Rose Bowl Exposes Lies; Jimbo and Jameis in Person


Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out

The 101st Rose Bowl was in the books. Most of the press had not yet made it to the room for the post-game conferences, so I greedily claimed a front-row seat, wanting to be as close as possible to those whom I viewed as the biggest villains in college football: Jimbo Fisher and Jameis Winston. I couldn’t wait to hear what they would have to say about their fall from the cliffs of glory.

But there’s a big difference between reading about a person or seeing him on television and being close up in the same room. In the media you see the image. In the same room, you see the person — part of the time on camera, part of the time off. Some of my perceptions stayed the same, but one perception changed drastically. Jimbo Fisher, Jameis Winston and BIG lies are the subjects of this week’s Three-and-Out.

1. Jimbo Fisher praised Oregon, both before the game and after, but it’s going to take some time for him to grasp the underlying reasons why his team’s 29-game winning streak got totally nuked. Unlike Oregon Coach Mark Helfrich after the Ducks’ only loss of the season, Fisher failed to claim any responsibility for the devastation he had just put his team through.

Helfrich took responsibility in the dark hour and guided his team to the National Championship Game.

Craig Strobeck

Helfrich took responsibility in the dark hour and guided his team to the National Championship Game.

And what happened to Florida State was as much Fisher’s fault as anything. He grossly underestimated his opponent, and his team was ill-prepared for what hit it.

In last week’s Three-and-Out I made the point that throughout history people have been misled by charismatic leaders lacking scruples. Perhaps it was a mistake to point out that it happened in World War II Germany and that it was happening in Florida State football, because quite a number of FSU fans took it to mean that I was calling them Nazis – which I was not. The point was, and remains, that Fisher and his team have nowhere near the discipline of Helfrich & Co., and Fisher has sold to too many of the Seminoles’ fans that it is all right. It isn’t. Fisher seems to look the other way when it comes to bad behavior off the field, and has no problem with being less than honest whenever it is convenient. For example…

Florida State -- and its fans -- were not prepared for the Ducks.

Craig Strobeck

Florida State — and its fans — were not prepared for the Ducks.

When questioned about a bit of an atmosphere on the sidelines between himself and Winston, Fisher didn’t flinch or blush as he quickly told the story that Winston was just getting animated in explaining how a receiver had fallen down. Nothing more to it. The truth that Fisher – somewhat out of control himself — was threatening to bench Winston if he didn’t get control of himself, just wasn’t convenient.

Competition in college sports is at an all-time high. It is a BIG lie to say, explicitly or implicitly, that discipline off the field has nothing to do with discipline on the field — or to write it off as acceptable. Those who practice discipline for two or three hours a day simply can’t compete with those who live discipline 24-7/365. And THAT – along with Jesus, hot Oregon cheerleaders and Marcus Mariota — was the difference in the game. got the straight answer from Oregon’s Troy Hill:

“We had seen it on film,” said Oregon corner Troy Hill, who played the main role in limiting Florida State wide receiver Rashad Greene to 59 yards on six catches. “We just saw the ball a little loose, a little undisciplined with the ball, so we tried to take advantage of it, and it showed.”

What came crashing down on Fisher New Year’s Day was a warning shot. No doubt he will live to coach and win another day, but if he fails to establish discipline within his program — on and off the field — there are rougher days ahead. And at some point the FSU fans will realize that all is not well.

2. Jameis Winston. I expected to loathe the guy. Yet even though he’s shown bad behavior (to put it nicely) and even though I was sitting not fifteen feet from him when he uttered the ridiculous, “This game (a 39-point defeat) could have went either way,” I came away feeling sympathetic. He said that everything he’s been through has made him a better person, and I believe it.

A rough day at the office for Jameis Winston

Craig Strobeck

A rough day at the office for Jameis Winston against undersized, non-physical Oregon

When I first read and heard about his charm, I thought “sociopath.” Seeing it in person, I think that “Puppy has a lot to learn,” says it better. Of course high-energy, BIG puppies can cause serious damage before they do learn. Right or wrong, my impression is that Winston truly does have a good heart and wants to do the right thing, though staying the course is a challenge. Winston — unlike many of his teammates — stayed around to congratulate Oregon players after the game. He answered questions with sincerity, even if some of his answers sounded like he’d taken one or two too many hits to the head. There’s just a huge gap between his physical development and some of his other developments.

3. BIG LIES — those that are told often enough and with enough authority that many people accept them as fact — that came out this past week are probably too many to mention, but here’s a start, moving from the classroom to the gridiron.

