Category: College Football

Jan 11 2011

The BCS gets it right…

As much as I hate to do admit it, I will: I was wrong about Oregon.  When the season ended and it was clear the Ducks would be facing No.1 ranked Auburn in the 2010 National Championship, I just assumed that game would be the one bowl game worth missing – but Oregon certainly proved me wrong.

I figured Auburn, coming out of the SEC, would have no trouble handling the Pac-10 Champion Ducks.  After all, who did Oregon play? USC? Washington? Washington State? Oregon State?  Their most notable games were against Stanford (which was a great 52-31 come-from-behind victory against another ranked opponent) and California (a game they should have lost, but squeaked by with a 15-13 win thanks Cal’s inability to make field goals), so who would have guessed they would be able to go toe-to-toe with the SEC Champions? Clearly, not me.

"We playin Oregon?!? Who care about them? Let me finish signing this check, I mean autograph, and then we'll talk about it."

If there was a chance for Oregon to win, it would have to be because of Auburn’s defense; to see if they could hang with Oregon’s no-huddle offense.  They did, and I knew they would.  Oregon’s RB LaMichael James carried the offense all season long, but when facing a defense like Auburn’s, he simply could not.  James’ offense line couldn’t make any holes for him, and the Auburn defense was too fast for him to beat to the corner.  The Heisman candidate could only rack up 49 yards on 13 carries.  His counterpart, a speedy Kenjon Barner, wasn’t much help either; he only ran for 32 yards off 13 carries.  The Ducks’ vaunted rushing attack was just not there, tallying up only 75 total yards all game.  Auburn’s defensive line, particularly DT Nick Fairley, was just too much to handle.

Despite Fairley’s dirty, yet effective play, the Duck’s did manage to make some plays in the passing game – which is why this game was so close.  Oregon exposed a weak Auburn secondary which allowed QB Darren Thomas to throw for 363 yards and two touchdowns.  The problem came when Oregon had to finish drives.  On three different occasions (one of which cost the Ducks the game) their drives stalled inside the five yard line: when Oregon was out of real estate, when there was no room to spread the Auburn defense out with, when it was no gimmicks, just power football…Oregon failed.

All the hype was about Cam Newton, but the National Championship belonged to his kid.

The Ducks offense had successfully tired out the Tigers defense on several different occasions, but ran into a one big issue every time: Auburn’s depth.  Just when Oregon seemed to have Auburn on the ropes, out come the refreshed and refocused starters to force the Ducks drive to a screeching halt.  In the end, depth would be the issue.  As the final quarter unfolded, it was Oregon’s defense that couldn’t handle the fast-pace Auburn offense.  The Ducks’ defense looked sloppy, fatigued, and confused as they allowed 519 yards of total offense, 254 of it on the ground.

Don’t get me wrong, the defense played great, but in the end they simply ran out of gas.  Despite LB Casey Matthews single-handedly getting his team back in it by causing a fumble (that resulted in an Oregon TD) late in the game, the Ducks had nothing left.  A spent Oregon defense trotted out on the field and allowed RB Michael Dyer to break a confusing 37-yard run.  Dyer was tackled, but not quite.  He never touched the ground and when he popped back up, Oregon’s defense seemed to be the only ones that didn’t notice the whistle was never blown.

Dyer’s run set up the game-winning field goal, but, if there is such a thing, Oregon lost in impressive fashion.  They had the speed, the size, and the talent to win, but Auburn is an SEC team and SEC teams have speed, size, talent, and DEPTH.  That game was a credit to how good a coach Oregon’s Chip Kelly truly is.  His knowledge of the game, his heart, his determination, and his guts were all personified in the actions of every Oregon player that night.  This was a team that had no business giving Auburn that much of a fight, and they did anyway.  Sure Oregon’s offense was just as good if not better, but again, who do they play?  Auburn had its mettle tested against South Carolina (twice), Arkansas, Florida, and Alabama.  Oregon was tested against Stanford; a team that built a lead but didn’t have the defensive depth to keep it against that potent Oregon offense.

"You ain't seen the last of us, I promise you that."

