Texas, what has Tom Herman really done? That, the worst fans in sports, and the most interesting team in the world, in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy.
The Cavalcade of Whimsy, After Week 5
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Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
Texas is reviewing all facets of the column before making a decision on whether or not to read it.
“The stars at night, are big and bright (clap,clap,clap,clap) …”
Really? I have to be the adult in the room? Fine, I’ll do the dirty work.
Blind taste test of two coaches – as opposed to a blind coach taste test, which I’m sure is a subcategory of some other site you’d rather be viewing right now.
– Won 14 of his last 15 games with a powerhouse of a team that he spent four years building up himself.
– The one loss came to a team led by an NFL franchise-building block quarterback that finished the year 12-1 with a BCS-level bowl win.
– During the stretch, the two-time conference coach of the year’s team won a BCS-level bowl game over a tremendous team from Florida that came really, really close to playing for the national title, and it won another big bowl game against another good team from Florida. Both bowl wins were by double digits.
– Along the way were three wins over Power 5 conference teams. In his final season, his team was No. 1 in the nation in total defense, No. 1 in rushing defense, No. 3 in passing efficiency, and No. 2 in turnover margin.
– Won 18 of his first 19 games as a head coach with, mostly, someone else’s players.
– The one loss came to a mediocre team that finished with a losing record.
– During the stretch, Coach B’s bowl win came against a team from Florida that was very good, but not quite the killer it was supposed to be. However, this year it came up with a dominant performance over a preseason top five team.
– Along the way there were four wins over Power 5 conference teams. In his breakthrough year, his team finished 53rd in the nation in total defense, 115th in pass defense, and 29th in the nation in total offense.
So, really, based on resume, why is Coach B Tom Herman seen as a slam-dunk, superstar genius, next-level head coach, while Coach A Charlie Strong didn’t get the same love when he was brought on?
When it comes to getting one of the biggest and best jobs like Texas, what has Herman really done to deserve this level of hype?
He might just be the next Urban Meyer and Nick Saban all wrapped up in a nice package, and he seems like a fine fellow and a snappy dresser, but if Texas is really going to do this at some point, it’s taking a chance on a prospect – it’s not getting a sure thing. And that was the issue with Strong, too.
Strong wasn’t Saban. He wasn’t Kevin Sumlin, or Jon Gruden, or Jim Harbaugh, or Mike Tomlin. He wasn’t the A-list of A-list gets Longhorn boosters worked themselves up for after Mack Brown. And, despite the hype, neither is Herman.
It’s as if he’s skipping a step in the process, moving up the chain from the American Athletic Conference to Texas. Urban went from Bowling Green, to Utah, to Florida, to Ohio State. Nick Saban went from Toledo, to Michigan State, to LSU, to the Miami Dolphins, to Alabama.
Oh yeah, those two won national titles before landing where they are, and that’s the playing field Texas needs to be on.
Herman’s not there yet after just 19 games.
Everyone loves playing and coaching with Herman, and it all seems like super-terrific-happy-fun-time under his regime, but that’s the way it is everywhere but Tuscaloosa when a team goes 18-1 over a 19-game span.
And now, after all the building and rebuilding Strong had to do, Herman might be one Longhorn loss to Oklahoma away from doing the coaching swoop and score once again after this season.
Remember, Tony Levine built this Houston team – Herman is the stepdad who’s reaping the rewards of the new wife’s alimony check.
What happens if and when Herman is the next Will Muschamp – yet another can’t miss head coaching prospect who’s being fawned over, but isn’t quite up to snuff?
Or what happens if he’s Bret Bielema, and he’s a brilliant coaching prospect groomed the right way before renting a condo in the land of the very, very good?
What happens if and when Texas wakes the (bleep) up and realizes it’s (bleep)ing Texas, and it doesn’t need to piddle around by taking a major chance with yet another hotshot prospect of a head coach?
To put it another way, Texas is pitching woo with Carson Wentz instead of going after Aaron Rodgers.
To put it yet another way, if you didn’t like Coach A, what are you doing going after Coach B?
