#BillSnyder :The Greatest where it counted most #SnyderStrong #EMAW

snyder-statueWhen we define greatness we often refer to records, banners, and rings.Based solely on these standards of greatness Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder would not warrant mentioning. Unlike past greats Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno, Tom Osborne and Paul Bryant or recent greats Pete Carroll, Nick Saban and Urban Meyer there are no national championship banners hanging in the rafters or no crystal balls collecting dusts in the trophy case.

hell-freeze-overBut this does not make Snyder any less greater than his contemporaries. His contributions to college football is immense and nearly covers four decades. Although Snyder’s story of  turning  K-State from a laughingstock to contender is well documented but what is more remarkable were his methods of achieving greatness. Unlike his ‘championship’ peers Snyder amassed his success without a single scandal or NCAA infraction.

Over Snyder’s 20+ tenure in the Little Apple his rosters may not have included many 4* bill-snyder-letterand 5* but unlike his peers it also did not include murders, rapists, thieves, and sex offenders. While mining the infertile recruiting pool of the too small, too slow, or too troubled Snyder unearthed a few NFL champions, an eventual congressman, as well a mentored his fare share of prominent coaches at some of the top programs in the country (Bob Stoops, James Franklin, Brent Venables, Bret Bielema, Jim Leavitt,

Although winning a national championship will always be a factor in evaluating greatness, be sure to consider the thousands of fathers and husband whose life was forever changed due to the impact Snyder had on their life. From the handwritten notes of encouragement to the opposing team to him molding young men into college graduate and instilling in them an unrelenting will to not quit regardless of the odds. Snyder may have come up short a  time or two on the gridiron, but he is the epitome of perfection in the game of life. What will he do for an encore? Stay tuned…I know I will.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

 

#JoeMixon the #MichaelPhelps of #CFB American Hypocrisy at its best

michael-phelps-mug-shotMichael Phelps, the undisputed greatest swimmer of all time  graced the cover of Sports Illustrated for the twelfth and possibly final time. Although his athletic prowess is unquestioned, his antics outside of the pool has also been well chronicled as well. But for some reason the possession of illegal drugs, alcohol abuse and his arrest for DUI have been forgiven in exchange for 23 Olympic Gold Medals.

Once Phelps committed these heinous acts he was charged, sentenced, and eventually forgiven. His antics were explained away as bouts of immaturity and after he served a short suspension from the pool, Phelps endorsements and the media love-fest soon returned.

When the video of Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon was released I could not joe-mixon-plea-dealhelp but think about how differently  Mixon was being treated. Although Mixon’s actions were indefensible, the same folks who excused the actions of the ‘GOAT’ in the pool seem determined to prevent this troubled young man’s second chance at redemption.

So as the public execution of Mixon continues and folks call for this young man to be kicked out of Oklahoma and black balled from the NFL, think about Phelps. Each time you see an Intel commercial think about the privilege Phelps has received. Think about how quickly the American public dismissed his actions which could have cost you the life of your loved one. Were Phelps antics any phelps-faceless heinous or irreprehensible than Mixon’s? Is price of forgiveness paved in gold medals and record breaking peformances?

If Phelps can be given an opportunity to re emerge from his troubled past and become the ‘GOAT’, Mixon is more than deserving of the same chance. Is America is truly the land of second chances or is that a privedge only reserved for only aselect view?  Has Mixon played his last down in Norman? Is he really undraftable? Stay tuned…I know I will

Rooney Rule Time: Tokens, anyone…

Two more games remain in the 2016 NFL Season and the coaching carousel and firing squad has already ensued. The next batch of can’t miss coordinators are on team’s in desperate need of direction, short list. But before NFL teams can hire the guy they want for the job, a minority must first be ‘interviewed’. Last season the Philadelphia Eagles interviewed Duce Staley before the organization hired the guy they wanted all alone. The interview was met with league wide criticism because Staley was never considered a viable HC candidate in league circles.

A rule which once provided opportunities to minorities has become a sham that has been reduced to a box organizations check before proceeding with business as usual. Last nfl-hc-candidatesseason Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn turned down multiple HC interviews because he believed he was merely being interviewed to satisfy the Rooney quota. With another season nearly in the books the usual suspects of minority candidates will be mentioned for interviews: Cleveland Browns DC Ray Horton, Detroit Lions DC Teryl Austin, Arizona Cardinals OC Harold Goodwin, and Miami Dolphins DC Vance Joseph.

But I wonder, despite their impressive resumes will any of the gentlemen mentioned have an introductory press conference announcing them as the new head coach of your favorite team? Although I am sure there are several viable white HC candidates out there like the Atlanta Falcons Kyle Shanahan, and the Detroit Lions Jim Bob Cooter. But before HC retreads like Mike Smith, Josh McDaniels, Jon Gruden,  Tom Coughlin and Jim Schwartz get their second and third tries can a qualified minority HC get one shot?

