The Daily Dose – 11/29/17: The NCAA: Pimp, Whore and John

Notes from around the Human Experience…

HUT HUT HIKE: Most college football teams – at least those bad enough to consider firing their coaches – have completed their seasons. As we write this ten coaches have been fired, some in season, some after the season.

Dry, Technical Matter: Some coaches were fired because their teams only won one or two games this year. Fair enough. You don’t win, even at Kent State, you are going to be fired. This is hardly a bulletin. Coaches know this when they sign their contract. 

Fly In The Ointment: Some of the 2017 crop of dismissed coaches, however, did win. They not only produced a winning record this year but winning records over their tenure. You may not have seen them playing in January, but they produced winning teams, some of which will be playing in bowl games next month, though it should be noted earning a bowl berth isn’t the accomplishment it used to be. Some were fired despite demonstrably improving a team’s culture and academic performance.

The Good Old Days: You know, it used to be that winning a couple more games than you lost and playing in the Scotch Adhesive Tape Bowl would get you a pat on the back and another year’s job security. Now it has coaches looking over their shoulders.

Yeah, Yeah, Whatever: When the change is announced schools all trot out the same institutional claptrap: they were grateful for their coach’s service. He and Mrs Coach are class acts and the school wishes them the best in their future endeavors. However, the expectations here are high. They expect to contend for conference and national championships, despite the fact they have no history of doing so. In due course they will trot out their new coach, who it turns out, is everything they’ve been looking for all along. It’s what they said when the old coach was hired and what they will say when this new coach’s replacement is hired a few years later.

The coaches have their ritual, too. They were grateful for the opportunity and hope to always consider themselves Sun Devils or Eagles or whatever the hell their mascot happened to be. In truth, U-Haul is on speed dial, waiting to help clear out the house as they move on to the next job.

More Fly In The Ointment: Meanwhile, players watch their coaches move from one million dollar job to another and wonder why they’re not getting any more out of this than college classes and training table meals.

The Bottom Line: The patience required to establish top programs has long vanished from college sports. No American institution – except, perhaps, Congress – does a better job at being pimp, whore and john at the same time better than major division college athletics. We keep tolerating it though. We watch their games and buy their tickets and luxury suites and until their conduct starts hitting them in the TV contract, we will continue to go through this same charade every November. 

SPEAKING OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS: The United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy meet in football for the first time on this date in 1890. Meeting at West Point, Navy won, of course, beating the Black Knights of Confusion 24-0.

The Postgame Show Is Brought To You By USAA: Interestingly, this was the first football game in Army history. They would play six games the following season, capping off a 4-1-1 campaign with their first win over the Midshipman.

Oh Yeah: Navy had considerably more experience in that first game, having fielded a football team since they tied the dreaded Baltimore Athletic Club 0-0 in 1879. The Midshipmen came into that first Army/Navy game with an all-time record of 18-13-3.

Go Navy, Beat Army…Again And Again: Navy has won 17 of the last 20 meetings – 17 of the last 20! – and leads the series 60-50 with seven ties. This year’s game, the 118th in the series, will be played in Philadelphia for the 87th time on December 9.

3…2…1…Blastoff: Despite the fact the Soviet Union had already sent two humans into Earth orbit without incident, and despite the fact Alan Shepard had survived a sub-orbital flight the previous May, the United States sends a monkey into orbit on this date in 1961.

The Mercury-Atlas 5 mission was not without incident. Enos the Chimp’s’ capsule was overheating. The clock was 18 seconds fast. The attitude control system malfunctioned. Roll thrusters failed. These and other problems were enough to limit the flight to two orbits and the capsule landed 200 miles south of Bermuda three hours and 20 minutes after launch. Enos survived the flight, though he died of an unrelated illness the following November.

Quotebook: A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience. – Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Margaret Thatcher replaced James Callaghan as prime minister of Great Britian.

Today’s Stumper: How many times has the Army/Navy game been played at either West Point or Annapolis? – Answer next time!

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