Sunday, December 10, 2006

Looking for angst in all the wrong places

With all due respect to my compatriots who have chimed in on the subject (including ndoldtown, who, as usual, is clear and concise on the subject), I'm not all that upset right now over the outcome of the Heisman award ceremony.

Disappointment in this case, to me, is not applicable. It's not like we went in thinking Quinn was going to win the award. As disappointed as I am that Smith's poor performances this season were glossed over because his team won in spite of them, it's par for the course. The Heisman race has its "perceived value" component, and when you're in the ND fishbowl, everything you do will be magnified, both good and bad. This isn't the Man trying to keep Brady Quinn down, it's (biased) voters plying their craft, such as it is.

I'm also having trouble getting upset at the third-place finish because I really don't give a damn who comes in anything other than first in that race. I don't think a one-place difference illustrates a strong effort to screw anybody.

I agree, by and large, ESPN has a vested interest in bringing ND down. But let's remember everything ESPN does is orchestrated schtick, no matter what team they're pimping or denigrating. They're all circus monkeys dancing with cups in their hands, and deserve about as much attention. If I was an actual journalist working for that organization, my tear ducts would be infected from my copious weeping for the state of my career. When ESPN finally has meaningful influence on something of true substance, let me know, because until then, they're on the pay-no-mind list.

I agree, by and large, the criteria for the Heisman has changed, and not necessarily for the better. But until a Notre Dame player fits the new criteria and is somehow excluded from or marginalized in the award process, I'm hesitant to talk about biases. If things go the way we want them to the next couple of seasons (after what is sure to be a learning experience next year), ND will have strong players on highly-ranked teams. Then we'll see what we shall see.

This all isn't to say I'm pleased overall with the situation. I think, as usual, NBC's marketing of ND's program and players leaves a lot to be desired. While things may improve now that NBC has an NFL product to go along with ND (and have, a little, on the graphics side), more improvement can't come soon enough. The announcing team blows and has for a while. I don't want to hear the team talked down by the guys in the booth when it's not warranted. This is our television contract, after all, and if there's a little pro-ND bias in there, tough noogies.

A tough loss for Brady Quinn, made even tougher by the fact that Minter's D (MI) and McKnight's dropsies (SC) probably factored in a lot more than they should have. But BQ will be fine without the Heisman. He's poised for a good career in the NFL that will make him a very rich young man, and if something doesn't work out there, he's got a quality education on which he can fall back. Everything else is gravy.

Labels: , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article, but I have problem with the following comment:

"When ESPN finally has meaningful influence on something of true substance . . ."

Unfortunately, ESPN has too much influence over CFB. Their partership w/ ABC -- and the fact there is no other competition -- has essentially granted them a monopoly over the sport.

Case in point is the last two Heisman races, or lack thereof. Both this year and last, the Heisman winners had record breaking victory margins. I thought last year, this might have been justified, as Reggie Bush had an incredible year. But this year, coupled with last, is indicative that ESPN's propaganda does have an incredible amount of influence on voting outcomes. I mean, come on, did Reggie Bush, and now Troy Smith, really have years that justified there margin of victories. Where they that much better than the competition? I think not.

ESPN controls not only the Heisman, but also college football; this, unfortunately, will remain the case for the remaining future. This is great if you are an Ohio State or USC fan. However, as a Notre Dame fan and a diehard college football fan, this is quite concerning. Until people realize it, it won't change.

12/10/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For in general, I read your articles everyday. I recently had a dispute with a complete stranger about a point you brought up, the ND Microscope.

This man tended to believe that ND's standards should be held up high stricly because of their contract with ABC. "They should be 'under the microscope,' they get the most exposure." I then replied with the fact that just because a team has a televsion contract doesn't neccessary mean they are going to be dynamite every year.

This is just one of those facts many Irish fans need to get used to including myself. I get excited every year, masking the problems the team will have will dreams of a National Championship. These problems such as secondary, overall defense, and lack of running game, never cross my mind every new year.

However, this doesn't mean I am not a realist as well. Like Charlie says, "Would I be happy if we won the NC this year? Yes. Next year? Sure. The year after that? Sign me up." Sure I want ND to win, but even us fans put alot of our eggs in baskets the team can't carry.

