At the intersection of writing and life with the author of the Cameron Ballack mysteries

Sunday, September 20, 2015

About That Schedule...

I've held my tongue long enough, simply because I consider myself a nice guy.

Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly doesn't need me playing the role of the apologist.

And what I'm going to say is quite critical, but it is pointed criticism of an individual.

Allow me to bookmark this by saying that what follows is no invective against my former students who attend the University of Missouri. "Mizzou" no doubt offers a fine education; their journalism school is blue-chip top-rate; and their athletic move to the Southeastern Conference--while making them quite a geographical outpost of the SEC--has paid dividends in many areas.

So you got all that? I like people at Mizzou and even though my college basketball loyalties rest with my home state Kansas Jayhawks, I have nothing against Mizzou unless prodded into a corner until I snarl.

Gary Pinkel made me snarl.

Coach Pinkel, have you never considered the wisdom of keeping your mouth clamped shut?

It goes beyond wanting to bar people from the stadium for practice back in 2012 because you didn't want your team enduring distractions? (Distractions? You're in the SEC. You'll have to go into Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge and deal with 100,000 screaming, bloodthirsty LSU fans one day. Buck up!) 

The Constitution gives you the right to your opinion. It offers no protection from the public when that opinion is stupid.

Yes, blitheringly idiotic.

No independents should make the College Football Playoff to compete for a championship, you say? There are no non-conference independent teams in the NFL, you say? Right. No critical thinking textbook could defend that train wreck of illogic. 

The Twitter firestorm was not only swift and fierce, but entirely justified. And Coach Kelly was even more incisive in his reply, showing that Notre Dame doesn't need a label to be excellent. And if Pinkel wants to grouse about Notre Dame, maybe he should stop playing (and scraping past in ugly fashion) the woeful triad of Southeast Missouri State, Arkansas State (won by only seven), and Connecticut (a 9-6 win preserved with an INT on a fake field goal attempt).

"We don't play the sisters of the cupcake poor." Beautiful.

Look here, Pinkel. I'm not denying the necessity of a "breather" game once in awhile. Alabama plays Middle Tennessee. Georgia will play Southern-Baton Rouge. And even my Fighting Irish will play Massachusetts, although to be honest the Mid-American Conference is a step up from the SWAC and the Sun Belt (given how Northern Illinois put the fear of God into top-ranked Ohio State this weekend). But Notre Dame has crushed Texas, a program that Charlie Strong will have playing at a high level by season's end and be in the championship picture in four to five years. We faced adversity and beat Virginia on the road when we lost our quarterback for the year. We came home and stuffed #14 and defending Orange Bowl winners Georgia Tech. We'll also be playing Clemson at Clemson; USC at home; at Pitt; at Stanford; Boston College (which went toe-to-toe with Florida State) at Fenway Park.

Yes, you have the SEC, but primarily the SEC East. And given how you've performed in the first three games, with an offense colder than a 1972 Dodge Dart on a winter morning in Alberta...I'd say the chances are a team like the Georgia Bulldogs might just pick your players clean and feed the leftovers to UGa.

Other teams might do that to Notre Dame, but it'll be after the Irish have at least tested themselves against a higher caliber of adversaries.

You're a great tactician, Coach Pinkel. You do get mileage out of your players, and your team gives my former students who now attend Mizzou some happy moments. And when they're happy, I'm happy. I love them, and if they have a great collegiate experience at Mizzou, who could complain?

But there's a reason why the Twitter zeitgeist exploded once you opened your mouth. 

Keep it shut. College football has many problems. It doesn't need additional foolishness.

You can put that wisdom on the shelf next to the national championship trophies that y'all have earned.

Oh wait. You don't have any? That's right...

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