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As the battle
for the top recruits rages on, I wanted your opinion on what
matters most for the 5 star All-Everything recruits: 1.
Proximity to Mom, 2. Coaching staff/players, 3. Immediate
playing time, 4. Track record of putting guys in the League, 5.
Academics, 6. Campus life/surroundings. – MT
A: Can I add a seventh involving pictures of ex-presidents and
easy housing/jobs/loans for a parent? I’d also like to add an
eighth, which I like to call “Recruiting Visit,” my idea for a
late night Cinemax movie based on the Jesus Shuttlesworth visit
to Big State in He Got Game. Don’t discount how one
weekend of whoop-de-doo time can influence a 17-year-old (or a
bitter 37-year-old sportswriter). Based on your factors, for the
most part, I’d rate the importance for the 5-Star recruit … 1.
Immediate playing time, 2. Track record of putting guys in the
League, 3. Coaching staff/players, 4. Campus life/surroundings,
5. Proximity to Mom, 6. Academics.
Back in the late '80's and early '90's Nebraska would have
great regular seasons and than get pounded in a bowl game. The
last two years Ohio State has done the same. With the way people
talk about Ohio State I'm getting major flashbacks. This is a
great team that just so happen to play against greater teams. I
feel a monster is slowly being created in Buckeye land just like
Nebraska in the mid '90's. Agree? – Bryan
A: Disagree. There’s one major difference: Ohio State has
recently won a national title. The beef with Nebraska back then
was that it couldn’t get over the hump. It hadn’t proven it
could get the job done. Also, it’s not like Ohio State is
getting pounded in just any old bowl games; it lost two straight
national championships, while the Huskers lost seven straight
bowl games before beating Miami in the 1995 Orange Bowl for the
national title. The other major difference is that the last two
Buckeye teams were loaded, LOADED with NFL talent. Those Husker
teams had one or two first round guys, but most of the talent
was late round NFL stock. The monster has already been created
in Buckeye-land. It just needs tweaking.
Is Charlie Weis' job on the line in 08? Supposedly their
recruiting class is killer. Do you also think that he's gotten
a longer rope than Willingham? I think Willingham got a raw
deal there, but I am a Notre Dame loather (is that a word?).
A: The only way Weis is fired if he has another year like 2007
since the schedule is way easier (San Diego State, Michigan, at
Michigan State, Purdue, Stanford, at North Carolina, at
Washington, Pitt, at BC, Navy (in Baltimore) and Syracuse). He
doesn’t have to get back to the BCS, but there had better be a
general sense that he’s building something special around a slew
of young, talented players. Willingham, by comparison, did get a
raw deal now that Weis is struggling, and that will be brought
up again and again if the Irish don’t have a big season. The
knock on Willingham was that he wasn't bringing in the recruits.
Now, Weis has the recruits coming in, but he has to prove he can
win with them.
From time to time you mention that the national media and
even the Florida media and Florida fans do not particularly like
Tim Tebow. I’m an Ohio State fan in Chicago and haven’t heard
much about this beyond your comments on CFN and I’m a little bit
baffled by it. What’s not to like about him? He is talented,
smart, articulate, hardworking and clean cut. He doesn’t drive
around Tallahassee in an alumni donated SUV and his family isn’t
on the booster club payroll. I wish that he played in Columbus
(And believe me, that’s a painful statement for an OSU fan to
say. There is no love in Buckeye Nation for anything associated
with that smug, arrogant, twerp Urban Meyer). Do Florida fans
not appreciate what they have? What’s up with this? – Barry
A: Not sure where that idea came from; the Gator fans LOVE him.
They loved him from the moment he set foot on campus, to the
point that some were ready to shove aside Chris Leak from day
one. No, Florida fans don’t hate Tebow; everyone else does. Any
time any player, especially a really good one, is overly peppy,
he’s a target. I equate him to former Duke basketball players
and Chris Collins. The rah-rah players always draw the ire.
Being a Tennessee/SEC
booster, I was wondering…if the bowl games were played predominantly in
the north or west, do you think the southern teams ( i.e. SEC ) would be
the big dogs on the block, or would the Big 10 and the PAC 10 be the
ones standing tall when the smoke cleared?
