Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two Dudes, One Post

We’re going to try a new column every week that touches not just on the Irish and the Nittanys, but other relevant topics from around the college football world. Five questions a week, followed by a rapid fire Q&A between Bill and I that touches on any and all things where each person has 140 characters to respond to the given question. Without further ado, the first edition of Two Dudes, One Post.

You've both seen Michigan this year and last year. Are they headed in the right direction under Rich Rodriguez?

Mattare: Well there was nowhere to go but up after last year so yes, they’re going in the right direction. I think the jury is still out on whether this regime will ultimately be a success though and it has everything to do with things going on off the field. They’ve made significant strides on the field this season and Rich Rod has done well infusing athletes into the program that fit his scheme in the short time he’s been there so the groundwork is there for a good successful run…but it seems like there’s a lot of smoke lingering around the program. Before the season it seemed like things were about to unravel but the early success put out that fire. These NCAA violations are a giant elephant in the room and remember that Rodriguez was rubbing so many people within the program the wrong way that some thought it was possible he’d be fired.

He’s a really good coach; I just don’t know how great a fit he is at Michigan. That being said, if these allegations are cleared up with minimal damage and Rich Rod finds a way to stay out of big trouble I think he’ll be a big success in the Big Ten.

Bill: I would have to say yes. This is a program still very much in flux, and to have an effective offense with only two years worth of his own players is a faster turnaround than people expected. Now they're still 1-3 in the conference at this point, but they lead the Big Ten in scoring. And they beat Notre Dame. I expect them to finish 4-4 in the conference this year and to contend for the Big Ten championship next year. His offense is going to shake things up in the Big Ten, but the one second guess I have for Dick Rod is immediately firing Ron English upon his arrival. Michigan has always had a great defense and English was a respected coordinator. In their first season without English, the Wolverines gave up more than 300 points in a season for the first time this decade.

Do you think the formation of a political action committee to get a playoff in college football is good or stupid?

Mattare: Absolutely stupid. I agree the BCS stinks but not for the reasons most people think. I don’t want a playoff, I love how important every game of the season is and with each week the pressure builds more and more. It’s the best regular season in sports and I don’t think it should be sacrificed.

I wish we could go back to the way the bowl system was before the BCS with the exception of how the Rose Bowl was. The main reason the BCS was formed was the fact that two years out of four the two best teams couldn’t be matched up in a bowl game because one was tied into the Rose Bowl (Penn State in ’94 and Michigan in ’97). I hate the inflexibility of the current system that leaves us with at least one terrible BCS game every year. I realize that’s unrealistic with all the tie-in’s that are involved with every game, but it’s probably more realistic than people crying for a playoff.

Bill: I think mixing non important things like politics with important things like football is stupid.

I like an eight team playoff. One team from each BCS conference and two at large bids. A playoff doesn’t make the regular season less important. There are 119 FBS teams, giving eight a chance to play for it all doesn’t mean you can drop a few games in the regular season and make it up later. Most of the teams in the bracket would be undefeated or have only one loss. The one issue here is that you would have a couple teams playing 16 games in a season (counting conference championships and three BCS playoff games). That is a lot, it would make football the only major collegiate sport where teams play close to as many games as the pros, which isn’t in the spirit of the student athlete. Maybe shorten the regular season to 11 games.

The athletic director at Illinois announced Ron Zook will be back next year: Bad move or Terrible move?

Mattare: Terrible. He’s a great recruiter and a terrible coach. They need to cut the cord now because the cupboard is relatively full (very full by normal Illinois standards) and a good coach could step in and have instant success. Bringing Zook back when it’s so obvious he’s a lame duck means recruiting will not be as good as it has been. It essentially makes the inevitable step backward a large one when it could be a small one.

