Monday, October 13, 2008

What Clemson needs to fix.

Clemson's the new hot topic, seeing as they just fired/resigned their head coach Tommy Bowden after a 3-3 start to a season that saw them ranked in the top ten in preseason polls. Many people have applauded this move, stating that with the kind of talent that Clemson has, his performance simply has not been good enough. Nine straight bowl eligible seasons and a 72-45 record in his time at Clemson.

My question is, what kind of talent do you really think Clemson has? Do people really think that Clemson has the kind of Talent to match up with major conference championship calibur teams?

Talent is really just a measure of potential. It does not always make a good player, but it does make a good draft pick. So recent draft picks is a good way of measuring what kind of talent a program has been working with in recent years.

Over the last four years, Clemson has had 13 players drafted. This puts them at Sixth in the ACC, behind Virginia Tech, Virginia, North Carolina State, Florida State, and Miami.

Let's look at some of the output of some of the perennial powerhouses. Oklahoma has had 24 players drafted in that same span. Texas has had 21. Michigan has had 19. Ohio State has had 23. USC has had 31. Florida has had 17. LSU has had 22.

What kind of teams have had a similar talent level over the last 4 years? Arkansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oregon, Stanford, and Louisville have all had 13 players drafted over the same span. Together, those 6 teams, in 24 attempts, have 1 conference championship between them. They are also a combined 22-16 this season, which basically averages out to 4-3. Also, with the exception of Oregon, all of these teams have stumbled recently with coaching changes. These are the talent peers of Clemson. This is no longer the 1980s.

Tommy Bowden was not a coach who was going to take Clemson to the BCS promised land. But I don't really think that was a place Clemson is capable of going to. He's pretty much a face value coach, give him a mediocre team, and you get mediocre results. But he was consistent. And in college football right now, consistency equals money. Those eight bowl appearances netted the ACC over a million dollars in prize money. With Tommy, you knew what you were getting. Now, Clemson has opted to roll the dice.

I don't like the move. Coaching changes after a successful season tend to faceplant. I would not be surprised if Clemson falls apart completely the next few seasons. Especially if they hire some retread coach, which, after the dismissal of Bowden, might be all they can get, as the hot names, like Bronco Mendenhal and Will Muschamp will be able to take their pick of the vacancies. Clemson's best bet, assuming that they can't get one of those two, might be an unorthodox one.

Gus Malzahn, the offensive coordinator of Tulsa. Orchestrator of the number 1 offense in college football, averaging 603 yards and 53 points per game. The first step to set the table for him is the benching of Cullen Harper, a senior, in favor of the more talented and less experienced freshman Willie Korn. Get him some experience. Also, do whatever it takes to keep CJ Spiller on campus. Those two, along with receiver Jacoby Ford, will provide the initial nucleus of a new offense Malzahn can build. Clemson has already decided to scrap this season. Don't be surprised if they drop out of bowl contention entirely, which would have been unlikely with Bowden. All Clemson can do beyond that, is pray.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Thoughts on the Bailout

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last week or so, the hot topic now days is the proposed $700 Billion bailout of the lending institutions that overextended themselves on bad mortgages. The senate recently passed it, and it's going to the house. President Bush has endorsed it, and both Obama and McCain voted for it in the senate. It seems almost a forgone conclusion that this will pass. I have only one question...

What the fuck happened to accountability? I always thought that one of the key ideas of capitalism was that you accept both the earnings and the losses. These lending institutions took risks by handing out mortgages to any Tom, Dick, or Harry with a pulse. "You make $25k a year, and you want to buy a $1.5M house? Sure, we'll back you!" Who approved these boneheaded moves?

People talk about the collapse of these lending institutions as if it's the end of the world. They claim it's the next Great Depression. Did any of these politicians live through the Great Depression? It's like claiming that the Iraq War is the next WWII.

People point to the failure of Washington Mutual as if all banks will fail and all the money people have saved will just vanish into the ether. Did these people notice what happened to Washington Mutual? It got bought out by JPMorgan Chase and was open the next day. This is capitalism, people. The banks perform both a vital, and lucrative, service. If there's a void, and there's profit to be made, that void will be filled.

It's not the government's place to insulate businesses from the consequences of their bad decisions. All the government needs to do is ensure that business is being conducted in an ethical manner, and beyond that, fortunes will be made and lost by the hands of the businessman, not the congressman. You aren't solvent enough to cover your debt? Fine, sell assets until you are. Don't whine to the government for free money. If the government has to bail out a business, it should be nationalized, rebuilt, and eventually sold back into the private sector. Put the jackasses who ran that ship into the ground out on their ass.

The other concern I hear about is all the people who will get foreclosed upon because of their bad mortgages. Cry me a river. You're going to lose your house? Cash in your end of the mortgage, let the bank foreclose on you, and buy a house that you can actually afford. What? It'll ruin your credit rating? It should, I wouldn't lend to your dumb ass after you made a mistake that big.

In the end, it all comes back to accountability. People are in this mess because both sides made some God awful decisions. Bailing them out at this point is simply rewarding them for making those decisions. It takes all the risk out of business, and in the end, is tantamount to theft from the taxpayers.