Monday, December 31, 2012

Iowa State Fans Still Love Johnny Majors

What is with the Iowa State fans and their love with the Johnnies?

I have written about the Cyclone fan’s affection for former basketball coach Johnny Orr. Now, the love fest has turned to former football coach Johnny Majors.

The Iowa State football opposes Tulsa Monday afternoon at the Liberty Bowl. Majors took the Cyclones to the Liberty Bowl in 1972. So it’s a reunion of sorts and Majors is in Memphis to cheer on the present Cyclone squad.

Majors was a young coach when at the Iowa State helm. He later won a national championship with Pittsburgh and coach at his alma mater Tennessee. Still, Iowa State claims Majors as one of its own. And with good reason. Majors took the Cyclones to two bowl games in a day when bowl game numbers were small and the records were respectable. Plus, Iowa State had no bowl tradition.

Majors proved Iowa State could win football games. It took a long time but Dan McCarney and present coach Paul Rhoads finally restored the winning ways.

My high school memories of Majors and his Iowa State program are a bit fuzzy. But I do remember it was big deal when Majors took the Cyclones bowling. Other programs noticed Majors too and it wasn’t long before his era in Ames, Iowa was over.

Many memories are fun. That’s why Iowa State celebrates a Johnny’s place in Cyclone football history.



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2013

I want to wish everyone a blessed Christmas and for my international readers a great Boxing Day tomorrow. I appreciate you reading All About College Sports.

Best,

Paul

Friday, December 21, 2012

Alabama's Nick Saban Rumor is Laughable

How do these rumors get started anyway?

Alabama Coach Nick Saban has been linked to the NFL again this week. I only read the headline. That story isn’t reeling me in, thank you.

Saban is a college coach, plain-and-simple. He has fielded championship-like teams at Michigan State, LSU and obviously Alabama. He has won national championships. He earns over $5 million dollars per year.

His NFL coaching experience with the Miami Dolphins spelled failure. Would more money convince Saban to return to the NFL? Is another $1-2 million the lure?

Saban is king at Alabama. The Tide even produced a Saban statue that sits outside the stadium. The Saban Alabama love is remarkable considering Bear Bryant once roamed the Alabama sideline.

NFL coaches aren’t loved. It’s a business and you better win.. Sure, college coaches sometimes are fired quickly, but there doesn’t appear the coldness in the college game compared to the NFL.

Some believe Saban has wondering eyes from his past and it would not surprise them if he bolts Alabama. But to me, Saban has found his final coaching resting place. And it’s hard to improve on the best place.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Too Many Bowl Games and ESPN Calls the Shots



It seems forever when the college football ball season spelled real enjoyment. The death of bowl season came with the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) and big-money television.

I still remember the good times. You could watch a few bowl games leading up to New Year’s Day and then have a glutton of games on the holiday. You watched so many games on New Year’s Day that eyes were sore before the Orange Bowl night game came about. But you didn’t want to miss New Year’s Day coverage because it was basically the end of the college football season.

Now, there are too many games, two many weak teams and two many nights. Almost every game has its particular time slot with no competing television games except the Sun Bowl. For some reason, the Sun Bowl remains a refection of the good bowl season.

These BCS games are nice but far from fan-friendly. Do you really want to watch college football for a week after New Year’s Day? ESPN basically loses me after Jan. 1. I might watch the National Champion Game if the teams interest me, but too many games and two many nights result in too much of a good thing.

My suggestion: be selective what you watch and protect your eyes.



Friday, December 14, 2012

Big Four Classic in Iowa

The four Iowa Division I men’s basketball teams will be together Saturday for the first annual Big Four Basketball Classis.

In the past Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa (UNI) and Drake scheduled home-and-away games with each other. This tournament will replace games on the respective campuses.

The schools agreed to a four-year arrangement with all games at the Wells Fargo arena in the Iowa capital city of Des Moines.

Apparently, Iowa and Iowa State pushed for the tournament because these schools wanted greater freedom in non-conference scheduling. Some say it was big brother (Iowa and Iowa State) telling little brother (UNI and Drake) the new conditions of the basketball arrangement. UNI and Drake apparently bemoaned the loss of revenue and exposure of playing games on their campuses. UNI and Drake will still receive revenue for the tournament but will loss the domino effect for its campuses and communities.

In this year’s matchup, Iowa will oppose UNI in the first game and Iowa State-Drake follow in the second one. One sorry aspect is the television package. There is no statewide coverage on any local station. The Iowa-UNI game will air on the Big Ten network and the Iowa State-Drake will air on a another cable company will limited Iowa coverage.

This whole tournament seems to be about the money. That’s a common and dangerous trend in college sports today. But maybe the new format will become the new normal similar to happiness with $3.50 gasoline.

What do you think about this new tournament?







Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why Fired College Coaches Still Seek Employment


Coaching major college football is a high risk, high reward business.

Head coaches are provided celebrity status. They perform CEO duties at the football company and receive many perks including large salaries and high-priced country club memberships.

But that is only the beginning. With such a large investment, the head coach’s win-loss ledger becomes the main measuring stick of continued employment and applause. And the measuring stick seems to become less and less in terms of chances.

Gene Chizik lasted four years at Auburn. His team won the national championship in 2010 with mostly the previous coaches’ players. Some say Chizik couldn’t master the head coaching role. It will be interesting to watch if Chizik lands another head coaching job in the near future.

Chizik doesn’t need another job. He’s made plenty of money in coaching plus he received an additional large sum in the Auburn buyout process. In TV game-show terms, Chizik received lovely parting gifts.

The average Joe might wonder why Chizik (or a host of other college coaches) want to resume the coaching job hunt after landing in the unemployment line.

Former Colorado football coach Bill McCartney told me once that “coaching is intoxicating.” That is why Chizik and other college coaches want back into the game after being dumped. They cannot help themselves; it’s in their blood.

For Chizik and others, these guys cannot find pleasure in the high risk, high reward business unless they are actually playing.





Monday, December 10, 2012

A Letter to Iowa State Football Coach Paul Rhoads

Congratulations Coach on helping your Iowa State football team received a Liberty Bowl bid. You already beat Tulsa once this year, so make it a twofer.

I truly appreciate what you have done for the Cyclone football program. I love your passion and fire. You seem to truly care for your football players and that scores high marks with me. And you are a fellow Iowan. You understand Iowa and certainly the Iowa State culture.

I attended my first game this season since you took the Cyclone job. Jack Trice Stadium was a rocking place. Even in defeat, the atmosphere was electric. I have been to football games in the past where the mood was “We can’t wait for basketball season.”

You have the opportunity to become one of the special coaches in Iowa State history. You know that special history isn’t long. So embrace it, Coach. Go for it. Be a long-term Cyclone. Truly do something special.

Other places will want to hire you as their coach, but please think long-and-hard

if specific opportunities are presented. Remember, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence, and the grass is pretty green at Jack Trice Stadium these days.

Give my regards to Coach Bill Bleil. We have a history together back at Northwestern College.

Best to you and the Cyclone football program.



Friday, December 7, 2012

College Basketball In Iowa

Iowa is a small state. I think the population is around three million. But small or not, Iowans enjoy basketball. Tonight, many Iowans’ eyes and some others (on the Big Ten Network) will watch Iowa host Iowa State in the big rivalry game.

The Iowa State-Iowa games are friendly rivalries. Sure, there is some trash talk going back-and-forth, but nobody sets fires to the other team’s cars.

The 2012 men’s basketball portion should offer a competitive game. Both have two losses each. All the losses have come against quality opponents. Nearly all of the two team’s victories have come again non-quality opponents so it’s difficult to measure the real strengths and weaknesses of each team.

This game should be a type of measuring stick particularly for the road team—Iowa State. The Cyclones are looking for their third straight win against Iowa and maybe a resume builder for the NCAA tournament.

Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffrey has awoken Hawkeye fans from their basketball slumber. McCaffrey has brought an up tempo style back to Iowa City and some solid recruits. He’s building a program and the Iowa faithful would enjoy earning a NCAA bid this year after going to the NIT last season.

With Fred Hoiberg at the Iowa State helm and McCaffrey at Iowa, this rivalry should be in good shape for a number of years.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Watching the College Coaching Carousal

The college football coaching comings-and-goings is hot this week.

The Butch Jones soap opera is the most interesting at the moment. Will he leave Cincinnati to accept the Colorado job? Might Wisconsin become a late-day addition to the Jones’ wish list?

Of course, Bret Bielma move to Arkansas from Wisconsin was the most surprising development so far this offseason. Is Arkansas a better job than Wisconsin? Bielema is reportedly receiving about $750,000 more in salary per year, so that sweeten the deal. But Bielma will now go up against Alabama and LSU, whereas at Wisconsin he was frequently in the top portion of the Big Ten. But maybe it’s a status symbol. Bielma now coaches in the best college football league (SEC) in America.

Auburn hired former assistant Gus Malzahn. The Tigers just recently fired Gene Chizik another former Auburn assistant. Malzahn worked for Chizik. You would think Auburn would rid itself of the Chizik era and start over. Maybe Malzahn was Auburn’s only real choice.

Darrell Hazell leaves Kent State to coach Purdue. I have never heard of guy, but that doesn’t matter. I’ve never heard of any of Purdue’s football coaching hires in the last several years. My question: do the Purdue fans care about their coaching hires

So the coaching carousal continues and we are all waiting for more dominos to fall.













