College football 2010: The good and the bad

The SEC has won its fifth straight BCS national championship. Auburn has won its first national title since 1957. And the argument continues: What if  No. 1 Auburn (14-0) played No. 2 TCU (13-0) on Saturday to settle the national title? We’ll never know.

The incredible thing about a college football season is that in July and August, it just feels like it will never start. Then, once it does, it seems to be over in a couple of heartbeats.

I will always remember the 2010 season because it gave us both the good and the bad that is the game of college football in the 21st century.

You know the good. The game, as it is played on the field, has never been better. Every week there was a new, dramatic story line. Every Saturday there was something that made us go “Wow!”:

**–Oct. 2: For about 90 seconds in Baton Rouge, Tennessee had apparently pulled a stunning upset at LSU. But on what appeared to be the last play of the game, Tennessee’s defense had 13 men on the field. LSU got one more snap and won.

**–Oct. 9: South Carolina upsets Alabama, the defending national champions, to beat the No. 1 team for the first time in school history.

**–Nov. 26:  It was a Friday that we will never forget. Auburn rallies from a 24-0 deficit at Alabama and wins a game for the ages, 28-27. Then, in the wee hours of Nov. 27, Nevada ends Boise State’s dreams of playing for the national championship with a field goal in overtime.

I could go on and on. College football is so good now that we EXPECT to have these unforgettable moments week after week. The game rarely disappoints.

But we also had a chance to see college football’s dark side. This is the side that threatens to undermine the long-term credibility of the game with the public that loves it so:

**–The academic scandal at North Carolina that forced the school to suspend as many as 13 players. It turned an ACC championship caliber team into one which was lucky to finish 7-5.

**–Agent gate: One bad decision by one of the game’s premier players (A.J. Green), basically wrecked Georgia’s season. An agent throws a South Florida party for underclassmen because the benefit far outweighs the risk. This problem is not going away. It is only going to get worse if something doesn’t change–and quickly. Unfortunately, the NCAA doesn’t do much of anything quickly. They need to open up the proccess and get these kids talking to agents much earlier in their careers.

**–In June there was the money and power grab that was known as conference expansion and realignment. When it was over the Big Ten had 12 teams, the Big 12 had 10 teams, and the Mountain West had lost its three most high-profile programs: TCU (Big East), Utah (Pac-10), and BYU (Independent). The Pac-10 almost talked Texas into leaving and destroying the Big 12. It was an ugly thing to watch.

**–USC got hammered by the NCAA in the summer and Reggie Bush eventually gave back his Heisman Trophy.

**–While Cameron Newton’s play on the field was magnificent and deserving of the Heisman Trophy, the entire case involving his father was bad for college football. Legally, the NCAA had no choice but to let Newton play based on the facts (or lack of them) in evidence. But this loophole needs to be closed before another season comes around. The guardians of the sport had better hope that no more damning information comes out about this case. We watched USC vacate a national championship and its star player give back a Heisman Trophy. College football does not need another body blow like that.

**–And then there was the Ohio State ruling, which suspended five players for selling stuff given to them by the school. But the NCAA allowed the suspensions to start after they played in the Sugar Bowl. Critics jumped on the NCAA and college football because it appears both are making these rules up as they go along. The ruling made no sense unless you believe Ohio State’s claim that their players had not been instructed on the rules. I don’t.

There was also tragedy:

**–Student photographer Declan Sullivan was killed when the scissor tower where he was filming Notre Dame’s practice collapsed.

**–Eric LeGrand of Rutgers suffered paralysis in a terrbile injury against Army.

**–Mississippi State defensive end Nick Bell lost his battle with cancer. He was only 20 years old.

So again, it was a good season and it was a bad season. Mostly it was a tough season.

The hard edge to the Cameron Newton debate was disturbing. The kid almost lost everything because the father. The Newtons got lucky. The next kid whose father gets caught doing this won’t be so lucky. Parents who act like agents in the future (and get caught) will not be happy with the result.

The nastiness of the BCS debate is disquieting. I want a four-team playoff or a true plus-one, where two teams are picked after the bowls. I believe college football will need to made a change in the post-season format when the current BCS contract expires after the 2013 regular season. The debate has always kept interest high in college football. But I think we are reaching a tipping point where the debate is so destructive that it hurts the game.

In many ways it was another great season but in many I’m glad the season is over. I don’t remember feeling that way too many times.

