Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bad Sportsmanship in "Urban" Areas

Congratulations to the Ohio State Buckeyes for winning the national championship last night.  They totally dominated the game, and you have to to overcome 4 turnovers.  The over/under on Ezekiel Elliott was 165 1/2 yards rushing.  I said before the game that if he hit the over that Oregon would lose, and of course he went way over.

On the same note, that was not the Oregon team I saw play most of the season.  How much of that difference was Ohio State and how much was them simply having lost too many players to injury and suspension?  Totally unknown, but the better team on the field last night won the game.  (Although it certainly looked to me like Oregon hadn't done any tackling since the Rose Bowl, because they forgot how to even attempt to do it properly, and that was not them at all.)

Urban Meyer has certainly proven that he is one of the best coaches in college football right now.  If he is not the best, he is certainly right there in the conversation.  Going into the game many commentators said they were picking Ohio State simply because of Urban, not because they thought they were the better team, but that because he would do what was necessary to win.  I think that was apparent, and he certainly earned a lot of respect from me, until the end.

Late in the game, Oregon went for it on 4th down, because they had to, and didn't complete it, giving the ball to Ohio State around the 14 yard line with what I think was a little more than 3 minutes to go. I really wondered what they were going to do, and the play calls sent in seemed to indicate that Urban was simply going to run down the clock, get a first down, and then sit in a victory formation. Because either Oregon's defense got incredibly stout all of the sudden, or Ohio State wasn't trying very hard to score.  They then got their first down, and all they had to do was kneel down a couple of times and the game was theirs.

But that is not what they did.  Instead they kept running the ball, scoring with only a few seconds left on the clock.  I won't write what I actually said, but it was bush-league and totally bad sportsmanship. The only thing scoring there did was to drive up the margin of victory, which didn't matter.  They were already up by 15.  If this were the NFL, you might see them do it because the NFL is about money and entertainment, so what they can do different things.  But let's be honest and say that they don't even do that in the NFL (unless the coach hates the other coach. I'm looking at you Bill Belichick).

But this isn't the NFL, and college football is supposed to be teaching these athletes something, it's that whole student/athlete thing, and one of those things should be sportsmanship. Urban Meyer had that opportunity last night to send that message and he failed the test.  He, in fact, failed miserably.

In 2010, Wisconsin was playing a game in which they were leading 20-19 and driving the ball as time was expiring.  They got inside the 10 yard line and then assumed the victory formation and they won the game. They could have scored and increased the margin of victory, but they didn't, and they still won. That is good sportsmanship.  What Urban Meyer did was not, and I have yet to hear a single commentator call him out for it which is also a travesty.

I congratulate the team for their victory, but I have lost all respect for Urban Meyer because he is not coaching or teaching his players, and those who play who watch, the proper respect for the game and his opponents.  He also needs to be careful because, as Gregg Easterbrook says, when you taunt the football gods, bad things tend to happen.

Update: Shout-out to Tony Kornhesier who is the only commentator I have heard who called out Urban Meyer for this, and Michael Wilbon, agreeing with him, said that if he did that in the NFL "he would get one of his players killed."

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