Category Archives: College Football

The SEC’s toothless tigers

Two of the three Southeastern Conference football teams nicknamed Tigers are finding out the cheap hire is often the wrong hire.

Missouri is a dumpster fire. Barry Odom is in over his head. He might have been a fine coordinator under Gary Pinkel, but as the man in charge, he is trying to navigate the Missouri River in a canoe.

The Tigers looked absolutely pitiful yesterday in a 35-3 loss at home to Purdue. Yes, the Boilermakers have been in the Big Ten since the conference was formed, but when was the last time Purdue was mentioned consistently among college football’s elite? Hmmm….I want to say it was when Jack Mollenkopf was coaching, and last I checked, he retired after the 1969 season, seven years before I was born.

The Boilermakers won the Rose Bowl after the 1966 season, when Bob Griese was a senior. Since then, Purdue has made it to Pasadena ONCE (which is still one more time than Minnesota and the same number of times as Indiana and Northwestern in the last 51 seasons), and that was with Drew Brees.

Purdue plummeted like a rock once Brees departed. The school from West Lafayette has been in the lower division of the Big Ten every year since 2000, and the Boilermakers were absolutely dreadful under Darrell Hazell, who was 9-33 in three and a half seasons before he was fired at the mid-point of the 2016 campaign.

Jeff Brohm, a former standout quarterback at Louisville under Howard Schnellenberger and then a very successful head coach at Western Kentucky, has got Purdue going in the right direction. The Boilermakers gave Louisville a major scare in the season opener, and have now destroyed Ohio (more on the Bobcats later) and Missouri. Purdue isn’t going to be a factor in the Big Ten race this year, but it should be a consistent bowl team under Brohm.

Missouri is going in the opposite direction as Purdue. The Tigers have been a hot mess since racial tension on campus two years ago, which led to Pinkel’s resignation. Odom’s defenses have been nothing short of awful. Rockhurst High in Kansas City has a better defense than Mizzou.

Odom has got to be on the hot seat. If athletic director Jim Sterk is not seriously vetting candidates, then shame on him. The longer Odom lingers at his alma mater, the better the chance Mizzou relapses into pitifulness, which was the state of the program for much of the 1980s and 1990s.

I fear the Tigers will slip to the point where they were under Woody Widenhofer (1985-88) and Bob Stull (1989-93), which was fighting like hell to stay out of the Big Eight cellar. Mizzou teams of that era routinely were destroyed by Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma, were dominated by Oklahoma State (prior to 1989, when the Cowboys were severely sanctioned by the NCAA), and had trouble with Iowa State and Kansas. Kansas State was the one punching bag the Tigers routinely beat, but that all changed under Bill Snyder, who turned the tide completely in favor of the Wildcats in the series by 1991. \

After consistently going to bowl games under Dan Devine (1958-70), and then making semi-regular appearnaces under Al Onofrio (1971-76) and Warren Powers (1977-84), Mizzou went 13 seasons (1984-96) with no bowl games. NONE. Larry Smith, the former Tulane, Arizona and USC coach, took the Tigers to minor bowl games, but Mizzou was back at rock bottom in 1999 and 2000.

It took Pinkel a couple of years to turn Mizzou around, but once he did, the Tigers became bowl fixture. In 2007, the Tigers ascended to number one after beating Kansas in the regular season finale, but they fell to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.

Mizzou is not going to a bowl game this year unless something turns around right now. I can’t see the Tigers winning an SEC game, not with Kentucky and Vanderbilt much improved, and with Florida, Georgia and Tennessee all well above Mizzou. Not happening.

Now on to my alma mater.

There was a team wearing LSU’s uniforms last night in Starkville. The names on the players’ jerseys were the ones which were listed on the roster released by the school.

Yes, the Bayou Bengals were there in body. In spirit? No way.

I expected LSU to have a very difficult time with Mississippi State. I went in feeling the Bulldogs had a great chance to win. The Bayou Bengals went in having won eight consecutive games in Starkville, and I figured the Bulldogs were overdue.

State had a huge advantage at quarterback, where Nick Fitzgerald was an All-SEC selection last year. LSU’s Danny Etling is competent and nothing more. Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen is an acclaimed offensive mind, having helped Florida win the 2006 and 2008 national cahmpionshp and molding Tim Tebow into a Heisman Trophy winner. LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada has been as popular as his boss, Ed Orgeron, since his hiring earlier this year, but I was skeptical. Still am skeptical.

The game which unfolded bore out every point I listed above.

Not only did State win, it embarrassed LSU. Bulldogs 37, Bayou Bengals 7.

How bad was it? State’s largest margin of victory EVER over LSU.

The Bayou Bengals and Bulldogs have been playing each other since 1896, and continuously since 1944. Counting last night’s game, LSU has played Mississippi State–once known as Mississippi A&M–111 times, more than any other opponent.

Last night was State’s 35th win in the series, compared to 73 for LSU, with three ties.

The Bayou Bengals had two touchdowns called back by penalty, although they got one of those back two plays later. In the second half, two defensive players, Donnie Alexander and Neal Farrell, were ejecting for hits to the head of Fitzgerald.

LSU was penalized nine times for 112 yards. It is on pace to commit 120 penalties for over 1,000 yards.

If Orgeron is as committed to discipline, he will suspend Alexander and Farrell for the entire game vs. Syracuse this week, not just for the first half as mandated under NCAA rules.

Regardless of what happens, Orgeron was a very disappointing hire for a team which has one of the largest budgets of any university.

LSU does not want for cash. It doesn’t have as many deep-pocketed donors as some schools, but it is the flagship university, the only one in a Power Five confernece, and there are big fans from every corner of the state. LSU consistently is deep in the black and pays its coaches handsomely.

Orgeron’s hire falls squarely on the shoulders of athletic director Joe Alleva, whom I believe should never have been hired in the first place.

