Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
Here are the opinions du jour.
n How in “Almost Heaven” did the Secondary School Activities Commission allow four Class AAA football programs with 4-6 records to compete in the playoffs?
My first reaction is to call it “absurd,” but that’s not a strong enough word. The term “incompetent” is probably better and much closer to the point.
First, let’s state the obvious. The playoffs are supposed to be a reward for success. The problem is success and 4-6 record never appear in the same sentence. Until, that is, the SSAC made yet another numbskull decision.
The quartet of 4-6 teams got pounded by the top four Class AAA schools in the state.
What a shock.
No. 2 Cabell Midland (10-0) pummeled Riverside, 42-6. No. 3 Spring Valley (9-1) crushed Hurricane, 34-6. No. 4 Parkersburg South (9-1) thumped South Charleston, 47-13.
And I saved the worst, most reprehensible, for last.
No. 1 Martinsburg (10-0) humiliated Preston, 84-0. That’s right, 84 to zip. Martinsburg was leading, 56-0, at the end of the first quarter.
This was a reward for Preston?
In what universe?
The SSAC leaders are supposed to be looking out for the welfare of the Mountain State’s student-athletes, not throwing them under the bus.
Yet, just try to get the treadmarks off those Preston uniforms.
The bottom line is no high school football team with a losing record should ever be allowed to advance to the playoffs. I’m not a fan of teams with .500 records making it, either.
The problem is obvious.
A total of 48 schools advancing to the playoffs in three different classes in a state the size of West Virginia is preposterous.
This state needs only two classes.
I repeat, two.
But, instead, the SSAC in its less than infinite wisdom is preparing to open the Pandora’s Box of expanding to four classes.
The Preston debacle should be a wake-up call. But it won’t be. That’s because the SSAC is consistent in its thinking.
n Conceding field position on kickoffs because the kickoff team doesn’t tackle well is flawed logic.
Yet, that’s what Marshall University did during a 31-10 win over Louisiana Tech last Friday.
After LA Tech’s Wayne Toussant returned the opening kick 49 yards, MU resorted to “pooch kickoffs.” Redshirt freshman kicker Shane Ciucci punched the next kickoff 32 yards to LA Tech’s 33-yard line.
On Marshall’s next four kickoffs, the Bulldogs took over on the 36-, 39-, 40- and 36-yard lines. Imagine catching kickoffs at the goal line and returning them to those yard lines.
That field position would make any coach very happy.
Well, that’s what Marshall was voluntarily conceding. And that makes no sense. If the kickoff team isn’t tackling well, change personnel and utilize players who are better tacklers.
Conceding good field position isn’t the answer.
n Even Alanis Morissette would find this ironic.
The Marshall and West Virginia University men’s soccer teams each won conference championships, taking the Conference USA and Mid-American Conference titles, respectively.
Marshall is seeded No. 11, so it receives a first-round bye.
So, who will the Thundering Herd play on November 24? The winner of the first-round matchup between WVU and Butler on Thursday.
At the Hoops Family Field.