Penn State; It’s time for a time for change

I have chosen for the better part of the last year to avoid writing about the Penn State tragedy and write about the stomach churning details of what Jerry Sandusky did. But since the Freeh report, I have had a numerous range of emotions, ranging from anger to just plain disgust. I have lost a lot of respect for what was once perceived as a “clean” school and football program. I am not going to bash the school or Joe Paterno, he is gone and it won’t make anything better.

We have seen the Paterno Statue removed from in front of Beaver Stadium and the fact that Paterno’s name has been removed from a building on the Nike campus in Oregon. The Freeh report has torn down a long standing thought that Penn State was a school of virtue and value. Instead it seems like it was run by men who cared more about protecting the sacred football wins and “clean image” than protecting children’s lives.

The NCAA levied some serious fines and sanctions against the school, but even after a few days it just doesn’t feel like enough. Penn State avoided the death penalty by agreeing not to appeal, but with the heinous nature of the crimes committed by Sandusky on campus, and the ensuing cover up since 1998 it seems that something more needed to be done.  It will be up to each individual person to decide how Joe Paterno’s legacy will be remembered; The NCAA has made sure he won’t be at the forefront of any record books.

Anyone who can sit there and say with a straight face that the scholarship reductions and other sanctions will end up destroying Penn State for a long time needs to look in the mirror and come back to reality. Penn State has been one of the “Big Dogs” of the NCAA for a very long time and while they will struggle in the interim, it won’t make a difference the long run because they will still get to be on TV. Penn State will still be a destination for a lot of kids out of the northeastern part of the country. Yes, they will lose quality recruits and players now, once they are on the backside of the sanctions, it will be back to old hat for Penn State.

Penn State dodged a major bullet, and I think everyone surrounding the program knows they should have had their program shut down for at least a year. This is the time for the administration and staff at Penn State to show the country they are making huge changes across the board to prevent anything like this happening ever again. NCAA President Mark Emmert said “These sanctions will help Penn State make changes without worrying about wins and Bowl trips”

If the school can make the appropriate changes and keep their nose clean, then they will return to the upper echelon unscathed except for a big black eye. For that Penn State is very lucky. It almost makes you wonder if Penn State agreed to these sanctions to cover up other activities that an investigation would have uncovered…Guess we will never know.

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Thoughts on Realignment

 

There is nothing more maddening in the course of the college football season and in some cases the off season than the now ever present talk of conference realignment. You can’t bring up the subject to anyone without them saying “I heard from someone that they had sources and team A was going to move to conference B”. We all know what is going to happen eventually, there will be “Super Conferences” Why don’t we just go ahead and make it happen, and then everyone can quit talking and jumping on every small rumor that seems to come out on a daily basis. It has become a never ending cycle of this conference wants that team, or this team wants to move to another conference. This has been going on for over a year now and it is just really getting tiring.

 Texas A&M was the first team to make a serious push to move to another conference this year, given A&M has been flirting with the SEC since the inception of the Big XII, so many inside the state aren’t surprised that they finally made the move. Even if that move was to try and get out of the shadow of Texas, but even in a new conference they will always be looked at and treated like Texas’ little brother. They will just now take a ritual beating in the SEC every week. I find it funny that Baylor, the one school who will get relegated to a nothing conference, is trying to put up a front and stop the change. Funny thing is Baylor turned its back on the other small schools in Texas to ride the Longhorns and Aggies coat tails into the Big XII. But I will have more on this thought at another time.

 This is a time when the Big XII is days away from imploding, it is a foregone conclusion that everyone will ultimately will find a new home, even if it isn’t the one they really want. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Texas have been rumored to look west to the Pac 12, but there will only be one hindrance for Texas moving out there. Texas and ESPN wants to keep the Longhorn Network intact as is, but the Pac 12 doesn’t want teams having their own networks. But then there have been rumors of the Big 10(12) has made some overtures to Texas (wouldn’t that piss Nebraska off). Other teams from the soon to be dead Big XII have had their names tied to other conferences, at this point it feels like they should go ahead and disband the conference and let teams spend the rest of this year aligning themselves to conferences that fit their best interest. But Baylor, Kansas State and Iowa State would all block that, because they would be the little orphans left out in the cold.

