In today's Oregonian, columnist John Canzano has pretty much called for the head of Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti on a plate. The reason was that Dennis Dixon attempted to play against Arizona and ended up spraining his knee, forcing season-ending surgery and possibly ending his football career hopes.
My question is, what would Canzano have said had Dixon been held out? Brady Leaf, the backup quarterback, would likely have had no better luck as a starter than coming in off the bench. Leaf tries hard, but isn't that good for the offense the Ducks run (although he'd be a better NFL prospect than Dixon, who IS a creature of the un-prolike spread offense, were his name not Leaf). The Ducks would still have lost the game in all liklihood and blown their shot at a national title -- a shot which, in retrospect, may not have been as good as wide-eyed pundits, incluidng Conzano himself, said it was.
I dislike Oregon's football program and their athletics programs in general. I think they are too much under the influence of Phil Knight and of Nike, and that this is used to unfair advantage in recruiting for the revenue sports. I think their handling of non-revenue sports has been ham-fisted and their effort to replace Macarthur Court at taxpayer expense obscene in these times. Yet nobody can have it both ways, and Bellotti would have come out on the wrong end no matter how he had decided on Dixon. It was the Kobiyashi Maru of coaching -- a no-win scenario, and he didn't have the ability to alter the program.