Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why Leach is a good idea for Maryland.

(But why they're going to struggle for a bit after hiring him)

Apparently, the Mike Leach/Maryland courtship is progressing well. This is good news if you're a Terp fan. Because Maryland and Texas Tech have a lot in common.

1. Prior to Leach, both teams played somewhere around .500 ball. Ralph Freigan was a successful (and popular) coach, as was Spike Dykes.

2. Both teams, recently (prior to Leach) found themselves in conferences where they have trouble competing against the big dogs. For Tech it was aTm, OU and UT-Austin, for Maryland it's VaTech, Miami and Fl State.

3. Both teams can get second tear athletes, but have difficulty consistently getting top tier athletes. Leach has shown the ability to excel with the 2nd tier, and he can coach them up (on offense) to the 1st tier.

4. The ACC can be had right now. As could the Big XII as they weakened over time.

All that said, expect Maryland to suffer for a couple of years. Why?

The curse of firing a coach on the heels of an 8-win season.

Don't worry though Terps fans. Fear the turtle will be very real in about three years. It will just be lean for the next two.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Texans Postmortem

After today's game (at the end of the 3rd Quarter, the Texans are down 31-10 to the troubled Tennessee Titans*) there won't even be a mathematical hope for Texans players to hand their post-game interview hats on. A season that started with high-hopes (by some) and expectations of making the play-offs (by some) will have figuratively ended with a resounding thud at the home of the team that used to hold a place in Houston's heart.**

The sad thing is, what will follow will be platitudes and sound-bytes from a clueless coach, players who don't know how to win and an owner who only pays lip-service to winning but seems content just keep running up season ticket sales while sticking with mediocrity (or worse) on the field. "It's better than when we had no team!" Texans supporters will say, a feeling to which I respond "No, it's really not."

At least when there wasn't an NFL team in Houston television options included the best league match-ups of the day***. Today, for example, Houston fans could have watched the Saints vs. Ravens, or Jacksonville vs. Indy. Both games are matches where each team has very real playoff hopes. Instead, in Houston, we're stuck with watching a team come out flat in the first half with a defense that's incapable of stopping a hard-charging Jr. High marching band. It's bad football, Kubiak football, Denver Broncos football.

It should be obvious to Texans fans that the team has selected the incorrect model. After the retirement of John Elway (one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game) Shanahan's NFL recipe has been mediocre, at best. Who does that remind you of?

That's right, Gary Kubiak.

Of course, there's little hope that McNair is going to blow this mess up and start over next year. As he said in last week's interview, he feels the team is "on the right path" and "on the cusp" of being a playoff contender. What this means is that Houston football fans have another average team to look forward to next year (when, and if, the year finally starts) with no significant changes to a roster that only has two or three NFL quality players on the 2-deep. In a football mad city like Houston (In a football mad state like Texas) that shouldn't fly.

As it stands now I'm already picking the 2011 Texans to finish somewhere around 8-8. I don't see Kubiak getting let go so I don't see much improvement. The schedule will depend on whether I pick them to go 6-10 or 8-8 but it won't be any higher. This is the most irrelevant team in the NFL right now, unless the ownership catches a clue this won't change any time soon.

*If the Texans were really serious about winning, Kubiak and staff would be summarily dismissed after this stinker of a performance. Look at Dallas, they fell out of the playoff race, got humiliated on TV and their coach was gone. Say what you want about Jerry Jones at least the guy tries to win.

**In many cases, they still do. The biggest reason I'm not a Texans fan is because they're not the Oilers.

***Well, OK, and the Dallas Cowboys.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Goodbye Sumlin. (UPDATED)

There's nothing official yet but given the number of college football coaching vacancies (or soon to be vacancies) there's little chance Kevin Sumlin will be the head ball coach for Houston next year.

Last year I suggested that the University get their succession plans in order, keep a coach in the system in the manner of Boise St. after Dan Hawkins or TCU after Francione. It doesn't appear that they did this.

The problem now is that it appears that Holgerson is going to get a much better offer than UH can provide. Thus endeth the run?

Boy was I wrong.

When Florida hired former Texas D-coordinator Will Muschamp it became pretty clear that the coaching dominoes were not going to fall as I initially thought. Now Miami has selected Al Golden, and it appears that Gus Malzahn is heading to Vandy and I don't see either Temple or the O-coordinator position at Auburn being of interest to Sumlin so.......

He's going to get a chance to fix this mess it appears.