Like the Texas football team, the PR Crew decided to take a few weeks off this season. Unlike the Texas Football team, I think the excuses (i.e. work) for the break in PR columns are actually legitimate. We even aggressively sought out a fellow BON writer to help fill the writing void for this week.
After the jump, this week's edition discusses the "war" reference made by Derek Dooley, highlights the importance of a single sentence in an older column from Kirk Bohls, and adds a new--and unique--member to the Philosopher's Club.
THE SILLY BATTLE OVER DEREK DOOLEY'S WWII REFERENCE
This week's winner of the misguided rush to judgment award is Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com for this tweet about Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley:
Derek Dooley just compared his team to the D-Day invasion, when thousands of Americans died. Kiffin's gone, and the UT coach got dumber?
Let's get right into this. What, exactly, did Derek Dooley do? Did he call his men soldiers like Kellen Winslow? Did he suggest his football team losing was comparable to 9/11 or Pearl Harbor like Nick Saban? Did he compare his football team to an invasion? No, of course not. He made an intelligent, deep, sophisticated, historically accurate analogy. Oh the horror!
Dooley said at his Monday presser:
"Right now we're like the Germans in World War II. Here comes the boats, they're coming. You got the binoculars ... it's like, ‘Oh, my God, the invasion is coming' I don't want the German people to get upset at me, I'm not attacking them, but that's what happened. You had one group, they weren't worried about what the plan was and orders and all that. When the war hits, things change. You've got to go. You had the other group, and they go, ‘Wait a minute, they told us the invasion was way further north,' where we had the empty tanks and we were hiding Patton out. ‘We weren't ready for this, now what do we do?' ‘We better wait until Rommel tells us what to do.'"
BFeldmanESPN: Cam Newton is hitting 74% of his passes vs. the blitz & has a 8-0 TD-INT ratio. No blitz: he's at 62% and 5-5, per ESPN Stats&Info.
GameDayFootball: RT @jeremyjacob: #WWIT that #Baylor would be ranked in the polls AND leading the Big 12 South after 8 games! #sicem
Now, full disclosure, last season I compared A&M mistakes in the Texas-Aggy game to the Egyptian army's decision to come out from under the safety of air cover, texting AO the following: "in 73, when the Egyptians came out from under air cover to attack the Israelis and got clobbered, an Israeli general called it the moment they started acting like them and we acted like us...feels like that a bit."
So maybe I'm just a sucker for good historical analogies.
It may seem like semantics, but there's a huge chasm between somebody comparing football to something
Hey, You know who's Notre LAME? Rick McMahan! Likely based on Lane Kiffin's statement that Matt Barkley would be a "front-runner" for the Heisman if USC hadnt lost two games, McMahan wrote a very disjointed article over the issue.
Now, there's a lot to be said for Matt Barkley having a quietly underrated season. He's played really well, and he's on a roll. His last two games against Stanford and California have been particularly impressive. There's also a lot to be said for the tendency to place too much emphasis on a team's record in picking Heisman candidates, instead of an individual's contribution to that record. There's even potentially something to be said about USC receiving less coverage than usual due to their sanctions, which will hurt Barkley's Heisman chances. This article touches on these points, but then it goes too far in trying to prove its premise. After failing to mention that Barkley had some clunkers against weaker competition, the article says "if leadership was a quantifiable trait, Barkley would be leading the country in this department, too." Naw, dawg. Just....no. Not even gonna go there.
Matt Barkley may very well wind up being a legitimate Heisman candidate. The Trojans' marquee game against Oregon this week could legitimize his candidacy and put him in the discussion. But let's wait and see what happens in his next few starts before prematurely giving him additional points for good looks, moxie, leadership, or any other intangibles. Right now, Barkley is a very, very good QB for a barely ranked team whose coach wishes he was a great QB for a highly ranked team. And that's about it.
Football is not war, but war sometimes produces men leading at their finest and often men failing to lead. These successes and failures teach us things, and there should be no shame in a coach using those lessons. Of course for Doyel it must have seen like low-hanging fruit in a profession that has become entirely relying on those types of catches for sustenance.
Anyone that is familiar with famed military historian Victor David Hanssen would find Dooley's comments familiar. Rather than compare his team to the D-Day invasion, as Doyel alleges, Dooley is saying that his team has no individual leadership at the player level. This critical leadership void prevents the players from doing what is necessary without guidance from the top, similar to the German defense under Rommel being hampered by their overreliance on his orders at a time when initiative was needed (Rommel was at a wedding at the time). Initiative at the individual level - which Tennessee apparently lacks - is a facet of successful leadership in almost everything, so a big kudos to Derek Dooley for an apt metaphor.
We won't issue judgment over whether Dooley's actually good coach, but he'd make a good historian. Doyel on the other hand...
WHEN A LITTLE SAYS A LOT
"I've never done it before, but I thought, 'You know what? There's still a bunch of games to be played. Who knows what can happen?' Heck, LSU got in it a few years ago with two losses, right? Some people don't see the game, only look at the score, as they vote." Usually, players are the only ones admitted to the Philosopher's Club, since they tend to philosophize--especially on Twitter--at an extremely high level. But, this week, the Club is going to buck that trend and make an exception for Bob Stoops. His quote after the Missouri game succinctly summarizes the deepest problems within both the media and the BCS system. I'm not saying what Bob Stoops did was right, but I understand the rationale for his decision. And that's just sad.
"I've never done it before, but I thought, 'You know what? There's still a bunch of games to be played. Who knows what can happen?' Heck, LSU got in it a few years ago with two losses, right? Some people don't see the game, only look at the score, as they vote."
Usually, players are the only ones admitted to the Philosopher's Club, since they tend to philosophize--especially on Twitter--at an extremely high level. But, this week, the Club is going to buck that trend and make an exception for Bob Stoops. His quote after the Missouri game succinctly summarizes the deepest problems within both the media and the BCS system. I'm not saying what Bob Stoops did was right, but I understand the rationale for his decision. And that's just sad.
I think everyone agrees it was pretty incredible that Pat Forde received carte blanche access to the UT Football Program for a week. It was a win-win. Pat wrote a dynamite article to a worldwide audience, and Mack's hagiography was read by a worldwide audience. The article served a lot of purposes. It gave fans a wider perspective of Mack Brown. It gave recruits a better glimpse into Texas Football. And, apparently, it gave Kirk Bohls an excuse to avoid doing his job a few weeks ago.
Now, I don't usually read his columns, but this one produced a series of e-mails among the BON authors. It's from a few weeks ago, but it remains appropriate for our purposes here at Pundit Roundup.
The article didn't really break any new ground (shocking, I know) in the buildup to the Nebraska game, but one sentence particularly stands out. In the article, Bohls said "fans have to wonder if Mack is preaching accountability. With his staff as well as his players. We're hopeful, but just not sure, because only Pat Forde is allowed behind closed doors."
If you want to know why local sportswriters are a dying breed, that sentence probably tells you everything you need to know. This piece of "commentary"--not reporting--simply involves admitting ignorance of a closed-door issue and taking a potshot at someone who got better access. That's what unpaid and whiny bloggers do! Not good enough, Kirk...