Friday, June 4, 2010

ADvantage Mailbag!

2005 Linfield vs 2009 Linfield, 1995 MLB ALDS, Vomit, Football Facilities, Mount Union vs DIII, and Tecmo Bowl...those are all touched on in today's ADvantage Mailbag. Wildcat11 sat down over the past few days and banged out the answers to the questions you have and need to know about. These are just Wildcat11's opinions, thoughts, and theories so take 'em with a grain of salt. If you have a pressing questions about the 'Cats, NWC, DIII, or why you're a sucker if you watched Lost then just drop me a line:

Hey, going down to the Cal Lutheran game. I want to know where I can stay in Thousand Oaks.

P.S. Congrats looks like all the breeding has paid off.
Glen in McMinnville

I’m not sure where to stay for the Cal Lu game but maybe one of our SoCal readers can leave us some info in the comment section. (WC11) will be headed down south twice to capture the action. That means I’ll have two chances to get an in-n-out burger and get lost in the greater LA area. It should be an adventure.

Also, thanks for the note about Mrs.11 and I bringing a child into this world....I think. I passed this message along the D3boards but I’m pretty proud of how I did when they drew blood from Mrs. 11 on our last appointment. The first time I didn’t hold it together very well. I nearly passed out but it wasn’t from the needle going in her arm or the sight of the blood…it was the sound of the blood slamming into the test tube wall. Seriously, that noise made my head light and I had to steady myself. Trust me, Mrs. 11 has been hanging the fact I came "this close" to face planting over my head for weeks now and it’s been a great source of comedy around the 11 compound.

How about a position-by-position breakdown of the 2009 vs 2005 Wildcat teams that came Oh-So-Close only to drop heartbreakers to UWW? I'm thinking a Seinfeld/Cheers or DeNiro/Pacino-esque piece. Kind of a 'best of the recent non-title teams' breakdown.
Chris, Roseburg

Chris, you know how to put Wildcat11 into a corner and NOBODY puts Wildcat11 into a corner! This is a tall task of a question and I could probably spend a weekend breaking down these two teams. On one hand we had a team coming off a national championship, ranked #1 all season long, and just an offensive machine. The other hand, our 2009 Wildcats had a boat load of doubters before the season started. We had folks questioning the coaching staff, others saying it was “over” for Linfield, pre-season publications picking Linfield to finish 3rd in the NWC, not even sniffing the top 25. You had two teams approaching the season from two different planets. The known product to an unknown product but they both wind up being spectacular in their own right.

I’d be hard pressed not to include 2002, 2003, and even 2000 in the conversation about best of the recent Linfield playoff teams that didn’t win it all. I’d bet money that Coach Smith will still contend to this day that if the “Mishap In The Mud” game turned out differently that the 2000 team would have won it all. Wow, my mind is just twisting in just who would come out on top if we put the 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2009 teams into a bracket and see who would wind up the winner. We just need this question answered ASAP and I have a solution: Tecmo Bowl. Could a programmer out there take the rosters of these Wildcat teams and program them into Tecmo Bowl so we can get the answer we want. Here is an example of what I’m looking for:

But to get back to your original question….I don’t have a gut feeling about 2009 vs 2005. I think you would have a split camp in Wildcat circles with ranging comments from “2005’s offense would be way too much for ’09 to handle” to “2009 was better balanced and probably had a more physical defense”. I think more Linfield fans would side with 2005 because they were a favorite all year long and it was a star studded line up of players. That’s no knock on 2009 because this team played incredibly great and I think was a more fundamentally sound and better tacklers than 2005 AND they did get one game further than 2005. Crap…my head hurts thinking about this. Let’s just call this one a coin flip and leave it at that.

Will the addition of Pacific this season, and George Fox later, have any effect on the player pool for schools like Linfield and Willamette? If Southern Oregon drops football in the near future, would that free up some talent which would have been inclined to attend SOU?
Jeff in NoCal

Jeff, with the good of having two more very local teams to play the bad is more competition for brining in talent. DIII is already in a narrow pool due to admission standards and cost so throwing two more teams in the PacNW will have in impact of some sort. I just don’t see how you could deny that. The good news for Linfield and Willamette is that both staffs have been around for a long time and are established on the West Coast so there are inroads and resources the programs have. Pacific and Fox will be in catch-up mode for a period of time. Pacific is just trying to get bodies at this point and establish their program. I’m sure they’re looking for quality players and people but they just need bodies to make it work these first few years. Once they get on their feet then I think we’ll see how they impact Linfield and Willamette for talent. It will be the same thing for Fox too once they hit the field.

