Category: B1G Ten Football
|August 12, 2012||Posted by Allen Francis under Al's Blog, B1G Ten Football, Michigan State Football|
I don’t hide it, it’s not a secret. ¬†I am a Michigan State Spartan fan. ¬†Although I have the gear and have brainwashed my kids, the fact I am a Spartan fan does not mean I am blind. ¬†In other words, I understand there are areas for improvement. One of those areas is Spartan Stadium. ¬† (more…)
|February 24, 2012||Posted by Allen Francis under Al's Blog, Baylor, Michigan Football, Ohio State Football, Penn State Football, University of Miami, USC Football|
If the last few years in college sports have been anything, they have been interesting. Actually, maybe disturbing is the better choice of words. The last few year have been riddled with scandals. There is no doubt I will miss a few, but in recent memory I recall the following:
Ohio State (2003): Remember Maurice Clarett? Unfortunately, so do I. As a freshman, Clarett scored the game winning touchdown for Ohio State in the 2002 National Championship game. In 2003, Clarett was suspended for falsifying a police report. When the heat was turned up (hey nice cars, guns and Vodka) Clarett dropped out of school and sued to t be in the 2004 NFL draft. Because the rules applied to everyone back then, Clarett was denied entry to the NFL. The rest of his story doesn’t matter, but he spent 3 years in prison before recently returning to Ohio State for his education. Needless to say, had the Ohio State administration paid even a little attention to what was happening, theY probably could avoided the Jim Tressel led Tyrelle Pryor issues years later.
2003 (see below):
USC (2010): USC and Reggie Bush plead ignorance regarding the rule prohibiting payments to student athletes. Using its typical punish someone else policy, in 2010 the NCAA suspended USC from post season play for two years. None of the players serving the suspension were involved and none are named Reggie Bush. Further, although current USC coach Lane Kiffin is no angel, he was not involved in the Bush scandal. The only thing Bush had to do was open the door for the Heisman repo man. Unfortunately, that punishes the rest of us as we will be denied the opportunity to bid on the trophy in 15 years when Bush would have sold it on Ebay.
Michigan Practice (2010): Considering the real scandals that have occurred, the fact Michigan football practiced a few extra minutes is less than minor. It was ridiculous at the time and is even more so now. The NCAA wasted a lot of time on this non issue. If it helped lead to the dismissal of Rich Rod, Michigan fan should be glad it happened.
Auburn (2010-11): Cam Newton was declared ineligible after it was determined an agent shopped him around to colleges. Incredibly, Auburn, the top payer (oops, I mean the college of his choice), was able to get Newton reinstated before the SEC championship game. The buzz with this story calmed down, when other scandals started to hit. However, apparently the higher ups believe Cam Newton’s dad and buddy shopped Cam around to every school but Auburn. Auburn can thank Ohio State, Miami and Penn State for taking the heat off.
Miami Hurricanes (2011): It seems like forever ago we learned about how, the worlds largest hanger on, Nevin Shapiro, supplied drugs, women, parties and cash to Miami football and basketball players. In exchange, the U allowed Shaprio to hang out on the field, involved him in coaching decisions and basically gave him anything he wanted. No problems there.
Ohio State (2011): This time around, the Buckeyes stepped up their game. Free tattoos, cars and, well, the investigation apparently stopped there. However, I doubt the cheating did. This time there was no Maurice Clarett to be Jim Tressel’s scapegoat. Despite valiant efforts by the President of the University and unexplainable support from B1G Ten Commissioner, Jim Delaney, Jim Tressel was forced to resign. Ohio State lost their coach and it looked like they would be set back a bit. However, they hired Urban Meyer, who has not been caught cheating yet, but certainly runs in the gray areas. It appears Ohio State’s down time may be limited. The one year bowl and championship game ban was merely a slap on the wrist.
Penn State / Syracuse (2011): Penn State and Syracuse did not get caught cheating per se, but they got caught employee terrible human beings who (allegedly) did terrible things. In the case of Penn State, the cover up / inaction, may run deeper than we will know for awhile. We do know Penn State allowed a suspected child molester to have access to facilities with children and permitted him to gallivant around campus as if he were a member of the program. That’s what happens when you let a senile old man (sorry JoePa, it’s true) run a program for 10-15 years longer then he should have. In retrospect, it seems odd that Jerry Sandusky, a top tier defensive coordinator, retired in the prime of his career (after undisclosed molestation allegations were made) never to be heard from again. This is not supposed to be about those perverts, so I will move on.
