Tag Archives: ncaa scandal

Your Scandal-Free College Football Preview

Way to continue the trend Jordan.

You know why I started to watch sports as a kid? Because every time I watched the regular news all I saw was murder, poverty and scandal. After a while you get sick of looking at poor kids starving in Africa, someone shot in Brooklyn or some greedy CEO going to jail for screwing over his company.

In my head sports was simple and true. Just guys scoring goals, touchdowns and making shots. There was no greed in athletics, no horrible occurrences and no death. Was I naïve? Of course I was but I hadn’t hit 10 yet.

The harsh reality of sports hit me in 1992 when Mike Tyson went to jail for rape. I couldn’t really fathom how it happened and even today still can’t. How can an athlete do something wrong I thought? All he does is box. What does rape have to do with sports and who would do something like that?

Once Tyson went to jail Michael Irvin got caught with cocaine, Rae Carruth killed his baby mother and hid in his trunk and the steroid scandal began. Naivety went out of the window, sports is no different than any other thing in life. Athletes and institutions screw up just as much as the guy that robbed the 7-11 last night and looked into the camera, that’s just a reality.

The worst culprit of all I’ve come to realize is college sports in particular college football. As much as I love the pageantry and craziness of football on Saturdays it might be the most corrupt association in all of sports.

I’ve given the notion that no school is clean and everyone cheats. With all that’s at stake in job security, getting the best players and getting to a BCS game AD’s, boosters, coaches and players do what they can to make sure that they win whether it’s pay for play, turning the other cheek when your players commit crimes, taking benefits or whatever. You have to win, winning keeps you employed, winning makes recruits want to come there, then when they get there they have to be happy hence the benefits of cars, tattoos and free bar tabs.

I’ve come to accept this in the last ten years or so, but honestly after this year it is getting out of control.

Even without the guy on the right Luck has Stanford ready to compete.

How many scandals can the NCAA have in one year? dating back to October of 2010 Auburn has had a pay for play scandal with Cam Newton, Georgia and Florida have had issues with arrests, USC was sanctioned for the Reggie Bush scandal, Tennessee has had ongoing investigations due to violations under Lane Kiffin, Ohio State… (I won’t get into this any further 5 blogs on them is enough), Oregon suspended its top corner Cliff Harris after an arrest, North Carolina is still awaiting its punishment for its players receiving improper benefits, Miami’s scandal looks like an episode of Miami Vice and now LSU is in hot water after Jordan Jefferson and company got into a huge bar far in Baton Rouge and he’ll miss time including opening night versus Oregon…

AND THIS IS IN ONE YEAR!!!

College football is at its opening weekend and there is barely any talk of the games being played but the scandal that surrounds it. Big time matchups will not have marquee names, the eye of the NCAA is fixed everywhere and honestly, I’m watching ESPN everyday to see who slips up next.

This year could be a wide open year as far as the race for a national champion goes and you wouldn’t even know it. Florida State is back in the top 10, Nebraska is in the Big Ten, Utah is in the Pac-12, Texas A&M is acting like a spoiled child, Syracuse might be back, Oklahoma could run the table and it’s all about scandal.

Well I’m sick of it. let’s talk about the football people because that’s all that matters. this is a scandal-free college football preview where football is the only discussion. let’s talk about who’s number one, who can contend and who can take down the SEC (hopefully someone because I’m sick of the SEC.)

ACC

The conference is the worst of the big 6 (yes worse than the Big East), however it looks to get better this season.

Florida State is back in the top 5 coming off of a 10-3 season and has high hopes for a run at the national title behind QB E.J. Manuel. Once mainstays in title hunt the Seminoles have had it rough in the last ten few seasons but clearly have the edge in the conference this year.

One team to look out for is Maryland. Returning QB Danny O’ Brian is a beast under center and new head coach Randy Edsall should whip this defense into shape.

It’s still a weak conference (hi Wake Forest and Duke) but Florida State’s returning star power should give the conference something to hang its hat on

Non-conference game of the year: FSU-OKLAHOMA

Conference game of the year: Conf Champ. Game VT-FSU

Conference winner: FSU

Player of the Year: Danny O’ Brian

BIG EAST

You all know I’m overly geeked that Syracuse is good again (and you especially know this after they came back to beat Wake Forest last night) but the conference is on its way up again with TCU entering next season.

