A Stones Throw 12-11-14

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I was planning on a continuation of the “can’t fix stupid” discussion with this week’s ‘A Stones Throw’, only this time in conjunction with the College Football Selection Committee.

It seemed to me that week after week the Selection Committee was operating without a clue as they indicated their current top four football teams.

Their rankings became most laughable two weeks ago when they looked at defending National Champion and currently undefeated Florida State as the fourth best team in college football. The committee stated that Texas Christian University (TCU) was better than Florida State even though TCU had one loss. That loss was to Baylor – a team with the same record (10-1 at the time), from the same conference, with essentially the same schedule.

And yet, TCU was ranked ahead of Baylor, – and ahead of Florida State.

You can’t fix stupid.

But then, maybe you can correct stupid.

After the games of last weekend, it became evident that Ohio State deserved to be recognized as one of the four best college teams this year. Making the decision to move Ohio State into the top four, and thus into the College Football Championship series, was an easy choice.

The College Football Selection Committee agreed.

The College Football Championship series will match Alabama against Ohio State and Oregon against Florida State. The winner of these two games will play for the national championship. While I could argue with an undefeated Florida State being ranked third, I can’t argue with any of the four teams who will play in the Championship series.

At the same time, I am glad I am not a member of that selection committee. I would not like to have to explain to TCU why they were moved from number three to number six in the committee’s mind. How do you tell that to a team that wins their final game on Saturday by a score of 55-3?

“Sorry, winning by 52 points was not enough to keep you in the top four.”

“Oh, and sorry, but Baylor was moved ahead of you since they beat you earlier in the year.” (Baylor was ranked fifth and TCU sixth in the final rankings.)

Sometimes correcting stupid is hard, even after it has been corrected.

Perhaps not in the same vein, but I had to laugh at some of the talking head experts that analyze National Football League action. I think they must have been watching the College football selection show and the various media responses instead of watching a couple of the NFL games.

Especially the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Cleveland Browns.

It is not secret that I am a big Indianapolis Colts fan. I think Andrew Luck is one of the five best quarterbacks in the league today. I think, before his career is done, he will be recognized as one of the five best quarterbacks all time.

Still, I was amazed to hear the “experts” on one of the NFL game review shows claim Andrew Luck was yesterday’s “clutch player.”

Luck earned this acclimation for taking the Colts on a 90 yard drive and throwing a game winning one-yard touchdown pass with 44 seconds left in the game. Certainly, this play was important – it won the game.

But, in no way should Andrew Luck be considered the “clutch player” of the day.

First, Luck’s game against the Browns could easily be the worst game of his career. He threw two interceptions – one of which was returned for a touchdown. And, he fumbled into his own end zone – a fumble that was recovered by the Browns for another touchdown.

When you give the other team two touchdowns due to your mistakes, mounting the final drive to salvage a game is more redemptive than clutch.

Besides this, anyone who watched the Colts-Browns game would have to see Colts running back Dan Herron as the “clutch player” of the day. With less than a minute to go in the games, the Colts were on the Browns three yard line with a fourth down with inches to go for a first down, Herron was called on to pick up those few inches needed to allow the Colts to continue.

Make the first down and the Colts will have time to score and win the game.

Miss the first down, and the Browns win.

The math was simple.

The action was not.

Almost as soon as Herron was handed the ball, he was hit. The first hit came while he was three yards behind the line-of-scrimmage.

Game over – Browns win.

The result was obvious to everyone. Everyone, that is except for Dan Herron.

Herron bounced back, ran, twisted, ducked, and slammed his way through a mass of bodies. When he finally hit the ground he had gained the needed inches – and added an extra yard for good measure.

This was clutch.

The very next play Luck threw the winning touchdown pass.

Colts win.

Andrew Luck gets the credit for taking the Colts to victory.

While you usually cannot pick one play that determines a win or a loss, the Dan Herron run comes close. He was the “clutch player” of the game Sunday. He is the reason the Colts won.

It is obvious to me that many of the talking head experts looked at the touchdown pass, looked at Andrew Luck throwing that pass, and immediately gave him the credit for saving the Colts once again.

It is also obvious to me that they were wrong.

I would still pick Andrew Luck as the base of my football team, but I would love to have the “never-give-up” attitude of Dan Herron on my team.

Both are clutch.

While I am writing about sports this week, there is one more important thing to note – pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training in 40 days.

- Mike Cooney