Gang, we're sprinting through October at a break-neck pace. Our arm, it's broken.
We have some space in the mailbag, so shoot us a question.
From the "Talks too much" studios, we still believe children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way.
After almost three years in purgatory — and not knowing what to tell the dozens of recruits that were hearing phrases like 'death penalty' and 'bowl bans' on every trip — Miami was slapped on the wrist by the NCAA for the dirty river of allegations brought by Yahoo Sports in a thorough investigation that made Nevin Shapiro the hero of rats everywhere. (Rat Rushmore: Sammy the Bull, who turned on Gotti, Fredo Corleone, Benedict Arnold and who? Does Shapiro make that list?)
In truth, we are OK with the NCAA punishments, if you can actually call them that, against Miami. Miami spent three years not knowing its fate. It self-imposed a two-year bowl ban and decided to withdraw from last year's ACC title game because of the impending sanctions. Plus, unlike most of the recent high-profile NCAA-related incidents, Miami appears to have told the truth.
Did Miami do those things knowing this season — the Hurricanes are ranked No. 7 in the first BCS poll — could be supremely special? Maybe, but that's not a crime, that's smart. Heck, UT already has asked for a quick ruling on the allegations that current player Mo Couch took money from agents so they can continue building for the future.
And let's not forget that the NCAA horribly bungled the Miami investigation, including paying some lawyers for information. In fact, there have been far more serious criminal allegations that have been dismissed for half the malfeasance the NCAA committed.
No, our problem is not with Miami's result on this, it's more with the NCAA in general. And not necessarily with the uneven and arbitrary nature of the punishment handed out, as TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer accurately pointed out here.
(Although pinning the 'victim' tags on Bruce Pearl and USC and Jim Tressel, well, good luck with that. Saying Pearl's only infraction with the NCAA was lying about a Bar-B-Q is like saying Capone only was a tax evader. That's what got him caught, hardly what got the authorities interested. But to be fair, since the complete and total neutering of the NCAA, Pearl's most penalized sin was bad timing.)
The NCAA's collective slap on the wrist — or was it a kiss on the hand — to Miami on Tuesday resulted in nine lost scholarships over the next three years. That's nothing. (And in all likelihood means for the next three years, those left over scholarships that big-time college football programs normally have left over and are presented to walk-on seniors will have to be axed. Way to go NCAA. Way to show those kids that have worked for four years paying their way to play who is boss.)
That nothing is a direct reflection of the current NCAA. And while there are some out there that may be rooting for the NCAA's demise — a position that is not without its talking points — our love for college sports is too great and our educated guess on what will happen to those college sports without an independent governing body is too true to want that.
We want an NCAA that has a presence without being omnipresent. We want an NCAA that rules quickly and fairly on claims and issues, rather than one that is strangled by secondary clauses and loopholes and a a rules and regulation book that makes Tolstoy look like a Hallmark copywriter.
And if you are rooting for the big-boy schools to break off, you are rooting for the end of college sports as we know it.
So we can be hacked off at the NCAA. We can bellyache and bemoan the NCAA. We can all agree its as broken Theismann's leg and Shapiro's moral compass.
But can we also agree that we need the NCAA to be fixed? Quickly.
The World Series starts tonight with the Red Sox hosting the Cardinals.
It's two of baseball's true blue bloods regardless of their uniform color.
It's an interesting match-up that features good pitching and potential October legends.
We could ask who will win? (Sox in 6.) We could ask who you think the MVP will be (Victorino.)
Instead, we'll ask, how much will you watch? We'll give Game 1 a listen on the radio tonight while we drive. Game 2 is Thursday against a bad SEC football game. Game 3 is Saturday night against college football — we'll be in Jordan-Hare watching Auburn vs. Florida Atlantic — and Game 4 is Sunday night (NFL Sunday night game is Packers-Vikings) and Game 5 is Monday opposite Rams-Seahawks. And yes, Monday night could have St. Louis hosting Monday football and Game 5 of the series.
So what say you, how much will you watch of a series that is pretty strong? (Yes, Spy we know you'll crack open a few Co-Colas and watch almost every pitch.)
Running it up? Bullying?
The Fort Worth Star-Telegraph reported this week that a Texas high school football coach was formally charged with bullying by a opposing parent after a 91-0 win over an obviously overmatched team.
The opposing coach said he did not believe top-ranked Aledo ran up the score and said the Aledo players were fine sportsman. Looking at the numbers — Aledo ran just 32 offensive plays and called a fair catch on every punt after halftime against Western Hills; Aledo is 7-0 and ranked No. 1 in 4A; Aledo averages 69 points per game and has an average margin of victory of 77 points per game against district foes — it's hard to justify a charge of running up the score in this game. Aledo's coach told ESPN that he made sure to clear its bench, even replacing its starting offensive and defensive lines with third-stringers early in the third quarter and several starters played roughly 16-18 plays in the game.
Aledo is a dominant team in a dormant division, but to call this bullying is ludicrous and downright shameful to those who are actually bullied to associate this with a very real and serious charge that now must be followed through by the Aledo principle and the school system.
At some point, it's the job of the opposition to actually stop some one, and as the Aledo coach told reporters this week, how can he ask his third- and fourth-string kids not to play hard.
Which would be more humiliating to Western Hills, losing 91-0 or Aledo taking three straight knees and punting from the middle of the third quarter on?
The real answer to the most humiliated question, though, is the kid on Western Hills whose parents thought this was bullying.
This and that
— If Johnny Football can't play Saturday against Vandy, how big a swing can the Commodores take at a Texas A&M bunch that is a one-man show with a no-show defense? Anchors down.
— Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee insinuated that Tiger Woods is a cheater in an online column late last week. Strong words indeed. Chamblee stood by his column before recently apologizing over Twitter to Woods. "Golf is a gentleman's game and I'm not proud of this debate. I want to apologize to Tiger for this incited discourse," Chamblee wrote on Twitter.This is cracked on so many levels. First, who apologizes on the Twitter? Seriously? Was his second choice to pass him a note between homeroom and first period? Second, he did not apologize for the column or calling Woods a cheater. When did we get to the point that every apology is now, "Sorry if this offended you," or "Sorry if my words were misinterpreted." Finally, Chamblee used the red-letter word in golf circles, and if you are prepared to even hint that a professional golfer a cheater, it best be something you believe to your core. Maybe Chamblee does. Maybe we'll learn more by reading his Twitter. Pour us a Co-Cola for crying out loud.
— Alan Grayson just passed Dick Grayson — Batman's sidekick, the boy wonder Robin — in internet searches after comparing the Tea Party to the KKK. Sweet Jimeny. Pour us another Co-Cola, that first one went down mighty fine.
— How crazy are baseball salaries today? Tim Lincecum got two years and $35 million. Sure for 2010 Lincecum that would be a great deal considering Lincecum won Cy Youngs in 2008 and '09. But the last two years, Timmy Mullet is 20-29 with a 4.76 ERA. That's worth $17.5 million a year? Side note: Lincecum's two-year contract is about $9.275 million more than Nolan Ryan made combined in his 25-year career.
Feel free to weigh in on any of the above.
If you need a talking point, well, here you go:
What's the toughest job in sports? NCAA president — if done properly — could be on that list.
Is this a playoff game for the Mocs on Saturday, meaning they need a win or the postseason becomes a pipe dream? Discuss.
What do you think happens Saturday between Tennessee and Alabama in the Third Saturday in October that is happening on the fourth Saturday in October?
Discuss. And remember the mailbag.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...