Some quick thoughts on a bunch of things from this past weekend's college football action.
Texas should pretend every opponent is Oklahoma
This is arguably the biggest game on Texas’ schedule every year and they came out and dominated the first half. The second half was a bit shaky, but it was still solid nonetheless. I think we can silence all of the fire Charlie Strong talk for the rest of this season. The Longhorns’ second half schedule is a lot more manageable with only Baylor currently ranked.
Back to Charlie Strong. I don’t know him, but it’s obvious this was the biggest win of his career. You can talk about all the other stuff before Texas, but he needed this because as Seth (@Smerenbloom) said to me during the podcast the other day, lose this and the fire is all the way up. I’ve been the leader of the give Strong more time train, and I still think that no matter what, he gets this year and all of next before Texas considers a change. I don’t think it’s fair to give him less than four of his five years and I don’t think it’s fair to whomever the incoming athletic director is to fire him without giving him a fair evaluation.
So, no matter who the players (boosters) that don’t like Charlie Strong are, I hope you’ll get off of him and let the man do his work. There wasn’t a lot at Texas when he got there and as we know now there are plenty of Mack Brown’s players who aren’t fans of Charlie Strong’s players. This happens everywhere and this is why Charlie Strong deserves four years.
And...Texas ISN’T that important. Listen to the podcast and you’ll know why.
Everything is coming up Vols
Sometimes it’s better to be lucky rather than good. Tennessee was super lucky against the Georgia Bulldogs this week and ya know what, that’s ok. That’s good enough to maybe take a little bit of the pressure off Butch Jones and put it squarely on Mark Richt. Georgia was rocked by Alabama last week and lost to an unranked Tennessee team this week. Not a good look. Sure, Nick Chubb was injured and that’s a big deal, but Tennessee has been basically listless the first four weeks of the season.
Losses to Oklahoma, Florida, and Arkansas make things seem bleak for Jones, but in reality the only one of those losses that meant anything to the season was the Florida loss. Beating Georgia changes everything.
The Vols are off next week then head to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama. Whatever. I mean, they aren’t in the division, so even if they lose it really isn’t a big deal. The goal is to show meaningful progress week to week no matter who the opponent is.
Tennessee and Butch Jones are fine, and together.
On Randy Edsall
Randy Edsall was fired on Sunday. I live in Big Ten country and I know very little about Edsall or Maryland. I'm not a fan of living in the past, but I'll say this, Maryland shouldn't have fired Ralph Friedgen. The move wasn't popular at the time and it makes less sense now a few short years later. I can't say if Edsall was in over his head, if Maryland just isn't a great place to play football, or if being in the Big Ten East is the worst thing to happen to a new entrant in the conference.
All that said, I have a ton of respect for Edsall by standing up to a silly question from a reporter about shaking hands with his players after his defeat versus Ohio State on Saturday. When rumors emerged Thursday that Edsall was on the hot seat, I admit I was more than surprised. I don't know what the expectations are at a school like Maryland when that team has to face Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, and Ohio State every year. Sure, this is Maryland's second year in the conference and it sounds like Edsall's teams have been in underachievement mode for a long time, but what is really going to improve?
Trouble at Southern Cal with Steve Sarkisian; Pat Haden
I promise not to pile on and my issues aren't really with Steve Sarkisian. People have problems and it sounds like these problems have been well-known for some time. I think it's safe to say Sarkisian won't return to coach football at Southern California, and if he was indeed under the influence a few weeks ago versus Arizona State then that makes complete sense. I also know that because these issues may have been well known, the reason he hasn't been terminated (for cause) is because the American with Disabilities (ADA) and Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) Acts protect him, which is a good thing.
My immediate issues are with the coaches who may have known he was under the influence at Arizona State and didn't say anything, and if they did who did they say it to? Everything indicates athletic director Pat Haden didn't know he might have been intoxicated before or during the game, but now that he's been put on indefinite leave assistant coaches are leaking information they knew he was drunk.
I understand, you don't want to be the one who throws your boss under the bus, but at what point are you not being a friend by not speaking up? If there are coaches and staff who knew he was at work drunk then those people should be dismissed immediately. If Haden didn't know, then I don't directly fault him, but as the head administrator of USC athletics everything falls on his shoulders.
If there is any indication that Haden knew anything of Sarkisian's alleged drinking problems at Washington and hired him without running that information up the flag pole, then he should be dismissed without question.
When USC officially dismisses Sarkisian (and it will happen), Haden should leave with him. He made Sarkisian his first priority when he arrived at USC and has hitched his wagon to him. It would seem that for a time Haden was the calm in the storm after Mike Garrett, Lane Kiffin, and all the Reggie Bush related sanctions. But based on what's going on with Sarkisian it could be time to move on.
Where Southern Cal goes from here is anyone's guess, but the first and most important step is to make sure they do right by Steve Sarkisian. Football will continue somehow, but in the long run that's the least of their worries.
What I left out
My original thoughts on Randy Edsall's presser on Saturday included two Les Miles videos, and I would be remiss if I didn't include them. Full disclosure, I thought Edsall had done enough to at least postpone his firing until the end of the season. But I am also of the same mindset as Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, "What should be done eventually, must be done immediately." So, in that regard, I'm glad Edsall won't be sort of lame duck coach until December.
The first is honestly my favorite Les Miles moment. Remember when he was to supposedly leave LSU to coach Michigan? His response in 2007:
The second comes at the end-of-season presser in 2010 when a retiring reporter asks Miles about being interviewed by Erin Andrews:
Podcasts you should listen to
Last week I had the pleasure of talking with our own Bird LeCroy (@Autull) who is the co-host of the SEC 411 about his five favorite SEC college football stadiums, and five college football stadiums I've never been to.
Later in the week, I talked with Campus Pressbox's Managing Editor Seth Merenbloom (@Smerenbloom) about a wide range of football topics including which coaches (other than Edsall) are on the hot seat, college football's super powers, and salaries of college coaches versus their president and provost bosses.