Archive for the ‘NCAA Football’ Category

Whoever replaced David Lee Roth on Van Halen, was going to get crushed! It didn’t matter that Sammy Hager had done some great tunes, had some hits, had some big sales, my neighbor was as guilty as anybody, he loves Van Halen with David Lee Roth and it had been decided that Van Hagar was bad! They perhaps weren’t that bad with Sammy, but my neighbor was guilty because he loves David Lee Roth, he had made up his mind and he was not being fair. In the end, as he admits to me now, Sammy Hager wasn’t all that bad but he brought the bias to the table, he was not objective.

I’m not saying that these replacement referees are ideal – the Rams/Redskins game on Sunday was really sloppy and undeceive.  There was a call in the Pittsburgh/New York Jets game against the Steelers that was just an absolute mystery to me, even as a Jet fan, luckily it didn’t change the outcome of the game. But what we see happening is that 95% of the time (97 or 98% to be fair) of the time, replacement ref’s are fine. But the media and the players are looking so hard for that 3% so that when it happens, they are just pouncing on it. You know what it really reminds me off? Listen, I too thought the call in the Steelers/ Jets game was horrific but it didn’t change the game did it? Josh Morgan ruined it for the Redskins, not the refs.

You know what this all reminds me off? It reminds me of the media when reporting shark attacks as they are absolutely ridiculous! The summer time is usually a slow one for the news; many in the media take that time off. So the media just waits for shark attack stories, perhaps just one. So they’re just sitting there with cameras poised at the beach and if anybody see’s a fin – it could be a dolphin, it then becomes a story and then you’ll get one shark attack on some Florida beach and then 10 minutes later this is what the local news is reporting “Tonight on the 11pm news: Could sharks come into your home and eat your children? Tonight on News 10” I mean, it just over the top and we are just crushing these guys.

Joe Flacco said something after the game – by the way, read what Flacco sayid, as the players in general have made their mind up. They hate these guys, it’s easy to make an excuse, said Flacco “For them to make that call, l might sound a little bit like a baby here but for them to make that call I think was a little crazy. He didn’t even throw a flag, he threw a blue beanie and then put his hands up in the air as if it was pass interference, I mean…come on!” Excuse me? The other ref’s throw that blue beanie too…all the time! They can’t get there flag…they throw a hat, throw a beanie, real refs do that all the time. Like even the play by play guys have an animosity, this kind of play happens constantly all the time as the quarterback is hit. It was just palpable animosity, that’s a tough call that usually happens once a weekend, it really is. Everybody throws beanies or hats sometimes; I saw it twice in college this past weekend. It just happens all the time but the media and the players have already made up their minds – just like my neighbor had about David Lee Roth, people are demanding that they get “rid of these guys”.

I find it funny because I don’t honestly think they are nearly as bad as people paint them to be – they’re not changing any outcomes, they’re really not. The best teams are winning and the bad teams like Jacksonville and Cleveland are bad, Kansas City is not very good. Do you really blame the ref’s for Arizona/ New England outcome? The only argument you can make is that it seems as if home teams have done better than usual because the replacement refs may be a bit intimidated. But the truth is home teams win anyways! New England lost at home, so like home teams win anyways! New Orleans lost at home as well. I just find that the players and the media have simply already made up their mind.

Another issue I really wanted to touch on is the New York/Tampa situation which was getting a lot of press Monday morning. So there was like 5 seconds left, Giants are winning the game, it’s within one score, Greg Schiano – rookie head coach with the Bucs, the Bucs blast through the line but its suppose to be one of those kneel plays. Here’s the thing though: the NFL is not a gentlemen’s game…that’s golf! I’m hearing all this “well Andrew, it’s etiquette, you don’t do that…” One thing we know about football is that it is incredibly violent, even now at the high school level, kids are bigger and stronger. Here’s what I would warn everybody about: when you get on the football field – at any level, play until there is double zero’s! If you start going by the “that’s etiquette…” that’s what baseball does, they do all these silly unwritten rules. Even with these unwritten rules in baseball, Curt Schilling – former Red Sox pitcher says one thing, another guy is interviewed an hour later and says “I don’t believe in that unwritten rule”

You have to remember in football that because you have an offense, defense and special teams, you really have 3 teams inside a team. So quarterbacks see what the Bucs did as evil, the defensive players however don’t because football is very unique. You have an offensive team that usually goes to their own meetings in their own room; defensive guys go to their own rooms as well, it happens at halftime. The NFL is separate, so offensive and defensive guys sometimes don’t even talk during the week. So you’re getting all these offensive guys saying “it’s unwritten rule” and your then getting these defensive guys saying “it’s not an unwritten rule for a guy like me” The New York Giants are a great example on how different offensive and defensive players are: the best defensive player you’ve ever had is Lawrence Taylor – look at his life! Defense is about blowing stuff up and violence. The best offensive player you’ve ever had of the many? Eli Manning – the Manning family, royalty, 40 Wonderlic score. He gets critized for not having emotion, Lawrence Taylor? He’s all emotion. So you’re getting all these different opinions where offensive guys hate it “it’s a gentlemen’s game…etiquette” while defensive guys are okay with it “hey pal, 4 seconds left, I’m taking your ears off” that’s what football is all about!


Record After Week #1: 2-3-0

California Golden Bears (+16 ½) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

The Golden Bears go to Columbus, Ohio to face Ohio State – they’re getting 16 ½ points, they’ll need more! Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miler is the perfect quarterback for Urban Meyers as he ran for over 150 yards in his first week. What’s troubling about Cal is that the program – promising years ago, is trending in the wrong direction. They lost to Nevada earlier this year and the Cal defense looked overmatched against Nevada. By the way, the Bears have had a sub .500 record over the past 2+ seasons despite playing 3 games against lower division schools, they are really trending down as a program. This is also very troubling: heavily penalized last year and nothing has changed as they had 19 penalties against Nevada. They lost top coaches in the off-season, doesn’t look like they’ve replaced them with top coaches. Swallow the points the energy is all on Ohio State, 40-13 Buckeyes!

Rams (+3 ½) vs. Redskins

The Rams are at home against the Redskins and are getting 3 ½ points. Listen, the Rams have met the Redskins in each of the past 4 years, they’ve been close games – they won 2 of them. RG3 had 26 throws with not INT, he’s certainly not going to be that efficient this time around. It’s also the 2nd straight road trip for the Redskins. The Rams’ Sam Bradford had an excellent pre-season and a solid opener, on the road, against an excellent Detroit team. The Rams showed signs of excellence and brilliance against the Detroit team many believe has as much talent up front defensively as anybody in the league. The Rams’ Chris Long, dramatic improvement with his counter moves, when he’s coming off the edge. He’ll meet RG3 this weekend – I thought the Rams looked good in Week #1 and now they go home. Remember, Washington was picked last in this division for a reason, let’s be honest here: New Orleans may just be a ship wreck this year because of all the issues they have gone through with the NFL. I’ll take the points Rams 24-20.

Seahawks (+3 ½) vs. Cowboys

Seattle is getting 3 ½ points and at home. Listen, I like Dallas and I love what they did against the New York Giants but extra time isn’t the same for every team. Tom Coughlin gets extra time, he’s 7-0. Cowboys haven’t proven that as they haven’t won back to back road games in 3 years. The key for Seattle’s defensive backs – and they are fantastic, is jamming Dallas’ wide receivers. There is quite the possibility here that the replacement refs – we saw the numbers last week,  not going to call penalties against the home team, allowing the Seahawk defense to say “you know, we’ll bump and run on coverage” Special teams? Big edge to Seattle because between Sherman and Browner on the outside, you’ve got here the best secondary, I think, in the league. Jason Witten is not 100%, first full week of practice but he’s not 100%. Also, Kevin Ogletree had 8 catches last week, he won’t duplicate that and Dez Bryant is still inconsistent. I’m getting a home team, home opener, special teams edge and over a field goal. I’m not sure if Seattle wins, but I’m going to go 21-20 Seattle and the points here.

Colts (+1 ½) vs. Vikings

Colts are getting a point and a half and they are at home. First of all, they’ve got a better quarterback and they’ve got superior wide outs with Austin Collie – as he will play and Reggie Wayne. Luck is going to get better quickly and now he’s at home. Remember, Indy only ran the ball 15x last week because they got down on the scoreboard big and they got down on the scoreboard early. I don’t suspect that’s going to be the case this week as they’ll have a more balanced attack. The Vikings’ secondary, with one exception, is one of the worst in the NFL, very suspect on the back end. Now the Colts defense allowed a whopping 41 points in last week’s loss in Chicago but Chuck Pagano is an excellent defensive mind. I suspect they’re shore some things up. Jay Cutler, despite what you saw Thursday night, is still much better than Christian Ponder. I’m taking the points and an improved Andrew Luck; the Colts win 23-20.

Steelers (-5) vs. Jets

 The Jets looked very good but the Jets’ offensive line faces a far more difficult match up. The Steelers are minus 5, it’s a pretty big number in the NFL but I’m going to lay it. I think they have a big edge at quarterback and on the defensive line. Big Ben is 24-5 at home with 43 TD’s and 15 INT and a 98 QBR. Pittsburgh has a big and physical front 7 and they are going to challenge that offensive line which was virtually untested in Week #1. Pittsburgh also has several offensive weapons that I love:  Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Heath Miller and Darrelle Revis is out. LaMarr Woodley didn’t record a sack in Week #1; he’s usually one of Pittsburgh’s best pass rushers, look for him to take Austin Howard to school this week. Swallow the points, much like Green Bay Thursday night, a good team at home like Pittsburgh and desperate, should win 28-20.