In the end, the Auburn Tigers won a heck of National Championship game, but Kelly’s squad won some prestige in that game.  Next year Fairley will enter the draft, Newton will follow suit and look to get paid (again) in the NFL, and Auburn will return to mediocrity, but the Ducks will only get stronger from this game.  If Chip Kelly plays his cards right (and something tells me he will), the Ducks will be playing in a lot more of these games – the only question is how many times will they be hoisting that crystal football in the end?

Sep 09 2010

Playing for the money?

When will college football players finally realize that they are just a few steps away from making more money than they will know what to do with? Apparently never.

The opening weekend of college football should be about showcase games and upsets – not scandals.  This past weekend about 146 big name athletes sat out of games because of suspensions or the fear or ineligibility (which would mean if they played in those games and their team won, they would not count).

North Carolina stole the show, traveling to the Georgia Dome for their season-opener against LSU without 12 players.  The combination of starters and bench players were held out due to either academic misconduct or a violation of team rules.  While I don’t get how you need to cheat at the Division 1AA level (just get someone to tutor you…or do it for you), at least I can almost reason with the idea that young kids are in trouble with team rules or cheating.

"Here you go kids, I signed some pictures for you guys. Now where are your parents? I'm trying to sell this jersey and hat and get paid."

That being said, we move on to Georgia and A.J. Green.  The Bulldawgs star receiver (and maybe the best in college football this season) missed a game because of fear of ineligibility – which turned out to be the right decision since Green just got suspended for three additional games.

The junior All-American decided it would be a good idea, and not a violation of NCAA rules in any way, to sell a jersey that he wore in last season’s Independence Bowl for a cool $1,000 (life changing money, I know).  As if that isn’t enough, he sold it to an NFL agent! How did none of this seem wrong to him?  I can’t wrap my head around this one.  What goes through your mind as you come to a decision like this?

First, he is a junior so he is probably headed to the NFL, if he wants, at the end of the year to make boatloads of cash.  Second, I am sure he is receiving an allowance from his scholarship, on top of tons of money that the NCAA doesn’t know about from his boosters – so try the “he needed the money for something” excuse.  Most importantly though, after all the other players in trouble for talking with agents of NFL personal (Dez Bryant just last season), why would you even put yourself in that situation?  Just wait another four months and you can have agent parties at your house.

He isn’t the only moron though; the SEC is filled with them.  Alabama’s defensive end Marcell Dareus was declared ineligible for two games for accepting nearly $2,000 in “benefit money” during two trips to Miami.  Then there is South Carolina, currently awaiting an NCAA ruling on the eligibility of two players: starting offensive tackle Jarriel King and starting cornerback Chris Culliver for similar offenses.

"Are you telling me my college career didn't count? Who cares!?! I lived it and it got me drafted to a Super Bowl Champion team. Sanction USC all you want, just don't take my Heisman from me."

Even more confusing to me is that all this is coming right after the USC/Reggie Bush scandal.  Doesn’t that serve as a warning for these kids; no matter how much you think you can get away with it, they will get you – even if it’s years later.

Bush is now going to lose his Heisman Trophy, while USC loses scholarships, bowl appearances, and one of the best head coaches/recruiters in Pete Carroll.

Carroll ran away to Seattle because of these impending sanctions, while Bush could be the first ever player to have his Heisman stripped from him.  Sure neither Bush, nor Carroll care about it now (they hid safely from that explosion), and have plenty of fame and money and this can’t hurt them – but what about the school?  Is betraying the school that gave you everything, and has the potential to give other young kids everything worth $1,000 for your jersey?

Jul 28 2010

What were they thinking?

How ‘bout them Cowboys?  They never cease to amaze me.  This past weekend Dallas Cowboys rookie WR Dez Bryant made some headlines in a very bizarre way.  Now, because it was Dallas, ESPN talked about it from every angle – every hour, on the hour – but I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  The former OK State stand-out just flat-out refused to carry fellow WR, and seven-year veteran, Roy Williams’ gear in from practice.

"That guy is here to carry pads, not me. I'm Dez Bryant!" (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

I didn’t get this one at all.  Bryant was putting his foot down for rookies in every sport by not participating in such a vile and physically detrimental act?  Nope.  He just didn’t want to take part in something so little and shameless (and really harmless when compared to other teams and their rituals), because he is above that.  Most teams tape rookies to goal posts, shave heads, or make them fetch absurd food requests from distant lands.  Instead, all Bryant was forced to do was a chore.  Grow up, Dez.