Of course, I think that if our ND squad this year didn't have hiccups in their big games such as the drop passes and defsne the outcomes would have been much different. I am not setting myself up for dissapointment next year, but I am thinking more or less down the road. Our recruits are great, and in a few years we will all have that team we are looking for to win it all.

As for now, the microscope remains, the team was still a decent one, but the probs still are apparent. As for ESPN, they jump on the bandwagon every year more than anyone else. It is shtick, but yes, it hurts the team too.

Don't EVEN GET ME STARTED ON ABC announcers.


12/10/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comments are on the mark! I especially agree with your posit that the criteria for winning the Heisman have changed--what happened to the recipient being the best player in the country? I find some small satisfaction in the old adage that "cream rises to the top." BQ will be a top pick and laugh all the way to the bank. Troy Smith may convert to WR or return kicks on Sundays but the mass media machine will not be able to help him so much at the next level!

12/10/2006 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Almost forgot...I really support your comments about the announcers for ND games on NBC. Pat Haden is an idiot and seems at times biased against the Irish. His criticisms are many and his praises too few and shallow. Can ND foster a change and get a ND-friendly commentator!?

12/10/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous comment. In terms of blatant ND hatred, ESPN is becoming increasingly annoying for ND fans and influential in college football. Poor Holtz is left to fend for himself each week.

Back to the Heisman, I too am not disappointed with the outcome. I'm disappointed for Brady. For a guy with so much drive and passion, losing out to Smith will sting for a long time. Brady deserves to be a college football icon outside of South Bend and unfortunately his Maxwell award will soon be forgotten. Then again, Brady is sure to be playing quarterback in the NFL (prediction: for the Packers) for a long time. Smith will float from team to team trying to run back punts.

12/10/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Southern Charm said...

Great article as usual. I'll only comment on Brady Quinn. You're probably right in that BQ will be fine without the Heisman. Peyton Manning, who I think most would agree, should have won the Heisman instead of Skunkbear Charles Woodson. But Peyton's done pretty good without it I think, as will Mr. Quinn. Just hope he gets on a team that has a decent offensive line.

Thanks again for continuing your brilliant writing.

12/10/2006 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great point made about the ABC announcer's, when your prime time broadcast crew is Bob Davie and Brent Musberger you have problems from the start.

12/10/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recommendation to all who are frustrated over the so-called announcers on NBC: Turn your TV volume down/off and Westwood One's volume up. Works great!

12/10/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Benst said...

While I understand your point and completely agree that Brady did not meet the "current criteria" for the Heisman, my angst continues along with NDOldtown. There has been a pervasive media effort to smear Brady Quinn this year and it's unfair to a truly great kid.

Over breakfast today, I get this from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune:

"Brady Quinn: Somehow you won the Maxwell award ... Maxwell Award voters: Official membership in the ND Glee Club."

I know that Morrissey is a hack and that I need better breakfast reading material. The point is that these guys can't stand to see Brady get any recognition at all. The ESPN group-think on the relative merits of Quinn and Smith is rarely called out or challenged. In most cases, the message is Morrissey's: you must be nuts (or a total homer) if you don't agree. I have been confronted by several knowledgable CFB fans from other schools with comments on Quinn being over-rated. They don't see him every week. They get their information on Quinn in the same way that I do about Florida or Arkansas: one or two games watched and a lot of short blurbs from the media - mostly ESPN.

ESPN may be a bunch of circus monkeys, but there are few people who seem to realize it. They have a lot of influence and it has hurt ND this year. We are still in a BCS bowl and we are heading in the right direction so I don't mourn for the program. But, Brady's time is over and it burns me to hear these idiots denigrate what we all know has been a great career, and a fantastic story of overcoming adversity - even if he didn't grow up in the ghetto.

