Five Thoughts: Week 1
Week Three Thoughts
You Can't Unring the Bell
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
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
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
4. 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
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
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
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
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.