I know I've been remiss in not being more active on the blog, but I have two problems. First, the things that have really been getting me fired up are all political, and I don't want to subject all of you to a steady diet of Obama criticism with no football posts to keep things on an even keel. So I have held my tongue, so to speak. Second, it is July and nothing much is happening on the college football front. Of course, I could post every day just to keep my fingers in shape and to hear myself talk, but I prefer to write substantive posts that are thoughtfully reactive to actual events rather than manufactured topics designed just to keep you visiting the blog. But football season is approaching, the camps are getting ready to open, and I think I can just detect that "new season smell" in the air. Today I just wanted to get back into the groove by clearing the decks with a collection of quick thoughts that have been occupying my mind lately.
1. I listen to Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio as I drive to work each morning. Erik Kuselias is sitting in for Colin today, and he spent considerable time this morning talking about Florida QB Tim Tebow. He noted that Florida is favored by many to win the National Championship, and Tebow is favored to win the Heisman. If those things happen, Kuselias contends that Tebow would be the greatest college football player of all time, and that nobody else would even be in the discussion. I think Tebow is a very good quarterback on a great football team. Being on a great team gives you a chance to win National Championships. Being a very good QB on a great team gives you the chance to win Heisman Trophies. But being a very good QB on a great team does not make one the "greatest of all time." I like Kuselias a lot (very interesting guy, and very funny) but I think he is crazy on this topic. Off the top of my head I came up with about six players who are clearly greater than Tebow, and after a couple minutes research I rounded my list out at an even ten players. The following list is my quick and subjective opinion. I didn't even get into receivers, linemen, and defensive players. Just looking at QBs and RBs, here are my Top 10 College Football Players Greater Than Tim Tebow (In No Particular Order):
1. John ElwayHow did I do?
2. Steve McNair
3. Colt Brennan
4. Billy Sims
5. Bo Jackson
6. Barry Sanders
7. Archie Griffin
8. Tony Dorsett
9. O.J. Simpson
10. Herschel Walker
2. I've been watching the Tour de France. Hey, It's freaking July! Alberto Contador is clearly the best rider this year. His performance in Stage 15, pulling away from the peloton on the final climb like the other riders were standing still was simply amazing. Lance Armstrong is riding very well and has an excellent chance of finishing on the podium in Paris, which in itself is very impressive. But Contador is the Big Dog now. By the way, Versus has been broadcasting the Tour in HD this year, and the French countryside is just beautiful. France has definitely moved up my list of places I want to visit.
3. Michael Vick is a free man, and the NFL Commissioner is expected to conditionally reinstate him very soon, permitting him to sign with an NFL team and go to camp, but not allowing him to play until after serving an additional four game suspension. Like a car wreck, I'm very anxious to see what happens with Vick. To me, he has paid his debt to society, so I don't have a problem with him playing football again. But I am very interested to see what team or teams are willing to give him a chance. How much will they pay him? What role will he play? How well will he play? To me, Vick's best asset has always been his speed and his running ability, and I think he'll be way behind the curve in the passing game. I think he can make his best contribution to a team as a return man and maybe a flanker/H-Back where the threat of a reverse or a Wildcat package would keep defenses off-balance.
4. Tom Watson, at 59 years of age, came within a gray whisker of winning the British Open last weekend. Great story. But did he or did he not just punk every other player in the PGA? How bad did it make Tiger Woods and every other young player on the Tour look to have gramps kick their collective ass around Royal Turnberry for four days?
5. The Over/Under win total lines for college football are starting to trickle out. So far, the O/U for Notre Dame is 8.5 games. I'll take the over. Notre Dame should win 11 games this year. Less than 10 wins may cost Coach Weis his job. To lose on the "over" the Irish would have to lose 4 regular season games. Where could those losses possibly come from? USC, Michigan, Michigan State, and ... B.C.? Pitt? Stanford? If Notre Dame loses four games against the 2009 schedule with this roster of players then new leadership would be required.
6. Where's Waldo? I think he's rooming with former USC quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate John David Booty. Do you remember how great J.D. Booty was at USC? How he was just waiting his turn to be the next Heisman Trophy winner at USC? Yeah, well he's still in Minnesota, sitting behind Tavaris Jackson, Sage Rosenfels, and maybe Brett Favre on the Vikings' depth chart. I wonder if John David will give up his #4 jersey when Favre shows up in Mankato? And what about Heisman Trophy winner and National Champion Matt Leinart? Is he still sitting on the bench behind a 38-year-old grocery store stock-boy and Arena Football League league player Kurt Warner? Well, yes he is. All of which is a prelude to the question: How good is Mark Sanchez, really? Is he the next Carson Palmer? Or the next J.D. Booty? USC quarterbacks have the tremendous advantage of playing with a supporting staff of NFL-caliber players at every position. Their defenses are dominant. They are harassed in the pocket, and their receivers are generally wide open. They lose all those advantages at the next level. I still think Brady Quinn is better than any of the recent crop of USC quarterbacks, and I think we'll finally get the chance to see it this season. Go Browns!
