As is typical 'round these parts, we're leading off this morning with information about RG3. Don't fault the messenger if you don't like it, I'm just trying to give the people what they want! Let's dive right in.
- KWTX.com confirmed the meeting between Baylor's coaching staff and RG3 yesterday wherein Art Briles "made his pitch to RG3 to return for his senior season," according to the story. If the information from that story is true, next week will look something like this: another meeting Monday with the Baylor coaches (presumably to tell them the decision), announcement Tuesday from RG3, announcement Wednesday from Bo Wallace. I have to say that the timeline sets up (in my pessimistic mind) pretty clearly for an announcement that RG3 will go pro. I don't know how early Barkley told his coaches that he was staying, but the delay between the meeting Monday and the announcement Tuesday seems to be purposed toward letting them know as quickly as possible while putting together the "Farewell RG3 and Thank You" press conference for Tuesday. Still, RG3 claims he has not made up his mind, so if you see me somewhere and I am firmly focused southward, I might be trying to control his mind. Key word: might.
I don't really know why, but I feel like Baylor needs to send a gift basket to the Boston Globe at some point. It seems like every day when I run the little program I use to find Baylor news and then go looking on Google's news feed for stories, I always find something about Baylor from the Boston Globe. Do we have a bigger NE'ern contingent than I previously suspected? Is someone up there in a position of power a Baylor grad? Do they just love green and gold? These questions need answers, but I don't know how to find them. Until I do, however, read the latest article from the Globe, which talks about how our basketball teams are playing a role in the "Baylor Renaissance," a term I will now shamelessly steal. Thanks, Boston Globe!
The San Antonio Business Journal talks a little bit about Baylor's success with the Alamo Bowl and how that might affect future bowl games (since we showed we can get more people to come watch a game than previously suspected).
- If you didn't see it reported last night, Penn State hired a new coach (Bill O'Brien, the OC for the New England Patriots) and Penn State fans are not happy at all about it. Jason Kirk of the mothership offers his opinion on why they shouldn't be. For my part, I will say that the problem here seems to be one of expectations for the immediate future. Penn State fans (and some knowledgeable observers) seem to believe that with Ohio State hiring Urban Meyer, Wisconsin going to the Rose Bowl, and Michigan winning the Sugar Bowl (which isn't that impressive, Michigan, considering Virginia Tech was awful), Penn State needed a huge name hire to keep up with the Joneses. The fundamental incorrect assumption here is that you're just a coach away. That could not be further from the truth.
Let's take a moment, Penn State fans, to talk about what just happened to you, fan of one megascandalized school to another. I know what you're thinking, Baylor basketball pre-Bliss in no way equals Penn State football pre-Sandusky. Valid point. You're exactly right. I'm not saying your experiences will be exactly the same as ours; in all likelihood you will come back to a position of prominence in a shorter period of time than it took Baylor basketball. What I'm saying is that the public perception of your school has fundamentally changed in a negative way and simply hiring a big name coach will not wash that stink off. I know the vast majority of you did nothing wrong and had no role in the scandal; that's how these scandals work. You are as abhorred by what happened as the rest of us and it's not your fault. The fact remains that it will take time for Penn State to become Penn State again and you can't expect that simply hiring a new coach will make things better. Even if you could do it, just winning games won't make things better, either.
That's why it's entirely possible, if not likely, that although your administration felt pressure to go get that big name that will restore Penn State to football glory, it felt is was even more important for the future health of the athletic programs to get an honest, straightforward, and undoubtedly-principled steward of your program to steer the ship. Though they would have certainly taken him, your administration might not have really wanted an Urban Meyer that carries baggage of his own and could bring even more attention to a situation they want to really go away. They wanted a strong football hire (which O'Brien seems to be) that won't cause waves, will let the University get away from its darkest days, and won't make the situation worse. Penn State is rebuilding a tarnished brand right now and that will take time. O'Brien, though he is not the sexy hire you may have wanted, will likely give you that time if you let him.
More links after the jump...
- Back to the links, in case you haven't seen the Big XII's bowl games this year or just wanted to see highlights of all of the games in one place, I have good news! The official website for the Big XII actually put together a video just for you! Sidenote: have they been doing this for very long? If they have, it's news to me.
- The Big XII's final bowl is set to be played today and pits the Big XII against the SEC in their only bowl matchup this season. I will definitely be watching and rooting on our comrades to the north. Stltoday.com previews the game and what it might mean for the two conferences.
- John Klein of TulsaWorld.com talks about how West Virginia and TCU coming into the conference actually makes the Big XII stronger going forward. I think we're probably overrating WVU's performance in the Orange Bowl, which was impressive don't get me wrong, against an overmatched Clemson team from the now-dreadful ACC.
- David Ubben put up a poll asking people to vote on which Big XII bowl performance was the most impressive. Even as a Baylor fan I voted for OSU.
- The big news out of Oklahoma yesterday was not that Mrs. Davis's cow ran along the interstate for a few minutes or that Durant clogging team won its fourth straight state championship, both of which would be big stories if they actually happened, but that Landry Jones, who was projected to be the third QB taken in this year's NFL Draft, has decided to return to OU for his senior season. I agree with the sentiment that Jones coming back probably makes OU the favorite in the Big XII next year since they don't have to rely on the Belldozer to grind it out from midfield.
- Finally, I'm going to share a link from Scott Novak at the Niles Star (whatever that is) not because it is a well-written article or because I approve of the way Mr. Novak is brutalizing the shaved head with a Van Dyke look (you're making it harder on all of us, Novak), but because I want to address the larger point I've seen probably a thousand times in college football this year. Novak questions "where the defense has gone" since the scores in bowl games have tended to be high this year and offenses really good.
The larger point I want to talk about here is that high scores obviously mean bad defenses. That offensive outbursts are the result of a total lack of defense and not actually really good offenses. Our own Alamo Bowl serves as a pretty good example. Even as that game went on, people around the country dismissed the performances of the two teams' offenses as the results of nothing more than terrible defenses. Why is that? In my statistical preview for the game, I told you how the statistics showed that these were two good offenses, actually one outstanding offense and one good, playing against two bad defenses. The results backed that up, but the narrative we heard was not that the offenses were great AND the defenses poor, it was just that the defenses were the worst ever placed on a football field.
The overwhelming assumption these days in college football seems to be that good defenses shut down good offenses, but if offenses play well it is because the defense they're facing is bad. This assumption is one of the biggest reasons everyone believes (without really knowing) that the SEC is so much better every year than everyone else. They see good defenses, believe that good defenses are automatically better than good or even great offenses (particularly after bowl games, where results before this year tended to skew toward defenses anyway), and run with it. The same assumption leads people to believe that the Big XII, which features offense, is necessarily worse because of it. As if defense > offense and that's it. The fact of the matter is that when good offenses play well, it is not necessarily because the other defense allowed them to do it. Offenses make plays, too, and good offenses do not only play well when they face bad defenses. As always, the two things have to be viewed in combination, rather than from a defense-only perspective.
Asking "where have the defenses gone" while looking at the Alamo Bowl (or the Rose, Fiesta, or Orange Bowls) really makes about as much sense analytically as looking at LSU-Alabama and saying "where have the offenses gone," something I think I might have heard once. It is the definition of myopic and simply bad analysis to forget that there are two teams on the field at the same time and they control the outcome equally.