So I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 games that I believe matter for that national championship. I started out with a list of 150 games and narrowed it down to 10 for national championship ramifications. For example, I don’t have an ACC game but have several USC, Michigan and SEC games. So without further to do, here are the top 10 games that I will watch and that I believe will have a big impact on the national championship – you can even bet on these as Vegas has already set the lines for these games.

September 1st     Michigan @ Alabama

Vegas has this game at Alabama (-12) for me, that’s too big of a number. Alabama not only replaces stars – getting talent at Alabama is not hard, but they have had to replace several key defensive leaders (upper classmen) I don’t think that with Michigan’s wild and high potent offense you can give up 12. Head coach Saben is usually conservative in big games. I would take Michigan at +12 to cover, though I still think Alabama wins, narrowly, but that’s a huge number.

September 15th     USC vs. Stanford

USC is at (-10), that’s actually a doable number in my opinion. USC brings back a 4 year starting quarterback, Stanford has no idea who their quarterback is. It is still early September; Stanford is going to be a pretty solid football team in weeks 7, 9 or 11. But in early September with USC returning most starters, especially on offense, Stanford is way over their heads early in this game, take USC (-10)

September 22nd    Michigan vs. Notre Dame

I don’t think Michigan or Notre Dame will play for the national title although I do think that Michigan has a chance for BCS game. The line is set at Notre Dame (-1), that is a lot of respect for a Notre Dame defense that lost their best pass rusher. I think Michigan wins this game outright and easily.

October 6th    LSU vs. Florida

 LSU is at (-7.5) I think Florida will really struggle to score. Remember Charlie Weiss has left, they are implementing a new offense, and they have not gotten great efficiency from their quarterbacks in the last several years. LSU, defensively, will be the best team in the country. 7 ½ is not a gigantic number and despite the national championship, LSU has been great, not good, but great in big games. I’ll take LSU to win and cover

October 13th    Texas vs. Oklahoma

Oklahoma has a shot to play for the national championship and Vegas has them at (-6). Texas, like Florida, big name and great recruiting, hasn’t been able to get efficiency at quarterback. Take Oklahoma at (-6)

October 27th    Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma

Oklahoma is at (-12). Notre Dame lost 4 seniors on the defensive backfield yet they have to go to Oklahoma, with a senior quarterback, and to USC also with a senior quarterback. I think Notre Dame can be pretty good, the USC and Oklahoma games could be awful for Irish fans.

November 3rd    Oregon vs. USC and Alabama vs. LSU

Trojans are set at (-6) reasonable number but the game could go either way. In the other game, Vegas has got LSU at (-2) though I actually like bama to win that football game. Nick Saben’s team is beatable early because they so young defensively. But you get Nick Saben coaching good players and great talent for 8 to 10 games – I think bama, with a returning quarterback, will be better than LSU late in the season.

November 24th    Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma and Michiganvs. Ohio State

The Sooners are set at (-8) (you’ll notice I got a lot of Oklahoma here as I think they have a real shot at playing for the national title) Oklahoma State is a very well coached program, they do very well offensively in recruiting but they lose a tremendously mature quarterback to the NFL draft. This has become, in my opinion, better than Oklahoma/Texas games. Oklahoma/Oklahoma State is just great television. Take the Sooners at (-8). I took Michigan/Ohio State as my 10th game. Michigan is set at (-3) Braxton Miller is a young quarterback who really struggled last year but he is perfectly built for Urban Meyers’ offense. I think by the end of the year, Ohio State really puts it together. I wouldn’t be surprised that Michigan is the better team all year, but Ohio State in this game knocks them off. Ohio State gets 3 against Michigan.

Football season is back folks! The summer vacay’s and trips around the world and lack of rants is done for at least until next summer.  Expect the “Suerte Cinco” picks where I pick 5 games that have best odds in winning coin (college and NFL) do a recap of the weekends action in the NFL on Monday’s. Check out the next rant where I drop my NFL predictions for the upcoming season. Division by division, conference by conference!

I understand people getting worked up over presidential elections, but sometimes I don’t understand the outrage people have over this type of stuff. So this past Wednesday, all the major sports leagues in the U.S. – NCAA, NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL (let’s not forget them) filed a lawsuit against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in federal court because he signed a law that allows for betting on pro and college sports at New Jersey casinos and racetracks. Now, the leagues claim that New Jersey sports gambling law violates a federal law that is already in place – enacted years ago. But here is the outrage part – by the way, laws change all the time and so just because something is federally enacted doesn’t mean that it can’t be federally rescinded.  The NCAA and pro leagues say “such gambling would not only harm sports leagues and organizations such as the NCAA or the NFL, but would be a flagrant violation of the 1992 Congressional Act, to halt the spread of sports gaming.”

