Tag:Roundtable
Posted on: February 14, 2012 5:14 pm
 

Roundtable: College football valentines

Posted by Eye on College Football



Occasionally the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron-style to answer a pressing question in the world of college football. Today's query:

It's Valentine's Day, so pick someone or something from college football--person, team, conference, whatever. Who should they be sending a valentine to today, and what does that valentine say?

Bryan FischerI think the athletic directors at Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Washington and Washington State should be sending a Valentine to Larry Scott this year. The Pac-12 commissioner unveiled his Pac-12 Network studios just yesterday, and that's appropriate considering the media deals he negotiated were the biggest reason those schools were able to off the sweetheart deals that landed their new coaches. Do you think the Bruins or Huskies could have afforded the assistant salaries before that money started flowing? Or that Wazzu was able to land a coach like Mike Leach? I don't think they do.

I'm guessing their valentine says something to the affect of, "Thank$ Larry for everything, hope you'll be our Valentine for several more years."

Tom Fornelli:  I'm going to say TCU and West Virginia owe Missouri and Texas A&M a valentine this year, one with some expensively-licensed cartoon character saying "Thanks for the sloppy seconds!" If not for those two leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, then both TCU and WVU are stuck in the Big East for 2012 at least--a Big East that's without a clear future at the moment, and seems en route to becoming Conference USA version 2.0.

Instead the Frogs and Mountaineers have joined the Big 12, which is in much better shape than the Big East and will provide far more money for both schools in the long run.

Jerry Hinnen: If I'm Mike Slive, I'm sending out a valentine to Dana Holgorsen -- or maybe Gus Malzahn, or Mike Leach, or Todd Monken -- saying "WILL YOU BE MINE?" festooned with as many hearts (and dollar signs) as it takes to convince them to try their hand (again, in Malzahn's case) in the SEC. There's no doubting the SEC's dominance on the defensive side of the ball or its overall array of talent, but the 2011 season also showed a league in dire need of an infusion of offensive ingenuity, preferably (for variety's sake) out of the spread school. Alabama's yawn-inducing strangulation of LSU in the BCS title game is Exhibit A for the conference's current cloud-of-dust tendencies, but the overall statistical picture is even more damning: six different SEC teams finished in the bottom 25 in the FBS in total offense, with zero finishing in the FBS top 25. (Arkansas ranked highest at 29th.) 

Some of that is good defense; an awful lot of it is terrible offense, too. And it may get worse before it gets better--look at the likes of former offensive juggernauts Florida and Auburn, currently undergoing dramatic offensive regime changes after regressing badly in 2011.

Defense may win championships, but offense often wins TV ratings, as the BCS championship Nielsens will tell you. The SEC's current regular season ratings are fine, of course, but Slive is about to go back to the negotiating table to try and keep his TV contract up with the Joneses of the Big Ten and Pac-12, a table to which he'll want to bring every single positive for his league he can gets his hands on. The SEC will be a-OK with or without the Big 12's reputation for high-flying offensive theatrics, but that doesn't mean Slive -- and a league full of fans likely tiring of watching Tennessee and South Carolina combine for 17 points and barely more than 500 yards in nationally televised prime-time -- wouldn't welcome someone who could shake up the conference's burgeoning reputation for Slugfest-with-a-capital-S football. Kevin Sumlin gets first crack, but we're guessing Slive would prefer he had some high-profile help sooner rather than later.

Chip Patterson: If I'm Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, I'm sending roses, candy, banners, and thankful notes to new head coach Urban Meyer.  Even with an ill-timed bowl ban from the NCAA Committee on Infractions, Meyer has cooled much of the heat on Smith after the fallout surrounding Jim Tressel's departure.  Winning cures all, but hiring a two-time national champion to supposedly guide your program out of the darkness will certainly hold the Buckeye fans over until the bowl ban is lifted.  Meyer hit the recruiting trail hard after his hire, pulling in a top-5 recruiting class despite the sanctions from the NCAA.  

If Smith had whiffed on his hire to replace Tressel, he would find himself under further scrutiny with the additional sanctions.  Meyer is exactly the home run hire Ohio State -- and Gene Smith -- needed.  In fact, a valentine might not be enough.  Maybe Smith should get a tattoo. 

What? Too soon? 

Posted on: July 8, 2011 4:09 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 4:19 pm
 

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

By Jerry Hinnen and Tom Fornelli

Jerry Hinnen and Tom Fornelli of the Eye On College Football blog discuss Ohio State's decision to vacate wins from the 2010 season and the bus it has decided to drive over Jim Tressel.

