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07/16/2018 - 6:27pm Where it hurts is when you…
Where it hurts is when you have a good athlete who prefers to be an average defensive back or an average point guard, instead of potentially an elite soccer player.


This response doesn't have much to do with most of your post, but this point is something continually fail to understand about athletic success across sports:

A star basketball player would not be a star soccer player if he played soccer. A star soccer player would not be a star baseball player if they played that sport instead.

True excellence in a sport requires a combination of high quality and high quantity training, and innate abilities that cannot be trained. Some of those skills are more obvious than others (speed is obvious, the ability to process multiple peripheral events quickly in a way that translates to making reads as a QB not so obvious) but they do matter.

Lebron James wouldn't be an elite soccer player if he played soccer, and constant repetition of this point aside probably not a particularly notable football player, either. He's one of the greatest basketball players of all time because he works hard and because he is born to be one.

The elite, Messi/Ronaldo-level soccer players in the USA aren't playing basketball for Duke or Football for Alabama. They're playing single-A baseball in Beloit and Division II basketball in New Hampshire and backup TE in the Sun Belt and beer league hockey in Westland. 

07/16/2018 - 6:19pm Beaty is obvious fire-bait…

Beaty is obvious fire-bait after the season with that kind of record, but a mid-season firing seems excessive when you're Kansas. You let the guy finish the job, give him his last couple of games to either fix things or at least go out on a high note, and then quietly ax him and hire a new guy to get things moving. 

Kansas KNOWS they're going to be bad this year. You don't fire a guy for starting 1-4 when you expect that at the outset.

07/16/2018 - 6:14pm That's a good point, though…

That's a good point, though such moves also require the quick hire of a successor to be effective, and thus a good lackey interim coach like Brady Hoke that nobody feels is getting the short shrift in the hiring process. 


07/16/2018 - 6:12pm When Beekman was hired as…

When Beekman was hired as the interim, I defended the hire, since what they needed at the time was just a guy to stay at the helm, make sure various administrative things were done, keep the department going so that Tom Izzo wasn't literally the highest-ranking guy in the building. I felt a lot of people jumped the gun in criticizing early.

So, now that they've just made this a permanent hire, I feel obligated to drop in and say: This is a terrible decision. The reprehensible MSU board, the administration, and Engler should all be ashamed of themselves. Disgraceful.

07/16/2018 - 6:06pm One of these years the USA…

One of these years the USA will develop a real top-end player that they can build the rest of their attack around, a guy like a Platini or a Pirlo or a Xavi that changes the gravity of the field and makes everyone around them better. That alone isn't enough to assure a deep run in the World Cup (just ask Lionel Messi--put USA colors on Argentina this season and nothing from their run this year looks out of place at all) but it can be the hinge around which a well-built team can swing to victory. 

Would also have the advantage of attracting real attention to the sport if the player is good enough. 

For now, though, it's all about putting pieces together. But who knows? We may be a few years from our own golden generation that we haven't heard of yet. 

07/16/2018 - 5:46pm solid footy contentNot…
solid footy content
Not really expecting Brian to break down Aussie Rules Football on this here blog, but you never know.
07/16/2018 - 5:45pm I'm sure Brian would rather…

I'm sure Brian would rather write about that, too. A one line post saying "Nothing much happening today, 48 days till the season kicks off" is pretty easy to write.

07/16/2018 - 5:26pm Maybe, but that won't happen…

Maybe, but that won't happen until the end of the season unless something really crazy comes out. Or he loses every game or something.

07/16/2018 - 5:16pm Once again, people address…

Once again, people address this question all wrong. Sione provides a nice service by including the link to last year's thread, and it's a bit instructive (fwiw, I made a good call that Butch Jones was a mid-season firing candidate, but my prediction that the ND-UGA game would be between two teams that people thought were good and turned out to be bad was less impressive).

