Wednesday, December 01, 2010

No Bushnell for Us

Johnathan Reese, during his days with the Jets

The list of the finalists for the 2010 Bushnell Cup were announced this morning.

They are Dartmouth’s Nick Schwieger, Penn’s Billy Ragone, Harvard’s Gino Gordon, and Princeton’s Trey Peacock.

Each one of these players was outstanding, but it is very disappointing that no Columbia players, especially Sean Brackett and Alex Gross, made the list.

To be fair, I have called for the entire Penn starting offensive line to win the award. I have also, more realistically, said that Schwieger makes the most logical choice winner for this season.

But Brackett is the most exciting and valuable player in the Ivies right now, and what player made more of an impact on his defense than Alex Gross in 2010?

I suppose we could shout about unfair anti-Columbia biases and in this case, I think we’d have a good case.

How someone like Peacock, a great wide receiver but a great wide receiver on an 0-7 Ivy team, could become a finalist over Brackett and Gross is just silly.

But other than the case of Peacock, the real reason Columbia’s best players didn’t make this list of finalists is because of wins and losses.

It always comes down to wins and Columbia just hasn’t won enough games to get respect.

And don’t fool yourself into thinking that winning four games per season, while a lot better than one or two, is going to earn Columbia any real respect from the league.

Columbia just didn’t have enough wins this season to impress the voters for the Bushnell Cup.

The Lions didn’t have enough wins from 2006-2009 to get all-time great players like Austin Knowlin a Bushnell Cup even though he was every bit as good a player as Brown’s excellent WR Buddy Farnham, a co-Bushnell winner in 2009.

Why? Knowlin won just 12 games in his Columbia career.

The Lions never had enough wins to get great RB Johnathan Reese a cup from 1998-2001, despite his superhuman importance to Columbia in those four seasons.

Reese won just 13 games in his Columbia career.

It’s the personal stories that make the Bushnell Cup snubs hurt the most. The kids who play 1st Team All Ivy quality ball at Columbia year after year are seeing too much of their efforts on the field wasted.

Who, or what, will be held accountable for this?

We can’t just lay it all at the feet of the opposing coaches.

I’m not looking for a scapegoat, but I do very much fear an atmosphere where too many of us are content with four win seasons or see them as a great achievement.

To do so would be a grave injustice to the hard work of our student athletes who deserve better.

They deserve trophies; championship trophies and MVP trophies.

It’s not too late for people like Sean Brackett who has two more years to play.

But for Alex Gross, Austin Knowlin, Johnathan Reese, and so many others, it is already too late.


At Wed Dec 01, 09:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Greg Abbruzzese CC '92 said...

Bravo Jake! You are right, ultimately it comes down to wins and losses to garner the respect that these players (and the team) deserve. Recently, there have been several posts requesting an overhaul of the entire program, myself included. Can you please tell us what steps are being made to right this ship? Surely, the administration must realize that there is a problem. One would assume that the 16-34 record would say it all, but I hope that they will outline some sort of action plan, complete with benchmarks and accountability... or is that too much to ask for? Something that all of the other Ivies have set in place...

At Wed Dec 01, 09:42:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt the wins and losses are a factor in the Bushnell voting, but that Peacock (from team with a worse record than CU) would be selected over Brackett (who won Ivy League Player of the Week three times this year) and Gross is outrageous. Simply stupifiying and irresponsible.
As to an overhaul of the program, that may well be necessary. I think Norries Wilson and his staff work incredibly hard and have recruited some excellent players, but fair is fair: and the overall record should be examined, in the way it was for Joe Jones and the basketball program. It is not as if the coaches haven't been given a chance. Such decisions are always painful when good people are involved, but accountability is the responsible course of action. The reputation for the football team simply has to be improved; no better evidence is needed then this snub of Brackett.

At Wed Dec 01, 11:13:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was at Columbia, Penn was the weakest program and the one game a year that we might actually win. Then they seemed to turn things around and have been a force since the late 80's. What did they do that we cannot seem able to? They are a city school in a worser section of a lesser city than New York. Academically, Columbia is ranked fourth in the country and leaps ahead of Penn. We have a sitting President among our grads.....What the f__k is our problem? Is it the leadership (ie, Bollinger?). Is it our facilities?

Someone help me!

At Wed Dec 01, 08:14:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, I also think that there is an anti-Columbia bias, and the high priest is none other than Al Bagnoli, who has been trashing us up and down for years. Bags will never vote for a Columbia player for anything, even the reincarnation of Sid Luckman. It is a joke that Ragone, who was suspended for one game for violating team rules and who isn't in Brackett's league as a passer or a runner is a finalist. The bright side of this outrage is that it will motivate Brackett to have the game of his life when we play Penn at home next year. As far as Coach Wilson, I think people should cut him a little slack. He is closer than you think. And again, let's open up our wallets and get teh Campbell Center built.