Yeah, I'm excited for SYracuse football too.

West Virginia returns QB Geno Smith, who is a dark horse candidate for the Heisman trophy and Louisville may finally have a defense that can keep up with its offense.

The key to the success of the conference this year lies in its top 4 though. West Virginia, Pittsburgh, South Florida and Syracuse have big non-conference games that can showcase whether or not this conference is truly worth being a BCS conference.

However… THE CUSE IS BACK!!!

Give me reason to have hope after a 8-5 season, a huge win last night and the possibility that Ryan Nassib can have some magic in that arm of his. In a conference that has been mired in mediocrity it needs Syracuse to be good again. The Orange may be neck and neck with West Virginia for best football history in the conference and it needs to rekindle its rivalries with WVU and Penn State. You have to cheer for the Cuse to come back the conference needs it.

Non conference game of the year: Syracuse-USC, South Florida-Notre Dame, West Virginia-LSU, Pitt-Iowa

Conference game of the year: Pitt-WVU

Conference winner: WVU

Best Player: Geno Smith

BIG 12

The best team in the country resides in Norman, Oklahoma; the best offense resides in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The team that could make noise more than any school is in College Station, Texas. Sure the conference cut two teams, but it made the conference better.

Oklahoma at number one followed by Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, combined with an underrated Missouri, a comeback year for Texas and a growing threat in Texas Tech makes this the second best conference in the country.

They have the best arms in the nation in Landry Jones and Brandon Weeden, a great hybrid QB in Robert Griffin and don’t forget about Kansas State getting Bryce Brown, who transferred from Tennessee.

The question is can anybody in the conference finally play some defense?

Texas A&M lost standout linebacker Von Miller, Oklahoma won’t have its leading tackler Travis Lewis for Florida State and the Cowboys (and every other team in the conference for that matter) can’t stop anyone.

Catch us if you can.

If the Big 12 wants to climb past the SEC and be the big dog on Saturdays then one of these teams has to allow less than 35 points a game and get physical up front. Until that happens, as much as I like this Oklahoma team, I can’t pick them to win the national title… but I can pick them to get there.

Non-conference game of the year: FSU-Oklahoma, Texas A&M-Arkansas

Conference game of the year: Texas A&M-Oklahoma

Conference winner: Oklahoma

Best player: Landry Jones

BIG 10

The Big Ten has been Ohio State’s personal punching bag for the last ten years… not anymore.

With Nebraska and monster defensive tackle Jared Crick coming to the conference it’s a new day in the Midwest. Nebraska comes off a disappointing finish to last year where it looked like the Cornhuskers were going to ride Taylor Martinez to the Fiesta Bowl. However, as with most freshmen QB’s he faded.

This year however he and the Huskers are reloaded and ready to contend for a national title… if they can get by Wisconsin.

After watching last night’s beat down of UNLV it looks like new QB Russell Wilson will fit right in at Madison. Behind a monster offensive line and Monte Ball in the backfield the Badgers, if they don’t make it to New Orleans, could still find themselves in Pasadena.

Watch out for Northwestern too (yes, Northwestern) they are primed to make a run to the top with Dan Persa returning from an Achilles injury. Also, Michigan might be making a comeback with new coach Brady Hoke at the helm. The days of a punch less Michigan defense might be over.

(Ok so I have to say a few words about Ohio State. This year is such a disappointment already even though there hasn’t been a game played yet. when Joe Bauserman was named the starter yesterday it hit me that this is what’s left at Ohio State.

The scandal has left the team spinning and it hasn’t stopped. Three more players were suspended for the opener against Akron for accepting improper benefits adding to the four suspended starters from the tattoo scandal and Terrelle Pryor going AWOL to the NFL. All that’s left is Carlos Hyde, Bauserman and Block O.

It’s been such an embarrassing turn of events leading into what was supposed to be a legendary new beginning to the Big Ten. The Buckeyes were supposed to collide head on with the Huskers for supremacy of the conference early on. It was supposed to be a new rivalry brewing that would decide the Big Ten for the next however many years. Now Ohio State is a non-factor., an afterthought, and it’s hard to swallow.

