Monday, December 11, 2006

Adrian Peterson Back for Fiesta Bowl, and Pete Fiutak Hates Boise State

It's true that you can't spell Pete Fiutak without a big F.U. In his CFN Q&A, Mr. Fiutak lambasts Bob Stoops for his declaration of Adrian Peterson's health to play in the Fiesta Bowl (see How much does Oklahoma care about its players?) against Boise State.

His objection to this move is that it could endanger Peterson's draft status on the off chance he gets injured:

"But Oklahoma isn't playing in the national championship, or even the Big 12 title game, which would then be more than understandable for Peterson to come back to play in. The Fiesta Bowl against Boise State is nothing more than a glorified exhibition game, and certainly isn't worth jeopardizing this great kid's future.

What if he blows out a knee like Willis McGahee in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl? What if he breaks his leg like Michael Bush in the season opener against Kentucky? We're talking about a top ten pick in next year's draft, and possibly number two behind Brady Quinn, and he's going to risk it against Boise freakin' State?!

It's Peterson's place to say he wants to play and nothing can keep him off the field. It's up to the adults to do what's best for him and his family."

(*bold emphasis added by me)

So we're calling on Stoops to stop and consider Peterson's NFL future before considering his team's need to win this game? Forgive me for asking when a college coach, whose primary responsbility is to win games for his university (and his job depends on it), has ever or should ever give precedence to the future NFL career of player during the process of gameplanning, especially when it comes to benching his best player.

What we're seeing here is a disgraceful lack of respect being shown to Boise State. If it were any other BCS program this wouldn't be a question that would cross Fiutak's nimble mind. He thinks that the win over Boise State is such a forgone conclusion that Stoops should bench Peterson. Well, by that logic let's suggest Stoops bench any player with pro-prospects and see how they do.

While I can see the knee-jerk appeal of this type of thinking, it's flawed. Playing Boise State is a no-win situation for a prestige program like Oklahoma. They are expected to win and win big, since eeking it out and God forbid, losing, are both calamities of a high order. There is no reward for beating Boise State, since it's expected, and a high degree of punishment in the offing should they lose. For this reason I would expect Stoops to pull out the stops and give Boise State the shot they deserve - Oklahoma's best shot. That's the only intelligent move he can make and if Adrian Peterson gives him a better chance than :who's the backup running back" that's a move Stoops had better make.

Now, if you still don't agree, let's entertain Fiutak's advice and say Stoops lets Peterson watch the game in street clothes. Boise State can play and they take the lead, by halftime people are asking questions about Stoops' decision and he looks like a turkey. If it's close or the Sooners lose, Stoops looks like a pretty big turkey. Solution? Eliminate the uncertainty, give Boise State the respect they're due and play Peterson if he's really healthy.

No comments: