Monday, April 11, 2016
Finally. The embarrassment of having three programs with 5-7 records make bowl games last year finally slapped some sense into the NCAA. Unfortunately they are not proposing to dump a few of the current games which means the image of teams with losing records making post-season appearances remains possible. But at least the hemorrhaging has been addressed. Having 41 bowl games diluted a great product and the number of games needs to be reduced. Now let's move the national semi final games off of New Year's Eve.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Notre Dame starting guard Steve Elmer is moving on with one year of eligibility remaining to pursue a job he could not pass up in Washington DC. This will occur after graduation this May. Elmer is typical of the special kind of student athlete produced today, who, well, has other options beyond the gridiron. He has experienced a great deal on the football field and will now move on with his life. Too much has been focused on the negative side of the sport but there are plenty of Elmers around who do not "need" football to get ahead but enjoy playing and enjoy the benefits that come along while putting in the extra work. He will bring discipline, hard work and a team approach to Washington--attributes greatly needed in these times.
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Superstar back James Conner has returned to the Pittsburgh team after a nightmarish fall of 2015. After rushing for 1,765y and a whopping 26 TDs in 2014 (and beating out Jameis Winston for ACC player of the year), Conner entered camp last summer as one of the very best running backs in the country. But a torn MCL in week one knocked Conner out for the season and then in December he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. Conner was not afraid of work and rehabbed the knee while battling the lymphoma to the point that Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi announced that not only was his star returning to the team but that he would play in 2016. It is easy rooting for this kid.
Friday, January 29, 2016
So I would love to bet on football in my lovely state of New Jersey. I can already bet on horseracing here and we have had casinos in AC for most of my life, but no sports gambling. The story is that if we could bet on sports then shady guys would appear--imagine cigar smoke swirling for atmosphere--with bags of money and these lowlifes would buy players thus making sports less legitimate than they already are now. Oh my god, not fixing games. Of course, players have been bought in every time zone of the country and as the current tennis scandal proves anyone can be bought, if willing,anywhere in the world. the sports entity that has been the loudest against sports betting in Jersey, with the NBA becoming more vocal in recent years, has been the NFL. The same NFL which has not said a word publicly about the Raiders recent interest in Las Vegas. The city that invented the sports book in this country will soon have a shiny and expensive football stadium and the NFL loves shiny and expensive toys. As for the cigar-smoking gamblers who may be tempted to buy some NFL players--you know the ones who will now live down the block from the athletes--well, we no longer have to worry about them. Everything is on the up and up in Las Vegas.
Thursday, January 28, 2016
The controversy swirling around the Michigan football program is fascinating for a number of reasons. To update you, Michigan locked up a bunch of solid prospects awhile ago--at least one was even signed by the previous staff years--and is now pulling those scholarship offers from some players (eight at my last count) to give them to higher-ranked guys. This has been unfolding for a few weeks as the Wolverines continue to attract top talent. There is nothing technically illegal here as nothing is binding until an official letter is signed and the players are free to jump programs themselves. In fact this behavior has been going on for years with some schools not even pulling the scholarships until signing day or, in some awful instances, in the summer (or they will take the scholarship from an older sub if too many players remain on the roster by August). What is fascinating is that the players can now go on twitter and complain about the situation and Michigan immediately gets bad publicity. Let's be frank here. There is nothing positive for the kid to have his offer pulled this late in the game. Sure, most land on their feet but at situations that may not be as positive for them as it would have with the time to fully seek offers. Others get screwed totally. So twitter giving these kids one recourse for some sort of justice is compelling but I also find it interesting that head coach Jim Harbaugh did this at Stanford but received little bad press for it as Stanford receives very little of the coverage that Michigan gets and he could hide there behind Stanford's more rigid acceptance standards (of course he pulled a scholarship from at least one player who could have gotten in without football but I digress). What is also funny is that when this type of behavior happened elsewhere, especially in the SEC, some Michigan fans were incensed. Now that their coach is doing it? They have become the biggest apologists. Do whatever it takes to win. It is the attitude that has dragged college football through the mud for years.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Congratulations are in store for the Tide, who have now won four national titles in seven years. The game was exciting, if not always fundamentally sound (but we cannot have it all). Clemson had a great year and should be able to hold their heads up. And props to Nick Saban for another fine coaching effort, although pretending that this team was able to overcome adversary like they were some underdog team was a bit much.