there would have to be some to wash away
Since the last time we took a detailed look at the Pairwise, Michigan split a pair at OSU and a bunch of other teams played a lot of games. Western fell out of TUCland; UNO and Lake State entered. Michigan's TUC record is now a mediocre 8-7-1 with a 1-1 record versus LSSU and a 2-0 record versus UNO hovering around the cliff. Northern, Michigan's opponent this weekend, is not a TUC.
- Denver. We're in a worse spot now that DU has drawn UW in the WCHA playoffs. If they sweep that series they'll win COP and probably move past us in RPI.
- Maine. [Last time: a solid comparison we lost.] Maine did cough it up against UMass, getting swept, and that was enough to flip the comparison... but only by a tiny amount. RPI is virtually tied. They win COP and we have a fair edge in TUC. Maine's first round playoff series is against the same UMass team that just swept them; if they win the series they'll probably take the comparison at year's end. If they lose it's ours.
- Miami. [Last time: a tossup we lost.] Margins are razor-thin everywhere. Whoever finishes better in the CCHA tournament will win the comparison. If one team wins the consolation game while the other loses the championship game, Miami probably takes the comparison.
- Colorado College. Status quo: decent RPI edge and unassailable in COP. We'd have to lose our series versus Northern for them to flip the comparison with a long WCHA playoff run.
- Michigan State. [was: tossup we won.] We now have a big COP edge and a medium RPI one. If we beat Northern, State will have a hard time passing us even with a H2H win.
- Dartmouth. Don't think there's any way for them to flip the comparison unless they win the ECAC and we lose to Northern.
- St. Lawrence. TUC is now very tight, but we win COP and have a 0.1 RPI edge.
Locks: LSSU, UNO, MSU-Mankato, Cornell, [was: solid win]. Wisconsin, Michigan Tech, Vermont. [was: solid win], UMass.
- North Dakota. NoDak's in a weird situation: their first round opponent, MSU-Mankato, currently sits #23 in RPI. If they sweep Mankato it's likely they'll no longer be a TUC; the Sioux are 3-0-1 against Mankato this year. Even if they lose the Screamin' Eagles, they'll still be ahead of us in TUC, but we win COP and RPI is pretty tight.
- Boston College. [last time: tossup we lost]. They made up a lot of ground by sweeping UNH.
- Boston University. If they lose their series against Vermont we can pass them. Otherwise they'll be ahead of us.
- Clarkson. [last time: lock we lost... guess not.] We own COP, they have a sizable edge in RPI. TUC could get interesting. If LSSU drops out and Clarkson loses to a TUC in the ECAC tournament, we could pass them with a CCHA championship. It's a longshot but just possible enough.
Locks: SCSU, [was solid loss]. Minnesota, Notre Dame, UNH.
Our position has improved. A couple teams have moved into the Lock Win category, Maine is now in a dead heat with us, and Michigan State is now significantly behind us. Only the BC sweep of UNH damaged any of our comparisons.
With our OSU split things are basically the status quo: we are locked into the 7-12 range. Denver gacked it up against CC last weekend and fell to 10th, which significantly reduces the chances we'll get paired with them in Denver, but we're now 9th and staring down a bracket featuring Minnesota. There's a tremendous amount of jitter in the PWR and things will change enough between now and the tourney selection that it's not worth getting exercised about yet, though. One thing that does seem likely: a bid in Grand Rapids. Most brackets I see from educated prognosticators give GR attendance the benefit of the doubt and put Michigan there whenever possible. Since Notre Dame is within driving distance of GR, there's also some sentiment to put the Irish there. No offense to ND, but as a relatively untested #1 seed who caught us when Billy Sauer was at his nadir and minus Cogs and Jack, I'd rather see them than any other potential #1.
