Ten New Commandments for 2011
By Paul Myerberg // Sep 20, 2011
There are 10 real commandments — you know, the Ten Commandments — and whether you believe or not they still serve as a pretty good set of rules to live by on daily basis. Don’t murder. We can all agree on that. Don’t steal. Don’t covet another person’s significant other – and I ask that the members of the armed forces in San Diego pay attention to this one, seeing that several of you tried to do that with my significant other while we were on vacation. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. We can get behind these. College football teams and programs should consider the more traditional commandments in addition to a few others tailor-made for 2011 – a few rules to live by, if you would, beginning with Texas A&M’s message to Baylor.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s conference deal Baylor certainly covets A&M’s upcoming connection with the SEC, but the anger also stems from the fear of life on the outskirts of college football, which is a real possibility for the program once the Big 12 falls to the wayside. But there’s coveting – plenty of it, in fact – as A&M is due to break into the most powerful conference in college football. The coveting, however, is tinged by the fact that deep down, Baylor must know it deserves no place at such a table.
Thou shalt always be ahead of the curve The Big East seems caught unawares at the quickness with which the A.C.C. gobbled up Syracuse and Pittsburgh. With Connecticut next, perhaps followed by Rutgers, it’s clear that the A.C.C. did not bide its time, as a few others seem to be doing, but instead got in ahead of the rush. The A.C.C. was ahead of the curve. Now, Syracuse and Pittsburgh aren’t quite Texas and Oklahoma. That doesn’t matter: the A.C.C. won’t get caught out in the cold. The Big East and the Big 12? It doesn’t look great.
Thou shalt not overrate B.Y.U. I’m looking firmly in my own direction. The Cougars are one play away from being 0-3; in hindsight, beating Mississippi by a point, thanks to a fumble recovery, is as good as a loss.
Thou shalt not attempt a comeback with your senior quarterback on the bench And you especially avoid doing so when playing L.S.U., whether home or away. I continue to be confused as to why Dan Mullen thought Tyler Russell was a better choice in the fourth quarter than Chris Relf. Yes, I understand that Relf had struggled mightily in the second half after a solid first 30 minutes. Nevertheless, putting Russell into that situation was akin to putting blood in the water for the bunch of sharks on the L.S.U. defense. From here on out, stick with the senior.
Thou shalt not commit turnovers in the red zone This one’s for Notre Dame, which had at least 500 yards of total offense and five turnovers in each of its first two games. Both ended in defeat, not surprisingly. It seemed like the Irish were headed in the same direction against Michigan State on Saturday, committing two early turnovers, but Brian Kelly buttoned things up over the final three quarters. The end result? Maybe the offense was quite as prolific; maybe the Irish were a little less exciting; maybe there weren’t many beauty points. Kelly doesn’t care: the Irish are in the win column.
Thou shalt make a decision at quarterback I’m looking at Penn State. And Alabama, though the Crimson Tide did make their decision fairly quickly once the season began. Texas is in this group, as is Connecticut, Ohio State, U.C.L.A. and Oregon State. Make a decision at quarterback before the start of September: by that point, you have the spring, summer and early fall to see what you need to see. Make a decision by September and go with it. Be bold. And if you don’t like what you see? Then make a move. That’s what Texas did last week, when it beat U.C.L.A., and the early returns were favorable. But be concrete; don’t be wishy-washy like Penn State, but be bold.
Thou shalt beat Vanderbilt The SEC is tough enough. Don’t make things harder on yourself by losing to Vanderbilt. That’s a death knell for a successful season, by and large. Mississippi? Your season is over: the Rebels are 1-2 with a loss to Vanderbilt, and to get to six wins – and that’s not even that good – they’ll need to get five wins from a schedule that features road games against Fresno State, Auburn, Kentucky and Mississippi State and home dates with Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana Tech and L.S.U. With that schedule, six wins would be a miracle.
Thou shalt schedule up, to the best of your ability Ohio’s going to win 10 games, in my opinion, but it won’t be pretty. The Bobcats may look pretty getting to 10-2, but the schedule is not one that will impress the masses. Ohio’s not a great example, but B.C.S. conference teams should take note of the way L.S.U. scheduled tough. There is always the chance of falling flat outside of conference play, and few would have faulted the Tigers, given their conference slate, for taking it easy in September. Easy? L.S.U. took the hard road to 3-0, sandwiching a win over Northwestern State with wins over Oregon and Mississippi State, and take on a second premier non-conference foe in West Virginia – on the road, no less – this coming Saturday. That’s how you impress.
Thou shalt make a quick getaway and not look back, lest you turn to salt (or lose a big television deal) Nebraska and Colorado provided the blueprint: duck out, cash your check, punch out and don’t ever look back. Nebraska bid farewell to the Big 12 and hello to the Big Ten; Colorado did the same en route to the Pac-12. Texas A&M followed suit, as did Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Texas and Oklahoma, along with a few others, are dilly-dallying. Those programs still working out the kinks need to get moving, if they haven’t already.
Thou shalt keep Web designers, printers and t-shirt makers on layaway Remember when the Pac-12 – or the Pac-10, as it was then known – added Colorado and Utah? Remember the company it used to revamp its logo, Web site, apparel and various other paraphernalia? I hope Larry Scott kept those folks on speed dial; it may soon be the Pac-16, so let’s update everything all over again. And they may need a new name: get a think-tank together. Dan Beebe can see if the company that made his letterhead takes returns. The A.C.C. needs to change its division names; Coastal and Atlantic was silly anyway. The Big Ten? It may move things around, so schedule a conference call for tomorrow morning.
And let us say Amen.
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Tags: B.Y.U., Baylor, Big 12, Big East, Chris Relf, Colorado, Dan Beebe, Dan Mullen, L.S.U., Mississippi, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio, Pac-12, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Texas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
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