We are indeed blessed to be joined by the guys from SBN’s Arkansas Expats for the last edition of this year’s blogger exchange. Check out our thoughts on their meticulous interrogation over here:
1) With all the suspension news in Columbus, what’s your take on the NCAA’s decision to let these guys play?
Well, objectively speaking, it’s hard for us to really justify why, if an offense is worth suspending players for, the suspension can be postponed until *after* the upcoming big game. We suspect there are a lot of players and fans at other schools (the A.J. Green situation at Georgia comes to mind) who find that more than a little curious. More than anything, the whole debacle just illustrates the ridiculousness of the NCAA and it’s enforcement policies.
But, speaking as Razorback fans, we’re very, very glad the Tat 5 are going to be playing. We’d rather have our best go up against your best, without any excuses either way regarding the outcome. It’s more appropriate competitively, and it’s a lot more fun to watch as fans. So yeah, in this case we’re happy that it all turned out the way it did.
There’s no way that we can start this week’s post without wishing Happy Birthday to Coach Jim Tressel. Ironically, it’s also the day of the ninja; although I can’t imagine the silent assassins being as polite or methodical as Senior Sweatervest- how would you write “Dave” in kanji?
While there were several significant games on the old telly this week, there were also off field doin’s that should not be left undiscussed. First, in this year’s addition of the River City Rivalry/Snow Bowl, Pittsburgh easily handled Ohio’s BCS team. That didn’t, however, keep the Bearcat mascot from getting arrested and escorted out of the stadium. Video and such, for those of you who are into that kind of thing, can be found here.
The Big lEast ended as it started, with a three way tie at the top of the conference. Pitt’s victory, along with West Virginia’s win over Rutgers that seemed to make their fans filled with glee, meant that UConn was still in the driver’s seat should they hold off South Florida. A late, long field goal meant that the 8-4 Huskies have earned themselves a bid to a BCS game.
As we mentioned earlier, this means that a team that only managed 10 points against the Wolverines will get to face off against, most likely, the Oklahoma Sooners. While we’ve given the Big lEast grief here in the past, it should be noted that the conference only has two teams that don’t have the requisite 6 wins necessary to go to a bowl game, a much better experience than our west coast stalwarts in the Pac-10. At this juncture, only four teams from that conference will be headed to the post season, since Southern Cal is on probation (sorry, that’s still awesome to write) and Arizona State’s 6-6 record includes too many victories over FCS schools. So, with two teams going to the BCS, this means that there’ll be four bowls looking for help with the automatic tie ins.
We’ve been pretty honest hereabouts with our frustrations regarding the NCAA; they make mountains out of molehills and vice versa. There’s a tendency to hold FCS, D2, and D3 schools more accountable than schools in the FBS, particularly the BCS schools; as the saying goes, follow the money.
Most recently, this has been illuminated in the Cam Newton saga. As you may remember, his father is alleged to have pursued a “pay for play” scheme when Cam was transferring from Blinton College back to FBS football. Allegedly, Mr. Newton sought funding from Mississippi State during the process.
The NCAA has been investigating this, along with the FBI (believe it or not), and today released a statement clearing Cam to play after being initially suspended.
What? You didn’t know he was suspended? Neither did most people in the country, although several Vegas books did pull the Auburn/South Carolina game from their boards yesterday. You know, because money was involved.
Short press conference today, including Coach Tressel being honored by the National Guard.
Well, the thing that’s made Penn State good over the years is they’re so steady. They’re never going to be too high and they’re never going to be too low. When it’s 21-0, they’re not going to fold the tent. That’s just not how they’re made. When they end the game winning 35-21, they’re not going to say, hey, we have arrived and we’re now the new kings of college football. They’re going to go to work and get ready for Ohio State, and within the course of our game, they’ll never get too high or never get too low and it will be one of those, you’re going to have to play 60 minutes to compete with them.
REPORTER: Because you are his peer, I’ve heard him refer to you as Little Jimmy on more than one occasion. How do you take that?
COACH TRESSEL: You know, I’m starting to like it more and more. When you’re young you don’t like it, when you’re old you start liking it, someone thinks I’m Little Jimmy. It’s been a special relationship with him in that I did have a chance to visit with him when I was aspiring to become a coach and I was one of those kind of guys, I didn’t end up being with him, but I ended up staying in touch with him, and then all of a sudden when I became a head coach just three hours down the road from him, we had a chance to interact a little bit more and connect in different ways and so now coaching with him for 10 years, you know, in the same Big Ten meetings and so forth, it’s really spanned quite a distance, but I’m sure he looks at me no different than — there have been times he’s called me Lee, so –
Give me no turnovers or give me death. That’s the way we paraphrase Patrick Henry.
As promised, updates from Tressel’s press conference and other college football news: