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

Delbert D.

June 16th, 2010
12:13 pm

The Russian guy I was alluding to is the owner of the Nets. On the Prague post, I meant the broken promise at such a high level. The after affects are a much worse story, as you pointed out.

Delbert D.

June 16th, 2010
12:20 pm

The root of money is a valueless piece of paper that implies the trust between people that value is being exchanged. I’m two-thirds of the way through the book from which I quoted the other night, Atlanta Gator. She explained it in much more detail.

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
12:20 pm

Bad investment. The Russians aren’t exactly commies anymore, but they don’t seem to have grasped the finer points of free-market capitalism, either.

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
12:24 pm

Ayn had a gift for metaphor and political allegory, but her characters are two-dimensional and her dialogue is wooden. As a former graduate economist, I get the concept of fiat money. Paper is more portable than gold bullion, but the system only works when you have faith in your government and central bank.

But I digress . . . now we return to our regularly scheduled sports programming.

UT96

June 16th, 2010
12:29 pm

Poad, sure Memphis is a great town if like a second rate school, hood rats, being mugged or shot. What does Memphis have?- the distinction of being the murder capital of the world, a shrine to a fat, dead, singer, poverty at every turn, lousy food, and lousy music.

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
12:34 pm

UT96—-

That’s a litte harsh. The ribs are good, and the jazz isn’t awful.

All Jealous

June 16th, 2010
12:35 pm

Auburn Sux, Thats about it

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
12:36 pm

Gotta run guys. Realignment crisis appears to be at a resting point. Clients to bill, bills to pay.

UT96

June 16th, 2010
12:38 pm

dammit, Atl Gator, of course it’s a little harsh. I didn’t actually mean anything I just said, just having a little fun while I’m bored. After all, he criticized Knoxville.

Delbert D.

June 16th, 2010
12:39 pm

Atlanta Gator – Yes and yes on the answer. Simplification is needed for…I’ll leave it there.

aggie94

June 16th, 2010
12:42 pm

Where is the $$ the new Mack-10 conference is promising coming from??? SEC still want A&M? There is no TV deal to bring in the amount of cash they are throwing around. Maybe OKST’s T Boone Pickens or Baylor’s Drayton McClane are making offers TX can’t refuse (under the table).

cantondawg

June 16th, 2010
12:48 pm

I really see USC being irrelevant for the next 5-6 years. 30 scholarships losses will take a huge toll on them. They will be lucky for a .500 record during this probation. USC had been mediocre for a long time until Pete Carroll got there and they are headed back to mediocrity.

[...] Tony Barnhart of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tackles five burning questions. [...]

How2fish

June 16th, 2010
12:55 pm

Tony have fun!

Good for Reggie Bush

June 16th, 2010
1:06 pm

He’s was in an inherently corrupt system that makes billions off of him in return for pennies on the dollar. He did to them what the NCAA has been doing to college football players for years.

Good for him, and I hope he enjoyed every minute of it.

[...] Tony Barnhart of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tackles five burning questions. [...]

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
1:09 pm

AG:

“Never Tempt an Honest Man?”

Ben

June 16th, 2010
1:10 pm

Tony, with regards to Carroll and USC, all one had to do was look at the culture of recruiting Lane Kiffin was bringing to Tennessee. Where do people think he learned all those shenanigans. They got what they deserved and so did Kiffin. He’ll be fired in 4 years (2 years he will be given the benefit of the doubt due to these sanctions) I will enjoy his fall.

gcs

June 16th, 2010
1:11 pm

Tony,
I know you are probably half way to Hawaii by now but I was wondering if Joe McKnight was part of the USC investigation.

.

heartofdarkness

June 16th, 2010
1:12 pm

What! No Columbia Football? How the Lions have fallen since the Marty Domres era.

PHILADELPHIA – A national television audience will have the chance to watch the 102nd all-time meeting between football arch rivals Penn and Princeton. Kickoff on Saturday, Nov. 6 at Princeton Stadium is set for 3 p.m. on the VERSUS network.

VERSUS is the fastest growing sports cable network in the country and is now in more than 75 million homes. The network will broadcast at least three Ivy League games in 2010 and 2011, beginning with this season’s Penn-Princeton matchup on the first Saturday in November.

