Monday, December 15, 2008
So yesterday I shared my confounded bepuzzlement at the idea of Brady Hoke to San Diego State, or in general terms, a meagerly-jobworthy coach coming off a contract-making breakout year selling himself miles short by going to a program that deserves to hire I-AA defensive coordinators. A massive step down, if you will.
I also cited West Virginia's panicky hire of kindly old racist Bill Stewart as its head coach after approximately 40 minutes as their interim head coach. That hire has been generally considered the worst coaching move in college football since Washington fired His Beautifulness Rick Neuheisel.
But it has since been topped. To the max.
Auburn University, half of the second-most important rivalry in college football, hired Iowa State's head coach and former Auburn assistant Gene Chizik to run its football program for the foreseeable future.
Chizik's defensible resume includes only his four-year stretch as defensive coordinator of Auburn and then Texas. It wasn't a stretch by Iowa State whatsoever to assume that the DC of an undefeated SEC champion and a one-loss, USC-slaying national champion would deserve an upgrade to HC, especially in the piss-poor Big 12 North.
Well, unfortunately for the probably-talented Chizik, he fell flat on his face, and Iowa State sucked big time under his leadership (5-19 in two seasons, to be precise). Chizik, it seems, stinks after all. And in more ways than one.
College football is unique along with basketball in the recruiting aspect of the sport. Following the recruitment of the nation's top high school players has become as much a part of college football as the games themselves. And part of gauging a school's hire is not just the incoming coach's football record, but recruiting record as well.
During Tommy Tuberville's reign as Auburn HC, the Tigers only got better at recruiting. They were in the Top 10 nationally three of the past four seasons, with the no. 7 recruiting class two years ago.
Chizik, conversely, has zero Top 10 classes. He has zero Top 20 classes. He has zero Top 50 classes. In three years of recruiting, Gene Chizik has pulled two four-star recruits. That's it. One of them (running back JJ Bass) only dressed for six games this season. The other one (wide receiver Sedrick Johnson) topped out at 41 yards receiving against Kansas State. And now Auburn and Iowa State commits alike are abandoning ship.
Now I'm confused. I'm certainly not upset; I don't care about Auburn football. But Auburn fans are upset. They are livid. They might kill Auburn's athletic director and eat his balls.
If you want some truly post-apocalyptic despair, head over to Joe Cribbs Car Wash, where Jerry Hinnen has been keeping a running diary of tears and diarrhea since the hire was announced.
Alabama fans are not as upset.
Say it ain't so!
The AFL has decided to cancel their 2009 season and come back to play in 2010.
In an effort to create a "better business model" the league has shut down operations, but this is a potential funeral march for the 22 year old league. Unlike the NHL, the last professional sports league that missed an entire season, the AFL doesn't have the tradition (though 22 years as a decidedly secondary league is impressive) or the fan base to recover. One must assume that the league has been hemorrhaging money, but not playing could cause such a loss in interest that nobody would come back whenever the AFL does. Bad news bears for all those Grand Rapids Rampage fans out there.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Perhaps no foosball coach has had his name tossed around Division I over the past 18 months than Ball State's head chef Brady Hoke.
When Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr announced he would be retiring prior to the 2008 season, Hoke's name was (inexplicably, at the time) brought up as a serious candidate to replace him. Apparently, his work as Michigan's defensive line coach during out 1997 National Championship season was the lone accolade that his supporters (if, indeed, he had any) cited; hiring him would be like promoting a positions coach who had simply been studying abroad in Muncie, Indiana for six years.
So grave was the situation that Brian of MGoBlog was forced to acknowledge his candidacy for the job with one of the Profiles in Heroism that marked the winter of 2007 on that venerable site of the webs.
Fast forward ten months. Hoke's Cardinals were 12-0 and dominating the mighty MAC even after losing stud wide receiver Dante Love for the rest of his life early in the season. Suddenly, the idea of Hoke getting a job at a major program was....still pretty stupid, especially after losing the MAC Championship game to lowly Buffalo. But he was moving up nonetheless.
Two weeks ago, the rather serviceable Tommy Tuberville was ousted from his position as Large Ears Coach of the Auburn Tigers, who posted their first losing record under his direction for the first time since he was hired at Auburn in 1999.
When the Auburn job became available, I didn't consider Hoke a candidate. He's a fat guy from Indiana with a terrible career record, no bowl games, and nonexistent recruiting pull. Hoke to Auburn would have made about as much sense as West Virginia promoting Bill Stewart to HC on the laurels of one bowl game. It just didn't fit.
But a candidate he was, and for the second time within a calendar year, one of the more prestigious college football programs in America was forced to examine the plausibility of having Brady Hoke as its ultimate authority. A worrying proposition, to be sure.
But...where did this come from? Hoke might not be worthy of the Big Ten or the SEC, but this is going a little too far in the other direction. From undefeated in the resurgent MAC--which has legit bowl teams--to dead last in the Mountain West. Not only was San Diego State bad this year, they've been bad pretty much forever. They've been to two bowl games since 1990, the most recent of which was 1998, and they haven't lost fewer than four games since 1979. San Diego State stinks.
With Syracuse hiring Doug Marrone and Auburn somehow settling upon the abortion that is Gene Chizik, let's just hope studly young candidate Turner Gill doesn't take the job at Utah Tech.