Blog Entry

USC you later?

Posted on: May 15, 2008 10:33 am

USC's situation is not as bad as it is made out to be. Don't be a lemming -- or an Obama supporter. Think for yourself on this issue.

USC has a problem with agents -- mostly the two major sports seem to attract those with hygiene problems. In other words they're greasy. The NCAA is looking into the, ahem, pasts of O.J. Mayo and Reggie Bush. But death penalty? Whoa, there. Let's operate from the premise that USC didn't know about either case of extra benefits. A source with broad knowledge of the NCAA investigative process, says the NCAA is actually slightly more forgiving when it comes to agents giving extra benefits than it is with boosters. The language in the NCAA Manual deals specifically with boosters, the thinking being that schools have an ability and a duty to control them.

Not so much with agents. This isn't to absolve USC. Bush-Mayo looks bad. Real bad. But unless the NCAA can prove that USC knew or should have known about each situation, the school is likely to skate. Is it fair? Probably not, but as Gary Parrish pointed earlier this week there are Mayo situations going on all over the country. USC being USC, it got caught in the headlights. Do you think "Outside the Lines" does a piece with a jilted agent runner outing, say, Seton Hall?

We'll find out soon enough about Bush. Depositions will be taken next month in the lawsuit against him. The trial is scheduled for March. If it gets that far, I'll be shocked. Bush should have settled with Lloyd Lake by now. I don't know why he hasn't. The negative publicity from the case already has cost him dearly in endorsements.

"Hummer, lost them all, except for adidas," one source told me.

Since both these guys are out of school it will come down to the NCAA deciding if the school knew about the agents. At worst USC is guilty of negligence, not complicity. Did USC want to know? Of course not. It was in the school's best interest to get Bush and Mayo on campus win games. Should USC have known? That's the NCAA's (and the Pac-10's) task.

 If you playoff proponents want a ray of hope, here it is: Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen is rumored to be stepping down next year. (His choice, by the way) Hansen, along with the Big Ten's Jim Delany, is part of the blockade against a plus-one. The new commissioner might be able to slowly melt some cold presidential hearts within the conference.

Watch for the Mountain West's Craig Thompson to go after the job. That makes sense, but there is another name in the rumor mill that will blow your doors off: Notre Dame AD Kevin White.

Hansen is the longest-tenured major-college commissioner having been in his position since 1983.

 Why didn't someone at the BCS meetings in South Florida last month propose an unseeded plus-one? That model seems much more agreeable to the bowls, presidents and schools. Let all the bowls go back to the natural hookups (Fiesta with the Big 12, Rose with Big Ten-Pac-10, Sugar with the SEC, Orange with ACC and/or Big East). The two highest-ranked teams after the bowls would then meet for the national championship.

There are issues: Because of its agreement with two conferences, the Rose Bowl could face a situation where an 8-4 team could upset an undefeated No. 1 team. That doesn't exactly legitimize a national championship game.

A fifth bowl would have to be added to accommodate the non-BCS schools. There's always the possibility that 1-2 teams could play in a bowl, although not much of one. Between 1936 and 1992 (when the Bowl Coalition was formed) No. 1 played No. 2 in a bowl only eight times.

But the dearth of postseason sizzle was why the BCS was formed.

Choosing among the bowl winners still doesn't clear up the problem of selecting the top two teams. If the system had been in place last season, you would have needed federal troops to clear the streets. The top seven teams in the final BCS standings (prior to the bowls, mind you) finished with at least two losses. The No. 8 team, Kansas, went 12-1.

Best guess on an unseeded plus-one in that scenario: LSU vs. Georgia, USC, Missouri or Kansas. Satisfied?

 A fond farewell to Kansas State president Jon Wefald who is retiring after the 2008-2009 academic year. The Miracle in Manhattan never would have happened had not the energetic president taken big, big chances in turning his football program around.

