Fire over your questions to me at
email@example.com. I might not be able to answer them
all, but I promise they're all read. Any e-mails sent to this
address may be published or edited unless requested otherwise.
(Please put ASK CFN in the subject line, and PLEASE keep the
questions short ... it makes my life easier.)
Is it just me, or is there a startling lack of concern about
USC when the book Tarnished Heisman is supposed to come
out soon? Maybe it's because I'm bitter, but Ohio State got
dragged through the mud for what seemed like forever over the
accusations of a jilted teen convicted of insurance fraud who's
story was backed up by an ex-mental patient, and a friggin'
novel is coming out on USC that could cost them a national title
and a Heisman trophy and no one even seems to be batting an
eyelash. Am I just being paranoid?
– Brian, Columbus
Did you see the Real Sports piece on Reggie Bush and
all the ways he and his family cheated? NOW do you believe how
dirty USC has been? – FI
A: People, welcome to your intervention.
If you consider an athlete taking money from an agent/booster/superfan/all
of the above, or his family getting cars and other perks,
morally wrong in any way, then get out. Stop being a college
sports fan, stop beating your head against the wall, and go
watch pro sports, get into gardening, hang out with your kids,
or do something else with your life and your passions because
“cheating,” as the NCAA defines it, has always been a part of
college sports, is as much a part of college tradition as the
bands, bowls, and cheerleaders in tight sweaters, is currently a
part of college sports, and will always be a part of college
sports if the misguided and unfair rules continue to be in
If you’re a fan of Ohio State, or any other BCS conference team,
then don’t pay two seconds worth of thought about the Reggie
Bush situation and pray to whatever god you hit your knees at
night to gab to that the truth doesn’t come out about your own
program. Every program has something happening that could be
constituted as a major NCAA violation. It's more pronounced for
the programs with slews of pro prospects.
I know exactly what you're about to ask. “Fine, Mr. Smarty, so if
my program is dirty, then why isn’t it getting nailed with any
You’re watching the Reggie Bush situation, right? You followed
the joke that was the Darren McFadden SUV incident, didn’t you?
For some reason, sometimes the NCAA drops the hammer, and
sometimes it goes, Eh, whatever.
Rhett Bomar … BOOM. McFadden … zzzzz. Maurice Clarett … oh,
well, he’s crazy so he couldn’t have been telling the truth.
There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Deep down you know exactly
what’s going on, and again, if you’re fine with that, cool, and
if you’re not, get out.
Some people do. Some people get sick of the hypocrisy and lose
interest. For me, I know what’s going on, and since I’m for
players being allowed to get outside money and perks, because
there’s NOTHING WRONG WITH IT, I still love big-time college
athletics. The faster you’re able to do the same, the more
you’ll enjoy the on-field product.
To me, cheating is
when a player injects himself with a human growth hormone so he can be
bigger and faster than the next guy. Cheating is when a player turns in
someone else’s term paper as his own. Cheating is when you set up
cameras to steal other team’s signals and plays. A player breaking the
law, the real law, necessitates action. A player benefiting from his
celebrity by making a buck is the American way.
If you need some childish, antiquated notion of pure athletics, then go
watch high school sports. Oh wait; you can’t watch high end high school
basketball. Then go watch junior high school sports. Oh wait; forget
about traveling teams that are robbing kids of their youth and joy for
the game. Actually, go watch D-II and D-III football to get your fix, or
get into non-revenue sports.
If you still have to
be a high-end college sports fan, first of all, you have to rectify in
your mind the difference between right and wrong. You have a problem
with Reggie Bush allegedly getting 3K in cash a week? Then do you have a
problem with players getting $500 worth of swag from the bowls? If
that's O.K., then is $501 worth over the line? How about $5001? Why is
it fair for the Champs Sports Bowl to give a kid an iPod or a Wii, but
Joe Bob Booster can’t buy a player a pizza? Don’t fall for this garbage
of rules are rules are rules; if they’re ridiculous and made up by
ridiculous people, they demand to be broken.
As far as the Real Sports story, actually, I believed it before
there was any sort of a story in the first place. Just like I’ll believe
that almost all the five-star names the recruiting types are currently
fawning all over will soon violate some silly NCAA rule, or have already
I don’t mean to be a killjoy, but if you’re going to be a college sports
fan, you have to know what’s going on and you have to be at peace with
it. If you're surprised in any way about the Reggie Bush situation, then
I'm sorry you took the red pill.
(From last week’s ASK CFN) I agree that Desmond Howard's pro career
wasn't Hall of Fame worthy, but for an undersized receiver turned mostly
return specialist, he did win a Super Bowl MVP. That alone should keep
him away from the top 5 pro busts. – SK
A: First of all, the question was referring to which legendary college
players were the biggest busts and wasn’t about who the biggest all-time
busts were. Ryan Leaf wasn’t a college football all-timer. Second,
“undersized” has nothing to do with anything; it’s not like Howard
didn’t have all-world talent. He was the fourth pick in the draft, which
means he needed to have been a perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver for the
Washington Redskins and not just a return guy for another team. You and
I could’ve been the Super Bowl MVP against the Patriots with the
blocking Howard received (including a major clip that never got called).
