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

npgator

June 16th, 2010
8:45 am

First! Finally!

Rimfire

June 16th, 2010
8:51 am

If Momma ain’t happy…no body’s happy. Take care of your homework, Tony!
Appreciate your work this week, though.

Jeepers

June 16th, 2010
8:51 am

Enjoy your time off Tony!

RxDawg

June 16th, 2010
9:00 am

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

Really!? Thats crazy, last I heard they were in last place… I guess you can see how much I keep up with baseball huh. Funny thing is I used to live and breath baseball when I was a kid. That 94 strike still has left a sour taste in my mouth. Honestly, I turned from baseball back then and really haven’t looked back. Well, except for occasionaly going to a game.

I’m sure you all wanted to know my baseball story =/ Carry on.

Baylor Bear

June 16th, 2010
9:02 am

It’s not fair that TEXASS gets all the money!

George P Burdell

June 16th, 2010
9:02 am

Tony, thanks for pointing out “it was about the money. And that is not always a bad thing.” Too many people (including other writers at the AJC) make it sound like the motivation for all of this is “greed”. In addition to the points that you made, I would add a very big point: football is the cash cow that pays for many non-revenue sports at most BCS schools. It’s not only about football practice facilities or coaches’ salaries.

UT96

June 16th, 2010
9:03 am

Bottom line with Tiger High ( Memphis). What do they bring to the table?
Answer: Virtually nothing- a decent basketball team that’s it. Horrible in most other sports including football. Not to mention, they reside in the armpit of the south. Who really enjoys going to Memphis?

Mike

June 16th, 2010
9:07 am

The Big 12 did nothing to correct the unbalanced revenue distribution they have which is what created this mess in the first place. This issue will rear it’s ugly head again in the future as the other conference members sit back and watch Texas and OU get richer and richer.

1eyedJack

June 16th, 2010
9:13 am

“Are their excesses? Sure there are.”

Somethings not quite right “there”, Tony. Don’t give the Nerd’s grammer police any ammunition about your edumacation.

SEC

June 16th, 2010
9:14 am

Tony, if you think Pete Carroll’s statements are insane, you should read the AD Mike Garrett’s remarks about it. USC is on probation because of “jealousy.” “They all (the NCAA) wish they were Trojans.”

WB

June 16th, 2010
9:16 am

Wrong the world cup has been the hottest story. But I wouldn’t expect some redneck to understand that.

RxDawg

June 16th, 2010
9:17 am

1. Hehe, yeh I thought about that one too. I’m sure the remaining Big XII (X) fans will be very welcoming for Nebraska. BUT, I’d rather be Nebraska on those road trips then Texas. For the fans that understand whats really going on, Texas will get all of the (deserved) animosity.

2. I have nothing against Pete. I think college players should get a huge increase in their “scholarship” monies. But USC should be able to sue Pete for some of that salary back and for being neutered and spayed for the next 5 years or so.

3. Yeh, I guess your right Tony. But it’s kind of like pluging holes in water filled bucket of paper mache. Ok, weird analogy, but until the players living a life a little more deserving of their hard work, there will be another school to take USC’s place. I hope it wont be UGA.

4. Good point Tony. I think what was really eating at the fans was the way the “system” was being used to make more money. The Pac 10 thought “hey let’s go from 10 teams and 1 BCS bowl to 16 teams and 2 BCS bowls!” I’ll let you do the math. It was lame and cheapining the game overall and almost everyone knew it and felt it. It was also leaving some fine institutions to hang out to dry (Kansas, Missouri, etc.) Why not let the SEC divide up into 3 divisions of 4 teams each and we’ll ask for 3 BCS bowls for each division winner! Over the top? You betcha, but that was the direction the Pac 10 was trying to go.

5. Hey, that’s their perogative. If a conference wants to accept money (and control) from a supporter of Memphis than who should stop them? Depends on the conference if anyone would accept this. I agree it sounds like that conference would be the Big East if anyone does it at all.

ryan

June 16th, 2010
9:23 am

Awfully quiet from the Pac 10.

If I were the commish, I’d go invite Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri, the spurned Big12ers.

Don’t you think they’d listen to any offer that would be the same in terms of revenue, and would give them a chance to stick it to the Big 12?

college is forever

June 16th, 2010
9:28 am

http://collegelunchboxes.com In the south, Football and especially the SEC are king everything else is, including the NFL is playing second fiddle. Fathers Day is almost here check out the UGA classic tin lunchboxes. Go Dawgs!!!

Miles

June 16th, 2010
9:28 am

Pete Carroll: COVERT IDIOT! Fred Smith (Skull and Bones member): OVERT IDIOT!