Monday, December 3, 2012

Rick Majerus was a Colorful Guy

Former college basketball coach Rick Majerus died over the weekend from heart complications. He was 64.

Majerus coached St. Louis University in his last stop. The heart condition forced him to walk away from the 2012-13 season. He also coached Utah, Ball State and Marquette, but his health always seemed to be a major factor.

But Majerus was a college basketball gift. He displayed humor, crustiness and frankness. Sportswriters and broadcasters loved the guy because he was very quotable. The guy knew basketball and he knew how to coach it.

Majerus didn’t seem to find peace in one particular coaching job. I don’t know if the press or Majerus himself would start rumors about his potential candidacy at another school. His name kept popping up for openings.

I will always remember Majerus for his competitive nature. I saw it first hand one night in Ames, Iowa when Majerus brought his Marquette team to play Iowa State in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The coach became agitated with a call or calls that went against Marquette. The official gave Majerus one technical, then two technicals and then three technicals in a span of about 30 seconds. Majerus was kicked out of the game, but refused to leave. Police then escorted him off the floor, but not before he wanted to charge the referee who gave him the three technicals. Majerus was restrained and Marquette went on to win the game without its coach.





Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Big 12 Conference Should Step Up

Conference realignment is again a hot topic with the announcement of Maryland and Rutgers moving to the Big Ten.

I thought this conference realignment stuff was on hold for a time, but the Big Ten move shocked me. Now, the league will expand to 14 members and qualify for the “super” conference tag.

This action obviously has a ripple effect on other conferences and schools. The so called quiet time in collegiate athletics has become the nervous time again. What will happen to the Big East and ACC? Will more conferences raid their schools?

One conference that should take action is the Big 12. The league needs two more teams to return to the magic number of 12. This will enable the league to host a conference football championship again. The Big 12 is currently the only major conference without a championship game.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby stated this past summer that he was comfortable with the 10-team league, but the realignment game has changed again. Unfortunately, the game is either pick your new members or be in danger of having your members picked. The Big 12 needs to use the pick strategy.



Monday, November 26, 2012

Don't Answer Your Cell Phone or the Front Door

The Christmas season is officially upon us and athletic directors at major universities are searching for the perfect Christmas gift—a new football coach.

Well, not every athletic director, but if you are a head coach that had a losing season or seasons, my advice is don’t pick up your cell phone or listen to the knock at your door. Your Christmas gift might be a lump of coal.

The lumps of coal were numerous Sunday and it didn’t matter if you were in the East, Midwest, South or West. The following coaches were fired yesterday: Frank Spaziani at Boston College, Tom O’Brien at NC State, Gene Chizik at Auburn, Danny Hope at Purdue and Jon Embree at Colorado.

You would think the firings would slow down now, but like I said earlier, if I was a losing-record coach, I would lay low like a turkey one week before Thanksgiving.

Chizik had the biggest fall. Two years ago, he was hoisting the silver football as Auburn won the national championship. Embree received the shortest stick. He led Colorado for just two seasons and won four games. O’Brien was never the flashy hire at NC State and his teams won--just not enough. Spaziani was a loyal Boston College guy, but people care more about the New England Patriots than the Eagles. Plus, Spaziani had trouble getting wins. Hope lost hope at Purdue. Hope was the only college coach I have ever seen who wore a whistle around his neck on gameday.

The athletic directors who created these coaching openings Sunday will be selling hope. Unfortunately, none of the openings seem hopeful in terms of great success at the particular schools.



Monday, November 19, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For

I was feeling pretty good about the prospects of the BCS National Championship Game and then Saturday came.

Usually I don’t cheer for the favorites unless I have a definite interest in the outcome. But Saturday was different. I was routing for No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon because I am sick of watching the Southeastern Conference in the national championship game. Alabama had slipped to No. 4 in the BCS and the only way the Tide had a chance was if two of the top three teams lost.

And surprise, surprise, that’s what happened Saturday.

Baylor destroyed Kansas State and Oregon forgot to bring its high-powered offense in an overtime loss to Stanford.

Unfortunately, Alabama is now No. 2 in the BCS (behind Notre Dame) and headed for the national title game unless there is another upset. Even if Alabama would loss this week against Auburn and lose the SEC championship game, Georgia (another SEC team) is waiting to sneak up into that No. 2 BCS slot.

So here’s this Midwest guy cheering for Alabama and Georgia to loss. We need some variety in college football folks and another SEC team in the championship game defeats that plan.

Will Alabama lose again this season?









Friday, November 16, 2012

Pierre Jackson: Big-Time at Baylor University

Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson is simply enjoyable to watch. Well, maybe not if you are the opposing team’s coach or fans.

Jackson is Baylor’s most valuable player and makes the Bears a dangerous team.

The Las Vegas native has already garnered Play-of-the-Year Preseason Honors in the Big 12 Conference. Jackson, a junior college transfer, put together a solid season a year-a go for Baylor. He quarterbacked the team, made key shots, made scoring assists and hit critical free throws. The guy averaged 13.8 points per game last season.

Yesterday, I watched Jackson destroy Boston College in one of those holiday-type tournaments. He was all over the floor and scored 31 points. He shot 10-of-15 field goals including 6-of-10 behind the three-point line. Not bad for a senior who is only 5-10.

One play he made in the Boston College game highlights Jackson’s talent. He tapped the ball away from an opponent but couldn’t directly go to the ball. So, he darted around the player and picked up the ball on the other side. It was like he was tapping the ball to himself. Amazing! Or by the way, this short guy can dunk too.

Keep your on eyes on No. 55. He promises to be involved in most of the Baylor activity on the court.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sad Situation at Washington State

Washington State coach Mike Leach is no stranger to controversy. And the pass-happy, offensive-minded head man is in trouble again.

Former Washington State wide receiver Marquess Wilson has accused the first-year coach and his staff of abuse. The Pac-12 Conference has instigated a review of the matter.

Leach was fired from his previous job at Texas Tech based on another alleged abuse charge. Former NFL and college running back Craig James’ son claimed Leach had James’ son locked up in an equipment room.

Washington State paid Leach big money to come to Pullman. He’s making about $2 million per year. So far things are not looking good with the investment. Leach has the Cougars off to a terrible 2-8 record and now the abuse charge.

Leach could be innocent of the charge. Maybe Wilson didn’t like the way Leach changed the football program from the previous administration and he just wanted to cause trouble. Maybe Wilson is correct with his charge and Leach should require disciplinary action.

But here’s the case: Leach has a spotty record in player relations and that’s why Washington State has reached this point. If Leach is guilty, his disciplinary action could be a firing.

Will Leach lose his job?



Monday, November 12, 2012

Thank-You Texas A&M

Texas A&M defeated mighty Alabama Saturday in Tuscaloosa and essentially ruined the Tide’s defense of their national title.

Oh sure, Alabama Coach Nick Saban was telling the football world after the game that the Tide still had a chance to play in the BCS title game with one loss. Maybe Saban does have a future in politics when his coaching gig is over.

But the best news about the Aggie upset is the Southeastern Conference’s stronghold on the BCS title game appears over. I think the league has furnished the BCS game with at least one representative in the last six title games.

Kansas State and Oregon are No. 1 and No. 2 in the BCS rankings now. Notre Dame, another undefeated team is No. 3. Alabama fell to No. 4 and needs at least two of the top three teams to lose.

Kansas State has the best opportunity to play in the championship game. The Wildcats play at Baylor and host Texas. That’s K-State’s remaining schedule because it plays no Big 12 Conference Championship game. Oregon plays two qualify opponents in Stanford and at Oregon State. The game against the Beavers should be particularly difficult. Independent Notre Dame should beat Wake Forest this Saturday and then have a battle at USC.

So yes, Nick, your team could still play for the championship, but the Tide needs lots of assistance.

The SEC has provided lots of vanilla and chocolate in the title games and its more than time to replace those flavors with some variety.

Thank you-Texas A&M.







Friday, November 9, 2012

Welcome College Basketball 2012-13

It seems only a few months ago Kentucky was marching through March Madness to the men’s title. But March and April had turned into November (Nov. 9 exactly) and the return of college hoops.

Indiana is the No. 1 team in the land. But as they say, the polls haven’t closed yet. I would not count out Kentucky. The Cats may have restocked their shelf, but the quality is top-of-the-line stuff. Remember, it’s all about the journey and the college basketball season is a long one.

Speaking of Kentucky, it opens up against Maryland in one of the few interesting matchups of Day 1. I will keep close watch on Baylor-Lehigh. Lehigh shocked Duke in the NCAA tournament last season. This Patriot League team is nicknamed the Mountain Hawks? What exactly is a Mountain Hawk? One Midwest matchup (where I live) is Ohio State-Marquette. And those Jackrabbits from South Dakota State receive a little national TV love against Alabama. My South Dakota friend turned Michigan resident should enjoy that one.

As always, there will become plenty of storylines as the season progresses. What surprises do you think will happen on Day 1? What team or teams are you following this season?



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

This Danny Seeks Real Hope

Purdue football coach Danny Hope is frankly running out of hope. The Boilermaker head man is in danger of losing his job and with a loss at Iowa Saturday, it could happen.

Purdue has lost five straight conference games and is 0-for-The Big Ten Conference. The Boilermakers started the season 3-1. Hope may have helped sealed his fate when he declared in that preseason that Purdue could have a competitive team in the league.

Hope has taken the Boilermakers to a minor bowl game (Little Caesars last season) in his four seasons at the school. But Hope has posted just a 19-27 overall mark and a 10-19 Big Ten record.

