Saturday, January 2, 2010

Some Thoughts on College Football

Let's Geaux State! Congrats to the Penn State football team on being 2010 Capital One Bowl Champs!!! What a great win for our seniors, the team, and the Big Ten. It was an up-and-down roller coaster type season and there's nothing better than ending the season with a W. JoePa has done it again, an 11-win season is nothing to laugh at, especially playing in the Big Ten. (See article below for more on that). For Daryll Clark and his senior class, they ended a very successful career on a high note, they deserved nothing less. A new era is coming in Happy Valley and I am pumped. Period.

I would like to preface the upcoming thought by saying, yes, I am a very huge Penn State fan and love Joe Paterno. But, I am also a huge college football fan, so there may be a tinge of Penn State bias, but I'm saying this as a college football fan for the most part. I love Penn State I can't help it!

The Urban Meyer saga has brought a lot of attention to college football coaching in the past week. The story goes that Urban Meyer is taking a leave from Florida because his health is failing due to the stress caused him by coaching at UF. A coach having health issues due to the rigors of coaching sports...a game for goodness sake! Personally, I think it's simple: Urban Meyer can't handle it, the health issues are good distraction, but I digress. All ESPN is talking about is how much stress is put on coaches at these high level "football factories." It's a shame. Not that these guys are under that much stress, but that it has come to this. The issue at hand is that College Football has become something that is bad for your health. Yikes! To Florida's fans, only National Championships are good enough them, the so-called upper echelon of college football fan, I feel bad for Meyer. If Urban Meyer loses a game and they don't win the Nat'l Championship, he's gotta be rushed to the hospital. Again I say, Yikes! It's coming out that UF Football is his life and that he sleeps in his office and watches film 24-7. That's great, it's nice to see a committed coach who loves his program and has some loyalty. I can respect that.

But, the reason he is having these health problems is that Urban Meyer has built nothing to fall back on if he loses a game at Florida. When he showed up there, he made his program about winning, nothing else. And by-golly, he's done it well. He's brought in kids to play football and that's it. Wanna dispute me on that? Check it out --> . Do these recruits really want to attend class? Maybe, but only if they can bring their 9 millimeters and make it rain on their sociology professor. And building your program to do nothing but win is fine, but don't sell out if you lose a game. He signed up for this. Meyer could have built a program that would have been about more than football, so don't say the stress is too much when your own experiment bites you in the butt. He's a great coach, I've heard a lot of great things about him, and a lot of not great things. But Meyer's decision to take a leave of absence is interesting, and brings up a great point...

What I meant about having nothing to fall back on if you lose a game can be summed up in 3 words: The Great Experiment. Joe Paterno's attempt to see if you can have both a successful team on the field and in the classroom. At the end of the season, Penn State had the highest graduation rate in the top 25, 89%, 14 points higher than the next highest. Also, Penn State led all FBS teams with 3 ESPN Academic All-Americans. Combine that with an 11 win season and...Mission accomplished Joe! Joe Paterno has done more than create a winning program, he created a lifestyle. The Penn State lifestyle; where kids come into the PSU football program and come out as better people. I am thankful for it, my dad is my hero, and I know that Joe has helped form the person he is. I am 100% sure about that. Joe hasn't done it through specific acts, he has done it over time by building a program that is committed to class and doing things the right way. He hasn't slacked on his recruiting standards and still continues to win. So if Joe loses a few games one year, let the moron PSU fans call for his head, those who get it know that winning a National Championship is tough, and it can't be done every year (Florida made us think differently, until Meyer had to quit). Joe does more than coach football and I have to credit Meyer for mentioning how amazing JoePa is in one of his recent press conferences.

Now that Bobby Bowden (has been forced to) retired, when Joe hangs it up, college football as we know it will be over. The Urban Meyers and Nick Sabans will only stay at programs for 4, 5, 6 years before a tough year will force them out because all they're expected to do is win. This isn't an attack of those 2 guys, but more of a change in the landscape of college football. Joe has mentioned it briefly and it is happening. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, it's just the way it is, I love college football enough to understand that. I just wanted to make sure to give credit where credit is due, and Joe, you deserve it.

Love ya Lions,

Mike Donchez

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