With the Big Ten Conference now seemingly moving towards expansion to 14 or more teams, the motivation of why the Big Ten or another conference would want to expand is out there for debate. There is great resistance to change in the human psyche, but it is change itself that defines human advancement and positive change is not something that any of us should be afraid of, but should rather embrace (Robert F. Kennedy at Cape Town, South Africa):
Our answer is the world’s hope: It is to rely on youth. The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress.
This world demands the qualities of youth; not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.
“There is,” said an Italian philosopher, “nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the — in the introduction of a new order of things.”
“Give me a place to stand,” said Archimedes, “and I will move the world.” These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of the events, and then the total — all of these acts — will be written in the history of this generation.”
When we here at Coaches Hot Seat think about the Big Ten Conference expanding or the United States of America retaining its position in the world our thoughts often turn to Paul Kennedy’s seminal book on power in the world, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.
As summarized by Wikipedia:
“The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict From 1500 to 2000, by Paul Kennedy, first published in 1987, explores the politics and economics of the Great Powers from 1500 to 1980 and the reason for their decline. It then continues by forecasting the positions of China, Japan, the European Economic Community (EEC), the Soviet Union and the United States through the end of the 20th century.
Kennedy argues that the strength of a Great Power can be properly measured only relative to other powers, and he provides a straightforward and persuasively argued thesis: Great Power ascendency (over the long term or in specific conflicts) correlates strongly to available resources and economic durability; military “over-stretch” and a concomitant relative decline are the consistent threat facing powers whose ambitions and security requirements are greater than their resource base can provide for.”
There is a lot that could be said here about the United States and the challenges it now faces with its fiscal situation and thus position in the world relative to other world powers, but the issue at hand is the expansion of the Big Ten and other collegiate conferences.
If one believes in Paul Kennedy’s arguments, then the Big Ten is acting wholly rational in looking to expand to make itself stronger vis-à-vis the SEC and other BCS conferences and it also makes perfect sense that the Big Ten would like to add Notre Dame and other strong institutions to expand its footprint into new TV markets from the Atlantic Ocean to out past the Mississippi River in the West.
If we were the Big Ten commissioner or Big Ten university presidents we would be encouraging expansion and that brings up several questions on the other side if Notre Dame and other schools should move to join the Big Ten. Since it would make very good sense for several Big 12 and all the Big East schools to join the Big Ten if offered, we don’t have a lot to offer on that subject, because we cannot imagine Missouri, Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers, UConn, etc., passing on a Big Ten invitation to join their conference.
That leaves Notre Dame in the tough spot of whether to join the Big Ten or not and their oft-repeated statement of wanting to remain as a “national university” relative to their athletic teams, notably football. Relative to that goal of remaining a “national university” the main problem that we have noticed over the years at Notre Dame is that its leaders are often out-of-touch with issues that public and large private universities have to deal with on a regular basis and that “blind spot” can hurt the school as it pertains to positive changes that could help its athletic teams.
Notre Dame’s interest in remaining as “national university” relative to its football program and thus independent and not a member of an athletic conference defies logic because there are schools throughout the country that are certainly “national” institutions, Texas, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Duke, North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio State are some that come to mind, that have very strong national identities, but are also part of strong athletic conferences. In the case of Stanford University, a school that is similar in focus and academics to Notre Dame, Stanford’s athletic teams and the school as a whole are actually much stronger because they are a member of the Pac-10 conference. Trying to imagine Stanford as an independent school and not tied into the very strong group of schools that make up the Pac-10 is a difficult thing to do, while still understand that Stanford as an institution of higher learning has some of the most firepower of any school in the United States.
If the folks at Notre Dame are of the opinion that staying as an independent school with its athletic teams will somehow strengthen its status as a “national university,” then we could not disagree more. What a lot of fans of college athletics do not realize is that the Big Ten Conference is a collection of very good to great public and private schools that Notre Dame would fit very well with and we have no doubt would gather a lot of strength from as well. Over the past decade or so several of us here at Coaches Hot Seat as we have traveled on business, pleasure or for college football games to schools throughout the country have visited most of the 120 I-A schools in the country and it is our opinion that the Big Ten has the best collection of public/private universities in the country.
Assuming that Notre Dame did join the Big Ten Conference it would be slated to play 8 Big Ten games each year and that would still leave it 4 games each year to play Stanford, USC, a military school and then 1 more home game. It is very hard for us to imagine that becoming a member of the Big Ten and playing 8 games against very solid Big Ten teams and also playing the 4 out-of-conference games would hurt the school in any way, but would in fact make the Irish football program and other athletic teams stronger.
Notre Dame is in a position of strength as it pertains to negotiating to become a member of the Big Ten Conference, because the Irish still have the strongest brand in college football and they should drive a hard bargain with the Big Ten as it pertains to how they would be able to handle TV revenues for home games and where they would fit into the new Big Ten conference alignment.
Assume for a moment that the Big Ten went for the whole enchilada and expanded to 16 teams by adding Notre Dame, Rutgers, Missouri, Syracuse and Pitt, then the teams would break down something like:
Big Sixteen A
Big Sixteen B
If we were Notre Dame and we were joining the Big Ten we would want to end up in a division of the conference where we have the maximum amount of TV exposure across different markets, but also a division that would not be loaded up with the best teams in the conference. Playing Michigan and Michigan State has become a fixture of the Notre Dame football, so that is something we would might negotiate to keep on the Irish schedule each year, but we also would not want to have to play both Ohio State and Penn State each year as well. Something like the above breakdown of a Big Ten with sixteen teams would be what we would want from the Big Ten if were at Notre Dame and were considering joining the conference, because a balanced Big Ten schedule that would give the Irish a good chance of getting to the Big Sixteen Championship Game each year should be of prime interest to the Irish.
If Notre Dame could work out a deal with the Big Ten where it could retain control of the TV revenues relative to its home football games then there is no doubt in our minds here at CHS that Notre Dame would find that being a part of the Big Ten would make the university much stronger in the future both athletically and academically as it takes advantage of the relationship and bonds that would be built with the current and new Big Ten schools. Notre Dame’s mission as they define it…
“The University of Notre Dame is a Catholic academic community of higher learning, animated from its origins by the Congregation of Holy Cross. The University is dedicated to the pursuit and sharing of truth for its own sake. As a Catholic university, one of its distinctive goals is to provide a forum where, through free inquiry and open discussion, the various lines of Catholic thought may intersect with all the forms of knowledge found in the arts, sciences, professions, and every other area of human scholarship and creativity.”
…would not be threatened by aligning its athletic teams with other Big Ten schools, but rather would strengthen both its athletics and academics and vice-versa as the other Big Ten schools would be exposed to another school that combines very high-level of education/research and top-flight athletics.
Far from Notre Dame’s Mission or athletics being threatened by joining the Big Ten Conference, becoming a part of the Big Ten would only affirm the actions of the Christian Church of actively engaging with the world, going right back to the teachings and travels of Apostle Paul. No, Paul did not sit in Greece or Palestine and just write about Christ and his teachings, but rather went out and engaged the world one person and one community at a time.
Getting back to Paul Kennedy’s thesis on the Rise and Fall of Great Powers:
“Great Power ascendency (over the long term or in specific conflicts) correlates strongly to available resources and economic durability; military “over-stretch” and a concomitant relative decline are the consistent threat facing powers whose ambitions and security requirements are greater than their resource base can provide for.”
The above thesis, which we believe to be very accurate in the course of human history whether it concerns nation-states, athletic conferences or “national universities,” should be of interest to Notre Dame as they consider becoming a member of Big Ten Conference, but from where we sit it is a NO BRAINER decision in the affirmative for the Irish.
