We’re Gonna Take This Sitting Down
When the local news teases a story about Bruce Gradkowski, internally one’s mind says “please oh please report that he’s starting a football game.”
Then the commercial ended, and the story came. Yesssssss.
Now that the Browns have put their third QB on IR, Gradkowski gets the start and the backup quarterback will be … [spins roulette wheel] Richard Bartel! Hey, that … kinda sounds like a quarterback name! Bartel, of course, is the pride of … [throws dart at map] Tarleton State, the Division II powerhouse!
The good news is I don’t have to stop worrying about what obscure offensive/defensive coordinator will coach Bowling Green anymore. The bad news is they’re hiring a guy whose last OC gig resulted in the 9th worst scoring offense in the FBS. Hi, Dave Clawson. Welcome to the area. Literally.
[BG athletic director Greg] Christopher said on the day Brandon was fired that he would seek candidates with ties to Ohio or the Midwest. Clawson does not appear to have either.
That’s what went off in my head as I was reading through his previous destinations. Before Tennessee, he was at: Albany, Buffalo, Lehigh, Villanova, Fordham, and Richmond.
When the guy was hired last year down in Knoxville, his offensive scheme was deemed sort of complicated, as illustrated by this picture Rocky Top Talk found:
So that’ll be fun.
I always love the iterative “this team lost to this team who lost to this team” chain of dominance that’s constructed every year. This year, though, all logical roads point to James Madison as being the best team in the land, and therefore the BCS champion.
For those not in the know, Championship subdivision powerhouse JMU is ranked 21st in Jeff Sagarin’s computer poll, and their 48-24 win over William & Mary secured them as the godfather of football. William & Mary went on to beat New Hampshire, who beat Army, who beat Eastern Michigan, who pretty much created this entire mess with their wins over CMU and BG. (Notre Dame wasn’t entirely helpful either. As usual.)
What about the Big XII three? Original theorist Ryne Crabb explains:
Oklahoma lost to Texas, who lost to Texas Tech, who lost to Oklahoma. Since neither of those three teams can figure out which one is the best, to hell with them all.
Well, then. That takes care of all loose ends. Kind of like in Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar needed a spot for the humility virtue, so they just put it off to the side.
(Fun fact: the JMU Dukes’ only loss? Duke. I guess I should throw the Blue Devils logo at the top. But I won’t, because this guy didn’t.)
James Madison is in the FCS Final Four, squaring off against Montana on Friday night to play for the Division I Championship in — where else? — Chattanooga, Tennessee. He notes that if JMU loses to Montana, the BCS champion can be traced all the way down to 1-11 Idaho State. I’m sure it’s possible to go down the line to Division II and beyond, but please don’t make me chart that.
My offering to the Toledo Free Press last weekend:
Two years ago, Northwest Ohio had college coaches named Tom Amstutz, Stan Joplin, Dan Dakich and Gregg Brandon. Also, Miley Cyrus was not a teen sensation and a gallon of gas cost … well, about the same as today. Ah, those were simpler times. Since then, Dakich, Joplin and Amstutz were kicked out of their respective offices, and with each dismissal, I was skeptical of the need to fire them.
It was unfair that he lost his job like this. Having said that, it’s time to argue something it looks like I should have argued long ago: Brandon deserved to be fired.
Other nuggets between the cushions:
• With a lack of teams with 6-6 records, Northern Illinois was the “last team in” a bowl game, going to the Independence Bowl and facing Louisiana Tech in Shreveport. I’m sure the crowd will be 50-50, don’t you?
It was probably the right 6-6 team to take, since four of the Huskies losses were by four points or less, three of them to bowl teams and the other to Tennessee.
• This just confirms that, yes, Bowling Green’s season is mercifully over. Considering NIU took down BG earlier this year — and that, oh yeah, there’s no coach — it’s probably for the best. BG will join Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State, and San Jose State as teams with 6-6 records that didn’t get to play a 13th meaningless game. Four-team arbitrary playoff, anyone?
