JOHN GRANATO

My apology to the people of Houston

Jimbo Fisher appeared on The Bench with John and Lance. Bob Levey/Getty Images

It has come to my attention that I have disappointed some of you out there and for that I would like to apologize. On Tuesday we had Jimbo Fisher on the program like we do every Tuesday at 7:15 AM.

I made the decision to not ask him about the facemask incident. That was my decision. Not Lance’s. Not Del’s. Their credibility should remain intact. It is my credibility that should be in question here because I was the one who they asked to not mention the issue.

Make no mistake this was not a Mike Gundy situation either. For those of you that missed it, the Oklahoma State coach threatened the media that they would lose their player interview privileges if they asked them about a player who was transfering. That was a bully move. I abhor coaches who bully the media. That was not the case with Jimbo.

This was a simple statement by someone on his staff who said that the coach answered the question about the facemask incident and is moving on.

One more question about it certainly wouldn’t have hurt but by the same token what would have been added to what he had just said the day before? It was asked and answered.

Maybe I could have uncovered some pearl that would have shed new light on the issue but I didn’t. Maybe that one question would have changed the player-coach relationship and made the world a better place for them to coexist in love and harmony. Maybe. I don’t know. That will haunt me now until I die.

Trust me I’m not afraid to ask the tough question. When I was in Green Bay I asked head coach Lindy Infante about death threats to his family one particularly bad Packer season. I had the Green Bay police department in my office that afternoon trying to figure out where I’d heard that and how they could prevent it.

At the opening of Enron Field (now Minute Maid Park) I asked manager Larry Dierker if his pitchers might be afraid to pitch inside because of that short porch in left. He literally fell to the ground screaming that I asked unanswerable questions. (By the way, about midway through the season he was quoted as saying that his pitchers were probably afraid to pitch inside because of the short porch in left).

Gary Kubiak was so sick of my badgering him about who was his starting offensive line that he told Steve McKinney to tell me to get off his back.

If this was the Urban Meyer situation I would have asked about it. If this was the Penn St. or Baylor situation I would have asked about it. This was not. In my opinion this is a non-story. Your opinion may be different than mine. I appreciate that but I don’t think it’s a big deal.

I have a son playing college football. If he’s acting the fool and a coach grabs him by the facemask to get his attention I would have absolutely no problem with that. I’d encourage it.

I know this is a different world than the one I grew up in but I don’t think that world was all that bad. My high school defensive line coach, Coach Conrath, would walk around with a baseball bat and hit any of his guys that were misaligned. I guarantee you they paid attention to where they were lined up every snap.

Our basketball coach was also our P.E. instructor and he had a giant wooden paddle with holes in it that would make nice indentation marks on your butt when you caught a fresh one. Guess who didn’t fool around during gym? This guy.

But I digress. The real issue here is my credibility as a journalist now. It’s gone forever. You can no longer trust me when I call myself dark meat or when I tell you that I dreamed about Gary Pettis sending the runner. I’ve lost your trust and that hurts.

I will tell you that I should never have had that trust in the first place. I do not consider myself a journalist. As Del’s dad once so eloquently told him “The man is a clown, and you are his court jester.” It is who I am: morning radio clown and I’m OK with that.

I did the journalist thing back in the day. I was once the sports director at the NBC affiliate in Green Bay. I remember standing outside the Packers locker room on cut day. All of us huddled there like vultures waiting to pounce on guys coming out one by one after they’d been released by the team. I’d never felt so scummy. Here are these guys whose hopes and dreams had just been shattered and all we could worry about was getting some five second sound bite on the six o’clock news.

No thanks. If that’s journalism I don’t want any part of it.

So once again I apologize for losing your trust, as misguided as that trust was. We have had more coaches and will continue to have more coaches on our show than any show I know of. One of the reasons is that we are civil, another is that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We like to  have fun with them which is something that’s rare these days. It seems to me that the media-coach relationship in this country is at an all time low.

Maybe we’ll ask Jimbo about that next Tuesday.







 

 


 

Are Buzz Williams and the Aggies No. 1?

Fresh off a run to the championship game by Texas Tech and some high profile recent coaching hires in both football and basketball, the state of Texas appears to be in great shape when it comes to Division I college coaching duos. We ranked each sport, then took the total. The lower the score, the better. It's a pretty impressive group. We stayed with the six biggest programs (SMU would be No. 7, but there simply is not enough to go on to rank beyond that). Here is how your duo stacks up:

6) Baylor (10 points)

Baylor v Syracuse

Getty Images

Scott Drew (fifth in the basketball rankings) has built a perennial tournament team at Baylor, but they have never been able to get past the Elite Eight. Still, he has been very good. Matt Ruhle (fifth among football coaches) took over a mess of a program and after a one-win season got the Bears to a bowl game last year and could take another step this year.

5) TCU (9)

TCU football coach Gary Patterson Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Gary Patterson (3) has been one of the best coaches in the state for a long time and the Frogs are lucky to have him. Jamie Dixon (6) put up a resume as impressive as anyone's at Pitt but has missed the NCAAs twice in two years at TCU.

4) Texas Tech (7)

Chris Beard. Sarah Stier/Getty Images

It's hard to argue with Chris Beard (1) as the top coach in the state, considering he was just minutes from a title and there is no reason to think he can't continue to thrive. Matt Wells (6) was an off-season hire who came off a 10-win season at Utah State but also had only three winning seasons in six years there and this is a tough step up.

2t) Texas (6)

University of Texas football coach Tom Herman Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Longhorns might have found the right guy in Tom Herman (2) for football, as Texas already has a New Year's Six win, his second as a head coach in the state. Shaka Smart (4) has been a mixed bag at the school, but is one of only three coaches in the state with a Final Four appearance.

2t) Houston (6)

Kelvin Sampson. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Kelvin Sampson (2) has engineered a remarkable turnaround with the basketball team with two straight appearances and a bright future. He also has a Final Four in his past. He has taken four different schools to the tournament. Dana Holgorsen (4) did well in a tough place at West Virginia and should thrive at Houston. He remains one of the best play callers in college football.

1) Texas A&M (4)

Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies debuted with a win. Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Jimbo Fisher (1) has scoreboard with a football national title at Florida State. He did a nice job in his first year at A&M and the future looks incredibly bright, although there will always be that pesky Alabama, LSU and Auburn to deal with. Buzz Williams (3) was a home run hire who had success in a tough Big East and then the rugged ACC. Aggie basketball should be a factor for years to come.

The basketball rankings

1) Beard

2) Sampson

3) Williams

4) Smart

5) Drew

6) Dixon

I had a tough time ranking 4-6, so I went to college basketball A.J. Hoffman, and this is how he ranked them.

The football rankings

1) Fisher

2) Herman

3) Patterson

4) Holgorsen

5) Ruhle

6) Wells

This one seemed a lot more clear cut, although you could make arguments among the top three. Would you trade your duo for any of these?

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