One of the reasons that College Head Coaches and how they go about doing their job of putting together a winning football program is of an interest to us here at Coaches Hot Seat is that we are very interested in how leaders motivate people to perform at very high levels. Over 20 years ago Michael Macoby (The Maccoby Group) wrote a book titled “Why Work” which predicted a revolution in the workplace and that future leaders would have to find new ways to motivate people because economic rewards because money alone would not always be enough to get people to perform at their highest level. Any book or speech that touches on how we can motivate our employees to achieve more is of an interest to us and it just so happens that college head coaches in all sports are people that have to motivate their student-athletes with the only visible reward being the opportunity to earn a college degree or be a part of a championship team. Yes, that dichotomy especially catches our attention..
“Acclaimed social psychologist Claude Steele offers an insider’s look at his groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity. Through dramatic personal stories, Claude Steele shares the experiments and studies that show, again and again, that exposing subjects to stereotypes—merely reminding a group of female math majors about to take a math test, for example, that women are considered naturally inferior to men at math—impairs their performance in the area affected by the stereotype. Steele’s conclusions shed new light on a host of American social phenomena, from the racial and gender gaps in standardized test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men. Steele explicates the dilemmas that arise in every American’s life around issues of identity, from the white student whose grades drop steadily in his African American Studies class to the female engineering students deciding whether or not to attend predominantly male professional conferences. Whistling Vivaldi offers insight into how we form our senses of identity and ultimately lays out a plan for mitigating the negative effects of “stereotype threat” and reshaping American identities….”
As you can see from the summary Whistling Vivaldi generally deals with how stereotypes can dramatically effect how people of all races and backgrounds perform on tests and in life, but what caught our attention in the interview on NPR Talk of the Nation was the following exchange with a caller to the show:
“CONAN: And what techniques do you use to do that?
J.R.: Well, I wish I could tell you I was very effective at it. I don’t know how effective I am. I’m only three years into teaching now, so I’m developing these things. The real ideal is to hold them to the highest standards that I can and I make them realize, hopefully, eventually, sometimes I fail at this, but I try to hold them to the highest standards and let them know that they can succeed even when it’s hard. And that it being hard doesn’t mean that it’s -you don’t – you’re not smart. It just means it’s hard. It’s hard for everybody. It’s hard if you’re from Southeast Ohio or if you’re Brooklyn, New York, if you’re from Boston, Massachusetts, this is hard for everybody to understand.
CONAN: Well, that’s one technique, Claude Steele.
Dr. STEELE: Yes. I – you’ve – most of the solutions we’ve come up with people have found in their own lives, and this is a perfect example of that. One of the – to put – bring it to a sharp point, one of the things we found is that if you give – if you’re very demanding in a classroom situation of that sort and, at the same time, you affirm the students’ abilities to realize those high standards that you’re setting, you – the combination of things is very effective at the reducing the effects – the negative effects of stereotype threat. It signals to the student that they’re not being seen as having limited ability. They’re not being seen through the lens of that stereotype. And then they can rise to the call of doing better and, you know, working hard in the -with the material.”
Did you catch the most important thing that Mr. Steele said in the above interview:
“One of the – to put – bring it to a sharp point, one of the things we found is that if you give – if you’re very demanding in a classroom situation of that sort and, at the same time, you affirm the students’ abilities to realize those high standards that you’re setting, you – the combination of things is very effective..”
To us here at Coaches Hot Seat Mr. Steele’s comments affirm what we have believed for a long-time on motivating people with the technique of setting very high goals and demanding a lot of people while also affirming the belief in peoples’ ability to realize and meet those high standards.
This leadership strategy of being both very demanding while at the very same time affirming the abilities of the people you are leading should be of a particular interest to college head coaches because most coaches whether they realize it or not are often on a razor’s edge between demanding and encouraging their players. All of us that have played organized team sports in our lives have had coaches that innately understood the difference between a coach that “gets it” when it comes to motivating his players to set and meet high goals and coaches that are either not demanding enough/don’t affirm the players’ abilities and coaches that were incredibly demanding and were often also demeaning to the players.
Often when members of the general public think about how a coach should go about his or her business in building a winning program, they are confused in how a coach like Paul “Bear” Bryant, or Bobby Knight, or Woody Hayes, or Bo Schembechler, or Vince Lombardi, etc., can be so demanding of their players and what it looks like from the outside, cruel, but can also inspire such great play and such great loyalty from the very same players. Herein are the most important elements and the key differences between the greatest of coaches of all times and the one’s that are mediocre or worse….
A coach can be very demanding of his players using his own particular style (like the differences between Mack Brown, Nick Saban, Chris Petersen, Jim Tressel, etc.) as long as he affirms the abilities of his players during his is coaching which creates a positive feedback loop where the players are held to very high standards from demanding coaches, the players hear from the coaches that they can perform and meet those demands because they have the ability to do so, which leads to the players coming to the belief that the coaches both believe in them and care about their place in the program and their individual futures.
If one studies the greatest college football coaches of all time one sees this same pattern of coaching, even when the individual coaching styles vary greatly, like Paul “Bear” Bryant and Tom Osborne. Paul Bryant and Tom Osborne used very different styles in coaching their teams, but we defy anyone that played for either man to say that both coaches were both very demanding and both also cared deeply for their players. If you take the top college head football coaches in the game today one would also find the very same dichotomy where players will tell you that the coach “was very demanding of them” but that also he gave a damn about their lives both on and off the football field.
Coaches and leaders of all stripes would be very wise to examine their own leadership styles to see if they match the greatest of all time in one’s chosen field of endeavor (and in other fields), always keeping in mind that one must bring his or her own particular style to the endeavor they have chosen for their life.
The second full week of April 2010 reminds us that The Eagles are about to crank up another segment of their Long Road Out of Eden World Tour, this time performing for the first time at the Hollywood Bowl for 3 nights beginning on this Friday at April 16, 2010. http://www.eaglesband.com/
With that mind we believe we know what we will see The Eagles open up with on Friday night! Yes, we are seeing an early dinner followed by a few drinks, a quick ride over to the Hollywood Bowl and then as the Sun begins to set over the Pacific Ocean we hear the Great Eagles crank up….
Peaceful, Easy Feeling
Life’s Been Good
Heart of the Matter
The End of Innocence
You Belong to the City
And then when we are about to head back to the beach for a nightcap overlooking the Pacific Ocean…..
Veering of the Great Game of College Football and Football Coaches as we are apt to do here at Coaches Hot Seat, we offer the following on The Masters and Tiger Woods’ golf game/golf swing:
We all got to watch yet another great Sunday of golf and intrigue at The Masters and Phil Michelson is to be given high accolades for conquering both the golf course and himself this past week. Michelson had not played very well this year and the one time we saw him in person at a tournament in 2010 he seemed more interested in other pressing matters, surely the health of his wife and mother.
Phil Michelson now has three Green Jackets and even though he turns 40 years of age later this year we don’t see him slowing down a bit and we wouldn’t be surprised if he matched Jack Nicklaus’ record of 6 Masters Titles in the next decade.
The Augusta National Golf Club looked as incredible as always and CBS Sports with an assist from the club on limited commercials again showed why The Masters is “can’t miss” TV every year. One of the big reasons that The Masters is such great fun to watch is that The Augusta National Golf course provides the ultimate in “risk and reward” for golfers which force them to make decisions instead of letting them dictate how they will play the golf course. No doubt Bobby Jones (one of the greatest golfers ever and co-founder of the club) and Alister MacKenzie (the architect Mr. Jones worked with on Augusta National with) would be thrilled that even almost 80 years after they build the Augusta National the golf course is still challenging the best players in the game.
