Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Pair of Plagues from Florida

The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is most likely the one that dropped it. ~ Lou Holtz

So everyone is talking about Tim Tebow.  You may have heard of him; he's the very mediocre quarterback of the Denver Broncos. Yes, mediocre.  In 12 starts he's 8-4, with a quarterback rating in the low 80's.  His career completion percentage, at a time when 60% is considered okay, is 49%.  Matt Stafford, about whom nobody seems to talk, has managed 9 wins this year, playing for the perpetually rebuilding Detroit Lions.  His quarterback rating is around 100, and he's engineered three come from behind wins this year.

And he doesn't have the Broncos defense to cover for him.

But, let's face it, the thing most people want to talk about is Mr. Tebow's predilection for praying at the drop of a hat.  Many people seem to thing this wearing of one's religion on one's sleeve as a wonderful thing.  Personally, I'm inclined to go with this philosophy:

"Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them.  Truly I say to you, they have their reward.  But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.  And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.   When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

Now, the words probably aren't familiar to you, but they were put down a long time ago by a guy named Matthew (6:5-8 if you're curious).  He was quoting a remarkable individual named Jesus of Nazareth.  Evidently, the Christian folk praising Mr. Tebow for his endlessly visible efforts to be holier than the rest of us have never come across this passage, especially the line about hypocrites and babbling Gentiles.

But, then, I've come across a lot of Christians who don't see to know much of what Jesus actually said. 

The other plague coming out of Florida is Urban Meyer.  You remember him.  He quit the Florida job after Saint Tim graduated, leaving the cupboard rather bare.  He had health problems; he needed to spend time with his family; he was burnt out.

Yeah, right.  I had my own theories about why he really left.  Actually, given the yahoo the Broncos did hire, it's hard to understand why they didn't hire Urban Meyer.  He couldn't have been a whole lot worse.

Well, Ohio State has now hired him.  When they did, I found out a couple of things I didn't know about the great man.  First, he's a disciple of Earl Bruce.  Second, he comes from Ashtabula, Ohio.  Earl Bruce did such a crummy job as coach at Ohio State that John Cooper was deemed to be an improvement.  As to Ashtabula, I lived in and near there for years, and I can't recommend it as a home for coaches of great integrity.

The whole OSU debacle has been hard on me, sufficiently hard that I haven't wanted to think about it very much.  I really thought Jim Tressel had integrity (I also thought he had brains, but I was wrong about that, too).  As times have shown, "integrity" and "college football coach" are mutually exclusive terms.  Now, we already know about Mr. Meyer's brand of integrity.  His "heart problems" seemed to start when Cam Newton, who would have been the heir apparent to St. Tim,  blew the Florida popcorn stand for a juco and ultimately to Auburn.*

Of course, Mr. Meyer has never stayed anywhere for very long.  After bouncing around as an assistant (he actually did stay at Colorado State for six years), his idea of head coaching commitment became clear:  Bowling Green - 2 years; Utah - 2 years; Florida - 6 years, although he tried to quit after 5.

Oh, and there was the ESPN gig that he quit on, where he was one of the most uninspired analysts ever to belabor the obvious.

Urban, I hate to break it to you, but the Buckeyes don't have a Newton or even a Tebow (although Braxton Miller's inconsistent passing does come close).  You're probably in for a pretty crummy year, what with the bowl ban and the lost scholarships.  I figured you knew what the NCAA penalties were going to be when you took the job (schools seem to know this stuff before it's announced).  Now, I'm not so sure.

Will it be health problems or quality time with the family this time, Mr. Meyer?

*Oh, by the way, it was a former Urban Meyer assistant who started that whole business about Newton's daddy trying to get money to direct him to Mississippi State.  More integrity. 

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