As the election reaches its final days, it has resembled a dilemma facing so many college fans about their football team. Which decision should your team make?
Four years ago, the college team suffered through one of its worst seasons in decades. A coach who had taken the team to a few top five finishes saw the team fall apart, losing a near record number of games, and got hit with NCAA sanctions for recruiting violations. This team, regarded as one of the best ever, saw declines in attendance, donor support, and budget.
A new type of college coach was hired. Instead of the team's usual reliance on a big play passing game, this coach emphasized a slow, deliberate running game. It wasn't flashy and it didn't score a lot of points, but the team was able to control more of the clock.
And the team did come back. There were winning seasons again; nothing as bad as what happened when the new coach took over. But the team still finds itself at a crossroads. That's because the team under this new coach finds itself.
Though the college team is better off than they were four years ago, some fans think the team can do much better. Though the new coach has had a winning season every year, the team finds itself playing in lesser-known bowl games in December, in places like the Copper Bowl in Tucson, the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco and the Papa John's Pizza Bowl in Birmingham. These aren't really BCS bowl games like the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl that the team used to go to play in January.
A number of boosters and fans are clamoring for an NFL coach to take over for the team. He only had a short stint in college, but a lot of success in the professional league. This NFL coach promises to bring the team back to the glory days, and not settle for little-known bowl games. He promises to bring back the passing attack, recruit top-notch player, and get back to playing for a national championship.
The current coach has argued that the team's seven-, eight- and nine-win seasons aren't completely his fault. The team lost scholarships with the recruiting violations. Fewer recruits wanted to play for the team that lost so many games four seasons ago. He points out that the team has done better every year. Just give him another season or two, with a full complement of college scholarships, and see what he can do.
Those who support the current college coach also point out that while the NFL coach has done well in the professional league, college football is a lot different. The NFL coach spent only a few seasons in the college ranks as an offensive coordinator, with mixed results (opinions differ based upon whether you like him or not). Critics of the NFL coach also point out that his play-calling and recruiting style are similar to the one used by the coach who got fired four seasons ago.
The good news is, unlike college, where an athletic director or university director makes the call, you, the fan, get to choose who will be the coach. It's a choice not every school lets you make. So this Election Day, choose the coach I mean presidential candidate, you would like to see lead the team -- I mean country -- over the next four years.
John A. Tures, associate professor of political science at LaGrange College; email@example.com