Alister MacKenzie was certainly an interesting fellow who was born in England and went on to become a surgeon and then later an expert on military camouflage, which undoubtedly helped him in the design of golf courses. Mr. MacKenzie moved to the United States and his first design was the much underrated Meadow Club in Marin County (SF Bay area) before he went onto greater things: Cypress Point Golf Club (Monterey Peninsula, California), Pasatiempo Golf Club (Santa Cruz, California), University of Michigan Golf Course, The Scarlet Golf Course at Ohio State, Sharp Park Golf Course (Pacifica, California), and of course The Augusta National Golf course in Augusta, Georgia.
At all of the above listed golf courses Mr. MacKenzie built designs that would both not overwhelm the average golfer but still challenge the best players in the world and the decisions that are forced upon the best golfers in the world at Augusta National each spring is the genius of a great golf course architect combined with one of the best golfers in the history of the game. We all get great fun out of watching the greatest golfers getting challenged each year at Augusta, something that Augusta National moved away from to some extent a decade or so ago, but has been brought back with great success and made The Masters again….The Masters!
Bravo to Phil Michelson and the other golfers that took on the challenge that is the Augusta National and The Masters golf tournament.
Tiger Woods Golf Game and Golf Swing
Something that has caught our eye in recent years with Tiger Woods was there again this week at The Masters, and that is Tiger’s overemphasis of the mechanics of the golf swing while he is playing a round of golf. We all have run into trouble from time to time on the golf course or in tournaments, but rarely did thinking about mechanics solve the problem, but in fact almost always made things worse. The way that Tiger Woods and many other golfers drove the ball off the tee at Augusta National is not something that can be done with much success at all on a golf course like Pebble Beach (site of 2010 US Open) and to that we are going to throw in our two cents on Woods’ problems with his golf swing.
Several of us here at Coaches Hot Seat were lucky enough to see Tiger Woods practice and play a good bit when he was a student at Stanford University when he was still an amateur golfer. We also have seen Tiger play a good bit in person over the years and seen his golf swing evolve from something that was very good that had a couple of small flaws to a good swing that can have flaws if his focus is not on playing the game of golf. When Tiger Woods was still an amateur on a trip to play in The Masters golf tournament, Jack Nicklaus remarked that Woods had “the finest, fundamentally sounds golf swing I’ve ever seen.”
Here is Tiger Woods golf swing at the 1996 US Amateur just before he turned pro:
And here is Tiger Woods at the 1997 Masters with the same swing:
Yes, that is a Hellava golf swing but it also very upright and Tiger also had a very strong grip which together could have produced some inconsistency going forward, so Tiger decided to change his swing after the 1997 Masters (which he won by 12 shots!) by working with instructor Butch Harmon.
Here is what Tiger Woods golf swing with Butch Harmon looked like in 2000 when Tiger was the No. 1 golfer in the game:
Notice Tiger Woods golf swing is a little flatter, but not much, and it is shorter which gives him more control of the golf ball.
In 2004 Tiger Woods decided that he wanted “more ownership” of his golf swing so he started working with instructor Hank Haney. Watch the changes that were made in Tiger’s golf swing over the past few years under the direction of Hank Haney:
Now take a look at this analysis of Tiger Woods’ golf swing by CBS Sports Peter Kostis:
Hank Haney is one of the best golf teachers in the country and it has been great fun to watch him working with Charles Barkley and Ray Romano on The Golf Channel, but it is our belief that Haney like many other golf teachers makes the game more difficult for many of his students by overemphasizing things that are and should be out of the direct control of the golfer. The greatest example of this is Haney’s contention that a golfer, especially a golfer that swings the club as fast as Tiger Woods can direct his downswing in pre-ordained manner during a high-pressure tournament like The Masters. The insanity of watching Tiger Woods during the final round of The Masters first hitting a bad shot and then working on moves that will “straighten” out his golf swing are beyond absurd and border on madness. Tiger Woods should be playing golf, not working on his golf swing in the final round of The Masters and he certainly should not ever be focused on a particular downswing movement beyond maybe “one key” that he can remember that will keep his swing moving correctly. Note the emphasis on “swing” in the last sentence, because right now Tiger seems to us to have a series of “movements” instead of a golf swing and that is why he is not getting the most out of his tremendous talent.
Let’s look at a lesson from Hank Haney on the “Start of the Downswing”
Mr. Haney starts out this lesson great by focusing on the “transferring of the weight” and that the golf swing “should start from the ground up” but then Hank moves off into “La-La Land” talking about the rotating of the arms in a certain way based upon how you hit the golf ball. Maybe we are just stupid here at Coaches Hot Seat, but the average golfer and even Tiger Woods don’t need to be thinking about “rotating their arms” while they are playing golf or especially when they are playing in The Masters. That might be OK for the driving range, but in our minds that might even be suspect because focusing so much on a movement of the arms in a downswing that takes milliseconds doesn’t strike us as something that can be repeated very well on the golf course, especially under great pressure in a major championship.
Before we give our suggestions on what Tiger Woods should do to get his golf swing on track, we do have to give Hank Haney a lot of credit for changing Tiger Woods grip which has made his ball striking a lot more consistent and has also eliminated some of the zany looking shots that Tiger used to hit. With the good work that Hank Haney has done with Tiger, that Butch Harmon did, and the very good golf swing that Tiger Woods developed a junior golfer and during his college/amateur days, we believe that a return to simplicity for Tiger where he can focus on his swing a couple of key “moves” during practice and more importantly the preparing for and the hitting of golf shots when playing in tournaments is in order. With that in mind, we believe the No. 1 thing that Tiger Woods could do to get his golf swing back on track would be to move back to the lower body move he had with his feet, legs, and hips when he was an amateur which is best described by the Great Ben Hogan:
Now let’s again look at Tiger Woods at the 1997 Masters:
Note that the only difference between Ben Hogan’s swing during his prime and Tiger Woods in 1997 is that Woods golf swing is more upright and that he has a stronger grip on the golf club. Tiger Woods has flattened out his golf swing and he has corrected his grip in recent years, both things he needed to do to become a long-term winner, but he now must complete the transition and return to “swinging” the golf club all the way through his swing instead of making a “movement” from the top of his swing that is causing great inconsistencies in his game.
Very simply, Tiger Woods needs to start swinging the golf club again instead of making “movements” with his swing. He has a terrific grip, a great backswing, but he is trying to manipulate the downswing instead of letting the swing start “from the ground up” starting with the weight transfer and movement of his lower body which if done in the correct order will automatically “put” the golf club in the right spot coming down. If Tiger Woods could just go to work on this one move and get his swing into sequence he could then again start working on the things that made him a great golf in the first place, his ability to hit both straight and normal shots and his great talent to hit shots that a lot of people would not even try.
The last thing in the world that Tiger Woods should be thinking about when he is playing a round of golf is getting to a certain “position” or executing a certain “movement” in his golf “swing.” You “swing” a golf club rather than executing movements and if Tiger Woods ever goes back to “swinging” and playing the game of golf instead of worrying about all this execution nonsense, that should be left on the driving range and out of competitive golf tournaments, he is going to rack up another 10 major or so before he is done.
Good Luck Tiger and we will see you at the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach.
