Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ups and Downs

Perennial powers in college football are just that because of one thing- they're interesting. People want to follow things that are compelling. Whether a program is winning national championships in numbers that would rival Travis Henry's illegitimate children or running from the dumpster fire created when an AD drives down Roswell road while intoxicated with a woman who isn't his wife and then tries blackmailing the arresting police officer, we still watch. Despite this fact, ALL programs experience the tide of success and failure.

But what leads to the ebb and flow? In an era where revenue is king, why do great programs stumble and other smaller, less profitable programs rise to relevance?

I'll attempt to explain with one example of a program in the lurch.

Michigan: Remember those videos where a young boy has a golf club in his hand and there is a ball teed up right next to him. You know, Bob Saget is doing the voice-over and the kid's father is standing right in front of him directing his swing. Well, we all know what is going to happen next. That's DickRod and his poor kid of a program. We all know what the end is going to bring, but we enjoy seeing some moron walk directly into a shot in the plums. But Michigan is the cream of the crop when we're talking about prestige, what gives?

Why they're suffering:

1. Lloyd Carr. I think Lloyd Carr was a terrific coach and more than that a terrific human being. Come on though, with a name like that are you really starting out on the right foot? Can't we get something with a bit more flavor like the new Demon Deacon God's Power Offor? I just really didn't see LC as a polarizing figure, not someone that smelled blood and went for the throat.

2. Sweatervest. Jim Tressell is one of the best in college football. Great all-around coach here. Recruits with the best in a talent-rich state, great tactician, and last but not least, he looks like a gray headed kid in private school. I also think Penn State's resurgence over the past five years has led to some of the decline.

3. Poor skill position recruiting pre-DickRod and not much better during his tenure. The Wolverines averaged somewhere around 12th in team ratings from 2002-2007. NFL-level talent is down in Ann-Arbor in the areas that create scoring. This is a problem when you need to score more than 25 points a game to beat your opponents. The top four prospects in those positions since 2002 are Steve Breaston(2002), Jason Avant(2002), Chad Henne(2004), and Mario Manningham(2005).

4. Rich Rodriguez. The transition to Rich set them back a few years and so did the change in system. He didn't have the players to run it at first and it's still a work in progress. I'm also not convinced his coaching abilities are up to snuff. Catching lightning in a bottle in a very, very watered-down Big East for a few years skyrocketed his stock. Time will tell.

5. Culture. Again we all know DickRod's penchant for signing the most outstanding young gentlemen. Those who excel in the classroom and thusly on the field. Goons are good to send in after the opposing QB's knees, but what happens when you have a team full of them? I also can't quite figure out how he assures guys like this they can get in with UM's rigorous admissions process.

I think the most relevant of all these issues is the lack of skill position guys. There has to be some semblance of a vertical threat to stretch the defense. Michigan fan, this is why you are getting sick of hearing the color guy during your game keep saying, "Well we've got a third down here Bob. This is where the defense is really gonna pin their ears back." Those 3rd and eights aren't good for converting when you don't have a go-to guy on the outside.

But what about the non-BCS guys? How has Boise found their way to the top of the non-BCS conferences? That's up next.

1 comment:

  1. Yall guys r strate ballin! Like Sherman marchin through the south that bastard and burnin up all oru plantations! Kepe it up!

    -Dawgs or Die!-