You think it’s some co-inky-dink that most of the top-ranked teams in the country are led by coaches with superstar head coaching resumes built at some other elite-level places first?
What does a true superpower do? It gets a proven winner at the highest of levels, like Michigan did with Harbaugh, and Ohio State did with Meyer, and Alabama did with Saban, and Louisville did – somewhat – with Bobby Petrino, and Washington did with Chris Petersen.
You’re Texas. Act accordingly.
As always with coaches, first we kick, and then we kiss
It’s not that Herman isn’t fantastic or isn’t going to be great, but all these guys are built up to fail. If he does get the Texas gig, the expectations are going to be at a whole unreasonable level for a place that expects unreasonable levels of greatness.
And sometimes, it’s just about the breaks.
Really, you’re telling me that Butch Jones is some steel trap-mind, head coaching whiz because his team completed a dumbass-luck Hail Mary, and Les Miles is sitting on the off-ramp holding a sign that says Have A Great Day because his veteran quarterback threw a braincramp pass in Lambeau Field?
You ready for two head coaches about to be on everyone’s list of guys going to other places? …
Wacky argument No. 1 I’m not ready to go to the wall on, but I’m close
Why aren’t Western Michigan and 35-year-old head coach P.J. Fleck receiving at least 77% of the love Houston is getting?
The 5-0 Broncos have two wins over Big Ten teams, they blew out a nasty Georgia Southern, and now they just destroyed a terrific Central Michigan squad that has a road win over Oklahoma State on the resume. The competition hasn’t been top-drawer, but beating Northwestern, Illinois, and CMU away from Kalamazoo isn’t bad.
Wacky argument No. 2 I’m not ready to go to the wall on, but I’m close
Why aren’t Troy and 36-year-old head coach Neal Brown receiving at least 63% of the love Houston is getting?
Remember when panic sirens were going off when Clemson had to fight and scratch and claw out a 30-24 win over a Sun Belt team? Yeah, Troy’s that team.
This was one of the nation’s worst teams over the last few years, and Brown has built it up into something dangerous. Yeah, three of the four wins are duds, but the Trojans also beat Southern Miss on the road along with pushing Clemson.
All this aside, my man, good luck with the health issues. Seriously.
Look, Penn State PK Joey Julius. If you’re going to try making yourself a thing by trying hard on special teams and coming up with big hits, then you don’t get to go all Randy and just lay there like a slug after taking a very legal, open-field, between-the-lines pop from Minnesota’s Jaylen Waters, who was wrongly booted out of the game. Yes, it was cheap, and yes, it came after the two got into it earlier, but welcome to football, son. Kickers are people, too.
And yes, I’m paraphrasing an overused line for a beer ad when referring to BYU
I don’t often watch teams that aren’t in the playoff hunt, but when I do, I prefer BYU.
Without doing any research, I’m just going to say that no team has ever played an opening five games like the 2016 Cougars.
– 18-16 win over Arizona that came down to the final field goal.
– 20-19 loss to Utah on a stuffed two-point conversion in the final moments.
– 17-14 loss to UCLA in a tough, close battle.
– 35-32 loss to West Virginia on a late pick.
– And then, that Toledo game. 55-53 Cougars in a thriller that set defensive football back a decade, but was utter offensive eye-candy.
The pressure is on, Michigan State. Be interesting.
It didn’t help that Mr. McCaffrey started out your calendar year with a crashing thud
Iowa fans, when you were whining and complaining all throughout 2015 that no one really took your team seriously and it all might have been a mirage, 2016 is why.
And really, Iowa. Can’t thank you enough for gacking away that one home loss to NDSU – more in a moment.
Worst of all, I missed an entire NFL Sunday, and that’s not okay
I whine and moan all the time about how crazy college football fans are, but I at least know how they roll.
The 2016 Ryder Cup fans took things to a whole other level.
It was wonderful to spend the day with my dad, and cool to be a few feet away from all the golfers when I camped out on the No. 8 tee box, but being there, 1) you can’t see anything. I saw them all tee off, but had no clue whatsoever that Rory and Reed did that on 8 until I watched the TV replay later that night.
