Q&A: Jimbo Fisher vs. Willie Taggart; Ranking Quarterbacks


The Open Man Q&A took some paternity leave after the arrival Your Humble Author’s second son. The family is doing well, and your boy has logged some late-night hours bouncing baby and watching movies.

I fell behind on the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the birth of my first on in 2014, though it’s not a coincidence. I lost interest after Guardians of the Galaxy; the genre has become overwhelming and somewhat repetitive. And, frankly, the lavish praise critics heap on these movies sullies my enjoyment; expectations outweigh what’s delivered whenever a comic-book movie receives marks akin to transcendent cinema.

And the preceding is to say that, after watching Civil War, I will not be seeing Infinity War in the theater. These movies are good — fine even — but nothing about them assuages my feeling they are made with a certain cynicism.

My favorite movies of the 2010s — The Raid: Redemption, The Raid 2, Cabin in the Woods, John Wick, Drive, even Fury Road despite being a sequel in a franchise — all took creative risks I just don’t get from the comic-book movie genre. An exception is the excellent Dredd, which flopped in the United State.

Though, to be fair, Dredd may no have performed well because the stench of Rob Schneider lingers on the franchise, two decades after the abominable Sly Stallone incarnation of 1995.

And that’s exactly the kind of honest hot take you can anticipate from The Open Man Q&A! As always, you can submit your topics on Twitter @kensing45 or @the_open_man. YOu can also email kyle@theopenman.com.

Winning a division title in Year 1 may prove an impossible hill to climb for both Jimbo Fisher and Willie Taggart, though not for any fault of their own. Rather, Texas A&M and Florida State share a division with what look to me like the two strongest teams in college football next season by a considerable margin.

Taggart inherits a Florida State team better suited to fit his scheme and style immediate than Fisher has at Texas A&M (though Fisher isn’t lacking for talent). However, the Seminoles’ 2018 schedule is brutal. In addition to Clemson — which, to Florida State’s benefit, is in Tallahassee — the Noles play Miami, NC State and Notre Dame on the road; the latter two in consecutive weeks.

Of course, Notre Dame’s a nonconference game with no bearing on Florida State’s ACC Atlantic, but the physical toll that game is likely to take sends the Seminoles into a tough, conference finale against a sneaky Boston College bunch.

Texas A&M doesn’t have it much better. The Aggies get Alabama in College Station early in the season; Kevin Sumlin’s version of A&M typically played the Tide tough. However, Nick Saban disciples fare notoriously awfully against Alabama, including Florida State’s Week 1 loss last year. I expect A&M to start SEC West competition in an immediate hole.

Add divisional dates with Mississippi State and Auburn both on the road in consecutive weeks, and A&M may be lucky to finish any better than fourth in the West.

Copping out by going with “Neither” is a chump move, so I’ll lean Florida State, but it’s not likely to happen for the Seminoles in Year 1.

I admit I am not particularly well-versed in the nuances of the CFL in general, nor its draft specifically. Organizations have a certain number of import players they can add to their roster, and the CFL draft puts limitations in the draft based on pre-draft negotiations.

My best (un)educated guess is that this dwindles the options for American players. Next, the CFL holds its draft so close to the season that I would imagine franchises want prospects who can hit the ground running. That means not waiting on players with invite to NFL camps.

Lastly, the Canadian style is different enough from the American game, with a longer field, three downs and more yardage needed to convert first downs that CFL scouts pinpoint NCAA prospects with skill sets that will acclimate quickly.

The CFL is a pass-heavy league — which makes the oft-repeated suggestion Tim Tebow go North all the more abusrd — so I doubt it’s coincidence the first player taken this year, Central Michigan product Mark Chapman, is a wide receiver who operates well in space.

So the author of this countdown, Bill Bender, is one of the most adept national college football reporters going, and everyone needs to read his excellent feature on the tiny, Ohio town producing NFL-caliber talent at an unreal pace.

My impression of this ranking of 2018 quarterbacks is that it’s a projection of standing at season’s end, rather than current positioning. I infer this largely on Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa coming in second.

Our sample size for Tagovailoa against meaningful competition is one half. Granted, that was the most important half of the college football season, and he replaced Jalen Hurts with the odds firmly against the Crimson Tide.

Still, Garrett Gilbert stepped in for Colt McCoy in a national championship game, played well in difficult circumstances, and never took the rest of his college career. Tagovailoa seems better positioned, but right now seems is the operative word.

In terms of existing resume, UCF’s McKenzie Milton is better than No. 10, and despite Auburn’s success in 2017, Jarrett Stidham isn’t yet Top 10. He was good, but not individually fantastic. That could certainly change in 2018, further emphasizing my belief this is more projection than definitive ranking.

You’re a masochist?

Say hello to the State of Arizona Secretary of Education.

In all seriousness, this is a topic close to me. My parents taught in Arizona public schools for more than 30 years each, and I have many friends who are educators in the state today.

The #RedForEd movement — a statewide teacher walkout demanding much-needed pay increases for both educators and support staff (the latter is important because opponents of #RedForEd attempted to untruthfully smear the movement as teachers being greedy) — and it worked.

I doubt many outside the state understand how dire the situation has been there for education, and for many years. It regularly ranks near the bottom of quality rankings — this year’s No. 43 according to U.S. News and World Report is actually pretty good based on historic standing — and one key reason is funding.

For example, I graduated from a high school in a town of fewer than 10,000 people. My class sizes regularly exceeded 30, and we attended classes in Korean War-era Quonset huts equipped with ineffective swamp coolers.

Not exactly ideal settings for learning.

Meanwhile, Arizona’s average teacher salary is one of the nation’s worst by straight dollar value, and dead-worst when factoring cost-of-living. #RedForEd was successful, however, which hopefully leads to significant and long-needed changes.