USA Wrestling Rick's Rant: Change ...

Rick's Rant: Change Needed for College Dual Meet Tiebreaker Criteria

By Richard Immel USA Wrestling | Dec. 22, 2014, 6:34 p.m. (ET)

It has been a wild couple of weeks in college wrestling with the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Reno TOC, Grapple at the Garden and marque duals taking place. I could go a number of ways with this rant, but I want to focus on something that seems to be coming up more and more, dual meet tiebreaker criteria.

Last week Missouri topped Ohio State 20-19 based on the fourth dual meet tiebreaker criteria, the first takedown scored.

To quickly recap the tiebreaker criteria in this dual, the team score was tied at 19-19, both teams had the same number of pins/forfeits at 1-1 and the total match points were tied 48-48. So it all came down to the drama of Missouri’s Alan Waters getting the first takedown against Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello in the dual’s opening match at 125 pounds. Makes sense right?

Granted, I did not watch the dual, but if I were watching I would have not known who won the dual right after the final match, and I am someone who follows wrestling on a daily basis.

Explain to me how the new, or even average, fan is supposed to know who won? Better put, how can they come away from that match feeling satisfied that they just watched a great dual?

There is no suspense, no edge of your seat thrill associated with this situation, as we see in all other major sports. Every other sport has some sort of overtime, whether it is simply another period of play like the NBA or NFL, sudden death overtime, a shootout and so on. Why can’t wrestling be this way and give fans that little something extra to be excited about?

If you are asking me, I want more! Give me another match. I don’t care how you do it, draw a weight out of a hat and send two more guys out to compete for the win. I will take that every day over spending 20 minutes after the dual to figure out how many points every individual scored or who got the first takedown in a match that was wrestled two hours ago.

Let the depth of your team shine in this situation. I realize there would be some dynamics in play that would complicate things like bringing backups specifically for overtime scenarios or perhaps having one guy wrestle twice if that is how you want to go about doing it, but who wouldn’t want to see that?

If you don’t like having an additional match, just have the last match wrestled be the deciding factor. At least the end of the dual would have that extra something to get people excited.

A coach should not have to tell his heavyweight he has to win by three points so they can win the dual on the third criteria.

This happened in the Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech dual that came down to the final bout. The Virginia Tech Heavyweight, Ty Walz, won in overtime by two points to give the Hokies the win, however if he had only won by a single point Ohio State would have won the dual.

Confused yet?

Heck, Ohio State put out a tweet that they were the winners of the dual against Missouri when in fact they weren’t. The teams on the bench don’t even know what is going on yet fans are expected to know? Doesn’t seem right to me.

The system as it stands is simply too complicated.

That said, now to your questions.

Question 1

I will start by saying that I do not believe there is such thing as an “average” All-American. Speaking from someone who wrestled at the Division I level, becoming an All-American is an outstanding accomplishment. There is nothing average about it.

Now to answer what I believe to be the heart of your question, all of the champions I have been around have been the hardest working guys in the room. Period.

When the national team is in Colorado Springs training the last guy I see leave the room nearly every practice is Jordan Burroughs. It is no coincidence that he is as great as he is. Does he have natural talent, of course, but it is about more than that.

Becoming a champion is a combination of talent, hard work, drive and willing yourself to be on top of the podium, no matter what the obstacle.

Wrestling is one of the most mentally taxing sports there is. If you don’t have your mind sharp every second you are on the mat, then there is always the chance to lose.

That is the beauty of our sport.

Question 2

I think the pro leagues that have been established this year, FPL and GWC, are outstanding for the sport of wrestling.

When we can create marquee wrestling matchups to display to the world it is a win, win all around. The wrestlers get to display their talents while getting paid to do so.

You ask can a pro league be made sustainable, and my answer would be I am unsure. We have seen every pro wrestling league in the past fizzle out.

I think there is some sustainability with these two new leagues, the FPL in particular because of the way they are ingrained in the Flowrestling platform and large fan base, as well as hosting the events in conjunction with other marquee events.

Flo appears to be going about things the right way, taking their time, getting quality matchups and making sure there are fans in the stands.

I hope we can see continued progress out of both of these leagues in the future.

Now to my thoughts on the specific matches from this weekend.

My big winners are Brent Metcalf and Tervel Dlagnev. Both men beat world-class opponents and perhaps gained a little confidence boost, not that they needed it, but a big win never hurts things.

Metcalf looked extremely solid against 2011 World Silver medalist Franklin Gomez, especially in the third period. He scored three takedowns in the third to close the match out in dominating fashion.

By the same token Dlagnev took out one of the greatest wrestlers of this generation in five-time World Champion and Olympic Champion Khadzhimurat Gatsalov.

These may have been simple December matches that don’t really count towards anything of great importance at the present time, but getting that experience over world class opponents is always a plus, especially when the experience comes with a W.

Just a side note, how can you not be impressed with Kyle Dake? He hasn’t wrestled a competitive Greco-Roman match in six years, but he still comes close to taking out the reigning Greco-Roman World Champion. The kid is a stud.

Question 3

After having a nice Twitter discussion on this very topic I have gone back and forth between a couple characters. I decided to give one female and one male character who I think would be the most successful wrestlers.

For the women, I am going with Brienne of Tarth. She has the size and strength to match anyone she would come across. She also has to have quite the agility and footwork for her ferocious swordplay. She is dedicated to her craft and strives for excellence. These are qualities associated with any great wrestler.

On the men’s side of things I like Tywin Lannister. He has the mental edge on everyone, scheming well in advance. I see him as a Peyton Manning-esque mind, constantly one step ahead of his opponent. He is perhaps the most strong-willed character in the series. A Veteran’s World Champion no doubt.

Tweet of the Week

Than you Penn Quakers for making my day!

To submit your questions to Rick’s Rant tweet them to @USA Wrestling or @Richard_Immel. You can also submit via email to rimmel@usawrestling.org