Sound of Rushing Water (When JUST Being Undefeated Isn’t Enough)
Sailors on submarines are taught to run immediately to the sound of rushing water. Makes obvious sense to me. Rush to the problem and fix it before it becomes too big, too serious and untenable. Stop and listen closely to our football program; you will be able to hear the faint but definite sound of water rushing into our “ship.” We are in no danger of sinking (a failing program) but that sound represents problems nonetheless. We are undefeated yet losing our grip in the polls???
Prior to the Maryland game we had 40+ first place votes; after the Maryland game we got just 27. I suspect another fairly lackluster performance/win against Penn State and we MAY pop out of first place just like FSU last year. Lose one game, and any chance of repeating is over. How in the hell do you give up 28 points against Maryland anyway? Unfair? Like it or not, those are the expectations that come with winning a National Championship last year and returning most of those players again this year. We simply are not living up to the post-championship expectations across the nation and time is not our ally either.
With the new landscape of college football and the playoff system, there are new dynamics to the season-long landscape. Quality of wins used to be irrelevant – they are now relevant. Opponents were irrelevant but now matter. National perception – an elusive element by any standard now REALLY matters.
Take, Baylor for example. They are in what I consider to be only a slightly above – average Big 12 conference but are putting up basketball-like o9ensive numbers. The national perception? “They are so impressive they MUST be in the playoff mix.” Fair? Don’t know, but we do know that the national media has a heard-like mentality almost like Wall Street. A few like it and everyone starts to stampede.
So what? My whole point of this article is to say I believe NOW, we are out of time – we have no more games to experiment. The season is half over and we have not made ANY statements. We SHOULD have been rushing to the sounds of water several games ago but thought we had time. Now, the program is standing in knee – deep water and can’t a9ord anymore mediocre results. The decisions and results of the next few weeks will likely determine whether we are playing or watching in December/Jan.
So; what to do? First, we need a sense of urgency we have not shown all year – the same sense of urgency required to rush to the sound of water on a ship. This will ONLY come from coaching leadership. Second, we have been humble this year. A good sportsmanship-like trait that would make Jim Tressel beam. Screw that! – we need SWAGGER! Third, we need to play four full quarters and finish off an opponent – the opposite of how we played late against Maryland. Finally, we need a MUCH more aggressive defensive game plan and a relentless o9ense that feels they can’t amass enough points – just like in the playo9 run last year. Sadly, we need to start playing with desire.
Last year’s playoff run was done with attitude and a sense of urgency on each play. We have treated this season like a long season where we have plenty of time and only average opponents to beat. Do you think Baylor or TCU think or are acting like that? (No!).
I trust completely in Urban but he had to make a move this time last year. It’s time he make another dramatic move. We have the talent to repeat – it would be a shame to let that go to waste. These possibilities don’t come around all the time.