Thursday, September 9, 2010

Georgia will never play in the Independence Bowl again - it's a collector's item!

If Georgia did believe that A.J. Green was going to be back for this week's game (and there were several indications that they did) they greatly misread the NCAA's thoughts on the matter. Green was suspended for the Bulldogs next three games, all of which are SEC affairs and two of which are on the road. Green being punished for selling his own jersey when Georgia and Nike are selling thousands of them is extremely ironic, but some people are choosing to ignore the real issue here. Green got a thousand dollars for his Independence Bowl jersey from someone the NCAA considers an agent. We don't if it's an actual agent or a runner, but either way a sizable amount of money changed hands from an "agent" to a current college player. Whether they got a jersey in the deal or not, that scenario is always going to lead to big trouble if the NCAA finds out about it. This doesn't doom the Bulldogs, but they have no one with proven high level SEC skill left to catch passes right now. Orson Charles is a nice weapon at tight end and maybe they get Branden Smith's speed more involved on the offensive side of the ball, but right now for Georgia to win these next few games their new 3-4 scheme is going to have to work very well right away. I wouldn't want to have to count on that if I was Mark Richt.

The NFL season's about to start, and who knows just how much we'll see of Tim Tebow from this point forward. He's going to be the Broncos number two QB, and there's a chance he may be used on short yardage or goal line situations as soon as this week in Jacksonville. Tebow is apparently planning to keep his presence in the public eye more prominent though, as he's launched his web and social media pages. Not sure what to expect from this - if Tebow shares things like pictures from his day to day activities and an occasional funny thought or bible verse it'll just blend in with the rest of the web. If he begins advocating for political causes or aggressively promoting his faith, it may rub some people in his locker room the wrong way. We'll see what Tebow has in mind.

Monday afternoon I happened to see the final couple of minutes of a high school game football on ESPN that was airing prior to Navy/Maryland. It featured West Palm Beach's Dwyer High against Glenville High from Cleveland, and was played at Ohio State's Stadium as part of a yearly event called "The Kirk Herbstreit Challenge". I saw the most obvious example of referees apparently intentionally stealing a game I have ever witnessed. Dwyer scored what should have been the game winning TD three separate times, and the officials refused to call any of them scores. The first call was a spectacular catch, and with no replay I could see how they missed it. When Dwyer appeared to get the ball across the goal line later on the drive it seemed clear enough that it was a puzzle how they missed it. The final play was simply inexcusable - it was a touchdown by a full yard at least, and still the refs said no and allowed the clock to expire. The announcers were baffled, as anyone watching had to be. Herbstreit had nothing to do with what happened of course, but to his credit still apologized to Dwyer for the fiasco. The Ohio high school association should do that and end the officiating careers of everyone involved. It was a disgrace - they're either completely incompetent or willfully cheated but either way it's unacceptable.

I've mentioned before that no one from the national media or the northeast should be allowed to discuss or write about college football unless they pass a test given by me. It's fair to say Phil Mushnick of the New York Post wouldn't pass. Mushnick writes primarily about media and fan issues, and seems to flog the same topics to death on a regular basis. In looking for something else to bash ESPN about, he decided to focus on their use of college football stats. Mushnick objected to the network pointing out Steve Spurrier was now 19-1 in first games of the season and that South Carolina has won their last eleven openers, a longer streak than anyone but the Gators in the SEC. According to Phil, this is a meaningless stat because SEC openers are "cakewalks". Mushnick managed to:

1. Apparently not realize Spurrier won some of those openers at Duke
2. Incorrectly state the Gamecocks played New Mexico State for an opener
3. Fail to know that under Spurrier their openers have actually included a home and home with North Carolina State, Mississippi State on the road, and a Southern Miss team that was in a bowl last year
4. Write this on the weekend SEC teams were playing games with "respectable" teams from the ACC, Big Ten, Big East and C-USA
5. Write it the weekend Ole Miss showed anyone can find a way to lose even as a heavy favorite

But hey, other than that he nailed it.

Normally tonight's games would be must see TV for me. I'm really intrigued by Auburn at Mississippi State, and Minnesota's visit to New Orleans to kick off the NFL season should be an excellent matchup. Instead of being at a sports bar, I'll be in Charlotte catching the Pixies in concert. The last time I missed a sports event of significance for a concert like this was the Chicago Cubs "Bartman" game. That was for Robert Cray and John Hiatt in Jacksonville. If something amazing happens tonight, I'll have to invest in a phone with video streaming.

1 comment:

Matt said...

The hypocrisy of the NCAA is so mind boggling it makes me want to scream. I wonder how the people who hand down these punishments are able to look in the mirror or sleep at night. An organization whose existence depends on the money these young adults bring in has the audacity to punish them any time they dare profit beyond what the wise council of elders deems appropriate. I don't know much about the NCAA's internal organization, but I would love to see the part of it that enforces these rules on athletes completely disbanded. I can only hope that the shameless pretense of "amateurism" will start to fade as the endless dollars continue to pour into college athletics. I'm normally not much of fan of player unions, but these students deserve some sort of representation, they're getting absolutely hosed in nearly every ridiculous rule the NCAA enforces concerning their "eligibility."