What McDaniels has done with a Gronk-less the New England Patriots squad is nothing tom-coughlinshort of remarkable but the Belichick coach tree has not produced any winners last I checked (O’Brien, Crennel, Mangini). Shanahan offensive genius may be unrivaled, but the success Goodwin has had in the desert has largely gone ignored. Before the bidding war for a coach who missed the playoffs 4 of the 6 seasons that Gruden was in Tampa can Vance Joseph who turned the Dolphins defense into a playoff force get some consideration?

In a few short months it will be interview season in the NFL, some candidates  will be interviewed simply based on their merit while others will be interviewed to check a box. token-interviewLynn doubted the sincerity of a few front offices, will others do the same?

I have had my fare share of ‘token’ interviews and each time my optimism was met with a harsh dose of reality. It took Lynn a lot of courage to say no to being the token. Will Goodwin, Joseph, and others take that risk even if it’s the opportunity of a lifetime? Token anyone? Stay tuned…I know I will.

Nick Saban Urban Meyer V! It is inevitable

saban-v-meyer-vThe 2016 college football season is only in its infancy, but it already appears that Saban Meyer V in Tampa is all but inevitable. Although parody is supposedly alive and well, thus far we have learned that Ohio State and Alabama are the two exceptions. The gap between these two elite programs and whoever is ranked below them is outstanding, and will only grow wider as the Tide and Buckeyes continue to improve.

The Lamar Jackson phenomena has certainly been entertaining, but thus far there have lamar-heismanbeen few surprises this season. Although the fortunes of teams often change from week to week, due to injuries or a lack of depth several teams will be the victims of misfortune. Unlike the Buckeyes and Tide, the fortunes of most teams rely too heavily on the play of one player.

No one will question the dynamic playmaking ability of Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson but they alone will not be enough to jabrill-peppersbridge the Buckeyes-Tide gap. The Stanford Cardinals are all out of byes and McCaffrey is already averaging 35 touches per game. LB/OW/PK/KR Peppers has amazed on offense, defense, and special teams but maintaining such a heavy workload for 13 week is a lot to ask of anybody. September Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson may be 2nd in the nation in rushing, but each time he flees the pocket the Cardinals faithful all hold their breath hoping Jackson jumps back up.

Thus far we have been wowed by the dynamic play of those great players and others but the truth may be hard to accept but it is nearly impossible to deny. at this rate two spots saban-meyer5for the college football playoffs is all but set, everyone else is simply playing for third and fourth. Like Cavaliers v. Warriors, the regular season appears to be meaningless because Meyers Saban V is inevitable. The only question that remains is who will be in the home and away jersey.  It took Neo from the Matrix two movies to realize that it was inevitable, how many games will it take you to realize the same? Stay tuned…I know I will. – A. Denmark

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

#Countdown2Kickoff T25

Without further adieu and after much speculation, we save the best pre-season top 25 for last, #Countdown2Kickoff’s T25. Unlike the Amway or AP Poll, our poll ignores the hype of unproven so-called *5 stars, refuses to be suckered  into the last look test, and places an emphasis on the non-glamorous positions which often decide games but don’t get the press clippings. Games may be won or lost in the trenches, but its the specialist, who dictate field position which ultimately determines the outcomes of most games:

  1. Clemson: Why? Mike Williams and DC Brent Veneables
  2. FSU: Why? Jimbo Fisher, QB whisperer Why Not? Clemson & Health of Dalvin Cook
  3. Alabama: Why? 6 No.1 recruiting classes Why Not? Inexperienced RBs & depth at DB
  4. Ohio State: Why? J.T. Barrett Why Not? J.T. Barrett
  5. LSU: Why? Leonard Fournette Why Not? Brandon Harris
  6. Michigan: Why? Weak schedule Why not? 42-13
  7. Stanford: Why? Christian Mccaffrey Why not? 337+ carries
  8. Oklahoma: Why? Lincoln Riley Why not? Mike Stoops
  9. Iowa: Why? CJ Beathard Why not? Michigan
  10. Houston: Why? Tom Herman Why not? Greg Ward Jr health & secondary overhaul
  11. Tennessee: Why? Joshua Dobbs & Butch Jones Why not? Joshua Dobbs & Butch Jones
  12. Michigan State Why?  Mark Dantonio Why not? No Connor Cook
  13. UCLA Why? Josh Rosen Why not? Defense
  14. Notre Dame: Why? Deshone Kizer & Malik Zaire Why not? Deshone Kizer Malik Zaire
  15. USC: Why? Abundance of talent Why not? Schedule & lack of depth
  16. Oklahoma State: Why? Mason Rudolph & James Washington Why not? Defense
  17. Florida: Why? Jim McElwain Why not? Off the field distractions
  18. Oregon Why? Royce Freeman Why not? Defense
  19. Ole Miss Why? Chad Kelly Why not? Chad Kelly
  20. TCU Why? Gary Patterson Why not? Kenny Hill is no Trevone Boykin
  21. Washington Why? Browning, Gaskins, & Death Row Why not? Wideouts
  22. Georgia Why? Nick Chubb & Sony Michel Why not? Kirby Smart
  23. Louisville Why? Lamar Jackson Why not? FSU, Clemson, & Houston
  24. Boise State Why? Brett Rypien Why not? Defensive Line Overhaul
  25. Baylor Why? Russell, Cannon, & Linwood Why not? Art Briles scandal far from over

 

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

 

#Countdown2Kickoff Land of 2nd chances #CardsNation #L1C4

bobby petrinoUnlike that other program 79.2 miles away, the Louisville Cardinals have not gotten it right the first time. The Cardinals led by once troubled HC Bobby Petrino both appear poised to bring back respectability to a once proud football program.