Yeppie

June 16th, 2010
9:29 am

The alignment ultimate driving decision was money. The other factors of consideration was academics and some other factors.
The PAC commish MADE ONE MAJOR MISTAKE
1. Over the weekend he wanted to remove OK Stste and replace with Kansas.
That did not sit well with Texas as Texas gave it word to OK state and Boon Pickins. West coast needs to realize that Texas is more like the South then the West. When you give your word it has meaning. Needless, to say that was the variable that caused the PAC deal to crumble. Texas keeps its status as the top academic school in the Big 12 and does not burn bridges with as the PAC commish was about to do by wanting to drop OK state for Kansas.

Yeppie

June 16th, 2010
9:31 am

Pete Carroll had to know someting. I have a feeling Lane kiffin knew about if while as an assistant at USC. So the NCAA really had motive to bring strong sanctions. Good for the NCAA this time.

Yeppie

June 16th, 2010
9:34 am

The revenue is shared in big 12. However, the additional money above the guarnateed is not shared. IT IS EARNED. If your team is solicited to be on TV for big games and recieves extra money it is the institutions right not to share. Nothing stopping any of the other teams in the big 12 to do the same. Not a socialistic conference.

ryan

June 16th, 2010
9:34 am

Adding Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Missouri, and Utah would also get the Pac 10 to 16 teams…

Yeppie

June 16th, 2010
9:38 am

ryan.. It gets the numbers if the pac wants to have 16 teams. However, that does not bring in the TV market and distributes more money to teams that do contribute leverage in TV contracts. Missouri is over rated. Like a North east market. More into pro baseball and pro football. Not a cray football fan base.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
9:40 am

Read in today’s AJC:

“Highly-touted linebacker Jarvis Jones leaving Southern Cal to join the Bulldogs.”

Like rats from a sinking ship.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy (Kiffen).

Fast Eddie

June 16th, 2010
9:42 am

Tony, you are in dire need of a copy editor.

1eyedJack, learn to spell grammar correctly. It makes your tongue- in-cheek edumacation” rather lame.

jack f

June 16th, 2010
9:43 am

No comment is more inane than “it’s not fair.” Nothing is fair, do the best you can with what you get and the hell with the things you have no control over.

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
9:47 am

The unraveling of the Trojan dream has begun—-

Jarvis Jones is transferring from USC to UGA, even if he must sit out a year. Given his history of recent injury, it may be the best thing for him to come and get healthy.

Expect more recruits and curretn players that USC cherry-picked from around the country to start look longingly at the home state and region schools that originally recruited them.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
9:53 am

Oh, and regarding Carroll and his being shocked – SHOCKED – at the NCAA sanctions:

What a disingenuous tool.

POAD

June 16th, 2010
9:54 am

UT96 WTF is in Knoxville? Who the hell goes to knoxville for anything but a Vols game? Memphis is a great town and has much more to offer than knoxville ever dreamed of.

SimpleDawg

June 16th, 2010
9:55 am

Back when all of this Pac-10 expansion blather about raiding the Big XII began, I kept saying that there was no way in heaven or hell that Texas, T A&M, and Oklahoma would shirk their heritage and traditions to join the Surfer Dude, Tree Huggin’, Cactus Conference. I wasn’t too terribly surprised that Nebraska bolted for the Big 10+1, given their envy and animosity aimed at the Longhorns, and Colorado’s move to the Pac-10 makes sense – they fit in with the Cali-style much more than the Cowboy culture of the southwest. But I am a little surprised they aren’t going to add a couple of capable teams to remain a 12 team conference and maintain a conference championship game.

Casablanca is one of my favorite movies. Pete and Lil’ Lane would both fit quite nicely in the role of Captain Renault….”I go with the prevailing winds.” Both are of questionable character and floating allegiances….and completely blind to any corruption around them from which they derive benefit.

When I first heard that the FedEx CEO had made the statement about $10 million per year to the BCS conference who would take Memphis, I thought….”Has this guy flipped out, or is he that delusional.” I’m sure the FedEx stock holders were impressed with his visionary thoughts and his lack of a brain filter to seine these idle mental ramblings.

Now we know that the N on Nebraska’s helmets doesn’t really stand for knowledge. It stands for Numbers…..maybe they’ll change their colors to green.

It’s gonna be an interesting year….a very interesting year indeed.

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
9:58 am

Yeppie—-

The recent NCAA penalty pattern is to vacate games in which ineligible athletes played, without mercy and without fear of collateral damage. See FSU’s vacated wins and Bobby Bowden’s lost dream of being the all-time winningest major college football coach. See FSU’s lost national track championship. See Alabama being forced to vacate wins in 1993, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

I suggest you check with the egomaniacal Texas boosters and make sure that the Longhorns aren’t headed for a major fall, too. I’m old enough to remember how the old SWC ended in money-fueled disgrace that brought down a governor and exterminated the storied SMU football program . . . .