Jerry Hinnen: The first question that comes to mind reading the Ohio State response to the NCAA is this, Tom: what part is most laughable? I feel like we've got so many options here. 

Tom Fornelli: Where to begin? There's a lot to mock here.

If anything, I'll just start with the entire concept of vacating wins in the first place. What does that even mean when you really get down to it? The Buckeyes no longer beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl? Well, Arkansas didn't beat Ohio State either. So did the Sugar Bowl just not happen, because I remember watching it. I mean, if you're going to vacate wins, it should just be a symbolic move to make along with other self-imposed sanctions you're making. It should not be the only punishment you're imposing on yourself.

Yeah, according to Ohio State's history books, that win over Arkansas never happened, but are they returning the money they got from the BCS for playing in the game? Nope. I mean, this is like if I were to rob a series of banks, and then one day the police caught me. Then, when they showed up at my door, I just screamed "I'm vacating the robberies! They never happened! Wipe them from the books! Oh, but I'm not giving the money back to the banks I no longer robbed."

It's a joke. 

JH: It is, and it would be a funny one if one of the nation's largest universities and most respected football program's integrity weren't at stake. But for my money, the most jaw-dropping aspect is the school's treatment of Jim Tressel.

On the one hand, the response calls Tressel's actions "embarrassing" and claims he acted alone without any other Buckeye administration member aware of his decisions. Clearly, after the coddling Tressel received from Gordon Gee and Gene Smith in previous press conferences, the school is trying to distance itself from its former coach. He's smeared the institution's good name. He's a pariah. They've forced him to resign (after the part where he'd done it voluntarily).

Or, as it turns out, they've allowed him to retire with benefits, waived a $250,000 fine they'd previously sworn to collect, and paid him an extra $50,000 on top of that. OSU hates Tressel and everything he stands for ... except for the part where they've rewarded him for his loyalty with hundreds of thousands of dollars and a retirement in the school's good graces.

If you're the NCAA, where do you begin to make sense of this? Is there any way to interpret these kinds of actions other than a desperate hope the NCAA will pay attention only to what the response is saying, rather than what the program is actually doing?

TF: As far as the treatment of Tressel is concerned, if I'm the NCAA I'm not buying a single word of it. That is, unless they want to turn a blind eye to reality. How is anybody really supposed to believe that Tressel was doing any of this on his own after the way Ohio State has treated the entire situation?

I don't think paying the guy who you're blaming for everything is the move you make unless you really want him to go along with that stance. Let's be honest, Tressel is the fall guy here and now Gene Smith and Gordon Gee are doing everything they can to save their own behinds. If you think about it, though, no matter how this went down, is Gene Smith somebody who should survive all this?

He either knew about everything and is pretending he didn't -- he's vacating his memory -- or he really knew nothing! How can you argue that you should keep your job as an athletic director of a school when something of this scope is taking place under your very nose without you having a clue?

Ohio State just really doesn't seem to get it, or they're in a deep state of denial. The NCAA isn't going to see that the school has vacated it's wins from last season and move on. There will be scholarships lost, and there will be a postseason bowl ban for a year or two. It's not fair to the players on the team or whichever coach eventually takes over for Tressel, but unfortunately for Ohio State, the NCAA knows that you can't just erase the past and fix things.

JH: We're assuming they do. Since we're discussing the NCAA's Committee on Infractions here, there's no way to know exactly what they're going to do until they do it. Precedents mean nothing and logic is frequently tossed aside like so many babies in so much bathwater.

But if the COI ever wants to be taken seriously, rubber-stamping OSU's self-imposed "punishment" and giving the Buckeyes a pat on the head just can't be an option. Without subpoena power, the only thing standing between the NCAA and utter investigative helplessness is honesty and cooperation from those involved. What it got instead from from OSU was Tressel lying through his teeth with Gee and Smith nodding genially at his side. The NCAA tried to be lenient with the Buckeyes once already--and was repaid with a sham of a Sugar Bowl and a carton's worth of egg on its face for its troubles.

And now OSU wants to pin the entire thing on the coach it enabled at every step (up to and including the pillow-laden step right out the door), expecting the NCAA to look at its meaningless dabbles in the history books and declare "OK, we're cool." Judging from the sledgehammer dropped on USC, I'll be beyond stunned if the NCAA is feeling very cool at all.

TF: Agreed. Any predictions on what the NCAA adds if anything? Personally I'm thinking around 10 scholarships and a two-year postseason ban.

JH: Sounds about right--plus a show-cause order for Tressel. His college football coaching career is over.
 
 
 
 
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