I didn’t include Howard in my five, but yeah, considering he was one of
the greatest college wide receivers ever, he was one of the all-time
biggest busts for the Washington Redskins.
Nice article (on
Recruiting 2008 - What You Need To Know), but it sort of
illustrates how much the recruiting gurus hype everything up to sell
subscriptions. According to your article & particularly the quotes
scout.com guys who cover them, all coaches previewed are having an
outrageous, insane, incredible bumper crop of prospects this year. In
world with finite resources this does not quite seem possible. – MAC
A: You’re right. You’ll never hear a coach hold a press conference
dogging his class because, for the most part, everyone goes after
certain guys for a reason, and most of the time, they know who they’re
going to get. There’s always going to be drama among the elite of the
elite stars, but that doesn’t mean, say, Ohio State isn’t going to bring
in a great class if it doesn’t get Terrell Pryor. My problem is that not
enough is made of the programs that don’t get the four and five-star
guys but get the players who fit the system, like West Virginia,
Wisconsin and Texas Tech are able to do. You can win without the
superstars, but you’ve got to nail it on the guys you do get.
Why is it year in and year out the PAC-10 gets no respect from
writers? – JP
A: For doing what? The problem with Pac 10 fans screaming for respect is
that it goes both ways. USC always gets the benefit of the doubt, but
who else in the conference has demanded and earned the respect you’re
craving? You do have a point since most writers on the other side of the
Mississippi never really watch Pac 10 football, but that’s ignorance
more than a bias. However, when you do have writers, like ours, who do
watch all the games and points out when a conference is going into the
tank, like the Pac 10 did over the second half of last year, then you
can’t pull the “bias” or the lack of respect tag out of your pocket.
It’s all about being fair and balanced, and I thought we were when the
league bounced back and had a good bowl season.
My question to you is, as a college football fan, who would you
rather see win the Super Bowl? New England is unquestionably the best
team in the NFL. On the one hand, they deserve it. It would be a shame
for them to lose one game all season, yet not be considered "champions"
because their one loss came on Super Bowl Sunday and not week 3 of the
meaningless regular season. On the other hand, should the Giants win
the rematch, wouldn't it prove the NFL playoffs are just as flawed as
the BCS? Who could possibly argue that New York was the best team in
the NFL when they were the 5th seed in the NFC and didn't even win their
own division? – MM
A: New England, but I don’t really care that much outside of wanting the
sad 1972 Miami Dolphin team, among the most overrated in all of sports
history, to finally be muzzled. If New York wins, that just goes to show
how little the NFL season really matters and what a fluke the playoffs
can be, but whatever. To me, the Super Bowl is amateur hour. I’m a much
bigger fan of the beginning of the year, and I’m an even bigger fan of
the nuts and bolts of training camp, the draft, and all that goes into
putting together a team in the first place.
On a scale to 10 please tell me how delusional I am. I think that
if bad coaching could take UCLA from a pre-season 10 win team to a 6-7
embarrassment then good coaching can take a team with more modest
expectations to great heights. Is it too much for me to expect that
Rick Neuheisel and company can do for UCLA what Dennis Erikson did for
ASU? – Alex, Las Vegas
A: 10, but it has nothing to do with UCLA. What gets lost in the Bruin
coaching situation was how hurt the team was. Karl Dorrell wasn’t a bad
head coach, and I’ve always been on the record saying he got a bad rap.
Does he deserve to get hammered for not having a No. 3 quarterback who
could play? Maybe, but what team would succeed with all the skill
players hitting the infirmary. Of course, in a city like Los Angeles, a
pro-style town that’s used to USC being a national player every year,
it's all about winning, and there will be little grace period for
Neuheisel. Yes, considering how big a program UCLA is, anything less
than a winning season will be unacceptable.
Why is the national perception of WVU right now that it is the
"psycho" girlfriend who can't get over the fact that it lost it's coach
to a "better" program? NOBODY in West Virginia cares about Rich
Rodriquez. We're over it: he's gone, we have a new coach (and if you
haven't noticed, a much better defensive coaching staff and 3 coaches
who made lateral moves from the SEC to join the party) and we're ready
for '08. EVERYBODY, however, cares about the $4 million he contractually
agreed, in August, would be the appropriate measure of damages if he
resigned before August 2008. Why is that so hard for people (and the
media) to understand? If Fox owed you $4 million and publicly stated it
wasn't going to pay you, would you "let it go?" – AA
A: There’s more to it than that. Yeah, of course you want the 4-mildo,
but if it weren’t for all the bizarre outside things happening, you’d
think the program would’ve blown it off considering Rodriguez put the
program on the elite of the elite map. Don Nehlan had his moments, but
West Virginia was a perennial punching bag in the bowl games. Rich Rod
changed that. Your program is now in the hunt for the national title
because of him. Let it go, let him go, and thank him.
Did you learn anything from watching the East-West Shrine Game or
reading the box score? – John in Virginia
A: No. The actual game itself doesn’t really matter. It’s all about the
practices for the coaches and scouts. The game can only help a player,
and if someone stinks, it’s mostly thrown out as a fluke. It’s about how
a player looks on a day-to-day basis and how his habits and attitude