Favre, West Virginia, Buckeyes, Stanford & more

Hey! Guess what?! Brett Favre retired.

He says it’s time (finally.) And that he has no regrets. Not even of sending pictures of his johnson out over the internet. Good for him. If only we could all be so at peace.

*     *     *

I’m perplexed at college football coaching hires. The salaries are monstrous, the stability nonexistent, and the grime is rampant.

WVU coach Bill Stewart in happier times.

Let’s take the case of the West Virginia Mountaineers.

No one is going to disagree that Bill Stewart, 61, is a first-class man. Everyone likes him. In three seasons at Morgantown, the New Martinsville native is 28-11. His teams beat arch-rival Pitt two out of three years. He had a top-25 recruiting class in ’09, and his players largely avoided trouble (unlike the previous regime’s), stayed when they could’ve gone pro, and he even won a share of the Big East title.

Stewart’s teams lost a couple inexplicable games, though. Namely to East Carolina and Colorado in 2008.

This season, with a quarterback that wasn’t very good and an injured all-everything running back, the Mountaineers’ offense was subpar. Offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen and Stewart himself became targets of a fanbase that is restless in the most successful of seasons.

The problem this year is that new athletic director Oliver Luck had taken over. And, as they say in the business, neither Stewart nor Mullen were “his guys.”

Forget that Mullen had signed a two-year contract extension in the summer. Forget that Stewart had two more years on his contract with a million-dollar bonus at the end of that second year. (The taxpayers of West Virginia have money to burn, apparently, when it comes to their ‘Eers, right?)

Luck went out and convinced Dana Holgorsen of Oklahoma State to come to Morgantown, to become the “coach-in-waiting” for a season and to bring whomever he’d like to the staff.

However, no one told Mullen.

Not Stewart, who was promised one more year on the sidelines and that second year in an administrative role (t0 secure the million-dollar bonus) if he went along with the Holgorsen Plan and was quiet about it.

Not Luck, who let Mullen get off the team plane in Orlando, Fla. for the Champs Sports Bowl and field questions from reporters about being fired, Holgorsen, and his former players. Classy move.

Fans might point to North Carolina State’s 23-7 beating of West Virginia as proof Mullen couldn’t get the job done. But if I had been Mullen, I’d have told Luck to get his ass in the box and call the plays because I’d be sipping daiquiris and eating popcorn during the game.

The whole thing was botched. And it seemed it might have played out not identically, but similarly at Maryland, at Pitt…

Here’s the real deal: Only 10 teams a year go to BCS bowl games, and state universities are betting the farm that the next best coach is going to get them there. But, still, only 10 teams a year will go!

So, should universities buy out contracts? Should they invest in new, bigger ones? Should they make back-room deals, sell people out, or serve as role models for future university administrators?

So much for the good of the game or the alleged “student-athlete,” huh?

*     *     *

I won $200 in two fantasy football leagues this season. Breaking it down, it was $150 for second place in one league, and $20 (regular-season champ) plus $30 for third-place in the other.

For a grad student in Athens, Ohio, that is like hitting the lottery.

*     *     *

I have a lot of thoughts on TCU’s victory. But it can kind of be summed up from a Facebook status update I read today from my former colleague (and TCU alum) Dave Andriesen. It read:

Wisconsin fan to my TCU friend Josh Harmon: “Yeah, you won the Mountain West, but who did you play?” Josh: “Wisconsin”

‘Nuff said.

*     *     *

Let me preface the following opinion with, um, other opinions. 1.) I think the NCAA is amazing hypocritical. I think the BCS system is a sham helping the rich get richer. I think NCAA rules about selling jerseys and shwag are a joke, and that a lot of rich, old white men profit on the backs of a lot of poor, young black athletes. I could go on and on about this (and will, but another time.)

All that said, the Columbus Dispatch’s vindicatory coverage of the Buckeye players who broke rules they absolutely knew about sickens me.

It’s a weak piece of journalism intended to excuse star players of violating rules and to make readers feel sorry for the poor football players trying to make ends meet in college.

The Dispatch did the same thing when Maurice Clarett was initially investigated for academic improprieties. Instead of getting to the heart of the matter, the Dispatch tried to say it was common practice for football payers to get help, tried to undermine the coverage of The New York Times, and tried to blast the TA that outed the issue. (I can’t link to the articles because they are in paid archives, but I have them and have read them. Can get them up on pdf, if anyone is interested.)

*     *     *

Since it appears I’m doing nothing but bitching, here are some props to Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg for moving immediately and decisively on Mike Haywood.

*     *     *

More props to Frank Beamer.

Remember when Virginia Tech  lost to Boise State? Then to James Madison?

After rattling off 11 consecutive wins, the Hokies face Stanford tonight in the Orange Bowl. This is a game I’m excited to watch.

*     *    *

Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh is a hot name in "big" coaching searches this offseason. (Photo from CoachesHotSeat.com)

Speaking of Stanford… I know Michigan is a more prolific college football coaching job. I am sure coaching the 49ers or Raiders of the NFL is the pinnacle of the profession.

But if I was a college coach (in any sport, to be honest), I don’t think I could be happier than to have a nice, fat contract in Palo Alto.

Let’s start with the basics: You live in one of the most gorgeous places in the country. You are paid ridiculously well, so the high cost of living isn’t an issue. You’re winning. You recruit nationally because good football players who are also good students want to be part of your program. You are surrounded by the best academic minds in the world. Your athletic department is well funded. Your facilities are state of the art. You play in a BCS conference. You play in a competitive conference. You travel to the best away cities of any conference in the country. You are in California, so you recruit the talent-rich state (as well as the nation.)

I almost think it would be foolish to leave such a situation. I’m honestly surprised that a really good coach that had it going on at Stanford hasn’t said, “I’m going to make this the strongest program on the West Coast” instead of bailing for “bigger” jobs.

Am I really supposed to believe Chris Petersen has it better in Boise than Jim Harbaugh has in Palo Alto? Hm.


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