Was Thursday a great day of watching The Masters or what? One thing we have neglected to discuss in this blog is the terrific job that CBS Sports does in covering all of its sporting events. With the NCAA considering an opt-out and rebidding of the current college basketball tournament contract with CBS, they should keep in mind that it has been the work of the folks at CBS that have had a lot to do with the American People taking such a shine to that event. (Not that ESPN doesn’t do a great job with college basketball, because they do, but CBS has made the college basketball tournament what it is and it would be as shame (and maybe foolhardy) if major changes were made to the tournament in the name of more $$$$$$$.
March Madness is March Madness because CBS has been able to in the last 25 or so years turn it into a huge event with the help of our incredible coaches and student athletes, and a big part of that success is because it is able to produce a first-rate product with great people in front and behind the cameras. We have been lucky enough to see some of the action that goes on behind the scenes at CBS Sports in the basketball tournament, the NFL, and even their golf coverage, and the viewers have no idea the amount of work that goes into getting that great coverage onto our TVs. Just like the NCAA basketball tournament, CBS has been a leader in professional golf coverage for years (with NBC doing some great work as well with Johnny Miller in the lead analyst position along with Dan Hicks) and The Masters is just one example CBS’ golf coverage that is so good that when they do make a rare mistake we all really notice it. Jim Nantz and everyone else at CBS Sports that works on the NCAA basketball tournament, the NFL, The Masters and everything else they cover at CBS deserve high kudos for covering, analyzing, and producing some incredible sporting events.
We did notice in the first day of CBS’ Masters coverage on Thursday that the on-air talent is going to report the entire Tiger Woods story and be upfront with the viewers about Tiger’s absence from the game and how he is performing in the here and now. CBS Sports president Sean McManus said before The Masters that relative to the Woods story: “this year Tiger’s story is a major factor in the golf tournament and we are going to fully cover it.” We here at Coaches Hot Seat have been critical of CBS for their fawning over Tiger Woods in the past and that sometimes a few close friendships with Tiger leaked over into the TV coverage, but CBS’ Thursday reporting on Tiger was great and we hope they keep it up. Bravo to CBS for being honest about Tiger Woods and accurately reporting on what he is doing in the tournament and we look forward to a great 3 days of golf at the Augusta National.
There is nothing we would like to see more than Tiger Woods come back from his long layoff and win The Masters but there are some other players in there, Fred Couples, Phil Michelson, and Tom Watson are three, that we are pulling for hard as well. We asked on Monday before the College Basketball National Championship Game…”Does it get any better than this?” No it doesn’t, and with Tiger Woods and several other great players near the top of The Masters leaderboard we are looking forward to a great weekend of steaks on the grill, cold beer in the tub, the Flat Screens with The Masters tuned in and a major championship in golf being settled (on the field of play even….Get that Candy Ass BCS Lovers?)
Not only was Mr. Jones a Hellava of a Winner on the golf course he was a better person away from the game. That is what Billy Payne was really talking about in his comments on Tiger Woods earlier this week. We noticed in Tiger Woods press conference after his round on Thursday that when asked about Payne’s comments on him he said that “He was disappointed in those comments.” We can only wonder what happened to “They are just telling the truth” remarks that Tiger made at his Monday news conference. Of course, no one here at Coaches Hot Seat would have dragged out our dead or alive fathers into a PR campaign to try and revive our image after we had been running around with dozens of floozies and porn stars. That is the fundamental difference between Tiger Woods and most of America, at least those of us here at CHS. Tiger believes that because he is Tiger Woods anything can ultimately be justified in the name of promoting Tiger Woods and that is exactly what got him into trouble in the first place. That doesn’t mean we won’t be pulling for Woods though over the next few days and into the future, because he is one of the great American sports champions in history, we just only hope his behavior off the course matches his incredible talents on the course. Certainly, none of us have any desire to have answer future questions from our 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… year olds that have been asked in recent months that were phrased like:
“Did Tiger do something wrong?” Is Tiger’s wife mad at him?” Are Tiger’s kids OK?” “Why is Tiger not playing golf anymore?”
No, we don’t have any interest in our kids asking those types of questions, because we don’t have any good answers beyond just telling them that Tiger made a mistake and that he will be back playing golf again soon. We already in recent years have had to keep our young children away from Tiger Woods when we were at tournaments in person or even sometimes from the TV because of Woods’ personal behavior on the golf course. Maybe Tiger Woods will understand some of this, but then has Tiger interacted with a normal American that was not tasked with getting his cleaning or bringing him food in the last 6 months? We rather doubt it.
Good Luck to everyone at The Masters and we look forward to watching this incredible event unfold over the weekend!
2010 I-A Coaches and Salaries Report
We have just completed the Coaches Salaries and Contracts for the I-A head coaches in the 2010 football season and Coaches Hot Seat Subscribers can find all that info at (The permanent links for the below info are on the CHS main webpage:
Late March/Early April Every Year: An Embarrassment of Riches for Sports Fans
The early weeks of April really are an embarrassment of riches for American sports fans and after the great conclusion to the college basketball season Monday night, the women deciding their National Champion on Tuesday, with Major League Baseball off and running, today we get to sit back and watch one of the truly great sporting events in the world tee off, The Masters.
There is very little we can add to the NCAA National Championship Game on Monday night between Duke and Butler, but to say that both teams played like great champions and Duke was just a little bit better and Coach K and the Blue Devils program now have their Fourth National Title.
We always go out of our way here at Coaches Hot Seat to catch Duke on TV or in person and the 2009-10 Blue Devils team that we watched this season was not the most talented in Duke history, but it may have had the most heart and hustle. There is so much that goes into coaching basketball that we often don’t think of or realize until after it happens (as the new leader in wins in the NBA Don Nelson reminds us when we watch him coach) that Coach K and other top coaches often don’t get the credit for all they do to pile up so many wins and championships. Unlike football, which all of us here at Coaches Hot Seat have grown up living, breathing and playing, college basketball never fails to surprise us in some way and that is one of the reasons we love the game and the basketball hoops at our homes get lots of use by us and our kids.
Congratulations to Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils. 2009 – 2010 National Champions. That has such a great ring to it no matter which coach and team are front of it!
Bogus Comparisons of Butler and Boise State…and other “non-BCS” teams in college football
Speaking of the National Championship we have read a lot of stories in recent days that have compared Boise State or other “non-BCS” teams (imagine for a moment if college basketball teams were segregated out in such a discriminatory way like college football does…Very Un-American in our book!) that might have a chance to win the National Title in college football. Of course, comparisons of Boise State or other “non-BCS” teams to Butler is beyond stupid because college football and its postseason have been built and operated to exclude teams like Boise State from the very start, even if they win every game in the regular season!
For everyone that has lost their short-term memory, we are only a few months removed from 5 TEAMS FINISHING THE 2009 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON UNDEFEATED, Alabama, Texas, Boise State, TCU and Cincinnati and it was the Candy Ass BCS that is propped up by all the Candy Ass BCS Lovers both working inside the BCS and the co-conspirators in the news media that seem to so quickly forget what has actually happened in the REAL WORLD!
