Doug Gottlieb Is Wrong And Here's Why

Doug Gottlieb Is Wrong And Here's Why

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Doug Gottlieb Is Wrong And Here's Why

Fox Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb has weighed in on our question we posed to Jim Harbaugh at Big Ten Media Days.  He’s wrong on just about everything he says.  Here’s where, how, and why.

Contact @crowleysullivan

We like Doug Gottlieb.

He’s provocative, thoughtful, opinionated, passionate, experienced, credible.

For the most part.

But, on his Fox Sports Radio show a few days ago, he chimed in with commentary and analysis of our question that we posed to Jim Harbaugh at Big Ten Media Days.

Gottlieb’s analysis includes elements that are simply and flatly wrong.

We’re going to go through each of the quotes – none taken out of context – and examine how and why he’s wrong.

Below, you can watch the entire segment that Gottlieb dedicated to the subject and see for yourself.

SpartansWire’s breakdown, topic by topic –

PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND THE OTHER THINGS

Gottlieb’s exact quote:

“I do think that people don’t really understand all of the other things and what leads you to be successful.”

Analysis:

That may be true in some cases.

It’s true that people don’t understand a lot of things.

People, actually, don’t understand most things.

I don’t understand what the “other things” are that help a lawyer become a great lawyer, for instance.

But, in this specific instance, this person understands all of the “other things.”

As we’ll demonstrate and with all due respect, we have a far greater, far more specific understanding of the subject matter than Gottlieb has.

We’ve had that specific understanding of this micro and macro topic for the last thirty-five years, not just the three years that Harbaugh has been the head coach at UMAA.

We get it.

There are a lot of “things” that factor into a coach’s ability to win games and lose games.

Every coach in America deals with this reality, not just UMAA’s head coach, no matter who he may be at a given time.

This is part of being a good coach – handling the “other things” and being able to win even though there are lots of “other things.”

Coaches do it every Saturday, every month, and every year.

Mark Dantonio had to deal with a lot of “other things” when he became the head coach of one of the most dysfunctional football programs in America at the time.

He dealt with them.

PEOPLE REWRITING HISTORY IS LAUGHABLE

Gottlieb’s exact quote:

“I find the rewriting of history from Michigan fans and Big Ten fans to be laughable and embarrassing – Brady Hoke was a bad football coach.  He was not a good football coach when he was there.”

Analysis:

This suggests that Gottlieb believes that people claim that Brady Hoke was a good coach.

Nobody – and, on this I know I have the support of the UMAAers – thinks Brady Hoke is, was, or ever will be a good coach.

There is no rewriting of history to debate here.

All know and understand that Brady Hoke was not good at coaching the football team that represents the school that has more wins than any other college football program in the history of the sport.

MITIGATING FACTORS

In beginning to address the Harbaugh Era and the “criticism” coming now –

Gottlieb’s exact quote:

“But what’s curiously absent is all of the other kind of mitigating factors…”

Analysis:

It’s fair, to an extent, to bring up the idea of “mitigating factors.”

In the same way that it’s fair to bring up the “other things” referenced above.

Something that Gottlieb does not bring up at all when discussing the entire subject is the fact that there are undeniable, tangible factors that play into any man’s potential when he becomes the head coach at UMAA.

Those factors include and are not limited to UMAA having more tradition and more success in its portfolio than 95% of the college football programs with whom it competes; UMAA has more resources at its disposal than 95% of the college football programs with whom it competes; the “challenges” related to recruiting high school football players to come to UMAA are far different than the challenges that 95% of the programs that UMAA competes with face year in and year out; every single college football program in America deals with “mitigating factors.”

UMAA has more advantages at its disposal than 95% (we’re being conservative) of the programs it goes up against every day of the year.

This, it could be argued, makes any “mitigating factors” less imposing than similar “mitigating factors” might be when a man becomes the head coach at, say, Illinois.

If one wants to bring up “mitigating factors,” one must also bring up the reality of the countless advantages the head coach at UMAA is handed when he steps to the podium for his introductory press conference.