The Boilermakers will be underdogs against the struggling Hawkeyes (three straight losses), but if they can upset Iowa, their two remaining games against Illinois and Indiana are also possible wins. A 6-6 record would actually bring Danny Hope some hope.

Hope is definitely what Purdue football needs these days.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012

Note--I take a break today from college sports blogging today to focus on an American privilege.

Elections are similar to sporting events. The final tally determines the winner.

This Election Day is arguably the biggest in the history of the United States. The two presidential candidates provide voters with two distinctive choices. The buildup to this election has been intense.

This is also a special day for me—I turn 56. I was also born on Presidential Election Day in 1956. I heard recently that since the 1800s this is only the sixth or seventh Presidential Election Day to happen on Nov. 6.

So exercise your choice and celebrate my birthday too. BTW, I’m voting for Mitt Romney and I invite you to do the same.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The View from the Iowa State Football Press Box

I attended the Iowa State-Oklahoma game Saturday and sat in the press box.

In my former life, I worked in the sports information office at Iowa State while obtaining my master’s degree. Contrary to popular belief, United States postal stamps didn’t cost five cents in those days.

It was about six years since I attended an Iowa State football game. Gene Chizik was the coach. Cyclone fans haven’t forgot about Chizik who bolted Ames after just two seasons and five victories. But it is a distant memory because Iowa State fans are in love with Iowa native Paul Rhoads as their coach.

Jack Trice Stadium is a happening place. There were over 56,000 folks there Saturday. Unfortunately, the Cyclones couldn’t deliver an upset win over the Sooners. Despite losing two games this season, Oklahoma looked pretty much like Oklahoma. The Sooners have athletes, speed and a stable-full of talented receivers. The Iowa State defensive backs were having trouble covering those receivers. It didn’t help matters that a reserve tailback, Brennan Clay, carved the Cyclones up too.

The Iowa State press box was a quiet place Saturday. Unlike LSU, who removed a person from the press box at Saturday’s Alabama-LSU game, no such thing occurred at Iowa State. Press boxes all over the nation normally have a rule that there is no cheering in the press box. It is usually announced before the game. Apparently, the LSU guy needed a written memo.

But all-in-all, it was great to return to Iowa State football. Despite the loss, it felt good to be home again.





Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Something Special in the Little Apple

Don’t look now but Kansas State is marching to an appearance in the BCS title game. The Wildcats (8-0) are second in the BCS standings behind Alabama.

If you enjoy wide-open football, Kansas State isn’t your pleasure. If you appreciate a blue collar approach that stresses solid defense and limited turnovers, then the Wildcats are a delight.

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder will never coach sexy football. He will never draw attention to himself. He will never attractive a stable-full of blue-chip athletes to Manhattan, Kansas—known as the Little Apple. But what Snyder will do is win plenty of football games.

Snyder is 167-83-1 in his 21st year at Kansas State. The guy retired once and then came back for a second stint in 2009. Coaching twice at the same school is a rarity but it fits Snyder.

The 73-year-old doesn’t look like a coach but rather a high school teacher. His players enjoy playing for a guy who is a disciplinarian. He models his program after former Iowa football coach Hayden Fry who Snyder served under for a number of years as offensive coordinator. For example, have you noticed the Kansas State uniforms? They are exactly like Iowa uniforms except for the color scheme and logo.

Kansas State has a fairly favorable schedule the rest of the way. The Wildcats have home games remaining with Oklahoma State and Texas and road games with TCU and Baylor. They also benefit with no Big 12 Conference Championship game.

But can Kansas State function as a hunted team? Don’t count Snyder and his disciplined Wildcats out. They aren’t looking for style points just hard-working victories.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Iowa Football Team in Funk

After Iowa lost its second consecutive game Saturday, Hawkeye Athletic Director Gary Barta made a statement. You realize things are really bad when Barta starts making statements.

In this election year, Barta is throwing his full support behind the Iowa program.

I guess Barta felt the need to express some comments after Northwestern handled the Hawkeyes 28-17 Saturday. The week before Penn State totally destroyed Iowa.

Iowa is a mediocre 4-4 and needs at least two more wins to become bowl eligible. The best chances appear Saturday at Indiana and next week hosting Purdue. The two other remaining games (Michigan and Nebraska) appear out of reach.

But this is how far the Hawkeye program has fallen this season. Iowa fans are talking about “just” winning enough to become bowl eligible.

Coach Kirk Ferentz is obviously taking lots of heat. But the veteran coach isn’t going anywhere with a long-term contact and an expensive buyout. Plus, Iowa changes head coaches about as often as The Des Moines Register newspaper endorses a Republican for President of the United States. For my international readers, that isn’t often in either case.

Senior quarterback James Vanderberg is also catching fan’s ire. But Vanderberg isn’t going anywhere either. Ferentz is loyal to players and coaches and probably won’t make a change at quarterback. The Hawkeyes will continue to lifv or die with Vanderberg.

These last four games will be interesting. Can Iowa save its season? Or will the critics grow louder?

It’s never simple with Iowa Hawkeye sports. That’s a sure vote.





Friday, October 26, 2012

Notre Dame-Oklahoma: A Huge College Football Game

The college football season is just past the mid-point and rarely does a non-conference game hold so much significance this late in the season. But that “rarely” happens Saturday night in Norman, Oklahoma when Notre Dame opposes the Sooners.

Notre Dame (7-0) holds the No. 5 ranking in the BCS (Bowl Championship Series), whereas Oklahoma (5-1) is No. 8.

Most people are viewing this as an extremely important game for Notre Dame, but an Oklahoma win would boost the Sooners in the BCS standings and put them back in the hunt for the national championship.

If the Irish can defeat Oklahoma, they have only one more challenging game on their schedule: a Nov. 24 date at Southern Cal (USC).

Many thought Oklahoma would be a national championship contender but then the Sooners had an early season hiccup at home against Kansas State. But Oklahoma has picked it up after that devastating loss and the Sooners should give a stern test to the Irish.

Notre Dame has obviously been a surprise this season after finishing 8-5 in 2011. Phil Steele ranks the Irish schedule the most difficult in the country. I don’t know about that, but the Irish better bring their A-game to Norman Saturday night.

Who wins Saturday night and why?



Monday, October 22, 2012

Bad Weekend for Iowa Major College Football

If you are a fan of either Iowa State or Iowa and somehow missed the games last Saturday, count yourself privileged.

In simple terms, the results were plain ugly.

Iowa State started fast against Oklahoma State scoring a touchdown on its first possession. But Cyclone fans had little to cheer about the rest of the way. Iowa State could muster only three more points as the Cowboys thumped Iowa State 31-10.

Iowa State has some serious offensive problems and that doesn’t help matters in a point-crazy Big 12 Conference. The problem starts at quarterback. Neither Steele Jantz nor Jamie Barnett has moved the offense consistently week-after-week. Jantz started the year at quarterback and Barnett then took over. Saturday, Jantz replaced Barnett in the second half. The spark didn’t happen. The Cyclones have had quarterback problems for two seasons now and it appears the merry-go-round isn’t over yet. Stay tuned for who receives the start next Saturday against Baylor.

Over in Iowa City, the visiting Penn State Lions built a 38-0 lead against Iowa. The Hawks put together two meaningless scores and the final was 38-14. The fans were dressed in black-and-gold according to sections in the stadium. They departed black-and-blue. Fans booed Iowa and senior quarterback James Vandenberg didn’t have a problem with the reaction. I’m not a big supporter of booing college athletes, but the fans were apparently extremely frustrated.

Both Iowa State and Iowa have decent chances of victory this Saturday (Iowa at Northwestern), but both opponents are hungry too. Momentum is a strange component in sports and the Iowa in-state teams need “old mo” back on their sides.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thumbs Up for This College Football Trend

The college football season has entered the mid-point and it appears defending champion Alabama is the favorite.

But I applaud the Crimson Tide for another thing: playing Michigan in the opening game of the season.

Why do I bring up college football scheduling? Because the tide (no pun intended) is turning.

Alabama and Michigan are just two of many schools who will beef up schedules in the future. It’s all in response to the upcoming national championship playoff series. Teams will desire “named” opponents to further their postseason resume.

Yes, school will continue to play cupcakes but it won’t pad a team’s resume like in the past. Schools wanted to gain easy wins to remain high in the national rankings and BCS (Bowl Championship Series) standings. However, the BCS will die when the playoff system actually begins, so quality wins will mean more.

I imagine teams not in the national chase will continue to play a weaker non-conference schedule so that they can gain bowl eligibility—currently six wins.

But overall, the college football fan will win. There will actually be more interesting non-conference games. Alumni will actually pay for some interesting matchups instead of spending money on its team playing No Name State.

Texas and Ohio State recently announced a series. Look for more big-time college teams to join the scheduling party. This is one party I wish to watch.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gene Chizik and Paul Rhoads

Gene Chizik and Paul Rhoads are two football coaches at two quite different programs. Two different programs that have two different expectations.

Chizik led Auburn to a national title in 2009. He had an outstanding assist from quarterback Cam Newton. Chizik left Iowa State after only two years with an overall mark of 5-19. How he landed the Auburn job is still a miracle other than he was a former defensive coordinator. But Chizik silenced his early critics taking the Tigers to the college football Promise Land.

