OK, so I'm over my brief bout with NFL Draft insanity... and, yes, plenty disappointed over last night's Alamo Bowl result. It's tough to out-play a team and still lose.
(As expected, I will spin it in Florida's favor: Northwestern's defense was obviously underrated, but if Missouri's vaunted offense couldn't muster more than it did, what does that say about the Big 12 defenses? I mean, really: Mizzou scored more points at Texas than they scored on NU.)
Anyway, the lead of today's SN column is all about "Black Monday" in the NFL, but I couldn't care less about the coaches -- if you follow the dramatic turnarounds in Miami and Atlanta, they all dovetail with the first-year GMs: Parcells and Dimitroff.
The theory is that a great GM (or head exec a la Parcells) is in a greater position to dramatically alter the fate of a franchise. Dimitroff hired Mike Smith; Dimitroff drafted Matt Ryan. Parcells hired Sparano and directed the team's personnel strategies.
So when you look at the Jets, they seem to think that GM Mike Tannenbaum had no role in the Jets' under-performance. And in Detroit, it's even worse: They promoted the assistant GM to GM and the COO to president. Yeah: It was ALL Marinelli's fault.
That's why the best chance for a Dolphins or Falcons-style U-turn in '09 will come in Cleveland, where they fired both the coach AND the GM, and they sound like they are aggressively pursuing the best GM in the NFL -- New England's Scott Pioli.
And, if the Browns were smart, they would spare no expense to get him. A great GM is worth a lot more than a marquee player or coach (cough-Cowher-cough).
In the rest of the column: More on Northwestern-Missouri (a very good bowl game if you had the chance to watch it), a bunch on Georgetown winning at UConn in one of the great "statement" games of the college hoops season so far. (I caught the first half and flipped back to in the 2nd -- the Hoyas looked very good... the Huskies? Not so much.)
Get it all here. More later.