Just in case the US sports world would like to get me a present to celebrate this Holiday Season, let me offer a few hints as to what I would like to get. There are a half-dozen things on this list; I will be happy with any one or two of them:
- I would love to see coaches and managers dial back the reliance on “analytics” just a bit. “Analytics” has its place – – but “analytics” should not replace “common sense” and the “eyeball test”.
- I would love to see MLB roll back the inclusion of the DH in the National League and to announce a timetable to get rid of it in the American League as well.
- I would love for athletes who get caught exhibiting some anti-social behavior to realize that reading a prepared statement that “takes responsibility” for the obviously “poor decisions” is not sufficient. There needs to be atonement and there needs to be abstinence from repeated behaviors of that type.
- I would love for basketball officials – – both in college and the NBA – – to relearn the rules in the book about traveling and palming the ball; and then, to call those newly relearned rules consistently throughout the season.
- I would love for CBS to advance James Lofton to a higher perch on their football announcing teams. His analysis is cogent; but most of all, he does not belabor the obvious; often, he will stay quiet and let the images on the screen reveal to the viewer what just happened.
- I would love for virtue signaling sports writers and commentators to give “offensive team names” a rest for a while. I am waiting for one of these extremely sensitive folks to call for UMass to drop “Minutemen” or for Oklahoma to drop “Sooners” because both names might bring discomfort to men who suffer from premature ejaculation.
There was a report floating about earlier this week that Bill Clark – – head football coach at UAB – – had been offered the head coaching job at Auburn but that he had turned it down. Assuming that the report was correct, that is a choice that might surprise a lot of folks.
- Auburn is an SEC school; the SEC is an elite conference and the pay for a head coach in the SEC is outstanding.
- UAB is a C-USA school; C-USA is a middling-to-inconsequential conference and the pay for a head coach in C-USA is probably a third of what it is for a coach in the SEC.
In a way, I think I can understand Coach Clark’s thinking here. UAB dropped football after the 2014 season and only bright it back as a varsity sport starting in 2017. Clark was the coach when the program was terminated, and he was the coach that was there when they brought it back. I do not know Coach Clark, but that tells me that he must be happy where he is in his life and his career.
Moreover, I am not sure that I would like the Auburn job. The attitude there is that Auburn should be a perennial contender for the SEC Championship at a minimum. The problem is the SEC Division in which they are placed and the fact that they must go head-to-head for lots of recruits with Alabama. Folks at Auburn will not like to hear this, but Alabama is a more prestigious football program now and for the past decade or so. In 12 of the past 13 seasons, Alabama has been ranked in the Top 5 when they took on Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl.
Bill Clark would certainly have made a lot more money at Auburn than he is making or will make at UAB – – but shed no tears for Coach Clark because even at a football outpost like UAB, he is probably making somewhere in the range of $1M – 1.5M per year. He and his family are not in need of food stamps…
So, assuming that Auburn was indeed turned down by Coach Clark, the school rebounded quickly and offered the job to Boise State coach Bryan Harsin and Harsin took the job. Boise State is in the Mountain West Conference (MWC) and like C-USA the MWC is a middling-to-inconsequential conference in the football cosmos.
Harsin has been the head coach at Boise State for 7 seasons and has amassed an overall record of 69-19 there. The Auburn job is a big step up for him and for his career, but he has a sufficiently sound résumé to make it worth following his progress at Auburn.
Speaking of Boise State, there was a report over the weekend that the Broncos might be interested in leaving the MWC to join the AAC. That would be a small step up on the college football pertinence ladder for Boise State and we have seen that football has dominated decision making in more than a few athletic departments because football is where the big revenue streams are. However, although I am only somewhat fluent in US geography, it seems to me that Boise State is not even close to any other school in the AAC.
- I believe the closest school would be Tulsa and it is 1200 miles away.
- There are much more remote schools such as UCF (2200 miles), USF (2150 miles) and Temple (2100 miles).
Maybe that kind of travel – – and the expenses associated with that travel – – might make sense for the football team and the men’s basketball team, but the AAC also competes in 15 sports in addition to those two. I simply do not understand any of the economic fundamentals that would get the folks at Boise State even to consider such a move.
Finally, my lack of understanding of the economics associated with a Boise State move to the AAC reminds me of a quotation from George Bernard Shaw:
“If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………