But Chizik is feeling the heat at Auburn. Geno has the Tigers off to a 1-5 overall start and 0-4 in the football king Southeastern Conference. Auburn might only win two games remaining on its schedule: New Mexico State and Alabama A&M. The Tigers could also sneak a SEC win against Vanderbilt this week or maybe in two weeks against Texas A&M, but the games against Georgia and Alabama are almost certain losses.

Chizik has charted to No. 2 on the Coaches Hot Seat rankings (www.coacheshotseat.com).

Rhoads, in his fourth season at Iowa State, is 22-22 overall. He was the defensive coordinator at Auburn but lost his job when Tommy Tuberville was fired. Rhoads has taken the Cyclones to two bowl games and fans of the program absolutely love the guy.

My question is why has Rhoads secured more success at Iowa State than Chizik? Is Rhoads a better coach than Chizik? If Chizik and Rhoads had the same type of players at Iowa State, I would give the nod to Rhoads. Give Rhoads Chizik’s Auburn roster and Rhoads would do just as well or better than Chizik at Auburn too.





Friday, October 12, 2012

Beano Cook Was Mr. College Football

Beano Cook loved college football and people loved Beano Cook.

Cook died yesterday (Thursday) in Pennsylvania.

Cook made his mark on college football as a commentator. Most people probably remember Beano for his work at ESPN. But, I remember Cook during his days at ABC. He was one of the pioneers of discussing the top Saturday games and predicting a winner. If Beano talked about a particular game, you knew it was a big-time game.

I always thought Beano carried East Coast-bias. A Pittsburgh guy, he seemed to carry a great fondness for East Coast teams particularly Penn State. But I enjoyed the guy’s college football knowledge and his dry sense of humor. He was more statesman-like than just your average football commentator. A student of history, Beano weaved that into his commentary.

Yes, Cook was one of a kind. We will never experience a college football commentator like Beano again. The word legend is an overused word in sports today. But, Beano was truly a legend.












Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Jerry Sandusky: A Powerful Man

Jerry Sandusky was a powerful man. He destroyed numerous young people, their parents and other relatives. He even dropped a leading university—Penn State—to its knees. Sandusky betrayed his wife and family too.

Indeed, Sandusky was a powerful man.

But thankfully Sandusky’s power is officially over. He was sentenced yesterday (Tuesday) to a minimum of 30 years for the Penn State sex scandal. If he survives his prison time, he would be released well into his late 90s.

As I have written before, there are many terrible things about this situation. The suffering caused by Sandusky is ongoing. In a sense, it will never end until people are taken from this life. But the saddest thing is a lack of Sandusky’s remorse. He maintained his innocence the day before the sentencing. He claims he did no wrong.

I am no psychologist but maybe there is something in Sandusky’s brain that blocks out all the terrible acts he committed. Even if Sandusky lives in fantasy world, he will live his days out in a jail cell.

Reality is now making Sandusky suffer—a reality he created.



Monday, October 8, 2012

Iowa State: A Fun Team to Watch

Coach Paul Rhoads and his Iowa State football team have developed the reputation of scoring some big upsets in Rhoad’s tenure.

Saturday, Iowa State added to its collected with a 37-23 victory over No. 15 ranked Texas Christian (TCU) in Fort Worth. During Rhoad’s four years at the Iowa State helm, the Cyclones have defeated highly ranked Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma State. Just last season Iowa State shocked No. 2 Oklahoma State in its last regular season game and knocked the Cowboys out of the race for the national championship.

Against TCU, the Cyclones took advantage of various Horned Frog turnovers and the absence of TCU starting quarterback Casey Pachall due to a suspension.

Rhoads gave sophomore quarterback Jared Barnett his first season’s start. The native Texan responded with three touchdown passes in front of many family and friends in the stands.

Iowa State is simply a fun team to watch. Ever since Rhoads became the coach you sense the Cyclones are going to be competitive in each game. That’s the exception rather than the rule with Iowa State in its football history.

Rhoads is every much the cheerleader as well as football coach. The Iowa native was slapping players on the back, patting their helmets and hugging them Saturday.

Next opportunity for an upset is this week. No. 5 in the ESPN Coach’s Poll Kansas State comes to Ames. Can Iowa State continue its upset magic? Don’t count the Cyclones out.



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Coaches and Media Do Feud

It seems South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier and a South Carolina newspaper columnist Ron Morris are showing their displeasure for each other again.

Recently, Spurrier expressed his fury with a Morris column that the coach thought was negative. Some say Spurrier wants to influence the firing of Morris.

Apparently, these two have been bickering since Spurrier coached at Florida. So it isn’t really news except I think the ‘ole ball coach (Spurrier) likes his name in the news, so in certain aspects Spurrier is a news magnet.

Coaches and media people have feuded for years. Some coaches think the so called “hometown media” should only say nice things about their teams and coaches. But any media person learns quickly the objective is balance and fairness. Some media people deserve the coaches’ ire. Some comments are plain cheap shots at coaches and teams.

Deep down inside, most media people want the teams they cover to be successful. It makes the media’s job easier. I have gone in a locker room or two after the home team suffered a big or heart-broken loss. Interviewing coaches and players then becomes difficult.

But media people have a responsible no matter what the outcome. The public wants the outcome explained to them even if it’s bad news.

I hope Morris keeps his job. These two guys need to realize both have a job to do and they need to get over this. Like they said on the playground, “Let’s play fair, boys.”





Monday, October 1, 2012

Did I Really Watch a Football Game or a Basketball Game?

Big 12 Conference newcomer West Virginia will play Baylor at least twice in the upcoming basketball season. If you took a peak at the West Virginia-Baylor football game Saturday or at least saw the score, you might have reasoned the “hoop boys” started early.

Final score: West Virginia 70, Baylor 63.

If you enjoy scoring, this game was for you. If you enjoy football, this game was not for you. Memo to both West Virginia and Baylor: play some defense.

I get the fact that in this age of spread offenses, the scores will become elevated. But come on guys, play some defense. Have some pride. This isn’t a video game. This is real football.

West Virginia’s quarterback Geno Smith is a Heisman Trophy contender. The senior threw for seven touchdowns Saturday. I don’t know whether to congratulation Smith or pity the Baylor defense.

Baylor quarterback Nick Florence’s arm received a workout too. I think the senior tossed five or six touchdown passes. I lost count. Shame on the West Virginia defense.

If you are the defensive coordinator at West Virginia or Baylor this week, where do you start? You probably should burn the game film and go back to the basics. “This is a football and our goal is to keep it out of the end zone.”





Friday, September 28, 2012

This Coach Has Guts

I like University of Louisiana-Monroe’s Todd Berry and I have never met the coach. The guy has spunk and guts.

Berry and his Warhawk football team have received much love from the college football world since ULM knocked off then No. 8 Arkansas in its season opener. College fans paid more attention to the Warhawks when they lost the next week to Auburn in overtime and then fell short last week in a nationally televised Friday night game against Baylor.

Berry’s team features a wide-open spread offense. The coach is not afraid to take major risks on fourth down plays. In the old days, the term “Riverboat Gambler” would apply to such a coach.

But maybe Berry’s greatest risk came last season when he strolled through the tailgate crowd before a home game.

For my international readers and some United States’ ones, you must realize LSU (Louisiana State) is the kingpin of state universities in Louisiana. LSU has a huge fan base and the remaining schools basically pick up the crumbs. It isn’t unusual to see a vehicle on another Louisiana campus proclaiming love for LSU.

Berry understands this. Every coach and athletic department in Louisiana not associated with LSU understands it.

But last year, Berry challenged this big brother-little brother mentality. According to an article from SB Nation, Berry confronted several fans who were showing their allegiance to LSU while at an ULM tailgate. Berry told one fan, which featured a purple-and-gold LSU tailgating tent, “LSU’s playing four hours south.” I say, you tell them, coach.

Berry said in the article that he believed this LSU allegiance showed disrespect to his ULM players. And I agree.

I think LSU Coach Les Miles should challenge Berry to a dual on the football field. And big brother should even travel to Monroe and ULM for the game.

What do you think? Should a fan attend a game at one school while proclaiming obvious love for another school?





Wednesday, September 26, 2012

College Coaches on the Hot Seat

Speculation is one interesting aspect of sports and it takes various forms.

Yesterday, I heard about a website called “Coaches Hot Seat.” It lists (www.coacheshotseat.com) the top 10 college football coaches who are apparently fighting (speculation) for their jobs this season.

I won’t cover the entire list in case you are interested in going to the site. The site contains other interesting information such as coaches’ salaries, coaches’ contracts etc.

Boston College’s Frank Spaziani is listed No. 1. Boston is a pro sports town. Fighting for fan interest is a tough job at Boston College. Pity Spaziani and the men’s basketball coach. Translation: the football coach at Boston College is always on the hot seat.

Idaho’s Robb Akey is No. 2. I have never heard of Akey and know little about the Vandal program.

There is a joker at No. 7—Joker Phillips of Kentucky. The Kentucky football program is a major challenge. First problem, Kentucky is a basketball school. Second problem, Kentucky competes in the best football conference in America (SEC). Those two elements are (pardon the pun) no joking matter.

Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz is No. 8. I blogged Monday that despite the Iowa fan’s outcry about Ferentz after the upset loss to Central Michigan, Ferentz is going nowhere. Ferentz’s buyout is huge. This website talks how one-sided Ferentz’s contact is. It rips the Iowa administration for apparently giving the coach tremendous leverage.

I’m sure the list will change as the season goes along. Wins and losses will affect the speculation. That’s what makes the coaching ebbs and flows interesting.







Monday, September 24, 2012

Fickle Fans

The sun arose in Iowa City, Iowa Sunday morning.

