Unverified Voracity Feels The Soil Falling Over Its Head

Submitted by Brian on April 29th, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Nehlen talkin'. Don Nehlen, former Bo assistant and the retired West Virginia head coach who told Rich Rodriguez to leap at the Michigan job, is old enough that he can say whatever he wants in public. The result is of interest:

I thought they'd do a little better last year, but I don't know enough about what he had to work with. But in talking to some of my Michigan people, they tell me the cupboard was really bare. They'd lost almost their entire offensive football team and the kids they had coming back went pro, they had no quarterback that had ever played ... couldn't run Rich's offense.

I think Rich will improve this year some, not as much as people want him to, but I think he'll improve. But he'll be playing a freshman quarterback (Tate Forcier) again and that's not good ... I guess the kid's a good athlete. Then I think after this year, they'll start to be very competitive.

Plenty more at the link, including a discussion of Nehlen joining Bo's staff.

Um? Orson Swindle of EDSBS fame forwarded along the post-spring game OSU press conference because one of the reporters there has been brainwashed by this here blog:

REPORTER:  It looked like Terrelle threw the ball with voracity and conviction today, how did you think he played?

Moohaha. I kept reading though, and… uh… this is a joke, right?

REPORTER:  The decision not to play Terrelle in the fourth quarter, was that a no-brainer?  He played so well and you don't want to get him hurt?  I know he initially was going to play the fourth quarter, can you talk about that decision?
COACH TRESSEL:  He was ejected, right, Doug?
COACH TRESSEL:  He was talking trash and he got ejected, right?
REPORTER:  Nothing to do with injury or anything like that?  You didn't want to prevent injuries or anything like that?
COACH TRESSEL:  He was ejected.
REPORTER:  By you?
REPORTER:  You tossed him?
COACH TRESSEL:  Tossed him.  Tired of his stuff.

Um, I know I just talked trash about Pryor talking trash in a scrimmage but this seems terribly implausible, especially with Doug Worthington playing Ed McMahon (Ha HA! Yes sir!). On the other hand, Tressel and light-hearted go together like jello and broken glass, and REPORTER seems to be taking it seriously. Did Terrelle Pryor really get booted from OSU's spring game? WTF is going on?

No you are dumb. I was tempted to make some snarky comment about Terrence Moore's final column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, headed by this sentiment:

“My objective was to get people to think, not to agree or disagree, just to get people to think.”

I don't read Moore's work except when various bloggers, most prominently Braves and Birds and EDSBS, link to the columns that are even more epically inane than I gather the bulk of his oeuvre is. That sentiment caused the telltale eye twitch that precedes a flamethrowing 800 word post in which I call someone horseface that I feel dirty about afterwards, but I managed to click the little red X on the tab and move on with life. Fortunately for JUSTICE, the JCCW did not:

Trust me, Terence Moore: it was never your job to make me think. It was your job to explain why I should think the same way you think. Forgive me, but I think the inability to understand the difference between those two objectives--why the first gets you only halfway to where you need to be, why not risking being right can only result in being wrong--goes a long way towards explaining why neither Terence Moore nor tons of other former sports columnists have their job at all anymore.

Ah but if the last part were only true. Let us join together in this, beatwriters: it's a damn crime that Moore got a buyout from the AJC and just slides over to AOL to spew his brand of thoughtless enraging pap for money more rightly allotted to someone, anyone, who will report on anything whatsoever.

This seems like a good time. There was some discussion of this in the comments section already, but I hadn't mentioned it at large: AOL and yrs truly have parted ways. This won't come as a shock to anyone who saw the steadily slowing feed on the sidebar, now removed, or noticed that sometimes the very headlines therein would change without so much as a by-your-leave.

There was a sea change at AOL once some deranged suit decided to bring in sad stripper types to be "Fantasy Sports Girls" and Alana, AKA Miss Gossip, fled from her post as general guru in charge. Alana was of the internet; her replacements were not. Things got corporate. I had a viewpoint as to which way the Fanhouse should go—more Oops Pow Surprise!—that lost out to a more sanitized one. Then my posts started getting edited after the fact without anyone so much as mentioning it to me, which severely depressed my motivation to post further.

