Trash Talk, Failed Pundit Edition

Say, did any of you notice how badly I did with predictions last week?

So here are my predictions for the week: Carolina will beat a beat up Vikings team. The fifth-round college backup coached by BillBel will notch another win.

And about that  0-3 of the title? On paper, by all reasoning, the Chargers should beat the Jets. But that last second thing is really killing them this year, so you gotta go with Favre. 

Finally, the Jaguars keep trying for that elusive break-out game against Peyton Manning. The Jags aren’t the team they were last year. But then, neither are the Colts. Two teams with swiss cheese for an O-line, the Jags still looking for their first win, in Indy?

Unfortunately, I think there are going to be at least two playoff teams from last year that’ll be 0-3 after this weekend.

Can you say 0-fer? In related news, randiego showed up again. 

And if that doesn’t make me pathetic enough, know that I fell asleep just as the Wolverines were beginning their big comeback yesterday–missed the whole damn thing. Go Blue!

I’m just going to take solace in the fact that the Lions finally got rid of Matt Millen (the TSA guard in SFO was teasing me about how long that took), and we’ve got a week to try to become a pro team again.

So rather than risking any predictions this week, I’ll just pose this question for discussion: Why is Nick Saban so much better as a college coach than a pro coach?

  1. Presto says:

    I graduated from LSU almost 20 years ago. When the LSU Tigers won the the BCS National Championship in 2004 (they have two trophies now to USC’s one), Nick Saban could have commanded 100,000 LSU fans to match on Washington and take the Capitol and we would have done it. He still had demigod status when he left to coach the Miami Dolphins, even though football fans all over South Louisiana knew it would end in tears. But when he announced he was leaving that failure behind and going to Alabama to coach, LSU fans decided as a whole that there was something very, very wrong with Nick Saban.

    I’m not one of the people who will throw logic and reason just because a carpetbagger came down from Michigan and betrayed my Tigers, after stating unequivocally on many occasions that he would not be leaving to coach pro. I feel he deserves some applause for bringing LSU back from a miserable run in the 90’s. I also refuse to hate him just because he is scummy enough to coach in Tuscaloosa. Everybody has faults. Saban is just one of those people who are prone to becoming a traitor.

    But to answer your original question, Saban recognizes great potential in young men when he sees it. There is a huge difference between recruiting for a college team and putting together a team in the NFL. In college recruiting it’s easier to spot talent, and far easier to get the player signed to your team than it is in the NFL. College players don’t usually have a history of injuries, as do so many of the NFL players, and injuries can easily ruin a professional team.

    College aged men are still developing. The coach’s workout regimen and practice doctrines can make or break a talented collegiate athlete. Whereas in the NFL (even the relatively few players the team acquires in the draft) the players have already been turned into the athletes they are, by different coaches and coaching staffs. In college the athletes can be developed according to what the coach thinks is best relative to the position he wants them to play. There is no such developmental phase in professional football.

    That’s one of the things I find most exciting about NCAA football. The players aren’t well known when they start, even most if the highly recruited high school players. They have a clean slate upon which to create their own legacy. In the NFL the players already (usually) have a legacy, even if it’s only colleges. They have egos. They have agents selling their talents. The atmosphere is so commercial and contrived.

    I like to think that college football is superior to professional football in just about every way. The athletes have there whole lives ahead of them. They get to play on television, often for the first time in their lives. They are filled with the thrill of the incredible spectacle, tens of thousands of cheering fans in the stadium and millions of viewers at home. In the NFL it’s all about money. Everything about the NFL just boils down to dollars and cents.

    I think Saban is so good at what he does because he loves the sport for the thrill of the spectacle. When team politics and commercialization dictate what teams can and can’t do, Saban has his hands tied. That is especially true of drafting and trading. Having said all that, Saban is still a vile traitor.

    I hope I answered your question with my opinion somewhere in this rant.