With regards to SOU, I don’t see any major impact if that program closed in terms of freeing up local talent to go after. Yearly, SOU’s roster is made up of 30-40 transfers and a boat load of California kids. I’d be surprised if there was much cross competition for players between SOU and Linfield/Willamette. I’m sure it happens on occasion but I think the programs have traditionally recruited much different players. Not saying I wouldn’t want some of those SOU guys because Linfield does have a few SOU transfers on our active roster and I’ve enjoyed them on the team. SOU ALWAYS has talented football players but for whatever reasons they just can’t put it together.

Was just talking to a buddy of mine about best small school facilities and remembered that back in 04-05 there was talk about revamping the Catdome. Even got to see some preliminary sketch ups of what the stadium would look like. Any word out there on when this might happen? I know the sketch ups would make Linfield bar none the best D3 facilities this side of Alliance :-) !
Zach in Central Oregon

Hey Zach, I don’t have all the info or know about this but there is a project somewhere in the Linfield brain trust that would have a MAJOR impact on the current football facility. However, like most things, the economy has impacted projects, funding, and donations with colleges all around the country. Money is tight everwhere and Linfield is not immune. From what I’ve gathered is the college’s 1st project they want to take care of is the old Northup Library (now Northup Hall). When the Nicholson Library opened in 2003 the old Northup was shut down after they discovered asbestos in the building. They’ve cleaned that out but the Hall still stands empty and the college wants to remodel that bad boy into new academic space. I don’t blame them because Northup Hall has great a great shell and is on a prime spot on campus. Once the college gets the funds in place and complete the Northup remodel then I think the football project is next in line. I don’t know what that project looks like now but I’m sure it addresses some of the programs needs.

With regards to the ‘Catdome. I love our stadium and it’s one of the best environments for small college football. I haven’t been everywhere in Division III but the only other football “experience” that rivaled or passed the ‘Catdome was out at Saint John’s. I’ve talked to folks that visit the ‘Catdome and people do love coming to our house. Yeah, Whitewater has great Facilities but it’s just a lot of concrete and too big of a stadium to match their typical crowds. It felt a little too impersonal to me (bring on the UWW hate now) Whitewater has the best facilities in DIII but I think it falls short of Linfield and SJU in terms of a game day experience. You can blast cannons and boom Kernkraft 400 all you want but it just doesn’t match what we have and yes I’m biased as all get out.

Perhaps a question for the mailbag, but what ever happened to the coaches poll we all were asked to vote on last season?
Dennis in Orange County

Ah, the Liberty Mutual Coach of The Year award. They gave it to Steve Staker from Coe College (Iowa) (Coe was bounced hard out of the playoffs in the 2nd round by Saint Thomas)

There were 5 stages in the award overview. Fans had to vote coaches into the top 20 in order to make it to the 2nd round where a committee put the top 20 through a 4 stage evaluation criteria. 15 coaches are selected; there another round of fan voting to get to the final 5 and then a committee picks the winner. After Linfield fans vaulted Coach Smith up into the top 20 in the first round he was left out of the final 15, which was criminal if you look at their 4 evaluation points (coaching excellence, sportsmanship and integrity, academic excellence, and community commitment). Just based on those four points alone they should have just handed this over to Coach Smith and his staff. I’m going to have to pull the “East Coach Bias” card here. Yes, I know Iowa isn’t on the east coast but when you live this far west it might as well be the east coast. Now, I’m all fired up about this travesty of justice. I want names of who is on this committee! I bet Maynard was on the committee!

With George Fox announcing their plans to join the NWC in football, do you think the best bet will be to try and sneak beer on campus to tailgate there? or simply head to Ye Olde Pizza? Pepperoni anyone?
(Name Withheld), Portland

Name Withheld, Newberg does have a few good places to go get some food and even though Fox is a dry campus I’m sure some folks will have cold drinks before Fox football games. Ye Olde Pizza might be a good idea, you see, “Name Withheld” and I have been to Ye Olde a few times back in the day when we were Linfield students. I doubt they do this anymore but every Wednesday Ye Olde use to have $3 pitcher night of any beer they had on tap. I was still 20 years old but “Name Withheld” turned 21 and decided to have his 21st birthday at Ye Olde and I attended as the designated driver.

