Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ivan Maisel as Soviet Historian, Part Two

Far be it for me to make a suggestion to's pre-eminent college football writer, but might Ivan Maisel consider hiring a personal assistant to review his columns to make sure that he isn't saying things that are totally inconsistent with what he's written mere weeks before? On the heels of his "Jeff Bowden can never be fired! Jeff Bowden had to be fired!" Sybil impersonation, he now can't make up his mind about Mal Moore. Here is Maisel on November 28, 2006 after Alabama fired Mike Shula:

There's no reason to think that [Mal] Moore or a powerful trustee named Paul Bryant Jr. will hire the right guy this time. They've had more opportunities than most and they haven't done so yet. It comes as little solace to Alabama fans these days, but the right guy is rarely the obvious one.

And here is Maisel on January 3, 2006 after Mal Moore did the unthinkable and landed an excellent coaching candidate:

If the report of $32 million over eight years is accurate, give credit to Moore for putting such a big stack of chips behind Saban. He has been accused unfairly of mishandling more searches than Inspector Clouseau -- wrongly accused, in my opinion.

On a related note, Paula Jones just issued a statement complaining about women wrongly accusing Bill Clinton of exposing himself in hotel rooms.

I also have problems with the "woe is college football for misplaced priorities!" statement:

Wealth just triumphed over imagination. The power of college athletics once again ran right up the middle against higher education. Alabama's hiring of Nick Saban takes everything that is skewed about college football, shines a spotlight on it and says, "Hey, watch this!"

On the one hand, he's right that Saban's hiring is a somewhat damning indictment of a state that spends less on education per capita than any other state in the Union. Even if Saban's salary isn't coming directly from the funds used to buy books, computers, and other useless tools of education in Tuscaloosa, the wealthy people funding this hire would be better off donating to improve the quality of the school or increase access through scholarship money. Then again, I'd be better off reading Richard Evans on the Third Reich than Ivan Maisel on Nick Saban, so we can all be criticized for spending too much time and money on sports. But then we get to the uncomfortable point for Ivan that his mortgage is paid by the insane interest in college football that leads to a head coach getting $4M per year. His intellectual talent and reporting skills applied to Alabama's coaching decisions as opposed to relations between China and Taiwan are just as much a case of misplaced resources as the power elite of Alabama spending their millions on a better football coach because they're tired of their accountants from Auburn mocking them year-round. So a pox on everyone's house.


Fox said...

You're right on about Maisel's sanctimonious article.

But you forgot to mention that Maisel's argument that Alabama should have been imaginative and sought someone who could be the right guy, rather than just buy the right guy makes no sense. As smarmy as he is, Nick Saban is as much of a lock as there is, so why not bust the bank to get him? Does anyone doubt that he'll have Bama in 2 or 3 BCS bowls over the next 6 years and beat Auburn more than 1/2 the time. Isn't that worth at least $4 million a year in bowl payouts and extra booster donations?

Anonymous said...

I think there are a lot of people looking at that contract and starting to wonder if this guy may be a little overrated just because of his notoriety and general penchant for being a vagabond.

Saban was a .500 coach at Mich St before one breakout season of 9-2. Gone.

Admittedly he had a great year in 2003 at 13-1. You can argue he didn't have to play the best to win his BCS title but its impressive none the less.

He sandwiched that with 8-4, 10-3, 8-5, and 9-3. Les Miles is 22-4. I'm starting to think LSU may be the best job this side of USC and tOSU.

There is nothing wrong with those records, but if it gets Jim Donnan fired in Athens it sure as hell won't keep Saban around T-Town past 2010.

It also doesn't help that he lost to Auburn 3 of 5 years.

I think its a good hire, but as far as there being no question Bama will be in 3 BCS bowls in the next 6 years? I have big questions.

Auburn is firing on all cylinders right now, they just won 11 games with a putrid offense (which from what Auburn people tell me should be better next year). The defense, already nasty, is almost entirely intact for the next 2 years. It's a completely different animal recruiting against Auburn today than it was for him at LSU battling Tulane for big time players.

We'll see, I hope for the SEC he brings Bama back to prominence, but I don't think by looking at his track record (and ignoring all media/notoriety aspects) he should be considered a "can't miss" and certainly doesn't warrant being paid more than Carroll, Tressel, etc.

Fox said...

Oh, don't get me wrong, I certainly don't think he's worth more than Carrol, Tressel, or maybe Stoops. But they weren't, and won't be available. And Saban's a lot more of a sure thing than Rich Rodriguez or anyone else they tried to get.

Of course, it's easy for me to look past the money since it's not my $4 mil ... until my Hokies have to pay Beamer $3 mil to keep up and they jack the prices up accordingly.

CHG said...

In a similar vein of hypocrisy but on an unrelated topic, today's Gwinnett Daily Post ran a column bemoaning the relative small number of female head coaches of county girl programs.

I appreciated the irony of discovering the sports editor is concerned over gender distribution in a field that attracts more male than female applicants. This is the sports editor of a daily that I do not believe has had a single sports column written by a female in it's ten year existence.

I don't think(?) they've had a single sports department writer above stringer. I'm no math major, but I'm pretty sure 20% is higher than 0.