Gang, we apologize on the front end — we got wordy today. So it goes.
Enjoy and remember the Friday mailbag and if you want to chat about any of these topics, give us a holler on Press Row from 1-3 p.m. on ESPN 105.1 FM.
From the "Talks too much" studios, like Kris wrote, "I fumbled in my closet through, my clothes and found my cleanest dirty shirt."
The death march starts for the NCAA
The NCAA has offered back scholarships to Penn State, dialing down the harsh sanctions from the Sandusky debacle from a few years ago.
Whether you agree with that — it seems reasonable enough — or don't agree with that — why pick Penn State as the outlier and the beneficiary of a second chance, is Bruce Pearl or THE Ohio State or Miami (which still not been sanctioned officially) not worthy for sins far less egregious — it signifies the beginning of the end of the NCAA.
Think back even five years, and would the overbearing, Big Brother tactics of the NCAA ever be reviewed and softened? Heck no. The NCAA ruled with a slow but powerful right hand.
But in those last five years, the NCAA's grip has weakened exponentially. There is no longer the fear of the NCAA coming to town; now it's viewed less like an investigation and more like an infestation of gnats.
And the power programs which are already looking for a reason to take their TV deals and go elsewhere are itching for a reason or a standard or an opportunity to say, "Hey, the next rogue booster like Nevin Shapiro could be at our school," and simply break away.
There may be nothing the NCAA can do about it in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly appears the once-all-powerful NCAA is relegated to the role of the heart-broken teenager who vows to change and promises to quit hanging out with his buddies and will vow to watch Grey's Anatomy and even will try to like it as long Susie Hotpants will still go out with him.
NCAA president Mark Emmert has said the organization expects major changes later this year. Duh. There is the Penn State reduction and the Miami foot-dragging (which was predicated by the Miami toe-stubbing by the NCAA, which is a whole other deal entirely). There is general angst and irritation that reaches almost to hatred for most of college sports fans everywhere toward the NCAA.
The NCAA wants it to be 1985 again. Heck, most college fans would embrace a 1985 nostalgia about college sports, too. But Alex P. Keaton and Cliff Huxtable are not walking through that door.
Nope, that door has forever been changed. The locks were picked by Cam Newton and Auburn, which vowed to lawyer up and fight to the very end. The frame was destroyed from inside when the NCAA could not close the deal on Miami, despite being handed a filing cabinet of intel from YahooSports ace Dan Wetzel. The wood was eroded by the haphazard and inconsistent rulings delivered on a variety of cases across the nation.
And in truth, even if the NCAA had handled its business like Microsoft, its days were numbered if for no other reason than the power players in college sports — the big-boy football schools — do not like to share. They do not want to let the smaller schools fight for the scraps from their table, and they certainly do not see any reason to share with an NCAA that is serving little purpose and has the popularity rating of Congress. They view it as buying a plate for the mosquitoes at the picnic.
So, even if it had been aces instead of deuces, the NCAA was on borrowed time. That's how it goes sometimes, and this likely started when SEC commissioner Roy Kramer negotiated the TV deal for the SEC championship game two decades ago and the league realized that splitting that revenue 13 ways was way better than dividing it across all of college sports, like the money from the NCAA basketball tournament is dispersed.
Quite simply, the power conferences are openly saying, "Hey, NCAA, it's not us it's you," but this was coming no matter what.
The NCAA just made it easy.
Hey Mr. Big Shot, chill on the Twitter
It seems like once a week now that some major sports star has to respond to being dissed or says he's motivated by criticism.
But if that's the case — like Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers QB who couldn't play dead in a Western the last two weeks who said he is motivated by the criticism on the Twitter — what happens when you start playing better and everyone's kissing your tuckus again? Does that mean you won't be motivated?
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant is shown during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Something tells us that if Jordan had been around during the Twitter age, he would not get into a social media discourse with say Dominique like Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade have. #I'mbetterthanyou.
(Side note: You know who would have been awesome on the Twitter back in the day? Charles Barkley. And Pops Stargell. And the Fridge, and he would not be embarrassed by spelling mistakes in today's social media alphabet soup. Who's your top old-school, "wish they had the Twitter back then" Rushmore? Wilt would have set some hair on fire, too.)
With each of these knuckleheads and awkward faux feuds, it really magnifies how LeBron handles his BID-ness, you know?
We can't go a full day without talking college football, and it's been a while since we have discussed the Mocs. So let's go there for a moment.
We concur with TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer's view that the Mocs have another chance to rally their fans. Beating Georgia Southern — or Waffle House University as Jomo called them Tuesday (Sorry Spy) — still carries an 18-wheeler of panache around these parts.
And after that season-opener and the bungled handling of the injured/suspended situation, that the Mocs have the chance for a mulligan is a testament to the talent on this team and in large part to the starvation for a winner that has engulfed the Mocs fan base.
We also concur with UTC football ace Johnny Frierson that the Mocs need a fast start in Statesboro.
Fast start or not, second chance to 17th chance, UTC and Russ Huesman need this one for a myriad of reasons. Chief among them is to prove they can cut the mustard in a big game against a team of similar skills.
This is not horse shoes or Upward basketball. Close does not count and playing hard is not enough.
It's time to win a game like this.
This and that
— Dude, the pop song of the summer was certainly "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke. (Side note: Having the real-life son of the dad from "Growing Pains" singing the risque summer anthem was a bit strange. It would almost be like if Hannah Montana grew up and did a stripper dance in front of the nation... Wait one second.) Anyway, some enterprising Braves fan got together with Javy Lopez and borrowed the beat and theme of "Blurred Lines" to make "Baselines". It's pretty clever and worth your time here.
— Falcons face an almost must-win game Sunday night against the Patriots. Scary times, Johnny Falcons Fan.
— Major props to Blakesly Warren, the Baylor senior golfer who wrapped up her second consecutive state golf title. Well-played indeed.
— The Hokie Stone helmets that Virginia Tech plans to wear Thursday night against Georgia Tech are interesting. The look is a bit odd, but the sentimental ties and changing the look for something that means something to the program is pretty cool.
OK, you watched the Book of Manning. We caught parts of it. The most interesting parts were the recruiting backlash about Peyton picking UT.
That said, We're trying to think of a better father-son combo than Archie and Peyton Manning. In fact, in the world of father-son sports combos, Archie and Peyton definitely have a spot on the Rushmore and Archie and Eli may have one too.
Father-son combos in sports Rushmore? Archie-Peyton. Bobby-Barry Bonds. Bobby and Brett Hull. The Griffeys maybe. A cross-sport contender with Ken Norton Sr. and Jr.
Who else you got?
And remember the mailbag for crying out loud.
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 ...