Then I saw his comments about being pretty sure he was drafted to “catch passes, not carry pads.”  Oh, that’s right.  Just like when he was given a scholarship to play football at Oklahoma State…until his junior season when he got kicked out of college football.  I’m sure OK State understood then, and Roy Williams and the rest of your teammates (who don’t know or trust you yet) will understand now.

I don’t know who this guy thinks he is.  He has gone from a beast WR to just an idiot with talent (unproven at the NFL level).  I even considered the fact that maybe he saw Roy Williams as his competition and he didn’t want to carry his pads, as if it would give Roy some psychological edge or make the team think that Bryant wasn’t “keepin’ it real,” but it just doesn’t add up.  All you have to do is carry a veteran’s pads! C’mon Dez.  Williams did the same thing when he was a rookie, and some rookie will do it for you.  Bottom line, it’s still a teammate and apparently it’s tradition down there in Dallas, so shut up and carry the pads.

"Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorance on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing is frowned upon...you know, cause I've worked for a lot of teams, and I tell you, people do that all the time."

And speaking of not thinking, good ol’ Lane Kiffin was back in the news this week.  The new USC coach decided that the best thing to do after being smacked in the face with NCAA suspensions and Bowl game sanctions was to go ahead and do something illegal…again.  Kiffin poached Titans RB coach Kennedy Pola from Tennessee by violating the terms of Pola’s contract.  Kiffin assumed that a clause requiring any organization receive written permission to discuss a job with Pola, meant just hire him and see what happens.  Kiffin didn’t even think a phone call was necessary.  I guess he is going to ride this job out until some other major college football program offers him a ridiculous amount of money for no apparent reason.

Apparently Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, a former Trojan and a diehard fan, and the Titans organization are filing a lawsuit against the school Fisher loves so much.  This just makes matters even worse for a scandal-ridden university and a coach who has nothing to show for his mega-contract, but the hiring of his much more successful father.

"Hello, yes, is this the OSU admissions office?"

Finally, I leave you with this.  Former college football star, and current idiot, Maurice Clarett is back at THE Ohio State.  After a little more than three years in prison, Clarett has been granted re-entry into OSU and plans to lay low this way he isn’t a “distraction or a nuisance” to the football team.  I bet.  How long do you think it is before he is trying to suit up again, hoping to win an appeal of the current college football rules about turning pro?  It worked out so well for him when he tried to make the rules “one and done” for college football athletes, then sat out a year (after losing that case), and came into Broncos camp looking like a slim D-tackle.  I’m pulling for him though, I certainly hope he graduates – what a real “feel good” story that would be.

Jun 30 2010

Off the DL With Some Random Thoughts…

by Brian

For my first post since my daughter was born in September, I thought I’d take things slowly, rail against the current goings-on in sports and pop culture that keep me up at night, and call it a day.

**Because I am a devoted fan of college basketball but equally as dedicated to my hatred of the NBA, I’m puzzled at what happens between the time sure-fire lottery picks sleep through the first semester of class (c’mon, you think DeMarcus Cousins is taking copious notes during College Comp 101?) during their freshman year and they walk up to the podium to accept the flat-brimmed hat of their new NBA team. My allegiance lies squarely with the ‘Cuse in the NCAA, but I couldn’t tell you what Jonny Flynn did this year in the NBA, and I’m certain the same will hold true for Wes Johnson. But, hey, at least they get to toil together as Timberwolves.

Now, as I watched the epic College World Series clincher by South Carolina last night, I had to wonder why baseball doesn’t suffer the same fate as its more athletic NBA counterpart. I mean these kids are going berserk after the third out of any inning, locking arms in the dugout during big at-bats, and donning rally caps while passing around superstitious Vanilla Wafers.

Put me in coach! I'm ready to give you 30% of what I got!

