There is the Pac-12 which is THE Conference of Champions and then there is what is happening in college football around the country!
Here is the latest…
SOUTHEAST / ACC
We are all familiar with the phrase, thanks in part to the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, “It is best not to mix politics and religion” — or something similar.
Perhaps it would be good to add “sports” or more specifically, “college football” to that equation as well.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was slated to be honored along with “South Carolina defenders of religious liberty” at a fundraiser on June 2 by the Palmetto Family Council.
On its website the Palmetto Family Council notes, “Our mission is to persuasively present biblical principles in the centers of influence on issues affecting the family through research, communication, and networking. Our vision is to transform the culture in South Carolina by promoting the values and virtues of marriage, the traditional family model, and sexual purity.”
In this day and age that means one thing when sports is involved – instant backlash! Apparently Swinney heard from Clemson students, gay rights groups and the South Carolina House minority leader among others.
Swinney, despite having no association with the Council according to him, believed he was going to be recognized for his All In Foundation, whose mission “is to raise awareness and health issues in order to change lives of people across the state of South Carolina.”
Call it “guilt by association” in the eyes of many: you are receiving an award from this group, therefore you must support the group … he declined the invitation. Smart decision.
SOUTH / SEC
Sometimes the SEC reminds me of the statement, “She / he always has drama!”
That conference, including the media who cover them, can take ANYTHING and spin it into a crisis.
Hence the recent column by Alex Scarborough, an ESPN Staff Writer, under the headline of, “SEC stuck with the QBs it has — for now.”
Really? How can an entire conference be “stuck” with an assumed lower level of player at one position and especially, arguably, the most important position on the field?
Yeah, everyone feels sorry for the SEC because it appears its quarterback play is maybe down a little or unproven. Part of the article noted the conference spending the off-season “chasing” quarterbacks such as Everett Golson and Braxton Miller.
Scarborough went through the teams, noting their positives and negatives at the quarterback position.
One point I do agree with Scarborough on was when he wrote this, speaking to the coaching staffs: “Time to work on your own guys. You recruited them, now go develop them.”
Exactly! Did your conference become so good despite poor coaching? One team I know in the Pac-12 lost its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, and nobody is talking about it being “stuck” at that position!
MIDWEST / BIG TEN
In the category of “Yes, college football is big business but it also helps to have experience in college athletics” … we discover the new job for former Michigan AD, Dave Brandon who resigned last October.
Brandon is now the new CEO of Toys R Us! (I can just see the Michigan comment boards on that one.) Anyone who pays attention to college football knows about the decline of the program at Michigan under Brandon’s AD leadership. In fact, last season, tickets were given away for games in exchange for the purchase of Coke products … at the “Big House?!”
Before Michigan? Brandon was the CEO of Domino’s pizza and previously of Valassis Communications.
SOUTHWEST / BIG 12
Have any of the Power 5 Conferences spent as much time in the off-season trying to figure out what they want to do than the Big 12? First came whether or not to have a championship game; then recently new rules were formed regarding punishment to schools if their fans “rushed the field” after games, and on the heels of that come more rules regarding scoreboard replays.
Under the banner of the new “Big 12 Sportsmanship Policy,” a school can be subject to a penalty “if they show controversial replays too much in a venue.”
Wow! To no surprise it came under heavy and immediate attack. What defines “controversial?” What constitutes showing a play too many times if there is no specific number allowed?
Apparently the penalty would probably be a fine similar to the fans rushing the field rule. How about this scenario … underdog school A upsets conference power school B to win the game, but is fined when its fans rush the field afterwards and for showing a couple of controversial plays too many times during the game!
To clarify, replay has not been eliminated entirely … whew! That makes it even more clear.
For a conference which, by many accounts lost an opportunity to get a team in the national playoff for the championship, I would be less concerned about fans rushing the field (Is that really a problem every week?) and replays on a scoreboard.
In a follow-up to a story in my last column about how much money Charlie Weis is being paid NOT to coach at Notre Dame or Kansas, his two most recent employers, apparently the list of coaches in similar situations does not start and end with Charlie Weis!
While Weis is the leader by a wide margin for his Notre Dame contract (and also holds the #6 slot for his time at Kansas), other recognizable names on the list include Bo Pelini, Gene Chizik, Will Muschamp, and even former Cal head coach, Jeff Tedford.
Nothing says “How to be a millionaire without working” like being fired as a head college football coach.
Finally, in an announcement which brought an instant sigh of relief to the stadium, radio and television announcers for University of Florida Gator football, new head coach Jim McElwain’s first recruit, tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe has left the team.
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