7. Are you on Facebook yet? If not, you're just about the only one. Just a quick tidbit for you. My daughter will be a freshman at Notre Dame this year. (Woo-Hoo!). Earlier this summer she got her official Notre Dame e-mail address. The very first thing she did with it was to add it to her Facebook profile, so she could join the official Notre Dame network on Facebook. She also quickly joined the University of Notre Dame Class of 2013 group on Facebook. That group already has over 1,600 members. Think about that for a minute. Notre Dame enrolls about 2,000 students as freshmen each year. School doesn't start for this year's freshman for another month. There is no official University requirement or even suggestion that students should join Facebook. Yet 80% of this year's incoming freshman are already part of the ND Class of 2013 group on Facebook. That blows me away.
8. Speaking of Brett Favre. I really hope he plays. I love the NFL, although I'm not a huge fan of any particular team. I just love good games, and I love watching Brett play. I also hope he makes a decision soon, as I think it's a little unfair to the Vikes to keep them hanging this long. Of course, it has entered my mind that his "conflicting" emotions about whether he wants to play is really code for: "It's going to take more cash than what you've offered me to get me in purple."
9. I wrote previously about how cool it would be for Notre Dame to play Army in the new Yankee Stadium. Pencil it in. November 20, 2010. Road Trip!
10. Coach Weis and his staff have been working hard on the recruiting front, and the number of verbal commitments to the 2010 freshman class is already up to thirteen. This is great news as it shows that Coach Weis and Notre Dame can still attract quality kids to the University. I don't blog recruiting much, because (1) I have a life, and (2) I have a life. But seriously, it's a crapshoot. Projecting high school kids to the next level is very difficult. Kids mature at different rates. 5-star kids don't pan out. 3-star recruits surprise the heck out of you. Kids get hurt, buried on the depth chart, lost to academic or other problems. Think about this: We're all excited/anxious about how good Defensive End Justin Utupo will be and he won't set foot on campus until more than a year from now, and likely won't play significant minutes for two or three years. I'm still waiting to see how good Emeka Nwankwo, Steve Paskorz, and Mike Ragone are going to be, and they've been on campus since 2007. But I do have a couple thoughts on recruiting this year. First, a hearty OC Domer welcome to each of the thirteen verbal commits for 2010! I hope you all continue to feel the way you do about Notre Dame and honor your non-binding verbal commitment to the University. Second, I know it's early, and as I said I don't watch it that closely, but I get the sense this class so far is a little heavy on 3-star recruits and a little light on 4-star and 5-star players. Of the thirteen commits, we have one who is rated 5-stars on both Rivals and Scout, we have one who is rated 4-stars on both services. We have seven players rated seven total stars (4/3 or 3/4) on the two services, and six commits rated six total stars (3 & 3) on Rivals and Scout. I know the top 4- and 5-star kids tend to wait until later in the cycle to commit, but I would welcome someone pointing me to a good argument that we're right on target compared to Coach Weis' previous classes.
11. President Obama held a press conference earlier this week in which he urged Congress and the American people to pass a health care reform bill that hasn't even been written yet and with which not even he is familiar. In his remarks the President stated that two-thirds of the costs of implementing his proposed health care system would come from more efficiently utilizing the money that is already being spent on the system. In other words, the President is asking us to believe that the new system will be "revenue neutral" because a plan drafted by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and implemented by Barack Obama will achieve hundreds of billion of dollars' worth of improved "efficiencies" annually. When was the last time you heard of the government taking over a complex program and making it markedly more efficient? Are public schools more efficient? Are public hospitals right now more efficient? Does the Government erect buildings, stadiums, airports, etc... more efficiently than the private sector? But here's one data point to consider: In April, President Obama directed the members of his cabinet to find $100 million in budget cuts for 2009, and gave them a 90-day deadline to accomplish this task. At the time, everyone laughed because in the context of $1 Trillion stimulus packages, $100 million is a laughably small amount. Well, the 90-day deadline has come and gone and we're still waiting for the President and his cabinet to identify the $100 million in "cuts" for 2009. The White House has promised that the list of cuts is on the way. But the point is, $100 million is chump change, and the President is having a hard time finding $100 million in improved "efficiencies." If you can't easily identify $100 million is "savings" how do you expect us to believe you can magically produce hundreds of billions of dollars in annual savings in the health care sector? It is time for the American people to stop judging President Obama on his empty promises and to start holding him to account for his actual performance.