The answer really wasn’t that difficult—coaching. Without a self-aggrandizing John Calipari or Rick Pitino on the sidelines, these kids play for their coaches in college, so doing the same thing for the MLB managers isn’t a stretch. There is a respect for the game and for its elder statesmen in baseball that is conspicuously absent in the NBA. Again, does anyone think any of the players who just left Kentucky is going to miss Calipari or is amped for an opportunity to play for Stan Van Gundy? Doubt it.**

**When is Doc Halladay going to walk into the clubhouse after another start that only asked for three or four runs of support, which then resulted in a loss, and start cracking skulls? This guy does his job every fifth day and is rewarded with two runs, six hits, and twelve LOB. Blech.**

**Let me tell you what I think about this LBJ, Wade, Bosh “summit” in Miami last weekend—nothing. In fact, this bullet point is as much thought as I’ve devoted to anything NBA related in nine years. Go ahead, play together. Win together. Ride around on boats together. The NBA already has watered down 94% of itself (that’s right, I did the math), so creating a triumvirate of power in Miami means the other 5% can join in the irrelevant par-tay. Have at it, boys.**

**As a follow up to my months-old contribution to the Almost Punchable Celebrity

With a face like this...

column, I was just treated with a radio spot for 7UP voiced by none other than that lovable baritone, Brad Garrett. The commercial played on the dichotomy between Garrett’s surly exterior and his hidden love for the soft drink, so he’d grunt in his trademark voice and then take it up an octave to express his pleasure. If you’re bored by this bullet, you can join the six Garrett fans who feel the same way about his work.**

Apr 22 2010

The 2010 Draft: A Sham…

I know it’s been awhile, but I cannot let the travesty that is the 2010 NFL Draft go on without commenting on it.  The NFL has managed to take a great thing, butcher it, and then try and spoon-feed it to the general public in small doses.

"Yeah! OK guys, same time tomorrow for round two?"

First, the whole idea of spreading it out over three days in horrendous – it takes all the excitement out of Draft Day.  Teams don’t have to meet in “The War Room” and make snap decisions on who to take after the guy they wanted gets grabbed up by another team.  No more spur-of-the-moment trades that leave fans (Eagles) puzzled. With this new format, all a team has to do is make one pick (or two if they are really lucky/pathetic) and that’s it…the day is over.  They get a full 24 hours to reconsider what they want to do, negotiate potential trades, and eye-up new candidates.

Second, they picked the worst Draft Class to experiment with.  There are about two or three “Big Name” guys, and the most talked about players are a QB who missed his senior season and another who might as well not have had one.

Think about it.  What other Draft Class featured the “Best QB” and potential “First Overall Pick” as a guy who missed almost his entire senior season and is coming off shoulder surgery?  Nothing against Sam Bradford, and he could turn out to be great, but that is the best QB out there?  What does that say about all the other guys?  And Tim Tebow…that kid went from College Football Savior to NFL Joke inside three short months.  I wish him the best, but again, what does it say about the 2010 Draft Class if these two guys are headlining it?  I know there are other great athletes out there (Eric Berry, Ndamukong Suh, Dez Bryant, C.J. Spiller, etc.), but face it, none of them have received as much hype as Bradford and Tebow have all off-season.

"Thanks for all of your support - maybe I'll take off next season and see if I can win an NFL MVP award."

Finally, the attempt to oversell the Draft by NFL and ESPN is nauseating.  Never before has there been so many possible “Big Name” trades taking place during draft day.  They are convincing fans to watch all three days because you never know when Ben Roethlisberger might get traded, or the Redskins might sign T.O. and reunite him with Donovan McNabb, or all the rumors about every team, after the number 10 spot, trading up to get certain players.  That marketing genius was topped off by ESPN running the TOP 10 Best Late-Round Picks, while both anchors crow-barred in the “You better watch Saturday, who knows when the next Tom Brady will be drafted.”

"I hold a bunch of college football records...but none are as impressive as the record I hold for most stories aired about a throwing motion!"

Maybe it’s because this idea was a failure from the start, so they are doing whatever they can to sell it.  I am sure people will still watch it (I know I will), but now they are competing with the NHL and NBA Playoffs, as well as the MLB.  Going primetime might lose some fans considering that when it was on Saturday at noon, people had nothing else to watch but the first round.  Plus, do they really think anyone is going to watch the final rounds that Saturday?  Maybe a few diehards, but nowhere near as many people that would watch it in the old format, by default, simply because they were on that channel already.

