Herewith some comments and corrections from my last column, which presented a modest proposal to “right size” college football by relegating coaches to a role of teacher, as opposed to sideline mastermind who calls all the plays, shuffles the players in and out, and makes the big bucks by being the keeper of the secret sauce that determines the football fortunes of any given school.
A note from Edith and Bob Warner of Monroe Township concurred with my viewpoint: “Let the players prevail! A great idea and just maybe it will put the game back where it belongs: a game, not a money machine for the college or university.”
Casey Huckel, a marketing intern working with our parent company, Community News Service, had a question about — and a correction for — my column. Huckel, who played a year of college football at Davidson, wondered if I in fact meant Nick Saban when I referred to the highest paid college coach as “Lou Sabin” of Alabama.
Yes, I meant to say Nick and I meant to spell it Saban. But my misnomer was not so far off the mark. Lou Saban was a longtime college and professional football coach, most notably with the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos. When Lou Saban died in 2009, his widow speculated that he might have been a distant relative of Nick.
Huckel wondered if a student, rather than a player, could call the plays in my dream scenario. My guess is that one or more football players would win those positions (assuming one for offense and one for defense). They would be players who aren’t good enough to be on the field, but who do understand the play calling system, know the players, and are level headed enough to put team values ahead of personal concerns.
Could that play caller be a student who never played the game? I would say of course. So long as the “student” is not some former college or professional coach who has enrolled at the institution with the express goal of worming his way back onto the college football sidelines. What do they say in sports? “Rules are meant to be broken,” or something like that.
Last week’s column painted a grim picture of the Rutgers football program. It had just lost to Penn State, 28-3, and four or five of its players had appeared in the news for off-the-field exploits, not on-the-field heroics. And the head coach had been suspended for three games for trying to influence an instructor to raise the grade of a football player.
But the team beat Kansas, 27-14, last Saturday to improve its record to 2-2. And I just got a press release announcing that Rutgers linebacker Quentin Gause has been named a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy, also known as the “academic Heisman” that recognizes the best football scholar-athlete in the nation.
A senior captain with a 3.28 GPA, Gause majors in journalism and media studies and hopes to work in sports broadcasting. Gause has also visited local hospitals, worked with Boys & Girls Clubs, and volunteered with the Special Olympics and the Embrace Kids Foundation. He also participated in a missionary trip to Haiti in 2014 to offer assistance after the earthquake.
So let’s have a round of applause for Rutgers.
Meanwhile our (mostly) amateur friends at Princeton are off to a good start, defeating Lafayette, 40-7, and Lehigh, 52-26. And Princeton also has its semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy: Senior co-captain Matt Arends, who is majoring in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and has served internships with the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition in Washington, D.C., as well as in the U.S. Embassy in Paris.
Princeton may well be the equal of Rutgers off the field, though certainly not on the field. At the risk of being called a snob, I have to say there was once a time, not so long ago, when Princeton routinely defeated Rutgers in both areas.
Maybe that is a little snobby, which brings me to this week’s final item, a report from a website called roadsnacks.net that called Princeton the most snobby town in New Jersey, which the website suggests is a pretty highly rated state on its snob index.
We certainly are not snobby in any way, of course, and we take serious issue with the methodology of the survey. But here is the report: “When it comes to being a snob, you’ve got all types. You’ve got your wine snobs, beer snobs, and food snobs. There are book snobs, movie snobs, and theatre (yes, with an re) snobs. These days you’ve probably even got snob snobs — people who think their type of snob is better than yours.
“And of all the places in the U.S., you may not find a higher concentration of all of the above than in the Northeast — New Jersey in particular.”
Before we have the drum roll for the top 10 snobby cities, we should explain the criteria used by roadsnacks.net and our issue with the survey.
The website’s idea of snobbishness is based on median home price (higher is snobbier); median household income (higher is snobbier); percent of population with a college degree; private schools per capita (higher is snobbier); theaters per capita; and art galleries per capita.
Not to be picky, but half of those criteria are based on per capita, and the roadsnacks.net survey states the population of Princeton as 12,342. That is less than half the number reported in the consolidated Princeton in the 2010 census. Princeton’s per capita number of theaters, art galleries, and private schools would have been half as high if the accurate population number had been used.
We suspect that roadsnacks.net had used the data for “Princeton,” as we used to refer to the old borough in the pre-consolidation days, and had failed to factor in “the township,” as we used to refer to the non-borough portion of town.
So Princeton clearly does not deserve the snob title. And who are the others in the top 10? you may wonder. We vaguely recall Chatham and Bernardsville, but no places really worth mentioning.