I'll forgo the microcosm bit: Saturday was not Amaker and Michigan writ small. It was in many respects the complete opposite. Michigan kept its turnovers under control, ran a semblance of an offense, and played what appeared to be generally smart basketball. Two small miracles happened: Amaker got a technical and Jerrett Smith, Brent Petway, and Courtney Sims completed a gorgeous pick-and-roll-extra-pass-dunk combo that looked straight out of actual basketball. Even though Michigan lost, it was perhaps the best game they played all season. The team looked competent. This was not Michigan basketball in a nutshell (Help! I'm in the NIT! What am I doing in this tournament! Sex me, Elizabeth Hurley!). Blaming Amaker for a mindbending missed Courtney Sims dunk and Dion Harris bricking the front end of a one-and-one is wanton. That was the universe being an asshole to me, personally, and not Amaker's fault. Michigan played well and Amaker deserves credit for that.
Where the condemnation comes in is in virtually every other game this season. For the sixth straight year, Michigan played stupid. They turned the ball over, gave up offensive rebounds, and wandered themselves into terrible shots all too often. They blew a huge lead and gacked up a win to Iowa. They got obliterated by an NC State team down to five scholarship players and missing their star. They were an awful, unwatchable basketball team most of the year; the OSU game was notable only as a remarkable outlier in the Amaker catalog, which stretches for six long years of head-pounding frustration.
But whether or not Tommy Amaker is a good coach or not is no longer all that relevant -- though for the record all available evidence indicates they he is not. He has had six years to produce a basketball team that fans are capable of watching for more than two minutes at a time without screaming something profane and punting the cat into the next room. This he has not done, and he must be fired, even if none of what's transpired over his tenure is actually his fault. The popular perception of Michigan is no longer the Fab Five, who are increasingly creaky old men in the NBA (or accountants or gym teachers or whatever). It is this:
You can't really mess with Duke, but Alex [Legion], we're like, do you know how many NITs they [Michigan] have gone to? Are you sure you want to play your college ball there, Alex?
Amaker, already tarred with NIT feathers, will labor under that perception until he forcibly changes it. It's yet another millstone hangs around the program's neck. Those who blame everyone except the actual people on the court for its problem must add it to practicing at the IM Building, OMG NCAA probation(!), Crisler Arena, Crisler Arena's lighting, the broken sign in front of Crisler, and Everything Ever when compiling their list of reasons that Michigan will never have a successful basketball program. Coupled with his obviously questionable ability to recruit and coach, Amaker's ability to get his teams to the NCAA tournament will only lessen in the near future -- and he's already 0 for 6.
Most of these excuses are not valid, anyway:
- He has labored under NCAA sanctions. A 2003 postseason ban robbed Michigan of another NIT bid, most likely, but by the time Amaker arrived the NCAA had levied all the punishment it was going to. Michigan got a second year of postseason ineligibility lifted and weaseled its way out of a reduction of one scholarship for four years by counting three against Amaker's first year. Since Amaker's second year he has operated free and clear of any NCAA penalties.
- Facilities kill recruiting. Many of Amaker's problems are of his own making. He offered role players Ron Coleman and Jarrett Smith as sophomores. Smith is the only point guard he's recruited since Daniel Horton largely because Michigan walked away from Tory Jackson, last seen helping Notre Dame -- not a program noted for its Billy-Donovan slickness -- to a nice seed in this year's tournament. He's blown scholarships on total nonentities time an again.
- He's cleaned up the program's image. This is not an accomplishment. This is the lack of a negative. Michigan should shoot higher than "not Brian Ellerbe."
Allowing Amaker to stay on any further is tantamount to waving the white flag. Even his wife is a very nice lady who's obviously better at her job than Tommy is at his. Even though Crisler is not a new building. Even though he had all those injuries two years ago. It doesn't matter. Now that he's proven beyond a doubt that a new coach can't possibly find worse results, he must be replaced.
Side Note: I am going to miss Brent Petway. It's a shame he couldn't have been a celebrated role player on an actual team, but when someone busts out a winged helmet for Senior Day...
They earn my admiration forever. Godspeed, Brent, and please enjoy blocking the everliving hell out of 5'10" Europeans.
Side Note II: Do you know what the first hit for "Tommy Amaker" is in Google Images?
