Monday, December 05, 2005

"You'd have to say everybody thinks this is extremely disappointing"

That was a direct quote from Perry Winstead, Chief Financial Officer of the Liberty Bowl. But that quote could have come from anyone in America, especially Fresno State and Tulsa fans.

Pat Hill and the 'Dogs really have laid an egg the last two games. After the great performance at the Coliseum, Fresno State falls flat on its face at Nevada and at home against Louisiana Tech. The Liberty Bowl was supposed to be a great bowl experience for the players and fans. The first bowl berth to a game east of the Rockies, and the promise to play a conference champ from Conference USA. Those statements still hold true, but the......

....champ is Tulsa. Yes, the same Tulsa that Fresno State is 4-0 against all-time. The closest game in the series was the first one back in 1999, 28-14. The Tulsa program has been reborn under coach Steve Kragthorpe, but to many Bulldog fans, it's still Tulsa. Hill has never faced Kragthorpe, as he did not take over the Golden Hurricane until 2003 and Fresno State last played Tulsa in 2002.

The only positive I see is, Fresno State has a 4 loss season, finishes 4th in the Western Athletic Conference, but still gets a invite to their most prestigious bowl game ever. However, it should be noted the Liberty might have had some premature ejaculation after the 'Dogs took the Trojans to the wire. Inviting a 16th ranked 8-2 team that is expected to be conference champs is one thing, but I think the Liberty will be a little more cautious in the future. Executive director Steve Ehrhart was practically about to cum during the USC game and flew out just days later to invite Fresno State. Ehrhart and the rest of the Liberty board have just experienced what Bulldog fans have had to deal with since Hill's arrival.

Going to the Liberty Bowl game could really backfire on Hill and Fresno State. With three straight losses and the loss of their national ranking, the Bulldogs are hardly the national draw many thought they would be. I doubt a huge amount of Bulldog fans are willing to pay thousands to travel cross country to see a team that just gave up or see the 'Dogs play a former WAC pasty.

If the Liberty Bowl wanted the Dogs so bad, Hill should have just told them to wait and let his team finish out the season. Despite the two losses, Fresno State probably would have gotten a bid to the Emerald Bowl vs 6-5 Utah. As soon as Emerald officials found out Fresno State was headed to the Liberty, they locked up an ACC team. If the 'Dogs would have waited, the Liberty would probably have invited Georgia Tech or Virginia and the Emerald probably would have extended an invite to Fresno State.

Hindsight is 20/20, but the fact remains the Bulldogs stuck it up to end the season. I for one would not spend my hard earned money on some airfare, hotel and Liberty Bowl tickets for a team that just gave up. I do not blame the players, the coaching staff did not have this team prepared to handle the post USC hoopla.

But, if the 'Dogs were playing Utah in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco that is a different story. I will eventually get over the fact that Hill has not finished out another season and will be excited to see Fresno State play in a bowl game. San Francisco is a lot easier to get to last minute than Memphis, and if the Dogs if get blow out, I still can enjoy the city. Even though Tulsa is a conference champ, has a better record and is a better team than Utah; the Utes carry more weight nationally after their Bowl Championship Series bowl win last year. Urban Meyer did it in two years like nothing, what the fuck is taking Hill so fucking long.

No team from the WAC is going to win a national title, so why not tone down the fucking schedule and get to a BCS bowl game, if that is what you fucking want. Utah did not exactly beat up on pasties last year. Texas A&M finished 7-5 and North Carolina went 6-6 with a win over Miami. Both of those teams went to a bowl game, and Utah also beat Arizona. Compare that to Fresno State's schedule last year, Arizona was a better team than Washington, A&M was better than Kansas State, and North Carolina was a lot tougher than Portland State. Huh? Exactly, the 'Dogs had the schedule set up perfectly for a BCS run, but blew their chance.

Already Bulldog fans are already pointing to next year, just check out the Barkboard. Everyone is putting the blame on Paul Pinegar and are glad to see him gone. Many are saying Tom Brandstater or even the undersized Sean Norton will be the quarterback Messiah to lead the 'Dogs to the BCS. If Hill could not finish the deal back in 2001 with a stud like David Carr at quarterback, what makes anyone think Brandstater will fair any better?

Overhaul the freaking coaching staff. Dan Brown, Tim Simons, John Settle, Kerry Locklin, Tom Mason, Randy Stewart don't let the door hit you on the way out.


gabeeg said...

First of all I am about to be critical of the dogs coaching staff...*but* I want to preface this by letting you all know I am a firm and ardent supporter of Pat Hill. I think he is a great coach and is good for the onto the rant.

WTF!!!! Come on, every freaking year! This time our collapse happened later in the year...thats because we had our big games later in the year. Every Freakin year the same thing happen. Call me dense but until this year I did not believe it a problem with the program. I believed each year it would be different. I have pulled my head out of the sand now. Pat is a great coach (not just good) but he needs to rethink what he does to get his troops motivated or prepared for the games that come after the "big games". I do not know what the answer is since I am not there to see how they are prepared...but I do know this, *OTHER GREAT/GOOD TEAMS DO NOT TANK LIKE THIS AFTER THEIR BIG GAMES!!!* (ok sometimes they do have letdowns...but not two games to weaker teams every single freaking year!).

