Burning questions until MrCFB returns

If we needed any further proof that college football is now a year-round sport, we just got it.

The Braves are in first place and are the hottest team in baseball.

Chipper Jones, a lock-solid Hall of Famer on the first ballot, is thinking about retirement.

The NBA Playoffs between the two most storied franchies in the history of the league are headed to seventh and deciding game.

The Atlanta Hawks just hired a new coach.

But what has been the hottest story in sports for the past three months? College football and the possible changing of the landscape.

Fortunately for the college football fan, cooler heads prevailed and the change will be minimal. And there will be no change for 2010.

What it all means is that this is going to be a very short summer for all of us who care about the sport. SEC Media Days in Birmingham begin on July 21. I have a feeling that is going to get here in a hurry.

So, in order to keep some promises to Mrs. Barnhart, I’m going to take another shot at a vacation that was interrupted by conference expansion. Unless something fairly dramatic happens (and I think we’ve had enough drama for one summer), I’ll be back on July 12.

Until then, let me share some burning questions to get us to the preseason meetings:

1. How would you like to go on the road with Nebraska this season? The Cornhuskers will be playing their final season in the Big 12 and will have conference road trips to Kansas State (Thursday, Oct. 7), Oklahoma State (Oct. 23), Iowa State (Nov. 6), and Texas A&M (Nov. 20). The trips to Stillwater and College Station could be very interesting.

2. Are we really supposed to believe that Pete Carroll was shocked–SHOCKED–at the NCAA penalties against USC? To hear the Carroll tell it, the NCAA just basically made this stuff up about Reggie Bush. He didn’t take the handouts from an agent. His parents didn’t live in a house for which they did not pay. Old Pete, who bolted for the Seattle Seahawks before the sanctions went down, just doesn’t understand how the NCAA reached the conclusions it did.

I heard that somebody else drew this analogy first, but when Carroll went public with his amazement at the NCAA penalties, I was reminded of this famous scene from “Casablanca,” the best movie ever made. Pete Carroll is playing the role of Captain Renault (Claude Rains).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gf8NK1WAOc

3. Does everybody completely understand what a game-changer the USC sanctions are? Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports made this point and I completely agree with it.

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/news?slug=dw-uscfindings061010

Every now and then the NCAA says “Enough!” and slaps somebody hard. They did it to Alabama in 2002. And it doesn’t have as much to do with overt cheating as it does with the kind of culture schools allow to grow and exist for the sake of recruiting expediency.

This is a very simplistic explanation but it goes something like this: “Come to our school and we’ll treat you like an NFL star BEFORE you become and NFL star. We can’t give you stuff, because that would be wrong. But if you just look hard enough, it’s out there. Now don’t be obvious about it because then we have to do something. But at our school (wink-wink, nod-nod) we’re not going to be looking very hard to catch you doing this stuff.”

Kids are not stupid. They know where the rules are tight and the rules are loose. They are kids. A lot of them want to go where the rules are loose. That’s why the adults have to enforce the rules.

Here’s the big change: Schools have been put on notice that if they recruit an elite athlete like Reggie Bush, they have to double the guard on him. At at the slightest sniff that he or his family have their hands out to anybody, you sit him  down and declare him ineligible. Can you stop it? Of course not. But if you find out about it or even suspect it, you’d better do something about it. That’s the new standard created by the USC case.

The culture, of course, has its roots back in high school and is fostered in the recruiting process with children having press conferences. That’s been going on a long time and that’s not going to change. But the colleges have been put on notice. They have to change.

4. Was conference expansion all about the money? Of course it was about the money. And that is not always a bad thing.

I’m always amused when people say schools shouldn’t go for the money. That’s easy for them to say because they don’t have to pay the bills.

The same people who complain that schools want more money would be the first one standing in line to fire the athletics director if he let a top notch assistant coach get away to a competitor because the AD didn’t want to double the coach’s salary. Those fans who decry the role money plays in the sport would be the same ones who complain that their school doesn’t have an indoor practice facility which puts them at a disadvantage in recruiting.

Are their excesses? Sure there are. Schools are certainly chasing the money so that they can continue to pay their football coach $3 million-plus and build NFL style weight rooms.

But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t demand that your school compete at the highest level and then complain about the steps your school has to take to stay at that level. You are either in or out. There is no middle ground in this game.

Have a great summer, friends. See you on July 12.

Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

260 comments Add your comment

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
10:57 am

For the benefit of us older bloggers, can someone give me a hint what the heck “POAD” means? I suspect I’m missing out on some serious smack talk.

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
10:58 am

RxDawg—-

When I get warmed up, I do a pretty good facsimile of an East Texas Baptist preacher.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
11:00 am

AG:

Piss On A Dawg

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
11:02 am

Ah. That is kinda mean.