A: So basically, can the warm weather teams play in the cold when it
comes to, say, a New York bowl game? Yes, Big East, Big Ten and Big 12
teams do play in more cold games than the SEC, but it’s not like they
play in 5-degree weather in November. The key would be the field
conditions. If there’s snow, that would slow down any perceived SEC
speed advantage, and it would be a new world for a Florida or LSU to
deal with. West bowls don’t matter if you’re thinking geography makes a
difference. Florida did just fine in the 2007 BCS Championship game.
What is the college football corollary to Reggie Miller scoring 8
points in 11 seconds, or Cleveland coming back from 12 down in the 7th
inning against Seattle in 2001? I'm thinking it has to be something
along the lines of TD, onside kick, TD, onside kick, FG to win, but
honestly have no idea. – Skip, San Francisco
A: If I’m reading you right, you’re sort of asking two different things.
1) The Reggie Miller zone, where one player goes ballistic and comes up
with ridiculous stats to change a game, and 2) the Indians-Marines run,
where a team goes ballistic to pull off a win. In its last two bowl
games, Texas Tech fits the team role. The Red Raiders were down 28-14 to
Virginia in the 2008 Gator Bowl with just under four minutes to play.
Michael Crabtree caught a 20-yard touchdown pass with 3:31 left, and
after a forced turnover, Aaron Crawford tied it up 21 seconds later, and
Alex Trlica nailed a field goal as time expired. In the 2006 Insight
Bowl, Tech was down 38-7 to Minnesota with less than 20 minutes to play.
A furious rally, helped by 24 points in the fourth quarter, forced
overtime with the Red Raiders winning.
As far as a Miller-like individual performance, the best scenario I
could come up with would be a defensive back/kick returner taking a punt
back for a score, and then picking off a pass for a touchdown on the
ensuing drive. Arizona’s Antoine Cason took a pass for a 42-yard score
and returned a punt for a touchdown in the second quarter against
Oregon, but the two came almost ten minutes apart.
I ask you to devote a whole column/article explaining to the college
football playoff enthusiasts why they probably don’t really want a
playoff (at least not one that remotely resembles what they do in the
NFL and that is run and sanctioned by the NCAA). You and the occasional
talking head or columnist mention this fact, but most college fans don’t
have a clue about how the money works in the BCS versus in an NCAA
sanctioned playoff. There is some big time misinformation out there
about how this would work. BCS means the BCS conferences control the
dough and don’t have to share it with anyone but Notre Dame and the
occasional party crasher like Hawaii or Boise. For the SEC, Big 10 and
Big 12 this year that is $34 million each from the BCS. While the
amount of TV money that a playoff could generate certainly dwarfs the
BCS money, any NCAA sanctioned playoff money would be controlled and
distributed through the NCAA. I don’t know exactly how the basketball
money is divvied up, but I do know that everyone gets some, including
the bureaucracy of the NCAA and the power conferences probably figure
they would come out a net loser in that scenario. – JMC
A: You’re right in that colleges have no interest in creating an NCAA
playoff because of the revenue set up, but it doesn’t have to be that
way to make most fans happy. If the BCS Championship game was a week or
so after January 1, playing the two top teams from the BCS games, you’ve
got your championship, you’ve got your playoff, and most would be
relatively happy. As I keep saying, put BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 4 in one
bowl, BCS No. 2 vs. BCS No. 3 in another, and play the two winners in
the national championship.
Major college football fan here. I'm one of those of us who watched
all 32 bowl games, and will spend the summer looking for whatever
"classics" are on. Over the last couple of years, I have started hunting
down more of the lower division games, and I have to ask: How long do
you think before App State joins D-1A? Many people think their win over
Michigan was a joke on Michigan, but let's face it-they are now
three-peat champions. An upset, yes, but a fluke? I think not. Actually,
I was a little upset that Delaware didn't show for the CG; they sure
looked a lot better the week before against Southern Illinois –
A: D-I of FBS status has nothing to do with talent and results. The best
D-IAA teams would do well at the higher level, and be better than at
least the bottom third of the D-Iers, but again, it’s more than that.
You need to be able to grant more scholarships for all sports, not just
football, and you need to average a certain attendance level. If it were
as simple as boosting up the football program, ASU would be FBS
tomorrow, but it requires a big overall athletic department commitment.
Attendance isn’t an issue as ASU averaged over 22,000 per game; numbers
many MAC and Sun Belt teams would kill for.