Now, here’s what I don’t get: why is everybody so anti-sports gambling in these leagues?  Does anybody remember the Tim Donaghy scandal? Do you know who tipped off the NBA? Vegas!!! They are not your enemy, they’re your alley! Vegas called the FBI and the NBA and said “you’ve got a problem” Use Vegas as your friend, they are not your enemy. Vegas tipped off the NBA or else Tim Donaghy could’ve gone years and convinced other refs to do the same. First of all, sports gambling are here, we love it and it’s not ruining society. “But Andrew, people get addicted…” people get addicted to butter! Don’t blame the beer because you’re an alcoholic and don’t blame the bagel because you’re overweight. People have to be accountable for their own addictions. Is it a moral issue? Well, more wars have been caused by religion than sports gambling. Religious zealotry scares me, who has the over on the Bengals/Ravens game, does not!

Again, I get the outrage on a lot of issues – why do people get worked up over sports gambling? Know a family friend who lived in Vegas for years, there are sleazy people in Vegas, but there’s sleazy people anywhere! This family friend once told us that he found, at the time he was in Vegas, that the people he knew in sports gambling, he found them to be incredibly trustable – it’s a highly regulated business. You know what’s not regulated? Strip clubs! If you’re anti-strip club, you may have a point! The alcohol business – every state and province is different. “In this state, it’s the Wild Wild West…in this state, you can’t drink on the Lord’s Day” But the idea that people get worked up – that I have the Rams at -6, I’ve never understood. Here’s a little secret, sports gambling is already everywhere! Did you know that? Like everybody thinks “Vegas…the evil empire that takes everyone’s money” pfft, did you know that only 4% of NFL bets take place in Las Vegas? I’ve got news for you, there’s already sports gambling in New Jersey – there’s more in New Jersey than in Las Vegas! I don’t know the industry well enough to make big predictions, but I wouldn’t be shocked and I don’t think any of you would be either if sports gambling were legalized on the internet in the next 10 years.

I mean what person have you ever met in New Jersey that says “Bob, it’s not legal for me to bet on the Giants…Guess I’m out of luck!” You want to bet? Go bet! This is like the government trying to stop television viewing. People are doing it, they’re always doing it, its part of our fabric and even if it’s illegal – and there’s a 12% underground economy in America anyways, you’ll never stop it! People are going to drink, they are going to lust, they’re going to gamble, they’re going to eat and they’re going to watch television – you can’t stop it! So legalize it, tax the hell out of it and the state of Jersey could make over $200 million a year! Really? How many are they making on strip joints? Not that much I’d assume! It is amazing how people treat sports gambling – they treat it as if were the Ebola Virus “here it comes!! We’ll bleed from our eyes…run for the hills!” I bet football games people!! Again, is it a moral issue? I mean when the government had prohibition – do you think people didn’t drink? It was more of an underground premium that ever! I simply find that the stigma just forces more illegal activity but if you legalize it, the bad guys go away – they lost their market!

It’s like going to your son and saying “Do not listen to the band Gawr, I do not like that music…that music is evil” You know what your son is probably going to do? He’s going to go to his room and crank Gawr simply because I told him he can’t. But if I say to him “you know what, Gawr is awesome!! Crank it buddy!” suddenly it’s not cool. So again, take away the stigma, legalize it everywhere! “Andrew, but you’ll have game fixing” they’ve had more game fixing in Europe. There was an Arizona State basketball game several years ago that was fixed – sports gambling wasn’t legal in Arizona yet it was legal in Vegas and UNLV games aren’t fixed! Gambling sanitizes when it’s legal, there aren’t any thumb breakers, and there aren’t any loan sharks. We’re going to gamble as a society – get over it!! Legalize it and tax the hell out of it! You can’t stop it! Illegal card room/legal card room – how about we just make them legal and get some tax revenue out of it! Think about it, what vice has the government not gotten a piece out of it?

I think they’re biggest issue is – and here’s the great thing about sports gambling for you and I – and we’re doing it right now and it’s not ruining society. I mean look around our society folks, how many of them are tied to this: you can bet on a Laker game tonight! Are any of our societal ills based on that Laker game 4 months from now? This is not asking to legalize marijuana – there are concerns that it’s a gateway drug, concerns on what it does, I mean we all went to school with corky – he was forget and sort of apathetic. I just never understood and it’s so bizarre! The family friend lived in Vegas, he knew these people who betted on sports for a living – all they really are, when you think about it, are analysts! You’re a hedge fund analyst, financial analyst, insurance analyst and then there’s sports gaming analysts. Hit 58%, manage your money and that’s your living!

