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

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.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Jerry Sandusky Trial

The trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is in its four day. And already, I have had enough.

This type of trial makes me yearn for the old days when the news cycle wasn’t 24/7. The trial would be held and brief mention of it occurred on the evening TV news or you read about it in the newspaper. Then the verdict was announced and everyone went on with their lives.

But now you can receive a blow-by-blow of the trial. You must display intentional avoidance behavior not to know anything about it.

I have read some testimony about the trial on the Internet. It makes me sick and it makes me angry. If only part of the numerous allegations is true, Sandusky should still be sent to the Big House (prison) for a very, very, very long time.

People are obviously fascinated with this trial, but I not one of them. I think I will try the intentional avoidance behavior mode. I can wait for the verdict.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Iowa Football Team Receives More Bad News

Sports publicists at the University of Iowa may not want to pick up the telephone, read a text message or open an email because it might require more damage control.

Iowa sports publicists have done their share of damage control over the problems with the running back position on the football team.

Iowa has endured various injuries, transfers and players getting in trouble with the law at the position.

So surprise, surprise there was more bad news last week. Different media outlets reported that freshman running back recruit Greg Garmon was charged with marijuana possession.

The Iowa sports publicity office or coach Kirk Ferentz has made no public comments about the Garmon situation other than a no comment from the publicity office.

The Hawkeyes are paper thin at running back anyway. Depending on the outcome with Garmon, maybe Ferentz needs to hold student body tryouts.

This incident may mean that incoming freshman Barkley Hill will become the starter. Hill was projected for major work before Garmon’s challenge anyway.

The old adage in football is you can never have enough running backs. Iowa has gone well beyond that saying. The Hawkeyes hope their running back fortunes change directions in a hurry.

Friday, June 8, 2012

This Basketball Rivalry Heats Up

College basketball player Jared Uthoff’s transfer from Wisconsin to Iowa this week just added more spice in the border state’s rivalry.

Uthoff’s story became a national one when Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan placed major transferring restrictions on a guy that never played a minute for the Badgers. Originally, Ryan said Uthoff couldn’t transfer to any Big Ten or ACC school or places like Marquette or Iowa State. For all we know, Ryan could have added all universities in Iceland and Spain too to the “Don’t Even Think About It” list. But Ryan was viewed as Dr. Evil in the national media and eventually loosened his iron hand.

If Ryan thought Uthoff would eventually end up at Iowa, his hunch was correct. Now in a couple years, the former Iowa Mr. Basketball can suit up against old team and try to beat them.

Uthoff must really want to play for the Hawkeyes. Not only must he sit out the usual one year for transferring, but he will also pay for his own schooling the first year.

My question is why Uthoff didn’t select Iowa out of high school. If it was based upon former Iowa coach Todd Lickliter's win troubles and style of play, I say, “hello.” Yes, Ryan wins at Wisconsin but he plays that same dull controlled offense style Lickliter was using.

Uthoff better bring some earplugs the first time he plays in Madison. The friendly place could become unfriendly in a hurry.

Aren’t rivalries fun?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Vanderbilt Coach Sticks Foot in Mouth

The national media seldom talks about Vanderbilt football because the Commodores are usually the doormat of the Southeastern Conference.

But that all changed last week when coach James Franklin spoke on a radio show. Franklin said that he would like to look at potential assistant coach’s wife before hiring the guy. Apparently, Frankin believes having a beautiful wife will give the assistant confidence on the recruiting trail.

Of course, later Franklin apologized and said he meant the comment as a joke. I’m surprised the National Organization of Women (NOW) didn’t lambast the guy.

Where do these coaches come up with this stuff anyway? Do they forget everything they learn in How to Handle Media 101?

Would Franklin like potential assistants to put Smokin’ Hot Wife on their resume? Maybe that can be a scan-friendly phrase.

Do you think it makes a difference to Johnny Quarterback if his future position coach has a beautiful wife? Does he compare the wives at say, Vanderbilt to those at Southern Cal or Alabama?

If you were a potential assistant coach would you want to work for Franklin? Can having a beautiful wife make you a better assistant coach?

I believe in the power of marketing, but the beautiful wife concept is one serious stretch.