Please follow me on Twitter:

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“Barnhart and Durham:” Among our guests will be Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com. We’ll look at his early Top 25 for 2011. Join us at 10 a.m.  www.790thezone.com

572 comments Add your comment

Red Harrison

January 14th, 2011
10:03 am

Auburn thinks like efficient engineers.
Its gonna be easy to change that sign “ALL IN”
to “ALL GONE”

You know it is.

kral

January 14th, 2011
10:04 am

a little harsh..but so am I at times..but i agree with some off what you said m and I want call you mm’s this time

Scott

January 14th, 2011
10:04 am

As an Auburn fan the only thing I am upset with in the Cam Newton situation is all the ’stuff’ has taken away from what a great player he is. Instead of comments about his talent people amuse themselves with plays on his name (scam – really clever) and other anonymous notes only the world wide web can provide. For me he is the best college football player I have ever seen.

News Article: Latest Bama News 1/14/11

January 14th, 2011
10:04 am

[...] Latest Bama News 1/14/11 College football 2010: The good and the bad College football 2010: The good and the bad | Mr. College Football Reply With Quote + Reply to Thread « Previous Thread | Next [...]

Regular Guys

January 14th, 2011
10:05 am

wballs1977: Your comment was well put, and respectful. However, I’ve got to disagree. You’re deluding yourslef if you think that Cam truly did nothing wrong. Doing nothing wrong and having the proof of getting caught are two different things. Ask OJ’s lawyers. What Auburn, their fans, and Cam have done is offer a “legal” argument, not an ethical one. That’s why the NCAA has already come out with its statements about needing to close loopholes, because what was done was unethical and wrong. One other thing, I’ve worked with teenagers for almost 20 years (youth pastor and public school teacher), I can honestly say that when kids are caught doing something seriously wrong, A LOT of them lie until it is proven otherwise. Unfortunately, that’s human nature. The common sense of adults has to see past those lies to reality in order to hold kids accountable. That’s exactly NOT what’s happening here. I’m afraid that this pattern is only going to continue into the NFL when he does something else and no one finally covers his tracks (aka: Michael Vick). Experience teaches us that kids in their twenties don’t let their parents make all of their decisions for them, and at the very least would want all the information possible on those decisions. Heck, juniors and seniors in high school don’t want their parents making all of their decisions. Cam knew what was going on. I once heard that the best indicator of future behavior is past actions. He threw the laptop out the window, he cheated on papers repeatedly, and with his career on the line, he’s suddenly telling the truth? That is a foolish argument. Auburn’s fans would be much more respected if they would simply come out and say, “Guys, you know what? Cam messed up. He obviously did somethin wrong, and we got away with it. The NCAA went easy on us, and we’re just going to celebrate our good fortune, and this championship for what it’s worth.”

gabriel

January 14th, 2011
10:06 am

aburn and the ducks game was great but i think they could have played better from what i have seen the both played with great offence but the first deffence that failed lost wich means ducks

JB

January 14th, 2011
10:06 am

Thanks Gator Mike……It really cracks me up and read people Jumping on Dawg fans about AU/Cam…….. Go read Tenn/Bama message boards this AM….It’s the rage……This is were Georgia people hang out……

JB

January 14th, 2011
10:07 am

s/b where…..whoops

Chris

January 14th, 2011
10:07 am

THE BAD: The bowl games! I barely watched a full game, and that was when my favorite team played. They are too watered down and don’t mean anything anymore. It’s time for a playoff. If not a playoff, finish the games by Jan 1.

wballs1977

January 14th, 2011
10:07 am

How many times have your been certain you just watched the best 2 teams in the country after the BCS game? Maybe three or four.

JB

January 14th, 2011
10:09 am

Scott……………There is no denying Cam is a great player. A once in a life time type for AU….Regardless of what happens, they won it on the field. Congrats.

Scott

January 14th, 2011
10:09 am

Regular Guys – We may say that when there is proof.

Why do people keep brining up a stolen laptop that was worth probably what he paid for it and cheating on a test (which, if true, someone broke a federal law by leaking that information)

Trust me, as an alumni of an SEC school, there are alot worse things going on.

Cam

January 14th, 2011
10:10 am

Family? What family? You mean those FOOLS in east LA?

ARdawg

January 14th, 2011
10:11 am

Bama dude

I agree. I sat watching the BCSCG and was thinking to myself, “neither of these look like a #1 team in the country.” It looked more like a sandlot football game than a national championship

3rdN8

January 14th, 2011
10:11 am

re: the NC game.

Other than the pressures of the game itself….I would have to agree with a lot of people about the time span between the end of the regular season (including SECCG for AU), and the NC game.

That was not the same AU team (especially Newton), that I saw play in Tuscaloosa. I didn’t see Oregon’s final regular season game, but am quite sure their fans are saying the same thing.

I once heard Bear Bryant say that getting a team prepared for a bowl game was the toughest nut he’d ever tried to crack. Are you listening….Steve Spurrier?

wes

January 14th, 2011
10:12 am

The 2010 season was a complete disaster. College football is becoming a joke. Compared to every other level of football – The BCS and the College Presidents have almost ruined the sport of D-1 football. D-1 College Football is now what I call “anti-sport.” It’s not TRUE competition – it hasn’t been for a long time and finally it’s good to see people are absolutely sick of this bowl season farce. Over 35 days between games? The BCS and the College Presidents and people like Tony Barnhart MOCK the TRUE fan of football who understands TRUE championships are decided on the f______ field! I am a Georgia grad and SEC fan; however, after another disastrous year of watching BS – I’m done with college football until they decide the champions on the field – like every other level of football. This is true sport – I saw the ratings were down for almost all the BS bowl games while the NFL ratings continue to climb. It’s because Tony, it’s real football – not some contrived plan by jackasses which deprives people of REAL competition and sport. College Football is a complete fraud – and the BCS and College Presidents along with their media friends continue to say “f___ you” America – we’ll do it our way – we don’t give a s___ what the fans think or want.

RxDawg

January 14th, 2011
10:12 am

Tony, by your article your impling that AJ went to that parth in Miami. As we all know, that is not the case. Rather while the NCAA was investigating they found out that AJ sold his jersey for some extra cash.

All in all, this was a pretty rotten season for this college football fan. The outright corruption and favoritism that has been shown this year makes me want to puke. I truly think the sport will be damaged for this. Notice that the BCS champ game was down in ratings by 15%? Yep, we saw this year that crime does pay. Cheaters win. It makes me want to switch to the NFL honestly. If I wasn’t so tied into my team being an alumni I’d of left college ball behind after this year.

wballs1977

January 14th, 2011
10:18 am

Regular Guys – I don’t think you’ll find an Auburn fan that thinks what Cam’s dad was legal or ethical. Your explanation around kids lying until getting caught being human nature might hold true for young kids and teenagers, but not young adults. Especially, young adults involved in a very serious business. However, I do appreciate your reasoning. I think the problem that I have (and other Auburn fans) is that people claiming to ‘know’ Cam was aware of his dad’s actions never elaborate on their particular opinion. Why do you think this way? Why do you think Cam knew what his dad was up to? It is because they are a close family? Is it because he is a dirtbag and needs money? Is it because he is simply a star athlete…and all star athletes are dirty? Is it because Auburn has been punished in the past, therefore, he must have been involved? Why? I just have a hard time thinking there is more than jealousy and perhaps a sprinkle of racism involved in these opinions since people never explain themselves.

Scott

January 14th, 2011
10:18 am

For all those saying this was a ‘rotten college football season’ how did your teams do?

Its comparable to those who jump on Cam Newton – If he was wearing a crimson jersey, silver britches or Tennessee Orange would you be saying the same things?

kral

January 14th, 2011
10:19 am

never have balls do not believe I am that good…but do agree with you all nc championships should have an asterik..no play no substance to the claim

kral

January 14th, 2011
10:19 am

play is playoff

3rdN8

January 14th, 2011
10:21 am

When I was a student at Alabama, ROTC was a two year requirement. We had to “drill” twice a week on the quadrangle. During one of those sessions, a small plane appeared over head, and leaflets came fluttering out. It was a cartoon. On the outside was a big elephant, staring down at a little eagle.

The elephant said: “bite my butt….bird!”

When you opened the cartoon up, the whole rear-end of the elephant had been chewed away. Everyone on the quadrangle cracked up. Good one Auburn. Now that’s a “Rivalry”!

I don’t know what my personal tipping point is….but I don’t like the direction that CFB is taking. Every year, it seems a little less enjoyable.

Red Harrison

January 14th, 2011
10:22 am

really, all college football needs now is Vince McMahon and a few monster trucks

and hey thats a win-in, they would gain audience share in Alabama

BAMA dude

January 14th, 2011
10:24 am

Scott

January 14th, 2011
10:18 am
For all those saying this was a ‘rotten college football season’ how did your teams do?

Its comparable to those who jump on Cam Newton – If he was wearing a crimson jersey, silver britches or Tennessee Orange would you be saying the same things?