I’m not into even – never had been for that matter! Some people, some teams, some programs, some franchises, some coaches, some athletes, men and woman, some work harder are more committed, sacrifice more, and put in more hours. I’m for that woman, that kid, that man earning a better spot at the table of life. Why work hard if there is no reward? In baseball, the American League East – the Yankees, Red Sox’s, Rays, Jays and Orioles – could see 3 teams get into the playoffs come October.  I’m okay with that! They are more committed and spend more money.

In college football last month, we voted for even! We didn’t vote for fair. We have now finalized a 4 team playoff – there is some good news of course, you can now lose a game and still play for the national title. If Ohio State, USC or Oklahoma, Virginia Tech play great all season long and suddenly get nipped by an inferior team in Week 10, but can still win their conference championship, they will get in now.  But what was decided last month wasn’t fair, but even. The SEC is now going to get in only 1 team. Here’s what we are going to get:  The best team from the south, the winner of that Ohio State/Michigan game, USC out west and a Big 12 champ – the Big 4, touching every corner of America. That’s certainly more even but I’d contend it’s not fair because you and I know that conferences are not all even. The SEC has been more committed and worked harder, paid more for their coaches, recruited better players – they will not be rewarded.

Today, college football is more even and although it creates more arguments – more material for me to rant about, the media however often confuses fair and even. A really good team will get left out every year, one that scheduled much tougher games. Don’t think for a second that college football is even. For example, go look at LSU’s schedule last year (seriously, look it up) they played 7 of the top programs in the country: Oregon, @ West Virginia, Florida, Auburn, @ Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia – heck I’m not even counting the SEC championship game. Do you want to know who Iowa played in 2007? Ohio State and Michigan weren’t even on their schedule!! They loaded up with teams like Florida International! They didn’t even play a top 20 team that year, until they got into the Big 10 championship. If your okay with that then so am I, I really don’t care.

By the way, who is going to select the final 4 teams? Oh shoot, it’s a committee!  You don’t think they’ll be biased there? Go check out the Heisman voting. What was the only region last year to vote in Andrew Luck for the Heisman? Oh what a shock! He plays for Stanford, the guys out west. What was the only region to have Trent Richardson in at #2? What a shock! He played at Alabama, the South had him. Fair isn’t even and even isn’t fair. Every region will be represented – if this was baseball, sorry 2nd place team in the American League East, you don’t get in, but the Cleveland Indians do!! That’s what we voted for in college football. Now I’m not totally against it, it’ll certainly be fun, it’ll be good for the fans, and it’ll be more “even”…there’s a lot of good stuff. We’re going to get 2 really good days of this stuff where #4 meets #1 and #3 meets #2…I’m all for that. But I think sometimes we confuse fair with even – I’m not a big believer in “even” in life. I’m a big believer in that the harder you work, the more you get.

Here’s another thing, only 4 teams get in yet we have 5 power conferences and Notre Dame. Are you going to be okay when Notre Dame goes 11-1, can create their own schedule, gets in over LSU whose also 11-1 but finished 2nd in their conference and has 7 quality wins to Notre Dame’s 2? Is that more intellectually honest? The idea here, what I’m trying to tell you is that we’re still going to have massive bias and massive arguments. It’ll be better for ESPN, better for my blog, better for people in the media, but it will not be fairer!! It’ll just be more even. This is going to ensure than one big dog from every part of the country gets in.

You Yankee fans out there today, would you be okay if even if you committed more than the Mariners, with a new system, just to ensure we get a team from the Pacific Northwest in? They get into the playoffs every year and you don’t? Would you be okay with that? I certainly don’t think you would. Speaking of which, last month there was a particular play at a Yankee game, where Dewayne Wise was ruled to have made a catch when in fact he didn’t. He went into the stands, doesn’t make the catch, fan has the ball in hand, but the umpire rules that he had caught the ball.

Now, here’s the interesting part – when did everyone discover that it wasn’t a catch? Ahhhh when the REPLAY was used is how we found out the truth! How ironic is that?? When did we find out the truth on that call? Replay! Which MLB refuses to use and the decision not to use it looks sillier by the day. It was not easy to see but of course was easy to see with replay because a fan was holding it in the air and the umpire apparently didn’t see it as the player Dewayne Wise ran into the dugout with no ball in his glove – the umpire never checked. Folks, what if that were an ALDS game? We have to get replay into these big baseball games

There was an interesting article from the Philly Post and it was written by Victor Fiorillo and he basically argued that Joe Paterno wasn’t a hero and questioned why all of Pennsylvania was flying their flags at half staff. Let me transcribe it to you – and I’m not here to pick on the guy, it was in the Philly Post and once you’re a columnist, people are definitely going to talk about you and your writing. He writes “Earlier today, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett ordered all the flags at commonwealth facilities in Pennsylvania to be flown at half staff. He did this after declaring that Paterno’s place in our state’s history is secure.” He continues by asking “Please, somebody tell me what I’m missing here?” He further continues by saying “There is no question that Paterno was aware of the allegations against Jerry Sandusky, the sexual abuse, and there is also no question that Paterno did as little as possible to intervene. He did what was legally required of him, but the legally required minimum shouldn’t be a standard we adhere to when it comes to the protection of our children.”

