I spent too much time watching too much bad football this weekend.
We got in from our Saturday morning golf tournament to find the Wisconsin Badgers struggling against the Georgia State Panthers at Camp Randall Stadium, in what should have been a cakewalk. The blame for the poor showing was being placed on 5th year senior quarterback Bart Houston--who seemed incapable of completing downfield passes. That led to the question "Why can't Wisconsin get a decent quarterback....ever?" That's when I always run off the list of Wisconsin QB's that have made the NFL in the modern (Barry Alvarez and later) era: Joel Stave, Scott Tolzien, Brooks Bollinger, Jim Sorgi, and Russell Wilson have all played in the league. You can count Tanner McAvoy as well--even though he is a receiver with the Seahawks.
The reason Wisconsin QB's get interest from NFL teams is that they come out of one of the few systems that still run a Pro-Style offense. Badgers quarterbacks work with tight ends and fullbacks in formations--and they have to read the entire defense every play--not just one linebacker or one cornerback as is required of QB's in the spread offense. Of course, Wisconsin's offensive struggles weren't the only ugliness this weekend.
The Oregon-Nebraska game was an embarrassment of embarrassments. Oregon scored five touchdowns--as did Nebraska. But the Ducks went for two every time and succeeded just once--while the Cornhuskers kicked the conventional extra point and made it all five times--giving them a three point win. Why did Oregon eschew five automatic points? Because their head coach is an "offensive genius who is changing the way the game is played". Apparently, the object now is to be avante garde--and not actually successful in winning games.
I almost vomited during that game when the ESPN play-by-play guy called a read option running play with four wide receivers, no tight ends and no fullback in the formation "Power Football". Of course, this after Oregon lined up on third and inches and goal to go inside the five situations with an empty backfield and the quarterback in the shotgun formation--so that's as "powerful" as pass-happy football gets. And then, the game ended with Oregon running a read-option QB keeper on a fourth and 15th--which gained all of one yard. More of that "changing the way the game is played" nonsense, I guess.
Then last night, NBC ran a graphic that reminded us all of how great the game used to be. To illustrate how well Adrian Peterson has done in his career against the Packers, the TV crew reviewed the five all-time leading single opponent career rushing averages--and Jim Brown held three of the five spots. I liked to say that Jim Brown would probably rush for 25-hundred yards in a season--since he never played more than 12 regular season games a year--and tackling is so poor in the league right now. But Jim Brown would probably languish on the bench or get converted to tight end today because so many head coaches (like Mike McCarthy) refuse to run the ball anymore--because "geniuses" only throw it.