Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
Posted on: June 14, 2011 6:07 pm

Revived Pitt-Penn State series took about a week

The Pittsburgh-Penn State football rivalry began in 1893 and was actually televised on ESPN-BC (Before Corso). OK, so maybe the inaugural game wasn’t televised, but the schools played every season from 1900-31 and 1935-92.

In the 1970s and 1980s it was one of the nation’s top games and frequently had national title implications.

There was a four-year break before the series resumed for four games from 1997-2000.

Then the series went into the deep freeze because Penn State didn’t exactly want the series to continue.

However, on Tuesday, the schools announced the series would continue – at least for two years – in 2016 and 2017. After nearly a 20-year hiatus the rivals will meet Sept. 10, 2016 at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field and then Sept. 16, 2017 at Penn State's Beaver Stadium.

So how many years/decades were negotiations ongoing to revive the Penn State-Pitt series? Well actually it took a little more than a week for the series to get revived.

That’s right. According to Pittsburgh senior associate AD E.J. Borghetti, Penn State had an opening on its future schedule and approached Pittsburgh. Discussions between Pitt AD Steve Pederson and Penn State AD Tim Curley started the beginning of last week and voila’ an agreement was reached less than a week-and-a-half later.

Very, very impressive. Major kudos to Pederson and Curley - and Penn State for not seeking out, say, Utah State to fill out its future schedule.

Pittsburgh and Penn State playing again is terrific news for college football fans.

Now if we can just get figure out a way to revive the Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry.

Posted on: June 5, 2011 8:00 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 9:05 am

Hey Tom: You will be missed

TAMPA, Fla. – This blog usually deals with issues, news or a multitude of other items about college football or basketball. Today, sadly, it does not.

Instead it’s my opportunity to publicly thank Tom McEwen. For those not familiar with the Tampa Bay sports scene, you might not have heard of or ever dealt with McEwen, the former sports editor of The Tampa Tribune. Believe me, that was your loss.

Tom McEwen died Sunday morning. He was 88.

What Tom did for Tampa as a city never can be fully appreciated. Quite simply: If not for Tom, Tampa would have never been awarded an NFL franchise (and then most likely Tampa Bay would have also been bypassed by Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League if the Bucs weren’t here). Not only do the Bucs owe Tom for their existence, but so do the Rays and Lightning. Tom also was instrumental in Tampa getting three Super Bowls.

Without Tom, Tampa would be Orlando – without the NBA franchise and the traffic.

Lee Roy Selmon is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he was one of the most dominating defensive linemen of his era. But it’s no secret Selmon is in the Hall of Fame because Tom made it a priority to get Selmon in the Hall of Fame. Selmon deserved to be in it, but without Tom's impassioned speech to the Hall of Fame voters, Selmon may never have received the necessary votes to get in.

That’s one thing I learned while I had the privilege to work for Tom at the Tribune: When Tom wanted something to get done, it did.

The best thing about Tom is he was always there for you. He was arguably one of the most powerful, influential individuals in the sports world yet he treated every one he knew the same. He never big-timed anyone and was always willing to help however possible.

Several of my former co-workers at the Tribune would joke that whenever we covered an event  -- no matter where in the world it was -- when you mentioned you were from Tampa, the first response most of the time was: “Do you know Tom McEwen? How is my buddy Tom doing?”

Joey Johnston, who wrote this wonderful piece on Tom, was on the West Coast several years ago. He had gone through all the proper channels/PR types to set up an interview with Al Davis, but was denied each time. Johnston, though, happened to run into Davis at the Raiders’ facility and mentioned he worked with Tom. Al Davis immediately welcomed Johnston into his office and gave him all the time he needed. The power of Tom.

That is only one example of what made Tom so special. The man who was best friends with George Steinbrenner; who former Bucs coach John McKay once called “A--hole,” to which McEwen replied “That’s Mr. A--hole;” who won the Red Smith Award and was a record 19-time Florida Sportswriter of the Year but was never too big to help out the little guy. I mean how many other big city sports editors had their home numbers listed in the phone book?