So I’ve been critical, as anybody else has been, of Joe Paterno in his lapse in judgment before he passed away. The argument against flying flags at half staff – that he’s a football coach and not a war hero, he’s not a president, but just a football coach…I get that. But I would argue this though, that we undervalue the importance of coaches in general, in our society. From a little league coach to a 7th grade girls volleyball coach to a nationally profound college football coach. Now Bear Bryant died in Alabama and Regan gave him the highest civilian honour…he was a football coach no? But if you lived in the south, you’d know how important Bear Bryant was to the citizens of that state.

Think about this with Joe Paterno: he recruited Mike Ditka out of high school – yeah, that’s how long Joe Pa had been around coaching.  So he started in 1950 – and I’ll start from there until he passed recently. That’s 62 years!! Let’s not call it coaching but instead let’s call it “teaching” This isn’t baseball managing where you sit there and put out the lineup card and play with a bat and a baseball and talk to Don Zimmer for 6 hours. This is a “teaching” role; football I’d argue is all about teaching. So for 62 years, Joe Paterno taught, on average they recruited – because there use to be unlimited scholarships but now it’s been reduced, somewhere between on average, for 62 years, about 30 kids a year.  Again, first 30 or 40 years of his career, you could recruit 40 or 50 kids and now at the end, it was closer to about 20-25 kids.

Do the math and it comes out to about 2,000 kids that Joe Paterno basically adopted. He had them for 4-5 years. He molded them, taught them, fed them and educated them, 17-22 year old kids. They were often from tough socio-economic backgrounds. My friends, that is touching – in my opinion, a lot of lives. It was sloppy, it was messy, it was ignorant in the end and it’s terribly sad. But people rioted when he got fired! What does that tell you about the emotional impact of Joe Paterno? 99% of coaches never make big money and you’ve never heard of any of them. All of them, from little league and onwards, have had an impact on young peoples’ lives. I’m okay with flying the flag in Pennsylvania at half staff.

I went and looked it up on the internet,  is where I went. It’s a site that talks about citizens who have died and how those who are prominent citizens can have the flag lowered in their honour. I think Joe Paterno qualifies for that! And why deny how big sports is in society? Sunday afternoons from 3:15 to 10:45pm, America sits in front of television sets, at home, bars and lodges and they watch football. The NFL, for 4-5 years now, has been the #1 television show in America…and be proud of it! It’s not some cheesy reality show where they ply the contestants with drinks, desperate people trying to get attention. Its kids who have dedicated their lives to a sport, discipline, practice, 70 hours a week, giving themselves to a sport, coaches who have molded lives….we should be ashamed of that?  We should be damn proud of it!! Sports are a backbone of any society: discipline, goals, achievements, success, handling and coping with failure…what’s wrong about any of that stuff?

So I have never had a problem honouring somebody who impacts thousands of lives – many of those lives are kids’ that wouldn’t have had the same quality of life without Penn State, despite the fact that it was really really sad at the end. It doesn’t wash away 60 years of general kindness, empathy and assistance to other peoples’ lives, so I’m okay with it.

So I don’t have a problem with the governor and all lowering the flag at half staff on the death of Joe Paterno because I try to compartmentalize things, take the emotion out of it, and compartmentalize Paterno’s life. Fifty years of goodness, decency and empathy and teaching is the first compartment along with a horrible lapse in judgement – that’s the second compartment. The third is “he has passed and how do we honour him”. Maybe as a guy, I can see sports like that – like I look at A-rod for example. He’s a great talent, one compartment. Not a great leader would be the second compartment, a little to hollywoodish for me would be the third compartment. But I can keep them all separate! Hall of Fame, first ballot? Absolutely!! I could even go with like Pete Rose: the great baseball hitter, Pete Rose personally – not my kind of guy, Pete Rose gambled on baseball. I can separate all 3…put him
in the Hall of fame no problem! Maybe I’m wrong on them though.

But I look at Joe Paternos’ 50 years of good, a stretch of really horrible judgments and now that he’s gone, how do we honour him? All 3 are separate and 2 of the 3 would be good. The emails I get in are interesting. One person writes “what Paterno did was a deliberate cover up to protect his image.” No he didn’t, first he did not commit a crime and secondly, he went to higher authorities. That’s not a cover-up! A cover- up is never telling anybody!