Do you know why? An Every Three Weekly article I wrote announcing a haiku contest:
Do you know who she looks like?
Update 3/5: Upgraded Jonas Gray from red to yellow. Added MI QB Brendon Kay, NJ LB Marcus Witherspoon, MN LB Sam Maresh, MI WR James Wade. Linked to article on MN WR Michael Floyd -- he has an offer. Added CA WR Christopher Owusu. Noted that 'Bama and UF lead for GA S Darrell Simmons.
Removed IN OL Braxton Cave and IN WR John Goodman, who both committed to ND.
Editorial Opinion: Cave and Goodman off the board is unfortunate but not unexpected. Both come from heavy ND feeder schools in Indiana, and you compete against Notre Dame for white WRs at your peril.
Each linebacker who announces that he has a Michigan offer -- we must be up to 15 by now -- increases my disquiet about our six underclassmen. Michigan is recruiting like they have no linebackers with freshmen eligibility instead of six.
Jonas Gray is backing off his ND fixation quickly. Don't know if he has an offer yet. Michigan is being very selective at running back.
So... a week or so ago EDSBS and I paged through the Rivals archives and extracted per-class scholarship averages for each BCS school and conference in the country. Quickie conclusions: the SEC is a bit sketchier than the Big Ten, as asserted by Jim Delaney, but not nearly as much as this year's enormous seven-to-eight scholarship disparity implies. Still, an attempt to provide some ethical and statistical context follows.
How big is this gap? Over the last six years, the Big Ten has handed out 22 scholarships a year and the SEC 25. This doesn't sound like a huge difference, but it depends on your perspective. In hockey, there doesn't seem to be much of a gap between a player with an 88% save percentage and a 92% save percentage, but rephrased it as "player A lets in 50% more goals than player B" and the gap is brought into relief. Similarly, 25 and 22 seem close enough but flip it around: if we ballpark the number of redshirts at 50%, a team retaining 100% of its players uses 19 scholarships a year. Every year the average SEC team experiences double the attrition of the average Big Ten team.
Is this scholarship gap necessarily a sign of poor moral fiber? Not necessarily. There are two different arguments getting conflated into one here:
- SEC classes are overrated on Signing Day and during the media blitz that follows because their increased attrition rate -- something the numbers show is indisputable -- allows them to sign a bunch more players who will never make an on-field contribution.
- The SEC doesn't care about football people. [/Kanye]
Argument #1, as noted, can be accepted as a given. Argument #2 is murkier and requires us to consider...
What exactly are the ethical obligations schools have here? The conventional wisdom from rabble-rousing sportswriters and tut-tutting moral arbiters is that College Sports Is Corrupt And Evil for even thinking about permitting players who are either dumb or heinously underserved by their schools to breach the local ivy-covered educational edifice. And there is a point in there somewhere: bluntly, most football players are not good at school and very few of them would be in college at all if they weren't huge and fast.
But it's hard to see how anyone's life is improved by strenuously demanding Stanford-level academics of 340-pound maulers from rural Mississippi. Stakeholder by stakeholder:
- 340-pound maulers. What's the alternative for these guys? Most of them will never sniff the NFL but it's a shame to take away their shot at it for an irrelevancy. Even if their education is remedial, that's likely better than they'd have otherwise.
- Normies. A few extra kids in big lectures dragging the curve down doesn't negatively affect the rest of the student body except in the smallest and most incremental way, and even that is offset by the contribution a healthy athletic department makes to the overall life of a collegiate campus.
- The University Ideal. Athletes' altered admissions standards don't necessarily compromise the university's academic purity. There already exist certain segments of the student population for whom the ability to put together a five-page essay or solve a differential equation is irrelevant: music and art students are admitted primarily on their talents in their field of choice, not arbitrary standards for performance on a standardized test. Essentially vocational programs already exist: a journalism major's classes are of secondary importance to his work on the school paper; an art student's GPA is secondary to his portfolio.
