Weekend Primer

September 15, 2006

A few thoughts on the weekend while watching the acronymically-challenged University of Kansas and the Toledo (former) Fighting Gradkowskis. KU Kansas QB Kerry Meier looks pretty sharp for a freshman, like a young, more mobile Jay Cutler, really. Plus he looks like a less beefy A.J. Hawk. The poor Toledo QB Clint Cochran keeps getting knocked around, but it’s a close game so far in the first half.

And speaking of Gradkowski, he should be starting ahead of Chris Simms for the Bucs. Tamps needs to trade Sims while there’s still the illusion that he’s not the next Trent Dilfer. Please Bruce Allen?

While watching football I try to pick out two good games per time slot so I can just use the channel-switcher button on the remote rather than worry about flipping all over the channels. At noon, there’s really no choice. You’ve got the Battle of Iowa, and if you’re in the South, Arkansas and Vandy. Arkansas has been disappointing, and Vandy had looked relatively good for 3 out its 4 halves this year, so it could be pretty close at the end.

At 3:30, the good games get started. One of the games has to be Michigan and Notre Dame on NBC and the other LSU and Auburn on CBS. Two of the three regional ABC games look good, with OU vs OU and Miami at Louisville. Michigan State and Pitt is a dog though. I might make an exception and check around the three networks, but forget it if Louisville or Notre Dame starts to run up the score. I have more faith in Michigan keeping it close than I do Miami though.

Yes, the ESPN announcers just had one of them hit the other with a foam sword. Ah, weekday night games. I think Fowler and Herbstreit maybe called about 10% of the plays in the second half last night with West Virginia running it up on Maryland. But I digress.

In the awkward in-between time after 3:30 and before prime time, you’ve got Texas Tech at TCU at 5:30 on OLN (bringing you exciting Mountain West football all year!) and Rice at Texas at 6 on The Deuce. That’s it. There really should not be a reason to leave OLN in that time.

At night, I will be watching Florida at Tennessee at 8 on CBS, and only that game. There will be no flipping because it’s too important. The only other game to watch is Nebraska visiting the University of (soon-to-be) Surrendered Championships. But really, it’s all about the Gators and Vols regardless of ESPN’s ridiculous hype of a blowout in the making.

But speaking of USC, it’s looking really bad. Even if only one of the incidents that Yahoo is detailing is true, it should be enough to take away his eligibility for last year. That would not just wipe out his stats, but also make him ineligible for the Heisman. If all of it is true, then USC probably would have to forfeit all of its games from the past two years, lose scholarships, and go on probation.

It’s hard for me to believe that if the allegations are true that USC had no knowledge of it. If so, Pete Carroll would have to be even stupider than Bill Simmons makes him out to be. The NCAA doesn’t give out national titles, but it would be hard for the BCS to keep recognizing an 0-11 team as its champion in 2004. Same for the AP.

Once again, nothing has been proven yet. However, the NCAA needs to come down hard on USC if this is all true. The reports indicate that the Trojans’ program has been infested with agents for the past couple of years. That is huge trouble. All Florida fans know this after the Tank Black scandal in 1996. If the NCAA wants to keep up its policy of atheletes being amateurs, then agents should not be allowed anywhere near teams. Not at practice, not in the locker rooms, not anywhere. This all illustrates why.

USC is a glamor program, and one of the biggest moneymakers for college football today, so I am thinking that almost nothing will happen. It’s sad, but true. In reality, an example should be made of USC. I’m not suggesting the Death Penalty like SMU got, but at least 3 years of probation are in order. I’d feel better about five. And while they’re at it, they should ban agents from making any contact with athletes until they are going into the draft. They have the full Spring semester after the season to pick an agent and work on deals. There’s no reason for them to deal with them before then.

(As a side note, Toldeo is looking a lot better and Meier is looking a lot more like a freshman now. At least it’s a pretty good game.)

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