To some degree you’re right. I said yesterday that the season seemed so strange because none of Bama, LSU, Texas, Florida, or Oklahoma were in the hunt. It’s one thing for Auburn OR Oregon to have a great year and make it, but both? Plus, PFP allegations or not, the whole one-and-done, hired gun, three-schools-in-three-years, criminal record Heisman trophy winner is a little strange too.

[...] paragraphs from today’s Tony Barnhart post illustrate what stinks about the haphazard approach the NCAA has taken in upholding its sacred [...]

ARdawg

January 14th, 2011
10:26 am

3rdn8

The BCS has become a monster. It is barking off orders and the NCAA and all it’s minions, Barnhart included are marching lockstep. College football as we use to know it I’m afraid, is over

3rdN8

January 14th, 2011
10:27 am

@ Scott

If Newton had played for Bama this year (and I’m glad he didn’t), I’d be saying the exact same things. Newton, and Auburn (as far as I know) are two separate, and distinct issues.

wballs1977

January 14th, 2011
10:28 am

Bama dude – yes, having a one and done Heisman winner was a little strange. But I guess for Auburn, winning a national championship after 50 years feels a little strange too. I think if you jumped on the college football bandwagon in 2003 your comment may make sense. But, having enjoyed college football my entire life (and seeing the likes of Nebraska, Florida State, Notre Dame and USC rule the world) I’ve learned that nothing is ever the same which is why the sport is so great.

STEINER

January 14th, 2011
10:28 am

MAJORPAYNE:
They gonna get you eventually…Just like they got ole Pat Dye when the player finally came forward and spilled the beans…Disappointed the SEC and NCAA bent the rules to get Cam on the field…The only thing they could come up with is that Cam didn’t know what dad was doing…Sir, 95% of the population ain’t buying that one…The NCAA found a loophole in its own rules which allowed him to play…They couldn’t find a loophole for Darius, AJ Green, and the boys at North Carolina…but when the best player in the nation is about to be taken out of the National Championship game, no way the NCAA was having anything to do with that…Then the NCAA lets 5 players from Ohio State play in the bowl game when they have just committed a major offense…Now the NCAA will go back in and want to clean up the “if the player don’t know what dad is doing, you can’t hold him responsible”. What a can of worms that will open up…But they let ole Scam slip through the noose on purpose, cause they didn’t want to mess up the NC game…will be watching how this turns out with interest…

kral

January 14th, 2011
10:28 am

Dam…Wes i wish I could have said that..loved it and believe it..but I still got to watch and listen to the Dawgs…it is in my..blood..bones..heart

UGAFan

January 14th, 2011
10:29 am

How much was Cam’s buyout?

Surely Auburn gets some of his salary back with him leaving early . . .

Old Dawg

January 14th, 2011
10:29 am

16 team is the only way to go when the BCS (Bowl Cussin’ System) dies. Take the conference champs, a few at large bids and let it roll. Teams with 7-8 wins go to bowl games. How simple can it be?

2010

January 14th, 2011
10:31 am

The year in which CFB died.

RIP

Too tough 44

January 14th, 2011
10:32 am

NCAA is a joke. What a dissapointment to witness that entity not doing the right thing all season long, not making the rules/penalties the same across the board. AJ Green, Ohio Players, the Bama Kid that actually did go to the s fla party, NC players…ea. penalty was different…they shouldve been the same across the board. As for the Newton case… well, lets just hope auburn gets to keep the Natl. championship. And him the Heisman…..time will tell.

3rdN8

January 14th, 2011
10:33 am

@ Old Dawg

I’m not sure how old an “Old Dawg” is. I know how old this Bama fan is. And I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I won’t see a sixteen team playoff in my lifetime.

Red Harrison

January 14th, 2011
10:33 am

What we learned from this football season – Touchdown Jesus and Scam should switch lives.

Tebow is a college player playing pro ball.
Scam is a Pro player playing college ball.

SECWasteManagement

January 14th, 2011
10:33 am

Best thing about 2010 is that it’s over. Now my liver gets a break since I don’t have to watch Georgia till next year.

yea right

January 14th, 2011
10:34 am

Tony, I have to be honest, I have a real sick feeling over this years season, mainly because of the NCAA. They are the most inconsistent bunch of folks I have ever seen, and that says alot considering I have spent 21 years in the military. First, they absolutely flabergast me with the 4 game suspension of Green and did not evern consider reducing it, then they suspend the end from Alabama for 2 games and he took more money that Green, where is the logic in that, except they wanted to make an example out of Green I guess. Then the whole Cam Newton thing, no way anyone can convince me that the NCAA did not prostrate themselves on the Bowl Alliance alter. And the Auburn fans who are so brash, remember the old adage, “he who laughs last, laughts the loudest. Good reporting Tony, I love your read.