Besides, the idea of a cloistered, ivy-covered thing where you learn all about like Kant and Hegel and Thoreau in intimate seminars went away a long time ago in favor of enormous diploma mills. Large state universities -- where virtually every sporting program big enough to be corrupt lives -- are more expensive vocational schools these days for the vast majority of students. (Private schools, being private, can do whatever the eff they please.)
Where the ethical dodginess comes in is when the 340-pound mauler's education is less remedial and more nonexistent. The latest Sports Illustrated has an article on Greg Oden that details his courseload: a five-credit Sociology 101 course, a five-credit History of Rock And Roll course, and two credits for being a basketball player. It's hard to work up any outrage about next year's top pick in the NBA draft getting shorted in his education, but how many players with far more uncertain futures are getting educations in avoiding education at schools around the country?* The general feeling is lots.
This is because the system has a disconnect. It rewards teams for keeping players eligible, not for educating them. It encourages Harrick-like "how many points for a three-pointer?" classes, academic... er... tutors, and History of Greg Oden majors because the only people judging how educated our mauler is have a deep conflict of interest. The scary idea is not how many kids flunk out but how many "graduate."
It is an article of faith around these parts that the SEC is the worst offender in this department. Anecdotes filter up: former running back Max Martin got in the doghouse because he didn't go to class. When someone in the department asked him why, he replied that he didn't know he had to, since all of his buddies down south didn't. (Later, Martin transferred to Alabama; the coaches at the time reportedly asked if he had been arrested for any felonies, then hung up, thorough background check completed. He lasted a semester.) Varsity athletes in non-revenue sports relate similar tales on recruiting trips. Anecdotes prove nothing, though, proving nothing, and schools all over the place have issues. (Clem Haskins at Minnesota sticks out.)
All we have right now are some numbers that take a look from 10,000 feet up that reveal something indistinct. Even if we drilled further down into these numbers, they would only tell us the lesser half of the story, and the questions about "what about the guys who remain eligible?" would remain unanswered.
*(Referencing Ohio State here is sure to cock an eyebrow or two since I am an avowed Michigan fan. The intent is not to single out OSU as an exemplar of bad behavior; the SI article provided a rare concrete look at the courseload of a star athlete.)
Combine times. MLive article on the Michigan players at the combine. Leon Hall and David Harris did very well and Burgess very poorly. Opinions on Branch are thoroughly mixed -- there are some silly quotes being thrown about -- and Woodley didn't test.
Don't believe the 4.3. The US Army Combine results have been posted in PDF format. Other than an impressive performance from MI RB Jonas Gray I couldn't pick out much of interest -- Boubacar Cissoko didn't run -- other than the universally crappy 40 times. A lot of potential high-major recruits ran poorly. Of particular interest to Michigan are Detroit Southeastern's Charles Burrell, a WR/S, who ran a 4.93, and hyped-up CA CB Robert Golden, a guy with a Michigan offer, who ran a 4.9. The upshot is to take the grain of salt you should take NFL combine times with and up it by a couple orders of magnitude when considering 40s for high school kids who aren't done developing, haven't had the same sort of specialty training NFL prospects now get, and don't run on the same track under the same conditions.
Ouch. USC basketball recruit Brandon Jennings is a teammate of Michigan recruit Alex Legion at Oak Hill Academy. Recent quote in an interview at SI.com:
Armstrong: Do you ever joke around with Duke-bound Nolan Smith or Michigan-bound Alex Legion about their school choices?
Jennings: Oh, all the time. You can't really mess with Duke, but Alex, we're like, do you know how many NITs they have gone to? Are you sure you want to play your college ball there, Alex? They come after me, too, but USC is up and coming.
Safe to say that Michigan's Fab Five honeymoon has expired with high school recruits, who were in diapers when that whole scene went down.
Scoop vs. Whitlock/Simmons/Everyone. Simmons writes about crazy stuff going down at All Star Weekend in Vegas. Whitlock does the same but gets all up in the black community's face in a fashion that's either irritatingly preachy or refreshingly honest depending on your preconceived notions and so forth and suchlike. Everyone generally agrees that what went down on the Strip a couple weeks ago was scary as hell and probably not a good thing. Scoop Jackson calls out the aforementioned with the exact phrases they dropped ("Hip Hop Woodstock" for Simmons, "Black KKK" for Whitlock) and declares everything racist -- a safe assumption is when you tease dropping "the R word" multiple times but coyly avoid it you have for all intents and purposes dropped it -- because he's Scoop Jackson.