I will still enjoy it, and I know most people will – but my point is, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.  As if the NFL isn’t pulling in enough money they have to break up the Draft into portions to try and make even more.  I just hope next year they don’t spread it over six months, having only select teams draft starting in April and ending at the beginning of the regular season…that’ll really maximize profits, right Roger?

Dec 21 2009

College Football Playoff? Probably Not…

As another College Football Bowl Week kicks off, the talk about how college football needs a playoff system starts right along with it.  This year, it isn’t as bad.  All the teams that should be playing in BCS games are, but that doesn’t stop people from demanding College Football switch over to a playoff system – and I couldn’t disagree more.  Now, let me start by saying that I would love nothing more than to see teams like Alabama and Florida play teams like TCU or Boise State, but a playoff is not the answer.

TCU played teams from a BCS conference this year (and lucked out by beating BYU, who beat Oklahoma in week 1) and they were rewarded with a BCS Bowl Game.

First, it ruins the tradition of the college football regular season.  College football has the best regular season in all of sports because – unlike any other sport – every single game matters.  No other sport can offer that.  Sure some regular season games matter, but – demonstrated by last year’s NFL playoffs – teams can lose up to seven games and still have a shot to make the playoffs, or the Super Bowl…that doesn’t sound like every game matters to me.   That’s what makes college football so exciting; every weekend there is a big game that a team – pursuing a National Championship – cannot afford to lose.

With that being said, let me move on to why the fans have every right to complain – but the teams don’t.  First, win every game on the schedule.  If a team has one loss, then that is the reason you will probably not play for a National Title.  However, there are plenty of one-loss teams that have played, or been in contention to play, for a National Title over the years.  Which brings me to next point…scheduling.  If a team like Utah, or Boise State, has a problem with their Non-BCS conference schedule failing to provide them with a BCS Bowl bid, they should use their non-conference openings to schedule BCS opponents.  Every team has up to four non-conference games they can schedule, so if I am a coach at Utah, I would try and schedule at least two of those four slots against BCS conference opponents (and decent ones too).  That clearly paid off for TCU and Boise State this year – both played some BCS conference teams and now they are playing each other in a BCS bowl.  Now if they want to compete for a chance to play in the National Championship, then they need to schedule some even tougher opponents in those slots (i.e. Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, LSU, Florida).

The Crimson Tide's hard work finally paid off, as they won the toughest conference in College Football and will play Texas for a National Championship.

This doesn’t just go for non-BCS conference teams, but every college football team.  I have always wondered why teams like Florida wouldn’t play teams like Texas in the regular season.  The obvious reason would be they might lose, and then their season is done from Week 2 and on…but teams have done that and still been in contention for a National Championship (i.e. Ohio State vs. USC).  That game is a non-conference game and possibly the best one in the entire season (next to Florida State vs. Florida…up until recently).  Personally, I think that would make a college football season that much more exciting and would go a long way in somewhat fulfilling the public’s desire to see a college football playoff.

In closing, a college playoff will probably never happen (even though it would be fantastic to watch) for several reasons.  The tradition of the college football regular season, the length of that same season (with playoff games added on top of that), and finally – and most importantly– the amount of money they make off the BCS system.  Despite how exciting March Madness is, it does not make anywhere near the amount of money that a bowl system does.  So unfortunately for the avid college football fan, no matter how many schools and fans complain, money will always outlast their grievances.

Dec 10 2009

Tis’ the season…

It’s that time of year again boys and girls.  The time of caring, sharing, giving and receiving.  It’s also the time of year to expose poster-boy athletes, use sex to recruit, and finally, come back home where you belong…

Sure it's a joke, but it's not too far off from what this whole scandal has done to his golden-boy image.

Sure it's a joke, but it's not too far off from what this whole scandal has done to his golden-boy image.