College scandals were way easier to deal with when it wasn’t the school that you went to.)

Non-conference game of the year: Penn State-Alabama

Conference game of the year: Wisconsin-Nebraska

Conference winner: Nebraska

Best player: Jared Crick

PAC-12

LaHeisman?

 

Welcome to the conference Colorado and Utah… now watch Oregon blow by all of you.

Much to the contrary belief that this is a two team race I highly disagree. Stanford is highly overrated thanks in part to Andrew Luck (though it is a good reason because Luck is a beast). Stanford lost a lot on both sides of the ball and they may need Luck to throw up 40 points a game to have a chance at winning 10 games…

And 40 won’t be enough to beat Oregon.

They only lose Jeff Maehl on the outside  and Casey Matthews on defense, however LaMichael James, Chip Kelly’s silly cards and the most high octane offense in the NCAA is all back. Getting through the Pac-12 will be a little bit of a problem, but just a little problem.

Non-conference game of the year: Oregon-LSU

Conference game of the year: Oregon-Stanford

Conference winner: Oregon

Best player: Andrew Luck

THE MIGHTY MIGHTY SEC

Were the 2 mighty’s necessary? Um… they’ve won the last five national titles so yes. I’ve finally given in and given the SEC its props and rightfully so. It’s the best conference in the country by a mile, no one recruits as good as them, is as fast them or as tough on defense as them.

Their top 6 teams year in and out could win any conference by a game or two, they routinely run over competition and make the best in another conference look bad (hi, Big 10 and Big 12) and they are bigger and faster than anyone in the nation.

However there are some concerns all over the conference. Besides the LSU hiccups there are issues in Georgia as they come off of their first losing season since the 80’s, Florida adjusts to a new coach in Will Muschamp and people in Gainesville are still skeptical of John  Brantley, Auburn and Alabama have to replace national champion QB’s and Tennessee is still trying to climb its way back to respectability.

However the news is all rosy in Starkville, Mississippi and Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Bulldogs are looking to build on a 9-4 season as Dan Mullen enters his third year as coach, and the Razorbacks are a dark horse national title pick. Bobby Petrino has to reload at QB after losing Ryan Mallett but Tyler Wilson should ease some concern for fans of the Hogs if his year mirrors his 332 yard 4 TD performance versus Auburn last year.

The wildcard here is South Carolina. Steve Spurrier after 6 years finally has the Gamecocks in position to win the SEC and make a claim as one of the best teams in the conference as well as the nation. Troubled QB Stephen Garcia looks like he’s getting his last shot at redemption and with the help of the best defense in the SEC (which gets better with the freakish Jadeveon Clowney coming to Columbia, SC) and Marcus Lattimore who is gaining buzz for a run at the Heisman.

If South Carolina can survive road tests “Between the Hedges” and at Arkansas then they should be dancing to Atlanta for the SEC title game and to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.

Non-conference game of the year: Arkansas-Texas A&M, LSU-Oregon, Florida-Florida State

Conference game of the year: LSU-Arkansas

Conference winner: South Carolina

Best player: Marcus Lattimore

South Carolina may finally be the cream of the SEC crop.

 

As for the Non-AQ schools it’s all about Boise State. TCU is in its last year in the Mountain West before runs through the Big East and Boise looks like the only challenger to a BCS bowl game. However, a number 5 ranking after losing Titus Young, Austin Pettis and half of your defense is tough. As much as I like the Broncos (and Kellen Moore especially) I don’t see them getting to the BCS this year even if they beat Georgia this Saturday. TCU even without Andy Dalton is still no slouch and they have to travel to Fresno to take on a always frisky Bulldog team. it looks like this will be the first year without a BCS buster in sometime.

So with all that said who plays in the national title game? Oregon and Oklahoma.

Yeah I know the SEC is the best conference and that they’ve won the last five titles but it’s got to end at some point. Last year while watching Oregon-Auburn I saw Oregon not only keep up with the Tigers but they beat them in certain areas. If that game were played a week or two after the end of the season then the Ducks would’ve been national champs.