Cleveland journalist Brian Windhorst responds. This concludes your Scoop-Whitlock beef update.
Speaking of Simmons, he's got an interesting column on his recent two-game fling as an ESPNU color commentator. Since no one gets ESPNU I wasn't able to see the grand experiment, but Simmons reports it went well and hits on an interesting point:
Every No. 1 announcing "team" is more like a corporate merger: Al Michaels is a big name, John Madden is a big name, so of course they're combined into MaddenMichaels. Meanwhile, the best 2006 NFL broadcast was the one ESPN threw together for a Raiders-Chargers game with a one-time crew that included Ron Jaworski and Dick Vermeil, two old friends. We felt like we were sitting on the sofa with them for three hours. I loved it. Why not hire more friends to announce together?
(Simmons did his games with MLS announcerguy Rob Stone, evidently an old college buddy.) Did anyone happen to hear either of these obscure college basketball games?
Etc.: Apparently I'm the 18th most influential person in the universe. So that's nice.
No one lies so boldly as the man who is indignant.
Fish in a barrel! (Nietzche Family Circus @ right randomly and serendipitously generated.)
I've had this Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article about Troy Smith's falling draft stock open in my browser window the last couple days in case I bothered to do a Fanhouse post about it. I won't now -- dated -- but it's given us all so much more, as Stewart Mandel saw it and immediately rushed off to pen an epically stupid column that gets the Fire Joe Morgan treatment below.
Let's hit it.
Classic combine confusion
Scouts foolish to ignore QB Smith's college success
I suppose there might be an argument in here, albeit one whose primary adherent appears to be Matt Millen.
For all that Troy Smith accomplished the past two-plus years at Ohio State, I don't think I've ever been more impressed with him than I am right now. After I read the various reports out of last weekend's NFL combine in Indianapolis, it's become apparent that Smith managed to win a Heisman Trophy, rack up ridiculous passing stats and lead his team to 20 straight victories in spite of the fact he's a crappy quarterback.
Note: no one has ever claimed Troy Smith is a crappy quarterback. Crappy quarterbacks do not get taken in the NFL draft, let alone in the third or fourth round. Many, many good to great collegiate quarterbacks have done worse than that, including the man who knocked up the woman you aspire to be.
Yep. You read that right. The NFL cognoscenti have spoken. After eyeballing Smith in shorts and watching him throw 18 practice passes against no defense, the connoisseurs with the clipboards and the stop watches have decreed that the former Ohio State quarterback, to put it simply, stinks. Once considered a late-first or early second-round pick, Smith will now be fortunate to land in the third or fourth round based on the buzz in Indy.
The next paragraph will make it clear that Mandel's getting all of this from the aforementioned Journal-Sentinel article, so it might be useful to bring in the thing he's cribbing from:
Two days before Smith won the Heisman Trophy by landslide in early December, two executives in personnel for NFL teams projected him as a second-round draft choice. Another personnel director went so far as to label him a mid- to late first-round selection.
Do you know what two major events happened between the projections Mandel holds dear to his heart and the combine? The MNC game and the Senior Bowl. Smith's combined numbers across those two games: 9 for 29 for 87 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and one back-breaking fumble. At the Senior Bowl, Smith practiced and played in front of NFL scouts from every team in the league for a full week. None were particularly impressed. Both of these things had a much greater impact on his draft stock than a few balls thrown at the combine, but let's not let actual facts get in the way here.
Also: "stinks" again, when clearly they're going to draft him somewhere.
As one AFC personnel director told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "He's six feet tall, he's not a super fast guy and he's not super athletic. ... I don't think he's horrible. He's just a guy."
These are all reasonable criticisms.