Bill: Terrible, he was a failure at Florida and he's a failure at Illinois. I don't know how they've actually gotten worse with the same QB in the same system for 4 years, especially considering the significant upgrade of incoming players they've seen since the beginning of his tenure. The confusing thing about this to me is that I don’t think Illinois has the reputation as a bottom tier team in the Big Ten, yet. They are the only team along with Penn State and Michigan to reach the Rose Bowl in the last 5 seasons, and they do have some history (2nd Linebacker U??). However Ron Zook is doing his best to put this program in the basement. A program that respects itself wouldn’t put up with a loser like Zook this long. It’s like a hot chick dating that Phish worshipping pothead in high school, except Zook’s coaching might actually improve if he put down the headsets and picked up a bong between quarters.

Let's turn to recruiting: who is the biggest current commit on your team and why?

Mattare: Without a doubt it’s five star defensive end Chris Martin. The Irish have made big strides on the defensive line in terms of run stopping but we are still incapable of getting pressure on the quarterback without sending extra men. Martin is the type of difference maker who can provide that pass rush. He’s a HUGE get.

Bill: Silas Redd because he has breakaway athletic ability and because he’s putting together a ridiculous senior season up in Connecticut, each game he seems to have multiple 40+ yard TD runs. I don’t think we have a realistic shot at Marcus Lattimore so I think Redd remains our only back after signing day, and I’m slightly more excited about him than Brandon Beachum next year. I would name one of our six stud D line recruits, but there’s six and I feel that’s unfair.

Who is the single most important recruit left on the board for your team?

Mattare: To me there are three huge ones out there. The first is the number one recruit in the country, offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson. He’d come in and lock down the left tackle position for four years starting the moment he stepped on campus. The second is five star wide receiver Kyle Prater. We’re pretty loaded at receiver but our offense is borderline unstoppable when we’ve got horses like Prater on the outside (see: Floyd, Michael and Tate, Golden). Last one is four star defensive tackle Louis Nix. He’s not the prospect the other two are but we need a big guy in the middle of our defense in the worst way. Twist my arm and make me choose one and I’ll take Henderson. He’d lock down one of the most important positions on the team for four years and create a wave of momentum and enthusiasm similar to the Te’o signing from last year.

Bill: Our class is done for the most part, but If I have to pick I’ll say Sean Parker out of California. He’s a bit of a long shot, but he is a natural safety and you’ve heard my gripes this season. We signed five defensive backs last year and only one was a natural safety, so there is definitely room for Parker. God it would be great to actually recruit a kid who plays the position rather than convert some 5th year wideout fail to starting free safety.

LET'S GO TO THE RAPID FIRE FINISH...140 characters to respond.

Mattare: The Catholic Church is talking about making Tim Tebow the first living person to be canonized as a saint in spite of the fact he's not Catholic. Thoughts?

Bill: Tim Tebow is going down, that concussion was foreshadowing, like when Dumbledore had a burnt hand at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Bill: If you could dress up as one college football player for Halloween, who would it be and how would you pull it off?

Mattare: Daryl Clark. I’d wear a #17 Penn State jersey covered in sequins, skin-tight leather pants, and slap every guy’s ass I saw.

Mattare: You saw the idiot from BC who got an extremely misguided tattoo that he will no doubt regret over the next three years. Name a tattoo you'd get and not regret three years from now.

Bill: "WILD THING" across my chest.

Bill: What’s the play you'd most like to erase from the ND playbook?

Mattare: Nothing. Our play book is perfect. Like the Michaelangelo's David. Or The Godfather. Or tailgating in Radio Tower Lot. Or a Yocco's Hot Dog.

Mattare: As people who read this blog may or may not know, Billy was a CYO basketball all-star back in high school with a single weakness...Bill, what's higher: Daryll Clark's completion percentage (62.1%) or your successful layup percentage from senior year?

Bill: Too close to call, but your broken ankle percentage was 100 whenever you tried to guard me.

Bill: Last one--on the topic of high school, would you rather be in a steel cage match versus Mr. Hudak or be forced to take Mrs. Listwa to second base, not passing over first base of course.

Mattare: Mr. Hudak. In both instances I'd sustain substantial injuries but with Hudak it would be limited to physical pain.

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