The way some fans reacted to Iowa’s stunning 32-31 loss to Central Michigan Saturday, it made you wonder about that warm glow in the sky.

As predicted, Iowa fans were not in a joyful mood after losing to a Mid-American Conference school on a field goal with seconds remaining. Their team is now 2-2 heading into the Big Ten Conference season. Some say Iowa is a break or two from being 4-0. The Hawks are also a play or two from being 1-3.

Hawk fans expressed their displeasure on post-game call-in shows and Internet message boards. Frankly, this Iowa squad isn’t a strong one. Many knew that coming into the season. It was termed the two words every fan hates: rebuilding year. But sometimes fans follow their hearts instead of their heads. Isn’t fan short for fanatic?

One thing that amazes me about fans is their short memories. You don’t hear much about the coach’s salary when the team is winning. But when the team is losing, fans cry about how much the coach is earning. I guess money equals victories.

Iowa fans were not happy with coach Kirk Ferentz Saturday. There were calls and message board posts demanding his firing. But Ferentz isn’t going anywhere. He’s been at Iowa since 1999 and has a long-term contract. Reports say Ferentz would receive about $20 million in a buyout scenario.

In the past, Iowa fans were concerned Ferentz would leave the program for an NFL job. Now, some wish a NFL team would take the coach away. Be careful what you wish for Iowa fans.







Friday, September 21, 2012

Billy Gillispie's Sad Tale

You knew the hammer would fall on Texas Tech’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie. It was just a matter of time.

The announcement came late Thursday that Gillispie was done.

Was he fired or did he resign? It doesn’t really matter. Gillispie will receive his parting money and the divorce will be final.

Gillispie was in trouble when reports revealed players were not happy with the coach. He was tough, he was demanding. Don’t people remember Bobby Knight coached at Texas Tech?

But Gillispie’s major sin apparently was practicing over the limit the NCAA allows. These athletes have a life beyond basketball.

Gillispie was on medical leave for stress/high blood pressure. The condition does happen in the coaching world. But this was a different case. Gillispie coaching style and practices were on trial. In this days of the Internet world, that means the coach is in serious trouble.

People will say Texas Tech should have seen this coming. Gillipie’s coaching career starting to head downward when he lasted only two years at Kentucky. But before that, Gillispie helped turn around programs at Texas-El Paso and Texas A&M. The Red Raiders were hoping for the old Gillispie, not the previous one.

Will Gillispie rebound? If he does, look for the coach to land a job with a smaller program. No matter what the cause, he needs to restore his reputation and coaching ability.

As for the specific basketball job at Texas Tech, that’s a blog for another day.







Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Friday Night College Football

Normally, I am not a big fan of the Friday night ESPN college football game.

I always figured Friday night was for high school football. Plus, the Friday night college matchup is usually two teams desperate for national TV exposure.

Well, this week is different and I hope to tune into the action.

The game features early season media darling, University of Louisiana-Monroe (ULM), and Big 12 conference Baylor—a media darling last season because of Robert Griffin III (RG3).

ULM shocked the college football world in week No. 2 with an overtime win over then No. 8 ranked Arkansas. The Warhawks played overtime again last week but Auburn won on a field goal.

Baylor has entered the post-RG3-era with two straight victories. The Bears will be leery of an ULM team that battled two Southeastern Conference squads (SEC) toe-to-toe.

One interesting aspect of the game is the location. Baylor will come to Monroe to play the Warhawks. It’s rare for a Bowl Champion Series (BCS) team to go on the road to oppose a non-BCS school. It’s the biggest named opponent ULM has hosted since Minnesota several years ago.

Will the ULM fans fill the stadium (30,427) for the game? They should. This is a big game and their team is off to an interesting start. ULM fans have been criticized in the past for not showing up, but this week they have little excuse unless they are going to a high school game.

This game should be fun whether you’re in the stands or watching it on your television. Both teams can score points. The question is what defense will play winning football and limit the other team?





















Monday, September 17, 2012

A Feel-Good Rescue Mission



The Iowa football team was looking for a spark Saturday, any spark—and it found a jolt in an unlikely place.

Walk-on running back Mark Weisman started way down on the depth chart for the University of Northern Iowa game and later found himself the Hawkeye’s big hero. Weisman rushed for 113 yards and scored three touchdowns in a relief role after Iowa lost its two top tailbacks to injuries during the game.

Weisman, a fullback by trade, put his hard-hat on and plowed through Northern Iowa defenders often carrying them along down the field. The guy was rarely stopped.

Quite a performance from this no-name guy on the depth chart. You can be sure the Big Ten Conference took note for future reference. Weisman will not be sneaking up on Iowa’s remaining opponents.

Weisman has an interesting story. The Iowa sophomore first attended the Air Force Academy but the rigors of the academy and football didn’t mix with this guy from the Chicago area. So he decided to transfer to Iowa—one of the schools he was interested in back in high school.

Walks-on normally don’t play a major role in a college football game. They might see action on special teams or maybe during a blowout game, but opportunities are generally rare.

Weisman not only received the opportunity, he became a star for one day, one game. Hawkeye fans are extremely thankful. Hawkeye coaches will probably provide a future scholarship to Saturday’s hero.

I bet Weisman is amazed at the turn of events in his new football career. He’s proof that good things do happen to guys that keep their heads down and focus on the goal—the goal line.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Mighty Have Fallen

Place the Notre Dame Fighting Irish into the category of “Oh how the mighty have fallen.”

Notre Dame will join the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in all sports except football and hockey. The Irish will escape a crippled Big East Conference. The news was announced Wednesday

On another news day, say 5-10 years ago, Notre Dame and conference realignment would pose big news. But not anymore. The Irish is just another college sports program.

Notre Dame lost its larger than life status already a number of years ago. It’s once mighty football program that won national championships is now mediocre at best. We all know that Notre Dame will probably never return to its glory days. Like most college sports programs, the Irish feed off their football program.

Putting it all in perspective, Notre Dame football and its athletic programs are yesterday’s news.

The Irish cut the best deal they could with the ACC. They will keep their football independence but be required to play several ACC opponents each season. I sense it will only become a matter of time however before Notre Dame becomes a full-fledged football member of the ACC.

Notre Dame and the ACC can spin it anyway in the press they wish, this marriage isn’t that special. If it was special, it would not be happening.

Notre Dame’s cookie is crumbling and the ACC is just picking up the crumbs.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ugly Game



A little college football cleanup from the weekend.

I watched Iowa State and Iowa play for an extremely long 3 ½ hours. It was flat out ugly no matter what your routing preference. I kept thinking that nobody really wanted to win the game. The offenses in a word were “terrible.” Sometimes in a low scoring game (like the 9-6 final), you credit the defenses. Not in this one: bad, bad offense was the culprit.

Iowa State was up 9-3 at the half and it seemed the Cyclones should have been up a lot more. I sensed an Iowa comeback in the second half. Didn’t the Hawks provide late- game heroics the week before against Northern Illinois?

Iowa did drive the football into Iowa State territory in the final minutes, but Cyclone linebacker Jake Knott reached high and tripped a pass and caught in on its downward flight to end the threat. In a game with few memorable moments that play was the memorable one.

Iowa State didn’t really win the game; it just didn’t make the final mistake. As the old saying goes, “it’s sometimes better to be lucky than good.”

Iowa was neither on the day.

I would suggest both teams destroy the game film as soon as possible.




Monday, September 10, 2012

A Stunner

It’s safe to say Arkansas will no longer schedule the University of Louisiana-Monroe in football.

Teams like big-boy Arkansas schedule little-boy ULM with a few unwritten rules in play. The big boys gladly provide the little boys with a fat check in the assumption that the little boys will lie down, take their sound defeat and go home.

Well, ULM didn’t follow the script last Saturday as the Warhawks upended the Razorbacks in overtime 34-31.

It was the biggest win in ULM football history. Arkansas came into the game ranked No. 8 in the country and by Sunday fell out of the ratings completely. The Warhawks won for the first time in 10 tries against Arkansas. The ULM general website featured the victory as its top story Sunday

Usually, upset-mind teams lead most of the game and hold on at the end. However, ULM staged an impressive comeback in the second half. Equally impressive was how the Warhawks won the contest in overtime. After Arkansas tallied a field goal on its possession, ULM was faced with a 4-and-1 on its possession within field goal distance. ULM went for the win and quarterback Kolton Browning made a nifty, 13-yard run for the touchdown.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for ULM. I attended the Monroe school and worked in athletic media relations in the early 80s when it was called Northeast Louisiana University and the team nickname was the Indians.

I’m sure Saturday’s win was highly celebrated on the campus. But it’s time for the football team to get back to work. In the next three weeks, ULM travels to Auburn, hosts Baylor and goes to Tulane.

Now, how about my hankering for a Johnny’s Pizza in Monroe?


Friday, September 7, 2012

Throwback Uniforms

I must be missing something here.

What are all these sport teams fascination with wearing throwback uniforms?

Iowa and Iowa State renew their big football rivalry tomorrow (Saturday) in Iowa City. And surprise, surprise, the Hawkeyes will wear uniforms from the past.

Normally, I am a guy who likes the past because it doesn’t require change. But get a gripe sports teams. The uniforms of the old days should stay in the old days. If you need an old uniform fix, fire up the ‘ole eight millimeters projector and enjoy the view.

