Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pac Ten Alley

The Seattle Times today concluded its four part series on the 2000 Husky Football team in a somewhat upbeat manner.

To their credit they ran the success stories of Anthony Kelley, and other athletes after graduation. They also brought up the tragedy of Anthony Vontoure. I have always felt that Anthony never received the proper mental help while he was at UW. That of course is a subjective opinion since I wasn't there.

Mark Emmert is featured in an article which says you can win, and you can win properly. "You do not have to give up your values to be competitive in sports," Emmert said. I completely agree with that statement.

Quotes, and comments from current head coach Tyrone Willingham are conspicuously absent. You would think that he would have something to say if asked about how he currently is running the program as opposed to how it was run in the past. I am sure the presidents office is controlling damage on this one, plus Willingham is in Hawaii recruiting this week. Good week to leave town and hit the islands if you ask me.

I for one would enjoy a close look at how the program is run under Willingham, and what the current players have to say about it.

The Times tries to make people think that Todd Turner was fired because the football team wasn't winning. That is partly true, but the biggest factor was a disconnect with the boosters, fan base, and finally the Presidents office. Nobody could argue with Todd's mission, but his comments and attitude were turning everyone off. The athletic department needs to raise $150-$300 million dollars, and Turner simply wasn't the guy to get it done.

The Times also tries to make the limp point that Willingham is under fire because he is trying to win with integrity. His problems are very similar to Turners, and have little to do with integrity.

You can win with integrity, and you can find coaches other than Ty Willingham that can do that. Willingham lost a number of games last year because his team simply wasn't coached very well in the second half. That has nothing to do with integrity, or values, it has to do with coaching.

Is every other team in the Pac Ten winning without integrity?

The debate about Willingham should be decided by what we see on the field in 2008. We need some winning to go along with that integrity.

Backtalk With Johnny B

Nathan Ware, and I talk about the Times articles in the latest edition of Backtalk with Johnny B in the Seattle PI this morning.

John: What do you think motivated the Seattle Times to run this story now besides selling newspapers?

Nathan: I don't think there is any other motivation behind it besides selling newspapers. They're killing the P-I right now. This story has been great for sales and web traffic. I bet the editors have been high-fiving in their offices all week. I've never been one who believes that the Times has a vendetta against the school. They just want to sell papers and they know smut sells. Seriously, it's been a great week at the Seattle Times. They are loving every minute of the hysteria.

Rick Neuheisel

I wish Rick Neuheisel, and UCLA the best. Everyone deserves a second chance, and Neuheisel is no exception. The Times articles try to categorize Neu as a win at all costs type of guy who put performance on the field way ahead of academics. rick was far from perfect, but I think Rick actually did a very good job with the majority of his players. You can say whatever you want about the man, but one thing is for sure, he did care for his players. I think Rick has the opportunity at UCLA to really build something special.

Race Bannon

Our favorite Husky Half Brain, and I did a little Q&A session this week where I ask Race questions about his views and feeling concerning Husky football. I will be getting that out tomorrow after we have had a little time to talk with each other. We had 60 mph winds out in the Midwest accompanied with snow last night. It seemed to have overloaded phone circuits last night so I was unable to make long distance calls for awhile. After I talk to Race this afternoon I will get it published.

Oregon Arena Correction

Last week I erroneously said that the State of Oregon was providing tax money for the new basketball arena on campus. The Ducks are not getting tax money for the program or new basketball arena. The money will come from bonds to be paid back in 20 years backed by the 100 million and growing legacy fund.

Pac Ten Alley

Now it is time to take a walk down the coast and see what our neighbors are up to.

The Duck basketball team has had some tough losses lately. Will Ernie Kent survive beyond this season?

Malik Hairston scored 21 to pace Oregon, which sent the game into overtime when Bryce Taylor made a layup as time expired. USC (13-6, 4-3 Pac-10) was nearly perfect in the overtime session, going 5-for-5 from the field -- all 3-pointers -- and 6-for-8 from the free-throw line as they quickly broke away from the 74-all tie and the Ducks could not keep pace.

The Stanford basketball team is the class of the Bay Area this year.

Dunno about you, but I thought the game was pretty much over at halftime. I mean, Stanford got five minutes and no points our of Brook Lopez and still had a 31-30 lead?
Cal needed to be up by six or eight at that point. That the Bears could do no better than a one-point deficit indicated that it wouldn’t have the firepower to keep pace with the Lopez-led Cardinal in the second half.


Ex Tulane, Missouri, USC, and Arizona coach Larry Smith passed away this week.

"First and foremost it is a sad day for college football, the University of Missouri and all of those that had the opportunity to know Coach Smith and his family. I want to give my condolences to the family -- they are a special group of people who have had a tremendous impact on many, many lives.

California poached a late recruit from Oregon State this past week.

