That helmet is dangerously close to a certain region.
Yesterday was an early contender for the best sports day of 2012. There was a fantastic amount of action to be consumed on television, whether it was the surprising amount of close bowl games, outdoor hockey, or even my new-found guiltiest pleasure in life—the free preview of NBA League Pass which lasts until January 8th. I even slipped in a couple of replays of English Premier League soccer for good measure.
As I sat there flipping furiously through the channels yesterday afternoon–somewhere in the time right before the Rose Bowl–it hit me. This is a sports revelation that is going to blow your mind. Read no further if you find yourself unwilling or unable to have your life philosophy completely altered. Ready?
Sports are a hundred thousand times more enjoyable to watch when you have absolutely zero rooting interest in the games.
It struck me some time in between watching a Philadelphia Flyer earn, and eventually miss, a penalty shot with 19 seconds left in the Winter Classic and watching Mark Richt completely bungle a very winnable overtime against Michigan State. I don’t know why I did it, but I tried to imagine putting myself in the shoes of a Rangers fan or a Flyers fan after that very questionable call and the sneaking suspicion that Gary Bettman had ordered it up David Stern-style. And the ensuing nineteen seconds were no doubt among the longest any of those fans has experienced. It couldn’t have possibly been enjoyable to experience that stress. And there I was, smiling on my couch without a single team going in any sport. It was glorious.
Then there was the matter of Georgia intercepting a Michigan State pass to start overtime. You know how this drill works. Your team scores and the ball game is over. You accomplish this by at least trying to get one first down to make life easier on your kicker. Except Mark Richt apparently trusts his quarterback less than the Denver Broncos trust Tim Tebow to throw the football. Georgia called for a run on first down, had their guy center the ball on second down, and then trotted out their kicker on third down to boot a 42-yarder for the win. This kicker was 19 for 31 on the year. He of course missed and Georgia would go on to lose the game in heart-breaking fashion in three overtimes when, and you’re never going to believe this, their kicker had his attempt blocked. I would have died if I was a Georgia fan. I would have immediately taken to facebook to slam Mark Richt and wonder about a season that should have been. For those who have forgotten by now, Georgia was supposed to be a national championship contender this year. Instead I laughed and flipped the channel.
Next up was the Rose Bowl where Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema extended his streak to two consecutive years of losing a Rose Bowl due to Andy Reid-like mental errors. For those who may have forgot, Bielema wasted several time outs last year in the second half against TCU that ultimately cost them, but his biggest blunder by far came when he called for a pass on a two point conversion attempt that would have tied the game. Wisconsin had been gaining at least six yards per attempt during the game against a smaller TCU defense that couldn’t handle the Badgers’ size. Bielema promptly called for a pass that was blocked by TCU linebacker Tank Carder to win the game. This year was no exception. Bielema wasted two timeouts before five minutes had transpired in the third quarter, one of which was especially bad in trying to get the officials to review a touchback. Well wouldn’t you know it, the Badgers could have used a couple of timeouts as they drove the field in the final minute of the game. They ultimately lost when Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson couldn’t spike the ball in time with :02 remaining. Once again, if I’m a Wisconsin fan I would have gone to bed all pissing and moaning about my head coach’s incompetence. Instead I laughed again and waited for the Fiesta Bowl.
And finally there was the Fiesta Bowl, which put the cap on a day of questionable coaching decisions. Let’s say your the head coach of a college football program. Let’s say you find yourself in the Fiesta Bowl. Let’s say you’re in overtime. And finally let’s say you have the greatest talent at quarterback in the last fifteen years on your squad. You let him go out there and win you the game, right? Wrong! If your Stanford coach David Shaw, you hand the ball off twice for no gain and then leave your all-universe QB hung out to dry on third down. How do you not have Andrew Luck throwing there, at least on second down? How do you not trust him to win you the game on a night in which he was 27/31? Ridiculous, all of it. But somehow it was enjoyable because again, I had no rooting interest. I dwelled on the game for approximately zero seconds and read a book until I went to sleep.
This all may sound groundbreaking, or it might not.
I think I’m onto something though.
Generation Y, where I actually think the Broncos are going to win and would like to apologize in advance for the ESPN firestorm that will ensue as a result.
Not afraid of three hundred pound men trying to kill him every down. Totally petrified by a Disney roller coaster.
They must have forgot about how the Frogs took them out last year.
Gotta show some love to my Alma Mater, now that the official numbers are in. Also let me brag for a second, despite being the most competitive class ever to get into in TCU’s long history, my little sister was among the few selected to attend this upcoming year and will be a Horned Frog in the fall. She has a proud older brother awaiting her arrival. From the Houston Chronicle:
A boost in applications indicates a growing number of young people want to attend Texas Christian University, including record numbers from outside the state.
A decade ago, about 5,000 potential students applied to TCU. But Ray Brown, the dean of admission, says a record 19,000 have applied to attend the upcoming fall semester. He says 61 percent of the increase was from out of state.
The university will admit only about 1,800 freshmen.
Victories on the football and baseball fields have raised TCU’s national profile, including a win in the Rose Bowl in January. But university leaders have also stepped up recruiting and marketing while making campuswide improvements.
Well deserved in this blogger’s humble opinion. We’re completely objective here at Gen Y, we swear.
As a fan who’s been proud of TCU’s willingness to play any school, I was a little discouraged by this news. We would have undoubtedly gotten crushed, which I’m sure was the school’s reasoning for declining the game. TCU graduated its most successful class of football players in school history this year. The seniors were apart of more wins than any group in the history of the program. Despite all that though, you’d think TCU would welcome the chance to play a big school after several big schools (see: Texas Tech) cancelled games in recent years due to the Frog’s success of late. From the Big 1070 in Wisconsin:
Badger football coach Bret Bielema says he’s “frustrated” with recruiting violations this year. Bielema appearing on “The Mike Heller Show” says he saw “some things happen that were very clear and very evident.” Bielema added “The people that do it the right way are fed up with it…I’m not in this profession to watch people do things the wrong way and get away with it, that’s for sure.”
So were the Badgers hurt in any way this year with a recruit? “I don’t think I’d be commenting unless I was involved with one,” Bielema told the show.
Bielema went on to add he thinks suspending coaches for secondary violations would help cut down on some of the cheating. “You talk to a college football coach who only has 12 games, and you tell him that he’s going to sit 2, maybe 3, which is a third or a fourth of his season, you’ll get people’s attention in a hurry”
Bielema also told “The Mike Heller Show” Wednesday that he was approached about adding TCU to the Badgers schedule in a rematch of The Rose Bowl.
“I was contacted a week and half after the bowl game about the opportunity to play TCU in our opener,” Bielema told the show. “It was something that was going to be broadcast and made a big deal, it took me all of about point five seconds to say yes.”
Bielema said TCU eventually turned down the invitation.
In the Frogs defense, big schools pull stunts like this all the time. They invite little schools to come play on their turf with their rules and then bemoan the little school when it declines the clearly one-sided invitation. Obviously if Wisconsin was willing to come play in Fort Worth, I deserve to eat crow.
My inclination is that this wasn’t the case though.
[The Big 1070 Wisconsin]
Usually you like to sit and praise a guy for a wonderful career. I just can’t do it for Mr. Bob Griese. He hasn’t been as relevant in the last couple years after being removed from ABC’s number one team for a racial comment he made on air. Check it out if you’ve forgotten.
However, there was a time when he was the guy in college football and there was no color commentator more biased than Bob. He hated the University of Nebraska, he hated the U, and he hated anything that didn’t come out of the Big Ten and Pac Ten. It was a joke during the late 90s when his son Brian was the quarterback at a cowardly Michigan school that refused to play the best competition in bowl games every year because they believed a victory over inferior Pac10 teams in the Rose Bowl was somehow more prestigious. There was no bigger proponent for this charade than Bob Griese. A joke, all of it. From ESPN:
Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese is retiring from broadcasting after 29 years, including the last 24 on ESPN and ABC.
“I’ve had a wonderful career and now it’s time to experience new things,” Griese said in a statement. “I’ve had many highlights along the way, from working the NFL’s Super Bowl and college football’s championship games to covering many of my son Brian’s games during his undefeated season in 1997. I want to thank ABC, ESPN and the fans for their support and all the men and women on our TV crews for their patience and support through the years.”
ESPN made the announcement Thursday on Griese’s 66th birthday.
Griese, a member of both the Pro and College Football Halls of Fame, worked ESPN’sSaturday noon college football telecasts the past two seasons. He started his TV career with NBC, serving as the top NFL analyst from 1982 to 1986 and calling the Super Bowl.
Griese worked many top bowl games for ABC and ESPN, including the last of son Brian’s career at the 1998 Rose Bowl, when Bob cried as Brian was honored as the MVP for undefeated Michigan.
Bob, you will not be missed in my neck of the woods. I wish you and the rest of the ’72 Dolphins a miserable retirement and may you live to see the day that a team matches your undefeated season.
Take a look. I presume its Frog fans but it would be even cooler if other non-AQs were representing on behalf of everybody. Ironically, TCU will be joining the evil BCS in only one year’s time. From ESPN:
Multiple billboards congratulating TCU on its Rose Bowl victory popped up in Columbus, Ohio, several days after the Horned Frogs defeated Wisconsin 21-19.
The billboards seem to be a jab at Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee, who had made derogatory comments about the quality of non-automatic qualifying schools such as TCU and Boise State.
“I do know, having been both a Southeastern Conference president and a Big Ten president, that it’s like murderer’s row every week for these schools,” Gee said in late November. “We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day.
“So I think until a university runs through that gauntlet that there’s some reason to believe that they not be the best teams to [be] in the big ballgame.”
The message on 20 electronic billboards in the Columbus area reads:
“Congratulations to TCU for their Rose Bowl victory
– Little Sisters of the Poor”
At least Ohio State fared better than fellow Big Ten member Wisconsin in its bowl game Tuesday. The Buckeyes defeated Arkansas 31-26 in the Sugar Bowl.
Admittedly, I’m still glowing after the win. No one can ever take that away from TCU, ever. We are the 2010-2011 Rose Bowl Champions, and that sounds pretty damn good. But as the dust starts to settle, the question must be brought up. Did TCU and head coach Gary Patterson make the right decision by remaining so politically correct after the game? Should Patterson have taken the approach of former USC coach Pete Carroll who famously used his victory in the game to successfully lobby for a split of the national title back in the 2003-2004 season? It’s the question hanging over every Horned Frog’s brain this week. Columnist Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune went to work on it:
Maybe Patterson’s saying all this because TCU is leaving the Mountain West Conference for the Big East and its ridiculous automatic BCS bid, but this guy ain’t Lombardi.
“This is a great stage,” he said. “The Rose Bowl deserves a lot more than that. To us, this was a national championship-caliber ballgame.”
You won’t even hear me say the Rose Bowl isn’t great, and Saturday’s game was fine theater, but in years such as this, it is not the decider. That will come Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz., and I can’t see how anyone can tell me Oregon and Auburn would be slam-dunks against TCU.
TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, the game’s offensive MVP, who ran for a touchdown, threw for another and managed the game precisely against a bigger and more physical football team, basically echoed his coach.
“It’s a dream come true,” Dalton said. “I think the way the system is, it didn’t give us a chance to play in the game. It didn’t do any of that.”
Of course it didn’t. That’s the problem. It didn’t. It doesn’t. The Rose Bowl is wonderful. But it isn’t final.
I believe every TCU player was instructed to remain politically correct out here when it came to discussing the national championship. Their answers were too pat.
“I feel that TCU has proven that we can play with the best of them,” said linebacker Tank Carder, who knocked down the two-point conversion pass attemptby Badgers quarterback Scott Tolzien near the end that sealed the win. “All the critics don’t feel like the non-AQ (automatic qualifier) teams should have a shot.
“It feels a little better knowing that the non-AQ teams can play with them. Wisconsin is a Big Ten team. They’re really good, and I feel like we came in and made a statement today.”
Right. Wisconsin is a Big Ten school. Five Big Ten teams played in bowls Saturday. All of them lost. The statement was made, but it wasn’t finished. There was no period.
TCU, you made a case, dadgumit. Man-up to it.
I think he’s right.
[San Diego Union-Tribune]
And finally, of the probably fifty or so columns I’ve read thus far this morning, my favorite has to be from LA Times columnist and Around the Horn contributor Bill Plaschke who called the game one of his all-time favorite Rose Bowls in the twenty or so years he has covered the game. From the LA Times:
Many thought tiny Texas Christian would be brought to its knees, and they were right. “This was enough.” “This was our national championship,” said running back Waymon James.
In the wondrous moments that lighted up the Pasadena darkness late Saturday afternoon, several Horned Frogs staggered behind their bench, dropped to the ground and wept.
Many thought outsider TCU would lose its composure, and they were right.
Through the Arroyo Seco chill they danced, preschoolers in shoulder pads, running in circles, heaving their helmets, sticking out their tongues to catch the purple confetti as if it were an unexpected winter snow.
“Everybody said we couldn’t do it!” shouted receiver Jeremy Kerley. “But look at us now, we’re the Rose Bowl champs!”
Indeed they are, the most refreshingly joyful champs in the 20 years that I’ve covered this game, TCU finishing an unbeaten season with an unlikely 21-19 slugging of giant Wisconsin on Saturday in the 97th Rose Bowl.
Everybody put every bit of passion we had into this game,” said safety Tejay Johnson. “What you saw was all that passion coming out.”
Standing on many football fields after many important victories, I’m often fearful of being trampled by a charging student body. Saturday was the first time I was worried about being trampled by the actual team.
Go check out the rest of the memorable column. I’ll remember the day forever.
We’ll be poppin’ champagne all night in DFW. I was so nervous I literally stood in the same spot the entire game, even during commercials and half time. I cannot put into words what this victory means at this moment. Way too many emotions.
A sidenote: the Big Ten absolutely wet the bed today. They went 0 for 5 and were out scored 204-102. Fact: Ohio State president Gordon Gee is an idiot.