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ODB Mailbag 4/3: Football, Basketball, World War II and Fast Food Franchises for Coaches

Sic ‘Em!

NCAA Basketball: Texas at Baylor Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

We’re now in the start of the off-season. We’ll start our football preview series after the spring game. I hope to have a post—and often way more of a breakdown—on every guy expected to see the field this season.

Basketball recruiting should also heat up. Tyler Harris could commit shortly, though it’s recruiting, so you never know.

I talked with Brent Wilson, the General Manager of Baylor’s Sic Em Squad in The Basketball Tournament. I’ll have a write up on that later in the week. I’m thrilled for that event and the team.

I think he’ll be here five years. And I’d set the over/under at 4.5 years (never set an over/under that can push). Penn State or the NFL are the most likely outcomes, if he’s winning at Baylor. Even the most optimistic prediction doesn’t have Baylor winning 10 games next season, and I don’t think a season removed from 1-11 will get him an NFL job.

I think Rhule will win a lot of games at Baylor. The staff is recruiting at an insane level coming off a 1-11 campaign. Gerry Bohanon is going to be a star, and Charlie Brewer is already very good. But if Rhule gets close to contending, he might stick around one more year before bolting for the worst NFL job available.

If the Bears go 3-9 or worse next year, then he’ll be on the hot seat in year three. I’d guess a bowl game would be necessary to earn a fourth year. Yes, he signed a seven year deal, but they always find the money when the coach isn’t winning.

Rhule interviewing with the Colts is still baffling to me. He wasn’t going to get an NFL job coming off a 1-11 season. If he wins at Baylor, then he’ll get jobs. Turning down an interview when he had a terrible season doesn’t mean he’s turning down every NFL job forever. Billy Donovan was named the Thunder coach after taking and quitting as the Magic coach. If a coach is good enough, he’ll get a job. Basically, there was no benefit to interviewing with the Colts, and it could only hinder recruiting, which makes it tougher for him to get an NFL job eventually.

On the scale of “go back to Jersey to Sunshine Pumper” I’m way closer to Sunshine Pumper. But I can also say when I think he’s done something stupid. Taking that interview was stupid. But I think the Bears will win big with Rhule at the helm. And he’ll leave after five years and take an NFL job or the Penn State job.

After taking way too long to answer the last question, we’re limiting this answer to just Matt Rhule, Scott Drew and Kim Mulkey. If anyone is dying to hear about Steve Rodriguez, then we’ll answer it in the next mailbag.

Matt Rhule: Great Steak and Cheesesteak. He played at Penn State and was the man at Temple. He also talks fast enough to deal with a million customers.

Scott Drew: Shake Shack. Drew created Baylor basketball. He’d create a new franchise in Waco. Some would say that Texas has Whataburger, so why would it need an East Coast Burger joint? But people once questioned how Baylor would recruit Quincy Miller when a North Carolina man could stay home and go to Duke or North Carolina.

Kim Mulkey: Raising Cane’s. You can never have enough of those in a city, and Baylor can never have enough Kim Mulkey.

Sadly, no. Though I would hate to forget about this:

Give me Denzel Mims. He should be All-Big 12, and I’m guessing this will be his final season for the Bears.

Jalen Hurd is going to be the popular pick. He may be Baylor’s top pick in the next draft. And he may be Baylor’s top target too. But I’ve never seen a receiver go from the game Mims had against Liberty to the performance he had over the season.

Chris Platt is a monster. But I used to refuse to go to class if I was on a plane that day. I’m a weak man. I worry about a man coming off an ACL injury topping Mims Madness! But Platt Power too.

There are two sides that I’ve seen that believe the payment is outrageous. To folks who believe Art Briles was fired because the Board of Regents or others at Baylor failed in their oversight role, the payment is proof that Briles shouldn’t have been fired. Those folks take the view that if Briles was guilty of anything egregious, then Baylor should have fired him for cause and not given him $15 million. And to those folks, the fact Baylor gave him $15 million is proof that he didn’t do anything wrong.