We start with Tiger Woods.  There isn’t much to say about this other than “wow.”  Who would have thought that precious, golden-boy Tiger would be cheating on his wife with – not one – but nine women.  It was so bad that one of his first mistresses couldn’t even handle it, confessing that she couldn’t take how many women he was seeing at the same time (yea, tough break, imagine how his wife must feel).  The only thing worse than this is having your wife beat you up with a golf club (which defines irony) so bad that when you go to run away from her in your SUV, you crash onto your neighbor’s lawn…nice.  Of course Tiger has yet to actually speak on the matter, so all that is speculation, but the longer he waits to finally come out and talk, the worse this story is going to get.  Do yourself a favor, Tiger, confess and move on – it worked for Kobe, it worked for A-Rod, it’ll work for you.

We move along to a much more heart-warming story…for me at least. Allen Iverson returned to the Sixers this past week, and debuted this past Monday against the Nuggets.  Sure it was a losing effort, and A.I. isn’t the same as he used to be, but there is something about seeing that ol’ #3 run around that court that just scratches me

I almost wept like a 6-year-old girl when I saw this intro. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

I almost wept like a 6-year-old girl when I saw this intro. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

right where I itch.  After watching his second game against the Pistons, I thought to myself how everyone must be enjoying this, except Andre Iguodala.  Here is a guy who was told the Sixers were his team, that he is the new A.I. and that Philly is now his city.  Well so much for that.  Iguodala and the rest of the Sixers were lucky if four fans and a homeless man (strictly there for the running water and heat) came to watch their games.  Since “the Answer” has returned, two back-to-back sellouts.  That has to sting a little.  Finally, for all those who don’t like this move because Iverson could be a bad influence…you are idiots.  This team stinks and there is no future here for A.I. to corrupt – at least now we get to watch some close-to-decent basketball being played while Iverson – who certainly is not the same caliber player he left Philly as – shows everyone what he has left.

On to college football.  How bout that Lane Kiffin?  His first full year at Tennessee results in a winning season, no SEC Title, no major bowl bid, and no quality wins.  Yet somehow Lane has managed to make Tennessee the most talked about program in all of college football.  He has been caught committing six secondary NCAA violations, and is currently being investigating for the best one of them all – using sex to recruit.

"Wha can I say gentlemen...sex sells!"

"What can I say gentlemen...sex sells!"

Apparently, the Volunteers coach was not only using females to ensure his recruits had a good visit on campus (like all colleges do, everyone who has seen the movie He Got Game knows how that works), but Kiffin made sure his recruits kept Tennessee in mind when they were at home.  The story goes that he would send certain women “Volunteers” to travel to players’ home towns to watch them play and help “convince” them to come to Ole Rocky Top.  Some of these girls – now being referred to as “hostesses” – would travel as far as 200 miles to help Lane recruit.  Again, all hearsay, but this one looks to be true and the only thing that is missing is a Lane Kiffin apology and some photos of what these women look like to complete this wonderful, wholesome college football story.

Nov 13 2009

What a crazy world we live in…

As I watched countless episodes of SportsCenter this past week, there were a few things that caught my attention and that warrant some comments.  First, Sammy Sosa. Wow.  What the hell happened to him?  The guy goes on record and admits he took steroids, which taints his career, but you have to figure that is rock bottom.

Oh no, Sosa found a way to even top cheating in the sport he played.  He bleached himself.  Sosa claimed his skin was feeling old and needed some “rejuvenation,” so he started bleaching his skin? To quote this Michael Jackson wannabe, “It’s a bleaching cream that I apply before going to bed…I use it to soften my skin, but has bleached me some,” he admitted.  Some!?! He resembles a Dominican-version of the kid who starred in Powder.

This doesn't even look like the same person, I guess that can be described as "changed some."

This doesn't even look like the same person. I guess "bleached me some" and "completely different" mean the same thing to Sammy.

What about taking vitamin D? Or rubbing some lotion on your skin? Then, Sosa managed to top that by adding green eyes to his new faded white skin.  What are you doing, Sosa? You went from being a super-slugger to a reject in the cast of Twilight.  He is now a faded has-been – literally – who just realized that he could buy contacts that change the color of his eye.  When I saw this, I was legitimately scared.  I am surprised there weren’t any stories about someone at the Latin Grammys just dropping their jaw, screaming, and running out because Sosa smiled at them.

Switching gears from complete stupidity to utter stupidity, we move to the Tennessee Volunteers.  Three of first-year head coach Lane Kiffin’s highly touted recruits were charged with attempted armed robbery.