In the late 1980s, he spent K-State into debt in order to hire a top notch coach, pay his staff and improve facilities. Obviously, it worked. You couldn't help but like the guy. He bounced around the press box like a suit-wearing gnome, a cheerleader without being annoying. Warner Bros. is busy turning a screenplay written by Wefald into a TV movie about the Negro Leagues.

His legacy will be greater than 99 percent of the presidents around today. First, he stayed on the job, 23 years by the time he retires. Most of his peers are academic gigolos, jumping from one job to another.

The school continued to go out of the box with Bill Snyder's replacement, Ron Prince. The hire was great at the time, in part, because Prince was one of the few minority head coaches in I-A football. The hire looks like a gamble now because Prince lost his AD (Tim Weiser) and his president while the program has declined.

Wefald leaves with another gamble on his record. Bob Huggins came and went. So did Michael Beasley. For now it worked. Frank Martin took K-State to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 12 years. Can the basketball success be sustained?

 That Tim Tebow circumcision stuff was worth a laugh but if I'm a self-respecting doctor, I'm pissed. Letting a Heisman Trophy winner snip sutures is a bit like letting a civilian in a press box. That's our office. We're the trained professionals who, like doctors, adhere to a code of ethics.

There has to be a professional organization of doctors in Alachua County, Fla. that will weigh in on this. And what about the head of the University of Florida medical school? If I get a minute I'm going to call them and ask them about Tebow.

 I was sitting around and decided to rate the conferences going into next season. What do you think?

1. SEC -- Three of the last six BCS national champions.

2. Big 12 -- All grown up. The Large Dozen enters its 13th season with at least four top 15 programs (Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas)

3. Pac-10 -- The only league to play nine regular-season conference games continues to chase USC.

4. Big East -- Seven deep in 2008

5. Big Ten -- Big drop off after Ohio State.

6. ACC -- Haven't won a BCS bowl game since 1999.

7. Mountain West -- BYU is back!

8. WAC -- Depth throughout. Boise, Fresno and Hawaii should all go bowling.

9. Conference USA -- Two 10-game winners in 2007.

10. MAC -- The league champion (Central Michigan) lost six games<>

11. Sun Belt -- Finally. Three teams at .500 or above.







Since: Nov 7, 2007
Posted on: May 24, 2008 12:26 am

A little tough to believe

A 19 year old kid with an extra 30 large is pretty easy to spot. Parents of Reggie Bush whom Pete Carroll met a few years earlier now rolling in the dough?  It certainly must raise a few red flags.  How could they NOT have known?

Since: Oct 28, 2007
Posted on: May 17, 2008 4:31 am

USC you later?

"But unless the NCAA can prove that USC knew or should have known about each situation, the school is likely to skate."
Using ineligible players in games require those games be forfeited or vacated. Whether they knew about it or not is irrelevant. If they did not know their marquee players in both sports were professional athletes, it is because of their willingness to close their eyes and plead ignorance. The University of Serial Cheaters deserves severe sanctions.

"Is it fair? Probably not, but as pointed earlier this week there are Mayo situations going on all over the country."
The old "everyone-does-it defense." Well, put forth the evidence that everyone is guilty and penalize them all. But my sense is that everyone is NOT cheating, that the evidence will point to a few who should suffer the consequences of their rule-breaking. Start with the overwhelming evidence at hand and sanction the Spoiled Children who make denial a permanent life style. Wins and championships acquired by using professional athletes cannot be condoned -- even if the offending school is a media darling. If USC, the VERY PACIFIC 10, and the NCAA all choose to be the Three Blind Mice, without consequences, then all of the other institutions need to disassociate themselves from them and form an amateur union that features a playoff and integrity.

Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: May 16, 2008 7:31 pm

USC you later?

Agreed with just about everything you said Patrickw, but i think for the most part they both will be Top 15 preseason next year. Kansas did beat Virginia Tech, the ACC Champions. I know most wont think they are a great team, but still -- they beat a BCS conference champ.

This will be a real test for Kansas with the schedule, but I still think 9 wins is possible, which gives them an excellent bowl. If two Big 12 teams make the BCS, then they are looking at Cotton or Holiday. Nothing wrong there. I think many Kansas fans will take that.

