The Smartest AD in America

Gonna switch around the format a little here on the blog.  As opposed to the long form column stuff I’ve been doing, going to concentrate on quicker-hit items.  I think it will allow me to write more and not concentrate so much on every post being perfect.  I’ll work in the longer form stuff, just not every post.  Anyway….that’s what I’m going to try.  And on that note….. For my money Oliver Luck is the smartest athletic director in America.  I’ve thought that for awhile and he hasn’t done anything to make me doubt it.  Even when he runs his mouth, he’s doing it for a reason.  Mitch Vingle of the Charleston Gazette covers some of Luck’s comments today and we’re reminded again that this is a guy who can pretty quickly understand the heart of an issue.    But while everyone else in America has been concentrating on the top of the food chain, heaping scorn at Paterno, Spanier and Curley, Luck looked instead at the bottom:
“What struck me was the janitors being fearful of reporting for fear of losing their jobs. … You have to have an open, honest culture.”
And this is the crux of the matter.  While any number of high-ranking officials clearly failed in their duty to the law and human decency, anyone from the rank and file staff could have come forward and knocked this house of cards down.  The fact that it didn’t happen makes this something far beyond a small group of individuals involved in a “cover-up” and instead speaks to a large system of thinking where a group of people took willful leave of their own decency so as not to swim against the hallowed dark blue and white tide. Let me tell you folks – that ain’t something particular to Penn State.  That’s human nature. And that’s scary. Now on to happier things that don’t make me want to scrub my keyboard with a wet-nap. Luck moved on to something that is quickly becoming one of my favorite issues: non-conference play.
On future football scheduling and the possibility of resuming a series with Virginia Tech, Pitt or Penn State: “I have dialogue every now and then with Virginia Tech, just to see what’s going on. There’s nothing with Penn State. I do stay in touch with Steve Pederson at Pitt. But they are immersed in their lawsuit with the Big East, so there are no developments there. “I think everybody’s going to wait and see what the fine print is with the new playoff system. Is a tough schedule really going to be rewarded?” (emphasis added by me)
And THAT kids, is the question.  I wanted to read Coach Holgorsen’s comments last month and get fired up to renew old rivalries with the Hokies and Nittany Lions.  I freaking hate those teams.  I grew up hating those teams and even if WVU never plays them again I will die hating those teams.  Having said that I’m also good at math – especially easy math.  Twelve total games minus nine mandatory conference games in the current Big 12 = three games.  That’s one FCS squad and another cupcake (Bowling Green, Kent, et al) with another game left over.  That’s the one spot you’d have a little flexibility with.  Also remember WVU will only get four home conference games in alternating years, so if Luck wants to secure the 7 home games to which they’ve become accustomed, that’s all three of those, so you have to tailor a home-and-home to match those years. But that’s all beside the point, because none of it matters if the new mystical formula that the playoff patrons cook up doesn’t reward strength of schedule.  While some seem to believe it will, other smart, handsome bloggers aren’t quite so sure.  I’ll say what I said in this space last week: the SEC has shown the way scheduling down out of conference and sports is often follow-the-leader.  If WVU can clear their path to a playoff by laying the icing a little thick on the cupcake non-con road, you better believe they will.  Job One for Oliver Luck is bringing a national title to Morgantown and everything else is secondary. As you often do with Luck, you got a clear picture as to what he truly cares about and thinks today.  So if you want to play Tech again and even the Nittany Lions (assuming they still have a program), keep your eye on that selection process.  It will tell you a lot.  

One Response to “The Smartest AD in America”

  1. Luck is a step ahead of just about everyone else, and smart enough to know who to ask about the things he is unsure about. Eddie P. did a fine job, but his style cannot work in today’s environment. Luck is a smart and shrewd businessman, which is what you have to be these days. If we are ever going to have a shot to reach the very top, it is with him at the helm.

Leave a Reply