Both Florida’s Urban Meyer and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, who will face off in the national-championship game on Jan. 8, grew up in Ohio. Recent title-winners Jim Tressel of Ohio State and Les Miles of LSU are native Ohioans, as are two of the college game’s rising stars, Nebraska’s Bo Pelini and Missouri’s Gary Pinkel. The list of coaches with Ohio ties includes Alabama’s Nick Saban, who played at Kent State and coached at Toledo, and USC’s Pete Carroll, who was an Ohio State assistant in 1979.
Less than 4% of the country’s population lives in Ohio, but 15% of college football’s major-conference head coaches were born there — the most for any state. And this volume is more than matched by quality: 14 of the last 18 teams that have made it to the national title game have had head coaches with Ohio connections.
Four decades ago, when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes, Michigan’s Bo Schembechler and Notre Dame’s Ara Parseghian prowled the college sidelines — and fellow Ohioans Don Shula and Chuck Noll ruled the NFL — Ohio’s coaching supremacy was a foregone conclusion. But at a time when the best football is generally played in the South — teams from the Southeastern Conference have won the last two national titles — the rise of a new generation of Ohio coaches belies the popular perception that Midwestern football is slow, staid and increasingly obsolete.
Facts are stubborn things. Read the whole thing.
The president-elect dropped in on some Marines stationed in Hawaii yesterday, a fine gesture of appreciation for the military he will soon be leading.
The Los Angeles Times reported in a separate article, however, that “President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team has signaled that the incoming administration will look to cut the Pentagon budget, of which military personnel costs are a rising share.” This in an article on the many demands on the Army, which are paralleled by demands on the other services.
Even as Iraq settles into a stable and largely peaceful normality –Iraqi Christians who fled during the period of the greatest violence are returning to the country, and Christmas was celebrated openly there yesterday– and U.S. forces can be carefully drawn down, the demands in Afghanistan and elsewhere are mounting. As much as Democrats would love to replay the nineties and declare another “peace dividend,” they can’t do so without endangering basic U.S. security. As a matter of simple politics, the worst thing that the new president could do would be to shortchange the military and with it the security of the country.
Rather than cutting at the Pentagon’s budget, the new Administration should continue President Bush’s focus on the well-being of the troops that are carrying the burden of the war through pay and housing improvements. Visiting the Marines and other forces around the country and the globe is a very good practice for the new president to continue, but he should let his transition team know that the military’s budget will continue to increase on his watch, not be slimmed down.