Same with Missouri.


Since: Jan 28, 2008
Posted on: May 16, 2008 12:44 pm

USC you later?

Yeah, the reason I don't think Kansas is legit is that their 12-1 record last year didn't include Texas or OU, the 2 best teams in the Big 12.  Missouri was rated higher than OU at some point last year (I think), but they had 2 chances to beat them and couldn't.  I would say Missouri will be the 3rd best in the Big 12, no problem, and might even have the top record, but theirs will be as misleading as KU's was last year.  The only really difficult game they have (I'm not counting Illinois at the moment since they're still very unproven) is at Texas.  I doubt many people will expect them to win that.  Missouri, barring a major hiccup, will roll into the Big 12 championship and probably lose again to Texas or OU.  Kansas will likely lose to OU and Texas; they haven't proven they can beat a great team yet.  This is why I'm still not sold on either of the teams, but Missouri definitely has the easy road this year.

Since: Mar 19, 2007
Posted on: May 16, 2008 12:38 pm

USC you later?

BTW, it doesnt matter where a commissioner comes from, they will take whatever approach of the job they have, two-faced, you may say, they dont have any loyalty or integrity.  Sound like ND's AD is perfect.

Since: Mar 19, 2007
Posted on: May 16, 2008 12:36 pm

Dodd, Got any insight into the Memphis/ECU/ND...

triangle.  First a report says ECU offers a football only membership, then a report that Memphis is in talks as a full member, now speculation that this all arose from the fact that ND finally decided to join the Big 10.  Any thoughts?

Since: Nov 11, 2007
Posted on: May 16, 2008 10:05 am

USC you later?

I think these conference rankings look pretty good. I think the top 2 are right; I'm not sold that the Big 12 will have 4 top 15 teams. There will be 3, I think, but that's not a hit on the Big 12. Everyone besides the SEC is normally only wishing that they had 3 teams in the top 15. (And I'm not an SEC team fan.) I think that Dodd's leagues #3-5 are interchangable at this point. (Pac 10, Big 10, Big East.) All of them have one very good proven team (USC, Ohio State, West Virginia), and then 2 or 3 other teams likely to be and finish in the top 25. The ACC is the only league that's truly below the others at this point. 1-9 in BCS games, and haven't won a BCS game since 1999, I think. My opinion here is based off of how these teams/leagues have done recently and how they're projected to do this year; not how they've done over the past 30 or 50 years.

Since: May 15, 2008
Posted on: May 15, 2008 9:03 pm

USC you later?

Oh Dennis, you incredibly sublime intelligent animal.  Only you, with your overly developed sports brain, can tell us unsophisticated sports fans/rubes, that voting for one of the remaining presidential candidates would make us a lemming.  Thank goodness I read your column before voting day so I can find the strength to repel that man's superficial allure.  

Before almost commiting more mistakes, can you let us know how we should vote on the upcoming senate races?  And, since you're the political savant, any chance of getting short tutorials on the Keating 5, political success rates after graduating at the bottom of your college class, infidelity against medically ill spouses and marrying into money? 

Stick to what you know.  You've demonstrated that in other areas, you're in way over  your head.

Since: Nov 10, 2007
Posted on: May 15, 2008 8:57 pm

USC you later?

those conference rankings are spot on.  only a few homers would disagree.

Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: May 15, 2008 6:28 pm

USC you later?

KU should be pretty good.  They are bringing back most of their starters.  They have a much tougher schedule this year because they plays S. Florida, Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma, along with the normal teams they play in the Big 12 north, of which Missouri should be very good and Colorado is a program on the rise. 

The Big 12 will be a tougher conference than the SEC next year.  They should have 5 teams in the top 15 if you count TTU.  I also think that the Big 10 is better than the Big East.  Ohio State is better than West Virginia, and the next tier of Big 10 teams (UW, Mich, PSU & ILL) are better than the next tier of Big East teams (USF, Cinci, Rutgers & UL).

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