Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Stanford Football: Not Even Trying

As we mentioned, ASU’s hiring of Dennis Erickson last week tells us that Sun Devil A.D. Lisa Love is all about winning, never mind the quality of the student-athletes Erickson will bring to Tempe.

This week we see the other side of the coin, as Jim Harbaugh was officially introduced yesterday as head coach of the Stanford Indians … uh, Cardinals … I mean, Cardinal.

In case you weren’t paying attention, this tells us that Stanford A.D. Bob Bowlsby (above) is not about winning, never mind the quality of the student-athletes (especially the athlete part) Harbaugh will not bring to Palo Alto.

By all accounts, Harbaugh (right, with his dad) is a great guy. He did go DUI last year, but we’ve read “violin” stories about his love of coaching, which grew when he tagged along during his father’s coaching career, like Harbaugh’s young son is doing now. And, he knows Stanford, having graduated from Palo Alto High around the time his dad was an assistant coach for the Cardinals in the early ‘80s.

It’s all touching, and it warms your heart. The problem is it don’t mean jack when it comes to resuscitating an occasionally proud program at the bottom of what could be the strongest conference in college football next year.

So, we have to ask …

Does Bowlsby seriously think Harbaugh has a chance to compete on the field or on the recruiting trail with the likes of Jeff Tedford, Mike Bellotti, Ty Willingham, and even Karl Dorrell?

Is Bowlsby seriously not aware that Pete Carroll, Charlie Weis, Bob Stoops, and Lloyd Carr are chuckling right now … if not scratching their heads?

If Bowlsby is serious, then he is an idiot. If he’s not serious, then he’s … an idiot.

Simply put, this hire is embarrassing for the Pac-10, and an insult to the many D-1 and NFL coaches and assistants who are significantly more qualified than Harbaugh (like Lane Kiffin.)

Josh Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News* breaks down the facts:
For the past three seasons, Harbaugh has been the head coach at the University of San Diego, a I-AA school that does not offer scholarships. He has never coached at Stanford, never been a I-A assistant, never recruited I-A players, couldn’t get the Tulane job [which went to former UCLA head coash Bob Toledo] and a year ago was nailed for DUI. […]

The reasons for Stanford fans to be nervous are many:
  • Here are the teams [San Diego] beat this season: Azusa Pacific, Dixie State, Yale, Davidson, Butler, Valpo, Drake, Morehead State, Jacksonville, Dayton and Monmouth — mighty Monmouth! The only loss was to the best team on the schedule, UC-Davis.
  • Harbaugh was 29-6 at USD, but he repeatedly refused to schedule the best I-AA teams in California. He did not play Poly, he did not play Sacramento State, and his only tango with Davis was a loss. Instead, he feasted on the lowest of the low in I-AA.
  • Harbaugh, according to sources in the coaching industry, has tried to get a handful of jobs in the past two years and failed each time. Forget what you might have read about him turning down the Tulane job — he didn’t get offered. Good thing for him that Stanford took the bait.
  • There’s also the not-insignificant matter of Harbaugh’s DUI arrest in Nov. ‘05. What kind of message does that send to the players? What kind of example does that set?
Who knows? Maybe Harbaugh will shock the world in a few years. Maybe Bowlsby will win Stanford’s version of the Mike Garrett Lotto … which for the Cardinal would mean a trip to the Emerald Bowl in three years.

Then again, who are we to complain? Harbaugh seems like a good guy, and an extra bye week on our schedule is always nice.

Fight On! Beat the Wolverines!

* Hat tip: The Wizard of Odds


Anonymous said...

None of your teams could play .500 ball in the SEC.

PAC 10 Football is a joke.

Camjut said...

The reason why Jim did not play a tougher schedule is San Diego is a NON-SCHOLARSHIP I-AA football program. Why go and get dismantled by a Sacramento State, a then-ranked Cal Poly team and other programs that are fully funded?

Besides that, the games you mentioned against Davidson, Butler, Valpo, Drake, Morehead State, Jacksonville, Dayton and Monmouth are Pioneer Conference games against other Non-Scholarship I-AA schools.

I guarantee that Jim did more coaching and teaching at San Diego than what Tedford, Bellotti, or maybe even Pete Carroll.

andrew said...

Sounds like someone has never really played the game and enjoys slinging mud.