The way Alleva severely mishandled the Duke lacrosse case when he was the Blue Devils’ athletic director should have precluded him from getting any other job as an athletic director, much less at a power school like LSU. I don’t know what LSU saw in him, unless Mike Kryzewzski convinced the administration Alleva was the second coming and was the only person worth hiring.

Alleva hired LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Caldwell-Fargas, who I do not like. If Alleva were smart, he would have gone to Waco and had a blank contract for Kim Mulkey, who has been at Baylor for nearly two decades now. Alleva would have asked Mulkey to fill in a dollar amount. LSU could certainly afford it.

LSU women’s basketball was a dominant program in the middle of the last decade, reaching the Final Four five consecutive years (2004-08), although it did not win a single game.

Now, the Bayou Bengals are at best a middling program in the SEC. They have been passed and lapped by Mississippi State and South Carolina, have fallen well behind Kentucky, and are still way behind Tennessee, even though the Lady Volunteers are not the superpower they were under the late, great Pat Summitt. LSU also lags behind the SEC newcomers, Texas A&M and Missouri.

Had Mulkey been hired, I’m certain at least one national championship banner would be hanging from the rafters of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center right now.

As for Pistol Pete’s old program, it is as low as the Marianna Trench right now.

Alleva is on his third men’s basketball coach, Will Wade, who came from VCU, where he succeeded Shaka Smart after he left for Texas. The 35-year old has brought youthful energy to the Bayou Bengals, but will that energy translate into victories? It won’t in 2017-18, but if it doesn’t in 2018-19 and beyond, then it will be another bust, right up there with Wade’s predecessors, Johnny Jones (2012-17) and Trent Johnson (2008-11).

LSU has won ONE NCAA tournament game with Alleva as athletic director. In 2015-16, the Bayou Bengals had Ben Simmons, regarded as the greatest basketball player to step on campus since Shaquille O’Neal. Simmons could not get LSU to the NCAA tournament, then skipped school and became the #1 overall pick of the 76ers in the 2016 NBA draft. Last year, LSU tied Missouri for dead last in the SEC. This year, LSU will likely occupy the cellar by itself, since Missouri has brought in a stellar recruiting class under Cuonzo Martin, who took over for Kim Anderson, who like Odom and Orgeron, was grossly in over his head.

Alleva cannot take credit for baseball coach Paul Maineri, because he was hired by Skip Bertman, Alleva’s predecessor who built LSU baseball into college baseball’s Death Star, winning five championships from 1991-2000 and 870 games in 18 seasons (1984-2001). Maineri led LSU to the 2009 national championship and the College World Series championship series earlier this year.

Orgeron was hired as LSU’s defensive line coach in 2015, and was elevated to interim head coach after four games in 2016 when Les Miles, hired by Bertman to replace Nick Saban in early 2005, was fired. Ironically, Orgeron’s first game in charge at LSU a 42-7 victory over Missouri in Baton Rouge.

Oregeron is not currently in dire straits like Odom (or Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M, Bret Bielema at Arkansas or Butch Jones at Tennessee), but if Orgeron goes 7-5 this season, the grumbling will be heard long and hard in the bayou.

Yes, Orgeron is Louisiana through and through, growing up in Larose, playing for a state championship team at South Lafourche High in 1977 and then playing in college briefly for LSU and more extensively at Northwestern State in Natchitoches. Orgeron was the most popular hire LSU has made in recent memory, much more so than Nick Saban was when he came from Michigan State and Miles when he came from Oklahoma State.

Alleva was ready to hire Tom Herman when Texas moved quickly to fire Charlie Strong. The Longhorns are the one program which can pay a higher wage than LSU, and paid it to swipe Herman from Houston. With Herman out of the picture, Alleva simply waved the white flag and took the “interim” off of Orgeron’s title.

Nobody doubts Orgeron is a great defensive line coach and recruiter. He coached Warren Sapp at Miami. He coached some great players at USC, including two-time All-American Shaun Cody. And he was recruiting very well at

As a head coach, Orgeron just doesn’t cut it. He was brutally bad at Ole Miss, going 10-25 over three seasons, including a pathetic 3-21 mark in the SEC. The Rebels bottomed out under Orgeron after winning 10 games in 2003 under David Cutcliffe. Ole Miss bounced back under Hugh Freeze, but that was because Freeze broke more than a few NCAA rules to build his teams.

Alleva should have hired Brohm or someone proven as a head coach. If Orgeron didn’t like it, he was free to find another job. I’m sure Pete Carroll would have offered Orgeron a position with the Seahawks had Orgeron not been able to find a college job.

There is no excuse for Alleva’s laziness. NONE. LSU should never have hired Alleva in the first place, but the Bayou Bengals have got to get someone new in the athletic director’s chair, or LSU may rot from within.

The Saints are down 20-3 to the Patriots at the end of the first quarter. It’s not a good weekend to be a football fan in Louisiana.

More of this BS OT

The Iowa-Iowa State game is in overtime.

FUCK ME HARD.

God I hate overtime in college and high school football.

No, check that. I don’t hate overtime in college and high school football.

I DESPISE IT.

In case you have been living under a rock, college football games which end tied after four quarters use a tiebreaker where each team has a possession beginning from the opponents’ 25-yard line.

There is one man to blame for this bullshit format.

His name is Brice Durbin.

In 1971, Durbin, then Executive Director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, came up with an idea to break ties on the field, rather than determine the team which advanced in case of a tied postseason game (notice I did not say “win” the game, because the game actually ended TIED) using statistics.

At the time, the first statistical criteria to determine the team which advanced was first downs. If that was tied, then it was the team which had the greater number of penetrations inside the opponents’ 20-yard line (the “red zone”). If that were tied, then the winner would be determined by a coin toss. Fortunately, no games needed the coin toss.

Durbin came up with a tiebreaker where each team would receive possession at the opponents’ 10-yard line, first down and goal. The team which had more points at the end of the overtime period (similar to an inning of baseball) won. If it were still tied, the game would go on (and on and on) until one team had more points.