12/10/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that ESPN does exert way too much influence in college football. The anti-ND bias is quite prevalent in Mark May and Craig James, there is nothing that ND can do that would win any accolades from those two. Last year, Vince Young was pretty important and I believe the bowl game justified the fact that he should have won the Heisman. The anti-BQ hype started soon after the Georgia Tech game, and after the Michigan game there was absolutely no chance for BQ.May and James both made that abundantly clear all season long. Without BQ, ND is 7-5 this year. This guy has so much class, sacked 30 times and says if it wasnt for the big guys up front he wouldnt be where he is today. We will miss this guy, he is truly the best qb I have seen at ND, and I go back to Hurate. One game makes a season, I hope CW realizes that from here on out. I believe CW needs to remember he is not in the NFL anymore, where they dont run the score up because in most cases you face a team twice in a season. Take no prisoners, Charlie. When you think of the Heisman, think of the ones that ND players should have won. 1986,Tim Brown over Testeverde. Brown was better his junior year and had better statistics. 1989 Tony Rice over Andre Ware, gaudy numbers. 1990 Rocket over Ty Detmer, again numbers. How can anyone say that Ismail wasnt the most exciting player in the country that year. He is still the most electrifying player I ever saw at ND. So look at some of the Heisman winners since ESPN's birth and ask yourself, would John Hurate be able to win that award today, or even Roger Staubach, if they were playing?

12/10/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should change the name of the Heisman award to the "Ho-Hum" award. The ESPN and ABC sportscasters gave the award to Troy Smith in September, before the season was half over and essentially eliminated any competition. For suspense, perhaps they should give the award in September and then vote in December whether to let the player keep it. (That's sarcasm if you didn't notice)

12/10/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watching the Heisman ceremony made me laugh. Poor Troy Smith. I found it so heartwarming that he was able to battle through; 1. beating his ex-girlfriend, 2. accepting bribes and 3. assaulting a competitor on the basketball court all to win sports most prestigous prize. Since when did the Heisman trust give bonus points for character flaws? You would think that given recent history (ala the Reggie Bush clan living in luxury while at USC) the Heisman people would look to give bonus points to someone that would represent the Heisman with pride (hmmmm.... someone with a double degree in Finance and Political science that still plans to take the LSAT despite the propsect of making a bazillion dollars in the NFL as the #1 pick next year comes to mind). But you can't blame Troy. He did manage to make it out of OSU with his degree in communications unlike the other 50% of his African American football bretheren. THe Heisman fiasco is just indicative of the values that our society, directed by the media, wish to highlight. Sorry for the rambling. Maybe I am just bitter?

12/10/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Heisman is a joke. Reggie Bush and his family degraded it with the $ 100k loan..and now this clown Smith.Let's see.....He was expelled for assault on an opposing teams player in high school, was involved with Maurice Clarrett in a cell phone scam, then took numerous brides well over the $ 500.00 that was reported in the media..Just another street thug with a ribbon wrapped around him....Who cares about awards when they let useless sports writers get the pick.

12/10/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Isaac said...

In regards to a future player winning the Heisman:
I wouldn't be surprised if Clausen never wins, not because he doesn't deserve it, but people already have an impression of him as a snob from the limo when he committed at the CFB HOF. And it'll be a shame if this is the reason that holds Clausen back, as taking a bribe (amongst other things) was not enough to keep Smith from winning it and was, by far, a much more serious offense.

12/10/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me! ESPN kisses ND's ass and you know it.

12/10/2006 04:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So much for knowledge of the Heisman. Now, for knowledge of english grammar as taught at Notre Dame. I believe the correct usage is: "If I were an actual journalist working for that organization..."; not "If I was [sic] an actual journalist working for that organization..."

12/10/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These posts for the most parts show why ND is so heartily disliked. Quinn did not lose the Heisman - He never had a chance. Smith won it. Get over it. You are already complaining about why Clausen won't win it.

It's a good idea to remember that the award is named after a man who coached a team that won a game 222-0 and the score after one quarter was 80-0.

From all indications Quinn is a class act and an outstanding representative of the University - a true Notre Dame man. And in about 6 months he'll graduate with a degree that cost his fellow classmates' parents at least $150,000. And not long after that he'll sign a pro contract for who knows what. Of course he may be a little disappointed (but not surprised) not to have won the award, but I think he'll get over it.

Will you?

12/10/2006 04:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Christmas gift would be to have NBC hire Tony Roberts as the announcer next fall. I sure missed him this year.

