Thursday, January 18, 2007

"Academics, football can coexist at the 'U'"

StarTribune, January 18, 2007

Here's a new spin..

"Plenty of universities with higher academic rankings than Minnesota's have managed also to build football programs that win games, excite fans and generate the long-term spirit and loyalty that Minnesota craves."

So let me get this right. Since there are schools with higher academic rankings than BigU, that can play competitive football, this must mean that we can play better football without taking a hit academically?

"Consider U.S. News & World Report's current roster of national universities. Minnesota ranks 67th -- actually 27th among public institutions. Of the 26 state schools ranked higher than Minnesota, nearly half of them produce consistently good football teams: Cal-Berkeley, Michigan, UCLA, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, Washington, Penn State, Texas, Florida, Ohio State, Georgia and Iowa. "

Now you have to understand that the Strib is a homer. Usually they don't let people in on the dirty little secret that at least one (reasonably) accurate source ranks BigU pretty low in the academic department. Most of the time other surveys are used (Florida, anyone?) to illustrate that we are "this close" to duking it out with the big boys. But in this academic ranking it is ok to be lousy, because there are other football factories higher up the academic greasy pole than us and so this proves that we can have a good football team too. Great rhetoric... And let's use whatever academic rating system is appropriate for the argumnet that we happen to be making today.

"No, the Gophers aren't likely to overcome the built-in advantages of the conference's elite three: Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. But there's no reason that Minnesota can't build a program equal to Wisconsin's or Iowa's."

Yes, let's reduce those expectations, just in case.

"Still, he deserves a chance to demonstrate his legendary recruiting ability, his skills as a coach and his influence in turning football players into actual college graduates. That's a tall order but not impossible."

I hope he does succeed - in increasing the miserable graduation rate of athletes, particularly minority athletes! Winning would be nice, too. Even NU has gone to a real bowl game more recently than the Gophs.

bg (aka Mr. Bonzo)

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