The 10-yard line? Give me a break. You want to talk about tilting the playing field. Asking a defense to stop a team from making two and a half yards per play for four plays is way too much. Any offense which can’t average three yards a play isn’t worth a damn, either.

Even worse, the KSHSAA format precludes a defensive touchdown. So let’s see here…a defender intercepts a pass and has nothing but open field to the other end zone. Instead of rewarding the defender with a game-winning touchdown, you’re going to reward the team that turned the ball over by giving them a chance to stop the opponent? What the heck?

Kansas first used it in 1971, but no other state (smartly) adopted it for many years.

In 1972, a Louisiana Class AAAA semifinal between Monroe Neville and New Orleans Brother Martin (my alma mater) ended 0-0. The Tigers and Crusaders were also tied in first downs (9-9) and penetrations (1-1).

Louisiana High School Athletic Association Commissioner Frank Spruiell suggested to the coaches, Neville’s Charlie Brown and Martin’s Bobby Conlin, to flip a coin to determine the winner. Brown and Conlin told Spruiell to get bent. Spruiell then suggested a “sudden death” version of the KSHSAA overtime, where one team would take possession at the 10. If it scored, that team won. If it didn’t, the defensive team would have won. Brown and Conlin said no to that too.

The next day, the LHSAA executive committee told Neville and Martin to play again the following Tuesday in Alexandria. The Tigers won 8-0, then defeated Bossier City Airline three days later in Monroe for the championship.

Eventually, Louisiana and the National Federation of State High School Associations codified the KSHSAA overtime into the rule book.

The NCAA would adopt a modified version of the KSHSAA overtime for its playoffs at all levels except the top level in the late 1970s. The differences were the series started at the 25; teams could make first downs (the only way to make a first down under the NFHS rule was on a defensive penalty which carried an automatic first down, and there are very few of those in the rules); and the defense could score on a turnover.

Texas and Massachusetts, which play under college rules, finally adopted the NCAA overtime in the 1990s. Previously, Texas used first downs and penetrations to determine the team which advanced if there were a tie in a playoff game–EXCEPT in the finals. If a championship game were tied, the teams were declared “co-champions”. This was the case for Georgia championship games into the 21st century.

In 1995, the NCAA extended overtime to bowl games at the I-A (major college, now Football Bowl Subdivision) level, and in 1996, it came to the regular season. After numerous games went several overtimes, the NCAA added a new rule in 1997 stating a team had to attempt a 2-point conversion beginning with the third overtime.

The National Federation now allows states to modify the KSHSAA format. Missouri starts from the 25-yard line, except it does not allow the defense to score, nor does it require a team to go for two starting in the third overtime. Louisiana still starts from the 10, but it now requires teams to go for two starting with the third OT. Oregon allows the defense to score with a turnover.

I have seen way, way, way too many people on social media demand the NFL adopt the college format. They’re smoking some powerful crack. The 1985 Bears defense would have a hell of a time stopping an offense from scoring from 25 yards out.

I don’t care. I still despise it college overtime. It’s terrible. Unless a team has a godawful kicker, they are in field goal range to start the possession. And again, a team needs to make three yards per play to make a first down. Three yards per play over nine plays is a touchdown unless my math is faulty.

High school overtime REALLY turns my stomach.

I don’t see what the problem is with leaving a tied game tied. If colleges and high schools insist on breaking ties, limit it to the postseason (which means only conference championship games and College Football Playoff semifinals and finals in FBS), then use sudden death. And REAL sudden death, not the crap the NFL has now adopted.

Or better yet, adopt a system similar to association football, where there are two periods of equal time (5, 6 or 7 minutes), and the game is over after the periods are played. If the score is still tied, then it becomes sudden death.

Iowa won 44-41 in case you’re curious.

 

All hail the fat man!

The Kansas Jayhawks kick off what figures to be their ninth consecutive losing football season tonight when they face patsy Southeast Missouri State in Lawrence. Nothing like opening your season with a challenging opponent, right David Beaty?

Beaty, entering his third season as Jayhawks coach, was once an assistant to the man who led Kansas to its last winning season.

A man who will be inducted into the University of Kansas (don’t get me started about how KU appears on nearly every piece of apparel for the Jayhawks, but the official title of the school is the University of Kansas; it’s that way at Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma, too) Athletics Hall of Fame.

A man whom I despise. A man whom I have absolutely zero respect for. A man whose mere image gets me riled up.

Let me put it this way: if I had a choice of being on a deserted island with this man and former President Obama, I’m choosing Barack every time.

Mark Mangino.

Mangino coached the Jayhawks from 2002-09. He guided Kansas football to arguably its most successful season in its mostly wretched history, leading the 2007 Jayhawks to a 12-1 record and victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. That victory fully eradicated the memories of the Orange Bowl following the 1968 season, the one where Kansas, led by John Riggins and Bobby Douglass, appeared to defeat 10-0 Penn State 14-13, only to be called for having at least 12 players (some accounts report as many as 14 Jayhawks on the field) during the Nittany Lions’ 2-point conversion attempt after their second touchdown. Penn State didn’t blow its gift, and converted for a 15-14 victory.

Kansas won its first 11 games of 2007 and rose to #2 in all of the major polls of the time: Associated Press, coaches, Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and Harris Interactive, which replaced the AP as part of the BCS formula in 2005. Ironically for me, my alma mater was #1.

The night before the Jayhawks were to play archrival Missouri in Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, LSU lost 50-48 in three overtimes to Arkansas in Baton Rouge. It was the Bayou Bengals’ second triple overtime loss of 2007, having fallen 43-37 at Kentucky on October 13, my 31st birthday.

