As college football is about to start its 2009 season, those around the sport are buzzing about the Detroit Free Press story alleging Michigan has been making a mockery of the NCAA's 20 hours a week rule. Wolverine fans are of course certain that their program is completely clean and this is the evil media out to get them. What stands out about it to me is that a decent number of players in Ann Arbor clearly are still not on board with Rich Rodriguez and his staff, regardless of whether there are verifiable NCAA violations here or not. Given the glacial pace of recent investigations, any consequences for UM from this episode should be felt right about 2012. I don't believe this kind of thing is unique to Michigan for a second, but they may have taken it to a big enough extreme that it actually leads to punishment.
Brett Favre will be the NFL story tonight, starting and playing the first half of Minnesota's preseason game. Jon Gruden will be there calling the game as part of the Monday Night Football crew, so he was asked about the Favre situation. Gruden is still as full of crap as ever....
"I tried to get Favre last year," Gruden said. "That's probably a big reason why I'm not coaching. I didn't get him."
Yeah, that's probably it. You could have developed a QB from within at any point since 2002, but what kind of fun would that have been? It's always better to keep patching the tires with 38 year old QBs! By the way, Jon, you went 9-7 and got fired after collapsing late and missing the playoffs on the final week of the season. Eric Mangini went 9-7 with Favre and got fired after collapsing late and missing the playoffs on the final week of the season. Funny how that worked out.
I was curious to see how things turned out for Josh Portis in his first game as the new starting QB at Division 2 California (Pa). With his much touted athletic skills, surely he would wow at this level. Ehh, maybe not. Portis wound up going 14 of 31 for 145 yards and 2 TDs. He ran twelve times for 82 yards, and his team lost 23-17 to Saginaw Valley State. Perhaps, despite helpful suggestions from Mama Portis, Urban Meyer was correct to continue starting Chris Leak in 2005 after all.
There were two excellent stories over the weekend which you should read if you haven't already. Edgerrin James signed with Seattle a few days ago, but the running back wasn't willing to do that last Monday. The reason: he wanted to take his four kids to their first day of school. Their mother died from leukemia earlier this year. There are plenty of depressing tales about pro athletes and how they handle fatherhood. As a single dad, James shows there are also guys who do things right. Also defying stereotypes is Tim James. The former Miami basketball star who was a first round pick by the Heat is now SPC Tim James - serving in Iraq. While never a star in the NBA, James made millions. It's remarkable that he would make this choice, and Dan Le Batard does a great job telling his story.