While you wait with bated breath for the announcement of the national game of disinterest, please take the time to click at least a few of the following links, all of which warrant your attention:
- I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but Dr. Saturday and Team Speed Kills are right that the rule denying coaches the right to criticize officials is a dumb one. For a coach to criticize an official may be as rude and unwise as a lawyer criticizing a judge, but, if it’s away from the field of play or outside the courtroom, it shouldn’t draw a reprimand, particularly if it’s reasonable and it’s right. Mike Slive may or may not be charting the proper course by attempting to limit coaches’ sniping at one another, but he is just plain wrong to muzzle his coaches when they have legitimate gripes with the zebras, particularly when the problem is ongoing.
- Urban Meyer can’t be all bad if he loves Herschel Walker and hates SpongeBob SquarePants. I’m a 40-year-old Georgia fan with two small children; if someone I dislike intensely wants to improve my opinion of him dramatically by uttering just two sentences, the two sentences most likely to do the trick would be "I love Herschel Walker" and "I hate SpongeBob SquarePants."
- Sarcasm only works if the point you’re making is less stupid than the point you’re trying to rebut. Consequently, this attempt at sarcasm fails utterly. For those who have trouble drawing what are not terribly subtle distinctions, let me explain:
Pat Summitt was photographed with a prospect by a newspaper reporter she did not know was there. This is qualitatively different from deliberate and premeditated demonstrations designed to influence recruits. (I have no problem even with the latter, but they’re plainly different.)
Pat Summitt has been inducted into at least two halls of fame, has been named conference and national coach of the year seven times apiece, has finished first in the SEC fourteen times while winning thirteen league tournament titles, has captured eight NCAA championships, has a career 1,005-193 (.839) record, is unquestionably the best head coach in the history of women’s basketball, and arguably is the best head coach in the history of college basketball. Lane Kiffin has a famous father, a hot wife, and a career record of 8-18 (.308). One of these coaches has earned the benefit of the doubt concerning inadvertent miscues, while the other has done nothing to back up his big mouth.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know . . . 45-19. You know what? Steve Spurrier beat a crappy Georgia team by more than 25 points in his first year in the league, too. You know what else Steve Spurrier did? He beat teams from major conferences that were actually good. This attempt to use Pat Summitt in defense of Lane Kiffin was way lame. Roll Tide!
We’ve been over this before, but it bears repeating, because Matt Hinton and I evidently have very different definitions of the phrase "last-second loss." This game did not produce a last-second loss. This game did. It’s only a last-second loss if one team loses it in (or appreciably near) the last second. If the team that was behind heading into that last second is still behind when the game is over, the team that was behind did not suffer a last-second loss. That team’s fate was determined by a score that happened prior to that last second, and the events of the last second merely confirmed the result.
Accordingly, Notre Dame did not lose at the last second, because the Fighting Irish went into said last second trailing, and, after that second elapsed, they were still trailing. A final second that might have been determinative merely wasn’t. They failed to win it at the last second, but that is a very different thing from a last-second loss. Having the other team snatch victory from the jaws of defeat is distinguishable from stopping the opposition at gut-check time. Alabama made a goal-line stand in the Sugar Bowl to stave off a last-second loss by the Crimson Tide; Penn State didn’t suffer a last-second loss when the Nittany Lions were held out of the end zone.
As for Matt’s larger point, I don’t care for the limitations on trickery, however much I might enjoy the declaration that Georgia Tech won a game on a play subsequently declared to be a violation of the rules. (It’s not the first time a Yellow Jacket victory has produced a rule clarification, as occurred in the wake of Wrong Way Riegels’s run to give the Golden Tornado a Rose Bowl victory.)
Anyone who watched last night’s Florida State-North Carolina game knows the beauty of the trick play. Personally, I think you ought to be able to deceive the defense. I think you should be able to break the huddle with twelve men. It’s part of the gamesmanship that makes it all so interesting. Think about how cool it would have been to have been present for this play from the 1912 Georgia-Alabama game, as recounted by Dr. John Stegeman:
In the dressing room the Georgia players got into their football suits – all except one. This was Alonzo Awtrey, a quarterback from LaGrange who, instead of donning his usual uniform, climbed into a pair of white overalls. The team took the field after winning the toss and lined up to receive. Ten Georgia men, conventionally dressed for combat, took their usual positions, while the eleventh, Awtrey, nonchalantly stood just inside the sideline on the right, holding a water bucket. When the kick-off came the mass of Georgia players swept to the left, the ball being returned fifteen yards. Awtrey, the water pail still in his hand, advanced a corresponding distance along the right boundary line, far from the action across the field. Georgia lined up quickly and as Timon Bowden faded back to pass, Awtrey dropped his bucket and sped straight upfield, catching the ball at the fifty yard line and racing thirty-five yards before being overtaken by a wild-eyed Alabama defender.
Anyone who doesn’t think that’s cool is a killjoy.
The national game of disinterest will be along shortly. Stay tuned. . . .