The Butler comparison and what could happen in college football is absurd on its face because it has been proven time and time again that the college football postseason and BCS excludes teams because it tries to do the absolute impossible: The BCS claims that 12 or 13 regular season/championship games can identify two teams that should be playing for a national title, but basic math will tell any First Grade student that it takes LUCK ON AN ORDER COMPARABLE TO WINNING THE LOTTERY to end up with only 2 teams from 120 total teams after only 12 or 13 regular/championship games. That the BCS will “get it right” will always be the exception rather than any rule, because 120 teams spread across so many conferences that don’t play each other enough to determine who has the best team or conference (remember all the flunkies in the media that claimed the Pac-10 was the best conference after the 2009 regular season that looked like utter fools when the meaningless exhibition games (the bowls) were played?) will never be able to narrow down to 2 teams like Duke and Butler to settle a contest for the national title. Duke and Butler played for the National Title because they “EARNED” the right to do so. The BCS turns that very AMERICA idea on its head and leaves sportswriters and columnists dreaming of “what if” this happens of “what if” that happens when they should be spending time on GURANTEEING that every team will have A LEGTIMIATE chance to play for national title in college football with college football being forced to use the same system used in very other sport in America. How is it not common sense to just say: The BCS is Bogus and only an absolute and utter idiot would defend it any way? Because there are a lot of absolute and utter idiots running around the US with laptops and press badges in their pockets!
College basketball has 200 plus teams in I-A, with each team playing 26 or so regular season games, and has a 65 team postseason tournament (Why does 96 teams for the NCAA Tournament sound incredibly absurd? Because it is, but then we here at Coaches Hot Seat have known for quite awhile that the NCAA would sell-out to anyone if you waived enough $$$$$$ in front of their noses….) and college football has 120 I-A teams that play 12 or 13 regular season games and the Buffoons driving the Bogus BCS train claim that 2 teams can be chosen to determine the national champion? That is beyond laughable, but then everyone that is paying attention knows that the BCS is not about determining the national champion, but rather just a very small group of people keeping their hobnail boots on the back of college football and most of all the coaches, players, and fans of the game (Please don’t tell us the coaches “favor” the BCS because any coach that favors the BCS is a Candy Ass that doesn’t have the GUTS to settle the National Title in football on the field of play! And to boot they are promoting something that is as UN-AMERICAN as anything could be in our country, but then how many Coach K’s that aren’t afraid of competition are there in college football? It seems, fewer everyday!) These Bastards running the BCS don’t give a damn about anything but lining their pockets and that is proven by how completely Un-American the BCS is in its construction and operation. On top of all that the absolute arrogance of these SOBs involved in the BCS should tell you all you want to know about the people that evidently have never taken a course in US history, because there is not a chance in Hell anyone can understand what America stands for and defend that….and defend the Bogus BCS.
The 2009 season is but one example of how absurd the BCS is, with 5 TEAMS FINISHING THE SEASON UNDEFEATED and the magical wizards behind the curtain telling everyone from on high which TWO TEAMS have the right to play for the Bogus BCS national title. As we have said many times, that is the very definition of UN-AMERICAN, with a group of elitists, coaches voting on their own teams (and their buddies teams), a bunch of computer dweebs that would be lucky to be water boys on any I-A team, and don’t forget these Bozos in the Harris Poll that are lucky to see more than one or two games each Saturday. How could head coaches (that see less games of teams across the country than your crazy Aunt Edna that doesn’t know up from down), computer dweebs that care more about algorithms and Mountain Dew, and a bunch of Bozos come up with 2 teams that should play for the national title each year? Only if the entire system is being run by a bunch of Candy Ass BCS Boys that care far more about lining their pockets than actually setting up the same system that is used by every other collegiate sport, including football from Pee-Wee football all the way up to I-AA is how!
If you still think that the BCS and its game are legitimate, look no further than former Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly’s decision to leave his undefeated team before the Sugar Bowl against Florida last season. Is there really anyone on the planet that can imagine a head coach that would voluntarily leave his college basketball team before it played in the NCAA Basketball Tournament? Of course not!…….unless you are drinking the BCS Kool-Aid which is sadly about half of the American sports news media, which almost to a man did not play a down of football or any other sport past the 4 th grade! (Maybe we should have a little test each year where the members of the news media that wanted to cover college football would have to run a series of pass patterns and be able to catch the ball on at least 5 of 10 passes! Of course, we might not have anyone covering college football if we did that!) Yes, that may explain a lot about the news media, but then how could anyone watch college basketball or the championship tournament or any other NCAA sport (including the lower divisions of football) and not turn to these Bozos running the BCS and say: “Just shut the Hell up! You know the BCS is Bogus. I know the BCS is Bogus. The fans have known from the start that the BCS is Bogus. Why don’t you just take all that Bogus BCS crap and shove it where the Sun doesn’t shine! …..And put in a postseason playoff like every other sport in intercollegiate athletics?” One must wonder what kind of contortions some of these Candy Ass BCS Lovers must go through to justify the NCAA settling all their championships with playoffs, including lower divisions of football, but for some reason the I-A football can’t do the same. Oh, these are some mighty big hypocrites driving this Bogus BCS Train, but when you have half the media doing proctology exams on a weekly basis, we can see why they might not understand just what a fraud the BCS really is!
Why don’t members of the news media just tell the absolute truth to the BCS Boys (Well some do, but some of the things we have heard this spring sound downright Orwellian in nature relative to some TV folks covering college football this fall)? Answer that question and if you will have the answers to thousands of outrageous stories in the past 50 years both in and out of sport when people in power were given a free pass by the press to do things when common sense by the press would have told anyone that they were either not doing their job or just flat-out incompetent! Anyone counting on the news media to stand up to or speak truth to power doesn’t understand how powerful people use intimidation and “access” to shut down lines of questioning and forces people to shut the Hell up. We just wish the press would quit rolling over and Shutting the Hell Up! Is that really too much to ask in the United States of America?
Yes, 2009 and Brian Kelly’s clear decision to head for Notre Dame, even though his team was undefeated and playing in a supposed important “BCS” game, should make it clear for all, but if your brain has lost the function to think clearly and remember all of the BS the BCS has produced in its history we present the following courtesy of Wikipedia: BCS controversies:
The first year of the BCS ended in controversy when one-loss Kansas State finished third in the final BCS standings but was passed over for participation in BCS bowl games in favor of Ohio State (ranked 4th) and two-loss Florida (8th). Instead, the Wildcats played in the far less prestigious Alamo Bowl against Purdue. The following season, the BCS adopted the “Kansas State Rule,” which provides that the 3rd ranked team (or 4th ranked team if the 3rd ranked team has already qualified as a conference champion) in the final BCS standings is ensured of an invitation to a BCS bowl game. The rule was first utilized in 2002–03, giving an automatic berth to USC. The rule has only been used five times in all, with Texas earning automatic bids in 2004–05 and 2008–09, Ohio State earning an automatic bid in 2005–06, and Michigan receiving an automatic bid in 2006–07.
The following season, Kansas State finished 6th in the BCS standings but again received no invitation, this time being passed over in favor of Michigan (ranked 8th). Kansas State’s predicament (as well as that of undefeated Tulane who was denied a BCS bid because they played in Conference USA) inaugurated the long-standing media controversies regarding the system.
Florida State (12–1, ACC Champions) was chosen to play undefeated Oklahoma (12–0, Big 12 champions) in the Orange Bowl for the national championship, despite their one loss coming to another one loss team, the Miami Hurricanes (11–1, Big East champions), that was ranked #2 in both human polls. Adding to the controversy, Miami’s one loss came to yet another one loss team, the PAC-10 champion Washington Huskies, leaving three teams with a legitimate claim to play Oklahoma in the National Championship game.
Florida State lost to Oklahoma 13–2, while Washington and Miami both easily won their bowl games, adding more fuel to the fire. As a result of the controversy, the BCS was tweaked in the off-season. A “quality-win” bonus was added to the formula, giving extra credit for beating a top ten team.