12/10/2006 06:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree.I didnt think BQ was going to win so 2nd or 3rd place is no different.
I want all of you ND and BQ fans out there to start praying from now, individually or in groups. (you might want to get the priests in South Bend as well). I live near Detroit and the Lions have a firm grip on the #1 pick. I need you, one and all, to start praying they dont draft him. thats the kiss of death on any QB. pray the rosaries, light candles, offer your first born,... whatever it takes. please God dont let him become a Lion.

12/10/2006 06:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you all fail to get is that ALL of the media are circus monkeys, whether its sports, finance, or politics. There are no standards and there is no failure--unless you happen to be inventing stories, as NY Times and others' reporters have done and been fired.

Thye know almost nothing and are the least well educated white collar workers in America.

12/10/2006 07:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Penn State grad, but have been a life long Notre Dame fan and my Saturdays are consumed by ND football and ND football alone. I must say however, that the whinning about this ND bias is getting a little played out. ESPN and the other sports shows are only a notch up from Jerry Springer. Why else would they employ Lee Corso? When you set the standard like Notre Dame has, you become a target. Relish the role of the hunted because it's that much sweeter when you survive. Just like Lou's policy after scoring a touchdown....act like you've been there before, hand the ball to the official and keep your mouth shut.

12/10/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK - it is clear that Pat Haden is:

1. Not a competant announcer

2. Not "pro-ND"

3. And, what university did he attend?

The way the product is "showcased" on NBC is absolutely pathetic - announcing team, lack of graphics, lack of tape from earlier in the day or week, etc.

When was the last time that NBC showed a CURRENT clip of the team or band walking to the stadium? When is the last time there was any footage from a pep rally?

The "NBC product" was "tired and outdated" in the very early 90s - what do we honestly think of it now?

NBC will continue to spend as little on the product as they can get away with - they know that the audience is basically dictated by how ND is doing - not in how they market the product. Thus, they have zero incentive to put money into the product - unless the ND administration forces their hand.

Without their ND announcing gig, where do we think either of the present team would be employed as college announcers?

Changes are desparately needed.

I would be absolutely fine with announcers who are 100% NEUTRAL - they don't have to be "ND homers", but PLEASE let's persuade NBC to at get announcers who are at least competant.

12/10/2006 10:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ESPN is Entertainment Tonight with Jock Straps

Enuf' said.

12/11/2006 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger bcout said...

Re NBC announcers,
I'm quite surprised that I seem to be in the minority but I thing they do a fine job. Hammond is a very competent play man and does his best to remain nuetral, and Pat Haden does an excellent job as a color man and clearly has a lot of respect for Notre Dame and our rich tradition. What do you want a bunch of homers doing the game or worse Musburger or that Southeast Conference loving, in and out of retirement, Keith Jackson.
There just aren't any Ray Scotts around anymore.
Bill Coutros, NJ

12/11/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am of the opinion that the NBC announcers need to change, but is there anything we can do as alums to help push this idea to the administration? I'm thinking the call for change letter in a smaller form. I'd love to know what we can do to get some reasonable announcers and improve the overall quality of the NBC broadcast of our games. It is getting way out of hand.

12/11/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And in about 6 months he'll graduate with a degree that cost his fellow classmates' parents at least $150,000. And not long after that he'll sign a pro contract for who knows what."

That's better than having us taxpayers pay for Smith's "degree" in uh, what is it, "Sports ladeeda"?

And paying for 4 years of althetes playing for tOSU and not even graduating!

"Of course he may be a little disappointed (but not surprised) not to have won the award, but I think he'll get over it.

Will you?"

Getting over it, and complaining about the system, it's flaws becoming glaringly apparent this year, are two different animals.

12/11/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re:"And in about 6 months he'll graduate with a degree that cost his fellow classmates' parents at least $150,000. And not long after that he'll sign a pro contract for who knows what."

You have it the wrong way around. The money HE brings in with ticket sales, NBC contract, etc. pay for other student's stipends, grants etc.