The question is not, which coaches are in the most danger; the question is, which coaches have the biggest chance to be fired DURING THE SEASON, an event that is incredibly rare in college football.

Mid-season firings are bananas events that programs generally want to avoid at all costs. Any coach currently employed is expected to at least have a chance to redeem themselves, and that typically takes a full season to determine. It is also a significant disruption to things like recruiting. It takes a pretty unique set of circumstances for a mid-season firing to even make sense, and many programs just won't do it no matter how bad their coach is (e.g. Michigan in 2014).

Coaches at generally bad programs are not likely candidates for this barring total personal meltdowns. These are programs where a late push to finish .500 or beat a big rival is enough to save a job, and as such they will get a chance to do so. DJ Durkin and Chris Ash aren't going anywhere; Lovie Smith has been a disaster, but Illinois already has experience with chaotic coaching changes and I'm confident they'd rather avoid another one if they can help it. 

Tennessee last year had a frustrated fanbase, off-field issues, and a tough schedule that quickly put the team in an untenable position. They also had a guy on the staff in Brady Hoke who was the perfect interim coach, a man who had experience coaching a major team but who was (contra his own texts) in no way a legitimate candidate for the permanent job.

This year the choices for mid-season firings will be guys who were retained but under unsteady circumstances, guys whose seasons have a chance to be really disastrous, guys who have off-field issues that make them less secure. The sole exception here is if a catastrophic off-field event comes to light, but those are impossible to predict.

Helton is less than two years from a Super Bowl victory; he won't be fired midseason. Neither will Mike Leach, whose weirdness is already priced into the stock and who gets way better on-field results than Washington State can reasonably expect. Guys who are building or rebuilding programs have a lot of leash to at least show improvement through the season.

I find discussion of Larry Fedora to be persuasive; I concur with others who have mentioned him. Nobody else really jumps out to me, in part because a lot of the guys that were teetering last year got fired and replaced. Ed Orgeron, maybe, if things really fall apart down there, but that's about it. 

07/15/2018 - 1:01am Do people actually think 2…

Do people actually think 2 months salary is a good choice?

I suppose there might be some sweet spot where that is both financially practical and not absurd, but I can't think of any. A guy who is just getting started with a career making 30-40k isn't going to have the spare cash to be able to make that work. As you say, a man who already has a good income would wind up buying something that's way too much.

If someone can scrape that kind of money together, use a varying fraction for a ring and put the rest to something else. 

07/14/2018 - 11:56pm My wife would give her left…

My wife would give her left arm for this. 

I wouldn't, but that's because I'm cheap. I've hit my head in the basement doing laundry plenty of times.

07/14/2018 - 11:54pm Had a power outage for over…

Had a power outage for over a week two years ago during the hottest week of summer. It was brutal. But we have city water and that made a big difference.

Although even in 90 degree temps cold water showers are no fun at all. But at least I could take them.

07/14/2018 - 11:50pm Good for you!

For starters,…

Good for you!

For starters, have some conversations. You two should be able to have some "hypothetical" conversations about future things, what your shared goals are, what sort of thing "hypothetically" she might like in a proposal. At least enough to gauge her feeling about the idea and general and what she likes.

Generally speaking, it's wise to have a pretty good idea what the answer will be before you ask.

Assuming you do, within reason, don't go overboard. A nice ring, sure. Don't buy the first thing you see--it's more important that you work hard to find something you believe she will enjoy than that you spend a lot, IMO. Unless you're made of money, I think it's wiser to be judicious and not spend a huge sum for something showy. 

Pay some attention to the proposal. Some of the proposal videos you find on youtube are way overboard, but if I had it to do over again I would have worked a bit harder at that. Doesn't need to be elaborate, but planned and recorded is good. 

But, most of all, pay attention to the relationship and the marriage. Rock size does not equal commitment level. It doesn't build a strong marriage. It doesn't carry you together through hard times. 