I don’t like college overtime, period. I think it’s bush league to give a team the ball on the opponents’ 25-yard line and ask the defense to hold up, knowing the offense needs only 10 yards to keep the drive going. I think overtime should be eliminated in all regular season football games, whether it be high school, college or professional. If the most popular sporting league on earth, the English Premier League, lives with draws during its 38-game schedule, why can’t American football? But if the NCAA is going to insist on determining

In my mind, LSU was 10-0-2 after the regular season. I’m saying Kentucky and Arkansas TIED LSU, but the Wildcats and Razorbacks simply scored more touchdowns in the shootout. It’s the same procedure for association football (soccer), where the match is officially recorded as a draw, with the team which scores more in the shootout advancing.

Kansas was poised to move to #1 if it defeated Missouri; instead, the Tigers won 36-28 and took over the top spot, with West Virginia going to #2. The Tigers lost the Big 12 champiosnhip game to Oklahoma, the Mountaineers were shocked by Pittsburgh at home, leaving the door open for Big Ten champion Ohio State, one of two one-loss teams remaining–the other wa Kansas–to play SEC champion LSU, which was 11-2 officially (11-0-2 in my book), in the BCS championship game.

Despite losing to Missouri and not playing in the Big 12 championship game, Kansas received an at-large BCS bid to play in the Orange Bowl against Atlantic Coast Conference champ Virginia Tech. Missouri got bumped down to the Cotton Bowl, which was in its period as a second-tier bowl game, to play Arkansas.

It was revealed Kansas recevied the Orange Bowl bid because athletic director Lew Perkins guaranteed the committee to purchase an absurd number of tickets. It was also hinted he provided the committee with, uh, inducements to pick the Jayhawks instead of the Tigers.

That’s another story for another blog post, which will not be long in coming.

Back to Mangino.

Following Kansas’ unexpected season, he was voted national Coach of the Year by just about every organization, beating out the coach of the national champions, LSU’s Les Miles, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel, Ohio State’s Jim Tressel and Illinois’ Ron Zook, whose Illini beat Ohio State and went to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1983 and only the second time since Dick Butkus led Illinois to the game in 1963.

It figured any man could lead KANSAS, which would win the NCAA men’s basketball championship in April under Bill Self, to a 12-1 record would be first in line for a job at a school which places a higher priority on football, right?

Mark Mangino received exactly ZERO interviews in late 2007 and early 2008 to fill vacancies. And there were vacancies at schools in major conferences.

Lloyd Carr retired at Michigan after 13 seasons. The Wolverines did not place the call from Ann Arbor to Lawrence, instead hiring Rich Rodriguez from West Virginia, who one year earlier agreed to become Alabama’s coach, but pulling out at the last second. Instead, the Crimson Tide hired this guy Nick Saban to replace Mike Shula. We know how that turned out.

West Virginia, which won the Big East in 2007 and has been a top-tier program since Bobby Bowden coached there in the 1970s, would be a step up for Mangino, even if he would step down in conference. The Mountaineers instead promoted assistant Bill Stewart, who coached West Virginia to victory in the Fiesta Bowl over Oklahoma.

Chan Gailey left Georgia Tech to coach the Buffalo Bills. The Yellow Jackets opted for Navy coach Paul Johnson, who returned the Wishbone to the upper level of college football. He’s still there.

Ole Miss fired Ed Orgeron, who drove the Rebels straight into the ground with three horrible seasons. Mangino, who weighed north of 500 pounds then, would have loved eating southern cuisine in Oxford. The Rebels instead hired Houston Nutt, who had burned his bridges at Arkansas after 10 seasons.

Arkansas will certainly take a chance on Mangino, right? The Razorbacks are the only team in the Natural State (I don’t count Arkansas State, being so close to Tennessee and Missouri, plus being minor league for most of it existence), and Mangino would be the highest paid and most powerful person in the state, since Frank Broyles was set to finally retire as athletic director after almost 50 years in Fayetteville as football coach and AD.

Broyles’ successor, Jeff Long, instead plucked Bobby Petrino from the Atlanta Falcons. Petrino, who coached Louisville for four seaosns prior to taking the Falcons’ job in early 2007, resigned after a Monday Night Football loss to the Saints, leaving a typed note in each player’s locker. Twenty-four hours after the game ended, Petrino was in Fayetteville, “calling the hogs” with the Arkansas cheerleaders and numerous big-money boosters, which there are a lot of in Arkansas.

Petrino is a scumbag, too. One step above Mangino. One VERY SMALL step.

Why would Mangino not get a single interview after such a successful season?

It wasn’t because of his morbid obesity, which had to be a serious concern for KU officials, even if they would not say so publicly.

It was because he was one of the biggest ASSHOLES to ever roam a college sideline.

Yelling and screaming is a way of life for coaches in all sports in all levels. It is the preferred method of fommunication for football coaches, who believe the higher the decibel level, the more effective the message is. Tony Dungy, who hardly ever raised his voice, would beg to differ, but most of the great coaches yelled and screamed their way to the top, save Tom Osborne and Darrell Royal, who presented low-key images to the press, but probably did their fair share of vocalizing behind closed doors.

Mark Mangino is a world-class screamer.

But there was a problem with his screaming as big as Mangino’s waistline.

He was a sadistic bully.

Mangino had the one of the highest turnover rates of assistant coaches of any program. Nick Saban has been known to burn through assistants at a rapid rate because he works them to death and is so demanding those coaches often feel like they are trapped at the bottom of the ocean in a vacuum with no air hole.

Mangino was much worse than that.

When a player made a mistake, not only did the player feel Mangino’s wrath, but often his position coach did, too.

This was the big reason Bill Young, who was Mangino’s defensive coordinator in 2007, left the Jayhawks after that season to coach at Miami,, which at the time was sloghing through mediocrity under Randy Shannon.

Mangino was just as cruel to his players.

In 2003, it was reported Mangino made a KU player do tortuous bear crawls on the artifical surface of Memorial Stadium, where the temperature on the field was in excess of 150 degrees. The player ended up with burns and lost skin on his hands.