In another controversial season, Nebraska was chosen as a national title game participant despite being ranked #4 in both human polls and not winning their conference. The Huskers went into their last regularly scheduled game at Colorado undefeated, but left Boulder with a 62–36 loss. The Buffaloes went on to win the Big 12 championship. However, the BCS computers did not take into account time of loss, so one-loss Nebraska came out ahead of two-loss Colorado and one-loss Oregon, the consensus #2 in both human polls (but 4th in the BCS). Nebraska beat Colorado for the #2 spot in the BCS poll by .05 points. Nebraska was routed in the national title game, 37–14, by Miami. Meanwhile Oregon beat Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl, 38-16.
The Rose Bowl normally features the champions of the Big Ten and the Pac-10. However, because the Ohio State Buckeyes had finished #2 in the BCS, they were set to play in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl for the national championship against Miami (Fla.)
The Orange Bowl had the next pick after the Fiesta Bowl pairing, and #3 (#5 BCS) Iowa was chosen. The Rose Bowl had the next BCS selection. The next best available team to choose was #8 (#7 BCS) Oklahoma, who won the Big 12 Championship Game, to play Pac-10 co-champion Washington State. When it came time for the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl to make a second pick, both wanted USC. However, a BCS rule stated that if two bowls want the same team, the bowl with the higher payoff has the option. The Orange Bowl immediately extended an at-large bid to the number 5 ranked Trojans and paired them with at-large number 3 Iowa in a Big Ten/Pac-10 “Rose Bowl East” matchup in the 2003 Orange Bowl. This left the Rose Bowl to pick Pac-10 co-champs Washington State. Rose Bowl committee executive director Mitch Dorger was not pleased with the results. The 2003 Rose Bowl game had the lowest attendance and first non-sellout since 1944.
The 2003–2004 season came about with much controversy when three schools from BCS conferences finished the season with one loss (in fact, no Division I-A team finished the season undefeated, something that hadn’t happened since 1996, two years before the advent of the BCS). The three schools in question were:
USC was ranked #1 in both the AP and ESPN-USA Today Coaches poll, but was burdened by a collective 2.67 computer ranking due to a weaker schedule. Meanwhile Oklahoma, after an undefeated regular season, was beaten by Kansas State (35–7) in the Big 12 Championship Game. The loss dropped Oklahoma to #3 in the human polls (while the computers still had them at #1). LSU had earned a stronger computer ranking than USC and a #2 human poll ranking, and went on to claim the BCS championship with a 21–14 win over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. USC, which beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl, retained its #1 ranking in the AP Poll. Oklahoma (which finished 12–2) had been clearly eliminated from national championship contention, but the split in polls left many LSU (13–1) and USC (12–1) fans displeased, as USC was named the AP national football champion. This incident has been considered a lightning rod of controversy by some sportswriters covering college football.
The college coaches involved in the coaches poll were contractually obligated to award their organization’s trophy and first place votes to the winner of the BCS championship game, LSU. However, for the first time in the history of the BCS Championship Series, the BCS Champion was not a unanimous #1 in the final Coaches Poll as the final vote was 60 – 3 for LSU as National Champion with USC as a runner-up. It is speculated that the three coaches who broke rank–Lou Holtz of South Carolina, Mike Bellotti of Oregon and Ron Turner of Illinois–violating their contractual obligation, did so because they believed that USC was the best team. Meanwhile other coaches followed their contractual obligation under the coaches “poll” and changed their choice of #1 from USC to LSU.
The 2004-2005 regular season finished with five undefeated teams for the first time since 1979. Despite having perfect records, the Auburn Tigers, Utah Utes, and Boise State Broncos were denied an opportunity to play for the BCS championship. Utah was the first non-BCS team to play in a BCS game. However, Utah and Boise State’s schedules were thought of as weaker than Auburn’s (by virtue of playing in the weaker Mountain West and WAC, respectively).
Most of the debate centered around Auburn, who went undefeated in the Southeastern Conference, leading to debates over the strength of schedule, a value that was diminished in the BCS before the season. Oklahoma went on to play USC for the title. USC defeated Oklahoma, 55–19. Both Auburn and Utah won their bowl games. Auburn defeated #9 Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl 16-13, and Utah defeated #21 Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl by a score of 35–7. This left 3 undefeated teams at the end of the season, where Auburn finished at #2 and Utah at #4.
Another controversy occurred this season since the pollsters jumped the Texas Longhorns over the California Golden Bears in the final regular-season poll. Texas coach Mack Brown publicly lobbied for the pollsters to give Texas the final at-large bid. Although the Bears, as Pac-10 runner-up, normally would have had first crack at a Rose Bowl berth, Brown lobbied for and got that berth. The lobbying was so extensive that the Associated Press immediately ended its poll’s association with the BCS. California’s cause was hurt when it was less than impressive in a 26–16 victory over Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Mississippi the night before bowl bids were extended. This was doubly unfortunate because had it been played in September, when it was originally scheduled before being postponed by a hurricane, it would have had probably no effect and Cal would have received the Rose Bowl spot. Weakening their cause after the fact was the 45–31 defeat in the Holiday Bowl to Texas Tech University. Cal played without two of the highest performing receivers in the NCAA, however, this loss was attributed in many press reports to the Bears’ disappointment over being denied their first Rose Bowl appearance in 45 years. Another major issue is the fact that the Pac-10 has considerably weaker bowl tie-ins than all of the other BCS conferences. For example, the Holiday Bowl is the second place Pac-10 bowl and the opponent is the 3rd, 4th, or 5th-place Big XII team, meaning the Pac-10 team can finish just out of the BCS and play an unranked opponent.
Going into the final poll, undefeated Boise State and four one-loss teams (Louisville, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida) were up for a spot against undefeated top-ranked Ohio State in the BCS National Championship game in Glendale, Arizona. Louisville (11-1, champions of the Big East), and Boise State were given less consideration because of a lack of schedule strength, while Wisconsin (11-1, Big 10) was two steps removed from Ohio State (they lost to Michigan, who lost to Ohio State, and Wisconsin and Ohio State did not play).
Michigan lost to Ohio State 42–39 in its regular season finale (Ohio State would go on to claim the Big 10 championship), but was still ranked ahead of Florida but behind USC going into the final ballot. Florida defeated Arkansas in the SEC Championship Game, and number 2 ranked USC lost to UCLA, leaving Michigan and Florida as one-loss teams who both claimed they deserved to play for the national championship against Ohio State. Many pundits denied that Michigan should get another chance to play Ohio State. Others claimed that this would only be a repeat of what happened in 1996 between Florida and Florida State, and that the two best teams should play even if they were from the same conference or if it was a rematch. Ultimately, the BCS National Championship was a meeting between Ohio State and Florida. A mere .0101 points separated #2 Florida from #3 Michigan. This small difference was a result of the human polls (USA Today’s Coaches’ Poll and Harris Interactive Poll) ranking Florida above Michigan while the computer polls had the two teams tied for second.
Michigan, which was automatically guaranteed a BCS at-large berth by virtue of its #3 ranking, went to the Rose Bowl, which they lost to USC 32–18. Florida officially became the national champions by impressively beating Ohio State 41–14. Florida also received all but one of the 65 first-place votes in the final Associated Press poll (the other went to Boise State, who won the Fiesta Bowl over Oklahoma).
At the conclusion of the season, three other one-loss teams were denied the chance to compete in a playoff or to play Florida for the national championship. Wisconsin and Louisville ended the season with only one loss (the same as Florida and Ohio State). Boise State, which received the other first-place vote in the AP poll, was the only undefeated Division I football team.