Our culture is very much obsessed with throwing money at jewelry and ceremonies and is not very good at working at the actual marriage that comes after. But a good marriage is wonderful, exciting, long-lasting. It matures and grows over time. Love deepens, memories are created, children are reared. Life is shared. Not a life of bitterness and conflict, but a rich tapestry of experience and joy. 

I can tell you that I was crazy about my wife when I proposed to her. I remained crazy throughout our six-month engagement (that was plenty of time btw). We were nuts about each other when we got married, and it was great. But our love has deepened and matured and grown since then. We have grown together. We've been through the battles and through the dark valleys of life together. We work and serve together, we rear children together, we enjoy life together. It's absolutely wonderful. And for those who claim otherwise, the physical relationship remains fantastic.

The ring will be nice. But work on that other stuff.

07/14/2018 - 5:23pm Froome is the obvious pick,…

Froome is the obvious pick, assuming he gets through the cobbles in one piece (didn't last time). He has a Giro in his legs, though, and it's been a long time since someone has been at their best after running a Giro. 

Cav is old, and while I haven't done any sort of study on it, I wonder if the rest of the field have caught up to him--one of his big advantages in his heyday was superior aerodynamics, and if other guys have mimicked his approach with better physical condition, he's got nothing to fall back on. Tough to see, but it is what it is. The young guys are really putting the old sprinters out to pasture. 

Sagan, OTOH, is in his prime and is incomparable at what he does. 


07/14/2018 - 2:47pm Only time I heard the…

Only time I heard the stadium louder (keep in mind this is pre-2005) was the '97 OSU game, and I was in the student section for that one.

My wife was worn out and asking if it was time to exit. I said, "let's see what happens on this drive." Bomb to Braylon, field goal, not decisive either way, let's see what happens next...

Onside kick.

2 hours later we were headed to the car, hoarse but happy.

07/14/2018 - 1:18pm Tomorrow will be just absurd…

Tomorrow will be just absurd, with the men's final at Wimbledon, the TdF stage going through cobbles (almost invariably a crazy day when the Tour makes such an excursion, gripping stuff) and of course the World Cup Final. 

Less known, but local: The short course off-road races at ERX in Elk River, MN. Affordable and fun. Took my kids to the first day yesterday, we had a blast. 

07/13/2018 - 1:50pm The problem with the drama…

The problem with the drama of a match like this is that it's all in the tension, not in the action. Basically waiting for someone to string a couple of mistakes together to lose their serve.

But it's still riveting. 17-16 now.

07/13/2018 - 1:38pm If they ever did institute…

If they ever did institute such a thing (chances are < 5%) it would be called the Isner rule.

07/13/2018 - 1:16pm And as I talk about Isner…

And as I talk about Isner struggling, he holds at love, and it's 12-11. 

Still 6 hours to go to match his record match. You never know.

07/13/2018 - 1:10pm Isner saves another break…

Isner saves another break point. Great game, match still going. 

I would say no end is in sight, but Isner can't keep winning these games where he goes down early forever. Either he comes up with a miracle break or Anderson is going to capitalize soon.

07/13/2018 - 12:56pm Isner gets to deuce, but…

Isner gets to deuce, but Anderson comes back with two points to level the set at 9-9. 

07/13/2018 - 12:50pm You never know. But still,…

You never know. But still, Rafa and Novak are terrific at serve returns. They'll get breaks. Hard to see Anderson or Isner even approaching the same level.

07/13/2018 - 12:44pm Isner recovers from a break…

Isner recovers from a break point in a tough game, still rolling. 8-7. He's starting to struggle a bit, though. 

The type of tennis in this match compared to what will be seen between Nadal and Djokovic could not be more different. I'm an Isner mark because he's an American and because he's tall, but either guy here will probably get demolished on Sunday.

07/13/2018 - 12:34pm Motoring onwards, on serve,…

Motoring onwards, on serve, Isner up 7-6 in the fifth. 

