Of Blowouts, Bungles and Bullies

Somebody should put a stop to the habit of powerful schools scoring lopsided victories over totally overmatched teams in early season games played solely for the amusement of home crowds. Boston College, TCU, Wisconsin, Baylor and Washington collectively scored 323 points over the likes of visiting teams Howard, Lamar, Miami of Ohio, Steven T. Austin and Sacramento State, respectively.

In all of the above cases, the games were over midway through the opening quarter. Boston College was up over Howard, 62-0, at the half. Nobody benefits from these mismatches. They are played strictly for the paydays overmatched teams receive for being patsies. Idaho received $1,000,000 for traveling to Gainesville to play Florida last year. The Vandals dressed for the game, warmed up on the field, and then flew back home after the game was called because of lightning storms, their dignity fully intact and the school’s bank account nicely enhanced.

There are instances, of course, where upsets occur. Michigan is still reeling from the upset Appalachian State handed them eight years and four coaches ago. And just this past weekend, Jacksonville State took sixth ranked Auburn into overtime before losing. But by and large, these lopsided farces should be done away with.

Coach’s Corner spoke last week about the very important role the clock plays in football. Never was that more apparent than at the end of Sunday night’s Giants-Cowboys game. Miscommunication, lack of knowledge of the rules, and confusion on the sideline all added together to deny New York the win.

Quick scenario: Giants were up by three points, 23-20, with a first and goal at the four with 1:54 left in the game. Two rushes by Jennings got it to the one-yard-line. Jennings later stated he was told by Manning not to score to force Dallas to use their timeouts. Manning thought Dallas had only one timeout left when they actually had two.

Then on third down, Manning inexplicably called a rollout pass, incomplete, stopping the clock with 1:43 left. Had Manning taken a knee, the clock would have run down another :40 with fourth down coming up to then kick the field goal for a six-point lead, or even try to score with a rush. Worst case scenario if the Giants opted for the latter and failed to score: Cowboys get ball back on their own one-yard-line, 70 yards away from a tying field goal attempt. Opting for the former, the Giants kicked a field goal, going up 26 to 20. But with the extra time, Dallas went the distance to score a touchdown with :07 left. Poor clock management and questionable play calling cost the Giants the game.

In a high school football game between two San Antonio teams a week ago, something terrible happened. The defensive safety, on the snap of the ball, ran straight ahead with the clear intent of crashing into the back of the referee eight yards in front of him.  After the ref was blindsided thusly and driven into the ground, another defensive player dove helmet first into the ref while he was down. Apparently, an assistant coach had remarked to the team prior to this that “It’s time to get even with this ref” ostensibly because of perceived bad calls. Both kids were thrown off the team and the coach was fired. Referees must be sacrosanct less games turn into South American soccer matches where mayhem all too often ensues.

Notre Dame will be well tested this week, having lost their Heisman-worthy quarterback, Malik Zaire, to a season ending injury. Georgia Tech and their well-groomed option offense comes into South Bend fresh off a 65-10 pasting of Tulane. The Irish squeaked by Virginia last week, 34-27, at the final gun. The Irish defense must be ready to stop the Rambling Wrecks’ tricky offense.

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6 responses to “Of Blowouts, Bungles and Bullies

  1. Jim, you are absolutely correct with your comments concerning the mismatch of football programs simply for the money. What a disgrace to a school who beats another 70 – 0 or leads 62 – 0 at half time. What has been accomplished? Nothing, absolutely nothing ! School administrators and coaches alike should all be held accountable for these outrageous scheduling practices, it’s shameful and a disgrace to all involved. They all want to discipline the athletes but who disciplines the Presidents, the Athletic Directors and the coaches?

  2. Tom, it seems to me anytime a sporting event is played the outcome should not be pre-ordained. Anything else is a return to staged wrestling matches of a long ago television era. Money drives sports and the insatiable television monster must be fed. Nevertheless, university presidents and boards of regents should take a serious look at this arrangement and fix it.

  3. Thanks as always…You do one GREAT job….I enjoy it always…Ras’

  4. Robert Chambers

    Coach, you always seem to hit the mark. I notice you didn’t include Ole Miss in the blowouts, but they had two in a row scoring 76 & 73 points respectively in the first two games of the season. I could not believe what I was seeing with Manning and Coughlin bungling what could have been sure win. And I don’t know about bullies but bruises maybe as Notre Dame is without these starters QB, RB, & TE. That is 3 starters out after the first 2 games and for the season. All total since fall camp it is 5 starters out. I hope Coach Kelly really has the luck of the Irish this year as Irish Nation needs it.

  5. Thanks, Ras’, glad you like the article. Let’s go, Gophers!!!

  6. Robert, I am beginning to think the
    Irish are snake bit. Last year down the
    stretch, same thing. They are really
    going to have to shake down the
    thunder from here on out to make
    the Final Four.