Apparently, Janzen Jackson, a starting safety, and Nu’Keese Richardson, a starting wide-receiver, were among four people who decided a great Wednesday evening activity would be robbing a convenience store.  Defensive back Mike Edwards, and their “Wheel-man” Marie Montmarquet – a 22-year-old female – were charged with three counts of armed robbery at a gas station.

They held up three people in a parked car at gun-point while wearing masks.  The victims got the make and model of the car, a Toyota Prius, and get this – one of them was wearing Tennessee football gear and a victim caught a glimpse of it (apparently they had on either shorts or a t-shirt with the Tennessee football logo on it), the police haven’t said what it was yet).  When the police finally caught the suspects, they located the hoodies and masks, and an air-powered pellet gun (nice touch gentlemen).

"It was exciting holding that man a gun-point, I think next time though, we shouldn't wear our jerseys out to rob people." (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

"It was exciting holding those men at gun-point, I think next time though, we shouldn't wear our jerseys out to rob people." (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

So let me get this straight.  You get a full-scholarship to play football at the University of Tennessee – a program that is on the up-and-up right now – and you have a shot to play pro-football if you make the best of your time at this university (which is all free by the way), and you decide that’s not enough?  No, no, no, a better path is driving around in your “girlfriend’s” Prius and robbing people at gun point for what? $75-$100 at best?

Yeah, you won’t ever make that much in the NFL, or receive that as an allowance thanks to your free ride at Tennessee.  Even better, do all this while you’re wearing Tennessee football gear, great plan.  I read this and just thought to myself, “How dumb can you be?” I don’t by any means condone this plan, but if you are going to go through with this poorly thought-out scheme, and you have the ski mask on as well, wouldn’t taking off your Volunteers football gear be the next step?  I could only imagine the two of them wearing their jerseys and ski masks thinking “Let’s rob these people, they will never know who it is.”

Nov 04 2009

L.J. and USC need to pipe down…

As a lifelong Kansas City Chiefs fan, I feel I have a responsibility to comment on the recent actions of our “star” running back Larry Johnson.  After a tough loss against division foe San Diego, L.J. decided it was necessary to spout off about his current situation, which is the following: He is stuck on a bad team, not getting the touches he thinks he deserves, and losing all the while.

"People can barely remember that I used to be good...let me go spit on someone to remind them who I am." (AP Photo/Dick Whipple, File)

"People can barely remember that I used to be good...let me go spit on someone to remind them who I am." (AP Photo/Dick Whipple, File)

Johnson decided the best way to vent his frustrations would be to verbally assault members of the media, his coaching staff, and the organization by using a gay slur.  He especially targeted new coach Todd Haley, claiming that he wasn’t a good coach and didn’t know how to use him (correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t Haley the only reason Johnson still had a job? Because no one would have taken him after the two years he just got done having).  L.J. also mentioned how his dad playing on the Titans team from the movie Remember the Titans, and those people knew how to coach football – which implied that his new coach didn’t.

Now, let me make it clear that while I am a Chiefs fan, I am also an NFL fan…so I am not ignorant.  I know I am a fan of a bad team, we are rebuilding (and have been for quite some time), and I can only imagine how difficult it must be to be a “star” and be stuck on that team (I felt bad for Tony Gonzalez before he got traded to Atlanta).  However, that does not give anyone the right to critique that situation, especially when he is a big part of it.  Todd Haley and I may not know as much the members of that team from Remember the Titans, but we both know that L.J. stinks – and we will be lucky to get anything in return for him if we trade him…on the other hand, Johnson will be lucky if he can still find a job in football after this mess is done.

Larry wants his touches, but when he gets them, he doesn’t do anything with them.  He hasn’t had a solid, injury-free-season, since 2006.  Now, one can easily argue that he hasn’t had a good team since 2006 (no O-line, and the loss of fullback Tony Richardson didn’t help either).  In my opinion, he is done; he has nothing left, maybe one solid year left.  He is now 29-years-old and isn’t getting any younger.  Couple that with the fact that he is a problem off the field (spitting on and accosting women at clubs, openly criticizing the organization, and – recently added – using gay slurs to describe media members as well as his new coach).