07/13/2018 - 12:16pm 4-3 Isner in the fifth. 

4-3 Isner in the fifth. 

This match could end in 10 minutes, or in 3 hours. Seriously. 

07/13/2018 - 12:30am Clemson had a great class…

Clemson had a great class this past year and they've otherwise been only ok, pulling in classes just outside or at the bottom of the top ten. I mean, it was obviously good enough, but we're not talking Bama or OSU here. Teams like LSU have recruited a lot better with far less to show for it.

07/13/2018 - 12:28am They're doing well, sure…

They're doing well, sure. But "next Clemson" is a bit of a stretch, even by the criteria they've provided.

1. They tout Clemson's improved recruiting (ironically, prior to this past year they only ever grazed the top ten, but they consistently hung out in the 9-13 range for most of Swinney's tenure) but PSU's listed recruiting rankings are not as good. No question they're getting some good recruits, but not quite up to Clemson's level just yet.

2. Clemson's strength is in its staff, and they recognize this, and use Moorhead as a correlation. But Moorhead is gone and there's no equivalent to Venables for the defense that I'm aware of. I'm not the PSU-dogger that many are, but I think PSU has at best the third-best staff in the division, and maybe not even that depending upon what you think of MSU's crew.

3. Fairness: this article does contrast the conference schedule, specifically the division. Clemson doesn't have the brutal competition PSU (or Michigan or Michigan State or OSU) have in the ACC. Indeed, on their run only Florida State has been a serious threat, and they've been inconsistent since Jameis Winston left. A scheduled filled with teams like Pitt and NC State and North Carolina is just not as difficult as facing the B1G East and one of Wisconsin or Iowa every year. Not even close. 

In short: The "next Clemson" has to have both the great staff and great talent pipeline (iffy on both counts for PSU) and has to have a clear path to the playoff every year. Even if PSU is growing as good as the article suggests, the clear path is just not there. The B1G East is far and away the toughest division in football, there's no way any of its teams will dominate it long-term. Not PSU, not even us, not even OSU. 

Give one of our teams Clemson's schedule and we'd have multiple playoff appearances in a five-year stretch. 

07/12/2018 - 2:37pm This is exciting stuff. 

This is exciting stuff. 

Look, the complaints a couple of months ago had legit grounds--Michigan didn't have a lot of punch in the class. But now there are key commits rolling in, and the guys in the fold look like terrific players in key spots. 

Win big this fall and things appear to be on a great track, still. If last year's on-field struggles are just a blip, the recruiting setback will be, too. 

07/11/2018 - 6:11pm I flipped to the Nadal-del…

I flipped to the Nadal-del Potro match during breaks in the soccer game and it was riveting. I nearly forgot to turn back. Spectacular stuff. 

07/11/2018 - 6:06pm Welp, the dream England…

Welp, the dream England-France final won't be happening. A pity, the historical references would've been delightful. William the Conqueror! Edward III! Henry V! Joan of Arc! John Churchill! Lord Nelson! Napoleon! The Duke of Wellington! 

Instead we'll have to focus on the soccer, which I guess is a good fallback position in a soccer tournament. 

And the uniforms, which could be good. This has been a good World Cup from a sartorial perspective, IMO the best since 1998.

07/11/2018 - 6:02pm Agreed. 


07/11/2018 - 5:59pm Not for much but the ref's…

Not for much but the ref's call on that Woodson interception was sensational. Made exactly the right call on a super-difficult-to-see play and made the dramatic first-down call with tons of flair. Maybe the best ref call I've ever seen.

07/11/2018 - 5:57pm With what we now know about…

With what we now know about head injuries, and the fact that Taylor's career ended on that play, I can't enjoy watching that hit anymore.

07/11/2018 - 1:38pm Paul Pogba is only 26. This…

Paul Pogba is only 26. This generation of French players is going to be terrific for a long time. Honestly a win here would put them ahead of schedule. 

