Sunday, September 17, 2006

I hate thinking I could do someone's job better than they do,

because I hate it when people do it to me. (And nobody hears about their screw-ups more often than teachers, refs, and poets, at least in poetry workshops.)

But when Jim and his lovely bride were kind enough to give my wife and I tickets to the WSU/Baylor game this past weekend, the end of the game featured a last two minutes with very, very bizarre coaching decisions. I believe I would have done a better job on either sideline.

Baylor led by 1, 15-14. WSU drove down the field. Baylor burned its time-outs (too quickly, I thought), and WSU wound up with the ball first and goal from the 2 yard line with 1:40 left.

If I'm Baylor coach Guy Morriss, I think I let them score. Seriously. I'd rather have 1:40 on the clock and a 6 or 7-point deficit than a 2-point deficit and no time on the clock. Anybody can make a 19-yard field goal, right?

So then I'm thinking, hey, if I'm WSU coach Bill Doba, I'm going to anticipate that strategy and kneel. Why risk a fumble? I trust my kicker on a 20-yarder. Just center the ball, run the clock down to 3 seconds, and kick on 4th down.

Here's the bizarre stretch:

On first down, WSU ran a QB sneak. Baylor did not let them score. The QB fumbled. Unbelieveable. But WSU recovered.

Surely WSU and Baylor will wise up on second down as the clock approaches a minute.

On second down, WSU ran another QB sneak. Didn't score.

The clock approaches 30 seconds. The Bears really, really need to let them score now to have any kind of prayer. WSU should simply kneel.

On third down, WSU ran another QB sneak. And yet again, Baylor stopped them.

Now, it's all over. WSU just needs to call a time out with three seconds left to kick their game-winning field goal.

Inexplicably, they called it with 15 seconds left. Why? Did they want to give Baylor a chance?

The kicker booted a 17-yard field goal, the shortest I've ever seen, and WSU took a 17-15 lead.

But 9 seconds remained on the clock. Which meant Baylor could still have a chance.

They made the most of that chance. A Baylor Bear very nearly broke it with what would have been the bizarrest finish ever. He busted through the first two lines of defense and was just clipped from behind past midfield.

Game over. And my mouth was agape.

Still, kinda fun.

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