The Blanken-ship has sunk: a commentary

There is the old saying that “all good things must come to an end.” Well so must all bad things.

I’d file Bill Blankenship’s head coaching tenure strictly on a performance basis as a bad thing. Bill Blankenship’s last two years at Tulsa were especially horrific as the team went a combined 5–19.

Despite a worse record, this year’s team seemed to play better in my opinion and was a lot more fun to watch, which probably had a lot to do with the fact that I did not have to watch Cody Green launch balls ten feet over receivers’ heads this year, but that is neither here nor there. Let’s get back to the point: Bill Blankenship.

A lot of people in the Tulsa area were really upset with the firing of Bill Blankenship. They point to the fact that he won us a conference title and was C-USA Coach of the Year in 2012. They point to the fact that we have had a young team the past two years. They point to a lot of facts, but they always fail to point to the 5–19 record and the fact that he had Todd Graham’s recruits in those first two years.

The other big bugaboo among these Blankenship supporters is they do not want Tulsa to be a stepping stone school for coaches. Well I want to be seven feet tall, German and have an unguardable fade-away jumper, but I’m not Dirk Nowitzki and Tulsa is a stepping stone school.

I do not think Blankenship would have left TU for another school because he attended TU and has lived in Tulsa for a long time, but he was not nearly as good of a coach as the other coaches that have used us as a stepping stone school. TU is a mid-major school in the sixth or seventh best conference in the country and is not in contention to compete for a national championship.

The business of college football is sad for schools like Tulsa. Assistant coaches at big schools take head coaching jobs at small schools in hopes of getting an offer from a power five conference school. Tulsa cannot compete with power five conference schools; it does not have the money to do that.

People do not like to admit it, because living in a naïve world is a lot easier than facing the truth, but college football is all about who can cheat the best. Rich alumni at big schools care so much about football that they will do anything to win, and by anything I mean pay their players.

It just depends if they are stupid enough to get caught like SMU in the eighties. If you honestly think SMU was the only team to do that then you probably also believe that the world is six thousand years old and that OJ was innocent.

Tulsa will never compete for a national championship, but that does not mean we cannot have a fun football team who competes every year.

Blankenship did point out a problem with Tulsa as an institution though. We do not have favorable majors for student athletes and do not accommodate them as well as other schools. Though, as someone paying to go here I would point out that they still go here for free and should not be complaining.

But I understand what Blankenship is saying. Top recruits all think they are going to play in the NFL. Football is their main focus and school probably comes second to most of them. It is hard to get top recruits when you are competing against other schools who are structured around supporting athletes. TU also does not have the money in their football program to build amazing facilities like some other schools *Cough* OSU *Cough*.

College football reminds me a lot of “Game of Thrones.” What I keep hearing about Bill Blankenship is that he is a great guy who has strong morals and does the right thing. You know who else did the right thing? Eddard Stark. And if you read the books or watch the show you know what happened to him.

I heard the exact opposite about Blankenship’s predecessor, Todd Graham, and watching Graham on the sidelines of Arizona State games, I can see what they are saying. Graham reminds me of Tywin Lannister, and really if you look at any successful coach in college football outside of Bill Snyder at Kansas State, they will also remind you of Tywin Lannister (especially Nick Saban).

The Lannisters of Casterly Rock were a proud family and very powerful until Tywin’s father became lord and then everything went downhill very fast. Tywin’s father was very weak to say the least. Then once Tywin’s father died Tywin took over as lord and quickly made the Lannisters of Casterly Rock a powerhouse in the seven kingdoms once again through intimidation and by showing no mercy. Tywin put the Lannister name over everything else including his own honor and morals. He killed two children without even giving it a second thought. Dominant college coaches do the same thing.

Do you think that starting Jameis Winston this year after all he has done is the honorable thing? No probably not, but Florida State is undefeated. Blankenship always did the right thing like Ned Stark. He recruited players who were outstanding citizens, but maybe not the best football players.

In this profession, nice guys are not going to get you wins. It’s sad to say, but in a profession like coaching sometimes you need an asshole to lead your team, because assholes get wins. And when it comes down to it, all anyone cares about is winning, not what kind of person you are.

I would much rather have a really good young coach who is going to invigorate our program and leave after two years than one who is just average, but will not leave us. It is like dating. Are we going to take a chance on an amazing girl even though she is way out of our league and could find somebody better, or are we going to settle for some average girl just because we know she will not leave us? I would go with the amazing girl, because even if she does leave you, the short time you had together was way better than the long boring time you had with the average girl. And who knows, if we keep going for the amazing girl maybe one will fall in love with us and decide to stick around.

If Tulsa wants to be a successful program once again they need to go after a good young coach who has an offensive background, because it is much easier to build a dominant offense at a school like Tulsa than a dominant defense.

There are a couple of coaching candidates (both offensive coordinator) that could thrive in Tulsa including Jake Spatival from Texas A&M and Doug Meacham from TCU. Personally I’d prefer Meacham because TCU’s offense was amazing this year and would fit better Tulsa’s personnel better than Spatival would. I’d be happy with both because I think they would invigorate our team to go back to their winning ways.

Post Author: westanderson

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