BAMA dude

January 14th, 2011
10:35 am

3rdN8, I think that’s the difference. Based on what I’ve seen Saban wouldn’t have touched that kid with a ten-foot-pole, just based on the laptop business alone.

Big Al

January 14th, 2011
10:36 am

Zebra I guess the barn folks wearing Texas shirts last year was OK with you?

kral

January 14th, 2011
10:36 am

from one old dog to another could not agree more

BAMA dude

January 14th, 2011
10:38 am

wballs1977

January 14th, 2011
10:28 am
Bama dude – yes, having a one and done Heisman winner was a little strange. But I guess for Auburn, winning a national championship after 50 years feels a little strange too. I think if you jumped on the college football bandwagon in 2003 your comment may make sense. But, having enjoyed college football my entire life (and seeing the likes of Nebraska, Florida State, Notre Dame and USC rule the world) I’ve learned that nothing is ever the same which is why the sport is so great.

Oh, CFB is cyclical (or it was- now that the SEC is raking in ESPN money it may be less so), but there are normally a few programs ahead of the pack. Rarely do two “upstarts” make the big game. The “Clash of the Titans” or “David vs. Goliath” storylines tend to be more compelling. Just my opinion.

wballs1977

January 14th, 2011
10:39 am

I am an Auburn fan and pulled for the Tide last year vs. Texas. I think most sensible Auburn fans did the same.

3rdN8

January 14th, 2011
10:39 am

BAMA dude

agree re: Saban. I think he looks more at the long term effect on the program.

wballs1977

January 14th, 2011
10:40 am

Red Harrison
What we learned from this football season – Touchdown Jesus and Scam should switch lives.

Tebow is a college player playing pro ball.
Scam is a Pro player playing college ball.

That was dumb – but you probably think its funny. Cam never was paid, less you forget, which makes him a college player.

Scott

January 14th, 2011
10:41 am

As someone clsoe to the situation I can say with 100% authority that Cam Newton did not receive any extra benefits from anay assocatied with the University. If it makes you feel better to say that the title or the heisman will be taken away you must have a very sad life.

If you look at the facts – there was no ’shopping’ of Cam. A slime agent and his dad got together (no one know who approached who) and money was discussed. After MSU said ‘hell no’ (and didnt report it AND kept recruiting him) no other teams were approached.

RxDawg

January 14th, 2011
10:43 am

” Why do you think this way? ”

wballs, because innocent people don’t shut down and lawyer up.

BAMA dude

January 14th, 2011
10:43 am

3rdN8 and wballs1977, check out this article. It really is a funny read.

BAMA dude

January 14th, 2011
10:45 am

Scott, you don’t know squat. Quit pretending like you do. (Note: I didn’t say Cam or Cecil got anything.)

IF Cecil scored cash from a booster then very few people know about it.

Bob Johnson

January 14th, 2011
10:48 am

The Cam Newton story is not over. Chizick and the current Auburn leadership appear to be honorable guys, but they are surrounded by the cess pool of Auburn boosters to whom $200K in walking around money to buy a player is no big deal – people that Chizick is very familiar. Trips to Victoryland Dog Track and “Bingo” parlor produce cash winnings that are untraceable from slot machines and from “magical quinellas”. The owner of Victoryland is flush with cash and has a history of being very generous with making “gifts to worthy causes”. Even the FBI will be able to trace the initial outlay of cash from his desk drawer through his immediate minions and eventually to the faithful parishiners of the good Reverend Newton and his offering plate.

The difference between the Reggie Bush matter and the Cam Newton matter is that the FBI has been involved in investigating the operations of Victoryland for many years prior due to the bribery scheme Mr. McGregor is accused of orchestrating with the former Mayor of Birmingham and many state legislators. IMHO the only thing that kept the McGregor/Newton connection away from the NCAA investigators at this point is that the US Attorney and the FBI are going after bigger fish.

The Auburn Family is “All in” on Newton, and when you make a foolish bet you end up “out of the money.” By 2015, this perfect season will be transformed into something perfectly AUful. The Auburn family’s collective penis envy has finally caused them to make a serious mistake.