Because of a BCS rule allowing only two teams from each conference to play in BCS bowl games, highly-ranked Wisconsin and Auburn were not eligible for selection to a BCS game. Wisconsin was excluded because Ohio State and Michigan represented the Big Ten, and Auburn was excluded because LSU and Florida represented the SEC, even though Auburn defeated LSU 7–3 and Florida 27–17 during the season. LSU earned the at-large bid on the strength of its 31–26 victory over SEC West champion Arkansas in Little Rock, while the Razorbacks crushed then second-ranked Auburn 27–10 in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn’s 37–15 loss at home to a reeling Georgia team also destroyed its chances at the BCS.
An omission of the rule still would have not have been enough for Auburn to secure a berth, as Wisconsin would have likely been the final at-large bid. The final BCS poll had seven teams from the SEC and the Big Ten ranked in the top twelve but by the rule only two from each conference were eligible to play in BCS bowl games, offering the opportunity to argue that both conferences are over-ranked, that the Big Ten schedule does not produce a true conference champion, or that the limit of 2 teams from any one conference is inappropriate.
In a wild finish to a wild regular season of upsets, the top two teams in the polls lost on the same weekend for two weeks in a row to close out the regular season, sending the BCS into chaos heading into the selection of the two teams to play for the BCS National Championship Game. On November 23, top-ranked LSU lost in triple overtime to Arkansas. This was the Tigers’ second triple-overtime loss of the season, with the other to Kentucky. The following day, #4 Missouri beat #2 Kansas and took the top spot in the BCS for the following week. This created the interesting prospect of #1 Missouri playing its final game of the season as three-point underdogs against Oklahoma. On December 1, Missouri was defeated by Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game. #2 West Virginia was also stunned at home, by unranked Pittsburgh in the annual Backyard Brawl game. Meanwhile, Ohio State, who was idle for the final two weeks, climbed the rankings from #5 to #1. Hawai?i capped off an undefeated season (and the only such team going into the bowl post-season), beating Washington and securing a major bowl appearance for the first time in the school’s history. However, as with Boise State in the previous season, Hawai?i did not play for the BCS Championship because the Warriors’ schedule was deemed too weak. In fact, with Hawai?i’s loss in the Sugar Bowl, the 2007-08 season was the first since the 2003-04 season (and only the second in the BCS era) with no teams finishing the entire season undefeated.
In another irony, #6 Missouri was shut out of the BCS entirely when #8 Kansas was selected as one of three at-large teams. The Tigers finished higher in the BCS standings and had defeated the Jayhawks a week before the Big 12 title game. However, Kansas received a bid to the Orange Bowl; Orange Bowl officials said that they picked Kansas because the Jayhawks had only one loss, while Missouri had two losses, both to Big 12 champion Oklahoma. Since BCS rules do not allow more than two teams from one conference to get a bid, Missouri was ineligible for an at-large bid. Missouri defeated Arkansas 38-7 in the Cotton Bowl. Kansas also went on to defeat #3 Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl by a score of 24-21, making no clear argument either way. Ohio State and LSU came in 1st and 2nd in the final BCS rankings, securing the BCS championship game between those two on January 7.
Before “Championship Saturday,” LSU was ranked #7 and Georgia was ranked #4. However, after #1 Missouri and #2 West Virginia lost, LSU was catapulted to #2 based on a 21-14 win over Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game. Many argued that the Bulldogs should not play in the National Championship game because they didn’t play for—let alone win—the SEC Championship. The Bulldogs and Vols finished with identical 6-2 records atop the SEC East, but Tennessee represented the division in the championship game by virtue of beating Georgia 35-14 in October. Virginia Tech had been ranked #6, above LSU, but had to settle for the #3 slot, despite a convincing win over Boston College in the ACC Championship Game. Voters were likely influenced by LSU’s crushing 48-7 defeat of Virginia Tech early in the season. Computer rankings placed Virginia Tech (0.960) and LSU (0.950) #1, and #2, respectively. The top four teams in the BCS standings were #1 Ohio State, #2 LSU, #3 Virginia Tech, and #4 Oklahoma.
Ultimately, LSU defeated Ohio State 38-24, marking the second straight season that the Buckeyes lost the national championship game to an SEC opponent and the first two-loss BCS champion. LSU received 60 of a possible 65 first-place votes in the final AP poll, the fewest for a BCS champion since 2004, when BCS champion LSU finished second in the poll to USC. Georgia, another SEC team, was second in the poll and received three first-place votes. The final two first place votes went USC and Kansas, ranked #3 and #7 respectively. Missouri, who did not play in a BCS bowl, finished fourth, and Ohio State fell to fifth after losing the championship game.
In the Big 12 South division, there was a three-way tie for the division champion between Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech (all one-loss teams). The winner of that division would likely play in the national championship game if it beat Missouri in the Big 12 Championship Game. Oklahoma lost to Texas 45-35, then Texas lost to Texas Tech 39-33, and then Texas Tech lost to Oklahoma 65-21. In the Big 12, the BCS standings were used to break this tie, causing the teams to jockey for votes in the human polls. In the end, Oklahoma edged out Texas for the right to represent the Big 12 South in the conference championship game. Despite the head to head loss to the Longhorns earlier in the season, the computer rankings ranked the Sooners’ schedule ahead of the Longhorns. Another BCS conference, the SEC, merely uses the BCS standings to eliminate one team in a three-way tie and then use head to head to determine tiebreakers, which would have worked in Texas’ favor.
Going into the conference championship games, only four teams—Alabama, Utah, Ball State and Boise State—were undefeated. However, in the event of an Alabama loss, Utah, Ball State, and Boise State had no realistic chance at a title game berth because their schedules were deemed too weak. As it turned out, Alabama lost to one-loss Florida in the SEC Championship Game, vaulting the Gators to the second spot in the final BCS rankings and a matchup in the title game against Oklahoma. Alabama fell to fourth, behind Texas.
Utah and Boise State both finished in the top 15 of the BCS standings (in fact, both were in the top 10), and were thus eligible for BCS at-large spots. It was generally understood, however, that only one team would get a berth, as it would be hard to justify allowing a second mid-major conference team into a BCS bowl over a BCS conference runner-up. Utah qualified automatically as the highest ranked (in the top 12) non-BCS conference champion and defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Boise State (#9 in the BCS) and TCU (#11) were matched up in the Poinsettia Bowl, marking the first time in history that a bowl featured two teams from non-BCS conferences ranked higher than both participants in a BCS bowl game in the same season (the Orange Bowl matched #12 Cincinnati and #19 Virginia Tech). TCU defeated Boise State 17–16, and Utah won the Sugar Bowl to finish as the nation’s only undefeated team.
After the season, the Mountain West Conference made a proposal at the Bowl Championship Series commissioners’ annual spring meetings in Pasadena, California in conjunction with the Rose Bowl‘s staging the 2010 BCS title game. The meetings were held during the week of April 20, 2009. The Mountain West Conference commissioner has proposed that a selection committee replace the polls and computers, an eight-team playoff system put in place, and changes to the automatic qualifier rules. On June 24, 2009, the BCS presidential oversight committee rejected the eight-team playoff plan.
United States Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has indicated that he would hold congressional hearings on the BCS in the future after his Utah team failed to play in the national championship game.
By mid-October, it was obvious that Florida and Alabama would face off in the 2009 SEC Championship Game, and the winner would play in the BCS title game. It was also generally believed that Texas would get the other spot if it won the 2009 Big 12 Championship Game, despite concerns about a weak non-conference schedule and a surprising lack of quality teams in the Big 12. Ultimately, in a repeat of the 2004-05 season, five teams finished the season undefeated—Alabama, Texas, Cincinnati, TCU, and Boise State.