Even Steve Spurrier said he owed his coaching career to McEwen

He was always great with a quip. He gave me this gem for my New York Times story in February on Derek Jeter’s monstrous 30,875-square-foot Tampa home, located a mile south of McEwen on Hillsborough Bay.

“I just think [Jeter’s home] is wonderful,” McEwen said. “I haven’t heard any complaints about it. My view is just as good as Jeter’s — there’s just not as much of it.”

When I joined a couple of weeks ago, Tom and his wife, Linda, were among the first to send me an email congratulating me on my new job. Battling cancer, Tom’s health had been deteriorating the past few years. Last year a group of the Tribune’s former and current sports writers met at his Davis Islands home. We had lunch, talked about old times, traded old stories and laughed. Boy, did we laugh.

It was our small way to show our appreciation for Tom and what he’s meant to us. So “Hey Tom,” thanks for everything. This short piece doesn’t do justice for what you meant to Tampa or to me. I would not be where I am today if not for Tom -- so you have him to thank or blame for that.

Several years ago, Tampa named a street next to Raymond James Stadium “Tom McEwen Boulevard.”

Perhaps in his honor for one day they should call the city Tompa because it really does owe him that much. Come to think of it, those of us that were fortunate enough to work with also him owe him so much.

Posted on: June 1, 2011 4:57 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 5:00 pm

Spurrier wants players to receive $300 a game

DESTIN, Fla. – South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said he was battling laryngitis so he had to speak softly. His message, though, was loud and clear: football players should receive financial compensation.

At Wednesday’s SEC spring meetings, Spurrier presented a proposal that league coaches – out of their own pockets – provide $300 a game to its players. The money would be for game expenses.

“They can give to their parents for travel, lodging, meals,” Spurrier said. “Maybe they could take their girlfriends out Saturday night and so forth.”

Spurrier said six other coaches signed his proposal: Alabama’s Nick Saban, Florida’s Will Muschamp, Ole Miss’ Houston Nutt, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, LSU’s Les Miles and Tennessee’s Derek Dooley.

“A bunch of us coaches felt so strongly about it we would be willing to pay 70 guys 300 bucks a game,” Spurrier said. “That’s only $21,000 a game. I doubt it will get passed, but as the coaches in the SEC we make all the money as do the universities with television [deals]. And we need to give more to our players. That was something we need to get out there.”

The five coaches who didn’t sign Spurrier’s proposal: Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino, Auburn’s Gene Chizik, Georgia’s Mark Richt, Kentucky’s Joker Phillips and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin.

"I told the other coaches Im going to tell the media what coaches wouldn't sign," Spurrier said.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive said it was doubtful Spurrier’s proposal could ever get passed.

"I don't think [it would pass],” Slive said. “It was a gesture by Steve, thinking about student athlete welfare.”

Spurrier said he’s felt this way for years, especially how much money is made in college athletics by the universities and coaches.

“I just wish there was a way to give our players a little bit piece of the pie,” Spurrier said. “It’s so huge right now. As you know 50 years ago there was not any kind of money and the players got full scholarships. Now they’re still getting full scholarships and the money in the millions.

“I don’t know how to get it done. Hopefully there’s a way to get our guys that play football, a little piece of the pie. The coaches make so much, we ‘d be willing to pay it so there’s no additional expense to the university or anybody.”

Posted on: June 1, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 2:09 pm

Tressel "caught holding smoking gun in his hand"

Former Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel told Todd Wright of Sporting News Radio that the situation concerning the Buckeyes’ football program is embarrassing and disgusting.

“Coach [Jim] Tressel has to look in the mirror,” Krenzel said. “He has to hang his hat on it. Our football coach got caught holding a smoking gun in his hand.”