DANTONIO HAS WON BECAUSE UMAA HAS BEEN DOWN

Gottlieb’s exact quote:

“Mark Dantonio is a good coach, he runs a good program, he’s produced a lot of NFL caliber running backs and quarterbacks but the fact is the big reason Michigan State was able to win is that Penn State was down and Michigan was down.”

Analysis:

Mark Dantonio has won three Big Ten Championships in eleven years as the head coach at Michigan State.

For three of those seasons, Jim Tressel was the head coach at Ohio State and the Buckeyes finished each of those three seasons ranked 5th, 9th, and 5th in the nation.

Urban Meyer has been the coach at Ohio State for six of the eleven seasons that Dantonio has been head coach at Michigan State.

In those six seasons under Meyer, Ohio State has finished the season ranked 10th, 1st, 4th, 6th, and 5th (*in Meyer’s first year, the Buckeyes were not ranked due to sanctions but finished the season 12-0).

Wisconsin’s final national rankings in every one of Dantonio’s seasons as head coach at Michigan State are 21st, unranked, 16th, 8th, 11th, unranked, 21st, 13th, 21st, 9th, and 6th.

Penn State and UMAA are not the only teams other than Michigan State that compete in the Big Ten.

And…

PENN STATE AND UMAA ARE JUST BETTER

Gottlieb’s exact quote:

“Michigan State has been outstanding because of their talent and, of course, they’ve taken a dive these past couple of years – why? – because Penn State and Michigan are just better.”

Analysis:

We’ll give you 2016 – the Spartans’ 3-9 disaster was just that – a disaster.

But the disaster was not a part of the team having “taken a dive these past couple of years.”

It was the exception to the rule and the facts support this.

Prior to the 2016 season when Michigan State went 3-9, the Spartans finished the seasons with these final rankings:

2013 – 3rd

2014 – 5th

2015 – 6th

Michigan State went 10-3 last season, won the Holiday Bowl by thrashing Washington State 42-17, defeated both Penn State and UMAA, and finished the season ranked 16th.

As we just referenced here –

https://spartanswire.com/2018/07/29/33-days-until-kickoff-33-trophies-in-dantonio-era/

Michigan State has gone 32-16 in trophy games (rivalry games, Big Ten Championship games, and bowl games) in eleven years.

These aren’t cute trends thanks to other teams’ failures.

Over the last three years (the three years when Harbaugh has been the coach at UMAA and three of the four years when James Franklin has been the head coach at Penn State) Michigan State has the following records against each team:

2-1 against Penn State.

2-1 against UMAA.

Additionally, Michigan State has sent 25 players to the NFL.

Penn State has sent 23 players to the NFL.

UMAA has sent 16 players to the NFL.

So, even with the 2016 Spartans’ 3-9 disaster, nobody can make a legitimate argument saying the following:

“Michigan State has been outstanding because of their talent and, of course, they’ve taken a dive these past couple of years – why? – because Penn State and Michigan are just better.”

That argument or position is not factual.

IF NOT FOR THE FLUKES

Gottlieb’s quote:

“If not for the fluke loss to Michigan State, the fluky loss to Ohio State two years ago, the idea of being, what is it?, 1-5 against Michigan State and Ohio State – that goes, kind of, out the window.”

Analysis:

Any time anyone ever brings the “fluky” thing into an explanation of a loss, a flashing red siren can be heard from all parts of the globe.

UMAA’s “fluky” loss to Michigan State – we’re assuming Gottlieb is referring to the game that Michigan State won when Jalen Watts-Jackson scooped up the bobbled snap and returned it for a touchdown on the final play of the game.

Gottlieb makes the mistake that so many people make – to point to a single play as the deciding factor.

That’s always tempting, of course.

But, it never holds any water.

Perhaps Jim Harbaugh would like to have those three plays back when he failed to reach a first down and, instead, he put the game into the position it was in that led to the UMAA punter…….having trouble with the snap.

We could examine at least fifteen plays from that game that remain vital in what wound up being a Michigan State win – but all UMAA had to do was achieve a first down on that final possession and they did not.

