Cavalcade of Whimsy
College Football For the Handsome
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- Part 2 - The CFN Playoff Committee Exam
Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … I commissioned an "independent" investigation to look into the allegations that it sucked. Shockingly, the finding from my "independent" research committee came back that it doesn't suck, as detailed in the report entitled "The Rush To Injustice Regarding Whether Or Not This Column Sucks."
"And I don't need some penny-ante Woodward and Bernstein to come along and get in the way of my men" ... Nice try, Paterno family. Two words to refute your self-serving I-am-rubber-you-are-glue investigation thingy about the Freeh report: Sara Ganim.
The story will be done in 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 ... The deafening silence you're hearing is the rest of the world – including Penn State University – not having the slightest bit of interest in bringing all of this up again.
But give the Paterno family credit for being among the few Penn Staters who actually read the Freeh report ... Uhhhhh, Paterno family, of course you do realize that the person who blows your
big bag of hot air out of the sky is … Joe Paterno. You did actually read his Grand Jury testimony when he was under oath, right?
Here's the thing the Paternos aren't getting – Freeh didn't go after Joe Paterno. The findings were scathing against the system as well as Penn State University and its inaction at the highest of levels. Paterno was a part of the report, but he was hardly the focus of it.
Your 2013 Recruiting All-Name Team ... It's the one part about the recruiting period I actually love – all the new names. It's time to get used to a whole new set of upcoming stars and other players who'll soon take over our Saturday afternoons. Some names are better than others, and here they are.
The coolest names from the 2013 recruiting class.
QB – Brogan Roback, Eastern Michigan
RB – Jihaad Pretlow, Temple
RB – Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State
WR – Laquvionte Gonzalez, Texas A&M
WR – Damore'ea Stringfellow, Washington
TE – Jake Butt, Michigan (Of course he's a tight end. Insert wide receiver joke here.)
OT – Shamire DeVine, Georgia Tech
OT – Sadiq Olanrewaju, Virginia
OG – Ahongalu Fusimalohi, Kansas
OG – Kyle Schafenacker, Connecticut
C – Quincy Awa-Dubose, BYU
PK – Chris Blewitt, Pitt (Of course he's a kicker.)
DE – Ogbonnia Okoronwu, Oklahoma
DT- Finesse Middleton, Louisville
DT – Kingsley Opara, Maryland
DE – Torrodney Prevot, Oregon
OLB – Nomluis Fruge, Houston
MLB – Jordan Mastrogiovanni, Texas A&M
OLB – Matt Smallbone, Miami University
CB - Ranthony Texada, TCU
S – Rachid Ibrahim, Pitt
S – Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson
CB – Chocolate Wilson, Marshall
P – Matt Cotiguala, Central Michigan
"Yes there is! An infallible way, they won!"... That's right, Hugh Freeze, poke the bear.
If you're going to bring in an epic recruiting class, just do it, thump your chest, and then throw
it right back at any SEC fan base who dares to chirp. Recruiting is a nasty, brutal, ugly game, and there's no room for whining.
As anyone who deals with the SEC world for any
length of time knows, you never gripe down the
chain. Not only can't you win, no one will ever
believe you because if you're successful in any way,
13 other fan bases are going to scream foul. That's
part of the deal.
However, in an attempt to answer some the critics who questioned how Ole Miss could possibly land eight four-star talents and four five-star types including the No. 1 overall recruit (DE Robert Nkemdiche), the No. 1 offensive tackle (Laremy Tunsil), the No. 3 safety (Antonio Conner) and the No. 5 receiver (Laquon Treadwell) after bringing in just one five-star guy and no four-star recruits last year and five four-star prospects in 2011, Freeze tweeted this preemptive strike, "If you have facts about a violation, send it to email@example.com. If not, please do not slander these young men or insult their family"
Okay. Here's one concrete, irrefutable fact …
YOU'RE OLE MISS, AND YOUR RECRUITING CLASS IS RANKED IN THE TOP TEN.
No, there aren't any facts coming in about any violations with the Ole Miss recruiting class, and I absolutely don't give a flying fig if there are.
I know, I know, I know, Nkemdiche's brother, Denzel, is already a star for the Rebels, and Conner made a big deal about wanting to stay close at home, so if you want to sell the idea that the elite talents chose Oxford because of the school and the football program, whatever. It really doesn't matter if it's something different, because
when all is said, signed and done, no one cares how the sausage is made
once the ball is kicked off.
The coaches don't care. As long as Johnny Fivestar is faxing in his LOI, job done. Every coach – EVERY COACH – starts his recruiting pitch with how going to Big State gives the kid a shot at a "world-class education and collegiate experience." And then comes the lip-service about the idea of caring mostly about bringing in "quality young men with good character." Of course, players who can run a 4.4 or have NFL-ready bodies at 18 tend to have
a higher moral fiber.