I like the Sooners but I don’t know if they can stop anybody outside of their conference on defense. Landry Jones will have a huge year and look like a first round draft pick under center, but do they have the speed to keep up with a team from the SEC or Oregon? I don’t think so.

So there it is the Oregon Ducks will win the national title and Puddles the Duck will be doing celebratory pushups in New Orleans. Hopefully that’s what we’ll remember this season for is the action that takes place on the field and not the calamity and chaos that happens off of it.

ACC- FLORIDA STATE (DARK HORSE- MARYLAND)

BIG EAST- WEST VIRGINIA (SYRACUSE)

BIG 12- OKLAHOMA (OKLAHOMA STATE)

BIG 10- NEBRASKA (NORTHWESTERN)

PAC 12- OREGON (UTAH)

SEC- SOUTH CAROLINA (FLORIDA)

HEISMAN- LAMICHAEL JAMES

BCS CHAMP GAME- OREGON VS. OKLAHOMA

ROSE BOWL- NEBRASKA VS. STANFORD

SUGAR BOWL-  SOUTH CAROLINA VS. WEST VIRGINIA

ORANGE BOWL- FLORIDA STATE VS. WISCONSIN

FIESTA BOWL- TEXAS A&M VS. FLORIDA


Hurricane Damage

U are in a lot of trouble.

Well damn Miami… way to one up every other NCAA program with your own violations.

North Carolina just had a couple of players take illegal benefits in one year; you had 72 in ten years.

Ohio State had players exchange tattoos for gifts, your guys got everything that sat in front of them; orgies, abortions, money… you sure there wasn’t a ki of coke just floating around there somewhere? I mean it is Miami.

Miami took the phrase go hard or go home a little too literally. The university is under investigation by the NCAA after Nevin Shapiro, who is serving a 20 year sentence for setting up a ponzi scheme that netted nearly $1 billion, pulled one of the biggest snitch jobs since Henry Hill brought down uncle Pauly in Goodfellas.

He told federal officials any and everything dirty about the school that he became a huge booster for in 2001.

Meet the man that brought down "The U"

Shapiro gave money, gifts, threw boat parties for players and set up elaborate sex parties for 72 different members of the school’s football since 2001. The list includes past players like Devin Hester, Jon Beason and Vince Wilfork and even an array of current players such as starting QB Jacory Harris.

It casts another dark cloud over an institution that had had more than its share of hard knocks and bad press over the course of its existence… the real question is are you really shocked?

“The U” has always toed the line of controversy and football since it was known as “Thug U” in the late 80’s and the early 90’s. The school was under heavy scrutiny years ago after a huge brawl against FIU that features a helmet swinging safety, a stomping of a kicker and more than a few punches thrown.

However, that misstep and its aftermath is a mere side dish to this heaping helping of trouble.

How in the wild blue yonder do you not know about a fifteenth of this? How does no one from Butch Davis to Randy Shannon to Frank Haith the basketball coach (oh yeah… The basketball team got some scratch too) not be the least bit suspicious in any of this? You always hear college coaches say that they can’t watch everyone every single second of the day, but you can at least be aware of some things.

The fact that the AD’s, staff and coaches were ignorant of all of the wrong doing that went on with Shapiro is downright laughable. They had to be aware of whom Shapiro was and all of the problems that come along with boosters as have been seen all around college sports.

Shapiro specifically had to have had a ton of red flags on him from the get go. I mean a few pictures of him partying with various ‘Canes like Hester and Kellen Winslow and pictures of players partying on his yacht had to float around the offices of Coral Gables at some point. They had to know this guy’s motives and why he always was around. The guy was called “Lil Luke” in homage to Miami rapper Luther Campbell because of how much of a huge fan he was of the Canes and because there were early rumblings that he was providing handouts to Canes players.

(Funny story; Campbell was part of an early investigation in the program in the early 90’s because he was being accused of the same things as Shapiro. Shapiro actually dimed Campbell during his confession saying that Campbell was still providing benefits to “The U” even though Campbell has denied having anything to do with the current scandal.

However, this is what I’m talking about with Miami. Why would you still deal with Campbell after the heat that he brought on your program already in previous years? Where’s the recognition by the AD and school chancellors that these people still have influence on these kids and why didn’t they keep a close eye on it?)