Remember when everyone was wondering how to shorten college football
games, and the NCAA decided to implement those ridiculous rules about
the clock running before kickoffs and changes of possession? Fans cried
foul (rightfully) and the rules were changed back without implementing
any other time saving measures. I agree that the length of college
football games is too long (with kids it's impossible to devote four
hours at a time to a football game), so I was wondering: why doesn't the
NCAA implement the NFL rule where the clock stops momentarily when a
player goes out of bounds, then starts again when the referee whistles
the ball is ready for play (not when the play actually starts). This has
made NFL games significantly faster since it was implemented, yet I've
never heard anyone bring it up as a possible solution for college
football. Why? – CW
A: It’s a decent option, but not a necessary one. It hasn’t gotten any
traction because college coaches cry and whine if you take away a few
minutes and the chance to run more plays. The solution is simple: cut
down halftimes. The bands can come out before and after the games, can
run through their rendition of We Built This City at halftime, and the
game, overall, would be cut by roughly 15 minutes. The schools don’t
want this because the longer the halftimes go, the more weenies and
pretzels they can sell. NFL halftimes are a mere 15 minutes, and it’s
always a stunner on a Sunday that the action comes right back after
seemingly waiting for days for games to resume on a college football
After reading your
stance on the Reggie Bush issue (and "cheating" in college FB in
general), I mostly agree with you. However, I wanted to get your take
on a specific case. Say a blue chip recruit is deciding between USC and
UCLA. USC gives the recruit $50K and a new car, UCLA doesn't. Johnny
B. Good goes to USC. Do you consider that "cheating"? –
A: Cheating, yes, Wrong, no. Most of the counter-responses to my
ramblings last week about how the Reggie Bush situation is more common
than you think regarded morality and college athletics. Morality is in
the eye of the beholder, and don’t confuse the NCAA rule book with a
guide to morals and values. Yes, according to the rules, USC, in your
chase, would absolutely be cheating. However, I don’t have a problem
with breaking a silly rule that’s in place to keep the players down. If
a player is skating by academically, doing performance enhancing drugs,
or breaking the law, the real kind, then I have a problem.
That Reggie Bush response was total horses***. You think the players
should be paid? I guess getting free school, free meals, free housing,
academic support AND a stipend isn’t enough for these pampered primma
donnas? You want them to get paid, too? You’re an idiot. – JK
Really, players can’t be given salaries by the schools. So what’s
your perfect solution, within reason, for the Bush situation? - NJ
A: First of all, I absolutely 100% completely and totally agree that the
schools shouldn’t be paying the athletes anything. In fact, I’m against
athletic scholarships altogether, but that’s getting off the point. My
solution is simple. Allow the players to have agents and be allowed to
take money from boosters, advertisers, and anyone else who wants to give
it to them. The NCAA rules should then be in place to say that a school
or university can’t give a player any money, therefore taking the
pressure off a university to bid for a player. If T. Boone Pickens wants
to build Oklahoma State into a superpower by putting the top players on
a salary, whatever.
The common backlash response to this concept is, “but only a few schools
would dominate.” What’s happening now? Who’s going to be good next year?
LSU, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC. Who was good last year? LSU,
Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC. Who’ll be good ten years from now?
LSU, Florida …. Under my plan, Oklahoma State has a shot at being a
consistent national player; it doesn’t now.
Now, if the debate is about the scholarships being enough of a payment
for the top stars, then that’s just flat wrong. For example, Hawaii
wouldn’t have gone to the Sugar Bowl without Colt Brennan. Because of
him and what he was able to do, the Warriors ended up making roughly $4
million more than if they had finished 11-1 and stayed home to play in
the Hawaii Bowl. Brennan saved the Hawaii athletic budget. Another
example is Brady Quinn. Notre Dame wouldn’t have gone to two straight
BCS games without Quinn, who pulled out enough late wins to get to the
big money games, so he made the school tens of millions of dollars, not
to mention all the revenue produced by T-shirt sales, keeping the TV
contract rolling, etc. College football is a multi-billion dollar
business for everyone. Everyone except the players who are producing the
revenue. Again, I’m not saying players should be paid by the schools,
but a Brennan or Quinn should’ve been able to do ads, take money from
boosters, and make some side dough.