From an interview with three former West Virginia players (h/t The Wizard of Odds) comes this exchange:
RIVERS: I don’t even think about South Florida. But Pitt …Losing at home? To Pitt? A below-average team? There’s only so many things you can tell people in 10 years [when they ask about it]. At Michigan, everybody asked the same thing. They didn’t care about the Fiesta Bowl. They asked, ‘How’d you lose to Pitt?’
FINDER: How did you lose?
REYNAUD: That’s what I thought: ‘Man, we got this. It’s a done deal.’ How about all those people who lost money on tickets and stuff? No wonder they’re still mad. (laughing)
RIVERS: We came out slow as [crap]. It got to us.
REYNAUD: They had a game plan for us. They had nothing to lose. Going for it on fourth down. Doing crazy stuff. They did a hell of a job open-field tackling.
SLATON: Plus, they were fighting for it.
RIVERS: They were ready for us, and we weren’t.
REYNAUD: To this day, it still hurts. It’s still with me. I got back to Louisiana, and my dad was watching the tape …after the Fiesta Bowl.
SLATON: I still haven’t watched it. I won’t watch it. I refuse.
I bet you could have interviewed Shockley and Blue after the ’06 Sugar Bowl and gotten responses that would have been almost word for word identical. Funny how that works…
I don’t know about you, but I’m a little surprised to find that the Greatest Sporting Event In The History Of Civilization has been suffering through a decline in TV viewership.
… The stakes this year are high for the network, which has seen ratings for the men’s Division I tourney decline 12% during the past three years. Last year brought an average 6.1 rating for all games, the second-lowest rating in the 25-year history of CBS televising the tournament…
And I thought playoffs cured every ill.
Tony Barnhart’s post yesterday on Ray Ray McElrathbey’s situation is a doozy. Entitling his piece “No tears for Ray Ray”, Barnhart asserts that coaches sometimes have to make tough decisions for the good of the program and this is such a case.
That’s fine, as far as it goes. But here’s what gets me. Barnhart claims that “… Bowden is not going to say anything publicly because he doesn’t want to embarrass the kid. So he’ll take the heat.”
Except that’s said after printing this:
The fact is that McElrathbey has been known to have issues with the coaching staff and was less than consistent when it came to attending team functions. The time had come for a change in the relationship for the good of the entire team…
Pardon me if I can’t find anything complimentary in that passage. Unless Barnhart made that up out of thin air, that info had to come from the Clemson staff. But no one is quoted directly. So, Bowden can still claim he hasn’t made a disparaging public comment – he’s just using surrogates in the press to make his point.
All of which is pretty weaselly. Which is the real problem I have with father and son in this oversigning mess.
Yes, kids get run off programs all of the time. Yes, the athletic scholarship is renewable on a year to year basis. And, yes, both of these student athletes will obtain college degrees thanks to being on athletic scholarships.
All of which misses what’s really wrong here. To the extent that oversigning occurred, that the absence of these kids from their respective programs in 2008 was part of the math factored into making offers that led to oversigning and, most importantly, that these kids weren’t told before offers were extended to others that they had no future with their programs is both dishonest and indefensible.
The question that Barnhart and others should ask is what would the status of these two kids likely be right now if FSU and Clemson hadn’t oversigned their most recent classes. Somehow I doubt we’d be having this discourse right now. And those two would be puking their guts out in mat drills this morning. All for the good of their programs…