Black Coffee & Bourbon

June 16th, 2010
10:00 am

So is the end result of this that the winner of the Oklahoma vs. Texas game gets a free ride into the national championship game? The perception is that they are better than the Big Ten (+2) so the layoff from not having a championship game should not harm them as much. Strength of schedule does not come into play anymore and aside from the occasional upset one of those two teams will be going 9-0 in the Big XII (-2). What a joke since the rest of the teams in the “new” Big XII (-2) are a football midgets.

Regardless, I think that expansion is only on a short hiatus. With the Big XII (-2) top teams getting $20-25 million/year how long is it until Jerry Jones convinces the conference to make a play for Arkansas? When it comes to cash the top Big XII (-2) will now rake in more than the SEC teams. Should be interesting.

DP

June 16th, 2010
10:10 am

On point #1, I don’t think there will be that much hostility to Nebraska on those road trips. Fans of those schools are more likely to envy Nebraska for being strong enough to get a good deal to get out from under the thumb of Texas and wish they were in the same position.

On point #5 and to build on the Casablanca theme, I’m shocked, truly shocked, that a corporate CEO is willing to spend shareholder money to advance a personal agenda. Fred Smith is plenty rich enough to use his own money to buy Memphis a spot in a BCS conference.

ryan

June 16th, 2010
10:16 am

Yeppie,

All the fuss over TV markets is overrated.

A 16 team Pac-10 would get a better contract, because more teams means greater chances of compelling matchups.

Plus, the basketball value of Kansas is nothing to sneeze at.

Too many people focus on TV markets. With college sports, ratings have more to do with national fanbases than local markets. A Rutgers has a large TV market, but nobody is watching Rutgers sports. Nebraska, in the middle of nowhere, draws far more viewers than Rutgers, because it’s a stronger program.

With Kansas State and Missouri football on board, and Kansas basketball on board, the Pac 10 could absolutely draw a significantly greater TV contract.

help, I live in Ga

June 16th, 2010
10:19 am

I said it before and I’ll say it again. SC hiring Kiffen was like spitting in the face of the NCAA. Can’t you just hear the debate going on with the infractions committee: “We shouldn’t come down so hard on the Trojans because it was a one time thing and they seem to playing nice now. What? They hired who? Nail em.”
Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy or a more arrogant program. It gives me the warm fuzzies. It’s like a good ending to a bad movie. Now lets close the book on Lame. By talking about him, we afford him more respect than he deserves.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
10:20 am

DP:

” . . I’m shocked, truly shocked, that a corporate CEO is willing to spend shareholder money to advance a personal agenda.”

He can’t.
At least not without his counsel explaining the pricipals behind a shareholder derivative action.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
10:20 am

Sorry:
“principles”

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
10:30 am

Yeppie, Yeppie, Yeppie.

“Socialistic conference?” You are kidding right? In the SEC, you play eight conference games and you get an equal share of the revenue regardless of your win-loss record. Even our low men on the totem pole contribute by adding tough competition. In any given year, Kentucky can upset Georgia, or Vanderbilt upset Auburn, Ole Miss can upset Florida . . . . In the past 20 years, six different teams have won the SEC championship (Auburn, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee) and two others have won their division and played for the SEC championship (Arkansas, Mississippi State), four different teams have won eight national consensus or BCS championships and played for two more (Alabama, Florida, LSU, Tennessee). Every team in the conference has been to a bowl game. That’s what competition does. It makes you better, harder, tougher. That’s why a two-loss LSU can win the national title.

In contrast when an Oklahoma or Texas completes their Big XII (X) conference schedule, they have played one maybe two hard games. They have not been tested, and often wilt in the face of a tougher out-of-conference opponent. Oklahoma in 2003, and 2004, 2008. Texas in 2009. How many Big XII (X) teams have played for the national title in the last 20 years? What’s the BigTXII (X) winning percentage in those games. Ahh. I see.

he SEC is socialistic? Hardly. The SEC is a partnership of relative equals, not a Big XII (X) plantation of a few haves and many have-nots. Every SEC school pulls its weight and earns its share. Socialistic? Riiight. Can the Big XII (X) spell p-a-r-t-n-e-r-s-h-i-p? Try it, pardner, repeat after me . . . . I might also point out how many former SWC and Big XII (X) conference sisters Texas has, the ones who have departed willingly, and not been dumped in another move to screw her “partners” . . . Arkansas, Colorado, Nebraska . . . Missouri desperate to escape the asylum . . . Texas A&M willing to leave Texas at the altar for the SEC. Yup. If the SEC represents “socialism,” then Texas represents state-sponsored and controlled capitalism (i.e. fascism) run amok. It’s bully-boy extortion. It’s a house-rigged roulette wheel. It’s a bribed jury. It’s a Sherman Anti-Trust Act violation. It’s a violation of the Thirteenth Amendment. It sure as hell isn’t free-market competition by any definition known to free-market economists.