RxDawg

June 16th, 2010
11:03 am

That was strange….Dawginlex answered AG’s question. Then after refreshing, it was removed and G8R GRAD answered it. O.o

leland

June 16th, 2010
11:03 am

Dear Mr. CF–I like your writing best when you use more (and variable) spacing between paragraphs. Your pal, Leland

Longhorn Spin

June 16th, 2010
11:05 am

Tony, sorry if you’ve already read this but if not, this is great stuff! Enjoy your holiday.

http://texas.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1094753

DawginLex

June 16th, 2010
11:05 am

Maybe they have decided to ban his handle and it is such that you can’t even write it in a post.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
11:06 am

RxDawg:

I thought I saw that too.
I just wrote it off to Mad Cow Disease!

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
11:07 am

While I’m getting all of my questions answered today, who the heck is this Leland character who addresses Tony Barnhart and Bark Madley like long-lost fraternity brothers? Anyone?

DawginLex

June 16th, 2010
11:07 am

Maybe they are banning me too.

but they can’t do that because I’m still here.

Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
11:10 am

And AG:

Who you calling “older?”

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
11:11 am

DawginLex—-

The likelihood of anyone getting banned from an AJC blog is really slim. Somebody has to complain, and the AJC staff has to actually react.

The Twilight Zone is where the abused wife gives the abusive husband $35 to $40 million to stay with her.

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
11:11 am

Speaking for myself only, 8.

POAD

June 16th, 2010
11:12 am

Yes DawginLex Tony told me I couldn’t use my full name. Actually a Bulldog fan CUZ and 45APC cut my name to POAD and Mayn dawg fans prefer to us that handle. Most people know by know what POAD stands for.

Pi$$onaDawg

June 16th, 2010
11:13 am

is this better?

POAD

June 16th, 2010
11:14 am

Sorry Tony I just did’t it this one time I am Back to POAD like you asked.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
11:16 am

WTF, Tony?

I was just answering the man’s question!

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
11:17 am

Dang, POAD, it’s gettin’ testy around here!
I just got censored for spelling out the first letter of your acronym!

Urban "D-Bag" Cryer

June 16th, 2010
11:17 am

DawginLex

June 16th, 2010
11:19 am

i just asked my 10:54 am post to be removed.

The s GA redneck in me rears its ugly head too many times…………………………………

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
11:21 am

AG:

“The Twilight Zone is where the abused wife gives the abusive husband $35 to $40 million to stay with her.”

Pardon my ignorance, but . . . ?

POAD

June 16th, 2010
11:25 am

DawginLex don’t like my name so what. Now back to REGULAR Programming.

DawginLex

June 16th, 2010
11:25 am

TB,

In response to your question:

1. No
2. No
3. Lane Kiffin karma
4. Yes
5. No

Pago Pago Dawg

June 16th, 2010
11:26 am

We really don’t give a hoot about the $poiled pro $port$ folks.
And for obvious reasons, mike garrett will not be fired! {:”}

DP

June 16th, 2010
11:26 am

G8R Grad, do you really believe post employment agreements like the one Jack Welch had (I believe it was reduced out of embarrassment once it became public) are negotiated in a real “arm’s length” transaction? I’m sure the terms of it were set while Welch was still CEO. Who from GE was going to dig in and risk his or her career doing hardball negotiating with Welch and his attorney like GE would do on a real arms length business contract like selling jet engines? How do fresh flowers in Welch’s personal apartment (also paid for by GE) get into an arm’s length negotiation for a guy who makes millions of dollars per year from his GE pension?

For all practical purposes, FedEx is the corporate piggybank of Fred Smith to use as he sees fit. If he wants to spend $10 million a year in perpetuity to put Memphis in a BCS conference because his kid plays backup QB there and it enhances his status in Memphis, one of his subordinates can easily craft a “business case” that shows FedEx will get a return on the money because of bigger games in Memphis, more visibility for the FedEx logo at UM facilities, etc.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
11:27 am

DawginLex:

Two perspectives:

“Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.”

and

“Rehab is for quitters!”

DawginLex

June 16th, 2010
11:29 am

thanks g8r grad

Despite being a college graduate working in a good job with a family, the s ga redneck bloodline still remains from 30 years ago where fighting was the norm.

Should I do like the shark on finding nemo and keep repeating:

Nerds are friends, not punching bags
Nerds are friends, not punching bags

??????????????????????????

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
11:31 am

DawginLex:

My Momma taught me that it’s not nice to make fun of the handicapped (POAD)!

RxDawg

June 16th, 2010
11:32 am

Just keep swimming…just keep swimming…

DawginLex

June 16th, 2010
11:32 am

No comment.

I’m gonna quit while I’m (way) behind.

gotta go back to work

The fries are burning

:) :) :)

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
11:33 am

8—-

It’s another metaphor for Texas and the Little IX.