(1)  Jameis Winston is getting a college education at Florida State. No. By the third year in college, nobody should be saying, “could have went,” or “We beat ourself,” or “It hurts badder.” Not to be a grammar Nazi, but… come on, Florida State, this guy is a visible representative of what your educational system represents.

(2)  If you’re going to play Oregon within the next couple weeks, it’s time to ramp up practicing for the pace – just as the Seminoles and many before them did. Right. And May is a good time to start losing those sixty pounds so you’ll look good in a swimsuit come June. Marathon coming up in two weeks? Time to start training.

Mariota led the Ducks to 0 of 0 third down conversions in the third quarter.

John Sperry

Mariota led the Ducks to 0 of 0 third down conversions in the third quarter.

(3)  We beat ourself / It was the turnovers that gave Oregon the win. There’s a little truth to this, but it hardly tells the entire story. If Florida State beat itself, it did so in practice (and in off-field antics) the entire season. Even in the game, turnovers — which were more takeaways than giveaways — were only part of the story. The statistic of the game that everybody seems to overlook is that Oregon went 0 for 0 in third down conversions in the third quarter. Zero for zero. That’s one defensive touchdown and three offensive touchdowns in 12 plays without seeing third down once. The Ducks’ fifth touchdown of the half, which straddled into the fourth quarter, was six plays, with Mariota running it in from 21 yards out on fourth down. It wasn’t just turnovers. Oregon turned up the heat and FSU got fried.

(4)  Oregon is gimmicky, light-weight, not physical, etc. ad nauseum. Check the Ohio State blogs and you will see that comments to this effect are waning — yet a few persist. The Rose Bowl win went a long way to dispelling this fallacy, but it is not totally dead.

No S-E-C, S-E-C chants this year.

Google Images

No S-E-C, S-E-C chants this year.

(5)  The SEC West rules. With the SEC West’s 2-5 record in bowl games, nobody’s buying it.

(6)  Which brings us to what we can only hope is the death of the myth that the lower right hand corner of the country has the greatest college football on the planet. That myth, under the old BCS system, would have placed Alabama and Florida State in the championship game. That myth led the selection committee to name Alabama, Florida State, Ole Miss and Mississippi State as the initial candidates for the final four. How many of those four won bowl games? Zero. You have to wonder how many times the best team got excluded from the BCS Championship.

Top photo by John Sperry

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Mike Merrell

Mike Merrell

Mike (Editor-in-Chief) is a 1970 graduate of the University of Oregon where he attended the Honors College and received all-conference honors as a swimmer. After college, Mike ran for the Oregon Track Club and narrowly missed qualifying for the US Olympic Trials in the marathon. He continues his involvement in sports with near-daily swimming or running workouts, occasional masters swim competition (where he has received two Top-10 World rankings), providing volunteer coaching to local triathletes and helping out with Mike lives on 28 acres in the forest near Sandpoint, Idaho, where he has served as a certified public accountant for most of his working career. His current night job is writing novels about Abby Westminster, the only known illegitimate daughter of Britain's finest secret agent who has to bring down arch-villains plotting dastardly deeds. And, yes, Abby is also a DUCK!


    Mike I love your stuff but seriously feeling sorry for a Doush bag like Winston is that you need to take another look at what this guy’s done and got away with! He clearly has NO one person guiding him which is Sad but he is a grown man that know’s right and wrong period. FSU is like Miami was in the 90s as in a bunch of THUG’S. I was embarrassed for them when I watched that 30 for 30 story on their program. Makes you wonder how many of those Championships were actually TAINTED as in Boosters paying players just like SC? FSU is the Poster child of BAD SPORTSMANSHIP that every youth Coach should make his players watch as in this we don’t do or act like! They opened their mouth way to often to this Duck teams ear’s and they quietly waited to beat them fair and square and apparently FSU didn’t watch film of the Duck’s like our guy’s did of them. Why would we feel any different about their Poor sportsmanship after the game. Terrible program with NO CLASS and Fisher is a Prime reason why they act like they do. Winston would of been suspended at Oregon if he’d of done any of those STUPID Transgressions hes pulled in the last couple years. This guy will not succeed at the next level like so many ALLEGED EXPERTS believe! He should of never won the Heisman because of his Clear Character issue’s if the Heisman stands for what it says it stands for. Don’t feel sorry for a classless act like him. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this guy ends up in Prison in the next 5 years! No law enforcement will put up with his antics or disregard for Women’s rights as in NO means NO!

    • Mike Merrell

      Maitai — I always appreciate your comments! We’re really pretty close to being on the same page with Winston. I don’t have any sympathy for what he’s done.The sympathy is for the lack of guidance he’s received and for what I perceive as the curse of being a little boy (in many respects) in a man’s body. It’s a tough draw. Maybe he’ll grow out of some of it, maybe he won’t. But I think that certain mental exercises are always bound to be a challenge to anybody who would say that a 39-point game could have went (his word, not mine) either way.

      • snap

        To Mike merrell
        Florida state did beat their selfs, every time fsu had the ball they drove down with ease. Coming out of half time the score was 18 to 13 they were driving to take the lead when a freshman ( cook) fumbled the ball. And that followed by 4 more give a ways. After a couple of fsu giveaways and Oregon capitalizing the fsu defense gave up. And Winston was correct that game could have went either way. The fsu giveaways destroyed the game for them. But when Ohio state abuses Oregon maybe u can write another article on how the Oregon ducks deserve new uniforms and how great they are. And don’t be jealous that jimbo Fisher done what chip Kelly couldn’t. Win a national title!
        National championship prediction,
        Ohio state 45 Oregon 8

        • Mike Merrell

          Thanks for reading and commenting, snap. Our readership has grown immensely and it is especially flattering that we are now attracting readers from other planets.

          • snap

            No problem Mike I love reading articles from biased writers who only pop into a discussion when their teams are doing good. Speaking of that funny I never read any of your articles when Oregon was mediocre at best. Hmm……. anyway I have a great topic u could write about how about after the rose bowl several Oregon duck players chanted no means no towards jameis Winston. And helfrich approached the situation that those players would be disciplined internally……. wonder what there punishment will be no video games for a week ? I bet the 12 th of January those players play against Ohio state. What’s your opinion Mike ? so when u said Fisher and his team doesn’t have the discipline as helfrich and co u must have forgot that one. Anyway good luck against the buckeyes and I’m looking forward to ur next article I’m sure it will be as biased and one sided as this one

          • Snap’s Mom

            Dear Snap,

            Perhaps Mr. Winston shouldn’t have made unwanted sexual advances…or allegedly. Or shoplifted…proven. Or stood on a table screaming profanities…also proven. He did however come to centerfield to congratulate his opponent which was much classier than what the majority of his teammates did. Read up on discipline and how it relates to life on and off the field. Then read up on on and off field behavior between the two teams throughout the season. I bet you’ll find some sort of correlation. (Which means a connection between two or more things…I know that’s a big word for an FSU grad)

            Your Mom

          • Walt Ransom

            It’d be poetic justice if Helfrich pulled an Ohio State and suspended those players for a regular season game. But really, chanting isn’t going to earn a suspension from any game, at least not without other factors like profanity. For the record, Helfrich *has* suspended a start from a from bowl games for misconduct (Pharaoh Brown!).

          • snap

            To Mike merrel
            Well the championship is over and my prediction was fairly close. Just wanted to get ur take on last night’s game

        • KBedard

          Snap– FSU did drive down the field with what you would call swag. 4 times in red zone first half. Touchdown, 2 FG’S and stuffed at goal line. That was never going to beat Oregon. Those turnovers were forced! Driving down with ease, whatever, you need to get to the house to beat the Ducks! Better team, BY FAR, won.

  • maddog48

    While I agree with MAITADUCK to a large extent. I agree that Florida State runs a “corrupt” program, that is often the result of the University and its fan base. Fisher never accepts responsibility for the actions of his team or players.

    Here is my concern. Winston and Florida State want to deny that Oregon devastated them. To some extent they can create an viable argument. The fact is that Florida State could move the ball against Oregon’s defense. It was only until Florida State started turning over the ball that Oregon bolstered its lead. The fact is that most of those turnovers resulted from stripping the ball from Florida State players. Not mere happenstance.

    Can we count on that happening against Ohio State?

    • Mike Merrell

      As you say — the thing that struck me the most about Fisher’s post-game comments was the complete lack of acceptance of responsibility for how poorly his team was prepared.

      I would be surprised to see Ohio State be as careless with the ball as FSU was. The Buckeyes are better coached and more disciplined. If (big if) the Ducks can control Ohio State’s running game, it should be advantage Oregon. Ohio State hasn’t faced anything like Mariota and the supporting cast this year. The other advantage to Oregon is that the recovery from playing FSU should be much easier than the slug fest that Ohio State went through with Alabama. Meyer is a great coach, though, and we can expect his team come to play.

