Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bad Sportsmanship

I managed to watch the last half of the Texas Tech - Kansas State game yesterday afternoon. Tech, leading by a ridiculous margin, was torching its way down the field and as I watched, Graham Harrell threw his sixth TD of the day, a new Tech record.

Then Tech did something very foolish. Harrell stayed in on the next drive. Up 30 points in the 4th Quarter, with the ESPN announcers placidly talking about Graham Harrell the Heisman candidate, the Tech coach didn't put in his second or third string quarterback.
That's right, Tech was trying to run up the score against hapless Kansas State so Harrell's numbers would look good for the Heisman committee. The coach, Mike Leach, must be aware that Tech will take at least one or two losses when they face 16th ranked Kansas, 5th ranked Texas, and 1st ranked Oklahoma later in the season; better to get Harrell some TD's while they still can!

After the game, Harrell said breaking the school record for passing yards and TD's in a game "a huge honor with all the great quarterbacks that have come through here." However, staying in the game and humiliating the other team doesn't speak to Harrell's honor, rather it speaks to selfishness.

When you leave in your quarterback during a lopsided 4th quarter you place them under unneeded risk for injury. Quarterbacks are injured easily enough, a defense down by thirty points is more likely to be sullen or reckless and injure the quarterback.

But the coach even admits he's trying to boost Harrells numbers. Mike Leach, the Tech coach, said after the game "I would say he is the best in the nation this year," Leach quickly added. "If you lead the nation in passing, I would think you deserve some attention. It's not like he just does it once in a while."

Harrell, and the Texas Tech Red Raiders, lead the nation in passing after playing the following games:
Eastern Washington (at home)
Nevada (away)
Southern Methodist (home)
Massachusetts (home)
So after 4 home games and 1 away game, all five games against medium level cupcakes, the Raiders are leading the nation in passing? What an accolade!

Leaving Harrell in to run up the score, pad his stats, and humiliate K-State is the definition of poor sportsmanship. Expect the football gods to exact justice later in the season: I predict Tech will fade down the Top 25 significantly. Expect Tech to falter at 16th ranked Kansas, at home against No.5 Texas, and expect them to get punished for their disobedience at No.1 Oklahoma.

Footnote: up 42 points to Big 12 North rival Nebraska, Mizzou's starting quarterback Chase Daniel saw no snaps in the 4th quarter; backup Chase Patton and 3rd string freshman Blaine Gabbert took the snaps. The ESPN announcers spent the entire 4th quarter talking about how chubby Chase Daniel is and whether a person "with a weight fluctuation problem" could do well in the NFL.

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