See what I'm saying? How can you not admire a guy who's short, slow and unathletic yet managed to win the most prestigious award in college football?
It's like someone who can't act winning an Oscar.
Or someone who can't sing winning American Idol.
We already knew about everything Smith overcame in his childhood and early OSU years to achieve gridiron glory, but the fact that he managed to do all that despite being "just a guy?" Wow. I can't even begin to imagine what his stats would have been if he was actually a stud.
"Just a guy" in NFL does not equal "just a guy" in college. For an example, pick just about any player ever. I know the idea that the NFL is harder to play in than college must have filtered into your skull at some point.
Before I continue, let me just make the disclaimer that I have never considered Smith to be a sure-fire Hall of Famer. I realize he has his limitations. For months, however, I've maintained that, if given the opportunity, Smith would establish himself as a solid NFL starter. How did I reach this conclusion? Umm ... by watching him play?
And of course none of the NFL scouts who are paid to do this -- and are much, much smarter than you when the topic is football instead of, say, "looking like a fatter version of Subway Jared" -- bothered to watch his games. Or those Senior Bowl practices. And they have no idea what players are likely to fit into the systems employed at a higher level of play.
But now it seems that Smith is being lumped in with the Gino Torretta/Chris Weinke/Eric Crouch/Jason White class of Heisman-winning quarterbacks, destined to flame out at the next level. Here's the thing. Torretta was barely a top-20 passer his senior year. Weinke was 87 years old. Crouch ran the option. White had no functioning knees. About the only thing Smith has in common with those guys is the trophy they won.
The same trophy which was the linchpin of your argument mere paragraphs ago. Perhaps the fact that all these quarterbacks are supremely unsuited to sit in the pocket and rifle balls over the outstretched hands of defenders but managed to win the award is an indication that the Heisman trophy is more of a joke than the idea that an attractive 23-year-old will sleep with you at said trophy's ceremony because "You're Stewart Mandel... THE Stewart Mandel"*.
*(This actually happened according to a friend of mine who was part of the media for the event.)
Well, and one other thing: The national-championship game flop. Smith's nightmare performance against Florida is when all this backlash started.
I wonder why?
Because he's "just a guy," Smith was unable to escape oncoming Gator pass-rushers/freight trains Jarvis Moss and Derrick Harvey as they routinely plowed through Smith's blockers like they were made of cellophane. As we all know, JaMarcus Russell or Brady Quinn would have spun free of those defenders and completed 70-yard passes.
With such considerable evidence against Smith's worth as a quarterback, I figure there's only one possible explanation for how he won all those games in college: He's an illusionist. Yep. A full-on David Copperfield/David Blaine-caliber performer. All those times you thought you were watching Smith pick apart Texas or throw the game-winning touchdown against Michigan? He was actually throwing incompletions at his receivers' feet. He fooled you.
This is just awful. I don't know where to begin. First: more arrogant assumption he knows more than NFL talent evaluators because he sat on his couch cramming donuts into his face and went "wow... Troy Smith" this fall. This sort of hard-hitting analysis you can get from literally anyone with a TV. Second: a third attempt to convince you that a quarterback who is an ill fit for the NFL game who will be drafted in the third or fourth round has been retroactively declared a crappy college player. Third: none of this is funny in the slightest.
These NFL scouting guys, however, they don't fall for that stuff. They're too smart. These guys get paid the big bucks precisely because of their ability to spot the previously undetected imperfections of college players that we la
y people miss.
This attempted sarcasm is absolutely correct.
And boy do they earn every penny, whether by determining Mario Williams to be a better pro prospect than Reggie Bush,
...or that Mario Williams was easier to sign and played a position that the Texans had greater need of...
that Vince Young won't be able to make the transition to the NFL,
...the NFL was so sure Vince Young couldn't make the transition to the NFL that he fell all the way to the THIRD PICK IN THE DRAFT...
that Ernie Sims would be more valuable to the Lions than Matt Leinart
...Matt Millen may actually be stupider than you...
or that Drew Brees was only worthy of a second-round pick.
