PENN STATE BOWL BAN, NOW LIFTED, SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN IN PLACE
I could say that the NCAA got it right by lifting Penn State’s bowl ban, effective this season.
But the fact is, the Nittany Lions never should have been hit with NCAA probation in the first place. At least not with the penalties as severe as they were – scholarship reductions and an original four-year bowl ban.
I have said all along: The Jerry Sandusky affair was a criminal matter (of the worst kind) – not an NCAA issue dealing with cheating or having an unfair advantage over competitive schools.
The people involved should have been punished criminally and they were. Sandusky was tried and judged and will never be free again; Joe Paterno died before the investigation played out; and Penn State’s athletic director, who was supposed to be providing leadership, was fired.
To penalize new coach Bill O’Brien, and now James Franklin, and most importantly, the Penn State players and fans, for the past two seasons was completely unnecessary. It was simply the NCAA overreacting to big-city media types who constantly beat the drum to do something severe.
For example, if an assistant coach of a major football program would commit murder, would the NCAA have the right to put the school on probation? If the assistant coach raped a woman and then a third-party told the head coach it may have happened, would the NCAA have the right to impose a bowl ban?
The point is this: These were crimes punishable by our judicial system. They had nothing to do with recruiting, extra benefits or gaining a competitive advantage.
NCAA President Mark Emmert, who has constantly bungled things over the past few years (Miami investigation), completely relied on the Louis Freeh report, felt he must act swiftly because of public pressure, then knee-jerked and got it wrong without a proper investigation.
Now the NCAA is back-tracking a bit, lifting the bowl ban, claiming the school complied with more than 100 requirements.
I say it is two years too late to come their senses. In addition to getting the bowl ban lifted, Penn State also will be allowed to have the full complement of football scholarships in 2015.
“It will have an impact on this class,” Franklin said of recruiting. “I don't know if it will be as big an impact as some people think.”
No doubt this is great news for Franklin and Penn State, but not good news for his Big Ten competitors who recruit the same players as the Nittany Lions, such as Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers and Maryland. Franklin already has those schools’ attention because he has been very successful securing commitments from many sought-after four-and five-star players in the region.
Currently, Penn State has the seventh best class for 2015, with 19 verbal commitments, according to Scout.com. By contrast, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin rank 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st so far. Signing day is in February.
MICHIGAN’s HOKE No. 1…
…Just not where he wants to be.
That is his ranking on the updated hot seat list, replacing Florida’s Will Muschamp.
Yes, the wolves are circling and Brady’s Bunch is a mess after the 31-0 whipping Michigan took from Notre Dame Saturday in the last meeting between the teams. It ended the NCAA-record 365 straight games without being shut out, dating to 1984 when the Wolverines lost six games.
One Detroit columnist already called for his firing, unless the Wolverines upset rivals Michigan State and Ohio State. Both games are on the road, where Hoke has a 7-12 record as UM head coach. Following his initial 11-2 season, the Wolverines are 16-12 in the past three seasons under Hoke.
Asked about the growing discontent from the fan base, Hoke said, "If they’re truly fans, they’ll believe in these kids and what they’ve done and the hard work they’ve put in. If they’re not, they won’t. Our goal is still there. Our goal, we’ve stated a thousand times, is to win the Big Ten championship, so that’s out there. Now, do we have to get better and work hard? Yeah, we do.”
Hoke is 20-2 at Michigan Stadium, where the Wolverines host hapless and winless Miami of Ohio Saturday.
FISHER RESPONDS IN STYLE
Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher couldn’t have been more classy in the way he responded to losing three defensive linemen to The Citadel’s system of cut blocking. The Citadel suspended one offensive lineman after the Seminoles’ 37-12 win for comments on social media that he “was trying to take their knees out.”
"That's how that offense blocks. We cut people, too. That offense cuts," Fisher said. "I don't think they were deliberately trying to do stuff. There are always questionable blocks when you play a team like that. A lot of our guys who got injured, people fell into them. They weren't all cut blocks, things like that. There were a couple that were questionable, but that's always in every game. I don't think they're coached that way and I don't think their players are that way. I don't buy all that.
"I've talked to their coach, and we had a great conversation. They don't teach that, and I don't think that's indicative of them. They have a great program and things happen and kids do things. If you hold a whole program hostage to what one young man says all the time, then it's like if you have 10 brothers and sisters and one guy's a knucklehead, he does something or says something, your whole family is tainted. That's not how they're coached."
For the record, this is an age-old argument between coaches. Georgia Tech, which runs the same type of system, as does Navy, has been the target of opposing coaches’ wrath after games in the past.
Cincinnati is the last major college team to open its season, Friday at home against Toledo. The Bearcats play at Ohio State in two weeks… Charlie Strong received a strong indication of how thin Texas’ talent is in a 41-7 whipping the Longhorns received from BYU in Austin. It was the second consecutive year the Cougars routed Texas. “It was embarrassing,” Strong admitted…. Speaking of which, two Cougars will tangle Thursday in BYU and Houston… Steve Spurrier, after a wait a week longer than expected, got his 200th SEC win Saturday as the Gamecocks beat East Carolina 33-23.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Georgia 30, South Carolina 20 – The Bulldogs may be on to something big this season.
UPSET OF THE WEEK: Fresno State (+10) over Nebraska – The Big Ten is bad and Cornhuskers just aren’t that good.
BLOWOUT OF THE WEEK: Oregon 77, Wyoming 10 – The Ducks roll on.
BEST BETS: Oklahoma (-20) vs. Tennessee; UCLA (-8) vs. Texas; BYU (-17) vs. Houston;
Last Updated (Thursday, 11 September 2014 12:52)
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