Lincoln Riley, meet Dave Roberts: As someone who has had the misfortune to have viewed all of the Los Angeles Dodgers games over the past two years I’ve seen more than my share of illogical, imbecilic decisions that defy common sense and cost their teams wins. So I thought I might be immune to the stupidity of coaches. Then I saw Oklahoma play in the Rose Bowl.
After scoring a touchdown with six seconds to go in the first half to take a 17 point lead, this genius, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley, had the Sooners kick off with a squib kick. With six seconds to play! Naturally, as could have been expected, Georgia recovered it near midfield without a second running off the clock. That gave them time for a five second pass to the sidelines to get close enough for a 55 yard field goal. While that only shortened the deficit by three points, it completely changed the momentum and Georgia totally dominated the second half to win the game in overtime. Worse, the coach took his Heisman Trophy quarterback out of the game in the second half, concentrated on the running game, and the potent offense sputtered and died, even in the two overtimes! The bottom line is that the coach choked.
Forget the huge change in momentum, though, without that field goal the game doesn’t end in a tie to go into overtime because Oklahoma wins by those three points.
However, that said, has there ever been a top rated team in the history of the NCAA with a more inept defense than Oklahoma?
Special teams? Where? USC’s special teams against Ohio State were truly “special.” The Trojans didn’t block anybody on kickoffs, so they generally started inside their 15 yard line as Ohio State tacklers rumbled down the field unimpeded.
No vision: Jalen Hurts, Alabama’s quarterback, must be blind as a bat. In the first quarter against Clemson with a first down inside the 10 yard line, he faded for a pass and had all the time in the world. He had a wide open receiver in the end zone right in the middle of the field. Hurts stood there and didn’t see him, which was almost impossible. So he rolled out to his right to try to run and then as the receiver moved to the same side with him, Hurts finally saw him and threw for the TD. How could anybody worth his salt as a quarterback fail to see a receiver wide open in the middle of the end zone when he had perfect protection?
I get letters: Worcester, MA reader Ron Motta says in response to my comments on the 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo: “Around here, they are beginning to really question Bill Belichick’s wisdom about playing it as close to the vest as he did. Clearly, he didn’t want to move him and waited until the very end. Supposedly he turned down big packages around the draft, but wasn’t ready to make the move. Then as the season progressed, Tom Brady was playing at a ridiculous level, and decided that, rather than losing Jimmy G to free agency (for a compensatory #3) he took Frisco’s offer for a very high 2. Supposedly, his hands were tied because JG would NOT sign long term in Cleveland, so the 9ers were the lucky recipient of a helluva QB at a bargain price. Bottom line: It’s still a business!”
Sexual harassment of the sports viewer: The Rose Bowl got off to a dismal start on ESPN as sideline reporter Maria Taylor interviewed Georgia Coach Kirby Smart before the opening kickoff. She had known for several weeks that she had this assignment and all she could come up with was this imbecilic question, “You said that the biggest element of this game is managing emotions. When the initial seconds tick off the clock, what will be an indicator your team is ready to go?” Coach Smart looked stricken at such an unanswerable question, then, after a momentary pause to come up with something on national television, gave an answer that was equally uninformative before trotting away to start the game. If ESPN is going to pander to sexism by having attractive women ask questions about a game they never played, they should at least prepare them with questions to ask that are, at a minimum, semi-relevant to something.
Tony Medley is the author of three books including “UCLA Basketball: The Real Story,” the first book written on UCLA basketball. Visit TonyMedley.com.