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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Monday, October 24, 2005

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This week's Blog Roundtable, courtesy of iBlog for Cookies:

1. The Envy Poll (as seen on rsfc)
Name the five teams, other than yours, whose accomplishments you respect / envy the most. Use whatever criteria you feel is appropriate (wins, titles, consistency, academic integrity, competitive integrity, NCAA violations, general thuggery, mascot intimidation factor ...).

2. Admissions
With regard to Question #1, what is the most damaging criticism of your program that you will admit is a legitimate criticism? That is, what negative trait does the most damage to the overall respect level of your program (in your eyes, or to others, interpret as you will).

3. Unrelated Discussion Question
Who do you think is the best player in the history of your program? Tell us a little about him (especially if he's not a household name). Feel free to pick someone from 50 years ago that none of us has seen play.

SMQ's Answers:
1. More like respect:
Michigan: Doesn't win big as often as it should, maybe, but mega consistency.
Notre Dame: Plays by its own rules, and has everybody's attention with the slightest success, even when the Irish aren't that good.
Miami: "The U" is actually a Conference USA-sized (15,000) academic school, despite its football team's thuggish rep. The last two decades of almost un-interrupted dominance were preceded by nearly six decades of futility, which makes the overwhelming success that much more impressive.
Louisville: Is 'envy' the right word for a fan of the school that out C-USA-titled Louisville, four to three, over the past decade - consistently performing on easily the same level as the Cardinals until just last year - then watched U of Hell move on to potential automatic BCS slots and actually pick up a preseason first place vote? Southern Miss is satisfied that anyone votes for their presence in the poll at all. It's not fair. And while he's on the subject, SMQ might as well include...
South Florida: This is USF Football's ninth season of existence, the fifth in Division I-A, and the Bulls already have a leaped many more established programs (Southern *cough* Miss) into a BCS conference. That this team hasn't gone to a postseason game with records of 8-3, 9-2 and 7-4 in its first three I-A seasons (finally, USF dropped to 4-7 last year, but is probably on its way to a winning season this year) is pretty shameful in this age of bowl bloat. Given how closely removed it is from non-existence, the fastest rising program, along with UConn, in the country.
2. What's the legit criticism of Southern Miss? The school will play "Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere," that is true, but they will also lose to anyone, anytime, anywhere, if that anyone is any good. For all the "giant-killer" rep, USM is 13-51-1 all-time against ranked teams.

3. During Southern Miss' win at UAB Friday night, one of the announcers said something along the lines of "Of course, the greatest player in Southern Miss history, Brett Favre..." And it's true that Favre is by far the best pro the school has ever produced - the only Hall of Famer, unless Ray Guy eventually gets his due as the league's greatest punter.

But as for the greatest players in school history, judged on play while actually playing for the school, Favre probably isn't even the best USM quarterback: that distinction would go to Reggie Collier, the first NCAA quarterback to top 1,000 yards rushing and passing in a single season and the only USM quarterback to gain All-America recognition of any sort (third team by the AP in 1981). That 1981 team (9-2-1) led by Collier is probably the school's best since USM moved out of the "small college" division, cracked the top ten for the only time in USM history (No. 9 in the AP poll for a week before losing to, goddammit, Louisville) and included a 58-14 walloping of No. 20 Florida State; with Collier starting from 1980-82, USM went 25-9-1 (Favre was 29-17 in four years, just 5-6 in his best statistical season, 1989). Collier was an option guy whose game didn't translate to the NFL, but he was by every indication a more dynamic college QB than Favre.

One could also argue for Lee Roberts, who topped No. 4's single-season records for yards and touchdowns in 1998 and tied Favre for career touchdown passes while quarterbacking two conference championship teams. Favre, like Tom Brady, Terrell Davis, Joe Montana and many other greats, has for whatever reason adapted better to the pro game than he did to college (motivation, maybe? Favre was best in big games at USM; only Jeff Kelly, from 1997-2000, matches his three wins over ranked teams).

But limiting the discussion at USM to quarterback is like...well, it's like some clever analogy between two grossly mismatched items when compared to the Eagles' defensive tradition, most notably: Rod Davis (526 total tackles in four years, or 132 per year, 60.5 career tackles for loss and 18.5 career sacks), Clump Taylor (510 total tackles), Hanford Dixon and Adalius Thomas (34.5 career sacks, 56 tackles for loss).

But SMQ's all-time greatest Southern Miss player, going way, way back to the days when men were men and freshmen weren't, good players never left the field, helmets didn't need no sissy facemasks, picture weren't formatted for the Google image search and negroes need not apply, is Bubba Phillips. From 1947-50, Phillips amassed an all-purpose yards record (4,968, or an average of 1,242 total yards over four years - he did play as a freshman, leading the team in rushing while averaging 8.4 yards per carry, then averaged more than ten yards a pop as a sophomore; for perspective, 1948 Heisman winner and all-time all-everything Doak Walker had 3,500 total career yards rushing and passing, where Phillips didn't throw) that still obliterates USM's No. 2 mark (Ben Garry, 4,071) while also holding the school interception record with twenty-five (25!). It was before even my grandparents' stint in Hattiesburg, but the numbers - at least when they look like Phillips' - never lie.
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11:17 PM

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And don't let the name fool ya - second guessing the phenomenal athletic feats and split-second decisions of college kids under extreme physical duress is for every day of the week.

AWWW!! The totally nicest people, like, ever!...

How much football does he watch? Dude's got insights on -everybody-, and by everybody, I mean everybody. Throw in some of the best writing in the blogosphere, and we're talking about a daily must-read.
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Just another hack writer who hasn't done one lick of research... - SOT2

...the pride of Southern Mississippi ever since Brett Favre turned into an ESPN soap opera, has the sort of prose knack that can keep you riveted to a preview about any one of D-IA's scrubbier members ... should be given gifts.
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