Although Petrino’s methods have often been criticized, no one has ever questioned his offensive genius. Last season the Cardinals offense was mired in inconsistency as one signal caller after the other was given a chance. But after Lamar Jackson‘s 200 200 performance against Texas A&M, the QB to lead the Cardinals resurgence was found. Blessed with the speed to get to the edges and the arm to make defenses pay for stacking the box, Jackson and the Cardinals are being viewed as darkhorse contenders for both the ACC as well as the Heisman Trophy. Since a QB alone won’t make the difference, consistency must be lamar jacksonfound along an offensive line that shuffled 11 different starters.

With the entire o-line back in the fold it is imperative that they improve and allow more than 2 yards before contact for running back Brandon Radcliff who rushed for an abysmal 689 yds last year. Hometown kid James Quick has one more season to finally live up to his 5* hype at wideout. If he stays out of trouble, he could lead a promising wideout corp that are 6’3″ or taller.

On defense, the reclamation project continues led by a band of once troubled but talented defenders, it seems they have all finally gotten things right under DC Todd Grantham. After having the world at his finger tips All-American Devonte Fields is back. Last season devonte fieldsFields led the nation in tackles for loss with 22 and if he breaks the ACC’s sack record of 19 few will be surprised. Although there were some loses along the d-line should be tough against the run.  Although the Bash Brothers will be missed, Keith Kelsey and Treveon Young possess the experience to make the linebacker core remain respectable.

Few teams in the nation will have the talent the Cardinals have in the secondary.  Former 5* Josh Harvey-Clemons blessed with the size of a linebacker and the athleticism of a Josh Harvey Clemonsgazelle will make opposing QBs think twice before throwing the pigskin. Thanks to an elite pass rusher cornerbacks Shaq Wiggins and Trumaine Washington will not have to cover receivers for long.

Armed with one of the best offensive minds in the nation and a quarterback whose athleticism is the envy of EVERY QB in the nation, the pieces are there to do something special in 2016. Unlike that other program, the Cardinals are not one or done. Was the Cardinals last game a testament of good things to come? Stay tuned…I know I will.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

#Countdown2Kickoff #MSU #Spartans Down but not out

msu winsDespite winning its 3rd Big Ten title in 5 years, the Michigan State Spartans will not be remembered for its 5th 10+ win season but instead will be remembered for the goose egg it laid against the Alabama Crimson Tide, the eventual National Champion.  In one night the Spartans went from being on cusp of a national championship to now being dismissed all together. But Spartans HC Mark Dantonio would not have it any other way, the seismic chip on the Spartans shoulder has returned.

Although replacing the Spartans All-Americans trio of QB Connor Cook, LT Jack Conklin, lj scott vs iowaand WR Aaron Burbridge will be no easy task, there are talented unproven players anxiously waiting for their chance. The experience that fifth year senior QB Tyler O’Connor gained in beating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Horseshoe last year was invaluable and it all but solidified his spot at the top of the depth chart. Although Conklin will certainly be missed, the depth of the o-line should have no problem opening up running lanes for LJ Scott, who may be the best running back in the Big Ten.

josiah price msuThe Spartans receivers may be inexperienced, but their talent is undeniable. Each year RJ Shelton’s production has increased and if talented redshirt freshman Darrell Stewart and early enrollee Donnie Corley are as impressive in games as they have been during practice the Spartans will be fine. Blessed with the strength to block, the speed to separate, and the size to win 50/50 balls TE Josiah Price is poised for a breakout season.

Since the Spartans secondary was decimated by injuries, it was no surprise that the defense was uncharacteristically average. But the secondary should improve with the return of Vayante Copeland from injury and with the continued development of Demetrious Cox and Montae Nicholson at safety the no fly zone may be back. Although msu dthere will be three new starters on the d-line, Malik McDowell may be the best defensive tackle in the nation.There may not be a better linebacker duo in the country than Riley Bullough and Ed Davis, they each possess both the speed to run sideline to sideline as well as the toughness to make guys think twice about hitting the whole and running across the middle.

malik mcdowellBesides one game, the Spartans had a season for the ages, and they may just do it again. The fellas in East Lansing have made a habit of proving folks wrong, why should 2016 be any different?  Although the Spartans may have been down after their last game, but with HC Dantonio at the helm, the Spartans are far from out. Doubt them if you dare. Stay tuned… I know I will? – A. Denmark

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast