Sweet 16: Hard to figure
By Terry Bowden, Yahoo Sports
October 3, 2007
Did I hear somebody say they heard that I wanted to get back into coaching? If it's true I've got to be crazy. I have not lost a game in nine years and I'm an expert. I'm never wrong. Expert analysts are more like fans than they are coaches in that we have all the answers after the fact. We're all Monday morning quarterbacks. The truth of the matter is, most of our answers are wrong … or they are only partially right.
I often tell people that in 15 years of calling plays as a head coach in college, I almost never called the best play. I called the best play I could think of in 25 seconds. Shoot, if I had until Monday morning sitting around at the local restaurant and drinking coffee to call a play, I'd call the right one every time. The fact of the matter is, it is very hard to call plays. It is even harder to call the right ones.
And, it is very hard to win ballgames.
How many times have you heard someone say, if we only had a coach like Bob Stoops we'd never have lost that game. Or if Urban Meyer worked for us we would have won. Or if we had Rich Rodriquez or Mack Brown or Kirk Ferentz we never would find ourselves in messes like this. Well, guess what? All those guys lost this weekend. In fact, six of the top 11 teams in college football lost. Most of them were heavy favorites, with very little chance to lose. But they did.
The fact is, it ain't easy to win a football game. If it was everybody would be doing it. If the best coaches with the best players at the best schools can all line up against teams they should beat by a couple of touchdowns and still lose, then there has to be a reason.
The reason is that you can never do enough things right to win them all. You might do enough things right to win most of the time, but all the time just is not going to happen. There are a million things that you have to do right in a game to win, and there are a million things that can go wrong when you lose. Just when you get the running game going, the kicking game breaks down. Just when the starting defensive lineup gets healthy, a running back gets suspended. A pass is dropped, a field goal is missed, a ball is fumbled, a penalty occurs. No game is ever played perfectly. Ninety percent of the time, 10 percent of the things you do go wrong.
Now, here's the kicker: No matter how well you coach, how hard you play, or how much you want it, there are some things in a football game you just can't control. The ball is oblong, not round, and sometimes it takes a funny bounce. College players are people not robots and they are going to make mistakes. Sometimes you have to be willing to say … well, you can't win 'em all.
So, the next time you lose a game that you're supposed to win and you want to send your coach packing, be thankful. You could be stuck with Mack Brown, Bob Stoops or Urban Meyer.
You should be so lucky.
Terry Bowden is Yahoo! Sports' college football analyst. For more information about Terry, visit his official web site.
Updated on Wednesday, Oct 3, 2007 8:59 am, EDT