I am sure I forgot some scandals and a few secondary violations. Among other things, I know players at the University of Toledo took money from bookies sometime during the above time frame. But the point of this is not necessarily to dwell on what happened, it is to figure out what’s next? I am not Nostradamus. In fact, I am not even sure what a quatrain is. Nonetheless, I am going to make an educated guess, a prediction, on what’s next.
Disclaimer: I excluded all SEC schools from this prediction as picking one of those programs would be like shooting fish in a barrel. I also excluded Kentucky Basketball. Considering Calipari is their coach, saying they will have a scandal in the near future is to easy.
Without further adieu, there is only one school left, Baylor. Before you call me out, I realize Baylor is somewhat of an easy target as it is coming off of one of the only recent scandals on par with Penn State and Syracuse. In case you forgot, Carlton Dotson, a Baylor basketball player, plead guilty to the 2003 murder of his teammate Patrick Dennehy. After Dennehy’s murder, the NCAA began investigating improper benefits and drugs allegations regarding the Baylor basketball team. Turns out, Baylor basketball coach Dave Bliss, who was out of scholarships, paid Dennehy’s tuition as well as the tuition for another player. During the investigation, Bliss pretended to be the father of the other player he paid for, but whom was still alive, in an attempt to learn what information the NCAA discovered. In one last pathetic act, Bliss instructed players to lie and tell investigators that Dennehy paid his tuition by selling drugs. That’s not the whole story, but I think you get the point, even though it is not talked about much the happenings at Baylor were kind of a big deal.
It seems like such actions would keep a program and a school down, at least for awhile. I am not sure how long I was asleep, but when I woke up Baylor had strong football and basketball programs. I even heard a rumor that Baylor now has a Heisman winner and that its basketball team is in the top 15. When the hell did this happen and, more importantly, how?
Baylor, located in Waco, Texas, is a private baptist school with only 12,500 undergrad students. Certainly, Baylor is one of the top small, private baptist colleges, which is located in a town known primarily for blowing up a cult compound. Throw in a teammate on teammate murder and a completely reprehensible basketball coach and Baylor is in a category all its own. The question is not so much how Baylor got to where it is. The question is how Baylor got there after where it was. Unfortunately for Baylor fans, it seems impossible to accomplish that type of comeback while playing by all the rules.
If Baylor runs a clean program, more power to them. However, in an era where it seems everyone is playing fast and loose with the rules, Baylor’s return (or better stated arrival on) the national scene is too remarkable not to question (sorry, it’s the Barry Bonds effect). My belief, Baylor was to far in the hole not to get out so fast. I maybe wrong about Baylor, but I am sure another major college scandal is just around corner.
|February 22, 2012||Posted by KG under B1G Ten Basketball, B1G Ten Football, NHL|
My football and baseball lists are in the books. ¬†I hope I effectively imparted on you all just how much I hate Tim McCarver and what a travesty it is that he is still employed as an professional MLB analyst. ¬†I also didn’t hear any Sox fans stick up for their man Hawk Harrelson, so I will just conclude that I was 100% on the mark.
This post is my mixed bag of broadcasters, which covers college basketball and the NHL. I don’t watch a great enough variety of these sports to have a favorites list. ¬†There are names, though, that I want to mention because there is one in college b-ball commentator that is probably my favorite in all of sports. ¬†I’ll admit these lists are shorter than my football an baseball lists, but this isn’t for lack of effort. ¬†I haven’t had a lot of
I’ll also cover some Chicago sports broadcasters, most notably those that are part of sports talk radio shows on the Chicago dials. ¬†Many of my readers aren’t from Chicago and many from Chicago don’t listen to the joy of sports talk, but I want to discuss them because I’ve spent so much time tuned into these stations.