Miami AD Paul Dee and Donna Shalala should be ashamed of how this has happened.

As much as you can blame Shapiro, Campbell or anyone else that provided these extravagant extras it still falls on the school. The school knows about compliance, they know the rules and they know that that they have to keep an eye on anyone in or around the school that could bring trouble to the institution. They just didn’t care.

Once again we have to go back to this notion; these aren’t student athletes, they are not amateur athletes, they are money pots. Miami’s biggest money makers are the 80+ kids that rumble out onto the field every Saturday and put on a show for 60 minutes. The school needs them to make money, so in reality it doesn’t matter what they do off the field and honestly you know that the front offices don’t care. If they did, this wouldn’t happen.

So what should happen to “The U?” What should the NCAA do to the university after this embarrassment in a year full of dirty money, violations and constant reckless abandon for the rules?

Ever since Ohio State players sat at a table to answer questions about money for tattoos… no wait Auburn was questioned for pay for play… no North Carolina players were investigated for taking illegal gifts… no since USC… you see where I’m getting at?

Understand that no program is truly clean, heck, Boise State lost scholarships due to secondary violations this year, but this is ridiculous. College football is out of control and there has to be some sort of hammer laid down to prove a point. That’s why the NCAA has to throw the book at Miami and out every school on notice that this type of reckless behavior will not be tolerated.

The NCAA has to give Miami the death penalty.

But not the SMU 2 year penalty… Miami should get a 5 year sentence.

Come on now, ten years of unsolicited, out of control behavior with a laundry list of violations that would make Tony Montana blush. You can’t just punish Miami at this point, you have to make them pay and pay hard.

Since there was no care for the rules on their part then why should the NCAA care that Miami needs football to pay its bills? If you did care about rules and going about things the proper way then you would’ve done it. However, since Miami has no sense when it comes to the rules then they shouldn’t be allowed to play. Simple as that.

Will they get the death penalty? I don’t think so. Ohio State pulled the NCAA by its tails and got away, hell USC got off kind of easy with the Reggie Bush scandal. Miami will probably just lose scholarships, won’t be allowed to play in bowl games and lose some TV money and that’s it.

Former Cane Vince WIlfork is one of the 72 implicated players in the scandal.

I have no faith in the NCAA that they will do what’s right because they don’t do what’s right 85% of the time. Terrelle Pryor shouldn’t have played in the Sugar Bowl, Cam Newton shouldn’t have finished out the season at Auburn, Lane Kiffin shouldn’t have gotten off scot free at Tennessee… after all of that how can I have faith that they’ll get this right.

I feel bad for college sports right now. My buddy Andrea put up a Facebook status saying she’s “losing faith in college football” and “what happened to love for the game?” Who knows which program will get popped next, who knows what other dirty laundry will be exposed from some school. The game and the institution is broken and being run by a lot of ignorant entities as seen in the past year.

The NCAA may have one upped baseball when it comes to scandal. At least with steroids there was a solution and it has quietly moved to the back of the room. NCAA scandals are the elephant in the room, it’s not moving and no one is trying to make an effort to move it.

As the season approaches there is more talk about the “Year of the Scandal” instead of the chase for the national championship. We’re still talking about the “Tat 5,” North Carolina doesn’t have a clue what to think about this year’s team and now this. How much more scandal can the NCAA take after a year like this?

After reading an article on Shapiro he seems bitter that no one from Miami has contacted him, sent him money, or even cared about him in prison. That was part of his motivation to get snitch on the program and bring all of these revelations to light.

He thought Miami actually cared about him and that they would be there for him. He should’ve known that in college football the institution doesn’t care about the rules, or rule breakers. Miami had no regard for anyone but itself and walked all over the NCAA and in Shapiro’s own head him as well.

In turn the NCAA needs to do to Miami what Shapiro has already done to the school… bury them.


In The End Jim Tressel Had To Go

The Jim Tressel era came to an unfortunate end on Monday

It was only a matter of time. First the tattoo parlor scandal, then the fact that he withheld information from NCAA during its investigation, then the car scandal where everyone and their mother from the football team (literally) got a deal on a wide range of cars, which was against NCAA rules, then last week the final nail in the coffin former WR and doghouse lifer Ray Small confirming all of it by telling anyone that would listen to him…

So of course Jim Tressel resigned as Ohio State head coach, he has no choice but to at this point before it comes out that he knew where Osama Bin Laden was hiding all of these years.