2) If that’s what qualifies as a loud crowd – as the TV types gushed about – I’d like you to meet the ringing in my ears that just subsided thanks to the Clemson portion of the 2016 CFP National Championship attendees.
And 3) golf … fans … suck.
I spent far too much of my beautiful Sunday hearing the most inane banter from guys who either have Roman numerals at the end of their names, or looked like they never let a Waffle House go unpunished.
And worst of all, led by the stunning number of misquoted Caddyshack lines, none of the heckling or look-at-me commentary was funny, or even creative.
What was most amazing, though, was how the pros handled it. From what I saw, the golfers couldn’t have been nicer considering the circumstances and pressures they were under.
On 8, Rory, with no cameras on him, reached into his bag and flipped the kid next to me a ball, winked, and gave him a fist-pump. What did American Dad say to the kid within McIlroy’s earshot?
“You start rooting for him and you can take an Uber home … U-S-A! U-S-A!”
I know moron fans. I know the Penn State truthers, and the ones who yell at children who don’t put on the right hat on Signing Day, so there is a whole other level of ugly on the college football side. Even so, congratulations, 2016 Ryder Cup, you own the Wins Above Replacement Jerkweed Fan metric.
And yes, I’m writing this in the Minneapolis airport waiting for my flight back. Why do you ask?
Enough with the dopey ranking of North Dakota State in the AP poll – GUARANTEED, not one AP pollster outside of North Dakota can name one Bison player – and worse, stumping for the team to be ranked higher just because 1) it beat a mediocre Iowa team and 2) it won a bunch of minor league college football championships.
Does the Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich dominate? On the right day, absolutely. Of course it could beat a good portion of the McDonald’s menu, but it’s not like it had to go up against the Quarter Pounder with Cheese. And yes, if that Royale with Cheese is caught looking ahead, maybe it’s a competitive battle.
But it’s not about just one meal. It’s about the next week having to face the Triple Cheeseburger, and then the McRib, and then Large French Fries, to go along with the accumulated body blows of a non-conference schedule against the Sausage McMuffin and the try-hard, quirky scheme of the Egg White Delight.
Yes, your ex-quarterback is proving he can play at the next level, and the Original Chicken Sandwich could play at Chick-fil-A, too, but it would only be a game manager.
My current hunger situation aside, here’s the deal, causehead AP voters and ranking system. You go ahead and put North Dakota State in your poll, but then you have to do an FCS Top 25 and put Alabama No. 1, Ohio State 2, and so on.
This week’s reason why the Big 12 should consider me for expansion …
Actually, I don’t deserve it this week. I’m writing this nine minutes after a nice older gentleman let me get on the plane before him, and because of it, I got on the last carry-on bag and he needed to check his in. I’m history’s greatest monster, but … ACK! Karma. The idiot in front of me broke the code and fired his chair back on a full-flight and is now all in my lap. Oh, of course – OF COURSE. He’s a superfan golf guy with a 2016 Ryder Cup hat on along with his Freedom Isn’t Free golf shirt.
The sure-thing, 100%, rock-solid lock, sell the house, sell the kids, no doubt about it picks of the century for this week
Because I went 3-0 ATS last week, I can afford to swing for the fences. Get ready, America, because I’ve got a hankering. Flying without a net …
Straight Up: 11-4, Against the Spread: 9-6
1. Arkansas +14 over Alabama
2. Texas A&M -7 over Tennessee
3. Texas +10.5 over Oklahoma
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: The Batman
Underrated: The Wonder Woman official confirmation
2) Overrated: 1996 Alicia Machado
Underrated: 2016 Alicia Machado
3) Overrated: Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher
Underrated: LSU head coach Jimbo Fisher
4) Overrated: The brutal pain, sorrow and ugliness of 2015 Florida 9, Vanderbilt 7
Underrated: The brutal pain, sorrow and ugliness of 2016 Florida 13, Vanderbilt 6
5) Overrated: Jauan Jennings 43-yard touchdown catch
Underrated: Riley Ridley 47-yard touchdown catch
Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault …
Charlie Strong announced Monday that he was taking over the writing duties. I get to stay on staff, but my column still can’t tackle in the secondary.