Speaking on Todd Wright Tonight, Krenzel told Wright his immediate reaction when Tressel announced his resignation Monday “was surprise, but I wouldn’t say it was shock.”

“The person I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with was not the man that people see right now.”

Krenzel, the last quarterback to lead the Buckeyes to a national title in 2002, said after reading the various reports about the allegations surrounding the program showed Tressel in a different light.

“He was obviously flawed,” Krenzel said. “Maybe he wasn’t as good or perfect, especially that Buckeyes fans wanted him to be or pictured him to be.”

Krenzel said he didn’t think Ohio State fans were necessarily angry at Tressel or quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

“I think it’s more disgusted,” Krenzel said. “People are disgusted, disappointed. Frankly we’re embarrassed by it more than anything.”

Krenzel said the current players deserve blame for what has happened.

“It’s a different generation,” Krenzel said. “What was a great opportunity at Ohio State … that’s all been forgotten. In my opinion, it’s turned into coming in as a freshman [and thinking] ‘what can I get?’ It’s disappointing to see all around the country, not just Ohio State, what college football is turning into.

“Guys come in with this sense of entitlement and a screwed up set of priorities. Part of the blame is on them.”

Krenzel said he doesn’t believe any more allegations will surface at Ohio State, but that doesn’t make the future outlook any better.

“I do think it is going to get worse,” Krenzel said. “This situation is ugly and it’s going to get uglier.”

Posted on: June 1, 2011 12:00 pm

Slive says back end of SEC deal tops Pac-12 deal

DESTIN, Fla. – With the Big 12 and Pac-12 recently signing monster media rights deals, is it possible that CBS/ESPN got a bargain in its media rights deal with the SEC that began in 2009?

SEC commissioner Mike Slive doesn’t think so. 

“Do I think they got a bargain?” Slive said. “I think we have secured the financial future of our institutions for a very long period of time and coupled with the incredible distribution that we have, when you think about for our ESPN deal [that] they have to televise 365 events a year, a lot of our thinking not only was revenue importance to us, but distribution was equally important.”

The SEC’s 15-year deal has been reported worth an average of $17.1 million per school annually. The Pac-12’s new 12-year deal was reported at $21 million per school annually, with an escalator clause with early payments less than $21 million per school but later payments exceeding $21 million per school.’s Dennis Dodd also reported last week the Pac-12’s media rights deal could bring the league an additional $1 billion in a seven-to-10 year period.

Slive was somewhat offended when asked if his league sacrificed money for the large distribution.   

“We didn’t sacrifice anything,” Slive said. “We didn’t sacrifice a thing. If you want to do some math you might want to compare the last 12 years of our agreement and the first 12 years of the Pac-10. I think you would be very surprised how things line up."

“But," he added, "I’m not going to give you the numbers.”

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: May 31, 2011 10:31 pm

Florida's plan on O: Do what your players can do

DESTIN, Fla. – There's no questioning new Florida coach Will Muschamp’s defensive knowledge. But what - or how - the Gators will do on offense isn't as clear cut.

So what will be the Gators’ offensive philosophy under coordinator Charlie Weis?

“Be multiple and do what your players can do,” Muschamp said Tuesday at the SEC’s spring meetings. “I’ve said this before: I don’t believe whether you’re on offense or defense you take a scheme and throw it on your players and say ‘this is what we are.’

“You have to do a good job of evaluating your talent and see what you can do – don’t ask them to do something they can’t. Put them in a situation where they can be successful.

“That’s what we’ve done. We’ve identified playmakers offensively. We’ve identified things we think our strengths are. We’ve curtailed our offense to be what we can be based on those guys.”

Earlier this month speaking at a Gator booster club gathering in Tampa, Fla., Muschamp said SEC teams have to be able to run the football to consistently win in league play.  

