I know it’s been awhile, so forgive me. Work was crazy and I had a small bad patch there emotionally and just wasn’t able to muster up the energy to blog, even though I thought of things I wanted to talk about. I imagine after such a long absence, this wasn’t exactly what you were expecting me to talk about, (also, I’m sure you’re all, way to be behind the times fifi), but in the fifi house, much talk this time of year revolves around NCAA football because we love it so and in sad anticipation of it going away for the next few months, we gorge ourselves on bowl games to prepare for the empty months ahead.* Of course, we are beyond happy and excited about Ohio State and the Rose Bowl tomorrow, but that doesn’t not mean there aren’t other games that pique our interest (Penn State-LSU, I’m looking at you.) I come by this obsession naturally, of course: my dad has been known to make reference to what happened in the D-3 championship and look shocked that no one else caught the game. So how am I going to ring out 2009 in the blogging world? Not with top ten posts or what I’ve done this year or recaps, but by talking about college football. Obviously.

But anyway, I was going to let this go, but what with all the Urban Meyer fuss as of late (and, if you follow me on twitter, you know my thoughts on THAT**), the Cincy-Florida game has been a topic of conversation as well (I’m sure you know who I’m pulling for in that one but I’ll give you a hint anyway-it’s not Florida. I’m so not still bitter about that or anything). I find it interesting that both teams in this match up are going through some turmoil thanks to their head coaches.***

Now, I don’t think Brian Kelly is a sportsmanship antichrist in anywhere the same way that Rich “‘It’s all about the reasons for staying‘ – that $1.75 million per year he extracted in exchange for a promise to stay until 2014 – ‘this is my school’ – until something better comes along” Rodriguez is. And, to be fair, I get that Kelly overcame A LOT at Cincy to get the program where it is (having to buy your support staff cellphones is completely ridiculous for a D-1 school). I can see how working for Notre Dame would be tempting, what with its money and its boosters and its PRIVATE JET. Notre Dame is the big time and coaching there with all that support would be a lot easier than staying.

So I’m not even saying that Kelly shouldn’t have left Cincy. It’s all about the TIMING. As great as Kelly is, he didn’t get Cincy to where it is by himself. He’s there because of his players. His players who he told he wouldn’t leave, but abandoned before their really-quite-a-big-deal bowl game. And that is SO not cool.

I understand about that this is all about recruiting, but, seriously? Notre Dame wanted Kelly. He could have pushed back and set a precedent for coaches in this position. It’s already very likely that he is going to take some potential recruits from Cincy to ND with him. What kind of difference is an extra couple of weeks going to make really? There are factors other than just the coaching staff that make people pick schools. For one thing, Kelly is going to have to work with what talent ND already has-him recruiting doesn’t change the quality of the recruiting classes already at the school.

And Notre Dame is Notre Dame. Even though they suck right now, recruits go there because it is Notre Dame. Maybe some recruits need a phone call or personal handholding, but does it really have to be from Kelly? If you could release the information that Kelly were going to ND after the bowl, why do you need the man himself? ND hired him because of his reputation and his record- that’s why recruits are coming as well. Wouldn’t it be better for all parties involved-including the NCAA-for Kelly to look like a man of integrity who has concern for his players (students! Remember them, NCAA? That whole big difference between this level of athletics and the pros? The people whose best interest you’re supposed to be looking out for?) instead of one who bailed on his kids when a big new shiny supposedly better deal came along?

As an aside, isn’t there something to be said for loyalty? I understand making the move to a D-1 school from a lesser school, but once you’re at the D-1 school, shouldn’t that be enough? I always thought the goal was to have a career at a school, not to bounce around in pursuit of the best deal and the most toys.

All that said, perhaps Kelly might have looked to RichRod’s example before bailing on his players. (Not, actually, that I mind this. For obviously reasons, I hate Michigan and ND and ND fans are incredibly annoying,**** so if both teams continue to suck they way have in recent years, I will be a happy fifi.*****) because karma, it is a bitch. And I think that what we’ve all learned from the RichRod incident, the higher powers of college football don’t like this kind of abandoning-your-players behavior and will rain down the hellfire of losses and embarrassment on those who violate the unspoken gospel of good sportsmanship and sticking by the players who got you to where you are. As discussed above, Kelly really hasn’t quite reached RichRod-levels of skeevitude, so I’m predicting another Ty Willingham. Enjoy ND. Enjoy.

As another aside in all this, I will also miss the Charlie Weiss kitteh on FOTP. A Brian Kelly kitteh will just not be as entertaining.

*At this point, you may be asking, “but, fifi, does g.town even have a football team? (Yes and they are about as good and play as interesting teams as you might imagine). Isn’t g.town a basketball school? (Again, yes.) Even if you do heart college football with all the fibers of your being, should g.town bball at least tide you over? (No, and it’s not for lack of trying. I mean, I love March Madness and the Big East tourney as much as the next Hoya Blue blooded girl, but in general, even with King James is playing, I just don’t find bball as interesting to watch as football. This is in part because there are just so many games and therefore the individual games don’t matter like football games do and therefore, I don’t feel compelled to watch every game. Also, for this very same reason, there just aren’t as many “big” games in college bball as there are in college football. Find a way to justify me watching every single game on a Saturday and then maybe I’ll be more on board.

But I digress.

**I am sure this was an incredibly difficult decision for Meyer and his family to make and the reasons behind it are personal and should remain so. Meyer owes nothing to anyone in the public in terms of an explanation and he certainly doesn’t owe it to the public to keep coaching at the expense of his health. It’s not like he’s leaving his players to go coach another team(ahem RichRodBrianKelly).

But that said, when you make the choice to publicly announce something like this (which I would HOPE was well-thought out and factored in the possibility of some regret) and then immediately back pedal the next day after you’ve been praised to the high heavens by the media and called a genius for 24 hours, I’m not going to say it was a publicity stunt or something to explain away your big SEC loss, but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Also, if I were his wife and daughters, obvs. I would be supportive, but I also might be just a wee bit annoyed right now.

***Again, I am not judging Meyer for his decision to stop coaching – if that is, in fact, what he decides to do. I think sometimes, hard as it is, you do have to put your health before everything else, if not just for yourself, but for your family. And I know of what I speak when I say that heart issues are scary, scary stuff.

HOWEVER, I absolutely blame Meyer for creating this media firestorm right now. There really was no reason to announce this before the bowl game – even if there were leak threats, I still think it could have waited. Make the game about the players who worked so hard to get there – all those kids, esp. the seniors, were already going to be overshadowed in the media tonguebath that will be Tebow’s last game and now it’s going to be all about that AND Urban Meyer’s maybe-kinda-sorta-possibly last game. Not cool. And also, of course, see above.

****Example in two words: Brady Quinn. Thirteen words: Brady Quinn’s sister and her stupid split jersey at the 2006 fiesta bowl. And, on behalf of Browns fans everywhere who have to look at you: cut your hair Brady. It looks stupid particularly in those after game interviews when they catch you right out of the shower.

*****And really, if I’m being honest, I would rather see Michigan good than ND, so as to give some teeth to the rivalry, make the Big 10 stronger, and shut up all those SEC-is-the-only-real-football annoying people (you come play in the snow, then we talk, m’kay?).