From there things took their natural course. Check that link above on Moore moving to AOL: they've hired nine people, only one of whom (Clay Travis) has any profile in the blogosphere. The rest are former newspaper droids. I no longer fit with your Mariottis and Terrence Moores. Thus: this.

I'm grateful that AOL really helped bridge the gap between my engineering job and the point at which the blog became a self-sustaining enterprise. Mostly I'm grateful to Jamie Mottram—now the architect behind Yahoo's excellent series of sport-specific blogs of which you are probably most familiar with Dr. Saturday—who hired me in the first place. But now it's over.

How about a guy in a goofy cape signing "I Know It's Over"? That will help everything:

I've gotten a couple questions about the fate of This Week In Schadenfreude: I'm looking for a home for it. Will inform when there is news.

Eh, not so much. I didn't even post about how dividing is chicken soup for the soul this month but yet I've been roped in. A January post discusses the annual, annoying use of raw counting numbers to assess each conference's performance in the NFL draft, and is cited by SMQB in support of his annoyance at same. But Dawg Sports says NSFMF:

For the most part, schools are competing against their own, so the total number of top-tier athletes in any conference in any year is going to be the same, regardless of whether that league has ten teams or twelve. Having more teams spreads the wealth around but does not increase the wealth where the finite resource of athletic talent is concerned. If Vanderbilt withdrew from the S.E.C., essentially all it would cost the conference in raw N.F.L. numbers is Jay Cutler, yet it would have a major impact on the math on a per capita basis.

The raw numbers tell us all we need to know. Division skews the data by using Mississippi State to inflate artificially the denominator by including an integer that is without value in setting the numerator.

Wait… what? I'm not exactly sure what Kyle's getting at her e. Let's go back to first principles: the main reason this conference superiority argument is important is because we have a system that whittles the playoff to two teams before a game is played. Schedule strength is important. People use overall conference strength as a proxy for figuring out how good your claim to enter this playoff is, and they use the number of NFL draft picks as a (bad) proxy for figuring out overall conference strength. Mississippi State or Vanderbilt only "artificially inflate the denominator" if you don't play Mississippi State or Vanderbilt, which Georgia  totally does:

Sat, Oct 17
Vanderbilt *
at Nashville, Tenn.

So like WTF? That argument is nonsense.

Etc.: If you think my posts about the direction media is going are offtopic, check out Texas blog Barking Carnival's review of the 1974 Russian avant-scifi movie Solaris.* It's late April! Run for your lives!

*(which I have seen, though the cut I saw was on TV so there was no hour of random footage; I've also seen the Soderberg version and read the book because Stanislaw Lem is awesome when he is not making me nauseous by describing brain surgery in excruciating detail. So yeah that popping up on a Texas sports blog was kind of a "whoah" moment.)



April 29th, 2009 at 2:48 PM ^

Solaris was my favorite book in high school, but I could never quite get into the movie. It's like Sonic Youth- you know you're supposed to like it, but I don't know man, that's pretty weird stuff.

I was furious with the Soderbergh movie, however. I don't know how you can make that movie in the CGI age and not deal into any of the amazing visuals of the novel.


April 29th, 2009 at 10:37 PM ^

I liked them until I saw them live. This would have been about 1987 or so at Traxx. Dinosaur Jr opened, although I only caught their last song. But Sonic Youth: well, let's just say it didn't work for me. Not entirely sure why. There was a real malevolent edge to the way they worked those hand tools on those innocent guitar strings, I think...

15 years later, I put a bunch of CDs into the car changer more or less at random. A couple days later I'm driving along and thinking, wow, this sounds pretty good, but what the hell is it? Turns out it's Sonic Youth in one of those critically acclaimed releases that I had pretty much ignored, and also that I in fact did like it. So I've been going through their back catalog slowly for the last couple of years.

Oh, did I have a point? No, not really. Uh, I hate Terrell Pryor?


April 29th, 2009 at 2:50 PM ^

"On the other hand, Tressel and light-hearted go together like jello and broken glass"

You probably don't listen to or read Tressel's pressers. I can't say read RichRod's either. Tressel has become known for these kind of answers at the pressers. Yes, it was a joke.