“Granted I would love to be 50-50 balanced down the middle, running and passing,” Muschamp said. “When you become too one-dimensional – I’m just looking at it from a defensive perspective – it makes it pretty easy for you. When you’re a one dimensional team, you have to be balanced in what you do especially in this league.”

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: May 31, 2011 9:51 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 10:50 pm

Petrino: NCAA changed its rules for Sugar Bowl

DESTIN, Fla. – Ohio State 31, Arkansas 26.

Not many individuals outside of Arkansas and Ohio remember the score from last season’s Sugar Bowl, but nearly everyone remembers that six Buckeyes were allowed to play in the contest after the NCAA determined they received improper benefits. The NCAA permitted them to play and delayed the player’s suspensions until this fall.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino was asked at Tuesday's SEC spring meetings about the Ohio State game and “should you have been playing a different team or have you let it go?”

“We wanted to play their best players,” Petrino said. “When you have a year like we had … and get to a BCS bowl game, you want to play their best players. That’s what you want to do.

“There’s no question that I don’t understand how they were eligible to play in the game. I just don’t and I never will.”

SEC commissioner Mike Slive, when told about Petrino’s comments, responded: “I can understand his position.”

Slive also was asked if he had ever seen a situation before where ineligible players were allowed to play and their suspensions delayed.

"I don't remember one," Slive said.   

Petrino related a situation when he coaching Louisville. He said two of his players were suspended after spending more than their allotted per diem on food because they were stranded in Newport, R.I., following the Big East’s media days. The punishment for the Louisville players was immediate, while, obviously, the OSU players had theirs suspensions postponed allowing them to play in the Sugar Bowl.

“I think they [the NCAA] kind of changed the rules for that bowl game,” Petrino said.

Petrino said he wasn’t surprised by the resignation of Ohio State coach Jim Tressel

“I can’t say I was surprised but I feel for him,” Petrino said. “When something like that happens you never like to see it. I feel for him, his family. It affects a lot of other people in the state and the university, so you feel for all those people.

“There are lessons to be learned from that, no question. One of the talks I have with my players is football is a game of courage. One of the lessons we always talk about is take the arrow in the forehead – which means tell the truth.

“Don’t be trying to blame things on your teammate next you. You have to be able to tell the truth with all your relationships with your professors, your girlfriend. … when it came out [Tressel] was dishonest with the NCAA you kind of knew it was going to spin a lot more.”

Posted on: May 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2011 1:22 pm

Trangehese: Big East looked at Army, Navy before

About 15 years ago, then Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese was working with the league’s presidents as they looked into expansion. The presidents directed him to approach Navy and Army about their interest in joining the league, which was formed in 1979 as a basketball league.

The discussions did not get very far, said Tranghese, who was the league’s commissioner from 1990-2009.

“I would describe those conversations as not very extensive,” Tranghese said. “It was clear to me there wasn’t a lot of interest [from the academies]. It never got very far. I was directed by the people in the league to at least look into it. I did it honestly in my heart knowing they weren’t interested, but times were different then.”

On Wednesday, I reported the league is considering Army and Navy as football members only and a college industry source told me he thinks the league will approach them first before pursuing other options.

Tranghese said he will not speculate on any future Big East expansion moves.

“I’m not there anymore,” he said. “If they truly want my opinion, I’d give it to them. I want them to succeed. When [former commissioner] Dave [Gavitt] left, he never gave his opinion [about future decisions] and neither am I.”

Tranghese said when he approached Army and Navy in the mid to late 1990s about the Big East, Army was not interested. Navy, though, considered it a little bit more.

Tranghese said if the academies would have been fully committed in joining back then, he’s not sure how far it would have proceeded.

“I really don’t know when push came to shove what they [the Big East presidents] would have done,” he said.

Tranghese said at the time there was an agreement with the league that if UConn and Villanova could abide by their standards, the schools could join as football members. UConn did so, but Villanova made the decision not to do so, Tranghese said.

Now 15 years later, Villanova is hoping to join the league as a football member.     

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or