Following the Orange Bowl, starting linebacker Joe Mortensen went home after suffering a knee inury in the game, isntead of retruning immediately to Lawrence to rehabilitate the injury. Mangino punished Mortensen for three months by subjecting him to harsh conditioning, drills which led him to tear ligaments in the same knee.

Mangino’s verbal barbs were just as bad as his physical ones.

Reportedly when a player was charged with underage drinking, he said that player would one day be “drinking from a brown paper bag in Oakland under a bridge”.

He asked another player if “he wanted to be a lawyer or an alcoholic like his father”.

And the worst of all was when he told a player whose brother was injured by gunfire in St. Louis that he could “go back to the ‘hood and get shot with his homies”.

Bear Bryant would rise from his grave and kick Mangino in his family jewels if he could. Nick Saban might join him.

It’s one thing to scream. It is crossing the line when you get personal.

Mangino got personal.

Yet it took Lew Perkins until November 2009, when Kansas was in the midst of a seven-game losing streak which would drop it from 5-0 to 5-7, that Perkins began to investigate.

Mangino, who was owed a $6 million buyout if he were fired, refused to step down, claiming he did nothing wrong.

Faced with lawsuits and a revolt, Perkins negiotiated a settlement, paying Mangino $3 million to quietly resign.

Kansas fans went nuclear.

Most loved Mangino and claimed he as a victim. Lew Perkins was called every epithet you could think of.

I’m sorry, but Mangino got what he richly deserved. Mangino can go fuck himself.

I have no pity whatsoever for the Jayhawks. I find it quite amusing they are so horrnedous. It is karma for hiring that fat piece of shit and for buying the Orange Bowl bid.

Tonight, Mangino will be inducted into such company as Riggins, Douglass, Gale Sayers Phog Allen, Danny Manning and the man who invented basketball himself, Dr. James Naismith.

And guess what? Many are pushing for a bronze statue of Mangino outside Memorial Stadium.

John McEnroe said it best: YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS.

Congratulations, Jayhawks. You have disgraced yourselves. Just don’t disgrace yourselves more by even considering a statue for this disgrace of a homo sapiens.

Nixon and college football coaches–peas in a pod

Richard Nixon was infamous for being the most paranoid man to be President of the United States.

He was also the biggest football fan who ever occupied the White House.

In 1969, Nixon traveled to Fayetteville to watch the game between #1 Texas and #2 (Associated Press)/#3 (United Press International) Arkansas, known colloquially as “The Big Shootout”. The game was for the UPI national championship, since the coaches would not take a poll after the bowl games, while the winner would not only earn a trip to the Cotton Bowl as Southwest Conference champion, it would have the inside track to the Associated Press championship. The AP would vote again after the bowl games.

After Texas rallied from a 14-0 deficit with two fourth quarter touchdowns to win 15-14, Nixon went to the Longhorns’ locker room and presented a plaque to coach Darrell Royal and his players. The presentation incensed Penn State coach Joe Paterno, whose Nittany Lions were in the midst of a 21-game winning streak. Paterno felt his team should be national champions in the UPI.

However, Paterno screwed his own team by refusing to accept a Cotton Bowl bid, instead opting to take Penn State to the Orange Bowl vs. Big Eight champion Missouri. The Nittany Lions went to the Orange Bowl the previous season, defeating Kansas 15-14 (how ironic)

Two years later, Nixon called Dolphins coach Don Shula at 4 a.m., a little less than 10 hours after Miami defeated the Baltimore Colts to win the AFC championship. Not only did Nixon want to wish the Dolphins well–Nixon had a compound in Key Biscayne–he suggested a play to Shula, a down-and-out pass from Bob Griese to Paul Warfield.

Listening to Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star on 810 AM in Kansas City this morning, it hit me why Nixon loved college football.

Today’s college football coaches are as paranoid as Nixon.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who is eccentric to say the least, refuses to issue a depth chart, fearing it will give his opponents an unfair advantage.

Come on, Jim, this is a football GAME played by young men between the ages of 18 and 22, not the nuclear launch codes.

So what if Florida, this week’s opponent, knows your starting nose guard? What’s the big deal? Jim, if Michigan is the better team, Michigan will win. If not, the Wolverines lose. Simple as that.

Les Miles, who was fired at LSU last September, was notoriously secretive. He shut the media out of practice and never, ever divulged injury information.

There are now HIPAA laws governing injury reports, but that was started before HIPAA was in place.

The father of hiding injury information? Bill Snyder, the walking definition of “paranoid” and “control freak”.

Ask Snyder about an injury question, and you will be dressed down by Kansas State’s sports information director. Snyder won’t do it himself. He’s not Nick Saban. Bill Snyder also closed practice tighter than a drum when he got to K-State in 1989, which wasn’t uncommon in the Big Eight–Tom Osborne did it at Nebraska way before anyone knew who the hell Bill Snyder was.

Snyder wouldn’t know what to do in the NFL, which requires injuries to be disclosed. Of course, some coaches–Bill Belichick and George Allen come to mind–have abused the injury report by putting way, way, way too many players on it. Tom Brady being on an injury list, other than 2008, when he suffered a torn ACL in the first game of the year vs. the Chiefs, is preposterous. Unless Brady can’t walk, he’s playing. GIVE ME A BREAK.

Nick Saban is the ultimate control freak. On the other hand, he isn’t as evasive as Miles, Harbaugh or some others. Maybe Miles and Harbaugh learned it from Bo Schembechler, who cut out media access to practice in an era where that was unheard of.

I really don’t care to watch football practice. I saw enough of those at LSU to know just how tedious they are. On the other hand, I understand why the media needs some access. They are doing their jobs as REPORTERS, and they are REPORTING on something their readers really want to know about.

Harbaugh and Florida coach Jim McElwain are engaged in a pissing contest in advance of Saturday’s game in the Dallas Cowboys’ Arlington Stadium.