    • watercarrier4diogenes says:

      So, like Pete Carroll, he can recruit, pick great assistants,recruit, relate to the players, recruit, teach them skills from an NFL perspective (well, Pete can, we’ll have to see if Nick learned anything in Miami) and recruit. So we’ll see if he can motivate like that every week. Pete definitely had his hands full in the motivation dept. Thursday, against a weaker team but a home team (the definition of ‘Trap Game’ now has a Beaver flag next to it in his coaching dictionary). Nick managed it against a great team AND a home team. Lets give it one more week and see how things work out for him in Death Valley… (shades of several places in Dennis Erickson’s road of ‘opportunities’).

  2. flounder says:

    It has pretty well established that pro coaches put in a lot more hours. Maybe he turns into a pumpkin after 5 PM.

  3. randiego says:

    Can you say 0-fer? In related news, randiego showed up again.

    Hey, I’m here every day. Weekends are a busy time for me!

    Can someone tell me why I can’t have Denver/KC on TV? All I have is Green Bay/Tampa on TV, and Bengals/Browns on radio.


    The argument that college football is superior to the pros seems kinda silly to me. My two cents is that Saban and Spurrier succeed in college but not in the NFL because it’s an easier league. The range of talent between the top players and less-skilled is a much wider gap. Spurrier tried to be a 9-5 coach in DC like he was at FLA and got his ass handed to him.

    • emptywheel says:

      See, I think Spurrier failed in the pros for different reasons than Saban did.

      Pros takes better intellect. Whereas for college coaches, sheer bluster can work great. Saban has that intellect, IMO, whereas Spurrier doesn’t.

      But then I never much liked Spurrier.

      • randiego says:

        It’s a nice theory… I don’t know a thing about Saban. In was in DC while Spurrier was there and he seemed lazy/disinterested in the whole thing…

    • bmaz says:

      Of course I am inured to the Cardinals sucking. They sucked for decades before they came here. I didn’t want them; my vote was to wait for an expansion team. They came anyway. Hey they are the home team here, I don’t hate them; but the Cheeseheads Packers have always been my team since I was a young kid. My other team is the Broncos which I grew to love when I was in Boulder for a bit in college. I would actively root for either of those teams over the Cards any day unless the Cards had a legitimate shot at the SuperBowl (Ha Ha that’ll be the day) because having them go to the SuperBowl would be great for my city. Today I am rooting for the Bretts. And they are kicking the crap out of the Cards!

  4. randiego says:

    headed to a backcountry bbq to watch the game.

    I’m a guy that NEVER takes the Chargers to cover a large spread. They are simply a team that regularly plays down to opponents, especially at home.

    Having said that, I’m looking for them to cover -8 today.

  5. masaccio says:

    As we enjoy half-time here in Tennessee, with the Titans up 20-10 (after a really horrible call in our favor led to a TD), I put up an homage to EW’s discussion of The Count of Monte Cristo on Oxdown.

  6. 4jkb4ia says:

    The Brad Smith comment related to the presto comment. The pride of seeing the players doing well in, I will write, “the show” with the more complex and faster plays is worth the NFL being all about money. It is hard for me to believe that a high school player on the level of Terrell Pryor has that much amateurism in his thinking anymore. Also, to be an equal opportunity offender, those 100,000-seat stadiums seem like magnificent pagan rituals. But college basketball is far better than the pro equivalent.

  7. freepatriot says:

    spurrier versus saban ???

    you call that trash talkin ???

    why don’t you poindexters argue about how many molecules can fit on the lid of a ten liter flask

    what’s next guys

    we gonna go tip over supercolliders for fun ???

    stop over analyzin your data an talk some real trash, ya nerds

    see, that’s how you talk trash, folks

    • bmaz says:

      Don’t get too far out in front; only 4-0, got to get by Ray Lewis and the Ravens to get to 5-0. I saw Chris Johnson a couple of times on TeeVee while he was at E. Carolina. He is way good. You have got a real player there.