The players don't care. Like some top five running back is choosing a school based on its geology department and switches his loyalties at the final moment because he's weighing a pitch about a pre-med track. Recruiting season is yee-ha
time for the parents and other relatives, and if you
have four or five stars next to your name, at some
point you've been offered something fun.
The schools don't care. Actually, they do, but it's
a 77-3 loss whenever some school president tries to
restrain the mighty sports program. Kill the
football program, or simply wound it, and you gut
the rest of the athletic department and cheese off
the alumni base while crushing the local economy.
The NCAA doesn't care. Actually, it does, but it doesn't have the manpower, the subpoena ability or the resources to do any sort of true investigative work. When was the last time you heard about a player getting nailed for talking to an agent? After making a big deal about wanting to clean things up a few years ago and hitting schools left and right for a variety of reasons, the policing has slowed to a crawl.
How much does the NCAA not care? Things are about to get even more deregulated in the recruiting world with schools now able to saturation bomb a recruit with unlimited communication. Recruiting is about to become a more sophisticated process with the richer schools bringing in pro talent evaluators and more experts to breakdown and research recruits, almost like the NFL does with the draft. There's so much money involved now that it doesn't do anyone any good to
destroy the major programs.
Everyone just wants to watch the games and die-hards
don't want to see anyone get thrown on probation. It sucked when USC wasn't able to play for anything. It sucked that Ohio State went 12-0 and wasn't able to be in the national title discussion. It sucked that Miami punished itself and didn't play for the ACC title, and it sucked that a better North Carolina team wasn't eligible.
Real change isn't coming any time soon when it comes
to college football recruiting. There just isn't
enough of a push for it.
Just like watching the Tour de France and anything Olympian that involves a timer, at this point, I'm just assuming that the shenanigans going on are a cost of doing business. And yes,
most of it really is okay.
"Hi, uh, Nikki, this is Mike. I met you at the, um, at the Dresden tonight. I just called to say that I had a great time... and you should call me tomorrow, or in two days, whatever. Anyway, my number is 213-555-4679 -
[the machine beeps] … Hi, Nikki, this is Mike again. I just called cuz it sounded like your machine might've cut me off when I, before I finished leaving my number. Anyway, uh, and, y'know, and also, sorry to call so late, but you were still at the Dresden when I left so I knew I'd get your machine. Anyhow, uh, my number's 21 -
[the machine beeps] … 213-555-4679. That's it. I just wanna leave my number. I didn't want you to think I was weird or desperate, or... we should just hang out and see where it goes cuz it's nice and, y'know, no expectations. Ok? Thanks a lot. Bye bye." ... However, as it turns out, the Big Ten cares about recruiting. After a meeting in the conference offices, the big wigs are "concerned" about several aspects of the new recruiting guidelines and proposals, particularly the general deregulation along with the elimination of legislation regarding the number of printed, video and audio promotional materials that can be sent out. Just a guess, but Mr. Meyer and Mr. Hoke might not have too big a problem with the changes.
"Jesus, say hello to Buffy and Suzie."... I care about players using steroids and PEDs, because I don't want some kid to ruin his insides just to be big enough and strong enough to compete with everyone else for a scholarship and playing time.
I care about grades. I hate that to truly be an elite college football player, unless you have a special focus, it's next to impossible not to drown in the work needed to play at the highest level.
I care about brains. Despite the stuff the NFL is trying to sling, the only way to protect guys from protein build up in the brain from the constant bip-bip-bip is to not play football. Please, go ahead and play football for my amusement, but at least know what you're getting into.
I care about using girls to sell a school.
I really and truly don't care if players get money or gifts - they get stipends from the NCAA and presents from bowl games – but if you need to stoop to bringing in hired guns to a recruit's room, you've lost. That's a different level of sleaze.
Forgive me for writing this every year about this time ... Every time I ever dive into the ickiness of recruiting, I get hit by the same e-mail over and over and over again. "If cheating was so rampant, wouldn't someone have leaked it?" Someone did. Nothing happened.
Stanley McClover, Troy Reddick and other former Auburn players slammed the program, along with the entire system of college football recruiting, in the Real Sports piece a few years ago, and absolutely nothing ever came of it. Michigan State, Ohio State, LSU and others were also thrown under the bus, and no one had enough energy to even muster a yawn. Those who did raise their voice only did so to thunder away at McClover's story and character.
Josh Luchs showed how easy it was and is for agents to get to players in a piece done by Sports Illustrated, and he showed in graphic detail how top prospects are funded and paid off. The story instantly fizzled.
There aren't any gay college football players, right? Because if there were, of course someone would've come out by now or would've been uncovered in today's day and age of ever-invasive media.
No one in college football is using PEDs, right? Because if it was an issue, of course someone would've squawked at this point.
We don't hear about it, so there's no cheating going on in college football, right?
- Part 2 - The CFN Playoff Committee Exam