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5 Thoughts ... Bush, Klinkenborg, & more
Posted Sep 17, 2006

Should Reggie Bush have to give back the Heisman and should USC forfeit its wins over the last three years? Mike Klinkenborg's tribute, showing gruesome injuries on TV and the perfect marriage of Gary Danielson and the SEC. These and more in the latest 5 Thoughts.

Five Thoughts: Week 1 | Week 2
Week Three Thoughts

You Can't Unring the Bell

By Pete Fiutak   
1. You’re too late, NCAA. Reggie Bush won the 2005 Heisman. USC won a national title, played in another championship game, and earned all the money it deserved from the BCS appearances over the last three years. Now there’s talk of wiping the record books of all of those things if Bush, while still in school, and his family, as has been alleged, took around $100,000 from a sports marketing company.

You’re too late.

If someone had caught Bush violating NCAA rules at the time, when he was still eligible, that’s one thing, but you can’t tag USC retroactively. The games happened. The memories are there. If you want to punish the school in the future by taking away scholarships and bowl eligibility, that’s another story, but you can’t rewrite history.

What if a former University of Chicago football player had documented proof that Jay Berwanger took $40 from a booster to go buy a suit? Would the 1935 Heisman be taken away and given to Army’s Monk Meyer? Of course not. What if we find out ten years from now that three starters off the 2005 Texas national championship team were given a few turkey sandwiches by boosters? Depending on the context, that’s an NCAA violation. Should those players be declared ineligible after the fact and should Texas forfeit its title? Please.

If you really, really, want to do some serious reporting and digging, you can probably find a way to take away the national title from anyone who’s won it over the last 50+ years. Heismans? Get out your handy dandy notebook and your thinking chair and you can probably find something on most Heisman winners from around 1950 through the early 1980s, when there was out-and-out open bidding for top talent and boosters ran amok.

Reggie, don’t give that trophy back and Vince, reject it if he does. USC, don’t give back a dime. NCAA, do a better job next time.

Don't Tread on Me

By Richard Cirminiello
2. Message to Miami and any other rudderless program: When you do a pre-game cha-cha on the opponent’s logo, all you do is incite the other team and its fans and display a complete lack of class and good sense.  Really, what is the point of that behavior and why do coaching staffs permit it? Obviously looking to compensate for a lack of in-game execution, the ‘Canes tried it in Louisville Saturday, but got waxed 31-7 by a Cardinal team that was without Heisman hopefuls Michael Bush and Brian Brohm for all and part of the game, respectively.  Louisville LB and Miami native Nate Harris made all kinds of news last week when he said the ‘Canes had lost their swagger.  What was all the fuss about? Harris was spot on, showing guts for saying something the rest of us have known for more than a year.  Miami is a weak facsimile of the team Larry Coker inherited from Butch Davis five years ago and a non-factor outside the ACC, but, hey, at least they know how to cut a rug.

Klinkenborg, Pressing On

By John Harris
3. This past summer, there was a little boy running down the beach with a t-shirt that had a big football on the front, and the back read “Football is life, the rest is details”.  Of course, it’s the perfect tongue in cheek slogan for football lovers, but for Iowa LB Mike Klinkenborg that shirt took on a completely different meaning this week.  Unfortunately, a more literal one.  Just recently after being the key cog in one of the greatest goal line stands that we’ve seen when Iowa stopped Syracuse on seven straight plays in overtime from the two yard line, Klinkenborg’s father, Myron, passed away from a heart attack.  The junior linebacker suffered this unspeakable tragedy days before Iowa was to face their cross-state rival Iowa State at home.  But, after laying his father to rest, the family decided that Klinkenborg’s father would have wanted his son to play in the game.  They felt that not only would their father have wanted Mike to play, they surmised that Mike needed to play.  Whether football was more important than family because he was playing might have been a prevailing thought for some watching in Iowa City or at home on television, but for the Klinkenborg family, Mike’s football game might have been the best way to celebrate a man’s life.  Their father’s life.  And, young Mike would be the family’s representative to show the state of Iowa and anyone who cared to tune in on Saturday what manner of man his father was.  Once on that field, the chaos of a 60 minute football game was probably therapeutic for Klinkenborg and his family and Mike put in a performance that should resonate in that community, university and state for years.  It might have been only 8 tackles, but it was more than that.  His presence alone showed a commitment to two families, one who had an immense loss this week and one that was about to beat Iowa State.  Football might just be a game, but it can foster relationships between family members, and team members, in a way that is difficult to understand.  The Klinkenborg’s understand.  His dad has the best seat possible for the rest of his son’s Iowa career.  A son who should be applauded for his effort, given for a man he dearly loved.  As he told ESPN, a man he would “see again someday”.  And, what a day that’ll be.

The Unnecessary Shot

By Pete Fiutak   
. I'm repeating myself, but I vow that every time a network telecast unnecessarily exploits a player by showing a slow motion close-up of a player being injured, I'll write this.

It all started with ABC's super-slow, frame-by-frame shot of Willis McGahee's knee being blown up in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, and I'll continue to rant until the shameless nimrods in the production booths finally stop showing graphic replays of these injuries, especially without warning.

Early on Saturday night in USC's 28-10 win over Nebraska, Trojan RB Ryan Powdrell was hit awkwardly and went down in obvious pain. In real time, you could see his dislocated ankle pointing the wrong way while the trainers from both sides sprinted on to the field. Imagine the most pain you've ever been in. Now imagine going through your ordeal with 80,000 people watching you live and tens of millions seeing you writhe in pain on TV.

This isn't the NFL. These players aren't being paid. To show gruesome injuries caters to the lowest common denominator of blood lust fans, and there's no place for it in college football. If you really want to see horrific images like that, there are plenty of videos you can rent, or you can just watch the new NBC fall lineup.

Shame on you, ABC, for showing a close-up replay of Powdrell's twisted leg without warning. Brent Musburger, Bob Davie, and Kirk Herbrstreit know exactly what I'm talking about and were obviously thrown off by the injury. Next time, berate the director on the air for choosing to show the injury. 

SEC and Danielson ... A Perfect Fit

By Matthew Zemek
While insisting that Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen needs to fire some people for the weekend's events in Eugene, one would also do well to note the splendid CBS debut of the best college football game analyst on the planet.

Gary Danielson--given two extra weeks to observe college football before breaking into Black Rock--was fresh on Saturday night for CBS' Florida-Tennessee broadcast, and it showed. Every single thing that needed to be said about the game was noted by Danielson, who clearly benefits from Verne Lundquist's low-key broadcast in contrast to Brent Musburger's more theatrical play-by-play call.

Florida's early speed and tempo; Chris Leak's poor first-half plays; the nuances of play-calling and goal-setting for an offense pinned against its own goal line; the true grit of Tennessee's Justin Harrell; the skillfulness of Erik Ainge; the distinction between hot reads and planned plays; the dissection of man and zone defenses; and the implications of the new clock rules--these and other essential components of Gators-Vols were addressed with clarity and precision by Danielson. It was as good a broadcast as he's ever delivered, and given how high he's set the bar over the years, that's saying something.

SEC football makes for great television as it is; with Gary Danielson around, CBS has the best TV product on college football Saturdays, hands down.