Surfing the 'Net for Football News
by Jim Alderson, 7/12/02
The Dead Zone of sports plods on for another six weeks or so. Is this just July? This miserably hot month adds nothing to the value of the year. I vote we Temple July and replace it with a five-day month, which would certainly make football season arrive faster. Even in the throes of July, however, we find that college football, like rust, never sleeps, and you can learn some really interesting things by reading [insert shameless plug] VT Hokie News every day [end shameless plug].
1.) There is news that Ahmad Brooks will not be strolling Mr. Jefferson’s Academic Village this year, instead making morning formation at Fork Union, as it seems his latest SAT score was, again, lost in the mail. Drat the luck. Now we know why Mr. Jefferson was so opposed to a government mail delivery system. Brooks is not the only member of The Class that will not be treading the Lawn this year, as Fork Union is acquiring a decided Hoo Blue hue.
It would seem algroh is already angling for future employment, much as he did when the writing became apparent on the side of Giants Stadium; if the gig in Hooville doesn’t work out, there will always be room for him on the staff of John Shuman. It would seem with Bill Parcells retired, at least for the time being, algroh will need some more coattails to grab onto. This is thinking ahead.
2.) We are informed by no less a football authority than our own Big East Commissioner that RUTS has been de-emphasized as a BCS criterion. What? Where’s the fun in that? All of a sudden, the impact of that big Miami - Florida A&M game on the MNC scheme of things has been lessened, interest in how long Nebraska keeps its starters on the field against Kansas will wane, and there is a disincentive for Bobby Bowden to continue his annual attempt at hanging triple digits on Wake Forest [he has come close a couple of times], although, in RUTSmeister Bobby’s case, you have to figure he will keep trying on general principles.
This has caused consternation among Hokies, who feel this might buffalo Tech’s chances at some future MNC. My feeling is that we should first worry about going undefeated, which history shows us hasn’t been the easiest thing to do around Blacksburg, and then worry about BCS vagaries. I have an idea that, if Frank again runs the table, things will work out.
There are reasons for this thinking, one being, surprisingly enough, the increased emphasis the BCS will place on SOS. Among the effects this is already having is a mad scramble by BCS teams to load up their future OOC schedules with teams from other BCS conferences [I can imagine how the conversations begin as our Athletic Director places calls to those of all those MAC teams that litter our schedule: "We need to talk"].
This has caused the alarm to be sounded by the Excitable Boy of non-BCS Athletic Directors, San Diego State AD Rick Bay, who is watching as high-dollar OOC games against Pac-10 teams disappear beneath the Pacific. Bay feels that a move to toughen SOS schedules by the BCS is yet another attempt by the big boys to separate themselves from the lower orders preparatory to demanding their own division [the Super Conference] apart from conferences like his. "I think we’re headed toward an inevitable sort of partitioning in Division I-A football," cries Bay, and he is right. Just because you’re paranoid, Rick, doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there trying to get you.
There are already rumblings of new, even tougher DI-A regulations that will apply to whole conferences, which will prune a lot more than what is now classified as football deadwood. There will be more on this [insert shameless plug II] in the upcoming TSLX [end shameless plug II].
Going back to SOS and OOC, if I am, say, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds and I am yearly facing that Big XII monster schedule with, say, an underachieving coach like Mack Brown, the last thing I want is an OOC that loses Rice, SMU and Houston in favor of real teams. Getting through the Big XII or SEC or most any BCS conference with an unblemished record is tough, which is why it is done so rarely; if Tech wins them all any given year, which will include a win over Miami, things should work out. The trick will be for Tech to win them all.
3.) Former CUSA commissioner Mike Slive has demonstrated some serious upward mobility as he has moved from the bargain basement CUSA offices to the plush digs of the SEC. Slive inherits an $EC which has set a level that the rest of us can only regard with awe when it comes to raking in the cash. He also moves into the big office at a time when conference member’s pursuit of those riches creates a scandal-filled situation not seen since the days of the old Southwest.
In the last decade, SEC schools have landed in the NCAA slammer a staggering nine times, giving them a substantial lead in the Jailer’s Cup standings, as no other conference has managed more than three probations. And that’s just football probation; for good measure, there have been six basketball probations. Slive will be expected to do something about this ‘crime pays’ situation, but not too much, since he will not begin to clean up the SEC until after he attempts to keep LSU from making it an even ten probations.
At LSU, Nick Saban seems to have adopted the Phil Fulmer ‘Ten-step Program to Academic Excellence’ [step1: acknowledge a higher power - obviously SEC football; step 2: fire the rats; step 3: have those academic lunkheads come up with classes easier than walking, although they are obviously not in the Kinesiology Department]. Saban, whose claim that "I don't lose one wink of sleep at night thinking about academic integrity" demonstrated a keen appreciation for exactly what SEC football stands for [Roy Kramer: "What do you want around here, winning football or a bunch of Rhodes Scholar wusses?"], denied any academic impropriety whatsoever. It can be expected that the in-house investigation conducted by LSU will be positively Reno-esque in proclaiming ‘we have investigated ourselves thoroughly and found we did nothing wrong.’
End the probations, Mike, but keep the millions flowing in.
4.) Speaking of NCAA troubles, it would seem that while Marshall came up a bit short last year in their one annual attempt at justifying all of that weauxfing by their fans, they have certainly proved to be SEC-caliber when it comes to getting slapped with probation.
Jim Alderson,who first made his mark with his biting political commentary on the A-Line email newsletter, also brings a unique, sarcastic, and well-informed perspective on college sports, particularly (1) Virginia Tech sports and (2) ACC sports. While Hokie fans currently have very little use for subject number 2, Alderson is an entertaining and informative columnist on subject number 1. For even more fun, visit Jim's A-Line home page.