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At Least the Heisman Bucked a Trend

After seeing how magnificently some of the recent winner performed in the pros, my confidence in the significance of the Heisman Trophy award certainly dwindled. The Heisman does not go to the Most Outsanding Player in college football. Nay, as my man John Fricke pointed out, it goes to the best offensive performer on an excellent BCS team who also happens to be an upper classman. The biggest challenge in giving the award to anyone but a quarterback, running back, or receiver, is the inability to quantify the other aspects of the game. As dominant as defensive lineman, linebackers, or offensive lineman might be, how do you represent their accomplishments and on-field ability using numbers the public understands? You just can’t. Touchdown passes and yards gained is the language we speak, not tackles nor pancake blocks. There was however one excellent development on Saturday night that indicated some progress in the awards ceremony — the Heisman went to an under classman for the first time.

Whether or not Tim Tebow deserved the award is debatable. Nonetheless, I was pleased to see that the voters were undeterred by his sophomore status, not settling for the lame argument that he would have two other years to win the prestigious award. If a player is outstanding, that’s all that should matter — nothing else. Tebow had a fantastic year, and may never perform at the same level he did this year in his collegiate future. He was rightfully rewarded for his season, and the voters finally showed some competence in bucking the trend. Hopefully in the future there will be continued flexibility in the mentality of the voters.

Karl Dorrell: Duke Football Savior?

I’ve said for quite some time that I wanted Karl Dorrell out as UCLA’s coach. I was happy to finally get my wish this week, but I still maintain that I want Dorrell to succeed, just elsewhere. Well, looks like Dorrell’s opportunity to coach in the collegiate ranks may be coming sooner, rather than later, as SI.com reports:

Former UCLA head football coach Karl Dorrell is drawing interest from Duke University, SI.com has learned.

Duke would like to schedule an interview with Dorrell in the near future, but it is believed that the Blue Devils are still in the process of formally contacting the coach.

Maybe Duke is just drawing upon its common lines with Dorrell — they were two of the three schools to lose to Notre Dame this year (Stanford was the other, as The Driver points out). Perhaps it’s that sort of distinction that unites. As for coaching at Duke football, it’s no easy task. Ted Roof was fired after winning just 6 games in 5 years. Yeah. Those won’t be easy to come by for Karl. Duke football has gone winless three times since the turn of the century. Their last ACC title? 1989 when they were co-champs under Steve Spurrier. That would be some high company, Karl.

Cal Completes the Impressive Collapse

A matter of seven weeks ago, the Cal Golden Bears were on top of the college football world. Sporting a #2 ranking and healthy 5-0 record, a BCS bowl was not in question; it was only a matter of whether or not they would reach the National Championship game. Matter of fact, a buddy of mine even tried rescheduling a surgery so he’d be ready to travel to New Orleans come January 7th. So much for that. The once mighty Golden Bears quietly dropped six of their last seven, starting with the disappointing loss to Oregon State.

Until my mentioning here, you probably didn’t even realize how poorly Cal finished. They just dropped off the radar screen with a meteoric thud. They lost their last three, including back-to-back road losses to Washington and Stanford. I can understand stumbling against Oregon State and losing to ASU and USC, but come on, also falling to UCLA, Washington, and Stanford? Are you kidding me? All for a team that torched Tennessee to start the year? How is it possible that a team goes from being one of the top five in the country (which they clearly were) to one of the worst in the Pac-10 a few months later? It’s mind-boggling. Please, someone, explain to me how something like this happens. Was it the curse of the tree hugger?

UCLA Football Mathematics

May the dream come true. This week, UCLA football has the opportunity to make up for the mistake made five years ago. Hire The Mooch, and all will be forgiven and forgotten. Please let the dream come true.

That’s Why Paterno Is Still Coaching

He’s a cheap date. Err coach. Apparently he wasn’t joking when he said he doesn’t pay attention to the money he earns. Unlike some of the hot shot coaches around the country making multi-millions — the Sabans, Tressels, Stoops, Meyers of the world, Joe Pa is content just scraping by. The Patriot-News reports that Paterno’s making just over $500,000 in salary this year — $512,664 to be exact.

While that number seems small for a big-name coach, and it is, Paterno could be pulling more from sponsorship deals, and/or media work. Still, it isn’t exactly a whole lot. Recently the Pac-10 football coach salaries were revealed. At its base level, Joe Pa would be 9th in salary out of the 10 coaches. That’s pretty low. I’m guessing his assistants and coordinators, who also carry most of the actual coaching load, get paid a good amount. So in case you were wondering why Paterno hasn’t been fired, aside from his reputation and legacy at Penn St., it’s probably because he’s not costing them a whole lot anyway. I guess we’re bringing new meaning to the term “figurehead.”

Lou Holtz Blames the Internet

Former college football coach and current analyst Lou Holtz was a guest on Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Tuesday. Erik Kuselias, who was filling in for Greeny, was ranting about all the college football coaches that resigned were fired the past few weeks. As Kuselias said, and I agree, some of the coaches probably didn’t deserve to be replaced because they did a pretty good job. When Holtz was asked specifically about Arkansas getting rid of Houston Nutt, he answered with a broad generalization:

Kuselias: What do you think about the expectations at a place like Arkansas versus what they’re getting from a coach like Houston Nutt?

Holtz: Well the coaching profession has changed in this respect. It’s no longer just the sportswriters you deal with — you get the internet. The thing about the internet, they can put any rumors there, don’t have to sign the correct name, don’t have to hold an element of truth, not held accountable for. Consequently, there’s just a bunch of things that goes against you.

You know, as hard as it is to be a college football coach, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to be a blogger. You got analysts and prominent media members out there bashing you left and right, creating a constant struggle. They can make blanket statements, don’t have to suffer backlash, don’t have to cite any specific examples, and not get held accountable for them. Until now.

I understand the point Lou was trying to make, but he said it with such contempt that the message got lost amidst the general attack on the internet. Had he said that the internet has allowed passionate fans to prominently voice their opinions, contributing to the overall feeling of impatience towards coaches, I would’ve probably agreed. But the way he said it makes him out to be a crotchety old man who’s too good to use a “damn computer.” Maybe avoiding generalizations of that nature is advised in the future. And it’s comments like these that help explain why Holtz is out of the coaching profession.

UCLA Completes Four Passes, Beats Oregon, Dorrell Lives, Rose Bowl Alive

A few weeks ago, I thought Dorrell had lived his last life. Apparently this cat has twenty of them. Somehow or another, the Bruins beat Oregon, eliminating the Ducks from Rose Bowl contention. UCLA completed four — count em — just four passes in the ballgame. Yikes. Luckily for UCLA, Oregon was in similar quarterback hell, alternating between second, third, and fourth stringers. So what does this all mean? In this effed up world of college football, the Bruins are still alive in the Pac-10 race. They beat USC (yes, I’m laughing to myself), while Arizona knocks off Arizona State, and they’re in the Rose Bowl. Of course, give me a 95 mph fastball and I’m in the majors, you feel?

If UCLA could win a game in which they only completed four passes, why couldn’t they do the same thing against Notre Dame? Maybe Dorrell and the Bruins’ staff wasn’t sharp enough to figure out on the fly that they should just run the ball with a fourth string quarterback rather than let them throw passes and get picked (as Mike Bellotti did). So UCLA will likely finish 6-6, ruining at least one season in the process. Callahan, Morriss, Orgeron, Carr, and Franchione are gone amongst others. Will Dorrell join the group? I think and hope so. The numbers speak for themselves. But I’ll be darned if this guy hasn’t put fans on one hell of a roller coaster ride. And damn, he sure does have far too many lives.