  8. freepatriot says:

    The pats CAN’T lose this week. Take that Freepatriot patriot-hater suck

    now THAT’S what I’m talkin about

    not great, it’s a little awkward, and hard to scream at somebody when ya got a mouth full of hot dog

    you still need a little work, but that’s progress

    and masaccio, try sayin it like this:

    Titans now 5 and O. SUCKERS

    btw, lessons are free this week

    next week, if you still need help, call me “10 bucks” patriot

  9. freepatriot says:

    if the Lions can’t lose this week,

    who says the lions can’t lose this week ???

    I heard the lions are havin a bake sale wednesday, and I got Cub Scout Troop 114 to win

    I had to spot the lions two cake and a dozen dinner rolls, but I got $500 on the cubbies

  10. freepatriot says:

    hey, randiego, you didn’t wanna see the san diego – oakland game

    15 – 0, traitors

    I hate the traitors

    it makes me SICK to enjoy sayin that


    • randiego says:

      hey I had to listen to the whole thing on the radio thingy, and believe me it wasn’t any better doin’ it that way – although the tequila shots helped

      But, some guy named Captain Obvious once said “A win is a win is a win” and I’m not one to disagree.

      The Chargers had no business winning that game, but somehow they managed to win AND cover the spread too. Miracles still happen. An amazing win.

      Told ya the Broncos had a suspect defense…

  11. freepatriot says:

    not only was ew wrong on her football prognostication, but did anybody els notice the wamu ad ???


  12. Neil says:

    I really haven’t followed Saban closely. From what I’ve read, his high intensity, booming vocal style of coaching on the field and in the locker room was a problem for some of the outspoken Dolphins who expressed their dislike for him after his departure.

    I think it may have gone beyond like and dislike to a matter of respect: They didn’t feel as though they had his respect and so when he left with time left on his Dolphins contract, they let him have it in the press. Although the owner didn’t judge him, players and fans found his persistent reassurances about staying in Miami, and then the departure for Alabama, to be a sign of his faulted character.

    Beyond the influence a head coach has on a team’s winning ways – through player personnel, skills practice, and X’s and O’s – Saban seems to relate to college kids better than some professional players, maybe in recruiting but definitely on the field and in locker room instruction.

    Belicick created a culture of driving for perfection, being supremely prepared, and making plays. The organization has internalized that approach. Veterans and first string players help coach new comers about expectations. Saban may not have taken that kind of organizational approach in Miami and so stood out as a singularly demanding and unworthy leader. A leader must recognize his or her own faults if he or she hopes to be followed in spite of them.

    The Dolphins were 9-7 Saban’s first year and finished second to the 12-4-0 Patriots. The next year they lost three more finishing 6-10. He was Defensive Coordinator with Head coach Bill Belicick, and together they couldn’t win.

  13. bmaz says:

    Hey, whatta i know? All my teams are a scintillating 2-2; except the Doncos, who although are 3-1, just lost to Kansas City. KC should count for two losses all by itself.

  14. dakine01 says:

    Why is Nick Saban so much better as a college coach than a pro coach?

    For the same basic reasons that Pete Carroll and Steve Spurrier and Bobby Petrino and Rich Brooks and Rick Pitino (in basketball) are all better coaches in college than they were in the pros:
    A) The pros tune out the rah-rah stuff
    B) The college coach has more control over the life of the college player than the pro coach has.
    C) The pro game has far more talent on both sides of the ball so tha tthe tricks that work against college teams don’t work against pro teams

    And a few other reasons I’m sure.

  15. radiofreewill says:

    I think when you get to Coach in the Pros, gameday is like leaning over the craps table, watching the dice roll out, play by play – interested, involved, but kind of detached from it all.

    Guys like Saban, and Spurrier, otoh, are full-on Animals – Beasts – that have to be held back and calmed into civility, or they might just run out onto the field to dispute every single spot of the ball, like Billy Martin arguing balls and strikes.

    As far as prognostications go – Mercury must be in retrograde – it was a weekend of unpredictable results! For instance, the Gators got out-smashmouthed by Ole Miss – dammit! With Fulmer’s job possibly on the line, Tennessee called the Darwin Audible and fumbled the hand-off to Lose – D’oh!

    And, congrats, to the Thundering Brontos for running over the laying down Badgers.

    “Who could have known…”