Friday, May 08, 2009

Offseason Roundtable #6

In an effort to not only increase our chatter about the Cards, but to also increase some reader participation, Edge, RV, and Alan will be doing these roundtables every other week or so? Love the answers? Want to post your own thoughts? Of course you do. And you can do so in the Comments section. Because remember, dear readers, a smarmy sarcastic blog about Ball State athletics is only as good as its small yet powerful reader base. Have at it, boys and girls...

1.) Give me a number. Right now... the wins BSU has next year, and to whom.
Alan: I'll go 10-2 with losses to Western Michigan and Auburn. I think the Cards will win the MAC West. Again. I think there will be challenges of unbelievable caliber like Northern Illinois, but I think this team will surprise some people.

Edge: Two of our strongest areas last year were obviously passing and our o-line. And we've now lost a huge portion of this. The more I think about this coming season, I get a little more cautious on a repeat of 2008. I'll predict a conservative 8-4 this year with losses at Auburn and our last three conference games in November. Prove me wrong boys!

RV: 8 Wins. Losses to Auburn, BGSU, NIU and Western. You asked for no explanation, so you get none.

2.) One of the biggest question marks coming into the 09 season is the play of the offensive line. Buy or sell that skill group as the most important position on the field for the Cardinals as the year opens?
Alan: I'm buying that. A good offensive line can hide a lot of other problems. Mediocre QB play and/or running back play can be successful and productive given the hogmollies up front playing their large rotund rears off. With solid OLine play, MiQuale gets yards, it takes pressure off Page, and gives the offense a chance to succeed.

Edge: Again, our o-line was stellar last year, and this is going to be one of those make-or-break areas of our game. I'm buying that these guys are the most important for 2009, especially with an unseasoned QB at the helm.

RV: Sell. Every position on the field is important, if the OL is solid but the QB play suffers from inconsistency it doesn't matter how clean his jersey is. Just like great routes from a WR + a threatening running game + good timing & release from a QB = better OL play. There's too many cogs in this machine that are uncertain to put it all on the OL.

3.) The Academic Progress Report was published this week, and several schools, most notably Minnesota, is losing some scholarships for failure to succeed in the classroom. Should teams be penalized for not graduating their players? Or did student-athletes really stop being students years ago?
Alan: See, here's where I struggle. There's the should be and the reality. Grades should be important. Athletes should be in class every week. Coaches should be held to a higher standard. The bottom line is that in reality, none of that matters. Unless we're talking egregious violations and/or academic fraud, no one really cares. It's a byproduct of a societal norm that says athletes are big dumb animals who can't really do any better. I've seen the opposite ends of this spectrum throughout my own career in education, and I can tell you that most athletes are great kids.

Edge: Double-edged sword. As a scholar, yes, the education is important. But I'd agree that that adage went out the window long ago. I can only imagine the percentage of players that are there just for the sport. And I'm not saying it's a bad thing, as long as they take some advantage of the opportunity for higher education. Some of these guys go on to the next level, but most don't. There's nothing after college for these guys, so that degree becomes pretty important. I don't see a penalty system being needed, but I think a 30-40% graduation rate should raise some red flags with the NCAA.

RV: Just because they stopped becoming student athletes at many schools doesn't mean they shouldn't be held accountable for providing an education. These kids are getting 40-100k worth of scholarship money that should be used towards an education, if they aren't going to use it than kids who work hard are more deserving. Personally, I think they should be penalized more but I also hold a higher standard of education for college students than most.

4.) The story dominating the blogosphere right now is Tennessee's recruit Daniel Hood, who was convicted of assisting in the rape of a woman as a juvenile, has been offered and accepted a scholarship to UT. Buy or sell Tennessee taking a chance on a kid? Or is this another example of filling a needed position no matter what sort of thuggery it takes?
Alan: Do I buy a second chance for Hood? Maybe. I can't say for sure. Everything I would think or say has to be tempered with the fact that this case and its results would have never come to light were it not for attorney error and the record becoming public knowledge. So sure, I guess the kid deserves a shot. But at Tennessee? With this coach? At this given point in time? It's poor form at best and shady as can be at worst. This cannot be the sort of attention that UT fans are wanting right now.

Edge: I guess this conviction is a little worse than a DUI or theft... if I were the freshman ladies, I'd take heed at Tennessee. Nah, I'm not profiling, come on. In all seriousness, this is a borderline bad decision. Like I said, a mistake with a DUI is one thing, but rape? I'm not sure about this. Again, I don't know the kid, I have no idea about the situation other than the headlines, but I can bet this won't be the last time his name is brought up in the news. Plus, it's kinda creepy (assisting in a rape... what the hell?)... and how about Kiffin having to hear about these questions from reporters. I've made up my mind: bad decision.

RV: Thuggery is difficult to pin on this kid. He was young, made a horrible mistake and is owning up to it like a man. He's done everything he should to deserve a second chance and while I can agree with the argument that he doesn't deserve the opportunity to screw up again, I have faith in humanity. What I don't agree with is Lane taking a chance on a kid. He's already been torched by a number of decisions he has made, why continue it? No need to push the envelope any more, because if this kid makes a minute mistake Lane should be burned at the stake. Literally.

5.) The Coach In Waiting thing seems to be sweeping the nation. Who would you want as the CIW for the Cardinals?
Alan: Eddie Faulkner. Young, motivated, offensive. Seems like a good fit for the community, fans, and program. And being an up and coming African American isn't a bad thing for the school who is still trying to remove the Ronnie Thompson stink off the athletic department.

Edge: Manny Ramirez. He's available now if something should happen to Papa Stan.

RV: I hate the coaches in waiting thing. It's just a stupid marketing ploy that can do nothing but backfire. Jimbo Fisher might end up being granted $5 mil because FSU can't get rid of Bowden, how is that a positive move by the administration? Just let things take their course, if it's a coach on staff that will take over at the end of the year, fine, but don't pull the crap that teams are pulling with indefinite periods of time. Bad news bears for all involved. But I'd have to go with Graber, I like his experience and given the opportunity to stick around somewhere he might be successful to a higher level than before.

What say you, dear reader? Comment section...


Steve-O said...

The Coach in Waiting might be good to have, since you know people will be recruiting against Stan and using his age as a reason to not come there.

Joey Lynch might be nice to have. It would solodify the legacy of the Lynches and bring things full circle

J-Dogg said...

I think it will be Eddie Faulkner. Come on he is from Muncie, hes very young and that would give recruits confidence he would be there for awhile.

Also I believe the Cards will go will go 11-1 if not 12-0 i know its on a limb but I believe in Kelly Page and the new O-line. I think the lone loss would be from Auburn or Western.

Anonymous said...

I heard there's a promising 8th grader over at Wilson Middle School in Muncie. He's supposedly "killer" at calling plays on Madden '09. I think we bring the kid and start grooming him for the next 4 years....

CIW is ridiculous. It makes your current coach a lame duck.