America is a strange place in terms of old things. We celebrate old cars and other collector’s items, but we are quick to throw away old TVs and slightly used clothing. And yet, people buy these throwback jerseys like there are some special trinkets.

So, I guess these old uniforms must fits in the celebration old category. I say this with a gulp in the throat, “Where are the Oregon Duck’s uniforms when we need them.”

What are your thoughts on throwback uniforms?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week No. 1 College Football Impressions

It seems a while ago (with the Labor Day holiday mixed in) but three cheers for college football returning last week.

Since I live in Big 12 and Big Ten Conference territory, I tend to focus on schools from those leagues.

Let’s just say the rumors about the Big Ten being down this season probably aren’t rumors. It may be a hard cold fact. Wisconsin escaped a talented FCS (Football Championship Series) in the University of Northern Iowa. The Badgers miss quarterback Russell Wilson who can make up for glaring weaknesses on a team. Iowa was just happy to escape a pesky Northern Illinois squad late. The Hawkeye offense appears to be a continual work in progress. Then, how about Michigan? I thought the Wolverines would at least provide Alabama a competitive game. It wasn’t pretty, but rather ugly.

Over in the Big 12, Iowa State played good football at home against Tulsa. Tulsa provided a firm punch in the first half, but the Cyclones responded and were the aggressor most of the remaining way. Quarterback Nick Florence won’t remind Baylor fans of Robert Griffin III (RG3), but the senior played solid against SMU. The Bears will continue to score points and the wide receivers will continue to play a large role.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

College Football Opener Tonight

If you enjoy splash, tonight’s college football opener features the ‘ole ball coach against Vanderbilt.

The ‘ole ball coach is Steve Spurrier and his South Carolina Gamecocks are in Nashville to battle the Commodores. Not only is it the season opener, but the first Southeastern Conference (SEC) as well.

South Carolina should win the game, but hopefully Vandy makes things interesting. I would like to see the Commodores dressed in all gold for the special occasion.

But most eyes will be on Spurrier. He seems to command the attention whatever the situation. The ‘ole ball coach should have another competitive team this season. Last year, the Gamecocks went 11-2 and in any other league that would be impressive. But this is the SEC where championship always trumps competitive. Can South Carolina rise to that level this season? It’s doubtful. Phil Steele predicts the Gamecocks will finish third in the SEC East.

Although South Carolina shouldn’t contend for the top prize in the conference or nationally, that doesn’t mean the Gamecocks won’t make any noise.

Remember the ‘ole ball coach has a way of stirring up the pot. That could happen already tonight.

Monday, August 27, 2012

College Football 2012 Style




The college football season officially starts this weekend. You have your usual one or two monster matchups (try Michigan-Alabama) and your usual cupcake games complete with the frosting.

Here’s hoping your favorite team doesn’t put you asleep with its opening opponent.

I have mixed emotions about the college football season starting up again. Some years I’m ready, set and charge. But this year, the St. Louis Cardinals are again in the playoff chase so I have my eyes firmly placed yet on baseball. It’s difficult when the seasons overlap.

But I figure I will be in the football spirit by the time Iowa State and Iowa play Sept. 8. That’s always a big game in this state and this year’s edition should be competitive.

Of course, one of the big stories of the season will be Penn State. How will the Lions respond to all the turmoil in the last several months?

USC begins the season as the team to defeat. Florida State is also receiving some love.

It all shapes up to promise another exciting year of college football.

Bring on the tailgating, the bands and the cheerleaders.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Poster Competition

One great thing of college football that has escaped the technology craze is the wall poster schedule. You know that thing that lists the opponent, date and possibly time of your favorite team’s schedule?

I enjoy those color posters and they look attractive hanging in a den or office cubicle.

Bleacher Report (www.bleacherreport.com) recently listed the top 50 posters. Another list, I know. But this one is fun. There are some creative marketing departments out there.

And the winner is…a school just 70 miles down the road from me. The Iowa State Cyclones garnered the top spot with a schedule poster depicting their big win over than No. 2 Oklahoma State last season. The photo portion shows a sea of people on the field after the upset. The poster is both attractive and classy.

Don’t look for the Cyclones to grab the No. 1 ranking on the field, but any No.1 ranking is worth talking about. According to Phil Steele’s preview book, Iowa State has the third toughest 2012 schedule in the country. Last season, the Cyclones played the toughest schedule. Another No. 1 ranking.

Where did your favorite school rank on the 2012 poster schedule list?


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Russell Wilson Still Dazzles



I thoroughly enjoyed watching Russell Wilson play quarterback at North Carolina State and Wisconsin.

The guy was a dual threat with his arms and his legs. You always believed Wilson’s team had a chance to win a game even if it was down. Wilson was a magical college player and could create plays out of nothing.

It was too bad that North Carolina State coach Tom O’Brien and Wilson had a falling out about Wilson playing professional baseball. It would have been great to see Wilson finish his college career with the Wolfpack.

But as they say, “It wasn’t meant to be.” Wilson took his talents to Wisconsin and put together one solid season there.

Wilson wanted to take his talents to the NFL and the rap on him was his lack of size. Well, brains and ability can make up for size even in the NFL.

Seattle drafted the playmaker and Wilson continues to impress people. Wilson even gets the starter nod in this week’s Seahawks preseason game. He has an excellent chance to seize the top quarterback spot for Seattle’s season opener in early September.

Wilson just may become one of the new style quarterbacks in the NFL. Cam Newton became the first card-carrying member last season that could run and throw. Wilson and a guy named Robert Griffin III may not be far behind.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tough Schedule



The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) football team puts together a competitive team almost every season as a Football Champion Series (FCS) school. The Panthers are often near the top of the Missouri Valley Conference standings—a strong league. Plus, UNI is a regular participant in the FCS playoffs.

But this season, the Panthers have a non-conference schedule that would make most FCS teams sweat profusely. UNI plays at Wisconsin in week one and then travels to Iowa in week three. That is two BCS (Bowl Championship Series) teams in one season. Many FCS teams play one BCS school every season, but playing two is hardly the norm.

UNI is playing two higher division schools for one reason—money. The Panthers need the paychecks to keep their athletic department afloat. UNI had depended upon state monies to fund it athletic program in the past, but state told UNI to wean itself from the funding.

Frankly, UNI is having trouble paying the bills. In recent years, the Panthers have dropped sports including baseball. Apparently, their only self-supporting program is men’s basketball.

UNI hopes to be competitive in these two games, but the main things are to collect the checks and stay relative healthy. Then even with a couple non-conference losses, the Panthers can use the tough start to build toughness for a conference title run and an appearance in playoffs.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Lightening Rod Moves to the Desert



Rich Rodriquez is one of those college coaches that seem to receive the tag of lighting rod.

It all started when Rodriquez left his alma mater West Virginia in a messy divorce. Things didn’t improve at Michigan where the national spotlight of a national program magnified the losing. So, Rodriquez departed one program voluntarily and was shown the door with the other.

To say the guy received some heat and backlash over those two jobs is like someone telling you it becomes hot in Dallas, Texas in July.

Rodriquez took a year off from coaching and broke down some football as a TV as a commentator. But now the lighting rod is back at the University of Arizona.

The Wildcats aren’t exactly a hotbed of college football. You don’t read or see much attention placed on the program. But Rodriquez wanted and probably need the opportunity to show the college football world he can still successfully coach.

Rodriquez brings a 75-48 career record to Tucson. He’s known as an “offensive mind” and the Pac-12 Conference is a great league to display that. Translation: the conference doesn’t play much defense. Contrary to belief, there isn’t a rule in the league declaring the first team to score 70 points as winner. The goal in the Pac-12 is to literally and figuratively outscore your opponent.

I have no doubt Rodriquez will accomplish that task. The question becomes can he do it consistently and in the meantime quiet the lighting rod tag.



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Interesting Football Marriage

I said at the time Kansas announced its hiring of football coach Charlie Weis that it was an interesting hire. As Weis prepares his first Jayhawk team for the season, I still believe it is an interesting hire.

But I better define the word “interesting.”

Interesting could mean bad or good.

But in this case, my definition means strange. Why did Kansas really hire Weis? Was it for his average 35-27 overall college record? Was it because he is known as an offensive guru? Was it because he had notable success as New England’s offensive coordinator with a guy named Tom Brady as quarterback? Was it because of Weis’ name recognition?

I think it was the last one.

And why did Weis take the job? Was it for love he received from Kansas? Did he realize this job was coaching football at Kansas not basketball? Did he realize Kansas is a tough job in itself and made tougher in the rugged Big 12 Conference? Is he trying to remake his coach reputation after his difficult time at Notre Dame?

Again, I choose the last option.

The bottom line is we don’t know if Weis can become a successful college head football coach. One thing is sure: his Kansas experience will go a long way in determining the answer.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Can Anyone Defeat the SEC?



The Southeastern Conference (SEC) has been the dominating league in college football for numerous seasons. It seems when the national championship games comes around, the team opposite the SEC opponent is playing for second place.

The SEC has won the national championship game for an amazing six straight years. The last time the SEC didn’t win it was 2005. The reason: the league didn’t have a school playing in the game.

Since 2005, Florida and Alabama have each won two titles. LSU and Alabama have claimed one apiece.

But the real question is can anybody unseat the SEC in 2013?

USC is receiving No. 1 ranking love in various preseason polls. The Trojans return nine starters on offense from last season and seven on defense. USC boasts one of my talented players in all of college football this season: quarterback Matt Barkley. Its schedule seems favorable with probably the toughest games at home against Oregon and Notre Dame. But do the Trojans have enough depth still reeling a bit from sanctions? Also, what about their tendency to slip up against a lesser team?