Today’s resignation is another layer to an investigation that is slowly dragging Ohio State University into the third circle of hell in Dante’s football Inferno. With so much uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the program someone had to go to create some type of calm around the situation and why not start with the man under whose watch all of this happened.

Some will say Tressel is a coward for suspending his players then jumping ship when things got too hot. Listen, the guy’s not Pete Carroll, he was still standing there amid it all and taking every lump that OSU, the media and pop culture (those Tressel tattoo shirts are going to be a hot commodity come fall in Big Ten country) had to give him. His intensions were to stay at OSU and lead the program out onto the field once his five game vacation was over, however as the weeks progressed you started feeling that this mess was to deep for Tressel to just shrug off and walk back out onto the field and run “Tresselball” down our throats again.

The same players that Tressel tried to protect did him in.

There was too much was coming out about the insane amounts of illegal benefits that the Ohio State football players were receiving  and all of it was a flat out joke. Aaron Kniffer, a Columbus area car salesman gave out 50 heavily discounted cars to players and their family members, former linebacker Thaddeus Gibson got one for $0 (he says that he’s still paying it off, yeah, sure), Small came out last week and did his best Sammy the Bull and spread all of OSU’s wrongdoings across the school newspaper The Lantern (he later backtracked, of course he did), add that to the drama that’s occurred from December until today and you understand why Tressel had to walk away.

He had no choice. Gene Smith (who should share an equal share of this whole mess) wasn’t going anywhere, school President Gordon Gee wasn’t going to catch any flack for it, heck the players were even going to get a free pass.

(I’ve heard some comments today from some members of the media as to how can Tressel just walk away from his players like that? Um, his players put him in this position in the first place. On one hand Tressel should’ve had some idea of how much was going on behind his back as far as benefits and things of that nature were going on, but at the same time he’s not a babysitter. Whether he explained compliance and all that jazz to the absolute max isn’t the main issue here, guys still sold their personal belongings for other services illegally according to the NCAA rules, they received illegal benefits, cars and other things and they continued to do it. How does Tressel handle huge on the field expectations and even bigger off the field issues?

The downfall of Jim Tressel isn’t his ignorance to all of it happening; it is his players’ ignorance for starting of this drama in the first place. It’s weird but you could sort of feel all of this turn once Terrelle Pryor arrived on campus three years ago. Though he’s not the sole reason for this scandal he has been the main figure in it all and this is not the kind of attention Buckeye Nation was hoping for once he signed on the dotted line at national signing day 3 years ago.)

So for about the 89th time in the last six months after the 95th wrinkle in this on-going investigation we ask what now?

Do the suspended players look towards the NFL supplemental draft? How long will Luke Fickell stay at the helm as the new head man in Columbus? Will Gene Smith bring in a big name like Urban Meyer or Bob Stoops to take the reins? How bad will the NCAA come down on Ohio State? What will happen to Jim Tressel? And will other programs look at OSU and become more involved in stopping things like this from happening to their schools like it has at OSU, USC and maybe Auburn once we learn more about the Cam Newton scandal?

This isn’t a happy day in Columbus that’s for sure. Tressel was loved by the masses and praised by the students. Even with his shortcomings in two national championship games he dominated Michigan to the tune of 9-1 during his tenure and it seemed as though you couldn’t have a BCS game without Ohio State playing in it. The run that he had at OSU will not be matched for a long time, and even with this cloud of uncertainty hanging over the school the support for Tressel is still extremely high.

But he’s gone now. Whoever takes over as the next head coach at The Ohio State University has a lot of work to do to bring respectability and a good reputation back to the program and has to change its off the field image.

Today is just the beginning of will surely be the darkest period in the school’s historic existence. Wins and banners will be taken away as will scholarships and maybe future bowl appearances, and even though he is gone James Patrick Tressel will be associated with all of it.

He can’t stop any of it, just like he couldn’t stop any of the players who put him and the school in this predicament in the first place.