• The head coach opening is supplanted by openings at both coordinator positions too. They were hired away by — ready for this? — Toledo’s new coach Tim Beckman. M’kay, then. It’s a war, officially.
• But don’t worry. Bowling Green will be mentioned quite often this bowl season. Because, see, Urban Meyer. And stuff.
So, to recap:
It might just be easier to list the coaches that won’t be fired. They are the ones you’ll see in bowl games.
The essence of comedy is … … … [waits 5 minutes] … … timing. So it’s quite hilarious that after the Tom Amstutz Farewell Tour ended with a local holiday in the Glass City and a 38-10 loss, Mayor John Quinn didn’t get a chance to declare Gregg Brandonukkah on the narrow streets of Bowling Green, Ohio, USA, Earth, and the BGSU coach will no longer be the coach after a really hurty 6-6 season.
If you thought the Amstutz stepping-down was weird timing, this one takes the cake. What also obtains some kind of caloric dessert is the fact that it’s not a firing, and it’s not a resignation. I really hate it when coaching changes aren’t cut and dry. Nobody decides mutually on these things, which you’d know if you talked to any of my ex-girlfriends. So it may be difficult to pin a one-word description on the situation — and you HAVE to believe a column will be forthcoming on this — but for now let’s just return to what works when Bowling Green coaches are relieved of their duties:
Postmortem: It just dawned on me, after re-opening that Photoshop, that yesterday was Corey Partridge’s final game. It seems like he’s been there forever, but you’ll have that when you’re a four-year starter at wide receiver. We’ll miss you, Mr. Partridge, as you’ll always have a special place in my heart as the first Facebook blog stalking I ever undertook. Keep reaching for those dead raccoons in the real world, blessed Sir.
As Coach Brandon has noted, I’m not a true BGSU football fan due to the lack of MACSploitation updates this fall. Also I didn’t attend a 6 p.m. Friday football game, which actually makes me a secret Muslim and probably gay detriment to society. Nevertheless, I’m asking for some redemption from the True Falcons by dragging my climate controlled ass into the Glass Bowl and watching the UT-BG game, an event I haven’t attended in, I think, four years.
(Christ, four years? I really am a fraud.)
The game will be at 3:30 on ESPN Classic, the channel who proclaimed Mickey Mantle was a shittier athlete than Secretariat. Although the Rockets are 3-8 and have a tendency to elicit crying from baby Moses, one has to believe they have a better shot at winning the game, since it’s Tom Amstutz Day and all. Plus BGSU hasn’t won in the Glass Bowl since 1994, and the 5-6 Falcons’ only metaphysical reason for winning is so they don’t have a losing record. And also, y’know, rivalry game and everything.
And like every year, I’m just hoping for either a good game or a BGSU blowout. Prediction: it’ll be butt-to-bench-stickingly cold.
As has been said before, the false sense of hope is worst in mid-November, when the Falcons have a very reasonable hope of making a championship or bowl game. The easiest way to avoid it is to forget the game was Friday night and not Saturday night. That way all the angst can be doled out in one run-on sentence once one sees the 40-34 loss box score:
HOW ON EARTH DOES A TEAM BLOW A 20 POINT FOURTH QUARTER LEAD AT HOME AND A 14 POINT LEAD WITH THREE MINUTES TO PLAY AND THEN LOSE THE GAME IN DOUBLE OVERTIME AND I HATE LIFE?
Phew. Now we can just worry about Friday’s UT-BG game and be done with it, then move onto basketball season like honorable little soldiers.
(Photo credit: Jetta Fraser/Toledo Blade)
So, I can’t stop staring at this. Not sure why.
Maybe it’s because the Browns topped the Bills 29-27 despite all best efforts to gift-wrap the win to Buffalo. Maybe it’s because the game was unexpectedly interesting, it made the the live blog fun. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t left the apartment in two days, and therefore I have lost all sense of decency, and maybe some other vital senses as well.