I am a willing to cheer for any team including USC that will defeat a SEC squad in the national championship game. There is a real need in the college game to bring back some competitive balance.

What school do you think has a chance to dethrone a SEC team in the 2013 National Championship Game?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Big Ten Conference Race

If you are looking for the cream in the Big Ten Conference this football season, look no farther than the Legends Division.

The Legends could have the Big Ten’s best teams. College football preview guru Phil Steele predicts Nebraska will win the division with Michigan and Michigan State in the two and three positions respectively. Steele believes both Michigan schools could contend for a divisional championship. That’s how evenly matched the three teams look.

The Leaders division is a different story. Wisconsin should win the division easily. In a regular year, Ohio State would challenge but the Buckeyes are ineligible for the title in 2012. That leaves the challengers as Illinois, Purdue, Penn State and Indiana. Can you say weak division? The most excitement could become the battle for fifth place between Penn State and Indiana. With all the problems at Penn State with conflict and player departures, the Hoosiers may have an opportunity to escape last place.

I think the Big Ten has two teams that could make noise on the national stage.

Nebraska finished just 9-4 last season, but the Huskers return seven players each on offense and defense. Nebraska has four difficult conference games with two of those at home. Wisconsin and Michigan come to Lincoln, but the Huskers must travel to Ohio State and Michigan.

Michigan will not contend for a national title, but could place a roadblock in another team’s quest. The Wolverines oppose Alabama in the opener in Arlington, Texas. Michigan has a brutal schedule including true road games at Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State. Its in-state battle with Michigan State is at home.

Who do you like in the Big Ten Conference this season?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Coach Moves Up



Matt Murken must enjoy the North Dakota cold weather. The basketball coach landed his first ever head job at Jamestown College. And now Murken is moving to another North Dakota school.

The Iowa native was name head coach at Minot State University last week. Murken will guide the Beavers into their first season of Division II basketball in the Northern Sun Conference.

Murken has risen in the coaching profession quickly. He coached at Jamestown College—an NAIA school—only two years. He led the Jimmies to a 46-16 overall mark. Murken helped Jamestown to a NAIA national tournament appearance last season and was named Dakota Athletic Conference Coach-of-the-Year.

I had the privilege of serving with Murken on an Athletes in Action basketball project to East Africa in 2010. He is a good guy that cares about his players. Murken will do an excellent job with the Beavers.

Just keep the parka and snow boots handy, Matt. You never know when you will need them in North Dakota.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Joe Paterno Statue






Penn State carried off Joe Paterno’s statue last week. It will no longer grace the grounds near Penn State’s football stadium.

Apparently, the statue is now in storage. But will storage be its final resting place? Will Paterno’s family eventually get the likeness?

Even after death, Paterno continues to take his lumps. The latest Paterno fallout occurred when the former Penn State football coach was cited for failing to properly inform authorities about former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s activities in the sex case scandal.

Probably worst than the statue removal was the NCAA taking over 100 wins from Paterno. He is no longer the top winner in career wins.

Paterno and his family may not be done taking hits. I wonder what Penn State will do about his name on the library. Then what about the plain blue and white uniforms made famous in the Paterno era? Will they go too? Will officials perform a major housecleaning?

Answers will follow in this continuing saga.








Monday, July 30, 2012

Talking College Championship Football



Phil Steele’s college football magazine is loaded with lists. He starts off on page 3 predicting every major bowl game opponents and the national championship participants.

For the national championship game (drum roll, please), he matches Oklahoma against Florida State.

Some predicted the Sooners to be the national champions last season. But a few key injuries derailed that pursuit and Oklahoma finished a “disappointing” 10-3.

The Sooners are usually a safe pick for the championship, playing their most recent final game in 2008 losing to Florida 24-14. They return eight starters on offense and seven on defense. Oklahoma should contend but must outlast a rugged Big 12 Conference slate where all 10 teams play each other.

Florida State is an interesting pick. The Seminoles were a respectable 9-4 last season and return eight starters on the offense and nine on the defense this year. Florida State advantage is a favorable schedule and membership is the traditionally so-so Atlantic Coast Conference. Two of the three challenging games are at home against Clemson and Florida. The one possible real trap is at Virginia Tech. Coach Jimbo Fisher is trying to carve out his own niche at Florida State, but he has a long road to match former coach Bobby Bowden’s success.

I’m fine with Steele’s Oklahoma pick, but not warm-and-cuddily regarding Florida State. The Seminoles need to win some big games AND avoid the upsets. I don’t see that happening.

Who is your national championship game pick?

Friday, July 27, 2012

College Football Media Days



In case you missed it, we have added another season to the college football calendar—football media days.

We can thank the 24-hour news cycle once again for bringing us this new season.

In the old days, media people as a group would actually go to a college campus and interview coaches and players. For example, if the media was on the Big Ten Conference tour one day they would travel to Wisconsin. The next day, maybe Purdue. The media would go to all 10 teams. That was of course before conference expansion.

Now, the coaches and players are brought to a central location where media people can interview them all in one place. Another change is networks such as the Big Ten and ESPN televise the gatherings.

I don’t know about you, but I have more important things to do than watching Joe Coach talk about the upcoming season. I call this “vanilla” TV. The coach doesn’t reveal any deep secrets or change in strategy. It’s basically a rah-rah speech.

But apparently some people watch these rah-rah speeches or obviously the media days wouldn’t be on TV. I’m more than willing to wait however until training camp or read a football preview magazine to prepare for the upcoming season.

Do you enjoy media days’ coverage? If yes, why?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Penn State Football Players




I am having a difficult time wrapping myself around the sympathy some people are giving the Penn State football players in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Yes, I get the fact that they are innocent bystanders in the fallout. But it isn’t as if the players don’t have options. The NCAA declared them free agents. The players can play football at any other school right away OR stay at Penn State.

If loyalty means something to a particular player, they will stay. Remaining players will continue to receive an education from Penn State. They will play football for pride and not for Big Ten Conference championships or bowl games (over the four-year ban). I see this type of player who came to Penn State first and foremost for the school, not the football program.

But if a player came to Penn State for largely the football tradition, then that player will probably strongly consider a transfer. The football tradition has received a huge black mark and may even be gone. Penn State will no longer be an elite Big Ten team or a major player on the national scene. Can this player type become satisfied without playing for prizes such as conference championships, bowl games and national championships?

Penn State players have important decisions to make. But they still have choices. We must remember that they aren’t the victims. The true victims have already suffered and will continue to suffer.

If you were a Penn State player, what choice would you make?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/illinigardner/278720294/

Monday, July 23, 2012

Penn State Football Takes Major Hit





The NCAA didn’t slam the Penn State football program with the death penalty Monday. It just seems like it.

Penn State will be crippled for the next four years specifically. The long-term ramifications could also become major.

Penn State must pay a $60 million fine. The Lions will also be absent from bowl games for four years. They will lose about 40 scholarships. They must also forfeit all victories from 1998-2011.

Usually, I think that win forfeiture is a non-issue but not this time. Coach Joe Paterno’s all-time victory total suddenly dropped from 409 wins to 298. This means Paterno is no longer the top winning coach in collegiate football.

Some say the current football players or coaches shouldn’t pay for the past sinners of Jerry Sandusky’s conduct and the cover-up. But, it the ‘ole one pays, they all pay scenario. Remember when you were in grade school and one kid got in trouble? Then the teacher determined all kids would miss recess that day. Same thing with Penn State.

The players do actually have an out. They can transfer to another school and play right away.

The NCAA has never punished a school for a non-rules breaking issue. Penn State is the new poster child. The message is clear: don’t ever become involved in a situation like Penn State.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfyurasko/5529122197/


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Joe Paterno Statue

The anti-Joe Paterno sentiment continues.

Yesterday, a plane flew over Penn State’s football stadium supporting a banner that read “Take the (Paterno) statue down or we will.”

Strong words for the deceased coach who has gone from hero to goat in just a few months.

This latest outcry was probably the result of last week’s report revelation that Paterno was a major player in the Jerry Sandusky cover-up.

Penn State officials said they will reveal their decision on the statue in seven to 10 days. I doubt if it will take that long. Say goodbye to the statue.

Penn State really doesn’t have much choice. It is facing major backlash for the handling of the Sandusky case and with more dirt thrown at Paterno, the decision is simple.

The Big Ten school failed miserable in this ordeal. Penn State needs to show some real leadership and distance itself from the main ingredients. One strong statement becomes the statue.

The moral of this story is be careful who you bust. They might become busted later.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pity This Team's Fans

University of Indiana football doesn’t exactly strike fear in the eyes of its opponents. The Hoosiers are well known for their futility in winning games and their doormat status in the Big Ten Conference.

The last time Indiana participated in a bowl game was 2007. You guessed it: the Hoosiers lost 49-33 to Oklahoma State.

With mediocrity comes apathy. With apathy sometimes comes change. Change is the byword for the coaching job at Indiana. Kevin Wilson is the current guy in charge. In Wilson’s first year (2011), the Hoosier’s lone victory was over FCS (Football Champion Series) South Carolina State. Eleven times Indiana was a loser.

Wilson came to Indiana from Oklahoma. He wanted to bring some of that top-mindedness to Bloomington. But some of the Indiana players didn’t like that style. Consequently, those players are no longer with the team.

The good news is that Indiana’s chances for more victories in 2012 are pretty good. The bad news does anyone care?