“Rehab is for quitters.” Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Sniff laugh, snorffle, spit up coffee.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
11:37 am

AG:

Not original material, but niether is, “Strangers Have The Best Candy!”

Delbert D.

June 16th, 2010
11:39 am

That really clears things up for me. Pete Carroll’s next job is U.S. Senator.

Delbert D.

June 16th, 2010
11:43 am

Atlanta Gator – The USSR and Czechoslovakia were partners. Right up until the tanks rolled into Prague.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
11:45 am

AG:

Oh, and here I was rinning abusive relationships that were that solvent through my head:

Whitney & Bobby?

Britney & Federline?

the list goes on . . .

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
11:46 am

Delbert:

You can’t be serious!

Delbert D.

June 16th, 2010
11:47 am

G8R GRAD – You are right, I can’t be.

softbatch

June 16th, 2010
11:48 am

Well of course college expansion is going to trump Atlanta-specific sports. Take the Braves and ESPN. ESPN cares more about the Mets and Phillies than the Braves. Of course they’re going to talk about college expansion more than the Braves.

Red

June 16th, 2010
11:49 am

The problem comes with all of the high school dog show type games – Under Armor, Army All American, etc. These kids are celebrities before they even play one game in college. They are exposed to glamor and fame immediately. Mom and dad are identified in all of the circus and the behind the scenes maneuvering begins. There is no way to track all of this. Pre-paid cell phones, emails, Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace.

I think the athletic departments now see they cannot rely on the coaches and their staff for doing this. The coaches are portable. Many just care about the ‘now’ and winning to get them to the next level. It’s business to them and until they are personally held accountable, this culture will never change. People like Carroll can run a scorched earth policy and watch the NCAA take 5 years to dig up dirt. By then Carroll is gone to the Pro’s and untouchable for the problems back at USC. Yeah, he tarnishes his image but the wins and program he maintained wipe that tarnished image away. He gets away and the school is left holding the bag.

So this leaves the Presidents and AD’s left to impose their own policing actions. We’ll see what comes of that. As for USC, they clearly thought they would walk away with a much lighter sentence. Otherwise why bring a magnet for more scrutiny like Kiffin? Had Texas, Oklahoma, etc. come, he would have had to seriously “up” his game to compete and perhaps cross the line even more.

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
11:51 am

Easy, Delbert. I got called out yesterday for my comment about the coming SEC Anschluss regarding Clemson and Virginia Tech.

Delbert D.

June 16th, 2010
11:52 am

College recruiting is in Dire Straits. Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free.

Delbert D.

June 16th, 2010
11:56 am

Atlanta Gator – Yeah, well, how did Hitler end up? The Russians, well, one of their guys ended up with the NY Nets.

dawgfan

June 16th, 2010
12:01 pm

The same people that whine about money in college football are the same people that trash a junior for leaving early and taking the NFL money. How stupid are these people? If money is so insignificant, why don’t you quit your jobs and go volunteer at a soup kitchen? Its just money right? Tell your boss you don’t want that big raise because you’re in it for the love of the job and not the money. What a bunch of morons. If you wouldn’t leave college early for millions of dollars you are simply too stupid to insult. Seriously. And yes, college football is a business and people make money off of it. I know. What a crime. Let’s move to Cuba.

Geez. What morons. Thanks.

bjohndawg

June 16th, 2010
12:03 pm

Tony,

The Casablanca reference….mucho funny my man.
Good stuff!

Delbert D.

June 16th, 2010
12:04 pm

“The Russians, well, one of their guys ended up with the NY Nets.” Hmmm….that may work out worse than Adoph and Eva’s honeymoon for that dude.

Will

June 16th, 2010
12:05 pm

Tony:

An update from my source within the Big 12. Arkansas is a no go for certain. TCU is a dead lock IF a 12th team can be found and there is very little enthusiasm for SMU or Houston. If Utah does not go to the PAC 10, add them to the possibilities for the Big 12. Colorado State would go tomorrow but no one in the Big 12 is interested in that happening.

TCU vs Baylor in the Big 12 would be a bloodbath of a rival based on Baylor’s history of keeping TCU out of the Big 12 earlier.

Expansion may be put on hold for this year but the Big 12 is a deadlock to expand IF they cannot get that Championship Game back in other ways.

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
12:06 pm

Delbert D.—-

I don’t want to go too far down that road on a football blog, but Lenin and Stalin did kill more people than Hitler did. Mostly their own, ironically.

Just a metaphor for humorous purposes. The SEC is not going to lose the war.

Delbert D.

June 16th, 2010
12:06 pm

dawgfan – Visa to Cuba are a bit of a problem. You might consider Berkeley or Boulder.

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
12:08 pm

Money is not inherently evil. Men are. It’s a rare person who isn’t tempted to snatch the cookie when no one’s looking. But that’s the definition of good character: doing the right thing when you think no one is looking.