At Wed Dec 01, 08:18:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that the coaching factor in a winning program is overwhelming. Bagnoli at Penn has been winning for ten years; Wooden won at UCLA (he only had Jabbar for three years) ten NCAA titles; Bobby Knight (schmuck that he is) was a force for twenty years; Carroll at USC was unstoppable; Lou Little (at Columbia!); Belicheck changes players every year and still dominates. The list goes on...Lombardi, Landry, Joe Paterno, Bear Bryant. Just think : Knute Rockne was offered a chance to coach at Columbia and almost accepeted their offer--the highest offer ever made to a college coach at the time, $75,000!

At Wed Dec 01, 08:54:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the self-flagellation aside, Jake you would do us all a great service by explaining how the voting works (i) for choosing the finalists, and (ii) choosing the Cup winner. We know it's decided by "vote of the Ivy League head coaches" but how many nominees do they get to pick, are there any limitations on nominating players from one's own team, etc.
Columbia was in the unique position of having two players who were legitimate POY candidates this year. Not sure any other team was really in the same position - you could argue that maybe Dartmouth and Harvard had a legit case for Abuhoff and Zych, respectively. But with Brackett and Gross, you had two guys who were tops at their position, and Gross certainly holds up his end off the field too. it possible that votes for Columbia's two stars got split, resulting in neither making the cut?

At Wed Dec 01, 10:20:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There seems to be one or two strong anti-Bagnoli posters here and I struggle to understand his motive for allegedly singling out Columbia for his attacks. Why not Princeton, a virtual next door neighbor? These assaults on Bagnoli could easily be attributed to envy because of his unquestioned winning record and respect that he has.

So unless there is some actual proof of repeated wrongdoing by Bagnoli, we should concentrate on what OUR program and coaches are doing and achieving.

At Wed Dec 01, 10:22:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My view is that, had we beaten Yale and Dartmouth (as we really should have done), then the voting would have had Brackett as a finalist. Cannot explain Peacock.

At Wed Dec 01, 10:44:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re Bagnoli--during Norries Wilson's first season, when we played at Penn, Penn's assistant coaches started trashing our players, calling us "bush league", etc. After the game Norries exploded at the post game conference -- and rightfully so -- at the treatment our team was accorded in the City of Brotherly Love (we played Penn very tough that year). Also, there are docuemnted cases of Bags unhooking our recruits by bad-mouthing Columbia.

At Thu Dec 02, 01:24:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, one must realize that this award seems to be offensively
oriented, making it extra hard for a defensive player to be nominated.If stats were the sole criteria, Alex Gross would have been nominated.
In my humble opinion, my vote goes to Nick Schwieger, as
the 2010 Bushnell Cup. Reason he put up consistant numbers and he was the playmaker for Dartmouth.
He was the reason Dartmouth won as many games as it did.
Ragone had a great supporting cast.
Gordon, just a step behind, and Peacock put up great numbers, but Princeton was at the back of the pack. Well, next year, we should have a Lion nominee!

At Thu Dec 02, 02:12:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which classes are the nominees in? Maybe the coaches don't like to nominate underclassmen?

At Thu Dec 02, 02:28:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are we really that naive to assume that Bagnoli is the only coach doing what he sees fit to attract players to his school/team? Are we assuming that recruits cannot judge for themselves but are merely sheep? I think we need to get over this Bagnoli thing, grow up, get tough and do what we need to that we can shove it down his throat the only way he will respect -- namely losing to us.

At Thu Dec 02, 03:47:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The basic problem with Columbia Football has always been that we start each year with a smaller pool of potential recruits nationwide than any other school in the Ivy League. Norries Wilson has done a terrific job of increasing the number of talented high players showing an interest in Columbia, but our numbers are still less than nearly everyone else. Take a look at the list of potential recruits for the eight Ivy League Schools. We still have the lowest number of interested high school seniors. Part Two of the equation is that Columbia Football Fans have never placed enough pressure on the adminstration to do the necessary things that have to be done to win games, namely develop a winning recruiting technique and construct world-class athletic facilities. All the other Ivies have found a method of getting championship caliber athletes into their schools without getting the anti-sports types too excited. Harvard is the prime example of an Ivy League School that simply lowers academic standards relative to everything else to win Ivy League Football and Basketball Championships. For example, three years ago Harvard dismissed its basketball coach and replaced him with a big-time recruiter, Tommy Amaker, and allowed him to recruit players who simply had not been considered in the past including kids attending community colleges in the Midwest. Harvard has even admitted to NCAA recruiting violations, but no one really cares at Harvard because of the arrogance that persists that Harvard can do no wrong. Columbia needs to decide what it should do and want to do to win Ivy League Championships and then do it.

At Thu Dec 02, 03:58:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In regard to the last post, I don't think anyone wants CU to lower admissions standards so we can win more football games. The talent pool we have today is competitive. The debate is whether the coaching and facilities are good enough. Lowering academic expectations makes football even less popular on campus and less sustainable to the administration.

At Thu Dec 02, 06:26:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re talent==we are fine in skill positions but need more big DLs.


Post a Comment

<< Home