      • Matt

        You are an idiot, how is it that FSU had as many yards and where trading score for score until turnovers happened make the not prepared?
        Did you ever play anything in your life=no so you became a wanna be writer

      • tillamookduck

        Mike — I hear what you are saying — but I guess I didn’t see the turnovers as something a coach should be taking responsibility for. Its debatable if FSU got outcoached — we’ll never really know to be honest — but we’ve seen ball security be an issue for them (more on interceptions and less on fumbles). They got beat bad and I expected them to be more about conceding that they lost bad — not apologizing. That was probably the one thing I felt they should’ve admitted more (that they got slammed). I guess I don’t really follow this whole idea of pinpointing problems or inconsistencies in their statements right after an embarrassing loss. Emotions were probably still running high plus not having lost in over 2 years — its got to have been pretty devastating. :)

    • Anthony Joseph Gomes

      FSU was making a lot of first downs barely on short yardage plays. winstons YPC was way down in this game at 7.7 compared to 9.4 for mariota. FSUs players are out of shape and when you run 15+ plays to try and get into the end zone and your red zone efficiency sucks like FSU against a quality defense the chance to fumble becomes exponential. duck coaches seized on the mathematical inevitability of this while FSU is still in shock over the result. fumbling and making excuses. but what have they learned? if nothing you can be assured of the same result. oregon could have easily scored 80 or 90 in that game if we had played the 4th quarter which nole fans claimed they owned.

  • ali

    Clearly the dumbest article I have read the entire day of course it would be written by an Oregon Duck make sense Now

  • Tallaman

    As an FSU fan, I want to root for the Ducks to beat Ohaha State. Who better to root for when I have no prior allegiances than the team that defeated the team I call my own? But attitudes displayed by Mike Merrel and Maitaiduck are what is holding me back. Do you really think you are an expert on how to run a major college football program like FSU’s after watching one game? One victory by UO and the quacks are masters of the universe? UO players mock the team they defeat after the win and the Seminoles are bad sports? UO loses EVERY big game leading to the national championship, but their team is adequately physical and not gimmicky? FSU has one bad game out of thirty and FSU is in denial? Maybe after UO actually wins a national championship or three THEY might be able to speak, THEY might have it down. But you show no class. This is trash. I can see why Oregon only has regional fans, only in the Pac NW. I’m not entertained by Oregon’s gimmicky offense and I don’t see Orgeon doing well after Mariota leaves for the NFL, where he will be drafted below Winston and have only mild success. What a bunch of losers.

    • YourMom

      Agreed. Total BS.

  • Fresh

    Only one word describes the writer… Troll.

  • Robert Fresquez

    I couldn’t agree more with the writer, I never could understand why everyone said that the SEC was the best football being played in college sports. It was a good game, but I honestly didn’t think FSU had any chance of winning. But you had to rank them high because they were undefeated. Even though they had a weak schedule.

  • Amado

    This guy sounds like a banana rider

  • Bug

    Man your really an ass. Just a mean spirited person with nothing of real value to contribute. Terrible article. Also, by saying not to be a Grammer nazi doesn’t make take away you that you are a Grammer nazi. How many football player talk like that. A lot!

  • Matt

    Homer based written BS, 5 turnovers and some 34+ points off of the turnovers = Bad coaching because he fumbled, FSU over 575 yards total offense again ill prepared, going on it from the 1 yard line and not getting it cost them atleast 3 points
    Dude your insight is crap

  • JP Long

    This is just a ridiculous article. Oregon should be the last people talking about corrupt programs. Believe me please if it wasn’t for Phil Knight you would be on probation. Chip Kelly was a snake. Also you let a KNOWN sex offender on your basketball team. Who is now facing charges for gang raping a student. Thought I forgot. So before you write from your moral high horse. Check your own schools closet.

    • Roger A

      . . . aaaand what color is the sky in your world, JP?

      • JP Long

        The color of 3 titles. Crystal clear.

        • Anthony Joseph Gomes

          princeton has 28 titles. yale has 27. until you have at least 27 titles like yale and princeton you need to put a cork in it pal.