"Why can't we be as good as everyone says we are?"

"Why can't we be as good as everyone says we are?"

On a side note, USC got smashed by Oregon.  The Trojans, who the BCS computers had sitting pretty at #5 (even with one loss to a then, and currently, unranked Washington Huskies team) – and people (Kirk Herbstreit and EPSN analysts) still had them playing in a National Championship.  Unfortunately, USC had to play Oregon (then #10 in the BCS), at Oregon, and got beat down 47-20 (and the Ducks only allowed the Trojans to score three points in the second half).

All this game did was prove me right, and show the country (yet again) that USC is overrated and should not be involved in National Championship talks until they beat a BCS opponent that isn’t Ohio State or from the PAC 10.  Oregon, a team who got beat by Boise State – now #7 in the BCS – and also managed to lose their “star” running back at the end of that game, managed to destroy the mighty Trojans and hand them their worse loss ever under head coach Pete Carroll.  How they manage to only fall to #12 in the BCS only proves my point – they get favored.  They should at least have fallen out of the top 15 with a loss to Oregon and unranked Washington.

But enough of harping on USC, because to be honest, every team looks overrated so far this season.  Alabama looks solid, but the two teams ahead of them – Florida and Texas – both look inconsistent.  With all the frauds this season, I am routing for Iowa…any team that has a QB who throws five picks and can still win (and manage to make that game look like a blowout) gets my support.

Oct 26 2009

College Football Confusion…

Is there anyone out there who can tell me what exactly Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant is being suspended for?  I have read the articles and at the end of every single one of them I am left asking myself, “What did he do wrong?”

"C'mon guys...what's the big deal if the kid has lunch with me?"

"C'mon guys...what's the big deal if the kid has lunch with me?"

I understand he lied to NCAA officials about his meeting with former NFL defensive back Deion Sanders; my other question is why would he even have to lie about that?  Unless this kid met up with Deion, ran routes against him and some current NFL players, accepted a paycheck for it, and then talked to an agent…there is nothing wrong here.

One of the stories I read said that Sanders is associated with sports agent Eugene Parker, and because Bryant foolishly lied about the meeting, officials are worried that this meeting might have had certain illegal intentions (money, promises, talking about being a pro before he is one).   I get all that, but I just don’t understand what the big deal is.

There are rules and regulations, I get that, and I am one of the few people who appreciate these rules (especially when these kids accept money prior to becoming a pro), but this is a little ridiculous.  Unless I find out more details, I am on Dez Bryant’s side.

Now, Bryant would have been a Heisman candidate had this not happened.  Since then, talks of Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen winning the Heisman have crept up.  This is another head-scratcher.  Clausen has done nothing Heisman-worthy, and yet somehow he is being talked up as a candidate…and possible winner.

I know Clausen has demonstrated late-game heroics, but look at who these wins were against.  A big come-back win against Michigan State? An overtime win against Washington (that his defense won)? Another big win over Purdue (that Purdue’s head coach handed him)? Squeaking by Boston College? And a loss to Michigan and now USC (the USC game ended with him throwing the ball to a receiver that was on the ground)?

Clausen avoiding the rush like we should be avoiding using his name in Heisman talks. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Clausen avoiding the rush like we should be avoiding using his name in Heisman talks. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

That resume doesn’t scream Heisman Trophy to me.  He has thrown for 2,050 yards and 16 TDs against just two interceptions, so he has been playing well…just not well enough to be in the top five for the Heisman.  I know everyone is impressed because he is the only Clausen that has witnessed anything close to success, but his older brothers didn’t set the bar very high.

Let me read off some stats from a QB who did win the Heisman (and should have went to the NFL right after it).  Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford won the Heisman after throwing for 4,720 yards, 50 TDs and just 8 picks – those are impressive numbers.  Clausen has six regular season games plus a bowl game left to try and beef up his stats, but it is highly unlikely.

Sometimes I think voters just don’t know who else to include, so they pick a kid from a big-name, marketable school and throw him in there for no reason.  I will give Clausen all the credit in the world if he can turn it around, but from where I am sitting right now, he won’t be winning it and shouldn’t be involved in talks.

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