My Football Ramblings: College Edition

Roll tide, y’all.

Alabama
They are ranked #1 by SI, #2 by ESPN. The defense is that good. In fact, that defense could be nasty, slobber knocking, old school good. And then there is Trent Richardson that many are saying is better than Mark Ingram. So…an incredible running game plus a nasty defense is going to be a hard formula to beat. The problem is they play in the SEC. Specifically the SEC West.

That means LSU and Arkansas both of which have the talent to go undefeated as well. The rest of the nation is very happy about this. Let the SEC beat each other up. LSU’s biggest weakness is their head coach. Arkansas is the injury bug which hit this last week – Knile Davis could be lost for the season. That would be a huge loss. Arkansas is still a dangerous team without him…just won’t have that home run threat.

Miami Hurricanes
I was living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area when the SMU scandal broke and basically killed the Southwest Conference and big time college football in the DFW area. SMU has never recovered from the death penalty and now they are talking about using it on Miami.

There are a couple of differences in the situations. First, SMU had been warned 3 times in as many years about these issues. Second, the SMU situation was that University staff and state politicians were in on the action. Third, SMU was good. Hey-O!

I’m not sure if the Death Penalty should be used here or not. It will most definitely kill the program at “the U” and in this culture of conference shake up – could very well be the end of the ACC.

I do think the NCAA and public in general is spending a lot of useless time and money on trying to solve this problem. More enforcement officers will not stop this. Harsher penalties will not stop this.

On Paying Athletes
This will not work either. It does nothing toward solving the problem except make it worse. Going to pay the bench, practice player the same as the starting QB? What about all the other sports on campus – going to start paying them? Remember Title IX? Got to pay women athletes as well.

“But those athletes make millions of dollars for the system…” Yes. They do. And it takes millions of dollars to run those programs. And playing major college sports puts that athlete in a position to make millions of dollars later in their life and to have opportunities that the average college student never gets. And these athletes get into schools they otherwise would have never gotten into. And tuition, books, fee, room and board are paid for. Plus all the cool gear of the team, plus the per diam for meals…the travel…

So what is going to help?
I’m trying to figure out when Personal Responsibility went out the window. The NCAA punishes the schools, the fans, they punish the future potential students with limited scholarships. But when do the actual people who took the benefits and gave the benefits get punished?

Why not make it illegal for the kid who takes money to play ever again in college sports? Why not ban the head coach or AD or president from working on the college level who is found negligent or “loss of institutional control?” Why not get a federal law on the books and have jail time for the violators and instead of the state or federal government paying for it, have the BCS pay for that since it makes so much money anyway?

The Eyes of Texas…
I can’t see how in the world the Texas/ESPN deal is even legal under the NCAA rules given all the other rules that we’ve learned to live with. For some reason everyone inside the Big 12 is keeping quiet on the issue while everyone outside the Big 12 is pretty upset about it. The money it will make sounds obscene and obviously Texas will benefit from that but in terms of making the football program better, I’m not sure how much it will help. Texas already has year after year one of the 10 best recruiting classes, top 3 facilities in the nation, and is located in the middle of one of the best states for high school football.

Big 12 or the Flat 10
Could the Big 12 could survive A&M leaving the conference? I don’t think so. Mainly because I don’t think it will be just A&M leaving.

Just play this out – if A&M bolts to SEC, they will add another team. For years the SEC has wanted Florida St or Clemson. (For that matter – Georgia Tech used to be in the SEC.) That opens up for the ACC to add another team – possibly two if Miami gets the death penalty. What is keeping Kansas, Kansas State or Missouri in the Big 12 if the ACC came calling? If I’m Kansas and the ACC came calling – I’m jumping at that opportunity.

My point is this – traditional, geographical rivalries aren’t enough to keep conferences together. Nor are they huge obstacles in forming new conferences anymore. As long as Texas functions as the big, bad, bully in the conference, I think these other teams will be looking for a more equitable deal elsewhere.

National Champion Contenders

Oklahoma
Good – they have a great schedule this year. Texas is down, Big 12 is down, OSU is well – OSU. On paper, looks like Oklahoma has the easiest path to an undefeated season other than Boise State.

Bad – OU has a history of losing a game early in the season that they had no business losing. If they do that this year, they’ll be out of the running for the National Championship.

Oregon
Good – that ridiculous offense is mostly back and there really isn’t anyone (save Stanford) that is going to stop them in the Pac-10.

Bad – Season opener is against LSU. Can the Ducks survive an early season stumble? I think they can but they will need some help. Namely, LSU losing to somebody else.

LSU
Good – Probably the most talented starting lineup in the country. They have it all – offense, defense and special teams.

Bad – Schedule and bar fights. Opener with Oregon, At Alabama, and then the rest of the SEC West plus whoever comes out of the East. The Alabama game is the one to circle.

Alabama
Roll Tide.
Good – The defense is going to be just NASTY. Trent Richardson. Nick Saban.

Bad – Quarterback and schedule. Penn State, SEC West, LSU. Fortunately they have a home friendly, non-Bye week schedule. LSU/Alabama is the National Title game.

Boise State
Good – They are a talented team but I’m having a hard time with them being ranked in the top 5. Why?

Bad – They don’t play anybody. Georgia is their home opener. An average Georgia team that won 6 games last year. It’s the only game on the schedule to get amped up for. I want to see them play in a big conference with big games in big venues every week.

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6 thoughts on “My Football Ramblings: College Edition

  1. Hey Grant,
    I enjoy reading your astute observations. Having lived in Louisiana for the past 13 years I have come to love LSU and the SEC. It’s just miles ahead of everyone else. They will add A&M and probably 3 more eventually. However, I wanted to share a story with you that you may already know. I heard this story growing up in Marlin, Texas. I knew an older gentleman who was an insurance salesman there in town and was the first 2 sport all-american(football, baseball) in A&M history. As a former student and athlete he was involved in inner workings of the programs. He used to tell this story, and the older he got, the more he told it. The Aggies had recruited one of the best running backs in the nation. They were thrilled to get him. He said he was coming to college station and the boosters knew the price for his commitment. It was a Datsun 280z. A group of boosters met him at the bus station and when he stepped off the bus they knew the Southwest Conference Championship was in their reach. They took him to the local Datsun dealership (owned by an Aggie of course) and let him pick out the one he wanted. The paper work was signed and he said he had to go register for classes. The booster shook hands and hugged as the car drove off. The only problem was that the RB didn’t enroll in classes at A&M. He drove north and enrolled in classes at SMU. His name was Eric Dickerson. This might not be a true story, but if you ask the older influential Aggies that I knew in the 80’s they swear every word is true. Just thought you might enjoy the story, or legend.
    Grace,
    Jason

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  2. I love the fact that you don’t even mention Arkansas. I believe our defense is going to be Nastier than a lot of people realize. Young O Line in a couple of places, but by game 4 they should be ready..should be. If we are good enough by game 4 to beat Bama, then watch out.

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    1. I did mention the little piggies! I think the injury to Davis is a huge loss for the Hogs. It would be like Bama losing Richardson.

      They will be tough but Davis was the beast.

      Like

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