“We are excited to extend our partnership with the Ivy League for the next two seasons and we look forward to the opportunity to once again present several of the League’s marquee matchups to a national audience,” said Jeffrey Goldberg, Vice President of Programming for VERSUS.

This will mark the third straight year in which VERSUS has partnered with Ivy League Football and the Quakers have been selected as part of the national network’s package each year. In 2008, Penn’s Homecoming game at Franklin Field was showcased on VERSUS as the Quakers fell in the final minutes, 34-27 to Brown, the eventual Ivy League champion. Last year, the Red and Blue were featured on the network in its Ivy League opener, a 30-24 win over Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H. It was the first win of the year for the Quakers as they would not lose another game for the rest of the season en route to an Ivy League-record 11th outright Ivy title.

This is also the second consecutive Penn-Princeton game to be aired on national television at Princeton Stadium. In 2008, the Quakers topped the Tigers, 14-9 during a primetime Friday night appearance on ESPNU.

In all, this is the fourth nationally televised Penn football game in the last three years. The remainder of the television schedule and game times for the 2010 Penn football season will be released later this summer.

The VERSUS network is the cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Professional Bull Riders (PBR). VERSUS also airs NASCAR, NBA, UFC, college football and college basketball programming. Penn is the first Ivy League game on the network in 2010, while the other two Ivy football games to appear are Brown at Dartmouth on Nov. 13 and Yale at Harvard on Nov. 20.

The Quakers will begin their 134th season with practice in late August. The first game for the 2010 team will take place on Sept. 18 against Lafayette at Franklin Field.

DLine

June 16th, 2010
1:13 pm

Regarding your #3 and the point that all this treatment as a star begins in high school:
“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.”

To have a press conference, you have to have the press present. So you guys should accept at least half of the blame for the High School Press Conference. If ESPN, local TV, newspapers would not show up, then they would all be just announcements. So you all do have the ability to cause a change in that aspect of recruiting.

[...] Tony Barnhart of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tackles five burning questions. [...]

Bama man

June 16th, 2010
1:26 pm

I cannot understand why Jones is a lock on the hall. The man is at best a good hitter but canot feild a lick. Most hard ones hit to him get through and the home cooking score keeper rules it a hit. Two good years at the most. The man is no Ted Williams or Mantel or Mays.

npgator

June 16th, 2010
1:28 pm

Did I mention that I was first?

jj

June 16th, 2010
1:41 pm

why oh why do sec fans want usc to fail so bad. ive never understood that just like i cant understand a uga fan rooting for fla to win? sec fans are annoying

POAD

June 16th, 2010
1:44 pm

UT96 Rhoads College is an Ivy League type school in Memphis. The Party that is Memphis in May is Great and includes the BBQ Championships. I guess when I saw “The Blindside” all there was were trashy black ghettos and no classy White neighborhoods. What music industry calls knoxwille home? Nashville has Music and so does Memphis. Memphis is a STAR in a new TV show, but I guess it will just be shot in the TRASHY parts or town right. Without UT knoxville has NOTHING I mean NOTHING to offer.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
1:48 pm

Bama man:

Yeah, but he got a Hooters Girl pregnant!
That entitles him to SOMETHING!

POAD

June 16th, 2010
1:50 pm

UT96 you started calling Memphis the ARM PIT at 9:06. You trashed a town first I just called out your town. Clemson is Auburn with a Lake or Knoxville is Auburn with a Mountian and a River, but all those teams have a Gowd awful Orange for a mian color.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
1:51 pm

jj:

WHEN was the last time a Georgia Bulldawg rooted for the Gators? ! ! !
They’d sooner fall on a sword!

jj

June 16th, 2010
1:52 pm

and regarding people hating on usc…most people hate something they cant have or they will never be actually a winston churchill quote…funny, didnt think that would be meant for sec fans one day

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
1:53 pm

POAD:

Hate to break it to ya, but Auburn has Lake Martin.

jj

June 16th, 2010
1:54 pm

all my friends who went to uga root so hard for fla to win the national championship…if u dont awesome thats the way it should be

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
1:54 pm

jj:

“. . . most people hate something they cant have or they will never be . . .”