And, no, Alabama, Florida, LSU and Tennessee would not screw our conference partners like Texas does, if we could, because, well, then they wouldn’t be “partners,” would they?

BTW, why will anyone watch this vaunted Longhorn Sports Network? Afterall, they don’t play anyone other than Oklahoma . . . . the outcomes are predetermined. No one other than Texas can ever win, and no one other than diehard Longhorns fans will ever watch. Sell that product in the free market.

Bulldog59

June 16th, 2010
10:35 am

Tony, the youtube, Captain Renault/Peter Carroll analogy, is dead-on and hilarious! Good one.

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
10:42 am

Oh, I omitted one of the exaggerated, hyperbolic and over-the-top metaphors regarding Texas . . . .

Texas is the playground bully stealing the skinny kid’s lunch money.

Okay, well, maybe that’s not really an exaggeration.

Volunteer Nation

June 16th, 2010
10:42 am

Bama cheats and oversigns. That’s the only way they win!

POAD

June 16th, 2010
10:43 am

DawginLex have you not started your crying on this blog yet?

The Rational SEC Fan

June 16th, 2010
10:44 am

Volunteer Nation,

Just be happy that Alabama doesn’t beat you up and take your lunch money.

RxDawg

June 16th, 2010
10:47 am

“Colorado’s move to the Pac-10 makes sense – they fit in with the Cali-style much more than the Cowboy culture of the southwest.”

This doesn’t make sense to me. Have you ever been to Colrado? It’s full of ranches, cowboys, and steakhouses. Last time I checked there wasn’t a lot of surfing going on in the rockies state.

DP

June 16th, 2010
10:48 am

G8R Grad, you’re naive. The corporate counsel serves at the pleasure of the CEO. And the shareholder base of large public companies is highly fragmented with large money managers/fund companies like Fidelity, Vanguard and TIAA-CREF as the largest shareowners. Institutional shareholders almost never challenge management because they manage pension funds and 401K plans for large corporations. And the Board of Directors of most public companies, particularly successful ones who have been run by one CEO for a long time like FedEx, are handpicked by the CEO.

With regard to using corporate funds for CEO purposes, did you ever see what GE was doing for Jack Welch long after his retirement? It was only made public because his wife’s attorney made it public during divorce proceedings: fresh flowers daily, a corporate penthouse, use of the company jet, season tickets to the Red Sox, it went on and on. Even after Welch was rich beyond what anybody could ever spend after his career at GE, GE was still funding his first class lifestyle in retirement.

Mikey in the SAV

June 16th, 2010
10:50 am

World cup?
sorry…cant hear you…some sort of horn blowing in the background.

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
10:51 am

AG:

“BTW, why will anyone watch this vaunted Longhorn Sports Network? Afterall, they don’t play anyone other than Oklahoma . . . . the outcomes are predetermined. No one other than Texas can ever win, and no one other than diehard Longhorns fans will ever watch. Sell that product in the free market.”

He speaketh the truth.
(snicker)

The Rational SEC Fan

June 16th, 2010
10:51 am

How about “Texas is a wife-beater, and 7 of the remaining ten Big X members are abused Mormon spouses.”

DawginLex

June 16th, 2010
10:54 am

POAD,

You can post whatver you want, whenever you want.
Your blog handle is offensive.
You know it.
I know it.
Everyone on these blogs knows it.

You talk a big game and constantly bash UGA. We get it. You hate UGA. My bet is you are 5′8″ tall and weigh close to 400 pounds and have never done anything athletically in your entire life. You probably couldn’t get into UGA and you have bitter, intense hatred for all things UGA.

You have called me out. I am responding for the one and only time.
If you would care to discuss things in person, let me know. I will be in attendance at several UGA games this year.

Let me know gerbil boy.

1eyedJack

June 16th, 2010
10:54 am

Fast Eddie

I don’t give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way.

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
10:55 am

DP—-

Speaking as someone who has actually served in that role, I can assure you that the general counsel advised the CEO to clarify that he was referring to $10 million from his own annual bonus. Yes, the shareholders of a public corporation are fragmented, but I suspect CALPERS, TIAA-CREF and Morgan Stanley might have some influence on the directors.

RxDawg

June 16th, 2010
10:55 am

Atlanta Gator

June 16th, 2010
10:30 am

Preach on brother!! :lol:

G8R GRAD

June 16th, 2010
10:55 am

DP:

Naivity asdide:

Post-employment benefits stpulated to at an arm’s length employment contract negotiation, however offensive to you and me, are not subject to shareholder review.

Sorry.