Before we get started, I have something to say. I'll try and put a theme on each of these little shindigs, with an anniversary, holiday, birthday, etc. theme. Today, it is Flag Day in Paraguay which should constitute for a national holiday. As this is not the case, let's just stick to Jayhawk Nation.
The Paraguan Flag, the front at least, as promised...
While today is the key day of independence in Paraguay, it is the offseason back home for both college football and basketball, and the MSM has a fever. And the prescription is to make obscure lists that mean very little. ESPN is the main culprit of these fancy lists, mostly talking about nothing and/or things that even a casual sports fan could put together in an hour or so. Still, I feel the need to link to it and discuss, even though it supports the cause of thoughtless list making that I am trying to stop.
The first list we'll talk about is Tom Deinhart's creation, ranking the BCS Conference coaches 1-66. And guess who is #66? No, it's not Mark Mangino. It is a first-time head coach, Iowa State's leader Gene Chizik. The best you ask? High School Harry himself, Pete Carrol. Here is a little portion of the list, tell me if you agree or not...
- Brian Kelly, Cincinnati
- Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M
- Dan Hawkins, Colorado
- Bret Bielema, Wisconsin
- Rich Brooks, Kentucky
- Les Miles, LSU
- Charlie Weis, Notre Dame
Why does Mr. Deinhart still have a job? I am very happy with the job Marky has done here in Lawrence, he has raised the program from perennial Big 12 doormat to a respactable team and making a fanbase angry with 6-6 finishes. That is very commendable and I am glad he is still around. Still, to list him (and Brian Kelly for that matter) ahead of the likes of Bret Bielema (whose Wisconsin team went 12-1 last year losing only to Michigan), Les Miles (the head coach of arguably the second most talented team in the country, winning the BCS Allstate Sugar Bowl and only losing to Auburn and Florida ON THE ROAD!) and Charlie Weis, who has taken the Golden Domers from "good" to "BCS x 2" in only 2 years on the job. Their place in those BCS bowls is a debate for another day, but to say that our resident fat man in Mark Mangino is better than Notre Dame's in Charlie Weis is just plain stupid. Weis has, in half the time, taken his team to the same amount of bowls, and instead of getting pasted by NC State and pasting Houston he has played in BCS bowls, albeit losing twice. I know, I know, Weis had a better starting point coaching at ND. Who cares. Bilema, Weis and Miles are all vastly superior coaches who don't deserve to be behind Mr. Mangino.
Of course, Deinhart was kind enough to post his Big 12 rankings, for those of us who have trouble following along with a big list. Mangino is 5th in the Big 12, according to the now much maligned Tom Deinhart, ranked ahead of Gary Pinkel and Mike Gundy, coaches who, you know, took their team to a bowl game last season. While I think that I would prefer Mangino over those two in the long run, it seems inconceivable to rank them higher in a list of coaches based off of last season's results. OK, enough ranting about one poorly-done list.
ESPN is doing a recap of the last 10 years of college basketball, doing a couple of Top 10 columns. My personal favorite is the Top 10 programs and always has been. Whenever these Top 10 lists are thrown out (usually at least once a year for some sport by ESPN) I always go for what is basically the Power Rankings of the last 10 years in college basketball. Keep in mind, we haven't won a National Championship since 1988 (I know, it's easy to forget) and that seems to be what these "experts" value the most. You can't argue with that line of thinking, the point of the game is to build your team into a National Title contender and the fact that we've failed will knock you down a couple notches. So our T-5th finish (with North Carolina, Roy's new team nonetheless) is about where we deserve to be. Sure, we've had a really good to great team every year, but a couple of 1st round outs in the Tournament combined with a lack of a National Title keep us back from a Top 4 finish. Duke (1 championship/3 Final Fours), Michigan State (1/4), Connecticut (2/2) and Florida (2/2) all have at least one title and both Michigan State and Duke has surpassed our two Final Fours. You can't really complain with this one, our missed opportunities hurt us here.
What we can complain about is their poll listing the Top 10 teams positioned for success in the next 10 years. It's a cute headline for sure, but the fact we are ranked BEHIND the Kevin Durant-less Longhorns is mind-boggling. I am very impressed with everything Rick Barnes has done down in Austin, making them into the second best team in the Big 12 consistently, but we are still in a better position to win than they are. I have a semi-soft spot in my heart for the Longhorns, mainly because Vince Young's magic in the Rose Bowl (USC football is my least favorite thing on the planet), but also because both of our coaches have been talked about as 'unable to win the big one'. Yea, just like Peyton Manning right? Phil Mickelson? Roy Williams? In my "hope-for" bracket I had us meeting them in the Championship game, hoping for one last epic battle between the 'Horns and the 'Hawks. After the first two (both of which went our way ;) games, the MSM would have loved every second and if we came back from 20 points again, we would have made history. Regardless, to say that they are better set than us is crazy.
Just for a fun little laugh, to make me feel better after tearing into this mindless list making, let's take a look at the Top 10 under-achievers. Looky there at #6, it's the Missouri Tigers. I think that Mike Anderson has them in the right direction though, so this might be the last fun little stab we get to take at Missouri for awhile. Of course, it is Mizzou so something will go wrong for sure. Gary Pinkel anybody?
That's all I have for now...
Happy Paraguan Flag Day and as always...
NOTE: I also wanted to say that instead of doing 100 reasons why we won't win the National Championship this season in college football, I am going to only do 50. I'm having a hard time coming up with one-hundred and this will also allow me to devote more time to a similar series for the basketball season.