I think the main question is who will be their coach. Hard not to think that the federation might want to defenestrate Deschamps for Zidane (if he's interested), but can't rightly do that if Deschamps wins the whole thing.

07/11/2018 - 1:26pm Wow, for all sorts of reason…

Wow, for all sorts of reason, that month in 2008 sounds really ominous.

Hope this site revamp turns sweeter, and that our season is nothing like 2008. 

Should be. The team is nothing like 2008. 

07/10/2018 - 4:08pm They had a chance, nearly…

They had a chance, nearly pulled even with Juve late this year. But then Juve had that incredible combat against Inter and Napoli spit the bit the next day and it was over. 

Juve's continued Serie A dominance is both boring and perplexing as there are a number of clubs there that really should be capable of challenging them and haven't. 

07/10/2018 - 3:13pm Thus ends one of the great…

Thus ends one of the great individual rivalries in the history of sports, Messi-Ronaldo. Two of the top five all time in their sport, playing for the two premier clubs. 

I'm a solid Messi guy, but this is sad for this reason. Be nice if someone besides Real wins the CL, though if it's Juve I might throw up a little. 

07/10/2018 - 3:00pm DR is getting a real look by…

DR is getting a real look by an NBA club for his potential as a 3-And-D guy is... astonishing. We knew he could shoot, but the defense? 

Recruits should be banging down Beilein's door every year. This is amazing. 

(Bonus: first post on the new site from mobile. It works fine.)

07/10/2018 - 1:03am Overlooked and unmentioned,…

Overlooked and unmentioned, of course, is the fact that many of these issues are identified as issues and will be (someday, eventually) worked. Now, it's perfectly legit to wonder how long that will take, as we have experience with site upgrades being *cough* behind schedule. 

I'm going to hold off on judgment until football season. Yeah, people aren't commenting as much. Some of it is just transition cost; it's not as familiar. I've been a ghost for two weeks due to other reasons, and don't always comment as much on the minor stuff. But I'm pretty sure I'll be drawn back in during football season. 

That's when we'll see how the front page works when we've got 18 million articles posted per day. And we'll see how comfortable we are with the message board (and whether some key features are in place) when we're trying to analyze QB play and celebrating (or, more noticeably, mourning) after a big game. 

07/10/2018 - 12:59am I love how Harbaugh acts…

I love how Harbaugh acts like he isn't sure if he can drive on the field or do donuts.

He's Jim Harbaugh.

He can do whatever he wants. 

07/09/2018 - 2:55pm NASCAR is not my cup of tea,…

NASCAR is not my cup of tea, generally. I've watched my fair share, but the racing is just not as entertaining. The cars are heavy and lumbering, the technology is stone-aged, the actual on-track action is often pitiful; give me Indy Cars or prototypes any day. F1, too, which has similarly dull on-track action but also has cooler tracks and better technology. I'm also a mark for short-course truck racing.

NASCAR's big advantage in-person is that at most venues you can see most of the track. That is often not possible on road or street courses. And the noise the cars make is pleasing, if oppressively loud. But it is an inferior product in my opinion.

07/09/2018 - 2:50pm Marco Etcheverry is not…

Marco Etcheverry is not walking through that door.

07/09/2018 - 1:51pm I'm just happy that there…

I'm just happy that there aren't any teams that I really feel obligated to root against. There's a total of two World Cup victories left in the field. There are entertaining players, but few (if any) villains. 

It's been several years with this "generation" of players, but I still have a hard time getting used to Belgium being such a talented and entertaining squad. They sure are entertaining, though, and my sort-of-natural preference for France (I cut my teeth watching soccer during the peak Zidane years, and perhaps the peak of my soccer fandom was Euro 2000 when the Zidane-Henry team was transcendant) aside I wouldn't mind seeing Belgium break through. They'd be deserving. 

