Thursday, February 14, 2008

'Bama responds to Brian Cook; Gators undone by Tigers

Yesterday, I noted in my runner-up for the best post of the day two dueling diatribes by Fanhouse authors Brian Cook and Pete Holiday.

OutsideTheSidelines, who blogs for Roll Bama Roll, takes dead aim at Brian Cook's piece. I know it's a shock, and maybe it's just me, but I don't detect a whole lot of love emanating from RBR over Cook's accusations against Nick Saban. But anyway, here is a taste:

In the blogosphere, you tend to get a bit accustomed to running across drivel masqueraded as legitimate commentary, but occasionally something comes up that simply takes the cake. Today I ran across one of those pieces. It seems Brian Cook, a Michigan blogger -- and no I'm not sure how in the hell he feels qualified to discuss Alabama football on that basis -- isn't too big of a fan of our latest recruiting class. In this piece of analytical garbage, if it even deserves that high of acclaim, he labels Saban a "Snake Oil Salesman," essentially states that our class is very overrated due to over-signing, and bemoans the practice of over-signing itself.
OTS goes on to analyze Cook's piece, and I think he really puts the screws to him. I don't know Brian Cook, but I will venture a bit of advice -- when you attack another team's head coach for doing something, make damn sure your coach isn't doing the same thing. Otherwise you will lose, and not just the argument, but credibility as well. Credibility is the coin of the realm in the Blogosphere, and in this blogger's humble opinion, Cook just went on a spending spree. But in the larger sense, since Big 10 and SEC fans aren't exactly on the best of terms these days, perhaps he made up for it in the eyes of Michigan fans.

But lest we be guilty of representing only one side of the argument, His Blognificance Orson Swindle has weighed in on the debate:
Nick Saban can’t count. Or worse yet, he can: Brian is shocked, shocked! in finding out that again, an SEC school has signed more recruits than they can possibly put on scholarship. Even more shocked, shocking! is the fact that it’s Nick Saban, an old hand at juggling massive signing classes: greyshirts, JUCO guys, and the old reliable: forcing people off the team because you want to put another player in his place. It’s not quite as bad as Brian paints it…but it’s cold, opportunistic roster manipulation more often seen at the NFL level. Meaning: bad.
With all due respect to Orson, I don't think his argument is quite as compelling from a reasoning standpoint, but he is correct to condemn "opportunistic roster manipulation," especially forcing people off the team because you want to replace them. If that happens at Alabama, I think it should be roundly condemned by all. We will have to wait and see about that, but either way, you still have the fact that other coaches are doing this also, and why is it bad at 'Bama and not at other schools?

Finally, I think we have to note that Florida suffered a surprising defeat at the hands of a resurgent LSU. After John Brady was rudely dismissed from his head coaching job, the Tigers have been playing much better under Butch Pierre. Geaux Tuscaloosa has the LSU side:
Congratulations to the Tiger basketball team and to Butch Pierre for the biggest win of the season last night. Granted, Florida is not a national power this year, but they're still a good team, likely headed to the NCAA tournament, and we beat them in their own house by a convincing 85-73 score. Only 6 players scored points, but 5 were in double figures, with 3 getting 19 points or more.
From the Gator side, we have Mlmintampa at Alligator Army:
Young teams are supposed to lose three of four. But no team should allow an opponent to shoot 59%, when their average in conference play was 39%. Or allow them to score 23 points more than their season average.

LSU played extremely well, so I don't want to take anything away from them. However, I've seen intramural teams play better defense than the Gators did tonight. There was no focus or effort on the defensive end and Florida was never able to build any momentum. This is now three of four games the Gators have lost where they looked completely lost at several points in the game. Against Arkansas it was understandable. That was a road game against a NBA-sized team. The Tennessee loss was fine too because of the quick road turn around and UF's lack of depth. But there was no excuse tonight.

I have already warned Gator fans about the problems with Florida's defense. Florida is a very good offensive team, but they play defense very poorly. I'm sure Donovan will be working hard on that.

Still, the gators seem poised for another invite to the NCAA tournament if they don't have any really bad losses between here and the SEC tournament, or they do well there. They aren't likely to get a high seed, but they will still get in in my opinion. But they do have work to do.