I Hate You, John Crist: Responding to reader comments from Week 4
The hottest topic of conversation this week, for all the obvious reasons, was LSU’s firing of Les Miles. No one can deny that he’s a good coach and a great person, but even some of his former players understood the move.
Much more under the radar, I saw a lot of things I didn’t particularly like during Missouri’s 79-0 shellacking of helpless Delaware State. These FBS-FCS matchups tend to be awful because the superior team has nothing to gain and everything to lose. But beyond that, Mizzou’s play-calling deserves some criticism.
Otherwise, it was just another week of mud-slinging and name-calling in my general direction. Such is life when covering the 14 fans bases that make up the SEC. Most rational thinking is gone once fingers meet keyboard.
Here are some of the my favorite comments from this past week. I appreciate everyone’s restraint in keeping them PG-13:
I assure you, I watch every snap of every SEC game every week. That’s my job. I’m never commenting on games off box scores alone.
Of course, Missouri was going to take Delaware State to the woodshed in some way, shape or form. Nevertheless, the Tigers went over the top here and there. Was it really necessary to call a fake punt up 30-0 in the second quarter?
Beyond that, even at 37-0, 44-0 and 51-0 prior to halftime, Mizzou quarterback Drew Lock was continually bombing the ball down the field — some hit, although several others didn’t. I understand that new offensive coordinator Josh Heupel has instituted a more vertical passing attack, but it seemed a little gratuitous.
In the second half, thankfully, coach Barry Odom agreed to 10-minute quarters and took the air out of the ball offensively. Nevertheless, the fake punt and constant downfield shots with the result well in hand felt unnecessary to me.
If I were running college football, FBS schools wouldn’t play FCS schools at all. They can find new ways to fund their entire athletic departments.
As I participated in the weekly SEC coaches teleconference, which I never miss, it was pretty clear what LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron was implying.
Even without being asked a question specifically about Les Miles, Orgeron said that the Tigers simply weren’t having fun anymore. They were being worked too hard, to the point that they didn’t want to work anymore.
It may not have been an uppercut to the jaw, but it was at least a hook to the kidney. Yes, Orgeron praised Miles profusely and referred to him as “a great man” on many occasions — and he is, no doubt. But Orgeron immediately instituted a handful of changes to LSU’s practice regimen upon being handed the keys.
By the way, the people who fired Miles (above) didn’t fire offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. It was Orgeron who fired Cameron. He was given the choice to keep him on staff or cut him loose. I doubt Orgeron needed to give it more than a minute’s thought.
While Orgeron likely won’t get a chance to coach the Tigers long-term, I’m expecting a bit of a rebound short-term.
When I proclaimed Ole Miss to be dead and buried after that collapse to Alabama in Week 3, I meant its chances to win the West.
Since head-to-head is the first tiebreaker when determining division winners, the Rebels would need the Crimson Tide to lose at least two of their final seven conference games. ‘Bama hasn’t lost more than one league tilt since 2010.
Additionally, Mississippi has gone down at least twice in SEC play every season under coach Hugh Freeze. Even after beating the Tide last year and having the inside track to Atlanta, the Rebs were drilled at home by Florida and then outlasted on the road by Arkansas — Alabama won the division as a result.
That’s not to say Freeze and Co. aren’t very good. At times this year, they’ve looked just about unstoppable on offense. Their front seven can be fantastic, too. I expected them to beat Georgia handily, and they did.
History suggests that Ole Miss won’t run the table, though. Even Memphis, this week’s opponent, is no gimme based on what we saw in 2015.
Of the coaches that don’t already have a national championship to their credit, Herman is probably the best one out there.
In just two seasons at Houston, a program with scattered history and scarce tradition, he’s already won a New Year’s Six bowl game in Year 1 and fielded a legitimate College Football Playoff contender in Year 2.
He’s got a good thing going with the Cougars, and you’re right about there being a lot less pressure than there would be at a place like LSU — they’ll name the field at TDECU Stadium after him by the time he’s 45 at this pace. That being said, one of his mentors, Urban Meyer, had a good thing going at Bowling Green. Utah, too.
Never underestimate the massive ego necessary to succeed at the highest’s level. Herman didn’t take the Houston job to turn a Group of 5 nobody into a Power 5 somebody. It was a résumé-builder, his first shot as a head coach.
Maybe the rumors are right and he’s holding out for Texas or USC. But if he’s in H-Town for more than another year or so, it’ll be a shock.
By definition, a columnist expresses his opinions. With strong opinions come stronger reactions. That’s how the math works.
I never deliberately try to provoke any fan base. As is the case with all media outlets these days, we get creative with headlines to generate more interest. As Hyman Roth said to Michael Corleone, “This is the business we have chosen.”
As far as bias is concerned, everybody here knows I went to Florida State. Aside from Florida, which of course is one of my main rivals, I’ve never had any positive feeling — or a negative one, frankly — toward any SEC school. With regard to the Gators, I think I’ve done a pretty good job covering that program fairly during my time with SDS.
If I write something positive about one team, there are 13 other fan bases ready to tell me I’m wrong. And if I write something negative about one team, that fan base tells me I’m wrong enough to make up for the other 13.
It’s the SEC. It’s the internet. Put the two together, and it’s a powder keg. But if not for that powder keg, I’d be out of a job.