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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

From John Paul Campos in today's Rocky Mountain News comes a revolutionary method for making difficult hiring selections:

The FBGR [Fat Bald Guy Rule] posits that, when considering otherwise roughly equivalent candidates for any job whose formal requirements don't include being good-looking, hire the fat bald guy. The reason is simple: Society gives all sorts of unearned preferences to good-looking people, so when a fat bald guy manages to assemble a résumé that at first glance resembles that possessed by his good-looking competition, the FBGR assumes that the former record is actually far more impressive than the latter, all things considered.
Of course, two questions spring immediately to mind: does the fat bald guy rule apply to college football and if so, how have we done over the past few years adhering to it?

Campos's theory holds for most areas of society, but it may not apply to the highly selective world of college football coaching, where there seems to be a fan preference for coaches who could stun a horse. Hell, Notre Dame fans were downright giddy about the picture you see at right, in which Weis looks like he's thinking "is Charlie Weis going to have to use the Force to choke a bitch? Charlie Weis is going to have to use the Force to choke a bitch!" No doubt most of the Irish optimism came from the resume, the Belicheck pedigree, etc., but the fact that Weis is so out of touch with modernity that he's rocking an R. Lee Ermey flattop probably helped. We kind of like the idea of the head coach sleeping in his office and wondering what the big deal is with all these kids and their hula hoops.

(Side note: as of right now a Google Image Search for Charlie Weis has this picture of Grimace on its front page. I'm pretty sure this is my fault, and therefore I can die happy.)

So, a caveat: insofar as football coaches are supposed to look like giant, angry mounds of biologically-processed bacon drippings instead of Keira Knightley, the FBGR may not correlate as strongly with qualifications as it might in other fields. However, a brief survey of the Meatnormous category of EDSBS's Coaches' Death Match shows an extremely high number of FBGs with disproportionate amounts of success--Fulmer, Mangino, Freidgen, Weis, etc. One is led to believe that the FBGR applies, but perhaps with a higher threshold: it takes some doing to get an observer to exclaim "holy crap, that is one ugly football coach."

In any case, let's evaluate the recent Michigan coaching changes in light of the FBGR:

Defensive Line coach Steve Stripling

A veritable home run. Stripling is not only both fat and bald but is faintly reminscent of both Sargeant Slaughter and Captain Lou Albano playing Mario. The chances of someone who looks like Stripling doing something other than plumbing or lounging around auto factories, destroying the Big Three one three-hour lunchbreak at a time, are astronomical. Bonus points for the Captain Picard-style 'do, which--unlike the shave-everything technique--emphasizes the lack of hair atop Stripling's grizzled pate. The overall impression: this man is probably killing polar bears with his bare hands right now.

Grade: A+

Linebackers coach Steve Szabo

Szabo isn't fat or bald, but neither does he threaten to steal Angelina Jolie away from anyone... although you never know with the kind of girl who carries around Billy Bob Thornton's blood in vial. At least that's what I keep telling myself. Still, for a college football coach Szabo's mug is downright palatable. He's no Urban Meyer-esque pretty boy, but for a 60-something guy who's been around linebackers his entire life he isn't bad.

Overall: fairly disappointing. No one would be taken aback by Szabo's sudden appearance outside one's door, even if he was handling a knife. Looks more like a friendly grandfather than a menace 2 polar bear society.

Grade: D+

Cornerbacks coach Ron Lee

I couldn't find a picture, but I saw one at some point: Lee is bald and somewhat pudgy, although not to the extent that Stripling is.

Grade: B.

Defensive Coordinator Ron English

Bald, but not fat and actually fairly attractive (as Joey might say, no Brokeback). Vaguely reminscent of Denzel Washington -- pissed-off, going to kill your ass Denzel, not respectable lawyerman Denzel. Sadly, appears to be prettier than departed defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann.

This is obviously unacceptable for the well-being of Michigan fans everywhere, so allow me to propose the Silly Mustache Corollary: if your unattractiveness is due in large part to poor decision-making instead of God being generally spiteful when your genetic makeup was determined, the FBGR shall be deemed inapplicable.

An obvious application of the Corollary is the silly mustache of Jim Herrmann. Therefore, the Herrmann-to-English switch is a step up, because though Herrmann was bald he loses points from the SMC. English is both bald and has the good sense to shave: progress.

Grade: C-.

God... is it really seven months until the season starts?