The Hoosiers four non-conference games are winnable. They are home against Indiana State and Ball State and away at UMASS and Navy. The Big Ten slate will be rugged as always. Even in their home games (Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin), it is difficult to find a potential victory.

Wilson desires progress in 2012. Will there be enough progress to interest Indiana fans? That is the real question.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Penn State Scandal Grows

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh and his team revealed their findings yesterday in the investigation of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case. And it wasn’t as expected, pretty.

The report said Penn State’s top officials including former football coach Joe Paterno played cover-up. The findings were particularly damaging to Paterno’s legacy-- the face of Penn State football for decades. His son, Jay, tried to do some damage control but it’s a late. It’s like an offensive lineman telling himself he better block for quarterback after he sees his teammate lying on the ground after a sack.

The report answered many questions but created more.

If Paterno was still alive (he died earlier this year) would he face a prison sentence? Will Penn State rid itself of the Paterno statue? How about his name on the library?

And what about the football team? Some are crying for the death penalty. Will the NCAA become involved and shut the program down for a while? Will Penn State voluntarily close it down? I, personally, can’t imagine the program shutdown. This is Penn State not SMU. Even in its weakness, there is power.

What I do anticipate happening is prison time for the other three top officials involved. This has the makings of orange jump suits written all over it.

In the end, it’s just really sad that somebody didn’t step up and the do the adult thing and save these innocent, vulnerable kids.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Iowa's Love Affair with Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery

Iowa desperately wants a winner in men’s basketball. That’s really the only logical reason the Hawkeye faithful are in love with Coach Fran McCaffery at this point in his Iowa career.

Iowa announced a contact extension for the coach yesterday. McCaffery received seven years and could earn $1.86 million per season if he takes the Hawkeyes to the NCAA tournament. Regardless of the NCAA outcome, he will receive an overall raise.

Now, if you were out of Iowa and the country and returned to read the above paragraph, you would think McCaffery had turned the program into a sleeping giant. But the answer is really “no.”

Iowa and McCaffery are still selling hope. In McCaffrey’s first season, Iowa finished 11-20. Last year, the Hawkeyes earned a NIT bid and ended the year at 18-17. That’s a two-year total of 29-37. Not exactly sleeping giant material.

As I mentioned in this blog before, I was surprised when Iowa fans celebrated their team’s NIT bid and was buying the hope. That tells you how low the Iowa basketball program has been in recent years. The Hawkeyes haven’t been to the Big Dance (NCAA Tournament) since 2006.

McCaffery may go on to record great results at Iowa. But selling hope will only last so long. It must show up in the victory column where the true standard is measured.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Quarterback Competition

If the Iowa State preseason quarterback situation in 2012 looks similar to the 2011 preseason, it’s because it is.

Back in 2011, Steele Jantz, Jerome Tiller and Jared Barnett were all battling for the starting job. When Tiller became ineligible, it became a two-man race. As the season unfolded, both Jantz and Barnett spent time in the starter’s role. There was never a clear-cut favorite. Jantz developed a foot injury after beginning the season as a starter, and then Barnett took over. His shining moment was the upset victory over No. 2 Oklahoma State. But like Jantz, he struggled with occasions of ineffectiveness and was even pulled during the bowl game.

There is still no clear-cut favorite entering 2012. It’s still a two-man race. One thing that has changed from preseason 2011 is that Tiller now lines up at wide receiver.

Both Jantz and Barnett bring different talents to the Iowa State offense. Jantz is the better passer but can also do it with his legs. Barnett is better with his legs, but a weaker passer. Overall, Jantz seems the more complete quarterback.

But it wouldn’t surprise me if Iowa State takes a two-headed quarterback system in the season. Coach Paul Rhoads might play the guy with the momentum. This also means the guy without the momentum could receive the quick replacement.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4th

Happy Independence Day to my United States' readers. It's always great to celebrate a birthday and today it's America's turn.

We are blessed to live in this country. Thank you to all the men and women who serve our country in the Armed Forces.

We as citizens also have a responsibility to keep our country free. It seems some of our government officials want to take away more and more of our freedoms. Please remember that when you vote in November.

Enjoy your day and thank you for reading All About College Sports.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

THE College Football Preview Magazine

The college football preview magazines are out in full force as fans get ready for the season in about 6-8 weeks. There seems a variety of options similar to the different colors of the rainbow. I remember the old days when Street and Smith was nearly the only preview magazine produced.

One magazine that has made lots of noise in recent years is Phil Steele’s preview. Although I don’t usually buy a preview magazine, I decided this season I would check Steele’s out.

Steele consistently markets his magazine as the best. On the cover alone, Steele boasts big time. He writes: “The book the expects cannot do without” or “The most accurate preseason magazine the last 14 years” or “Jampacked with information.”

The book is thick with 344 pages and plenty of color photos and graphics. Steele devotes two pages to every Division I football team. He slices and dices each team. He is big on trends including seasonal trends from even 3-4 years ago. Steele’s book also provides plenty of lists. One thing is definitely true: there is lots of information.

But now for the downside. There is so much information stuck into a page that it makes it difficult to read. The print is small and it seems to run together. Your eyes are crying for some good old white space (for a break) and there is none. Because Steele is saving space, he also uses abbreviations in the written text. This is another non-friendly reader problem.

With all that said, I hope to become a team player and acquaint myself well with the book. I plan to use it for my blog.

Have you purchased a college football preview book? Which one do you enjoy? What do you think of Steele’s effort?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Just Don't Understand

Another NBA Draft has come and gone. One of the last times I guess to say goodbye to the players who thrilled fans during their college playing days.

I watched my usual 1.5 minutes of the draft on ESPN. I will confess I charted the draft a bit on ESPN.com.

But seriously, do people actually watch these professional drafts on television? I’m not picking on the NBA Draft in particularly. It could be the NFL, MLB or some professional softball church league. I guess this is another downside to the 24/7 news cycle.

ESPN treats these drafts like they are the Miss USA Pageant. Ah the anticipation. What player will go to what team? Is this like a sports reality show? Please...

I know, I know. I’m an old geezer and I need to get into the 21st century. But can’t ESPN find some better programming?

Maybe I should tune into one of those shopping networks during these drafts. Maybe I could land a hot deal on a set of steak knives.

Please tell me readers: did you watch the NBA Draft on TV? I promise not to throw stones if you did. Possibly a pebble, however.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

College Football Fans Receive Their Wish

I can just hear some college football fans yelling down their streets “The playoffs are coming, the playoffs are coming.”

College football officials this week instituted a four-team playoff system to begin in 2014. Apparently, football officials heard enough from the fans and they also wanted to “cash” in to a new major income source. What’s the old saying, “If they say it isn’t about the money, it’s always about the money.”

Regardless, the fans won’t need to complain about the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) any longer. The system that used computers and rankings to help choose a national championship will become history.

But before people stand up and declare the system is finally whole, I say in the words of Lee Corso “Not so fast.” What about those teams that will still be on the fringes of the playoffs? If I’m the fifth or sixth best team, I remain disappointed. What about opening the playoffs to 1-8?

You always heard fans complain that Division I football was the only sport not crowning a true champion. But football is the only sport with the bowl system. If I’m some mid-range or low tier bowls, I become nervous. For example, is the college football system ready to declare their independence from the Independence Bowl? The Bowl system could go on a major diet in the near future. But then again, maybe I will be able to quit writing why 6-6 or 7-5 teams don’t deserve bowl games.

I’m happy that some fans were given their wish. But, before I grant this new arrangement success, I want to stand on the sidelines a little while longer and see what develops.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jerry Sandusky Verdict

Former Penn State Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse Friday night. Sandusky will be in prison a long, long time unless he dies of natural causes or takes his own life.

Justice was indeed served, but like always in these cases there were no winners.

The victims were violated and will probably live with those consequences their entire lives. Sure, Sandusky will pay for his crimes but the victims’ innocence is permanently scarred.

It’s sad for Sandusky too. What was this guy thinking? How could something so terrible cloud his mind and result in action? He will have plenty of time to ponder that in prison.

And what about Sandusky’s family? It suffers on two sides: what happened to the victims and betrayal from a husband, father and grandfather.

Penn State will also continue suffering. The once proud university has already been brought to its knees. Now, the focus will probably shift on the university officials who are accused of covering up the Sandusky scandal.

Yes, the verdict resulted in some closure. But, I sense this story and the fallout are far, far from over.

Monday, June 18, 2012

NCAA New Ruling is Right

Often in this space, I scold the NCAA for its strange, weird, silly (you provide the adjective) rules. But the governing body of college athletics gets a high five on its recent ruling last week.

Coaches are now allowed to text message and telephone potential recruits until their ears or fingers fall off. With this decision, the NCAA recognizes the importance of modern day technology.

Coaches will still need discretion, but they can now skip the counting NCAA paperwork. Some players might not appreciate countless texts and calls, while others will enjoy the attention. As long as coaches discovery the particular perimeter for the particular player, coaches should benefit from this new freedom.

When the news broke last week, Kelvin Sampson’s name was immediately tied to the situation. Sampson, the former Oklahoma and Indiana coach, was essentially kicked out of the NCAA for excessive texts and calls. At least one sports talk guy was wondering Sampson’s thoughts on the changed rule.

But in reality it doesn’t matter now. Sampson broke the rules and he deserved to pay the price. Rules change, but people still need to obey the ones in force.

Just remember, dunking a basketball in a college game earned a technical foul back in the day.