Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's all a numbers game

OK, I love college football. Heck, I came to Idaho State because I wanted to work in college football. However, something in college football reeks....something really stinks, so today my dear Bengal fans, I'm putting on my "Commissioner of All Things Athletics" (heretofore COATA) and fixing a problem with college football....and wouldn't you know it has to do with sneaky coaches getting around the rules. I know, it's true.

Let me take you to Saturday...#6 LSU at #10 Auburn. This was a great game. Lots of lead changes, some big plays, a switch at quarterback. I mean, this is the game of the year if it happened in November, but I digress, because Les Miles ruined it for everyone, because he took the rulebook and played a stupid, dumb dirty trick on Auburn. And it was all perfectly legal. LSU has two punters who can both kickoff as well...they have #30, a right-footed punter named Josh Jasper, and then a lefty named Brady Dalfrey, who wears #38. Well, he wore #38 in the first two games, wore #38 in warmups, and was listed as #38 in the program, the flip-cards, in the stats, and on the depth chart. However, Les decided to allow Dalfrey to also wear #30 for the game. So, everytime LSU punted, no one knew which #30 was punting, the lefty or the righty, which matters to the punt block team and to the returner. And no one knew which one was kicking off either.....and all of this was legal.

And why is it legal? Because the NCAA rulemakers, who can't figure out what to do with the game clock, certainly don't know what to do about numbers. The rules regarding numbers are as follows.

No two players of the same team shall participate in the same down wearing identical numbers (A.R. 1-4-2-II) [S23]. and....

e. Numbers shall not be changed during the game to deceive opponents [S27].

Why to make a decision there guys....that;s it by the way on numbers. less than half a page. There are more than six pages regarding timeouts, but hardly anything on numbers.

So in theory, you can have one guy on offense wearing #10, a guy on defense wearing #10, and a guy on special teams like a kicker wear #10, and it's all legal. At least LSU has names on their jerseys, but there isn't rule about that either. Dalfrey and Jasper could just switch jerseys before the game, so long as they don't switch DURING the game. As the COATA, here's what I do. I know this is unpopular, but I'm gonna force a coach to make a decision. I know football coaches probably would consult their lawyers and legal counsel, but I would have coaches make a decision by stating that there are no double numbers. Seriously, is LSU gonna play more then 99 guys? If they have retired numbers, they still aren't playing more than 90 right?

This all stems from our athletic cultural society where no one wants to hurt anyone's feelings. My daughter's first soccer team didn't keep score, because they didn't want the losing team feeling bad. Well, OK, but then don't try to score, and don't play games. I mean that's just stupid. Hey, at ISU, on the recruit's equipment form that they fill out, the have to list four numbers, a primary that they want, then a secondary, then a third and a fourth choice. Numbers are just that, numbers. In college for three years I was #22. My senior year I originally wasn't going to play to concentrate on becoming a sports information director, but I got asked back to the team late in fall camp, so I returned. However, my coach was all worried because he gave my #22 to a freshman, and he said he would bring that player in to ask for the number back. Like I cared...I told him just give me any number available, so my senior year, I was #26...not a sexy soccer number, but at least I had one.

Anyways, coaches nowadays don't want to anger a recruit, so they just go with the flow....Johnny won't come here if he can't wear #4? OK, we'll have two #4s then. Just an aside, when Audie Attar was here for one year, he wanted to wear #2, which was owned by Caleb Eastman. Larry Lewis was gonna let both wear #2, but I refused to deal with it, and convinced him to make a decision. Eastman eventually went to #4 on the promise he could wear #1 the next season. Sigh.

Anyways, Miles' little stunt wasn't just a stunt, it was a coordinated, planned attack. On LSU's official site, Les makes light of the whole thing...

"I think, frankly, I kind of enjoyed the fact that I had a punter who was going to wear No. 30. I didn't want to get confused, so that I knew that the punter was on the field when he wore 30. That may be the reason. It may not be the reason. I enjoy the fact that one guy kicks right-footed and the other kicks left-footed, and they both wore the same number. It might well have been a cause for an opponent to pause and say, "Hmm, I wonder which one's kicking.' He may wear No. 38 this week."

I didn't want to get confused??? That may be the reason? It may not be the reason??? You know, it's honestly crap like this that hurts my profession. I pride myself on being forthright with stuff, and to think that LSU's media folks just played along with the ruse is sorta troubling. As COATA, I abolish all double numbers, and tell coaches such as Les Miles that you are running a multi-million dollar football program, and you are hired to make executive decisions.....make one on numbers and spare everyone the grief.

Back to ISU....sorry for the rant.

Breakfast with the Bengals
OK, I'm almost amused that for about a month, it was said on the basketball schedule "at Hawai'i, November 18, 2:07 am". I finally got a call two days ago from someone saying the game is listed on Hawai'i's site as being on November 17, and I should fix the website. Well, while I do make mistakes, the website was right, as the Bengals are going to be featured on ESPN as part of ESPN's College Basketball Marathon, with the Bengals having the coveted 4:07 am Eastern slot, meaning a 2:07 am start in Pocatello and an 11:07 pm tip in Honolulu on Monday, November17. Here is the full schedule...

• Midnight: UMass at Memphis (ESPN)
• 2 a.m.: Fresno St. at St. Mary's (ESPN)
• 4 a.m.: Idaho St. at Hawaii (ESPN)
• 6 a.m.: College Hoops Tip-Off Special (ESPN)
• 10 a.m.: Penn at Drexel (ESPN)
• Noon: Liberty at UNC-Asheville (ESPN)
• 2 p.m.: Iowa at Kansas (women) (ESPN)
• 4 p.m.: Centenary at Baylor (ESPN)
• 6 p.m.: Richmond at Syracuse (ESPN)
• 7 p.m.: NIT Regional Final-Purdue (ESPNU)
• 7:30 p.m.: NIT Regional Final-Boston College (ESPN2)
• 8 p.m.: College GameDay-Chapel Hill (ESPN)
• 9 p.m.: Kentucky at North Carolina (ESPN)
• 9 p.m.: Florida Gulf Coast at Kansas (ESPNU)
• 9:30 p.m.: NIT Regional Final-Oklahoma (ESPN2)
• 11:30 p.m.: NIT Regional Final-Arizona (ESPN2)

Welcome back Maren Eves-Williams!!!!
After breaking her hand in practice the week before the opening game, Maren Eves-Williams was cleared, as Tim Flagstad reports. Maren won't make all the difference in the world, but certainly after the yeoman's efforts by Bailey Williams, she and Michelle and Kat for the matter will benefit watching how Maren operates. Jana Davis-Boehler will travel this week, but she probably doesn't play until conference play in two weeks.

We have a puncher's chance...
...since the puncher is out for the first half. The Big Sky suspended Charlie Wulff, the nephew of former coach and current Washington State coach Paul Wulff, so throwing a punch at a Western Washington player after a touchdown.

1 comment:

idaho said...

Frank, you probably also noticed that Idaho had several players with duplicate numbers and it makes it difficult, especially on special teams, to tell which No. 10,for example, was actually involved in the play. I would encourage the NCAA to force coaches to make a decision and give a number to only one player.

--Brad B.