McElwain refused to name a starting quarterback for most of the days leading up to the game. Since McElwain did not, Harbaugh refused to name his starting QB. This morning, McElwain capitulated and named freshman Felipe Franks. Yet Harbaugh refuses to say anything, and he’s likely going to keep the media guessing until kickoff at 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday.

Kansas coach David Beaty won’t name a starting quarterback for Saturday’s game vs. Southeast Missouri. Come on. SOUTHEAST MISSOURI? Who are you trying to fool, Beaty? Kerkhoff said it best: the Jayhawks really don’t have a starting QB. If Beaty can’t settle on one two days before a game against a lower level team, it say Kansas has nothing at the most important position.

Why do college football coaches feel the need to be so evasive?

I understand they are under tremendous pressure to win. But they are getting compensated very well to do so. Many college football coaches are the highest paid employees in their respective states. Nick Saban makes over $8 million a year, 20 times what the President of the United States earns.

There are days when I miss being at LSU. There are others where I don’t. Honestly, I’m glad I’m not putting up with it anymore.

Half-hearted rivalries 

In this morning’s Kansas City Star, there was an article with comments from former University of Missouri president R. Bowen Loftin about the possibility of the Tigers resuming their athletic series with the University of Kansas. 

Kansas and Missouri began their football series in 1891, only 30 years after Kansas became the 34th state. The Tigers and Jayhaks played 120 times, making it the oldest NCAA Division I rivalry west of the Mississippi River. FYI, the oldest NCAA football series is Lehigh vs. Lafayette, which bgan in 1884.

Loftin stated only one reason why Mizzou and Kansas have not played since the Tigers left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference in 2012.

Bill Self.

Loftin blamed Self, the Jayhawks’ men’s basketball coach who will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame later this year, for not wanting to play Mizzou, at least in football and men’s basketball. In recent years, Mizzou has reached out numerous times to Kansas about playing football games at Arrowhead Stadium and basketball games at Sprint Center, but each time, the Jyayhawks have said no way. 

Self, of course, denied Loftin’s premise. He emphatically stated he had nothingt to do with football scheduling. 

Loftin speaks from experience about dormant rivalries. In 2012, he was president at Texas A&M when the Aggies joined Mizzou in leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. A&M wanted to continue its rivalry with Texas, but the Longhorns refused. 

In his comments, Loftin believed the Longhorns and Aggies would continue their rivalry before the Tigers and Jayhawks do. 

I know about in-state rivlaries going dormant, but Louisiana really isn’t comparable to Texas, or to Missouri-Kansas, either. Tulane has never really been at LSU’s level, and the gulf has continually widened since the Green Wave dropped out of the SEC in 1966. LSU discontinued its annual rivalry with Tulane on the gridiron after the 1994 season; the teams played four consecutive years from 2006-2009, but LSU then bought out the remaining six games on the contract. In men’s basketball, Dale Brown dropped Tulane in 1981 because he felt the Greenies were non-competitive. Tulane dropped its program for three years in the 1980s due to a point shaving scandal, but the Tigers refused to play Tulane until 2003, seven seasons after Brown retired. LSU and Tulane only compete in women’s basketball and baseball, as well as a few minor sports. 

As much as I’d like to see LSU and Tulane play every year in football, Tulane must shoulder a lot of the blame. Why not play in Baton Rouge every year, or four out of every five years? The Greenies are going to make far more in Tiger Stadium than they ever will at Tulsa, SMU, East Carolina or another American Athletic Conference school, and certainly much, much more than playing at UL Lafayette or Louisiana Tech. As for LSU, it would be much more financially prudent to play Tulane than to pay Troy or Chattanooga an exorbitant sum to come to Death Valley as it is doing this season. It would have been much better in 2017 becuase LSU has only six home games, since the Florida game was switched to Gainesville after last season’s Hurricane Matthew flap. 

On the flip side, if Tulane wants LSU to come to New Orleans, it is going to (a) have to give LSU a larger cut of the gate and (b) play in the Superdome. Yulman Stadium only seats 30,000. I understand the idea of playing on campus, but in this case, it would be unreasonable for LSU to do so. If Tulane is worried about LSU fans overrunning the Superdome, then that’s too bad.

LSU has tried to make too many other SEC schools their “rival”, but the other school would not reciprocate. The series with Ole Miss has largely been irrelvant since Johnny Vaught retired as Rebel coach in 1970 (save for a brief return in 1973). Alabama could care less about beating LSU unless the Tigers are at or near the top of the polls. As Bear Bryant put it, “I’d rather beat the cow college (Auburn) once than Notre Dame ten times”. Nick Saban has turned this so-called rivalry into a laugher. Auburn and LSU didn’t play every year in football until 1992, and Auburn might be going to the Eastern Division anyway. 

LSU has played Arkansas for the Golden Boot since 1996, but the Tigers resisted it with every fiber of their being until then-SEC Commissioner Roy Kramer finally prevailed upon LSU to play along.  The game has always meant much more in Fayetteville than in Baton Rouge.

Back to the Border War. 
Kansas’ non-conference football schedule this season is an out and out JOKE. Southeast Missouri, Central Michigan, Ohio University. The game vs. the Bobcats is in Athens, Ohio, which is a coup by Ohio coach Frank Solic in getting a Power Five school to travel to Athens and play a Mid-America Conference school. 

The trip to Ohio begs the question: why not play Missouri at Arrowhead and get a huge gate? It would be mutually beneficial. It would allow Mizzou to fulfill the SEC requirement to play a Power Five opponent in non-conference, and Kansas would not have to embarrass itself playing a lower level team like SEMO. 

I cannot say for sure Self is personally responsible for Kansas not wanting to play Mizzou. But the Jayhawks are wrong on this one. Why would Kansas pass up a chance to play in Kansas City, only 45 minutes from its campus, to go to places like Ohio U and Memphis? 

The Texas-Texas A&M series is not something I’m really worried about. Texas has enough in-state rivals (Baylor, Texas Tech, TCU) in the Big 12, and A&M is content making Arkansas and LSU its big rivalry games. 

