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Saturday, September 23, 2006

STFU? I think not...

I'll start with hockey... honestly, there's not been much to talk about. Yes, everyone is starting their seasons, but I don't do game reports unless there's some compelling reason, and events thus far have been pretty pedestrian.

It's clear by the comments I'm getting that some people just don't get it. For the record, yes, I do have a connection to the university as an alumnus. I also know members of the hockey program, both on and off the ice. Also, since someone has brought up the OU Hockey ad... it is comp'ed as a showing of my support to their program.

Perhaps some readers here haven't been around long enough, but I'm big on accountability. I bag on agencies for which I have no affiliation whatsoever, such as the USA Hockey Junior Council, for some of the foolish things they've done. Why do I have a right to do so? Because I'm a stakeholder, and if you disagree on that point then there's really no point in you reading this blog ever again.

Below is a slightly edited and somewhat enhanced response to someone whom I consider a good friend, but like many others has been disturbed by my focus on the OU game this week. I told him we'll simply have to agree to disagree.


What OU did before and after the main play is irrelevant. They did what they had to do, on the road in a hostile environment against a ranked opponent, to be in a position to win a game. No team should be expected to win by 50 just to take the refs out of the equation. By the same argument, with 450 yards of offense to that point Oregon shouldn't have needed the onsides kick to win, but their offense committed four turnovers, an offense every bit as detrimental as Oklahoma's porous secondary.

Make the right call and OU gets the ball, takes a couple of knees, and the media instead talks about Adrian Peterson stepping up in the 4th quarter, Paul Thompson's error-free game at QB, and OU's bend-but-not-break defense forcing four turnovers.

Gordon Riese has been caught in a shifting lie since this whole thing started. His leave of absence is, in all likelihood, permanent. If he admits he blew the call, no excuses, then he's taken the appropriate responsibility and this all goes away. Unfortunately, with the assistance of John Canzano of The Oregonian and others in the media, he tried to become a victim, and his claims about not having all the feeds has been shot down by ABC like the ducks in the old Nintendo game. The media that everyone thinks I should let cover this seems to have missed it, too busy building the dogpile of outrage over official Oklahoma comments that are now several days old. Boren's letter came out late Monday and Stoop's last comments were at the weekly press junket on Tuesday. Lee Corso was on Gameday this morning telling Stoops to get over it, when Stoops hasn't said a word in four days.

As for President David Boren... the old senator is still a calculating politician with more power in his pinky toe than any of us will ever enjoy in our lifetimes. Let the record show he's received his primary requests - the apology, the suspensions (defacto one-game and effective lifetimes for the replay pair), and now the Pac-10's consideration of the non-conference policy at their October meetings. The "result nullification" was a throwaway, Boren the politician being sure to ask for more than he expects. It was not, however, unprecedented... As reported in this morning's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in 1940, Cornell won its 19th consecutive game when its last-second touchdown pass secured a 7-3 victory over Dartmouth. The referee, however, had lost track of downs; he ruled Cornell's fourth-down incompletion as a third-down play, allowing the winning points to be scored on fifth down.

The referee, Red Friesell, admitted his mistake. After reviewing the game films, Cornell sent a telegram to Dartmouth and conceded the victory. It is officially in the record books as a 3-0 victory for Dartmouth.

I know that the Pac-10 is proud of their integrity. However, the phrase that has danced in my head all week has been "trust, but verify." To bury their head in the sand in their initial reaction was rather myopic.

There is too much at stake in this game to not demand excellence in officiating. That is all Boren is doing. The Pac-10 doesn't have a problem, it has an opportunity for improvement. Curse Boren for pointing out such an opportunity.

The national counter-reaction reminds me a lot of the international shift in attitude following the 9/11 attacks. The world was behind us until we started to react. We may disagree on the appropriateness of going into Afghanistan and/or Iraq, but I suspect international opinion was going to be against the USA/Bush regardless. Similarly, everyone agrees Oklahoma was screwed, but heaven forbid the University and fans actually demand changes to prevent such events in the future.

Those who bash Boren for taking time out of his day have no idea 1) what he has accomplished in 12 years at OU or 2) what is the role of any university president. To address the first element, my degree is worth a million times more now than when it was granted, thanks entirely to Boren bringing excellence to the institution. When he started, he stated that OU's peers weren't Big 12 schools (although Texas and Texas A&M are clearly academically and financially above the rest), but Big 10 schools... and he immediately set forth to make it a reality. As someone who is chest-deep in university planning and strategy, I cannot begin to describe what a significant step and accomplishment that was. The second element revolves around what a president is supposed to be. Someone in the media mentioned that he looked more like a booster club president than a university president. When it comes to fundraising, that's exactly what he's supposed to be. Watch OU's promotional clip at halftime during OU-Texas in three weeks, and you'll see what I mean. Click here to see what Boren does when he's not demanding accountability and excellence in athletics. Every single one of those accomplishments is directly due to the vision he has brought to the university. His addressing the controversy of the game 1) sent a political statement and 2) played to the donor base.

[end email response to my friend]

Now, as for Riese. We have a man now caught in several lies and the one I discovered last night. Where's the media on that one? Where is the media, period? Oh that's right, it's the blogosphere that is doing all the work these days.

So, for those who made it through this entire rant... no, I'm not backing down.

Comments on "STFU? I think not..."


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:52 PM, September 23, 2006) : 

well we're glad you aren't backing down. I'm sure that your blog entry will have huge ramifications on the college football scene


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:43 AM, September 25, 2006) : 


-Bob Knight


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:52 AM, September 25, 2006) : 



Blogger WCharles said ... (12:21 PM, September 25, 2006) : 

First and foremost, I hope to see more "baby arm" signs on TV behind Corso [for you non-DFW folks, that's an inside reference for KTCK listeners.]

Second, if this had happened 20 years ago, I might think Boren, Stoops, and the rest of the Sooner Nation were making too much of this. However, in this world of extremely high costs and the BCS, there is so much more at stake, namely miliions and millions of dollars. That blown call conceivable lost a ton of money for OU, especially if the Sooners happen to finish the season with only one loss.

Third, this is Marc's blog, and if he wants to continue to write about this topic, so be it.

Lastly, I have no affiliation with OU, but I do have ties to the WF Wildcats, so I hope there is some junior hockey news to get back to in the near future.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:39 AM, September 27, 2006) : 

To somehow equate the war on terror with a football game, even as an analogy, is ludicrous.


Blogger Marc Foster said ... (8:56 AM, September 27, 2006) : 

First off, there have been comparisons between war and football since the game was invented. George Carlin summed it up nicely years ago: In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line. That obvious comparison aside, what I'm really talking about the behavior and perception following the initial reaction (the "counter-reaction," if you will). The shoe fits, and folks in Oklahoma do know a little something about terrorism.


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