This is a better argument against Joe Paterno, an emailer sent me this saying “He made an informed and considerate decision to harbour a pedifile” now, it’s a little strong but it’s certainly a better argument. That he allowed Sandusky to be on the campus for a decade after the incident. That’s a much better argument. I bristle at the “Joe Paterno committed a crime and covered it up” Again, he didn’t commit a crime. Joe Paterno, like many humans, is limited. At 75 years of age, we’re all even more limited. Ask any neurologist, we’re not the same past 58! This guy was like 20 years past that!

Do you want to get in a car, with your 78 year old grandpa on the freeway? That’s just driving! Forget about crucial situations in life. My biggest knock on Paterno is that it’s ridiculous to have a 75 year old man coaching a major college football power. Frank Beamer is old by college football standards – I think he’s like 59 years old. Paterno was 26 years past that and was 36 years past that when he recently passed away! By the way, he was only fired for Sandusky – they were going to let him keep going, he might’ve reached 90 had he kept going. I mean, they were going to let him keep going – that is hero’s worship, small town’s hero worship is pathetic.

Having said that though, I will argue with people who say it was a cover-up. I think Joe Paterno, like a lot of people, was limited….you have to remember what sports coaches are like. Jerry Tarkanian, when he was covered years ago in Vegas didn’t know of the Iran Crisis. He walked through an airport and saw yellow tied ribbons and asked “what’s that?” “Well, it’s the Iran crisis” someone said to him. He then asks “well, what’s that?” Jerry Tarkanian didn’t go to a movie for almost 3 decade, didn’t go to a movie theatre. Coaches are the most myopic people in the world and as the money has gone up and the competitive zeal has gone up, they simply have no life outside of football. Nick Saben, I’ve read about guys on his staff who’ve said that for Saben, it is family, football and nothing else! He’s surely not going to the movies.

Was Joe Paterno isolated? Yes! Do you think he was sitting around and watching the stuff that you and I watch at night? Nope! He’s definitely not. His whole life was coaching and the Penn State Athletic department. So a lot of these coaches are limited socially are limited in their scope and understanding in crisis. Now, any reasonable person would know that when Jerry Sandusky comes to you or Mike McQueary comes to you with this information….you’d get Sandusky off the campus and Joe Paterno does not get a pass on that one. But when you listen to his interview with Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, if you take Joe Paterno at his word – and I never thought that he was an intellectually dishonest person, like I thought he could be cranky, I thought he could be outdated but I never thought of him as a liar.

NCAA sanctions show that Penn State ran one of the cleanest programs in the U.S. Joe Paterno never had any NCAA run-in’s. So you can say a lot about Joe Paterno but you can’t say that he was a dishonest, lying guy. There are a lot of coaches you can say that about – but you can’t say that about Joe Paterno. Heck, he ran that program for 40 years and how many infractions did they have? It was like either between none and zero! They were never in trouble. Michigan had issues, Ohio State had issues, USC, Oklahoma, Texas, Miami…everybody had issues! But Penn State didn’t have any issues. So if you take him at his word, he seemed overwhelmed by the whole sexual allegations…it just seemed well over his skies.

Again, I’m not giving him a pass, its ridiculous! But the reality of the fact is that coaches are sheltered, isolated, and sometimes socially and completely inept. Belicheck is bordering on complete ineptness socially; his whole life is inside of a film room! He’s not going to be a guy who is hosting a party…that’s just not who he is! The Monday morning after the entire Jerry Sandusky story broke out; it was like 11:30am EST I was publishing my rant and was like “get him outta there…Fire Paterno!” I’m going to bristle that it was a cover-up because he went to somebody above him and said “we’ve got a real big problem” it was the Grand Jury testimony…yet those guys lied! The guys above him made humongous errors, Joe Paterno relayed the information.

So you can say whatever you want about Joe Paterno, but Penn State for 40 years was one of the most ethical programs in the country. When you’re talking about the big boys of college football – the big money programs, it might’ve been the most honest out of all of them! It had its flaws of course, but ethics was not one of them as far as the NCAA is concerned.

So I get a flood of emails Tuesday morning, one starts by saying “Andrew! That BCS National Championship game was boring” Yes it was! Sort of like last years’ NCAA men’s March Madness final between Butler/UConn. You remember it was 22-19 at halftime. Butler shot 18% and UConn 34%…folks, the BCS is not Caesar’s Palace, and they don’t book guests for entertainment purposes. Their job is to spit out number’s one and two in the country and yet you really still believe that Alabama didn’t deserve to be in Monday night’s final? We all acknowledge that LSU beat eight ranked teams and had to be in the competition. You might say “But Bama that was controversial! I didn’t like the way they field” Really? Think Oklahoma State, who lost to Iowa State and trailed Stanford for all but the last second goes into New Orleans and physically humiliates LSU?…can we just stop with the fake controversy? Alabama: 385 yards and LSU: 90 yards…stop it already!!

