The Saturday Sitdown

Different views from the edge of the same cliff?   Florida State fires Willie Taggert in the second season of a five-year contract after he goes 9-12 overall, and 6-9 in the ACC.  Nebraska’s Scott Frost, also in his second year of a five-year deal, goes one game worse with an 8-13 record  (5-10 in conference), and is rewarded with a two-year contract extension.  Frankly I see little difference in the situations. And while Nebraska’s administration may have wanted to give the appearance of 100 percent support of Frost, the fact remains if he gets off to another bad start in 2020, Cornhusker fans are going to demand a change and this little two-year “vote of confidence” extension will most likely cost the school an additional $10 million in buyout money. The money being tossed around in big-time college football is insane. Here’s a thought, instead of paying head coaches $18 million not to coach, spending $3 million a season on an offensive coordinator, and $10 million on Italian marble flooring, lazy rivers and miniature golf courses to decorate your  football palaces...err.... offices, why not have reasonable salaries, return excess money back to the university and maybe think about lowering those student athletic fees? Just saying...

Let’s go 40 lashes with a wet spaghetti noodle to me after last week’s column telling you that Astro pitchers finished 1-2-3 in Cy Young voting. As we all know, third place finisher Charlie Morton spent last season pitching for our beloved Tampa Bay Rays, having left Houston after the 2018 campaign. Still having two pitchers from the same team finish first and second was quite an accomplishment…

I am not and never will be an Alabama supporter, but those media wonks who suggest Nick Saban deserves blame for the Tua Tagovailoa injury:  To criticize Saban for having his star QB in the game with the score 35-7 is nuts. The key word here is FIRST HALF. I traded emails with a dozen current and former head coaches at the high school, college and professional level, and not one of them said they would have pulled their starting quarterback in the first half of a 35-7 game. I also question the notion that Saban should have not been playing Tagovailoa at all and Alabama could have won easily with backup Mac Jones. First, team doctors had cleared Tua to play. Second, not sure whether you noticed or not, but Jones only put three points on the board against Miss State in that second half – not exactly winning that half with ease. Like UCF’s Milton McKenzie last year, this was an unlikely, unusual freak athletic injury that could have occurred at any time to any player.   Criticize Saban because you think he is pompous, criticize him for yelling at his offensive coordinator when they are winning 35-0 in the first quarter, and even be upset when he yells at his own fans for not wanting to sit in the stadium until the end of a 79-3 victory over Al’s Barber College, but he deserves no blame for this…

Final thought on Tua….if he comes back 100 percent healthy, this injury may not be the worst thing to happen to him in the long run. If he slips down in the draft and ends up with a team like the LA Chargers, he is going to be much better off than going higher to a dysfunctional organization like Cincinnati.

Going from Verlander to Zoolander?   In 2018, James Carter a 24-year-old relief pitcher with a 5.24 ERA , walked into manager John Shoemaker’s office  at Class A Great Lakes, and told him he was through with baseball.  It was a pretty common occurrence that happens to the vast majority of minor league baseball players when they finally realize they do not have the talent to get to “The Show.”  Shoemaker told MLB writer Anthony Castrovince that, “It’s a tough decision for anybody, to know that they’re going to have to go in another direction in life,” Shoemaker says. “Most kids, when they get released or move on, don’t have an idea of what they’re going to do next. But I think he had an idea.” Did he ever!  The nephew of supermodel Christy Turlington, Carter traded in long bus rides, sleeping in cheap hotels and $25 meal money for the world of high fashion, runways, private jets and schmoozing with celebrities. Carter, who now goes by James Turlington, was drafted by the Dodgers in the 21st round of the 2016 Free Agent Draft and has been called one “of the hottest new male models on the planet” by several fashion magazines…

Major League baseball announced its 2020 ballot and the most notable name on it is a sure-fire, first ballot selection in Derek Jeter. But the rest of the newcomers and all the holdovers on the ballot do not stand out as sure-fire inductees, which leads me to wonder what is going to happen this year with the steroid era stars like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Both are about 20-25 percent from the needed number to for induction and both have gained in recent votes. I am of the far-from universally accepted point of view that both should be admitted. My feelings are both were Hall of Fame worthy prior to their alleged PED use, and that Bud Selig and MLB was complicit and an unofficially endorsed steroid use (through no actions to prevent it) in the past.  Remember, owners made millions and baseball made a huge comeback during the so-called “Summer of Love” during the Sosa/Maguire steroid-fueled home run chase of 1998. Since no one knows for sure who and who wasn’t using, why not admit them?  Hall of Fames across all sports are full of members who did a lot worse than ingesting performance enhancing chemicals….

The rosters are obviously different, but what a difference a few months make. Twenty months ago at Super Bowl LII, Philadelphia and New England combined for 74 points, 54 first downs. 1154 yards of total offense and punted a total of once in the Eagles 41-33 win. Last Sunday, the teams scored only 27 points and punted 16 times in what many considered a snoozefest…

Y’all have a great week.