April 29th, 2009 at 3:10 PM ^

Dawg Sports' argument is wrong for another reason.

It seems like he's assuming that if Vanderbilt didn't exist, all their pro talent would have ended up at a different SEC school. In his mind, the total number of future pros playing in the SEC is finite, regardless of the number of teams in that conference. Therefore, by equalizing conferences with per team ratios, you're just penalizing the conference for having more teams.

He's obviously wrong about that, I'm not even sure how he came up with the underlying premise.


April 29th, 2009 at 3:25 PM ^

Reading through that transcript, I actually was impressed with Tressel's no-nonsense, Carr-like-tough-love-welcome-to-my-dog-house approach.

It was at this point that I realized it had to be total bullshit.


April 29th, 2009 at 3:26 PM ^

about the numbers going to the NFL is that even with applying the proper math, the ACC still has a much higher level of NFL players than I ever would expect given that the conference is and has been terrible.


April 29th, 2009 at 3:58 PM ^

Just read the horseface post again - I was worried my monitor was going to melt due to hot fire you were spitting! Word!

I think what the Dawg post was trying to get at (and I may be totally wrong here) is that the per-capita star ranking for a conference can be artificially depressed or inflated depending on the disparity that exists between the top and bottom teams in said conference. Teams at the bottom do not recruit the top-50 kids, but at the same time still have 85 scholarships to fill each year and, as a result, tend to fill those spots with lower-rated kids. And the other linchpin of his argument (which Dix points out is flawed) is that each conference is effectively wed to a particular region, and thus the talent shifts around instead of leaving. If a conference has 12 teams, there are effectively two team filled with the lowest-rated kids in the region dragging the numbers down, while a 10-team league does not suffer from that drain. In theory, removing teams like Vandy from the SEC's star rating (which add little to the numerator but a standard 85 to the denominator) would bump up the SEC's numbers because only the "top" teams would count.

Now, I don't agree that this premise works, but I am trying to see where the OP is coming from. It is my theory (and I do not have the time to look this up) that the mean "rating" for 90% of all BCS teams is about 2.5-3* - a good player, but not a star. Sure, the USC's, Florida's, UTexas's, and OSU's of the world skew the numbers a bit up, just like the IU's, Vandy's, and Duke's skew the numbers down for a particular conference. Ultimately, though, the ratios should all be about the same, so adding an 11th or 12th team to the math really won't affect the end result to a great degree - all the major conferences (except perhaps the Big East) will tend toward the 2.5-3* average. Now, the worst teams in the conference are likely below that average slightly, with fewer players being of the 3*+ variety. So if those teams magically disappeared, the players released into the recruiting pool would...wait for it...be middling 2.5-3* players. In most instances, they would simply replace similarly ranked kids on other rosters. So instead of the 3rd-string LB on Florida being a 3* originally destined for the Gators, he would be replaced by a 3* originally destined for Vandy. Per the OP's premise, the star system does not really rank the given conference; it ranks the region that serves as the hotbed for that conference's recruiting. So when the SEC stands out compared to other conference, what really is being shown is that the Souteast is the largest hotbed of major college-level/NFL talent. While I do not argue with that conclusion, the conference argument really doesn't have much to do with it except serve as a geographical shorthand.


April 29th, 2009 at 6:12 PM ^

I don't know if I should be proud that immediately after seeing this title I knew we were getting an embedded version of "I Know It's Over" in the post. Either way, I am a fan of the mini Smiths run occurring here.


April 30th, 2009 at 9:27 AM ^

I know it's generally dangerous to infer too much from off-the-cuff remarks made at press conferences and media appearances, but I read the full article about Nehlen and I was struck by what seemed to me to be a somewhat lukewarm assessment of his protege. "He's a good coach. A very good coach" Not "great." Not "excellent." Not "wonderful." Just very good. He also says right out that the Big 10 is much tougher than the Big East, which makes me think of the running gag that was common around here about RR not understanding he wasn't in the Big East any more.