...Brees was the first pick of the second round and the second quarterback selected behind Michael Vick. This is not exactly a strident condemnation.
I mention Brees, the former Purdue quarterback-turned-New Orleans Saints Pro Bowler, because he happens to suffer from the same, career-jeopardizing affliction as Troy Smith: Being 6-feet tall. This, according to the scouts, is the single biggest reason Smith might not succeed in the pros. "That's the only negative on the guy," Chiefs president Carl Peterson told the Journal Sentinel. "And [defenders] get bigger every year. It gets more and more difficult to look over guys."
I mention the thousands of thousands of failed six-foot quarterbacks because there's such a thing as a "heuristic" that does very well for drafters of all sorts.
You see, this is why I could never hack it as an NFL personnel guy.
No, the reason you couldn't hack it as an NFL personnel guy is that you are incapable of understanding logic, probability, statistics, history, or football.
Here I was, thinking that most men reach their adult height by the time they're 17 or 18, meaning that if Smith could throw over, say, 6-4 Texas defensive end Tim Crowder in the Buckeyes' game against the Longhorns last September, it stands to reason he would be able to do the same thing when the two face each other in the NFL next season. But according to Peterson, NFL defenders just keep getting bigger. Presumably, in a few years, Crowder will be 7-2, and by then Smith simply won't stand a chance.
As noted, the Buckeye offense revolved around outside routes, rollouts, and the shotgun in an effort to take advantage of Smith's particular skills and de-emphasize his height disadvantage. (I thought you "ummmm... watched him play"?) NFL teams don't run that sort of offense because long experience has taught them it doesn't do very well for whatever reason. A team is forced to do one of two things: attempt to fit Smith into its offense or completely revamp it for a rookie who isn't a walking pile of impossible like Vince Young. Note the above "just a guy" mention.
"You [reporters] make it seem like being 6 feet is a disease or something," Smith said at the combine. "I stand before you now wanting to talk about some of the positive things that are going on, but yet still we keep on talking about the negatives. I don't understand."
What's not to understand, Troy? The experts have spoken. You're short. You can't throw. And your entire college career was a lie. Enjoy wearing that baseball cap on the sideline next season while charting plays for some undrafted free agent your employer just loves because they don't have to pay him anything and because he's got "tremendous upside."
A second mindboggling contradiction: the NFL hates the undrafted free agent more than Troy Smith. That's why the undrafted free agent was undrafted and not picked in the third or fourth round like Smith. But all of a sudden the NFL team "just loves" him even though they decided not to expend even a seventh-rounder on him.
Don't feel too bad, though. You'll always have that Heisman Trophy. Maybe one day, when your playing career is over, you can let us in on the secret of how you managed to win that thing despite a lack of any discernible talent. Boy -- you sure got us good.
God. Fat Jared, I hate you. This whole thing is suffused with sarcasm you have no right to wield against people who know way, way more about football than you. (To be fair, this is a vast array of people from Bill Polian to John Madden to Tony Blair to Richard Nixon's corpse all the way down to Matt Millen; chances are whenever you attempt to be sarcastic you are talking to someone who knows more about football than you.) NFL people do think that Troy Smith is an exceptionally talented quarterback for a six-foot guy who operated mostly out of the shotgun and had an offense built around dealing with his shortcomings, pun not intended. That's why they're willing to draft him in the third or fourth round. But make no mistake, his physical stature will be something teams have to work around and he'll be very lucky to be Drew Brees instead of the myriad other short quarterbacks who have failed.
But this isn't really about Troy Smith. He'll get drafted around where he deserves to be drafted. This is about you and your inability to use sarcasm well. Here are some tips:
- Try to have an actual point to make. Sarcasm is much more effective when you're trying to establish something like "Stewart Mandel writes dumb things" than "Troy Smith should be drafted higher" because the former has a wealth of evidence more detailed than "ummm... I watched him play."
- Don't go after people who are smarter than you. You'll just look clueless. See our previous contrast.
- Hire some joke writers or something. Seriously.
- Start eating one six-inch veggie sub for lunch and dinner every day.