• Something I couldn’t believe:  Duke rejected Trindon Holliday.
  • Something that doesn’t surprise me:  Brian Cook won’t be getting any Christmas cards from ‘Bama fans this year.
  • Something that I expected:  Beano Cook predicts a MNC for Notre Dame in the next four years.
  • Something that made me think:  It doesn’t look like having an elite QB is part of the formula for success for winning a MNC.
  • Something that made me shake my head:  Matt Hayes’ concept of what comprises a difficult non-conference schedule.


Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, The Blogosphere

7 responses to “Things.

  1. TomReagan

    If HP wants to discover whether ‘having an elite NFL-style quarterback is related to a team’s title hopes’ then he’s going about his analysis all wrong.

    What he should be doing is looking at the draft results of the past seasons and examining how losing an elite NFL style quarterback has affected teams the following year or whether those players greatly improved otherwise average or bad programs.

    He’d see how losing guys like Phillip Rivers, Eli Manning, Vince Young, Matt Lienart, Jay Cutler, and even guys like Brady Quinn, Alex Smith, Jason Campbell, and Aaron Rodgers has impacted teams the following year.

    Instead, HP decides to ‘prove’ that ‘having an elite NFL-style quarterback is completely unrelated to a team’s title hopes’ by providing a list of national championship quarterbacks. Nevermind the fact that in many seasons normally crappy teams lead by unusually good quarterbacks like Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Brady Quinn contend for conference crowns, national titles, and top 10 finishes because of their stud NFL-style quarterbacks.

    Please also disregard that, under HP’s criteria for an ‘elite’ NFL quarterback you must have been drafted in the top 3 rounds of the draft. In a typical year, this leaves around four or five quarterbacks who have a chance to disprove HP’s thesis in a given year. This is out of over 115 teams in D1 football. Interestingly, in 3 of the past 5 years, a national champion HAS been quarterbacked by one of these quarterbacks. And don’t forget that Alex Smith and Jason Campbell each lead their teams to undefeated seasons during that same period.

    Then HP goes into a diatribe about how coaches try to force west coast offenses onto college players and–I’m trying to follow his logic–recruit and start quarterbacks in college who give them less of a chance to win. Of course, we have to take HP’s word on this and assume that (1) coaches are looking to commit career suicide and (2) that NCAA football has been full of teams pushing the west coast offense onto college programs for the past 18 years.

    We also have to take his word that a list dominated by quarterbacks at top 10 programs were not major recruits.

    Finally, I suppose we are to accept the laughable assertion that the list is dominated by quarterbacks on teams with ‘college style’ offenses. Even if we keep Nebraska on the list, we are left with teams lead by some of these ‘college style’ offensive coordinators–Dennis Erickson, Mark Richt, Gary Crowton, Norm Chow, David Cutcliffe, and whoever lead those crazy Michigan and Ohio State offenses. Seriously, look at the list and tell me how anyone could read that as a compilation of unconventionality outside of the Nebraksa, Lou Holtz Notre Dame, Colorado, and Meyer offenses.

    His entire post is nothing more than cherry picking data–and then flat out lying about that data–in order to make his same old tired points about the beauty of the spread.


  2. HP

    Geez, where to begin on this?

    What I did prove is that a team that does not have an NFL-style quarterback is more likely to win a national title. You can’t dispute that.

    It’s interesting what you say about teams losing their players and what they did the next year. I remember when a guy named Peyton Manning left Tennessee and the next year they won the national title under a guy named Tee Martin.

    USC lost the first pick in the draft with Carson Palmer and the next year won the national title with a lesser-talented (albeit still a first round pick) in Matt Leinart.

    Certainly, non-elite teams are always going to have trouble replacing their best guys. Still, Cal went 10-2 with Aaron Rodgers and two years later went 10-2 with Nate Longshore.

    If you want to say that NFL quarterbacks help teams compete for conference crowns and BCS bids, then great. But they don’t win national titles.

    Yes, in three of the last five years, a high-draft pick NFL quarterback has won a national title. Let’s not forget though that neither Leinart nor Young ran NFL-style offenses.

    As for the WCO, yes you should take my word for it. The coaches don’t think the players give them less chance to win, it’s just that the WCO is all they know how to teach and they are always looking for that prototype QB to run it. Bill Callahan, Paul Hackett, Greg Robinson, etc., think that their system works in college. It doesn’t. As for your contention about the WCO being pushed, you have a much looser interpretation of the term than I do.

    As for whether the guys at the top 10 programs were major recruits or not, don’t take my word for it, go check the recruiting history. I’ve been following it for a long time and I can tell you right now that Jay Barker, Craig Krenzel, Josh Heupel and Tee Martin were not elite recruits coming out of high school.

    You show a remarkable lack of understanding about offenses here. Dennis Erickson ran the one-back spread offense back when his teams won. It was not considered a pro offense at all. Richt’s FSU offenses ran a shot gun fun’n’ gun, which you never see in the NFL. Crowton runs a spread option for LSU. Chow’s BYU offense and offense at USC were simple, college-style passing offenses. Ohio State’s offense with Krenzel was not a pro offense. Certainly Michigan runs a pro style offense, which is why I pointed out that not all the offenses were college style. I don’t necessarily say that list is of unconventional offenses, but only a handful had any kind of grounding in NFL style attacks. The rest were either gimmicky college schemes, spreads, or very simple shotgun passing attacks. Certainly nothing with the complexity of the WCO.

    The only reason I can surmise that you would think the data of the last 20 years is cherry picking–or even more so, lying–is that you worry that Stafford is too much of an NFL prospect for Georgia to win a title. Well, that’s pretty weird, but some people have odd motivations.