This was a perfect night too because it was game 3 of the 1995 ALDS between the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners. This was a 5 game series and New York was up 2-0 and on the verge of sweeping the M’s. There was about a crew of 6 of us we were sitting by the TV where the game was on. I was just having soda and watching “Name Withheld” and our friends get more and more intoxicated as the game moved along. Now “Name Withheld” and friends were all pulling for the M’s but there was a group of people a few tables away that were VERY vocal in rooting for New York. So what started off as light banter at the start of the game started to get nastier and nastier as the evening went on. Around the middle of the game “Name Withheld” was on fire and putting a verbal clowning on these Yankee fans. A young woman at the table had enough and busted out the gem of “Shut your mouth, fat ass!” This had zero effect on “Name Withheld” has he kept blasting away with a flurry of insults and finely calculated put-downs as Seattle took a 7-2 lead into the 8th.

What happened next was incredible, in the top of the 8th the Yankees started to make a move and scored 2 runs to bring it within 7-4 and the momentum started to swing. Well, that’s all Yankee fans sitting by us needed to turn up the heat. One guy stood up grabbed a broom from behind the Ye Old counter and ran up to our table yelling “SWEEP”. Then it happened. One of our friends was a cross country runner and had to only be 5’ 10” and 150 lbs soaking wet. Without hesitation he jumped up, snatched the broom from this much larger dude’s hands, and proceeded to snap the broom over his knee ala Bo Jackson and just stared the guy down. The place went silent and this guy was so stunned and just walked back to his table and that was that. The M’s went on for the win and actually won the series on a double by Edgar in the 9th inning of 5th game a few days later.

However, the story doesn’t end there. It was getting time to leave and “Name Withheld” was finished. A boxing ref would have given him a standing 8 count but our other drunk friends said “ONE MORE PITCHER”. So instead of buying a pitcher of some light beer they bought the darkest and thickest beer Ye Old had on tap and put in front of “Name Withheld”. Cruelly they told him that we’re not leaving until he slams this pitcher of thick dark beer. What happened next has stayed with me and I’ll never forget this image. “Name Withheld” grabbed the pitcher with both hands and just started to knock it back. He was like a lost soul in the desert who came across an oasis and had to quench his thirst. But then about 3/4 quarters of the pitcher down “Name Withheld” stopped. He sat the pitcher down in front of him and had this confused look in his eye. It was like his mind just did a cold reboot and he was somewhere else….but then that look turned into one I’ve seen before. It was a look of someone about to blow. “Name Withheld” quietly stated “I think I’m going to be sick”. The bar tender at Ye Old saw what was going down and yelled “Get him to a rest room now!” but it was too late for that. “Name Withheld” only had one option and that was to give back the brew from the place it came and he just unloaded, two fisted style, right back into the pitcher. He didn’t spill one drop of regurgitation outside of the pitcher and I was in awe. Then he briefly paused, tilted his head up with mouth agape, eyes glazed, and sitting on the side of his cheek was a perfectly round piece of pepperoni. That image will forever be burned in my mind.

… yeah, Ye Old Pizza might be a place I’ll hit after the first Linfield football game at Fox in 2013.

Don't you think the Pacific vs. Lewis & Clark game this upcoming season is extremely important for the Pioneers? If the Boxers win, wouldn't that deal a serious setback for L&C, as they try to build support and a competitive program? If the Pioneers suffer yet another dismal season, including a loss to Pacific, could the administration to pull the plug for good this time on L&C football? Hope that doesn't happen, but in these harsh economic times, I guess anything is possible. Having watched the Pioneers over the last few years, do you have the sense any real progress is being made?
Mike In Michiagan

There is progress being made on Palentine Hill. They went 2-7 last year and dealt Phil Wilenbrock’s coaching career at UPS a death blow when L&C beat the Loggers in their season ender. But you’re right….L&C HAS To beat Pacific next year and I think they will. My gut feeling is that Pacific is going to be a decent program sooner and not later but L&C has made enough progress and I think they will continue to improve enough where Pacific isn’t going to beat them right out of the gate. If I’m wrong, then I’m not sure what kind of impact it will have on the L&C program but it does appear that college is trying to do a better job in supporting athletics and football. For NWC stability we need L&C to continue to grow, improve, and stabilize. It isn’t a good thing for L&C that Pacific still has a more recent win over Linfield than the Pioneer and the Boxers program has been on the shelf for about 20 years.

After the latest run to the championship game by Mt Union, do you see any changes being made to d3 to level the playing field? I am not one for complaining about a program that just plain wins games but with teams like MU bringing in over 250 kids into doubles and other teams like Lewis and Clark barely breaking 70 kids on the entire roster it does raise some eyebrows. I know the NCAA has already taken away red shirting, which I don’t think is right, but do you think any more limits will be put on teams to even out the numbers?

