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Established October 31, 1996
Front Page Columns and Features
Last updated: 02/11/2011 1:39 PM

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The Week That Was
By Tony Gerdeman

Welcome to the place where we talk a big game, and never have to worry about backing it up.  Wait...I'm sorry, I'm thinking of TCU.  My bad.

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On a Wednesday radio interview with a sports radio station in Madison, Badgers head coach Bret Bielema revealed that a third party had approached him about scheduling a season-opening rematch with TCU in 2011.  He said that he didn't hesitate to say yes, but that when TCU was approached with the idea, they didn't want anything to do with it.

"I would definitely love the challenge to play them again," Bielema said on the show.

"And really, I thought it would be a great sell with our folks."

Unfortunately, TCU wasn't as excited about the matchup."

TCU being the new Boise State, they can't let any facts go uncontested and the university's athletic director Chris Del Conte had to respond.

"We already have Baylor for our opening game," Del Conte said.

"A third party was shopping the game around to other teams. I have no interest in playing a one-[time] game."

Now I can understand saying you've already got that week filled, though it wouldn't be the first time ESPN (the likely third party) got a school or two to move a game around for them.  But when Del Conte was asked if he would have listened to a call from Ohio State and says "Oh yeah, of course", why does he suddenly forget that he's already got Baylor scheduled?

How does he suddenly forget that he would be going against his own code by playing in a one-time game?

So let's get this straight--TCU can't play Wisconsin because they've already got Baylor in that slot, and besides, they don't want to play anymore one-time games.  But if Ohio State was to call, the game with Baylor could be rescheduled, and pretty easily apparently, and there'd be no problem with a one-off game?Z

What Del Conte is saying is that they have no interest in playing a real game against a real opponent.  Instead, they'd rather just talk a big game, instead of actually playing in one.

I can sit here and tell you that I would fight Mike Tyson anytime, anyplace, anywhere, shouting his name down like Clubber Lang badmouthing Rocky, but if there is no chance of me ever encountering Tyson, then what's the point?  Especially when there are plenty of others out there who actually would fight me.  I can go to my local Kroger right now and throw down with dozens of people.  Wisconsin is like those dozens.  I am like TCU.  Yet here I sit, at home, not throwing down with any of them.

Sorry Krogerers, I can't fight you.  I'm too busy at the moment.  For one, I don't fight in grocery stores.  For two, I've already got another fight scheduled.  But if Mike Tyson was here right now, I would SO fight him!

Do you see how silly that sounds?

Of course, this whole thing with TCU wanting to play Ohio State is completely comical because they already had the chance a few years ago, and backed out of it.

In 2007, Ohio State said they had reached an agreement to open their season at home against TCU in 2009, but ultimately the Horned Frogs declined the invite.

"I'd say Ohio State really wanted it," TCU associate athletic director Jack Hesselbrock, who handles the Horned Frogs' football scheduling, said last week.

"They had an opening and needed an opponent, and I think the fans would have liked it and been intrigued by it."

Hesselbrock also said that TCU was only 50-50 on taking the game, which makes you wonder why Ohio State would go ahead and assume a deal was agreed upon.  Unless, perhaps, a deal actually was agreed upon and Hesselbrock is using revisionist history, which is something TCU and Boise specialize in.

One of the reasons for not signing the contract was the fact that TCU wanted to get away from playing these types of one-off games, and they were looking for more home and home opponents.  So what did that thought process get them?  A one-off road game at Clemson.  Congrats.  Way to stick to your principles.

One of the more comical things to come out of this "feud" with Ohio State is the way Del Conte made light of a 2010 Buckeye non-conference football schedule featuring such punching bags as Ohio and Eastern Michigan.  Why is this funny?  Because there are now reports that TCU is on the verge of finalizing their 2011 football schedule with Louisiana-Monroe and Portland State.