  3. Richt’s FSU offenses ran a shot gun fun’n’ gun, which you never see in the NFL.

    That’s a bit of an oversimplification, HP. Richt came up with that to take advantage of Charlie Ward’s unique skill set. FSU’s primary offense under MR was the good ol’ I-formation.

    Also, a lot of people say New England’s offense borrows concepts from the run and shoot…


  4. TomReagan

    First of all, we’re going to need to define a few parameters before this discussion can have any real value. There are a lot a very vague terms being thrown around. So here’s a list.

    1. NFL style quarterback–obviously you have a very different definition of this than me. For me Jones, Rice, Hagan, Ward, Frazier, Frost, Flynn, and even Young are the only guys on the list who I wouldn’t consider NFL ‘style’ QBs. Most of the rest may not be NFL quality, but they’re certainly NFL ‘style’ QBs.

    2. ‘Elite level NFL-style quarterback’. I really am lost on what you mean by this. You put 4th rounder Weinke in that category, but leave out fifth rounder Martin, Erickson who started 36 games in the NFL, and another fourth rounder in Wuerfell. I don’t think any of those guys are really ‘elite NFL quarterbacks’ but, as I said in the original response, I don’t think there are more than 2 or 3 elite NFL quarterbacks starting in college in any given year–if there are that many.

    3. NFL style offense–The run and shoot, the west coast, Air Coryele, Joe Gibbs’ offenses, the pro-I, the early 90s Bills fun-n-gun, the vertical emphasis of the Raiders, the old Cowboy shotgun offenses, split-back sets, what? You talk about NFL offenses as though they are some sort of monolith, but the term could mean any number of things.

    I do dispute your claim that a team without an ‘NFL style’ quarterback is less likely to win a national title. I consider at least half of that list to be populated by NFL ‘style’ quarterbacks–just not top quality NFL quarterbacks.

    As for the effect of Manning and Palmer’s departures–well, I don’t really know what to tell you about that. If you think that losing Peyton Manning or Carson Palmer makes your team better–which, I suppose, was the jist of your original post–then I think we’re going to be at a loggerheads on this one. Just to be clear, though, your argument is that Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer actually decreased their teams’ chances of winning games. If I’m wrong about that, please correct me.

    I do agree that mid level teams will always have trouble replacing their best players, but the difference is that guys who really are elite level NFL players can make their teams relevant in ways that elite NFL players at other positions cannot. Look at the impact in wins Eli had versus Patrick Willis on Ole Miss, how Cutler made Vandy relevant in ways that Earl Bennett couldn’t, how Ben Roethlisberger took Miami of Ohio to the top 15, or how guys on the level of Chad Pennington and Leftwich were able to make Marshall relevant on a national stage.

    By the way, the fact that so many elite level quarterbacks like Roethlisberger, Favre, Alex Smith, Culpepper, Cutler and Romo went to schools with absolutely no shot at winning a national championship and that guys like McNabb, Hasselbeck, Brees, and Rivers all went to BCS schools who theoretically could’ve won a title but in reality had no shot shows the impossible parameters that you have chosen. By tying your theory into such a tiny pool of quarterbacks to begin with, you virtually insure that your thesis will be proven.

    As for pushing the WCO offense onto teams, I just don’t see it. Yeah, guys like Callahan have tried to force it without success–but where is the wave of this happening across college football? I don’t see the evidence of it.

    I’ve also followed recruiting and there are two things that are clear in recruiting. The first is that recruiting rankings before the turn of the century, and really even a couple of years after that, were very unreliable. Guys like Tom Lemming and Forrest Davis were pumping up the guys their buddy’s were getting and the coverage was generally junk. It’s gotten better since Rivals and Scout emerged to keep each other honest, but a 1995 recruiting magazine has about as much weight as my sister’s opinion. The second is that if Ohio State, FSU, Miami, or Tennessee was giving you a scholly during the relevant periods–then you were no slouch of a recruit. Maybe not the next John Elway, but, more than likely, you could play.

    As far as the offenses go, I’ll give you Erickson as a gimmicky college offense (but I still don’t see how the qualities needed to succeed in his offense differ from those necessary to succeed in the NFL) but Richt, the Big10 teams, Tennessee, and most of the others definitely were running conventional offenses. You challenge Richt specifically, and he did have that fun and gun in the early 90s–just like Jim Kelly was running for the Bills–but he was also using plenty of I formation. And Chow basically runs a junior version of the West Coast offense in college.

    You’re basically talking about a list that includes about half of its teams using the pro-I as their base formation. I don’t see anything gimmicky about that.

    I can assure you that my response had nothing to do with a fear that an ultra talented quarterback would be a drag on my favorite team and that we’d be better off looking for another Cory Phillips to lead us to the promised land.

    What I objected to was your assertion that having a future all pro on your team is a bad thing. I’m right there with you on the idea that a kid can be a great college quarterback without being a great pro, but there’s a big jump from that and the idea that future all pros are a BAD thing. You can recruit all of the scrappy Barkers and Krenzels you want, but I assure you that the same team would be much better off quarterbacked by a Favre or a Manning.


  5. At FSU, Richt’s offense with Ward is what he runs at UGA. Only, he ran it no-huddle with a QB who would tuck and run sooner in his check down progression that our current guys.

    There was nothing scheme wise unique about it. He ran ONE play in a dozen formations dozens of times per game. It was outlined on your site a few weeks ago.


  6. Ironically, MR wanted to run the FSU no-huddle at UGA, but dear ol’ Bobby Gaston wouldn’t let him.


  7. kckd

    How many team’s have an elite NFL type QB HP? Geeze, I could’ve told you that you’re more likely to win a NC without one. That’s like saying the field is more likely to win a PGA event than Tiger Woods.