WANTED: A coach to lead one of the most storied yet underachieving programs in all of college football.  Previous head coaching experience required, preferably at a school that has had a demonstrated history of success.  We have a beautiful stadium (pictured) and top-notch facilities, but we also have a rabid fan base that struggles with delusions that we are still the best college football program in the country.  Available immediately. Anybody?  Anybody?

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish surprised no one by firing head coach Charlie Weis on Monday after the Irish limped to a 6-6 finish, losing their last four games.  So now the school has launched a high-profile search for its next head man, with a wish list that includes some of the biggest names in all of college football.  Florida’s Urban Meyer is at the top of the wish list, but nobody believes that he will leave the Gators, which will play Alabama this weekend in the SEC championship game with the winner securing a spot in the national championship game.  Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops has also been mentioned, but he has said that he is not interested in the position.  Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz went out of his way to say how happy he and his family are in Iowa City, while Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly said on a radio show that he plans to stay in the Queen City for the foreseeable future.

So where does that leave the Fighting Irish? Well, any denial uttered by a head coach at this point in the season should be taken with a grain of salt, and we believe that Kelly would take the job if offered.  Connecticut coach Randy Edsall has been mentioned in connection with the Notre Dame post, as has East Carolina coach Skip Holtz, the son of former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz.  But the name generating the greatest amount of buzz is Stanford head man Jim Harbaugh, who led the Cardinal to its best season in years this past season.  But Notre Dame should be wary of going the Stanford route, as former head coach Tyrone Willingham was the coach at Stanford before going to South Bend, and that did not turn our so well for either side.  (more…)

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49519746Truthfully, we truly believed that the Terrell Owens episode would be the sports journalism’s low-light for the week.  But then we happened to stumble across this gem from the Associated Press in a story about Florida quarterback Tim Tebow’s concussion and the tests he has undergone in order to get back on the field.

Florida coach Urban Meyer said Tebow still has a headache and isn’t allowed to watch television or read. So there’s no studying a playbook or checking out tape of top-ranked Florida’s next opponent, LSU on Oct. 10.

So let’s get this straight.  Tebow (seen above looking dazed after last weekend’s concussion) isn’t allowed to read, and the thing we are worried about is his inability to study his playbook for an upcoming game.  We realize that we have become jaded about college athletes, but the last time we checked, college football players were still college students.  You know, kids with classes, books, homework and so forth.  So if the kid isn’t allowed to read, isn’t the fact that he cannot peruse his playbook the least of his worries?

In another example of stalwart college football reporting this week, in a story about USC running back Stafon Johnson accidentally dropping a barbell on his neck and crushing his neck and larynx, the Associated Press dropped this little pearl of wisdom.

Johnson’s injury is just the latest drama in USC’s eventful season, both on and off the gridiron … the Trojans lost Shareece Wright, an expected starting cornerback, to academic woes before the season.

Are we really equating the crushing of someone’s vocal chords with getting bad grades?  Johnson had to have an emergency tracheotomy and is currently breathing through a ventilator. He cannot speak now, and probably will not be able to for at least six months.  And oh yeah, Shareece Wright didn’t go to class last semester, so the Trojans have had a tough year. An article on ESPN also pointed out that Johnson’s absence due to a crushed larynx likely means more carries for  junior Allen Bradford or perhaps sophomore Marc Tyler. Can we please report about serious, nearly life-threatening injuries of college kids without immediately talking about the on-the-field ramifications?  Is that too much to ask? Just a touch of perspective would go a long way towards not making sports journalists look like jackasses.


64513.62CORRECTION-Tennessee-Florida-Football.sffOkay, we get it. New University of Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin and Florida coach Urban Meyer (seen here exchanging a not-so-warm greeting) really don’t like each other.

Kiffin is the calculating loud mouth who decided to try to revive interest in his formerly great but now struggling program by poking a stick at the Florida Gators, the defending national champions.  In his introductory press conference he made a point of saying that he was looking forward to singing Tennessee’s fight song (Rocky Top … one the truly great fight songs in all of college sports) all night long after his Volunteers defeated Florida in  Gainesville this year.  Kiffin followed that up by accusing Meyer of committing a recruiting violation by contacting a potential recruit while he was on Tennessee’s campus (this turned out not to be a violation, but college football’s recruiting rules are so ridiculous that Kiffin can hardly be blamed for the slip-up.)

Anyway, last week we put Tennessee on ass-kicking alert after the Volunteers lost to an underwhelming UCLA team in advance of their trip to face Florida, the Number 1-ranked team in the country.  Florida All-Everything quarterback Tim Tebow even went so far as to say “I don’t like anyone talking about coach [Urban] Meyer,” and vowing to make Kiffin eat his words.

So what happened on Saturday?  Florida looked underwhelming in defeating an undermanned Tennessee team 23-13, greatly disappointing Las Vegas oddsmakers who had made the Gators a 30-point favorite expecting Meyer to unleash his vengeance upon Kiffin and his charges.  So Florida wins the game and Tennessee keeps it respectable.  End of story, right?

Nope.  Meyer, obviously disappointed that he was unable to embarrass Kiffin on the field, used his press conference on Monday to make excuses for the closer-than-expected win.  He accused Kiffin of not trying to win, but only trying not to get blown out, and then said that a flu bug going around his team’s locker room was the reason for the Gators lackluster victory.  Kiffin responded by saying that the next time he’s not excited about his team’s performance, he’ll “just say that everybody was sick.”

Now this is getting old, kids.  We like smack talkers here, and we support Lane Kiffin in this ongoing spat between adolescent schoolgirls.  Your team won, Urban.  No need to make excuses that make you look small and petty.  But now you’ve surrendered the moral high ground, and don’t think that Kiffin will not be reminding people of that at every opportunity until these two teams square off next season.  Play nice, fellas.