Yes, the same FCS Portland State Vikings who finished 2-9 last year in the Big Sky.  (Northern Arizona beat them 62-14.)

The bottom line is that TCU has absolutely legitimate reasons for not wanting to play Wisconsin twice in 2011.  However, when you contradict every reason you're using by bringing Ohio State into the conversation, you make yourself look foolish, and you sabotage your own arguments.

TCU and Del Conte should just let their talking take place on the field, because that's where they actually talk best.  Taking the conversation to the press, however, continues to reveal just how small time they can sometimes be.

*** ***

By the way, if you had February of 2011 in your "When will Tate Forcier Transfer From Michigan Pool", congrats!  You are a winner.

Tate Forcier is officially transferring to become a Miami Hurricane.  He will no doubt find life more to his liking there, and presumably not get beaten out by a cornerback.

The transfer continues a slew of Michigan quarterbacks who have recently, and happily, left the Maize and Blue before their eligibility was up.  The list includes:  Drew Henson (transferred to the New York Yankees), Clayton Richard (to professional baseball), Matt Gutierrez, Jason Forcier, Ryan Mallett, Steven Threet and now Tate Forcier.  Aside from Henson, all of the other transfers have happened after the 2004 season.  That's about one per year.  Nick Saban would be proud.

And for those of you still alive in the Devin Gardner pool, don't give up hope just yet!

*** ***

Since we're already on the subject of Michigan football--not that it's ever far from our hearts (the black part, anyway), let's talk about Rich Rodriguez, who was on ESPN Radio with Colin Cowherd this week.

In the interview, he happened to give the best analogy I've ever heard for that school up north.

“I almost felt like Andy Dufresne in 'Shawshank Redemption.' You know, you look through 300 yards of the foulest-smelling crap you can imagine..."

Of course, I'm taking that quote somewhat out of context, but sometimes out of context is the best context of them all.  It's like he's painting a picture of everything we were ever taught to believe about Ann Arbor.  This is what our minds' eyes always saw, and he put it into terms that we all understood. 

"North until you smell it, west until you're stuck crawling around in the poop pipe."

Out of fairness to Rodriguez, and those 300 yards of crap, however, here is the full quote:

“I almost felt like Andy Dufresne in 'Shawshank Redemption.' You know, you look through 300 yards of the foulest-smelling crap you can imagine, and we're finally getting to the good part at the end, and we didn't get a chance to do that with … 21 starters coming back and the player of the year in the league. We just thought it was all out in front of us and going to have a whole lot of fun, and the work that we put in to get to that point, we don't get a chance to see.”

Through the broken English, Rodriguez is essentially saying that he never got out of the pipe like Andy did, and there was certainly no rain to wash him clean when he exited.

What Rodriguez fails to realize is that as long as he was in the Big Ten, he was never fully going to get out of that pipe, and in fact he was just going to be adding to its pungent contents.  Sure, there may have been cracks in the pipe where he could get some fresh air here and there, but in the Big Ten, his systems (offensively and defensively) were a perpetual sewage drain, and any light at the end of the tunnel would have simply been Indiana showing up on the schedule.

*** ***

I frequently use this space to talk about the evils of oversigning, but this time I wanted to allow the other side to speak.

A couple of days ago I read this piece on oversigning, which states "Oversigning is legal, but is it wrong?", and after doing so I  tweeted that it was "A childish, unicornical and transparent defense of oversigning."

It's basically a hype video with words.

However, out of fairness to the author, David Wasson, I wanted to link to it today because people should hear all voices on the topic so that they can draw their own conclusions.

If you want to know how those who see no issues with oversigning think, this is a good way to do it.  Especially when they defend Nick Saban regarding things (i.e. cutting players) he has said he's never done.

Also, out of double-fairness, here is an outstanding read from pointing out Nick Saban's love of half-truths and complete lies.

It's a bit long, however, because there's just so much to debunk.

Don't you just love being fair to both sides?

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