Considering it’s been at least three weeks since we properly rambled, we’ll omit the usual pleasantries and just dive in. We got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about them!
First, it’s 2021. All we heard in the run up to New Year’s Day was how terrible 2020 was and how ready everyone was for a new year. We just want to take a moment to reflect on all the positive things that happened in 2020:
Work Hangover made its triumphant return.
We were able to play golf on December 30 and got a birdie on our final hole of the year.
Ok, so it wasn’t that great of a year.
College football has mostly completed its most bizarre year, with only one game remaining. Alabama will take on Ohio State on January 11, and, well, let’s just say we’re rooting for COVID. Did we say that out loud?
To be clear, Alabama and Ohio State are the two most talented teams and will likely produce a compelling championship game. We just have a hard time getting all that excited to watch these particular programs play each other. Any great conflict pits a villain against a hero. There are no heroes in this game. There are only boorish rednecks and, well, more boorish rednecks.
We’ll have more to say prior to that game, but we’re going to turn our attention to the College Football Playoff, which once again failed to produce competitive games. In the 7 years of the CFP, there have been 14 semifinal games played. 3 of those games have been decided by 7 points or less. Of the first six championship games, 3 of those have been decided by less that 7 points. Only 11 programs have even qualified for the CFP.
The lack of close games at first glance might suggest that we don’t need more teams, we need less. Of course, if you look at the 16 BCS Championship games, only 6 of those were decided by 7 points or less. 8 of those games were decided by 14 points or more. So, just picking two teams doesn’t guarantee a compelling matchup. You know what does increase your chances of exciting postseason games? More teams in the tournament. More games, more chances for something interesting to happen.
So, here’s our half-baked solution. The champion of each “Power 5” conference gets an automatic bid, the highest ranked “Group of 5” team gets an auto bid and two at-large teams chosen by the selection committee. The current “New Year’s 6” bowl games are the four quarterfinal games and two semifinal games, and then there is a national championship game. Honestly, people, this isn’t that complicated.
Elsewhere in college football news, Texas tried to hire a legendary coach, couldn’t, decided to keep their current coach through signing day and a bowl win, and then fired their coach to hire a guy with a career 46-35 record and a 9-4 second place in the Pac 12 South Division finish as the highlight of his head coaching career. Seems like the perfect guy to hire for the most pressure-packed job in all of college football. We aren’t going to mention the fact that he was fired at USC after showing up to practice, games and donor events drunk. Allegedly.
Just for the record, Tom Herman’s career coaching record is 54-22, and 32-18 at Texas. Just a heads up Steve that you better win over 65% of your games, or you’ll be forced to collect at least $15 million to not coach. The good news for you is that if you don’t, you’ll have some company on the unemployment line with Chris Del Conte, the Texas AD.
If we were Del Conte, we probably wouldn’t stake our job on Steve Sarkisian, but that’s why he gets paid the big bucks and we’re writing a blog. For free. That no one reads. That said, if we were one of the people who had their job eliminated by the Texas Athletic Department, or their salary reduced, only for the AD to pay $24 million in buyout money to hire a guy with a track record that will get him fired in 3 years at Texas, we would not be particularly happy to go to work on Monday. If, you know, we still had our job. Other than that, best of luck to Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns.
As the coaching carousel spins, it appears that Jim Harbaugh will be returning to Ann Arbor, but no official word yet. Maybe they are waiting to see if there is a coach with a worse career record who also can’t finish above 3rd in the division who wants to come to Ann Arbor instead? Maybe he spectacularly flamed out everywhere he’s been? Is Charlie Weis available? No? Ok – then let’s keep Harbaugh and extend his contract for 5 years.
We’ve discussed this before, but if you are Warde Manuel, this is probably the savvy move. Offer the MICHIGAN MAN an extension, show some faith in the guy and don’t risk the coaching carousel because you never know who will still be on the horse when the music stops. Just ask Auburn. Now, you are forcing Harbaugh to either bet on himself, or tuck his tail and run to the NFL. It would not surprise us if Harbaugh is waiting to see if he gets an NFL offer that interests him this coming week. If he does, he’s gone. If he doesn’t, he stays. If he stays, he either figures it out and wins big, or he continues the middling results and no one can fault Warde for making a change.
Meanwhile in Chapel Hill, the only coach to make Texas a national contender in the last 50 years led the Tar Heels to the Orange Bowl. The last time UNC played in a game of that magnitude, Mack Brown was not alive. And, he’s old. Like Tier 1a1 COVID Vaccine old.
Given the importance of the game for the program, we were disappointed that many of the Heels’ best players chose not to play, but that’s the nature of the beast these days. Of course, the program still has 85 scholarships, and you put 11 guys on the field at a time, so missing four total players isn’t going to shut down the program. Ultimately, the Texas A&M power running game wore down the Heels’ defense, and they pulled away late. The good news is we can always claim that Carolina would have won if Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dyami Brown and Chazz Surratt had played, so we’ll count it in the win column.
More importantly, as long as Sam Howell is quarterback, Carolina will be the favorite to come out of the Coastal Division and lose to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Which is nice.
Meanwhile, we had our hands hovering over the panic button while watching the UNC vs. Notre Dame basketball game on Saturday. Somehow, the Heels pulled out the win despite an inability for any of its guards to make an entry pass. Day’ron Sharpe dominated the glass, which was good because the Heels missed a lot of shots. But it was a win, and these days, that’s all that matters.
Elsewhere in college hoops, Duke is still scared to play games, Gonzaga isn’t going to lose, and Kentucky is going to miss the NCAA tournament. Hey, do you know how they pick who plays in the NCAA Tournament? All the conferences get one automatic bid and then a committee picks the at-large teams. Interesting concept. Wonder if there is any sports organization out there that’s having a hard time deciding who should play in its postseason tournament? Maybe they could talk to college basketball? Or baseball? Or soccer? Or tennis? Or wrestling? Or…you get the point.
On the professional level, apparently, the NBA started. We have no other comments at this time.
In the NFL, your Washington Football Team is about to kick off against the Philadelphia Eagles and when the WFT wins, it will win the NFC East and they’ll begin engraving Football Team on the Lombardi Trophy. Never has there been a greater champion in the history of professional football. And never has there been an owner who has transformed a franchise from futility to excellence like Mr. Daniel Snyder.
Sorry…what’s that? The Football Team has a losing record, plays in the most pathetic division in professional sports and this Snyder guy has several sexual harassment lawsuits pending against him?
Nevertheless, the tribalism of fandom requires we support our Team, as our father and grandfather before us. So, we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.