Archive for the ‘College Football’ Category

I know there’s a lot of excitement and hype surrounding redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel, also known by the all-time nickname, Johnny Football, from Texas A&M. Make no mistake he is without question a great young quarterback who will garner plenty of Heisman votes. But I just don’t think he is a more important or more outstanding player than Manti Te’o.

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You’ve got to be a real hater not to appreciate what Notre Dame has done this season. Saturday night’s win over Southern Cal, punctuated by one of the all-time great goal line stands late in the fourth quarter, completed a dream season for the Fighting Irish.

They are undefeated, 12 – 0. Seriously, no one honestly saw that coming. I certainly didn’t. I’d pretty much come to expect the 4, 5 sometimes even 6 or 7 losses the Irish had started racking up in recent years.

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A lot of eyes were focused State College, Pennsylvania and Penn State on Saturday, as the Nittany Lions opened the team’s first season in nearly 50 years without Joe Paterno as head coach.

Even more though than the absence of Paterno, most want to know how the school would fare under the weight of some of the most serious sanctions ever levied against a major college football program.

The immediate answer is not very well. Penn State playing at home lost to the Ohio University Bobcats 24-14.

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The truth is still the truth, but if it is served up too raw, it has a way of upsetting delicate sensibilities and ultimately backfiring on the truthsayer.

That’s what happened this week to Allen Pinkett, the former Notre Dame star running back from the 1980s and now longtime analyst on the Fighting Irish radio broadcasts.

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The fact is, punishment whether of an institution or an individual, never really provides an adequate response to, or compensation for, the wrongdoing and damage that has taken place. And the NCAA weighing in, only serves to satisfy the need to hold someone or something responsible without really fixing anything.

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I’ve been thinking about the plight of vulnerable children, Penn State University, and the firing of Joe Paterno for nearly a week, struggling with the complexity of this story and trying to find the right words to express myself.

But even as I take all of this in, I do know that the ironic benefit of this sad episode, if there can be one, is that the Penn State scandal can be one big, horrifying, teaching moment for all of us.

There are lessons to be learned from the tragic story of child sexual abuse connected to the Penn State campus.

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I got another chance to see University of Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson on Saturday. He starred in the Badger’s 62-17 drubbing of Purdue. Wilson continues to pass my “eyeball-test”. There simply has not been a better college quarterback this year. Based on what I’ve seen he’s been even better than Stanford’s Andrew Luck, who is considered by many to be college football’s top quarterback and the NFL’s next great passer.

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It was Memorial Day around the rest of the country but it likely seemed like Doomsday in central Ohio. The news that beloved, but beleaguered Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel was quitting under fire, hit Columbus and the sports world like the worst kind of natural disaster. If in fact any of the allegations against players and the apparent “cover up” by coach Tressel are true, then what this case really exposes is the need for players and dozens, if not hundreds of fans and supporters, to play misguided roles in athletic glory.

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I’m a midwestern guy. A Big Ten guy. But right now I’m feeling a little embarrassed. Something is terribly wrong with Big Ten football.
The Big Ten took an absolute beating on New Year’s Day. The Big Ten lost all five games. Losing bowl games is becoming something of a holiday habit for this once powerful league. It has been years since the Big Ten looked strong in the bowls.

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All About the Money

Posted: 24th December 2010 by DavidBurnett in Bowl Games, College Football, NCAA
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By selectively, suspending five Ohio State players this week, the NCAA revealed itself for what it really is, an arrogant, hypocritical, dysfunctional organization.

The crime: Five Ohio State players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, are caught selling awards, souvenirs, autographs and other trinkets in exchange for cash and tattoos.

But how is it that the five-game suspensions of these Ohio State players are postponed until after the upcoming bowl game? The rules are pretty clear – gifts/prizes cannot be sold for profit – or tattoos.

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The culture of big-time college sports is poison and corrupt and everyone knows it, most of all the NCAA. To me it appears the decision to clear Cam Newton is basically an admission by the NCAA that hypocrisy, double-standards and cash under the table, have always been a part of college sports, and that there is very little that can be done about it, except in the most obvious of cases.

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The last couple of weeks I have been watching number 7 from Stanford run the football. He can really play. I’ve got to tell you I’m surprised he’s this good. I just assumed … Anyway, the kid’s name is Toby Gerhart. Not usually the kind of name we hear being called a potential star NFL […]

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The other day I wrote about Joe Paterno, one of the great coaching icons who is still getting it done at Penn State at age 82. But another senior citizen coach is not faring nearly as well. Florida State’s Bobby Bowden is facing the inevitable end of his coaching career. Calls for his ouster are […]

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Joe Paterno: Old Steady

Posted: 3rd October 2009 by DavidBurnett in Coaches, College Football, NCAA
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I watched an old-fashioned Big Ten football game Saturday afternoon. Penn State against Illinois. It turned out to be an easy Penn State victory 35 to 17. I decided to sit through this relatively meaningless game as a way to honor the past. Years ago a game like this actually mattered but I also remember […]

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I might as well write this now, while Randy Shannon and his Miami Hurricanes are still undefeated. My first impression is that it appears he has a national championship caliber team. It is important that Shannon, the Hurricanes former defensive coordinator do well this season. I believe he has a chance to make a powerful […]

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