Monday, November 26, 2007

This Week in Piscine Marksmanship

Oh Peter, I have been ignoring you for too long.

Peter King's ability to remain internally logical = null set.

1. On Darren McFadden:

I think I don't care how good Darren McFadden looked last Friday, and if you saw how he steamrolled LSU in Baton Rouge, you know he looked like a future star in the NFL. Probably. I wouldn't use a high first-round pick on him. Of the top 50 running backs in the NFL entering this weekend (ranked by rushing yards), 30 were not first-round picks... More than any position in football, running back is the one you can find players from the most disparate sources.

2. On LaDanian Tomlinson (who was drafted 5th overall):

[I liked] LaDainian Tomlinson, who reached 10,000 rushing yards in six-plus years. He could have been yours, Atlanta.

The lesson: don't actually take running backs highly, just eventually regret not taking running backs highly.

Peter King's knowledge about college football = null set

1. On College Coach Contracts:

College contracts are such one-way streets, with the coach holding all the power. Why guarantee the coach that much money, when he can basically leave any time he wants to anyway?

Such is called "negotiation". Where college football programs are significant money-makers for institutions, and successful college football coaches are in limited supply, there is a "marketplace" for such coaches' skills. The guaranteeing of a contract is necessary because other institutions will do the same. Further, most colleges include something called a "buyout" clause in the contract, which says the coach can leave "anytime he wants to" but he (or the institution he leaves for) has to pay often a significant amount of money to do so. This is also "negotiation" and "market-based economics". And I'm not sure I need to explain this to you, but with everything else you've written, who knows? - a college coach's contract isn't "guaranteed" to the extent that if he leaves for a new job, his former institution continues to pay him. Were Bill Callahan to have been wildly successful at Nebraska and the Kansas City Chiefs offered him their job, Nebraska wouldn't continue to pay him under that contract.

2. On Bill Callahan:

On Oct. 23, Callahan said, "I have done an excellent job in every area." In the four Nebraska games since, this excellent coach oversaw a team that allowed an average of 50 points per game.

OH SNAP! You got him good! Wait, did you say October 23? You mean after the Texas A&M game that dropped them to 4-4 overall, and was their third straight loss? Mr. King, anyone with a passing knowledge of the sport didn't need the last 4 Nebraska games to realize that Callahan's statement is ridiculous. Most of us saw that a year or two ago. Also, what did you expect a guy to say in his own defense? "I have been a mediocre coach who has destroyed the tradition of winning at Nebraska." It's kind of dumb to use his own words against him. Now, had you used a defense by Tom Osborne, maybe this would make sense. Instead, it's just a gotcha statement with no meaning (except maybe to show that you haven't been paying attention).

3. On who should compete in the BCS National Championship Game:

The national championship game has to be the Missouri-Oklahoma winner against West Virginia.

Yes, it just has to be. Because a 2-loss Oklahoma team deserves to play for a title far more than a 1-loss Ohio State team or SIX other 2-loss teams that have played against tougher schedules than Oklahoma (USC, Arizona State, Georgia, LSU, BC, Virginia Tech). Actually, I'm a little surprised he didn't pimp Hawaii here. (If Missouri beats OU, fine. But Oklahoma's resume is not better than any of those other schools I listed above).

4. On playoffs, amateurism and time:

And no, there shouldn't be a playoff. Enough of this "amateur'' sport. I've railed against this before, but it's patently absurd that college students be asked to practice football for who-knows-how-long in the spring, return at the beginning of August and practice through the last game in January -- the same as an NFL team does -- without asking them to continue games into their second semesters.

I wonder if Peter King knows that there already is a playoff in place for every other division of college football, and they complete those games before the second semester begins in all of those divisions. He should know that, right? Didn't Colgate, his own daughter's college and the school he writes about all the time, participate in the 1-AA/FCS playoffs as recently as 2005 (and they were in the title game in 2003). If time considerations are of such concern, why are playoffs allowed at any level of play?

Not to get too nerdy here, but what does that second sentence mean? Is he saying that college football isn't amateur, so it shouldn't be treated as such? Is he saying that college football should be more amateur, so what's already the case in college football is too much? Is he saying simply that he's had enough of college football because of some other reason? Why is one of the nation's most widely read sports columnists so difficult to comprehend?

And further, ahem... not to get too nerdy here, but does that third sentence actually read how he intends? It's absurd to ask athletes to practice for as long as we already ask them to unless we can ask them to practice more? Is he arguing for more games? I figure he means "it's absurd that we ask this of them, let alone the even crazier idea of asking for more", but that's not what he wrote. And I think what he actually wrote is a decent argument FOR a playoff or some other system than the current one - these kids sacrifice so much already, it's only fair that they have a chance to settle titles on the field.

As for the amount of time college students are asked to practice, well... it'll take you just a second or two on the Googletubes to find out very clearly that the NCAA regulates and limits practice time. "Who knows how long in the spring"? I do, along with anyone who can use a search engine: 15 designated practice days, a maximum of 4 hours per day. Yes, college football teams return in August for camp and practice through the season. But the NCAA further limits that. There are different rules for particular times (preseason/during the season), so perhaps you should just go to this link and take a look for yourself. As for your description of college practices as "the same as an NFL team does," well, that's patently ludicrous. Every single NFL team had a training camp longer than the 29 practices allowed by the NCAA. Further, practices for NFL teams are (for each session) significantly longer and allow more contact than NCAA rules permit. College athletes aren't asked to do the same thing as professionals. Not even close.

And on the non-college football front, his paragraph on Alex Rodriguez truly shows how little he understands of negotiation. I would love to sell this guy a used car.


Aureliano said...

IF bowl subdivision football were to spill over into another semester it wouldn't be the first sport to be played in two semesters, right?
Isn't that what we're doing with basketball?

Michael said...

This is a really bad year for King to take the position that spending a high pick on a running back is a bad idea, or perhaps he hasn't seen a Vikings game all year.

I'd also be interested to hear him apply his reasoning on college coach contracts being one-way streets to the contracts that NFL players sign.