NCAA Basketball – The Best
- Gus Johnson:¬†Gus, in my opinion, is the best announcer in the sporting world today. ¬†No one brings more excitement to a call and no one enthralls his audience better than him. ¬†Some people complain that he is too much for the broadcast, but I completely disagree. ¬†Gus’ enthusiasm is genuine, which is more than can be said for many other announcers. ¬†You can see that Gus loves his job and he loves sports. His talent has spread across multiple sports, but college basketball has always been his best, especially the March Madness tournament. ¬†The Gus Johnson factor is at play every time he is in the booth-games that he calls are much more likely to go down to the wire or head to OT. ¬†He is the one guy who I would tune into watch just because he is on the call. ¬†If you haven’t really listened to him before, watch/listen to this clip, and then enjoy many more on YouTube (such as this¬†hilarious mashup).
- ¬†Jay Bilas:¬†Bilas is one of the smartest men in the sport. ¬†As a former college basketball player (4-year starter at Duke), he brings great insight into his analysis. ¬†He can break things down for the casual fan, but provides lots of depth for even the most crazed college fan. ¬†He has talent both in the studio and as a color man. ¬†You can also tell he prepares for his games well. ¬†He doesn’t just speak about the best players, but has analysis for everyone on the team. ¬†He also has some of the best tweets, so follow him if you are on Twitter
NCAA Basketball – The Worst
- Dick Vitale: ¬†15 years ago, I never would have considered putting Dicky V on the “worst” list for college basketball. ¬†I used to love all his phrases and his childlike enthusiasm for the game. ¬†However, that hasn’t changed, and now that I listen to a color commentator for analysis, his¬†shtick¬†has gotten very old. ¬†His Duke-UNC bias can border on the unbearable and he spends so much time on his catch phrases that he never really gets to any useful break downs. ¬†”That’s awesome, baby!” and “Get a T.O.!” ¬†have lost their magic. ¬†Vitale is an guy who was once great and fresh, but now he comes off as someone’s goofy grandpa.
NHL – The Best
- Mike “Doc” Emrick and¬†Eddie Olczyk: ¬†I’ll pair these two since they are NBC Sports #1 team for its NHL broadcasts. ¬†Doc was normally the play-by-play for the New Jersey Devils (until last summer) and Eddie O is the color guy for my Chicago Blackhawks. ¬†Doc’s call is great, adjusting to the tempo of the game while keeping an (mostly) unbiased view. ¬†I love his goal call (ScccOOORReeesss!). ¬†What’s best is that he compliments the game well. ¬†He understands what needs to be called and clarified, and does so without interrupting the rhythm of the game.
Eddie O is a former player who was never spectacular, but has done a great job breaking down the best in the booth. ¬†He spots what happened before anyone has a chance to check out the instant replay. ¬†What I like best is that he talks about and shows what the players do right and wrong. ¬†He commonly uses the phrase, “For all you young hockey players out there,” using the play of the best in the world to instruct the up and coming talent of the hockey world
NHL – The Worst
- Matthew Barnaby:¬†ESPN should be¬†embarrassed¬†that they every employed Barnaby as one of its lead analysts. ¬†They recently let him go, but only after a DWI forced their hand. ¬†The guy was a goon when he played whose only purpose on the ice was to headhunt the other teams’ stars and take them down with some serious cheap shots. ¬†He had no idea how to break down plays and frequently praised big/illegal hits as necessary play in the NHL. ¬†I have no reason to listen to analysis of the NHL’s best from a guy who spent his whole playing career yapping his mouth with no skill to back it up.
Chicago Sports Talk – The Best
- ¬†Dan Bernstein:¬†Like Dicky V, I thought very differently about Bernstein 10 years ago. ¬†He seemed to spend the entire time making eloquent jokes and demoralizing callers. ¬†But as a listened more, I came to realize that he is probably one of the smartest guys in Chicago sports. ¬†He never says anything without having sound reasoning to back it up. ¬† Even if I disagree with his view, I know exactly where he is coming from. ¬†His tweets and comments indicate that he has a good to great understanding of major sports. ¬†He also demands a high level of intelligence from the callers to his radio show, Boers and Bernstein, which is refreshing in this ESPN-era of sport. ¬†Fans often call with baseless claims and opinions, which he immediately sees through (which makes him seem like a total jerk). ¬†Dan simply asks that you have a way to back up what you say with some sort of common sense. Though I’m not a fan of Terry Boers, he is my favorite talk show host in Chicago, and I hope that Chicago fans can learn from his methods, especially in this generalizing, throw-it-and-if-it-sticks-keep-it world we live in.