I am not sure if it is the way that they prepare the kids for these games or the way the coaching staff prepares itself for these games...but there is a problem...a big problem. I have pulled my head out, now Pat has to pull his head out and look at him and his staff...hard. I can't blame the kids or the schedule since other teams are able to do it (look at the teams Pat says he wants to emulate).

This is embarrasing...and should not excuses. I know Pat always preaches "No Excuses" but I am not convinced he believes that in his own head...if he does, he needs to make some changes instead of having the same thing happen each and every year.

mdg said...

Pat Hill has done his thing, I think he deserves to continue this quest for glory at Fresno State, but it is time for some changes.

I say overhaul the staff, and tone down the schedule. Actually, leave the schedule alone, it is fine the next two years, just do not add any more mega games. Oregon, Washington, Kansas, Kansas State are just perfect. The open space for next year and 2007 should be filled with a lower tier BCS school or a non-BCS school, no need to play another big team.

Just hammer out some 10-2, 11-1 or 12-0 seasons and take home a couple of WAC titles and then in 2008 and 2009, hopefully, with an expanded stadium then the 'Dogs can take a shot at the big time.

Boise State did things the right way. Won some conference titles and along the way have finished in the top 15 three straight years. This year they took a shot at the big time and fell flat on their face. Same thing happened to David Carr and FS in 2000 at Ohio State. Then we all knew happened the next year. Ever since 2001, FS and Hill has been trying to duplicate the same success.

The only positive Hill has build is the Bulldogs' reputation as a giant killer. East of the Mississippi, Fresno State is well respected.

gabeeg said...

I agree, I think there is a need to shake up the staff. I think it has been proven there is something amiss.

As for the schedule, while I agree with your schedule suggestions, I disagree on the reason. I think having a weaker schedule will just mask the existing problem possibly. I don't care who we play, there is no reason for the collapse each year. Take last year, Kansas St. and Washington turned out to be low tier BCS teams...and the Dogs still fell into their usual self destructing behavior with a collapse.

I have to believe it falls on coaching shoulders. For those that blame Pinegar...fine, he had some bad games, and his turnovers probably did cost us a game or two, but you would have to be blind on to see that the other parts of the team had an equal or greater collapse...special teams? A defense that will play like a champion for 2 or 3 downs only to blow an assignment on the next or worse, get stupid, stupid penalties. Pinegar is a good quarterback, we should have been able to win any game we played this year except USC (you just cannot have that many turnovers against USC) despite his performance or because of it.
Pinegar is not Carr or even a Dilfer (college Dilfer) in my opinion, but he was/is a damn good enough quarterback for us to win.

Another telling aspect I noticed at Saturdays game was the behavior of the players themselves. I have to say up until the fourth quarter the sidelines were active. Players were standing and watching the game, trying to incite the crowd on key downs, trying to pump up teammates etc. But by the 4th quarter when things were really bad...but not impossibly bad I noticed that about 1/4th of the team quit. They sat on the bench heads down, or stood there quietly. I also noticed the coaches stopped trying to motivate the bench! Where before I saw the different coaches calling little huddles or walking the line trying to pump the players up...this stopped dead sometime in the fourth.

I have to give props to Marshall and the Macintyres (as well as others, but I particularly noticed them) they never quit, even on the sidelines they were in the faces of their teamates or in the game at all times fired up.

It is inexcusable of the coaches not to be motivating their players at all times...I don't care if it is 63-0, they need to motivate by questioning pride or by fear...whatever it takes. But coaching staff standing their quiet and looking as dumbfounded as everyone else is not very inspiring.

I think the only Coaches that should be safe this off-season are Hill and Baxter (I am on the fence with Brown), all the others should have a long hard look.

gabeeg said... more thing. I am starting to hear and see the Hill bashers coming out in full force again. Before they open their mouths they should ask themselves:

1. When was the last time you heard of a Dog football player being investigated for some questionable behavior...or the coaching staff?

2. Look at the average GPA of the team since Hill and Baxter.

3. Look at what Hill does with the talent he gets. Hell, look no further than the walk-ons.

4. Look at the Hill players in the NFL.

5. Look at Hills win/loss record.

6. Look at the facilities.

7. Now, still want Hill gone? Who would you have replace him? Remember how much the job pays before you get stars in your eyes. Do you want some promising CC or DII coach that maybe successful but is unproven in D1A...and unproven in recruiting? Do you want some retired or disgraced legend to come in (like a O'Leary, Tomey, etc.), that will either be here 2-3 years and retire or move on to greener pastures?

7. don't have to look any further than our own basketball program to see the worse case scenario for all the above...

So, before you open your mouths to bash Hill, you better give a damn good reason why, and be prepared to state how it would be better without him.