Daily Archives: February 19, 2009

Hugo Chavez sez, “¡Vaya, los perros!”

Thats his best Urban Meyer impression.

That's his best Urban Meyer impression. (photo courtesy AP)

Calm down.  It’s not what you think, per Friends of the Program:

… the Guaros de Lara football team just so happens to have the same colors and logo as UGA.


UPDATE: Mr. Gillett takes the ball and runs with it.



Filed under Georgia Football

All aboard the Lane Train.

I wish Tennessee people would make up their minds.  On the one hand, his AD says Junior doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he claims to be firing assistants and laying off secretarial staff.  On the other, this guy says the Laner knows exactly what he’s doing.


Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Media Punditry/Foibles

More on these tough times

USA Today takes another look at how schools are coping with an economy in free fall.  Buried in all the gloom is a pretty good one liner.

A recession comes after two consecutive quarters of declining productivity — or, as Notre Dame calls that, halftime.

By the way, if you’re still not convinced that things have gotten pretty bad, take a look at this.  When beer is no longer recession-proof, we’re all in trouble.


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Leach and TTU: ‘Showdown at the OK Corral’

Mike Leach has a law degree, so maybe it’s natural that he take his case into the court of public opinion, which is what he spent much of yesterday doing.  (The Wiz has his appearance on ESPN here.)

His record at Texas Tech speaks for itself.

The Red Raiders are coming off arguably their best season in school history. Leach guided Tech to an 11-2 record, a share of the Big 12 South title with Oklahoma and Texas, and a Cotton Bowl berth. Leach was also featured on a segment on 60 Minutes and has overseen a program that has a 79 percent graduation rate.

In the 75 years before Leach arrived at Tech, Red Raiders coaches posted a .549 winning percentage and were 5-17-1 in bowl games. In nine years under Leach, the Red Raiders have a .661 winning percentage and are 5-4 in bowls.

Tech could also have a school-record six players in April’s NFL Draft: wide receiver Michael Crabtree, quarterback Graham Harrell, defensive end Brandon Williams, offensive guard Louis Vasquez, safety Darcel McBath and offensive tackle Rylan Reed.

Bruce Feldman also points out that Leach likely played a significant part in landing the lucrative deal the school recently signed with Under Armour.

As for the sticking points in the new proposal from TTU that Leach hasn’t accepted (which, strangely enough, aren’t about the money), the coach makes some sense about why there’s a problem.

… The financial terms of the proposed contract aren’t in dispute; both sides have agreed to the five-year, $12.7 million deal. Leach was set to sign the extension before Tech added four provisions that have led to this current breaking point:

1. If Leach is fired, he would receive 12 percent of his remaining salary.

2. Leach would owe a $1.5 million buyout (it is currently $500,000) if he leaves Tech for another job.

3. Leach would be terminated immediately if he interviews for another job without Myers’ permission.

4. Any monies from Leach’s personal property rights would go to Tech. In other words, Leach would have no control over outside income opportunities such as books, speaking engagements and endorsements.

No matter what Tech says publicly, two of those provisions — the 12 percent buyout and the loss of personal property rights — are aimed at forcing Leach’s hand.

“They (provisions) contradict themselves,” Leach said. “Two are designed to drive you away, and two are designed to keep you forever.”

On the other hand, Tony Barnhart makes a valid rebuttal that Leach and his agents have not grasped the changing reality of buyout provisions in coaches’ contracts.

… Like Dodd, Barnhart didn’t side strongly with one or the other. He pointed out, however, that one of the reasons for the breakdown — Tech’s insistence on equal-money buyouts for both sides — is fast becoming a trend in major-college football as universities demand protection for the big-money investments they make in their programs.

Barnhart was a longtime national college football writer for The Atlanta-Journal Constitution who left the paper last year. In a story he did last February, he reported that Georgia and its coach, Mark Richt, have equal buyouts of $2 million per year for every year remaining on Richt’s contract. In the same story, he reported that Auburn and its former coach, Tommy Tuberville, had equal buyouts of $6 million per side had they parted ways after 2007, and Clemson and its former coach, Tommy Bowden, agreed last winter to equal buyouts of $4 million per side. That was after Bowden considered a job opening at Arkansas.

Leach’s agents, in their latest offer dated Feb. 10, asked that Tech keep Leach’s buyout at $500,000 if he leaves and that Tech guarantee 40 percent of the balance of his contract if Leach is fired. Tech wants each side’s buyout at $300,000 per year for each year left on Leach’s contract.

“Mike Leach seems to be operating under the old set of rules that favor the coach,’’ Barnhart said. “In the new way, the buyouts are going to be more equal. That’s a new reality a lot of coaches are having to face right now.’’

It’s a bizarre situation, no doubt.  Almost every neutral observer of this spat agrees on two things – that it’s pretty obvious that there’s room for compromise on both sides and that it’s equally obvious that neither side is willing to back down.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Mike Leach. Yar!

Matt Hayes and lies, damned lies and statistics

You know what’s really getting tiresome these days?  The countless articles where a pundit “proves” that all this recruiting rating stuff is overblown.  Since not every five-star recruit turns into an All-American, what does that tell you, hunh?  (Never mind that the statistical likelihood of that happening is far greater than it is for four-stars, three-stars, two-stars, etc.)  And since every once in a while a two-star recruit does morph into an All-American, the whole system must be seriously flawed, right?

So let’s add Matt Hayes to the mix.  Matt’s done put hisself together one of them there scientific studies entitled “The best talent doesn’t always equal the most wins” that you ought to take a gander at if you’re in need of a quick chuckle.  His grand concept is to take an average of each D-1 team’s recruiting rankings for the past five seasons and match it against the average number of wins that team has had during that same time.  The bigger the spread between the two, the more evidence that a program has either underachieved or overachieved during that period.

How truly stupid is this?  Let me count the ways.

  1. His method correlates classes in the early years that don’t contribute.  How many players from a school’s 2004 recruiting class actually saw the field of play in 2004?  In most cases, damned few.
  2. Along the same lines, his analysis doesn’t take into account the talent level of the program prior to 2004.  A perfect example of that is his last place team, Mississippi.  By all accounts, Cutcliffe simply wasn’t a successful recruiter.  Orgeron was, but had to start significantly in the hole from a talent standpoint because of his predecessor.
  3. Strength of schedule isn’t factored in.  Look at the schools at the top of his list:  the Big East dominates that part, followed by the ACC.  Neither conference has really been at the top of its game in the last five years.
  4. Worst of all, the methodology cuts against the very best and the very worst teams.  If you’re the number one ranked team in recruiting, the best showing you can make under Hayes’ study is to break even.  Well, guess what:  that’s exactly what Southern Cal does.   So much for talent not equaling wins.  (That’s only good for #34 on Hayes’ list, by the way.)

That’s not to say that there aren’t overachieving and underachieving programs in college football.  Of course there are.  But Hayes’ model is a particularly inept way of sifting through the evidence to find which schools are which.

One thing is clear from what he compiled, though.  All things being even, a school’s chances to succeed on the field are better with good recruiting than not.  Seven of the top ten schools in recruiting finished in the top ten in wins during that period.  None of the bottom ten did.


Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Recruiting