Texas won the Big 12 title game, and with it a spot in the BCS title game, in controversial fashion. As the game clock appeared to run out with Nebraska winning 12-10; officials ruled that the time left on the clock was reviewable and ordered 1 second put back on the clock, allowing the Longhorns to kick a field goal for a 13-12 win, a result that left Nebraska coach Bo Pelini claiming that it was part of a BCS conspiracy. Earlier, Alabama had trounced Florida in the SEC title game to earn the other slot.
Despite a convincing season-opening win over eventual Pac-10 champion Oregon, another team in the top 10 of the BCS standings, and having played 13 games rather than the 12 that TCU and Cincinnati had played, Boise State’s schedule was once again deemed too weak for a spot in the championship game. Additionally, it was certain that at least two other teams would finish undefeated due to the SEC title game matchup between Alabama and Florida, as well as TCU having already completed an undefeated season. Cincinnati and TCU, however, both believed they would be in the championship game if Texas lost. Despite being ranked behind TCU going into championship weekend, Cincinnati probably had a stronger claim as it was the undefeated champion of a BCS conference, rather than an at-large team like TCU. Cincinnati did pass TCU to end up 3rd in the final BCS standings, but with the margin as slim as it was and three of the six BCS computers having placed Texas in between the two schools, no conclusions can be drawn as to what might have happened if Texas had lost.
Unrelated to the title game was the controversy regarding the bowl selections. While at #6, Boise State was able to earn an at-large berth, the announcement that they would be playing #4 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl caused an outcry, as the two “BCS Busters” would be matched up against each other and would thereby be denied the opportunity to face a top team from one of the six BCS conferences, instead providing a rematch of a non-BCS bowl from the previous year (see above). Placing two teams from non-AQ conferences in the same bowl also contradicted the previous assertion that non-AQ schools are less likely to receive at-large bids because the bowls prefer the superior drawing power of the big schools and their highly mobile fanbases—hence undefeated Boise State’s omission from the BCS the previous year in favor of two-loss Ohio State. For this reason, some are calling this match up the “Separate but Equal Bowl,” or the “Fiasco Bowl.”
By our count with the BCS (and with the Bowl Alliance and Bowl Coalition that preceded it) rarely if ever was it able to pick out two teams that absolutely deserved to be playing in a national title game over other teams and that is again a function of First Grade Math and the fact that you cannot get down 2 teams from 120 teams after only playing 12 or 13 regular season games. College basketball and every other sport in intercollegiate athletics uses a postseason system (as does every sport on every level in America, thus how completely Un-American the BCS is) that has a set number of teams playing each other to determine a legitimate national champion.
If you still think the BCS is anything but a bogus fraud….then you are beyond help or you are so far up the asses of the BCS Boys that you probably missed your calling in life…PROCTOLOGIST!
2010 Masters at The Augusta National Golf Club
Today is the beginning of the 2010 Masters and we look forward to watching one our favorite events and seeing what Tiger Woods can do after being off the world golfing stage for so long.
Anyone that didn’t get to see Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne in his press conference yesterday and his comments on Tiger Woods, we would encourage you to check-out The Masters great website (www.masters.org) and catch a man that tells the truth in a very straight-forward way. Chairman Billy Payne Press Conference
Here is what Chairman Payne said about Tiger Woods:
“Finally, we are not unaware of the significance of this week to a very special player, Tiger Woods. A man who in a brief 13 years clearly and emphatically proclaimed and proved his game to be worthy of the likes of Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. As he ascended in our rankings of the world’s great golfers, he became an example to our kids that success is directly attributable to hard work and effort.
But as he now says himself, he forgot in the process to remember that with fame and fortune comes responsibility, not invisibility. It is not simply the degree of his conduct that is so egregious here; it is the fact that he disappointed all of us, and more importantly, our kids and our grand kids. Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children.
Is there a way forward? I hope yes. I think yes. But certainly his future will never again be measured only by his performance against par; but measured by the sincerity of his efforts to change. I hope he now realizes that every kid he passes on the course wants his swing, but would settle for his smile.
I hope he can come to understand that life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who bring joy to the lives of other people. We at Augusta hope and pray that our great champion will begin his new life here tomorrow in a positive, hopeful and constructive manner, but this time, with a significant difference from the past. This year, it will not be just for him, but for all of us, who believe in second chances.”
Amen to that Billy Paine! For those of us that are old enough remember Billy Paine as the chief salesman, organizer and operator of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia he is a very unique man indeed. A few of us here at Coaches Hot Seat were lucky enough to be working in Atlanta in the early 1990s and we ran across Mr. Payne a few times before the Olympics ever became a dream of his and the Billy Payne that you see running The Masters today is the same Billy Payne that we knew as the attorney and man then. In many ways Payne is one of the great and generally unrecognized Americans in the past 50 years in the life of our country, mainly because he had big dreams and delivered on those dreams which added a lot to the life of our nation which continues to this day. The Masters is one of the great sporting events on Planet Earth each year and we always structure our schedule each year to either attend or watch the event with our friends and families and that the tournament is such a large part of our lives should lead to a lot of credit to Chairman Payne and others at The Augusta National that run such a great event.
As for Tiger Woods, we agree wholeheartedly with the words of Billy Payne on Tiger and we are fascinated to see how Tiger performs after one of the great off-the-playing field controversies in American history. Our impression of Tiger Woods over the years since he first came on our radar as a great high school golfer was that he was shy, nervous, uncomfortable with public attention, somewhat arrogant about his ability and place in the world, and someone that didn’t have much use for the general public. We have had the chance to see Woods a few times behind the scenes when we have been with friends of ours on the PGA Tour and just from observation we have thought for awhile that Woods was growing more disconnected from average fans and he and his posse didn’t think a lot of the people in America and around the world that buy all the product he has endorsed and sold in his golfing career. The Tiger Woods we saw at his Monday news conference seemed a little different to us, but we still get the feeling that Woods has not talked to enough people in the Real World (outside of his posse) to get a good idea of what has gone through our minds over the past few months and how we view him now. We rather doubt that Tiger Woods gives two rips what we or anyone else thinks of him, but as Billy Payne pointed out, one can only go for so long acting like an arrogant ass before it will come back to bite you in the ass….maybe even again.
Billy Payne certainly expressed a lot of what we think and feel about Tiger Woods and his off-course activities, but does Tiger Woods even understand where Payne and most Americans are coming from or wish we could ourselves express to him? Maybe, but that will of course be determined by Tiger’s own actions on and off the golf course in the coming years and we will see if he lives up to his commitments to his family and his own promises to himself and the public on how he plans to change. Yes, we shall see…
As for The Masters itself, we are glad that Tiger is back and that over the next 4 days we will be able to watch Tiger and the other best golfers in the world challenge one of the greatest golf courses, the field and ultimately themselves to see who ends up with Green Jacket on Sunday night.
As the Great Bobby Jones (co-founder of The Augusta National Golf Club and Greatest Golfer of all time, and one of the game’s greatest gentlemen ever, until Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods came along) once said:
“Competitive golf is played mainly on the five-and-a-half-inch space….the space between your ears.”
That is Oh So True at The Augusta National during The Masters!
Can Tiger Woods win the 2010 Masters? Yes, he can, but will he? No, we don’t think so. The changes to The Augusta National Golf Course have really reigned in Tiger in recent years and he has only won 1 of the last 7 Masters he has played in and we see that moving to 1 of 8.
It should be a great tournament so let’s Tee This Thing Off!
A great golf website to following things in the world of golf is Geoff Shackelford’s www.geoffshackelford.com. In some ways Geoff is the Coaches Hot Seat of the golf world!