Since a few people are extremely angry with me for expressing my opinion, let me preface this by saying this is a rant against a coach that I, personally, do not like, have never liked, and think that frankly, we can do better. And if you want to scream at me in the comments section, please do so, but refrain from any profanity, thank you.
JMU (James Madison University) has just lost to Maryland in overtime. JMU had more yards than Maryland on offense, played better most of the game, and, oh, by the way, blew two late leads and couldn't generate more offense than a yard or two.
All because of one man.
His name is Mickey Matthews. He's the overpaid and overrated. One championship does not make a good coach. We'll call that luck. And a good team. That good team came within in one game of the title not once, but twice. By slim margins both times.
Poor play-calling/offensive decisions.
The Maryland game is a microcosim of Mickey Matthews inability to make good calls in big games. With the Dukes leading 35-28 with 8:30 left in the fourth quarter, he let the offense sputter into a three-and-out. Playing conservative and taking care of the ball. That's a good plan with two minutes left. It's even a good plan with a ten point lead with 8:30 left. But you don't take all the wind out of the offensive sails.
Why? Do you take your hottest hitter out of the game to preserve his bat when you're up by a run or two in the seventh? No.
You also don't make your offense go three-and-out all in the name of protecting the football when they are coming off a 70 yard touchdown run. I've watched college football my entire life and I've learned three things: coaches who have never been able to win the "big" games will never win then, conservative football never wins the game, and when watching a Boise State game, do not adjust your set, the field is actually blue.
Mickey is two of those things. He can't win the big game and he plays conservative football with small leads which almost always leads to a heartwrenching, last-minute loss.
And yet, the university continues to support him. They even extended his contract.
JMU will never be able to win with this man. He's proved time and time again that he makes poor decisions with the game on the line. So why is he still the coach? Because he won in 2004? That was five years ago. Five. Since then the Dukes have been back to the playoffs three times and haven't made it to the title game.
I held the parabola (sound disc) on the sidelines of the FCS semi-final game last year. JMU had many chances to win that game and advance to face Richmond, who they previously beat.
With the game on the line, Mickey played conservative, and Montana won in heart-wrenching, last-minute fashion.
Listening to the Maryland game, at the 8:30, when JMU went three and out, I knew they were going to lose. Because, like most college football fans, I know something that the professional coach hasn't yet grasped: conservative football never wins games.