12/11/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you look at the list of people who have a vote on the Heisman, it is going to be very difficult for any ND athlete to win the award. This voting group is a growing lot of ND haters. When will a Heisman winner vote for an ND athlete over a kid from USC or Ohio State or Okla, Neb, Fl State, Miami, Florida. Get it? The vote was stacked against Quinn. The AK kid ahead of BQ????

12/11/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

All I can say is that Notre Dame may not win all of the awards they deserve (I cannot say that I wasn't a little upset with the third place finish), but they have a world class education. They are classy people and will all be successful in their own rite. Who needs the Heisman when you have that. Go Irish!

12/11/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am exposed to the Troy Smith hoopla everyday here in Buckeye Country. The one thing that upsets me the most is the lack of recognition given to the Irish program as a whole. If someone would have offered a two year record of 19-5 on the day Ty got fired I would have jumped at it. I believe the Irish are headed in the right direction. And as for Brady Quinn, I just want to thank him for the two best seasons ever by a Notre Dame QB. I hate to hear the roars in Columbus about underacheiving. It was an honer to get a chance to root for such a solid individual over the last four years. One last thing, I knew Brady was in trouble at the Heismen ceremony simply because it seems like to win the award these days you have to recieve money from boosters or agents. Thank you Irish, it was a great year.

12/11/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why should anyone care. The Heisman has been the kiss of death to QBs. Where is that OK kid (Jason White) now? Not in the NFL. How about Geno Terreta (convict U). He flunked out of the Pros also. There are others as well but name me a QB who did win the Heisman that went on to a stellar pro career. Not any I can think of in the last 20+ years.

I personally am happy BQ didn't win it. He will be the first QB taken, he will go to a bad team, they will have a bad OL. That is how it works in the NFL. Unless someone trades up to get him he is going to a bad team. Which is why its good that he is so tough, and can stand in the pocket and take big hits.

Will Smith even be the 2nd QB taken? Doubtful, but someone will likely take him late in the 1st just because of the media hype.

I think Smith is a solid college QB. I also don't think it helped that in their head to head matchup BQ played poorly and Smith played excellent.

Sadly I think tOSU is the best team and by a large margin this year. They will handle FL and prove it.

All I care about now is winning a bowl game and not just that but playing well on a big stage. We have mentally shrunk in just about every big game in the last 10+ years. Charlie has to relize it isn't just talent, we have a mental hex going back to that BC loss that cost us a NC. Yes it has been that long since we have beat an elite team other than the skunkies.

I liked the way we played against PSU. They were a quality opponent (8-4) and we just took it to them the whole game. The engergy was great.

Please ND bring that level of passion and energy to the bowl game and we just might have a chance to beat LSU. Another shallacking by a top 5 team and we will not play in a BCS again for years even if we do have 9 or 10 wins.

I never thought we were good enough to compete for the NC this year. My standard for a great season was 10 wins and a BCS bowl victory. That is still in front of this team so I remain hopefull.

GO Irish beat Tigers.......

12/24/2006 08:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ryan....

I don't know what kind of fan you are, because our contract is with NBC, not ABC.

12/27/2006 11:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said! I am so happy that chances are BQ will have a great career and has a degree from a great world-class university. He's likely to go on and get a JD. Now take the last two chuckleheads (not talking about Davie or Brett Simpleberger yet - what a pathetic pair to have doing CFB, esp. ND) who won the Heisman. It looks like Bush may indeed be in trouble - more fire to that smoke last year over the aspiring marketer/agent and the parents' housing. And what a clown taunting the Bears. The 2006 Heisman has had 2 straight lousy games- the BIG one (lost to a ND recruit that bagged us for FL) and then had a poor game in the college all-star game this weekend. The real QB star was Carson (USC) Palmer's little brother from a second tier school. Yahoo!
We need Charlie to step up the D and NBC to bring in a first class broadcast team- lose that sad sack SC grad, Haden. Put Pat and Davie in the booth for CBS and in another year we'll be able to put Ty in the booth since he'll need a job. DavieHam and Haden, all deadly for ND! I wish the best for Claussen. He may and could be our next Heisman and a NC Qb. Good for all those men Charlie has rcruited. Go, Irish.

1/29/2007 09:42:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home