Wow.
Proud ain’t we?

bamafan

June 16th, 2010
1:54 pm

1. Lot of the money that comes from donors that goes to the academic side of the university comes from donors who give, at least in part, as a result of the athletic achievement of the university’s teams. As Bear Bryant once said, “It is hard to rally around a math class.” He also said “How many people come to watch me administer a final exam……thousands.” So when the academics raise hell about the “money” they need to know that some of it comes from the sports programs.

2. Pete Carroll had no credibility before he went to Seattle. His recent comments ensure that he will never have any credibility. I rate his remarks somewhere between those of folks who persist in saying that the earth is flat and those who insist that the Holocaust did not occur.

3. The SEC fans pulling for other SEC teams is a fairly recent phenomenon. It hasn’t always been the case……with the advent of the BCS and its predecessors the Bowl Coalition and Bowl Alliance, it has become more pronounced.

4. Why do SEC fans hate Southern Cal? I admired USC when their coach was John McKay or John Robinson…….not so much Pete Carroll. Does the fact that the media overexposed USC and conducted what turned out to be an illicit love affair with USC from 2003 on have anything to do with it? You bet……..I personally willed Vince Young into the endzone to beat USC and win the 2005 national title. Hell, I even pulled for the fisheaters (Notre Dame) against USC………doesn’t everybody?

POAD

June 16th, 2010
1:57 pm

G8R: Lake Martin is on Auburn’s campus? I know Hartwell is on Clemson’s campus.

jj

June 16th, 2010
1:59 pm

bamafan

some of ur points are well taken but the media has done no different with usc than with any other team winning also be it miami, oh st, fla, fla st…its what the media does…get over that. i believe the media love affair with tebow was sick but so what im not going to hate fla because of it. its the medias job to chalk up whats hot

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
2:01 pm

jj:

“all my friends who went to uga root so hard for fla to win the national championship”

It’s called camaraderie, my friend.
When another SEC is representing our conference we ACTUALLY root for them.
What a concept!
If you need a selfish reason (and apparently, you do) it makes our other teams look better to have lost only to the National Champion.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
2:01 pm

POAD:

20 mins. away

jj

June 16th, 2010
2:04 pm

g8r grad

again this concept is lost on me? how do u root for a rival and ok so ur rival wins a championship? does ur team get a ring? thats not camaraderie. it would be like a cowboy fan rooting for the redskins or a packer fan rooting for the vikings not going to happen

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
2:07 pm

POAD:

A “two beer” ride!

jj

June 16th, 2010
2:07 pm

and its not selfish. root for ur team and if they dont make it then watch whatever game and hope for a great game and if u want to root for somebody sure go ahead but dawg fans running around like they won a championship when fla does is absurd

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
2:09 pm

jj:

You Left Coast boys just don’t get it, do ya?
We think the SEC is the finest conference in college football.
Hell, college SPORTS!
We put aside our differnces in the name of solidarity when one of ours is playing for all the marbles.
It’s, apparently, a Southern Thang!

jj

June 16th, 2010
2:13 pm

im not a left coast boy i actually graduated from fla, bu thanks for the assumption. i have alot of friends in fla who were not rooting for bama guess some are just different again its not one of ours my one is gators and no kidding the sec is the best

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
2:15 pm

jj:

“im not a left coast boy i actually graduated from fla”

Youth is wasted on the young.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
2:21 pm

jj:

“. . .it would be like a cowboy fan rooting for the redskins or a packer fan rooting for the vikings not going to happen . . ”

Precisely why college football is better than the NFL.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
2:23 pm

jj:

Now, go forth and prosper with your newfound wisdom, Grasshopper!

jj

June 16th, 2010
2:24 pm

that has nothing to do with college being better than the nfl. thats the dumbest reason ive ever heard why college is better than the nfl

jj

June 16th, 2010
2:26 pm

wow yes u have given me so much wisdom now…im going to start rooting for bama and uga…man screw my team…

mas

June 16th, 2010
2:29 pm

why is it such a mission to be “first” – hands down one of the dumbest things i’ve ever seen…

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
2:37 pm

JJ = The Last Angry Young Man