In the grand scheme, it’s only college sports. It could be worse. The fact the Jets and Giants play only once every four years in the regular season is sad. The NFL is missing the boat. 

College football is offensive

No football today. Finally.

It has been overkill since December 17, the first day of bowl games. There was at least one live game EVERY DAY between that day and yesterday. That’s 17 consecutive days if you’re counting.

There can be too much of a good thing, and there was too much in this case. Forty-one bowl games and 47 NFL games is overkill. It is time for four days of finding other things to watch on television than football.

USC defeated Penn State 52-49 in the Rose Bowl. I hated it.

Joe Paterno must have flipped over in his grave, not so much over the Nittany Lions losing, but for the team giving up FIFTY TWO points in a bowl game. Heck, there were some seasons where Paterno’s charges didn’t give up 52 points in half a season. In one game? Holy crap.

USC may have been known as “Tailback U” when John McKay and John Robinson led the Trojans, but USC would not have won any national championships without stellar defense. Don’t forget that one of the NFL’s best defenders this millennium, Troy Polamalu, played at USC.

The college game is so heavily tilted to the offense it isn’t funny. Yes, Alabama wins big with defense, but the Crimson Tide has Nick Saban. All of the others playing at the highest level of college football–126, at least 50 too many–don’t.

Yes, Deshaun Watson, in my opinion the best quarterback in college football this season, plays for Clemson. But last I checked, Ohio State did not score vs. the Tigers. The first time Urban Meyer has ever been shut out. FIRST. TIME. EVER. So what about that Clemson defense, huh?

If LSU had a halfway decent offense, it would have been in the playoff. The Bayou Bengals’ defense suffocated Lamar Jackson, the unworthy Heisman Trophy winner, and Louisville, which averaged 533 yards per game in the regular season. LSU’s defense was on par with any in the nation, a step below Alabama, but certainly above at least 110 of the 126 others.

I’m sorry for all those fans who like shootouts, but that’s not a winning formula. Not if you don’t have a good defense.

I do not like high scoring football. If you want to score at will, go play a video game.

People complain about the rules in the NFL being heavily tilted to the offense. If that’s the case, then the rules are tilted to the offense in college at a 90-degree angle. The defense has no chance. And with the clock stopping after every first down to move the chains, the game drags on and on and on and on.

In 2006, the NCAA changed two timing rules to try and speed the game up. One, the clock started on a kickoff when the ball was kicked, not when it was touched in the field of play; and second, the clock would restart following every change of possession when the ball was spotted ready for play, not on the snap.

I didn’t agree with those rules. That’s a little too much in trying to speed the game up. But the clock does not need to stop to move the chains, except maybe in the last two minutes of each half if the NCAA wants to keep that option in the rules.

Another idea: two timeouts per half. It works in Canada.

Okay enough ranting. I’ve got things to get done.

Five days at Buffalo Wild Wings playing tons of trivia. My ears need the rest after all the screaming, mostly by Chiefs and Iowa Hawkeyes fans.

The calendar flipped. YAHOO!

2017 is here whether we like it or not.

I went to bed later than I should have last night, but when the clock struck midnight, I was finally asleep. The TV was on, but no way I was tuning it to ABC. I never watched Dick Clark on New Year’s Eve when he hosted, and I will never, ever watch Ryan Seacrest. Lucy Hale is gorgeous, but I’d prefer to watch her act, not host a New Year’s Eve party from New Orleans’ Jackson Square, which she did last night.

The most morose celebrations probably occurred in Columbus.

That’s because Ohio State was crushed 31-0 by Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. It marked the first time an Urban Meyer-coached team was shut out. That includes his stops at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida, in addition to his five seasons with the Buckeyes. Ohio State had not been shut out since its 1993 regular season finale at Michigan.

The #3 seeds in the College Football Playoff–Florida State (2014), Michigan State (2015) and Ohio State–have been outscored 128-20. All of the 20 came by the Seminoles in the Rose Bowl vs. Oregon.

The semifinals of the CFP have been tremendously non-competitive. Only one of six has been decided by fewer than 17 points. Three have had margins of 31 points or more. Yikes.

Alabama’s 24-7 victory over Washington in the Peach Bowl was not as close as the final score. The Huskies scored on their first possession, but did absolutely nothing after. I don’t care if Washington could have brought back Warren Moon and Napoleon Kauffman in their primes. The Huskies weren’t scoring more than seven points against the Crimson Tide defense.

In 1961, Alabama’s first national championship season of six under Paul “Bear” Bryant, the Crimson Tide allowed just 25 points in 11 games. Imagine if this year’s Crimson Tide defense played in that era. Alabama may have gone unscored upon. Then again, players had to play both ways n the early 1960s, so you can’t compare peaches to pears.

So it’s Alabama and Clemson for all the marbles. Again. The Tide is a 7-point favorite right now, but that line should change. The Tigers are looking to avenge a 45-40 loss in last year’s championship game. They may have the team to do it, even though Pitt won at Clemson in November, nearly derailing the Tigers’ title hopes.

It would be fascinating to see Nick Saban coaching in the era of limited substitution. How would he handle his best athletes? Would Jonathan Allen be able to survive the strain of playing both ways? Or would others in the past, like Marcell Dareus, Dont’a Hightower, and A’Shaun Robinson? Bear Bryant mastered the transition from limited substitution to unlimited subs. Then again, if you had limited substitution and limited scholarships, some of the best players would have to play at Auburn, Ole Miss, LSU or Tennessee instead of Alabama, unless they wanted to walk on and ride the bench for the Tide.

Today is the final day of the NFL regular season. Jeff Fisher was fired in Los Angeles earlier this month. Rex Ryan was fired in Buffalo last Tuesday. Chip Kelly will be canned in San Francisco. Gary Kubiak is resigning in Denver due to health concerns. Who else will lose their job? Will Sean Payton leave New Orleans? Questions will be answered within the next 36 hours.