Remember the people who made their mind up before? The voters for the AP “I’m keeping LSU number one, no matter what happens” You know what those people looked like Tuesday morning? Idiots!! I don’t love how college football sputters to the end with twenty meaningless bowl games…I don’t! But they always manage to nail number one and number two every single year. I said on Monday in my “Suerte Cinco” pick for this game that Bama had the better head coach, a much better quarterback and a better overall defense, that they’d go into Louisiana and nobody in the country would do what Bama did – beat LSU.

The travesty would be keeping Bama out a national championship game because they lost an overtime game against the second best team. By the way, LSU fans that are unhappy with the re-match, didn’t you complain years ago…wasn’t it your mantra, when you lost two overtime games yet you guys were allowed to play in the championship game “we never lost a game in regulation!” You lost two in overtime and Bama lost just one!! LSU, as great as they are athletically, once again proves that to beat the very best defenses, you need a top quarterback. Not the athletic quarterback, not the option quarterback, he’s ultimately limited against elite defenses. Why did Tim Tebow beat the Steelers? Because Tim Tebow threw the football down the field in clutch situations.

Nick Saben put on a clinic Monday night, Les Miles meanwhile had 45 days to prepare and his offense looked like 11 guys who had just met each other in the parking lot!! Les, please recruit a legitimate quarterback, who can get the rock to your athletes because that’s how they do it over at Bama. Yes college football isn’t college basketball and I’m totally okay with it because college football’s regular season for 3 ½ months is amazing and a must watch. College basketball years ago, when the sport was loaded with NBA talent, the regular season meant more. You played for top seeds! But these days, the biggest early game this year in college basketball was played on a boat! You think if Carolina and Michigan State mattered, they’d play the game on an aircraft carrier? Michigan State, Syracuse, Ohio State, Duke, Carolina and Kentucky are all one and two seeds who are just sitting around waiting to fill the other spots.

But more than anything, Monday night teaches you and me that – and really teaches the media more than anyone else, that before we make up our minds with college sports, just let things play themselves out! Half the voters thought it was a travesty that Bama was in that game Monday night…seriously? Monday night was ugly, I admit it. In Boxing, the two best fighters often create the prettiest fight because styles make fights. LSU and Bama largely neutralize the other teams’ strengths. But in the end, losing an overtime game against an elite team should never knock you out of the national championship. The best team won and there was no question who the best team was! There was a slight controversy in New Orleans the next morning. A local broadcaster, former NFL quarterback, pretty much a legend in New Orleans Bobby Aibare went to the press conference afterwards and he got in Les Miles’ face (LSU head coach) and he wanted to know why Jordan Jefferson, the quarterback who was inept wasn’t yanked for quarterback backup Jarred Lee.

He asked “Coach Miles, did you ever consider bringing in Jarred Lee? Considering that you weren’t taking any chances down the field? Now, I know that Alabama’s defense is dominant…but come on, that’s ridiculous! 5 first downs?? So if someone was to approach – and I’m going to tell you from the fans standpoint, that how can you not maybe push the ball down the field and bring in a Jarred Lee…so what if you get a pick 6? It seems like the game plan that you’re not pushing the ball down the field considering that it’s like Ruben Randall or Dell Beckham Jr…now, I know the pass rusher on Alabama, but there is no reason why you’re only at 5 first downs…LSU is a great defense, but that is just ridiculous…” and Les Miles finally cuts him off and asks “do you have a questions?” haha

A former player becomes broadcaster…that’s what suddenly happens! Listen, Jarred Lee was sitting on the bench for a reason. I said before the game, LSU is below average at quarterback ( in my opinion) and I also said that they are the worst quarterback team to ever play in the BCS National Championship game because it speaks to how many great athletes they have. Both Lee and Jordan Jefferson are weak! Could Lee have helped? Yes of course…you would’ve lost 21-3, so let’s not go crazy here. It would just simply be re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic! That puppy was going down either way.

LSU fans…come to terms with it! You’re not the best team in the country, Bama outplayed you the first time and barely lost, Bama humiliated you Monday night. New Orleans is quirky, Les Miles is quirky, and this is who you are. Miles by the way, answered that long statement by Bobby Aibare saying “We did consider Jarred Lee and we felt like with the pass rush that we were getting that we needed a guy who could move his feet and not sustain that pass rush” One team has shut out LSU 3 times in the last 236 games…it’s Alabama!! We’re all tied…congratulations! I predicted they’d win it before the season. Good news LSU, I’ve got you and USC playing for it next year…although I might want to re-consider and put Alabama right back in it.