A Little Less Cynicism Is In Order

That’s what I think after reading The Sporting News’ Tom Dienhart’s latest column (that’s right, it’s a column, NOT a blog) that oozes with dread over the prospect of having to watch Brady Quinn’s senior season.

Prepare to choke on sappy Quinn stories reads the headline to his piece.

But it gets harsher:

Quinn won’t walk around campus this fall. He’ll hover — like an angel. Heck, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Quinn on Oprah’s couch. And you know Katie and Matt will gush over him at some time. (Think NBC, cross-promotion). I can hardly wait. I bet we’ll find out that Brady brushes his teeth after every meal AND flosses ? eats all his veggies ? makes his bed ? tucks in his shirt ? reads books to starving blind children in the Rainforest who want to save the whales — all while having a spotted owl perched on one shoulder with a bald eagle on the other. God bless Brady!

That’s your cue to stand and salute. Me? I’ll puke.

Later on, Dienhart continues his vomit references:

…he (Quinn) isn’t guaranteed to win anything this fall. Not only is Quinn leaving a lot of money on the table, but I don’t think Notre Dame will win the national title, or that Quinn will win the Heisman. In fact, I have five reasons to believe Quinn’s senior season won’t be dreamy.

1. The Irish have to replace three offensive linemen.

2. Penn State, Michigan and USC.

3. The Irish will struggle to cover on defense. Sure, speed has been injected, but it’s still young speed. And young speed makes mistakes.

4. Who will be the yin to Jeff Samardzija’s yang? Maurice Stovall? Gone. Anthony Fasano? Gone.

Is that enough to make you vomit, Notre Dame Nation?

Well, I think what can make someone vomit is a really dumb list like this one. Let’s go point by point.

1. I could be wrong, but I believe Notre Dame actually returns three offensive line starters which, last I checked, would constitute a majority up front.

2. Why would Notre Dame have to worry about Michigan? They seem to beat the Wolverines no matter who they have at quarterback. And with Michael Robinson and several other key players gone, there’s no guarantee that Penn State will be that good again. Plus, the game will be played early in the year (when Anthony Morelli is still green) and in South Bend. Finally, the game with USC is a rivalry game and, as this past year showed, anything can happen. It’s not like the Trojans don’t have guys to replace either.

3. Now if this notion in Dienhart’s mind that Notre Dame has a really slow defense wasn’t primarily formed by the sight of Ted Ginn and Santonio Holmes blowing by Irish defenders in the Fiesta Bowl, then I wouldn’t argue too much with it. But, it’s clear that the visual imprint of Ginn and Holmes turning on the jets is why he writes this. Come on, though: If there is a defense that can run with these two guys in the open field, I’d like to see it. The fact is that Notre Dame was the victim of an Ohio State offense that FINALLY lived up to its potential and was clicking on all cylinders as Troy Smith emerged as an accurate and legitimate passer. Had that offense been as proficient in game three as it was in game 12, Ohio State would have been playing USC in the Rose Bowl, not Texas. Now, is Notre Dame a particularly fast defense? No. But it held USC to its lowest point total of the season, so it can’t be all that bad.

4. There’s a player named Rhema McKnight who is pretty good. He’ll get his chance to blossom under Weis after sitting out this past year with an injury.

But where Dienhart really whiffs is in regards to Quinn’s Heisman chances. In short, Quinn is the front runner for this thing. Yes, much of his strength as a candidate is because of his uniform. But, let’s not forget that the guy is a very good quarterback who had a great season as a true junior.

As for the media overhyping, I’m sure Dienhart and his own outlet will do their fair share this upcoming season. I doubt if him eating his words will help his queasiness much, but it sure would settle my stomach.

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About Heismanpundit

Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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