  • imabiyer

    First of all, what is it with Fishduck’s senior writers and their hatred for FSU? I’ve watched many of the FSU fans congratulate us and even wishing us to win the championship here and other sites. I think their team is like any other college football team to be honest. But it seems we’re taking every effort to slam them and make them look bad. I mean Mike — do YOU actually know something that no one else in the country knows? It just seems you have nothing but disdain for them — which at this point, I’d like to just read about Oregon Football Analysis from you and the other writers more than how lowly you view the FSU players and coaches when it comes to their integrity (something I am not certain I believe you have any real credibility in). Right now, I get more value reading SBNation than coming here when it comes to talking about the Ducks.

    • Anthony Joseph Gomes

      you dont say who YOU are. since FSU went 13-1 i am guessing they beat you and i am guessing if FSU had been on the other end of that 59-20 smack down they would have leaped out on to the field at pasadena with their little bunny rabbit smiles and their bunny rabbit teeth gleaming. but after all the trash talk about how they were invincible and they couldnt lose the shock of what happened jangled their nerves into …………well they ran from the field. hey..i dont care…it doesnt bother me. but you need to learn how to call a spade a spade buddy.

      • imabiyer

        You lost me. What do you want to know about me? I’m in my mid-40s, I work for a company in Corvallis. I use to play football. Yada yada yada. So, what does that OR this article have to do with Oregon Football? Which is my point… I am a DUCKS fan (not a Beaver fan so not sure where you are going with that). My point is — as far as victory is concerned — while I do see some pretty lame FSU fans being sore losers like more than a week ago — this articles which just got posted like 3 days ago is based on all sorts of sensationalized hype and negative perceptions of a team I am pretty sure none of us know ANYTHING about. These types of articles MAKE OREGON FANS look like a bunch of jerks — especially days after the game. Its practically premeditated. I just feel we need to get over whatever angst we have about FSU and their coaches and players and get with what OUR team is doing. How many spades are you gonna call a spade IF the game is in fact hearts? I guess I expected more class from fishduck because this is where I normally get to study our plays and stuff.

  • Anthony Joseph Gomes

    there is one thing i dont understand. there was obviously a blowup on the sidelines between winston and jimbo. according to one source on the sidelines jimbo reportedly said to winston “if you dont calm down i am taking you out of the game”. when ask about the emotional drama jimbo reportedly claimed that he asked winston about the interception and winston claimed it was a blown route by the receiver. if you look at the film you will see winstons receiver nearly caught the ball and in fact had his hands on it but bobbled it so it didnt look like a blown route to me. whatever the case both jimbo and the unnamed source on the sideline cannot both have the right of it.

  • Anthony Joseph Gomes

    winston himself has now declared for the NFL so the rosebowl was apparently his last game as a nole. it is also interesting to note that he declared on the same day his rape accuser filed to sue FSU for protecting winston and aiding and abetting a cover up. it could be purely a coincidence and the two events are entirely unrelated. winston made several remarks that led me to believe he might be coming back to FSU. it will be interesting to see where winston goes in the NFL draft. because if he gets a low number i will be inclined to suspect that he was driven out because of the allegations.

  • tillamookduck

    I don’t think I want to understand the motivations around articles like this, but it seems we’re hitting new highs in self-righteous “holier-than-thou” Oregon football fan journalism. I guess someone over on the FSU side must’ve said something nasty to the fishduck staff.

  • Timesrtough

    Wow — I am an FSU graduate and fan and I can’t tell you how offensive this article is to the university I love and support and its fans. I guess enjoying a win over FSU wasn’t enough, you have to personally attack the school’s coach and players after the fact. This article is a sad reflection on this website and any Oregon fans who support it. You don’t have to like Jimbo Fisher or Jameis Winston, but I don’t think that you are qualified to judge their characters because you sat within 10 to 15 feet of them during a press conference after a big-time football game. That’s just childish on your part. One thing we know in the South — be very careful when you start playing the “our big time college football program is holier than your big time football program” game, because it almost always comes back to haunt you. Just look up Joe Paterno. In the mean time, I’ll be switching from rooting for Oregon to cheering for Ohio State.

    • sherrybb

      Wow, that was your interpretation? not mine at all. He said he changed his mind about Winston…he just thinks he is a big young likable puppy. We like puppies here in Oregon…we just like them to grow up eventually. I think the comment about Fisher is that he could not admit what everyone clearly saw and could read lips….to say that Jameis was a bit out of control would not have been a big admission of anything but the truth.

  • snap

    Mike Merrell
    I predicted 45 to 8 remember ? But 42 to 20 ain’t too bad either. Just wanted to get your take on the game and curious of anything else u had to say about fsu