Sunday, September 25, 2005

Great AZZ.Com post on the Falcons by Schadenfreude. Captures the whole thing


I remember 1995. I was so excited about that year I bought season tickets for the first time. Even drove out to Missouri to watch what was, at the time, a huge win for upset-starved Falcon fans.

I have my season tickets again, and I'm going to use them, no matter what happens. I was in State College in 1998, I was in Buffalo in 2000, and I'll be at the Doyt five times this eason.

But I have reached the conclusion that this team just isn't very good.

I don't know all the issues, and I'm not a football expert or anything. Some discussion questions, though:

1. Is Jon Lovitz* a hammer-weilding fella who sees every problem as a nail? Word is he's simplified our defense on the theory that our players need to do less thinking and more attacking. Maybe that works at Clemson or Auburn when you've got the horses (and judging from his resume, it didn't work so well, or he'd still be at Clemson or Auburn).

We don't have the horses. And if we don't have the horses, shouldn't we at least *try* to outthink the opposition?

2. Gregg Brandon. No idea. I didn't see as much of the game as I wanted -- some work stuff kept me away in the first half. Overall, I see no smoking guns, and I see some things I like. Just little things -- like the way he ran the clock down during the first half and went for it on fourth down at the Boise State 43. Conventional wisdom says you don't do it, but we were already in a hole and it was a calcluated risk worth taking.

On the other hand, I am also intrigued by the slow erosion theory posited by Hammb. That is, that Brandon isn't such a bad coach that the team fell apart immediately -- but that we are seeing the wheels slowly come off.

It is indisputable that the previous coach instilled a new culture here. Roughly half the team never met the previous coach. Could it be that the culture is slowly changing?

I see one of two scenarios playing out:

1. Bowling Green recovers, goes on a winning streak -- only to rip our hearts out on national television in Oxford and in the season-ender against Toledo.

I never seriously contemplated the idea that Toledo could beat us at the Doyt this season before this morning. But I am now. Toledo appears to have a good team. We don't have a good team.

2. Bowling Green stumbles against Ohio on Oct. 8, and the real suspense in this season revolves around whether or not the Falcons will stay above .500.

In other words, I don't see a MAC championship in our future. I hope Gregg Brandon can prove me wrong. But I don't see it. This is not a very good football team.

This was a significant, significant loss, and it rips my heart out.

Part of the reason: I'm not sure what we have to look forward to next year. We lose some very good players on offense this year -- Sharon, Sanders, Warren, Pope. We have a couple of studs on defense -- Antonio Smith is breathtaking -- but I don't see anything resembling the fab five class of Lictensteiger we brought in a couple of years ago.

This really was supposed to be The Year. And I'm not sure I see it anymore.

The Boise State game is even killing my buzz about next year.

After the Wisconsin game, I was able to invite Badgers fans to come out to Cleveland next year with an aura of confidence. My friends and I were already throwing around tailgate ideas. The table was really set for that game, wasn't it? A chance to beat Wisconsin on "our" field on what, presumably, would have been a national television game with a MAC-record home crowd watching?

I'm not sure I feel the buzz any more.

And, more immediately, this really will hurt attendance this year. If the team had won -- or at least shown up -- I think we would have sold out homecoming. The marketing department, alumni association, etc. were really going all out marketing homecoming. I really felt, before last night, that the Temple game woudl sell out.

And that would have been a Big Deal, because it would have helped drive advance ticket sales for the rest of the season.

I'm not sure I see a sell out any more. I'll be there. Freak will, natch. How many other people will be?


The only thing I can say for sure is that this team requires a bit more attention from Paul Krebs. We are at risk of backsliding and losing all the things that have been painstakingly put together over the past four years.

Football is important. If Krebs does nothing else, he must ensure we put a football team on the field people want to watch.

And the Falcons were painful to watch last night.



My addition. I think this is a strong post. For those who might not understand the reference, our Falcons ended 1994 with a heartbreaking loss at the Doyt to a CMU team that won by virtue of an 80 yard long fake punt (the famous fat punter play). It was a heartbreaker. Not to worry, of course, because everyone, including our All-MAC QB, was back for the next season. Things started out bad (we lost at home to La Tech), and fell apart from there. We proceeded to have six or seven straight losing seasons.

It does feel a little like that. We DID end last season on an up note, but we don't seem to have the same energy this year. I hate to even think it, but I have to admit, it had occurred to me before today. I have written here already that I am worried about our talent level for next year.

One other similarity is that Blackney could have left for Louisville, but didn't get the job at the last minute. He would never, ever, be considered for a head coaching job again. Much as Coach Brandon could have gone to UNLV, but didn't. Let's hope it doesn't end up being his last chance.

Some posters on are saying that Brandon was a good enough coach to not let things to to hell right away when UM left, but has not been good enough to keep it from happening gradually. That's probably a little harsh for right now. But he has to keep proving himself just like everybody else. And it could still be true.

This team needs some work. If he's not the coach they say, he'll bring this team around and have them cranking by the time we walk into Oxford, and the team will continue to produce starting next year. We're on dimensional on offense, and undimensional on defense.

If he is, we could lose 5 games. Don't expect him to turn down any job offers this winter.

I'm sticking with my prediction. We leave October 6-3, with one loss in the MAC, probably to OU, maybe to Akron.

No comments :