Dominic Galas has gone from being a Beaver to a Golden Bear. The 6-foot-2-inch, 270-pound senior offensive lineman at Central Catholic High changed his non-binding commitment from Oregon State to Cal. Galas, who recently was named to the CalHiSports.com all-state football team, became a hot commodity following a strong performance in the CIF Division III State Championship Bowl Game in Carson. That was when Cal offered Galas a scholarship. He's the No. 9-ranked center in the country, according to national recruiting Web site rivals.com.

At least the Beavers have baseball to look forward to.

Take a look at the game flow charts from both of Oregon State's games last week. You'll notice that the Beavers put together decent first half performances in both games, then tapered off in the second half. Does this mean that our opponents are just more athletic, and our guys are tired in the second half? Are coming out of the locker room flat? I don't know.

Are the Trojans having a down recruiting season?

USC is an unimpressive 18th in the latest Scout.com rankings, but I've consistently said that team rankings are too subjective in recruiting. When USC was always No. 1, it was a dose of nice publicity, but that's not what makes the Trojans a perennial title contender.Besides, I'm reminded of Billy Packer's recent quote. ``This may make all the recruiting experts angry but (O.J.) Mayo is a good player, he is not a great player . . . he could be a good player. He is not a great player.''That was a criticism directed at the recruiting experts, not Mayo

The Sun Devils have lost three straight.

ASU lost another one point game to Washington State last night, making it two in a row against the Cougars. The most frustrating part for me wasn't the officiating, or the no call at the end, but rather that the game was ASU's for the taking and we didn't take advantage when opportunity presented itself.

Our friend Nestor over at the UCLA blog has been following the Seattle Times articles, and has also been reading my opinions in the blog.

In case you have not seen it already we want to make sure all of you are aware of a series of articles the Seattle Times is running about the legal problems concerning the 2000 Rose Bowl team. bruinmike88 has already posted a diary on it. John Berkowitz from Washington Sports Blog, who I have a lot of respect for did a post about it this AM. Here is John's synopsis of what has been covered in these stories so far:

Here is the reaction to the Times Series from the WSU blog. Oh by the way, how many Cougar football players have been arrested this week?

So how about that UW story in the Times?? The story stinks so badly that they have to spread it out over FOUR DAYS of in-depth sleeze. Wow. And they want $150 million of King County tax money?? How many soccer moms in King County, who had no clue about any of this, are throwing up in their morning latte's? Rape with Jerramy Stevens, among a long list of F-UPS?? Shootings with bloody fingerprints of Pharms, yet they let him play?? What's next? It's obvious the state reps have heard from some registered voters over the last week or so, hence the about face of Dr. Evil himself, Frank Chopp. But, remember, this isn't just front-page sports page news. This is TOP FOLD, A1, front page news on the most circulated paper in the Pacific NW. Hard to ignore these kinds of stories. I don't know how much of you have read it so far, but it's pretty disgusting. A fan of UW, WSU or Spokane Falls CC, the thing is an embarrassment for college sports.

4 comments:

Rickster said...

When looking at Todd Turner you HAVE to strongly consider that he wasn't fund-raising at all. I will give him all the credit in the world for changing the mentality of the athletic department but h made absolutely no headway on facilities. Part of Babb's unfulfilled legacy was the failure to build permanent soccer OR baseball facilities. I never heard this addressed by Mr. Turner. An issue that arose during his tenure was the ancient swimming facilities, the worst of any top 25 team in the nation. Mr. Turner remained mute. The $300 million dollar price tag that is being thrown around could well end up being more like $500 million to bring ALL U.W. athletic facilities up to snuff.
Contrast this with a university president that had just spent the last three years busting his ass to raise $2.5 BILLION for the educational side of things and one can see why Emmert had little patience for Turner's $19 million athletic department surplus.
I have heard that an AD is known by 1. the hires that they make and 2. the facilities that they build/renovate. Turner was unable to do half of his job.

KKH said...

John,

I would love for you to have an entry with all the crazy quotes from Todd Turner that show how disconnected he was. From the "track? what track" when he was hired to the "rose bowl, yada, yada, yada" statement he made the week before he was fired.

I was listening to the KJR interview (Gas or Softy or both), and was stunned to hear Turner talk about fans just wanting the "rose bowl or yada, yada, yada." I hadn't paid much attention to him prior to that, but was pissed when I heard him say that, and wished I could have fired him right then and there. I said to my wife that night that the comment would come back to haunt him.

John Berkowitz said...

KKH - I just posted it and you are good to go.

Rickster - The Athletic facilites need a lot of work, they were neglected for a very long time. I can imagine when it is all done it will cost around $500 million in todays money. Just another reason for the state to chip in $150 million.

Turners claim to fame at UW was reorganizing the AD's office and building a system which would avoid the problems the athletic department has had in the past. I think he did an excellent job doing that.

As far as facilities, and raising money he gets a big goose egg. I will say that the plan they put together with HOK was pretty nifty.

Hedges put the cart before the horse. Husky Stadium should have been rebuilt first even though every other program was needy too.

Anonymous said...

Stay classy WSU.