November 03, 2015 - Greg Gabriel
In One of Those Opinionated Days….
If anyone is wondering, yes I stole the title of this article. Larry Felser, the late great Buffalo News columnist and good friend would use this title in periodic columns during the football off-season. Larry was one of the great football writers of all time and one of only eight writers who covered each of the first 35 Super Bowls. Larry and I would talk about once a month and it was a conversation that I always looked forward to. Larry died in 2013 and is missed by the many who loved his writing. College Football Head Coach Openings It’s only the first week in November and there are already some prime college football head coach openings. The two USC’s, Virginia Tech and Miami. It’s not often that that many coveted jobs are open in a given year. While Southern Cal is technically open, if I were a decision maker at USC the job would be given to “interim” Head Coach Clay Helton right now. Helton has held the “interim” tag twice in the last two years at USC. Following the 2013 season he was the interim coach for USC’s Bowl game versus Fresno State. A game that USC won going away. Since taking over as the head man this season, Helton has lead USC to victories over then third-ranked Utah and California. USC is now looking like the old powerful USC teams we used to love. They are now using a dominant run game to wear down opponents and keep the defense off the field. USC is playing with an “attitude” we haven’t seen in years. One thing is clear, if USC doesn’t give Helton the job outright, some other program will gladly step in and hire him. That’s a given! Over the weekend, Frank Beamer announced that he is retiring as the Head Coach at Virginia Tech. Beamer just may be the greatest coach in school history. He took a floundering program and turned it into a consistent ACC powerhouse. I must have made 15 or 20 school stops over the years at Virginia Tech. The one thing I knew for sure, was that the prospects coming out of Virginia Tech were well coached and respected the game of football. That in itself is a strong testimony to how great Beamer was. Brain Kelly and Notre Dame If you didn’t see it, Saturday night Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly “jumped” all over graduate assistant coach David Grimes on the Notre Dame sideline. Many in the media took offense to Kelly’s actions and have since sounded off in protest. Some have even called for Kelly to be suspended by Notre Dame. I’m sorry, but that is ridiculous! Football is a dictatorship. It is a game played by tough people and coached by people equally as tough. It isn’t and never will be corporate America. The head coach is the ultimate dictator and is THE man in charge. A graduate assistant on the other hand is the lowest of the low in any coaching tree. They are to be seen and not heard. Speak when spoken to, otherwise stay silent on the sideline. Grimes was totally out of line yelling at officials and put Notre Dame in positon to be penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. Kelly, rather strongly put Grimes in his place, as he should have. Other strong coaches would have done the same thing and perhaps even more strongly. There is a media bias towards Notre Dame and it has been there since they contracted with NBC to nationally televise all their home football games. Much of the bias is led by ESPN because of course they are contractually tied in with the SEC. If you don’t think that the outcry was in any way “political” then you don’t know much about the politics of college football. Who is the top QB prospect? In recent weeks I have written up some of the quarterback prospects for next April’s NFL Draft. While there is still much football to play and opinions can change the top QB prospect for the next draft is Memphis’s Paxton Lynch. Over the past few days I have spoken with some NFL General Managers, personal directors and scouts and they all concur. While Goff was the favorite of the draft media, many NFL people clearly like Lynch better. Cal and Goff fans have “criticized” me because of my stance on Goff. What they failed to see in my report is that I like Goff and I feel he has a chance to become a very good NFL quarterback…IF. The “if” is I feel he needs to stay in school one more year. He is still just a 20 year old kid and he isn’t physically or emotionally ready to lead an NFL team. In the old days (10-15 years ago), a club would draft a quarterback and let him sit and learn until he was ready to play. That isn’t the case anymore, as quarterbacks are rushed into action long before they are ready to play. With about 60% of the first-round quarterbacks either out right busting or failing to live up to expectations, Goff would be doing himself a service staying in school for the 2016 college season. Ohio State revokes aid for J. T. Barrett Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was pulled over Saturday night and charged with DUI. Being that it was his first offense and Barrett was not charged with a felony, Ohio State says their mandatory two game suspension does not come into effect. Instead he was suspended for this week’s game versus Minnesota. He also had is football scholarship aid for the summer of 2016 revoked. Obviously in the eyes of Ohio State, winning football games is more important than an underage driver being caught driving while intoxicated. If Barrett was third team, what would have happened? Being suspended for the Minnesota game and aid for next summer being revoked is not a punishment. If Barrett misses summer classes it’s no big deal. He will most likely not be enrolled anyway because there are strong rumors within the agent community that Barrett will be entering the draft. If Ohio State wanted to clearly send a message, it would have withheld aid for next spring which would have kept Barrett out of a bowl game or lived up to their mandatory two game suspension for this type of violation. The Ohio State University "fumbled" the ball big time on this issue.