Maryland at Clemson – I often completely miss the boat when predicting what will happen in these games. I’m not ashamed about it; it’s practically impossible to accurately say what will happen in a college football game. In this game though, “The Desperation Bowl” I called it, I got it right with this prediction, “[Clemson will] continue their winning streak in a fierce, close and ugly match.” Actually, maybe I should have said very ugly. Or “fugly,” perhaps. I mean, good god. Maryland managed less than 200 yards of offense and Clemson was just barely better. There were only two turnovers, so that means that the two teams just kept bumping into each other for a few downs and punting. There were 16 punts in all. Death Valley? It must have been Bored-To-Death Valley on Saturday. I tried watching some of this one and ended up leaving a drool spot on my sofa.
The NCAA released its latest graduation rates, with numbers from the class that entered in 1997-98. I really don’t put too much weight in these numbers, because they are so flawed. Transfers and players who turn pro early count against schools, which really isn’t fair. For this reason, basketball numbers in particular are flawed, because it only takes a couple of transfers or early departures to torpedo rates.
The News & Observer runs down the numbers for the local ACC schools here.
One thing I do want to point out is State’s embarrasingly low numbers. Now, I understand that they went through a football coaching change around that time, so they had higher than normal transfers. Still, that doesn’t completely make up the difference. Even if every transferee stayed and graduated, they would be at best tied with UNC and still behind Duke and Wake.
Even more disturbing was this quote from Chuck Amato, “They were all guys I did not recruit. This is my fifth year. How else can I address it? That’s the truth.” Nice, coach. Yeah, you have no obligation whatsoever to make sure they go to class and get an education just because you didn’t recruit them. Is he saying that he recruits smarter players than Mike O’Cain did?
Anyway, like I said, the numbers are flawed, so don’t give them too much credence. At the same time, I am very concerned about whether or not players get educations. I just don’t think this is a good way to measure that.
Michael Wilbon has a nice article up about parity in college football. He frames it in reference to Maryland fans’ dissatisfaction with this year’s team. They feel like since they’ve won 10 games three years in row that they should just continue that. Nuh uh. It doesn’t work like that. Not anymore (if it ever really did). Not at Nebraska, not at Texas, not at Alabama, not at Ohio State and certainly not at Maryland.
With reduced scholarships, increased television coverage and more national recruiting, it’s very hard to maintain a consistent advantage over your rivals. But hey, that’s part of what makes it so fun. Wins are not guaranteed, so enjoy them while you’re getting them (if you are getting them, that is).
You’ve probably seen by now, but I’ll tell ya anyway. Florida fired head football coach Ron Zook today. Curiously, they are letting him finish out the season as a lame gator.
I have no problem with the firing; it was inevitable. Actually, I’m kind of happy, because it gives me a second chance to post about his fraternity escapades. I meant to post about it at the time, but never did. Now it’s topical again!
Anyway, the story is (read here for the frat brothers’ take), an offensive lineman or three got involved in an altercation with a few fraternity brothers in the Phi Kappa Pi (Pi Phi for boys) house. Now, in my fraternity in college, three D1 offensive lineman would have kicked the crap out of everyone in the house. Maybe Florida frat boys are huge, or maybe Gator linemen are wimps.
So, the next day, Zook and about 15 or so players show up at the house again, presumably to fight or maybe just intimidate the brothers again. Classic! Did Alpha Beta burn their house down and need the geek house again? I love the quote from Zook, “I will do anything in my power to take this house down.” Yes, yes, that’s exactly what a beleagured head coach needs to be doing with his time. Getting rid of those bullying frat boys. Hell, if they’re beating up his linemen, maybe he should have been recruiting at the Pi Kappa Phi house.
Ah well, I’ll miss coach Zook.
Julius Hodge, comedian.
When asked about Rashad McCants’ now infamous “jail” quote, Hodge had this to say:
I don’t look at it in that same way, because if that’s the way he looks at it, I would hate to see what their shower scene looks like.
You can read that here, right at the bottom. You can bet that I’ll be adding that one to my Miscellaneous Quotes list.
This is pretty fascinating. According to Dan Hughes, the director of basketball operations for the MAC, refs can actually whistle a technical foul on coaches for yelling at their own players! It’s not clear if he meant that this was only in the MAC, but it sounded like he was implying it was a national rule.
Can you imagine this? What would Gary Williams do if after berating his bench players because someone on the court didn’t fight through a screen, he turned around to see a ref giving him a T? His head might explode.
Maybe they should go further. Maybe they should also give out technicals for particularly bad coaching. Tweeeeet!!! Technical foul on Coach Gillen. He used all of his timeouts before the 6 minute mark of the first half.
OK, they aren’t really killing it, but it made for a better headline. What’s really happening is that the good folks at the NCAA have decided to tweak the lame RPI. Good. What they are doing is taking into account the location of games, whether they are home, road or neutral. That’s a welcome change, as the old RPI completely ignored this.
In my not-so-humble opinion, the RPI is still a fairly poor way to rate teams, but this makes it better. If they are going to use a computer ranking, I’d rather see them go with a real, sophisticated system like Jeff Sagarin’s or Ken Pomeroy’s.
The cynic in me thinks that they may be making this change purely because they don’t like people knowing their “secret” formula. As you know, the NCAA has never officially said what algorithm they use and doesn’t release their numbers, but many people have figured out what it was and put out their own rankings.
Joe Lunardi of espn.com gives a pretty good breakdown of the change and what it might mean here.
A while back, I was dutifully keeping up with the Duke Basketball Report’s ACC previews. Somehow, I fell behind. Instead of linking to them all separately, I’ll just send to the Maryland preview. From there, it’s a pretty easy link to the rest.
They’ve finished all eleven previews and they do a really good job. Yeah, there are previews like this all over the web, but I like to reward the non-commercial sites when I can. These guys make no money on their site, but they really know ACC basketball and they do a great job. Their team previews and long and thorough. I highly recommend that you read them all.
Things are a bit quieter this weekend in the ACC as there are only four games. Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia Tech are all idle this weekend, healing up for the second half of the season. All four games are conference games, and two are somewhat critical, for different reasons. You’ll read why below.
Maryland at Clemson – The Desperation Bowl! Both Maryland and Clemson began this season ranked in the top 25 and with high hopes of competing for the conference title and accompanying BCS bid. Both have fallen flat on their faces and are on the short list of most underachieving teams in the nation.