job at USC too much to leave. I don’t think he made his final decision until just after his Tuesday press conference upon returning from vacation in Costa Rica.

I think this is an extremely positive development for USC fans who want Carroll to stay. If, after being presented with this opportunity by Huizenga and comparing his USC job to this potential NFL gig, Carroll decided to remain a Trojan, what other job could possibly draw Carroll away from USC? He has glimpsed his ideal NFL job and come to the conclusion that he is better off where he is. He is possibly more certain than ever before about his future at USC. This is great news for USC fans.

Jill Painter at the L.A. Daily News has a similar take on the situation as me. From her column:

"If you're asking me if I'm ever going (to the NFL again), if I was ever going to go, that (the Dolphins' job) would've been the best one," Carroll said.

Sam Farmer at the L.A. Times argues that staying at USC would be a much better decision for Carroll than the one John McKay made to go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Update: Pete Carroll said as much to the Daily News on Thursday:
"I was at the brink of it," Carroll told the Daily News of Los Angeles. "I made the decision to return right before I talked to (the media Tuesday).

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Warp Speed, Scotty!

I’m already sick of hearing how the SEC is light-years (as in the top speed of SEC defensive linemen) better than the Big Ten because Florida beat Ohio State in the BCS Championship. The only thing that game proves is that Florida was better than Ohio State on January 8, 2007.

If people are going to point to the results of bowl games as an indicator of the relative strength of conferences, shouldn’t they include all the bowl games played between the two conferences? Including Florida’s victory, the SEC was 1-2 versus the Big 10. Yeah, they’re definitely a better conference.

It seems like the mainstream media would have us believe that kids in the South are genetically programmed to grow up faster than kids in the Midwest, and kids in the Midwest are genetically programmed to grow up bigger and stronger than kids in the South. Yes, I know that programs recruit countrywide, but these maps (HT: The Wizard of Odds) show that Florida and Ohio State, at least, get most of their talent regionally, just like the Trojans, who enroll a handful of recruits every year from across the country, but fill the vast majority of their roster with players from California and other western states. Maybe Urban Meyer is recruiting players from Alpha Centauri.

I am no partisan of either the Big 10 or the SEC. It just annoys me when the media delivers shoddy analysis and expects their audience to accept it without question.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I'm Ready

After watching last night’s BCS “national championship” game, and feeling very little surprise at the outcome, I’m finally ready for a playoff in NCAA Division 1-A college football.

Until now, I have not been in favor of a playoff. If I had my way, we would throw out the BCS and all related formats and return to the pre-Bowl Coalition/Alliance days. Bowls could invite whichever teams they wanted and form any deals that suited their interests with the conferences. I would be satisfied if the Trojans’ annual goal was simply to win the Pac-10 and go pummel some unlucky Big Ten team in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day (that’s all the Trojans have control over now anyway). Of course, that would require acknowledging that the Div. 1 national championship is truly “mythical”, something that the vast majority of college football fans seem unwilling to do. Since the likelihood of this scenario occurring is extremely low, having a playoff is a much better alternative than the ridiculous BCS.

Before bowl season started, I was relatively confident (25 of 32 confidence points, if you're interested) that Ohio State would beat Florida handily. That changed when I watched the Rose Bowl. The beat-down suffered by Michigan at the hands of USC led me to question the strength of the upper echelon of the Big 10, and therefore the superiority of Ohio State, a notion the mainstream media had presented as canon for almost the entire season. Time and again the bowls have demonstrated that a team’s performance in its conference is not predictive of its performance against teams from other conferences in bowl games. The underdog has won four of the last five BCS championship games. Hence my underwhelming surprise at Florida’s victory last night. Only a playoff system guaranteeing match-ups between different conference champions would provide a true national champion.

Limit playoff participants to the six major conference champions plus two at-large teams. Have a committee select the at-large teams and seed all eight teams using a BCS-like formula as a guide or something simpler like the college basketball ratings percentage index (RPI).

I guess you could say this change in attitude was partly provoked by selfishness. After watching how USC played against Michigan and Florida played against Ohio State, I would have loved to see USC take on Florida. The Trojans would have been tough to beat. But who knows; maybe LSU would have taken the title this year. Or Boise State. Obviously, you’d have to say Florida would be the favorites after last night.

I figure if a playoff had been in place for the last five years, the Trojans could have two more national championships. Over the past five years, USC under Pete Carroll has demonstrated a talent for performing very well in big games, especially against teams from other conferences. Aside from this year, USC was playing at the highest level in the country when they beat Iowa in the 2003 Orange Bowl. They would have made a playoff that year as an at-large team.

By the way, no way is the team that got its ass handed to it last night in the desert anywhere close to the second-best team in the country.

Congratulations Gators!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Effin' Hilarious

I missed this while watching the game live, but laughed my ass off when I saw it on YouTube. Keep an eye on Henne as he is rapidly removed from the scrum.

HT: RCollier27 at Conquest Chronicles