Harbaugh’s play selection on that final possession was consistent with his late-game, wound up, tight approach that has led to other close losses that UMAA has suffered, including the supposed “fluky” loss to Ohio State that Gottlieb references.

Harbaugh – as the head coach – contributed to Michigan State having a shot at a win by failing to get the first down that would have sealed the game.

Michigan State stopped UMAA on three straight runs, forcing UMAA to attempt a punt before the clock could simply run out.

Flukes aren’t flukes.

A fluke is merely a way to explain away a heartbreaking loss that might not have been a loss if the game was managed more skillfully.

BARELY LOSING GAMES

Gottlieb’s exact quote:

“Two years ago they (UMAA) lost three games by, what, four points total?”

Analysis:

A loss is a loss is a loss is a loss.

Close losses still count as losses.

Often times – and, we could (and have) analyze each of these losses – when the close losses pile up, it’s an indication that there is talent but that coaching mistakes, play calling, clock management, and specifics within the gameplan all contribute to those really tough, hard to get over, close losses.

IT’S NOT A MATTER OF “IF,” IT’S A MATTER OF “WHEN”

Gottlieb’s exact quote:

“My guess is that a lot of the palaver comes, frankly, from Big Ten fans, not of Michigan.  Cause they know it’s a not matter of ‘IF,’ it’s a matter of ‘WHEN.’  They get that quarterback thing figured out and they start winning lots and lots and lots of games.”

Analysis:

The palaver has started to come from people all over the college football community because the facts have started to catch up with Harbaugh.

And this palaver follows the three-year long palaver consisting of everyone genuflecting any time Jim Harbaugh’s name was mentioned despite the fact that Harbaugh had yet to do anything at UMAA.

His accomplishments at the University of San Diego, Stanford, and the San Francisco 49ers are to be acknowledged.

But those accomplishments do not carry over, automatically, to his current job as the head coach at UMAA.

When I die, I don’t get to take all of my Little League baseball trophies with me.

At a school like UMAA, winning plenty of games is nice – but that’s not why Harbaugh was hired, as everyone knows.

Harbaugh was hired to deliver national championships.

At the very least, he was hired to do two things:

Defeat rivals Michigan State and Ohio State since UMAA has been dominated by both schools for the last decade; and,

Win the Big Ten Championship.

Harbaugh’s 1-5 record against Michigan State and Ohio State doesn’t “kind of go out the window” since that is, in fact, his record against Michigan State and Ohio State.

And the 3rd, 3rd, and 4th place finishes in the Big Ten East can’t be swiped away with the rubbish since those are, in fact, UMAA’s year-by-year divisional finishes under Harbaugh.

And, as for the “it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when'” narrative that we keep hearing –

Says who?

If UMAA beats Michigan State and/or Ohio State this year, believe us when we say that we will give Harbaugh the credit he deserves.

But, right now, he doesn’t deserve credit for a 1-5 record against the teams that UMAA hates to admit matter most or for those 3rd, 3rd, and 4th place finishes.

There are a lot of people who like to say, “It’s not a matter of ‘if’ I’m gonna tell my boss that he’s an incompetent fraud and a jerk who has horrible breath; it’s a matter of ‘when’ I’m going to tell my boss that he’s an incompetent fraud and a jerk who has horrible breath.”

AGAIN WITH THE NOT ‘IF’ BUT ‘WHEN’ THING

Gottlieb’s exact quote:

“Not ‘IF’ but ‘WHEN.'”

Analysis:

It wasn’t enough for him to say it once.

He reiterated it.

I could have sworn that Tony Soprano used to say to Carmelo – “Carm – it’s not a matter of ‘if’ I’m going to quit eating a gigantic bowl of melting ice cream sprinkled with candy and whipped cream and chocolate sauce every night after my dinner, it’s a matter of ‘when’ I’m going to quit eating the gigantic bowl of melting ice cream sprinkled with candy and whipped cream and chocolate sauce every night after my dinner – so, come on, lay off, would ya?…”

Doug Gottlieb’s segment, in full, is here –

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