I think this is going to be a lot of fun. I'm guessing that Croatia is too tired and that England will advance, which would be a lot of fun. I think the France-Belgium game is far more of a tossup, and has the potential to be an all-timer. Of course, in soccer, a matchup like that could easily wind up being a dreary 1-0 slogfest, because it's soccer. 

But here's to fun and entertainment and a World Cup Final that is great. 

07/09/2018 - 1:42pm I partly agree with your…

I partly agree with your analysis, at least as far as England's relatively easy path. Like Michigan, the path features a lot of winnable games (Croatia, dog-tired and depleted, seems to fall in line with this should they advance). Like Michigan, they aren't good in every phase of the game. Like Michigan, they have found one particular calling card (Michigan: defense. England: Set pieces) that is winning them games. 

I don't know if that's ugly, though. And I like them, so there's that.

06/30/2018 - 11:40pm Hannibal crossed my mind…

Hannibal crossed my mind. However, as great as he was, and as impossible as his situation was, he still ultimately lost. 

06/30/2018 - 11:34pm Ranking historical figures…

Ranking historical figures is a futile exercise to begin with, before randomly chopping off large pieces of the pantheon by randomly eliminating religious figures and certain (are we talking about kings, emperors, and prime ministers too, or just US presidents because the US hasn't had any historical impact?) heads of state. 

In any case, Ben Franklin was a great man, but one of the greatest? I don't think it diminishes someone like him to suggest that such an assertion is a vast overstatement. 

Basically any list like this is going to fall victim to personal biases and intellectual vanity. The OP appears to have pop history and recency biases. Some relate to preferences in areas like science. It's whatever one sees as important. Many want to prove their depth by picking from a wide variety of disciplines, or show off their learning by picking people who aren't as widely known. (Guilty! In that spirit I submit John Wycliffe). 

But it's impossible to evaluate the relative impacts of, say, Genghis Khan against the impact of Lenin or Julius Caesar. It's hard enough comparing like-to-like between, say, Newton and Einstein. 

So, let's throw out three names that can't possibly be evaluated as greater than others (since my real top guys all relate to my faith, let's pick some that aren't connected). 

  • Julius Caesar
  • John Wycliffe
  • Winston Churchill

But you know whatever. 

06/29/2018 - 3:11pm To wit: Argos QB Ricky Ray…

To wit: Argos QB Ricky Ray has been a solid QB in the league for 15 years. Darian Durant put together a 10-year career. Current Calgary star Bo Levi Mitchell (SMU, if you're curious) has been their starter for 5 and shows no signs of slowing down, and so has Edmonton starter Mike Reilly. 

Also telling is the past: Anthony Calvillo turned a Utah State career into an 18-year run in the CFL, winning three Grey Cups. Marcus Allen's brother Damon played for six CFL teams over an incredible 22 seasons, winning four Grey Cups and being named the CFL's most outstanding player at age 42; he retired with the most passing yards of all time in any football league, and as the third leading rusher in CFL history. 

It's not easy to break in as a starting CFL QB, but if you can do it there's a real career available.

06/29/2018 - 3:01pm I rate this plausible. 

I rate this plausible. 

06/29/2018 - 2:42pm This seems pretty…

This seems pretty significant for Gardner, even though he's basically on board as the emergency third QB while Zach Collaros is recuperating from injury. Just getting a sniff gives him a chance to catch on somewhere in the CFL, which gives him a chance to improve as a professional QB.

QB in the CFL is no joke, good ones can build solid careers and last for a decade or more. I'd be delighted if he even did enough to earn a regular backup position there next year.

06/29/2018 - 2:16am I'm not a fan of that tweet…

I'm not a fan of that tweet either, but Ace didn't say or imply "assault," and while he may be referring to many he disagrees with, he only lists one specific type of person. Given that I am discussing the very fact that tweets like that are awfully vague and could mean very unfortunate things, and that I worry that people can be falsely conflated with subjects of such tweets, I feel obligated to point out the distinction.