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Curious Index, 12/5/07

Real men react unpredictably. According to sources of the Dallas Morning News, Paul Johnson visited SMU yesterday, officially making the Navy head coach linked to more jobs than Chopper Read. With Georgia Tech and Duke already eyeballing him, Johnson looks to be in the cat bird's seat. (Hat Tip: Dave W., via email)

We approve. The 50-year old head coach has guided Navy to a 46-25 record, including five straight bowl appearances. More than that, though: he's a real man's ranter - a from-the-gut, I could give a shit about pussies who don't share my world view, kind of guy.

Which begs the question: which job would expose him to the most obnoxious press corps? The football scenes at Duke and SMU are pretty tame these days, so we're going to throw our endorsement behind Paul Johnson to Georgia Tech. After six years of too nice for his own good Chan Gailey, we imagine Johnson being an excellent main course to follow the Chan-Man aperitif (7.5% alcohol, natch).

In any case, we'll be quietly rooting for Johnson to wind up some place where he gets a chance to shoot from the cuff. We think his rant ceiling approaches STFU levels of disdain.

"Coach, any comment on the fans who think you're too hard on the players?"

If he brings up any soft shit about bowl traditions... slap him. It's not uncommon for a bowl apologist / playoff antagonist (your choice) to yammer on about what bowls mean to our great tradition and civic pride.

To which we say - Paul Johnson style - "Shut the fuck up." As the Sports Business Journal explains in great detail, any notion that the current bowl system serves anything other than profit is simply nostalgic wishcasting:

Those numbers, plus projections for the bowls that don’t file as nonprofits, combine to make the bowl system a $400 million industry. Not bad for a collection of 32 football games that covers a three-week period.

“The whole model of doing business has changed,” said Keith Tribble, athletic director at the University of Central Florida and CEO of the Orange Bowl until 2006. During his 13 years at the Orange Bowl, he helped generate revenue growth from $8 million to more than $30 million.

“You really have to be aggressive with your marketing and sales, of both tickets and sponsorships,” Tribble said. “We ran it like a business, like a major corporation. That’s how we found the dollar value in it.”

If money is the name of the game, the last feeble arrow in the playoff haters' quiver is that the regular season contests would lose a great deal of importance. As a fan of a Texas team which dropped its first two conference games before winning five straight, I can assure you that our season finale would have taken on a great deal more importance if there was a playoff berth - as opposed to a Fiesta or Orange Bowl appearance - at stake. Adding a playoff would make create more meaningful games, not fewer. For every Michigan-Ohio State 2006 that you lose, you'd pick up a dozen more meaningful games among teams fighting on the fringe for a playoff berth. [/preach]

He's old. Still. Since Joe Paterno seems hell-bent on dying while coaching on the sidelines and all, the College Football Hall of Fame went ahead with his induction now. Actually, they did so in 2006, but Paterno was nursing a broken leg at this time last year and wasn't available for the ceremony. Feel free to insert your own "hang 'em up" joke here. We've come to believe that the well is - for all intents and purposes - dry.

Does this story make me look fat? Via Cal blog The Band Is Out On The Field comes this controversial story, in which we learn that quarterback Nate Longshore was more seriously injured than he and his coaches led on throughout the season:

Yesterday at a pre-Armed Forces Bowl press conference, coach Jeff Tedford admitted that, contrary to previous team reports, the injury was in fact more serious, something he has known since the injury occurred.

Aside from the ankle sprain, Longshore also suffered a chipped bone somewhere in the back of his ankle which has caused him continuous discomfort. Longshore has only missed one start since the injury and continues to play on the bad ankle...

Asked why he did not decide to sit Longshore in favor of the more mobile Kevin Riley, Tedford said that he has deferred to his veteran quarterback on those decisions. He has asked Longshore on several occasions if the injury has caused his poor fourth-quarter performances, and each time, Longshore maintained that it does not. (emphasis mine)

Cal fans are torn whether Tedford is deflecting heat from Longshore or just an idiot not keeping both hands properly on the wheel. We obviously don't claim to know, but that Tedford star sure has lost a lot of its shine, hasn't it?

Just because. There was at least one request yesterday for more "physical comedy." Though we don't claim to be as rubber-necked as Orson, we're populists at heart.

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