Posted: Wednesday October 4, 2006 12:27PM; Updated: Wednesday October 4, 2006 6:34PM
Are John L. Smith and Dirk Koetter actually the same person? Both of their teams consistently respond to adversity the way a 15-year-old girl responds to finding a bulbous zit on the end of her nose ... panic, total loss of self-confidence and suspension of basic functionality. -- Scott Mitchell, Denver
Well, we know they're not the same person because I've never seen Koetter slap his own face during a press conference or yell "Turn off that cell phone" at the top of his lungs. But they do seem to share the same problem, which is that they're previously good coaches who have found themselves way out of their league. Any one in football will tell you that Koetter is one of the great offensive minds in the game, and Smith had success everywhere he went before Michigan State. That said, Koetter seems to have the interpersonal skills of a snail, which greatly impairs his ability to lead a team, and Smith's continual bad-mouthing of himself and his staff doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the troops. Plus, do you realize who Smith had as his offensive coordinators at Louisville? Bobby Petrino and current Rams head coach Scott Linehan. Imagine if they were coaching Drew Stanton.
Both Koetter and Smith seem to be better fits in the mid-major ranks, where offensive creativity alone can get you to bowl games and no one notices if you blow a 19-point lead.
Stewart, the next time you showcase your expert prognostication skills (regarding Vandy being "only" a 33-point favorite over Temple), kindly do so during weeks I will not be visiting friends in Reno/Tahoe. I actually stood in the sports book proclaiming, "If it's good enough for Mandel, it's good enough for me!" The blank stares all around should have been a sign. The Commodores only won by 29. -- Matt, Columbus, Ohio
See, this is why I don't write about gambling very often. While I appreciate the endorsement, I would never, ever recommend betting money based on anything I say. I realize the common perception is, "You follow this stuff for a living, therefore you have an advantage over everyone else." Well, that's baloney. There's a reason they wish you "good luck" when they hand you that ticket at the sports book, because that's basically what you're going by. I'll give you an example.
I generally do not bet on college football, what with that whole ethics thing. But I did go to Vegas for a short vacation last December that happened to coincide with some of the early bowl games, so I figured, hey, it's legal here, what the heck. The second day there, Clemson played Colorado in the Champs Sports Bowl. As you may recall, the Buffs had just lost 70-3 to Texas and had fired their coach. Clemson minus-10 seemed like a pretty smart bet, and indeed, early in the fourth quarter, the Tigers scored a touchdown to go up 19-10 -- and had the extra point blocked. That was the final score. No amount of "inside info" can help you with that.
With the new clock rules reducing possessions and plays, does pass efficiency become an even more important measure of a quarterback's ability? Do completions and few interceptions matter more now than big yards and lots of touchdowns? -- Courtney Faller, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
There's definitely truth to that clock observation. With the exception of a Hawaii or New Mexico State, there have been almost none of the ridiculous 450-yard, six-touchdown passing performances that were becoming more commonplace in recent years. But I don't know whether pass efficiency is the better measuring stick, because, to be honest, I've never remotely understood how it's computed.
If you were to ask me the best way to evaluate a quarterback, I'd say, watch him. For instance, I've gotten quite a few e-mails and blog comments questioning Troy Smith's Heisman worthiness due to his relatively modest stats, to which I'd say, are you insane? He did have a bad game against Penn State, but in his two biggest games to date he's been pretty much a model quarterback. I don't remember him making one bad throw in that Iowa game, and three of his four touchdown passes were perfect throws into the end zone where there was only one spot the receiver could have caught it. Of course, the stats show he only threw for 186 yards. If that's your main measuring stick, then I guess you'd better strike up the Colt Brennan for Heisman campaign.
After the Notre Dame-Purdue game, Charlie Weis was quoted as saying "Sometimes you give up yards, but yards can be misleading. Sometimes yards are garbage yards, too." I was wondering if you could explain to me what a garbage yard is? -- Dave Kelner, East Lansing, Mich.
I think he's describing what some of the front lawns in the neighborhood around Notre Dame Stadium look like after a home game.
I've noticed that I don't make it into the Mailbag, while those who drag you through the mud do. That makes me wonder, if the people who insult you really think you're that stupid, why do they waste their time and superior logic on someone who clearly won't understand what they have to say? -- Craig, Austin, Texas
They probably get a big kick out of the fact that they used their superior intellect to figure out how to send an e-mail.
That's nice about the Beavers having an All Access show on FSN Northwest, but the Cougars and Huskies also have them. Not that that matters, but another random aside for you. -- Neil, Issaquah, Wash.
Would any of the superior intellects on here care to explain the joke to Neil?