Now I know Linfield doesn’t bring in 250+ kids but they were consistently bringing in 150+ in my days (2001-04) with similar numbers the last few seasons. I would hate for the NCAA to take away the opportunity of any kid that wants to play for Linfield. I am not saying this would be the way to fix it but is parity in d3 a priority to the NCAA? On the other hand we see teams with lower roster numbers go deep into the playoffs every year, is it time for the other programs to just suck it up and beat the “big boys”?
Pete in Salem

It’s just time for Division III to suck it up, getter better, and take out Mount Union. I’m not a fan of saying the rules need to change in order to level the playing field. Mount Union is playing by the same set of rules as everyone else, it’s not some big money University, Mount Union just found a formula that works for them and have been doing it to the best of their ability. Having top level athletics isn’t just a program decision but it’s an institutional decision. That’s a big part of Linfield success…the college’s administration understand the value of fielding competitive athletics and there is a way of doing that without becoming an out of control program like you see at the division one level. This goes back to L&C…for the longest time their administration wasn’t supportive of football and that’s why they almost bit the dust. Once the college decided to work more with the Pioneer football staff they started to bring in better talent that still met L&C’s academic mission.

So why punish Mount Union for doing better than anybody else? Division III shouldn’t and when you hear folks say Mount should “be moved to DII” you should explain to them why that’s foolish and goes against what our division of football is all about.

On the topic of Roster limits…there are conferences that have roster limits. The NJAC and WIAC are two that come to mind and they seem to do fine with those limits. Other factors include being Title IX compliant. Some programs may have to trim roster size to stay within their ratio.

I’m of the mind of if we are asking our students to pay for their education then who are we to tell programs how big of a roster you have to keep. Linfield has a large roster and that’s because young men want to be a part of what the program does and that’s help prepare them for the rest of their lives, give them the tools to be successful, and win a lot of football games while doing it. The schools that have smaller rosters in the NWC have every opportunity to grow their roster but that’s up to them to put in the work required. Don’t punish those that are being successful while playing with the same set of rules. This is America buddy!

WC11, I'm pretty sure it wasn't a neutral environment at Whitewater from what I saw and I'd be willing to bet they weren't running "punt time" graphics on their video board when their offense went 3 and out.
Jeff in Tacoma

I enjoyed the UWW fans (some did looked shocked when you tried to mingle with them before the game), their players and coaching staff are first class, they play the game the right way. However, I thought per the NCAA rules that the hosting team’s game management was suppose to be “neutral”.

The ‘Cats hosted 3 playoff games this year and there was no pre-game intro video, no boasting graphics when Linfield made great play, security clamped down on students and other sideline fans, no Linfield mug shots on the scoreboard before the game, no excessive music or celebratory extras during the games, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have all of that stuff for a home playoff game. That should be part of the rights of being the home team but the NCAA doesn’t want that so Linfield followed the rules to the very fine point.

I guess UWW didn’t get the memo. That’s surprising because they’ve been hosting playoff games for a few years now but besides moving that damn cannon they fire after a touchdown out of the stadium, they pretty much ignored the “neutral” mandate with regards to game management. Very pro-UWW Scoreboard graphics, blasting Kernkraft 400 every other minute, you name a “home game” type of gimmick and UWW was doing it. I was just shocked they didn’t hand out the thunder sticks and set up a PA system pointed at Linfield’s bench (an old Willamette gimmick). I can see how this sounds like sour grapes but UWW should know better than this.

It's not a question but how about an article on 'Cats that have coached State or National Champions since graduating from Linfield. I always like to see how other 'Cats have faired.
Chris, Fredericksburg Tx

Chris, consider it done at some point this summer. Book it.

“You never did tell us how the defense looks for next year.”
Anonymous (From Advantage Catdome comment)

You’re right. I said I would break down the defense after spring ball and I just haven’t had the time. I’m only one Wildcat here. I’ve been thinking about brining on someone else to write for the blog along with me but I just haven’t asked yet. If I do, I want someone who will commit to it and contribute at least once a week during the season. If you’re a serious Wildcat fan and would want to commit yourself to being a “blogger” drop me a line. Don’t contact me if you’re unsure or think you would just be helping me out. I want someone who REALLY wants to take part. Go ‘Cats!


Anonymous said...

You forgot to post the Cal Lutheran game.

Wildcat 11 said...

Did I? Maybe I passed on it for a reason? :)