I spent a very long day at Buffalo Wild Wings to end 2016. Started at 10 a.m. due to the Citrus Bowl. Stayed until 8:30. I’m back at 11 today. No wings. I’ve got to eat healthier.

 

Kentucky’s highs and lows 

Both Kentucky schools lost their bowl games today. 

Louisville, of course, lost to LSU in the Citrus Bowl, and Kentucky fell to Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl (or TaxSlayer Bowl if you want to be technical about it). 

That means Western Kentucky has bragging rights in football, not only because the Hilltoppers won their bowl game, but because Western did something its bigger brethren in the Commmonwealth did not–win its conference. Now why don’t Louisville and Kentucky play Western every year? Louisville saw fit to play Charlotte and Marshall,and Kentucky played Austin Peay and a couple of other palookas. Why not keep the money in the Commonwealth? 

How many people actually care Louisville and Kentucky lost today, outside Louisville and Lexington (and maybe scattered people in Frankfort, Covington, Ashland and Paducah)? NOT MANY. 

Basketball soothed the pain on the gridiron for folks in the Bluegrass.

Not only did Rick Pitino’s Cardinals defeat Indiana in Indianapolis, but Duke, the most hated team in every corner of Kentucky, lost at Virginia Tech. 

Duke has never been a favorite of either Kentucky or Louisville. Both the Wildcats and Cardinals own national championship game victories over Duke–Kentucky in 1978 when Jack “Goose” Givens scored 41 points in the Wildcats’ 94-88 win, and Louisville in 1986, when freshman “Never Nervous” Pervis Ellison lifted the Cards to a 72-69 victory over a Duke team led by Johnny Dawkins and Jay Bilas. 

However, the Kentucky-Duke hatred reached a new level the evening of March 28, 1992.

That’s the night when Christian Laettner, one of the dirtiest players who ever graced a basketball court, stepped ont eh chest of the Wildcats’ Ammu Timberlake in the East regional final at Philadelphia. Laettner did not even receive a technical foul for being a gigantic asshole, and he hit the game-winning shot in overtime. 

I have never been a Duke fan. I especially couldn’t stand the Blue Devils when Laettner played. The officials who work Duke games are intimated by Kryzewzski, but with Laettner, it was a whole different level. It’s a wonder how Duke lost games. The free throw dispartity was so lopsided. Not even Dean Smith could catch a break most of the time. 

Duke and Virginia lost today. Good. Two programs which deserve each other. 

I’ve never visited Kentucky. I would like to. Maybe in April when LSU plays baseball in Lexington. 

Just go away, Ronda

Louisville leads the Citrus Bowl 3-0. LSU missed a field goal on its first drive. The Cardinals got down to the LSU 6-yard line on its second drive, but the Bayou Bengals held Lamar Jackson and company out of the end zone. Following the field goal, both teams have punted. 

LSU hasn’t won the Citrus Bowl since 1979, when it was the Tangerine Bowl. That was Charles McClendon’s final game as LSU coach after 18 seasons. The Bayou Bengals defeated Wake Forest 34-10. The Demon Deacons were coached by John Mackovic, who later coached the Chiefs, Texas Longhorns and Arizona Wildcats. LSU lost the Citrus Bowl to Iowa in Nick Saban’s last game as coach in 2004, then to Penn State in 2009. 

I am so glad Ronda Rousey lost last night to Amanda Nunes. Maybe now people will shut up about this overrated woman and focus on the real talent in UFC. I have never watched UFC to begin with, but having to hear non-stop about Rousey got sickening after a while. 

Rousey has now had the piss beaten out of her twice. Holly Holm did it last November. It’s time Rousey do something else with her life. Maybe she can become a professional wrestler. If she does, I would love to see Trish Stratus come out of retirement and kick her ass too. 

Or maybe Rousey can start making babies with that piece of shit man in her life. Travis Browne slapped around his ex-wife, Jenna Webb, yet Rousey saw fit to start sleeping with him while he was still married. Browne is a lowlife. Actually, lowlife is too kind of a term. He is human feces. If Rousey wants to make a baby with such a shithead, then I can’t help it. She wants to be stupid, let her. 

I could care less about what Ronda Rousey does. Just as long as we don’t have to hear about her anymore. 

2016 on its last legs

I usually would have no good reason to be up this early on a Saturday.

Today, I have a good reason.

I have to be at Buffalo Wild Wings by 10 in order to watch LSU play Louisville in the Citrus Bowl, which is sponsored by said restaurant. Georgia Tech and Kentucky kick off at the same time in the Gator Bowl (it’s officially the TaxSlayer Bowl, but seriously?), so there will be another game in case the Bayou Bengals screw it up.

Besides, I’m going to bed early tonight. I am not staying up to watch the ball drop in Times Square, I am not staying up to see whatever celebration the networks have for the Central time zone. No. New Year’s Eve is my least favorite day of the year.

What is so freaking great about the changing of a calendar? We flip the calendar at the end of every month. This is no different. Nothing is going to magically change when you wake up tomorrow and it’s 2017. WHOOOPEEEE. Yes, I want to waste a pile of money on a tuxedo and a lame party with bad food and cheap champagne. That’s my dream.

And people were bitching about last year’s College Football Playoff semifinals interrupting their New Year’s Eve plans? COME ON. Get right, people. If you had that thinking, you are as stupid as the people who think Disney World is the end-all be-all of tourist destinations.

I probably will be out of Buffalo Wild Wings by 8:30. I figure to make a run for it when the Ohio State-Clemson game reaches halftime. The Fiesta Bowl will be a barnburner.

The Peach Bowl should not. I don’t see how Washington stays close to Alabama. The Huskies may be adjusted to Eastern time after the cross-country flight Monday, but it will be a virtual road game, seeing Atlanta is less than four hours east of Tuscaloosa. I don’t see it happening for U-Dub. Crimson Tide in a blowout.