The other upset side sees the payment as Baylor being weak. They believe Briles failed in his role and that the Board was correct to fire him. And if Briles really did screw up—like these folks believe—then Baylor should have fired him for cause and recognized he would have looked way worse trying to fight this legally.

There’s a reason so many civil disputes settle. Neither side wanted a long legal battle in 2016, and the attendant risks of going to court. But in an era where schools are trying to fire coaches for cause for bogus reasons, I can understand why Briles getting a $15 million buyout shocked people on all sides. But it makes a lot of sense that both sides settled.

Very early in the process. I’m assuming Baylor lands Tyler Harris—a top 70 Rivals recruit and high scoring point guard, who was likely the best player in Tennessee last year.

The big issue for Baylor is that they really need guys to stay healthy. Tristan Clark is the only big man that is for sure ready to play. And if Makai Mason—a guy who barely played the last two years because of injuries—can’t play much, then the Bears will lose a man who can get a bucket on every possession.

I’d put the odds at 75%. If you told me Mason and Clark would play 55 games, I’d put it at 90%. But if they play 40 games, then I’d put it at 25%.

I’m guessing Hitler invades the Soviet Union earlier than the summer of 1941. With the full attention of Germany on the Soviet Union, then I think they win. I’ve been reading Victor Davis Hanson’s book on World War II. He makes a good case that German tanks were always going to struggle against anti-tank weaponry the Soviets had. Maybe the Soviet Union still triumphs over Germany.

I could be convinced that Japan and/or Germany would have declared war on the United States and still met their demise. Hanson recounts that the great catastrophe of the Western response to the rise of fascist movements is that the Western governments assumed Germany, Italy and Japan would act rationally. There was no way those countries could conquer the more industrialized Allies. Yet, somehow they convinced themselves they could win a war against the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States.

It’s certainly a scary thought that Nazi Germany would have conquered the world, if the United Kingdom had capitulated after the fall of France. The odds and path to victory would have been much narrower.

A ton of other great World War II questions. We’re already at 1,250 words, but we’ll answer more of these in the weeks ahead. Plus, you can harass Mark on Twitter to get him to answer some of your World War II questions.

If Baylor doesn’t land a transfer, then the Bears will likely play Mark Vital and Mario Kegler a lot at the four. Vital was top 500 in block rate, and Clark was top 200 in that category. That front-court should still block quite a few shots.

The Bears’ have built much better defenses the last two years by doing a nice job limiting shots near the rim and defending without fouling. Baylor might try to play more aggressively and force a few more turnovers. Expect Clark to block quite a few shots though. The Bears should still be in the top 13 nationally in block rate.

What you mention is a real concern. The Bears need the offense to be much better in 2018. If they’re playing small with more shooting, then going from 320th in 3-point attempts and getting out of the cellar of Big 12 3-point shooting is an easy path to making up for a defensive decline.

I’d say Oklahoma State. The Cowboys lost a ton on offense, and the Bears need to knock off a well coached team that has less talent. With a second year in a revamped scheme, the Bears won’t be all the way there. But if Baylor goes bowling—which should be achievable and needs to happen—they’ll need to beat a team like Oklahoma State.

I haven’t heard anything about a neutral site game in Houston. I think it’d be cool for Baylor to schedule Kentucky again and do a road game in Rupp Arena and a neutral site game in Houston or Dallas. The Bears hurt themselves by scheduling too many sub 300 KenPom teams at home this year. But I don’t have any information about Baylor coming to Houston for any game.

The Maginot Line. But the Baylor offensive line should be astronomically better this season. The French didn’t get a second season of the Maginot Line in World War II.

I’ll say yes. Early in the process, and I’ll give a final prediction later. But this team should be in a bowl game. The skill positions are easily in the top half of the league. Charlie Brewer should make an All-Big 12 team. And the offensive line should be a lot better. With Phil Snow now in year two of teaching his system to the defense, the team should avoid some of the costly mistakes from last season.

Matt Rhule’s rightfully said bowling is the expectation. He’s done everything well in recruiting and developing a team. Time to win with it.