Yeah. So, let’s use this post to try to calm the masses a bit. I’ve been rather astonished at the response I got for not including Dayne Crist in my rankings of the Top 25 Irish Players on the 2011 Roster, hosted by Keith at Inside the Irish. Not only have there been flumoxed responses to my ranking decision in completely unrelated posts, but I’ve received tweets, e-mail, and even text messages expressing either mild outrage or apocalyptic bafflement (that would be a great name for a college band, by the way – “Apocalyptic Bafflement” – you’re welcome, aspiring college band dude). I mean, seriously, who the hell gave Biscuit my phone number so he could text me? Anyway, let me try to explain better, as the snipped that Keith shared with you all was meant to be an amuse-bouche, tempting your senses into telling your brain to direct your index finger to click a link our way.
So, first, let’s look at what Keith shared from my answer to Keith’s first question to the council…
“Who did you have sitting at No. 26? Are you reconsidering after looking at everybody elseâ€™s lists?”
Crist. had Crist at #26. Or maybe 40th. Or maybe lower. Wherever I had him, he wasnâ€™t 1-25. And Iâ€™m actually feeling pretty good about it, having stolen a look at everyoneâ€™s 1-25. It went about the way I thought it would. And I understand the points of view of the other fine members of this council, but, while this team may not be full of 1st-round talent from 1-25, itâ€™s full of a nice bit of depth, and I just couldnâ€™t see clear to move Crist into the top 25 given he was the QB who started in the latest loss to Navy.
And I don’t blame Keith for snipping from the original one bit. Lots of ground to cover, many members of the council to quote, deadlines to keep, etc… But something got lost, I feel, in that translation; Namely most of my rationale. So here’s the full explanation that I sent to Keith, with the part that was cropped out in bold…
Crist. I had Crist at #26. Or maybe 40th. Or maybe lower. Wherever I had him, he wasn’t 1-25. What? And I’m actually feeling pretty good about it, having stolen a look at everyone’s 1-25. It went about the way I thought it would. And I understand the points of view of the other fine members of this council, but, while this team may not be full of 1st-round talent from 1-25, it’s full of a nice bit of depth, and I just couldn’t see clear to move Crist into the top 25 given he was the QB who started in the latest loss to Navy. And while a ton of blame for that horrible waste of a day God created sits upon the defense the way an old ND alum sits on a bleacher, you gotta put half a cheek right on top of Crist’s performance in that game – his last remaining meaningful PT.
Placing any blame on Crist for the Navy loss really seems to grind some gears in the ND fan-base, but hear me out. Crist threw 2 interceptions in that game at critical moments. In the past, ND didn’t often stonewall the Navy offense entirely, but the Irish offense was often so capable of putting up points on the board against Navy so quickly that it would just out-run the Navy offense and force Navy to play a style of football it didn’t want to play. (Note: By “in the past,” I mean, “aside from the last 4 years. Damn it.) And I was at the stadium to watch that game and to see what Crist was seeing (I was sitting way, way up high in the end zone). And there’s no way he should have thrown some of the passes he threw. That the last meaningful playing-time impression I’m left with from Crist, no matter the mitigating circumstances. And it’s an awful one.
Now, let’s just suppose that by ranking Crist out of the top-25, I may have ranked Rees higher. I’m not letting any cats out of any bags just yet, but I could see that possibility. At the very least, I think the 2011 numbers match up quite favorably in Rees’ corner.
Rees has a better completion % than Crist. He’s got comparable yds/attempt and yds/completion (despite “everyone” on ND message boards claiming all Reese completes are 3-4 yard possession passes). Rees has the slight edge in TDs/pass attempt, and Crist is a bit safer with the ball. But you know which stat isn’t on that sheet that I just can’t ignore? Wins and Losses, specifically “what sort of wins and losses are on the guy’s record?” Crist lost to Navy. (And, by the way, lots of people noticed Rees looked a lot more comfortable when he went into the Navy game.) Rees beat a Top-25 Utah, triple-option-heavy Army, Southern Cal, and Miami. That’s simply a run you don’t ignore if you’re a purveyor of Notre Dame Football history. It may not have been a true gauntlet of titans, but it sure as hell can’t be brushed away either. What’s Crist’s biggest win on his resume? Let’s put it this way, if Crist and Rees found themselves in some sort of comical “bragging rights” battle, with a live audience and everything, and all they could bring with them were accomplishments on the field of college football, who’s going to win?
So that’s why I left him off my list. Not because I don’t believe Crist could transform into something of an excellent quaterback for the Irish in 2011, but because I know it would take a great deal of transforming for him to do so.