- Matt Spiegel: ¬†After being a behind the scenes producer for the Score and hosting a nationally syndicated sports radio show, Spiegel rejoined 670 alongside Dan McNeil. ¬†The reason I like him is that he makes listening to McNeil manageable. ¬†Mac, as you will see below, spends his time trying to demonstrate how experienced he is, but never actually proves he knows anything. ¬†Matt actually has a great historical knowledge of sports. ¬†Also, unlike McNeil, he is actually funny. ¬†Spiegel is one of the reasons why 670 the Score is much better than ESPN 1000 in the realm of Chicago sports talk.
Chicago Sports Talk – The Worst
- Dan McNeil: ¬†Mac has his fingerprints all over the Chicago sports talk radio scene. ¬†When I first heard him, he was on ESPN Radio 1000 on the show “Mac, Jurko, and Harry.” ¬†It started out as my favorite show, but as time passed and I gained sports knowledge, I realized that they never really said anything useful. ¬†Harry was a former comedian, and I’ll get to Jurko later. ¬†In the end, he came of as a major jerk, and worse, a jerk that was hypocritical. ¬†He didn’t actually prove a caller or a co-host wrong, but would insult them as a means of shutting them up. ¬†Mac was let go by ESPN after multiple on-air fights with Harry and was taken back by 670 the Score, where he started his broadcasting career. ¬†He’s become somewhat less of a jerk, but still flaps his head without any meaning. ¬†He is also a Sox fan, so he can’t really be trusted, can he?
- John Jurkovic:¬†Jurko is the loveable idiot of the “Afternoon Saloon” on ESPN 1000. ¬†He is a former NFL defensive lineman who grew up in the Chicagoland area. ¬†He is another man who says nothing of value, but just tries to be funny in the Homer Simpson sort of way- he is not smart and he knows it. His personality was funny at first, but now it is just annoying. ¬†He actually reminds me a lot of Mike Golic of “Mike and Mike in the Morning.” ¬†He just says really general things that anyone can figure out, but they are somehow masked as intelligent talk because he used to be in the NFL. ¬†As I said with McNeil, “Mac, Jurko, and Harry” was once my favorite show which I listened to every day, much to the chagrin of the people I drove home from high school. ¬†However, as my desire to grow my sports knowledge and¬†acumen, I liked the show less and less. ¬†Jurko’s mindless banter had a lot to do with that.
My final list will cover the mothership, ESPN. ¬†I hope you are enjoying reading these lists as I have had writing them. ¬†Leave some feedback via the comments or Facebook (or any social media really [or by owl if you are a wizard]) and we can compare our respective lists.
|January 21, 2012||Posted by Allen Francis under Al's Blog, B1G Ten Football, Michigan Football, Michigan State Football|
Admit it, you thought you wouldn’t hear any good college football stories for awhile. Aside from the inevitable few decommits and draft prospects caught getting high, it’s a fairly slow time for college football news. Maybe you could use this time to get some stuff done around the house, finally take down those Halloween decorations, enjoy time with your family, read a book, watch some college basketball, run to Lowes and pick up that ballcock you need to fix the toilet you let run all season. This is a good time to relax and spend time looking for a new drug of choice to help you make it through the NBA season. Put down the pipe and return the ballcock my friends, college football is still here.
|January 5, 2012||Posted by Rachel Edwards under B1G Ten Football, Michigan State Football|
The more the Spartan faithful begin to go off on blogs, sports radio and Twitter about Michigan State University’s defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi’s visit to Aggieland, the more I am convinced that he’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to do. Make the University sweat.
|December 17, 2011||Posted by Allen Francis under Al's Blog, Michigan State Football|
Michigan State’s Athletic Director, Mark Hollis, is well known for his innovation and “out of the box” ideas. The¬†Detroit News recently chronicled Hollis’ career in a nice article. Hollis was at the forefront of the current outdoor hockey phase when he organized the Cold War between Michigan State and Michigan at Spartan Stadium in 2001. Hollis is also behind the current NCAA Final Four set up with the court placed in the middle of NFL stadiums. He was the first to try that setup with the 2003 Basketbowl at Ford Field in Detroit. Hollis also worked deals with directional schools in Michigan whereby Michigan State will play a road game at each of these schools, in exchange for two games in East Lansing. Not only are the road games good for in state recruiting and the economy, each of the games will be (more…)