The past week or two has seen some interesting developments to be sure. The most prominent of course is that I moved last week and that is why our predictions page failed to get updated and why I have had a hard time keeping up on things. But enough about me. Some very intriguing things have happened that I feel absolutely need to be discussed, in no particular order…
First, $cam Newton and one of those universally world changing scams that only come around once in a lifetime. For those unfamiliar with the situation, here’s the skinny. Allegedly, Cam Newton’s father, upon seeing his son’s success in Junior College, solicited payment from Mississippi State to secure his son’s commitment to play football for them. This supposedly took place in January. Well, Mississippi State decided against paying the dad for the son to play, and reported them to the NCAA, who did nothing since their hands were pretty full with a group of starting Tar Heels at the time. All of this was facilitated by an NFL agent who was looking to become Cam Newton’s agent or something like that.
Well, the NCAA ruled this week that Cam Newton’s dad indeed was out of line, but that no disciplinary action would take place since Cam Newton didn’t actually know anything about what was going on, or at least they can’t prove he did. So what does this mean? Well, now universities and agents can go out and HIRE “student” athletes instead of recruiting them. That’s right. Just pay the family and make sure the kid can deny any knowledge of the situation and you’re set.
This is a total game changer that opens the door to even further mockery of the NCAA and student athletes in general. This ruling is an utter disgrace. But Cam Newton didn’t know anything! That wouldn’t be fair to punish him! Um, yes, of course it would. Who do you think is influencer number one in recruiting? The kid’s parents of course! So if you can buy the parents, you can buy the kid now too? That’s not how it works. Granted, it doesn’t seem like Auburn did that, at least they haven’t proven it yet. Just wait a year or two, this story will come back.
But Cam Newton absolutely had to be declared ineligible to protect the sport. Fair or unfair be darned, that doesn’t matter here. What’s not fair is that some schools can hire their athletes while others have to recruit, which is exactly what this ruling now does. NFL agents are licking their chops.
Jim Delany, in a rare comment of remedial intelligence, had this to say from a story at ESPN:
Delany, a former NCAA investigator, said, “Nobody likes the facts of this case.” He suggested that the rule be changed to put the burden of proof on the future Auburns and future Newtons. That’s what the NCAA does in infractions cases. It has not been as demanding in eligibility cases.
“In the eligibility area, there’s a tendency to look at the welfare of the athlete,” Delany said. “I agree with that. But then it comes to a point where certain circumstances, certain facts emerge, then the reversal of that presumption is appropriate.”
So with infractions cases (like selling your jersey after a game) the NCAA is really strict, but in eligibility issues (hiring athletes) the NCAA gives the athletes the benefit of the doubt. Throw in the fact that the NCAA doesn’t have the brains or balls to put on an actual playoff in the highest level of college football and you have to wonder if there are actual sensible human beings running this organization or if their main offices are just primates flinging feces around at one another.
On to other things. Urban Meyer is no longer the coach at Florida. At least for this week. I have a theory here. And you know my theories are always dead on. Remember when Urban did this last year? Yup, “resigned” he did…which became a leave of absence…which became full time normal coach just in time for practice. And just in time to skip recruiting! That’s right, Urban Meyer is scared silly of recruiting. He just retires each year when it’s time to recruit, but don’t worry, he’ll be back in time for practice. Urban Meyer and Brett Favre have such a knack for the dramatic that they belong in soap operas, not football.
In a more common form of intellectual prowess often displayed by Jim Delany, he had this to say about a potential playoff:
“Inside the NCAA, every small, incremental step has led to another small, incremental step. Not only inside the NCAA, inside the NFL, inside the NBA, inside Major League Baseball … If I felt we could have a plus-one, and it would not lead to a plus-six, or -eight, or -12, or -16…Likewise, Michigan State [11-1 and unchosen by the BCS, which limits participation to two teams per conference] feels left out, because in order to accommodate you, we’ve capped them … Two leads to four. Four leads to eight. I don’t think there’s any way to stop it. So you get to 16, which includes every conference. I think that would be a tremendous disservice to college football.”
Now no one at ESPN seems to have caught something so very subtle in what Delany said here. Pay attention to one particular clause, which includes every conference. Does that mean anything do you think? Oh, you bet it does. It means the current system doesn’t include every conference, and Jim Delany just had a Freudian Slip. What Jim, say what you were thinking but didn’t mean to? That’s exactly what happened. He let slip how he really feels- that the current system doesn’t include every conference and he is diametrically opposed to anything that would include every conference. Oh Jim, college football will not mourn the day of your departure from commissioner.
Now on to something completely un-surprising, the BCS doesn’t work. Literally. Looks like some computer genius analyst folks made a mistake in their final BCS rankings. Looks like Boise State was supposed to be No. 10 and LSU No. 11. The change was made, I’m sure with fingers crossed that no one would notice. You could say someone noticed…only the president of Boise State. Needless to say he wasn’t thrilled. Imagine, if the BCS is capable of making mistakes, then they are capable of not catching them. Remember when Florida barely edged out Michigan by the smallest of margins to play for the championship? Well, did they? DID THEY???
So who is excited about the bowl lineup we get this year? Let me tell you about every bowl I’m not interested in- any bowl that features teams who didn’t win at least 8 games. Yawn. Even two storied programs like USC and Notre Dame, when playing each other with only 13 wins between them at the end of the season, no one cares. So who cares if BYU plays UTEP to kick things off? Who cares about Army vs. SMU? Or Illinois vs. Baylor? And who wants to see a rematch of Nebraska vs. Washington? Who is the bonehead responsible for that brilliant matchup?
Now of course there are some games I will be very interested to watch. Foremost is Oregon vs. Auburn. I think Stanford vs. Virginia Tech will be great too. But quite honestly the game I am most interested in is Uconn vs. Oklahoma. No I am not joking. If 95% of the country wants a playoff, then 95% of the country should be rooting for Uconn in this game. Why? Because the argument against a playoff is that all of these weak teams will get in from winning weak conferences and they don’t really belong there. So then why let them in at all?
If Uconn beats Oklahoma, this shows the teams you don’t think are that good are still capable of beating some of the best teams in the land. A Uconn win here would bolster the anti-BCS case. So this bowl season, everybody better be a Huskies fan.
That’s all I had on my mind to this point. I also want to let you know our bowl predictions will be posted soon. I’m still waiting on a dead beat or two to submit their picks to me. You know who you are!