 The end is inevitable, but how long can some of the “hangers on” keep the conference alive? Just so they can have one more season of BCS conference payouts? There are a lot more politics and pandering that will go on before a final verdict is laid down to the public. But any sane and reasonable fan can see that the writing is on the wall, save us all some grief and just get it over with. I would only hope some of the long term rivalries that have made the Big XII great would continue for decades to come, but that will only be decided between the schools as they split off in their own directions. Until we get to the “Super Conferences” this will just be an on going story and will brow beat every college football fan into just not caring anymore. I hate to see the end of the Big XII, but there is no way to keep everyone happy and keep the conference viable, because it is impossible that Notre Dame would agree to become a member and even though I love the history of the old Southwest Conference, adding former SWC teams would only drag the conference down for the top teams.

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Longhorns Basktball is saving Longhorn Nations Pride

While this past football season was dismal for the Longhorn faithful in Austin and around the country. Basketball season is causing some fans to have something to be happy about. The reason for this is because the Longhorns have knocked off two top 10, Big XII foes in back to back games. First was the huge victory over the Aggies, then on Saturday the Longhorns went into Phog Allen Field house and knocked off the number 2 ranked Jayhawks at home. It was the first time in 69 games that the Jayhawks have lost.

Yes, that is correct, the Longhorns went into Kansas and beat the Jayhawks at home. A house of horrors for the Longhorns was finally a happy place to be. It took 9 tries to finally win there, but this one is oh so sweet for the Longhorns basketball team. Texas is a state where basketball is only an after thought and everybody focuses on football for 12 months out of the year. But after this past football season, the basketball season and success of this team is a very welcome break. As long as this team can keep going and continue to win big games and stay relevant as the calender clicks closer to March, then there will be an exodus out of Austin to watch this team play.

Under Rick Barnes, the basketball program has gone to once thought, impossible heights. With the early success of this season there are a lot of fans in Texas who are thinking of a special post season run this season. While there is a whole lot of basketball to go, Barnes needs to make sure to keep this kids grounded if he wants to reap the success of this momentum being built right now. With two huge victories notched on the belt, at Michigan State and at Kansas, fans can finally start thinking of reaching for the stars. If the Longhorns can make it through the rest of conference play, and the conference tournament with no real hiccups, then this team is building a resume for a top 3 seed. So, Longhorn fans, keep your fingers crossed and get behind this team, it could be a special March, if things hold steady.

Kody’s Sports Korner Bowl Preview; Part 3

If you  have missed the first two bowl previews I did, check out part 1 here and part 2 here

TicketCity Bowl:
Northwestern vs Texas Tech –
Sadly this New Year will begin with this lackluster bowl. In the inaugural Ticket City Bowl in Dallas, there will be a first time meeting between the Northwestern Wildcats and Texas Tech Red Raiders. While Northwestern is looking for it’s first bowl win since 1949, Texas Tech has some concerns if it’s coach will be around for next year. But all of that aside, there are a lot questions on how will Northwestern handle the pass heavy attack of the Red Raiders. Sadly to say, Northwestern will not get it’s first bowl win here. They will be lucky to stay within 21 points of the Red Raiders.
Prediction: Texas Tech 52 – Northwestern 21

Outback Bowl:
Florida vs Penn St
:
When this match up was announced, you figured there would be retirement talks from one coach. But the coach who is going to step down isn’t the 84 year old Joe Paterno, but the 46 year old Urban Meyer. While this is a shock to most, it isn’t that big of a shock after last years flip flop. The big question about this game will be whether or not Penn State can contain a good Florida team. After their struggles with an Alabama squad earlier in the year, I don’t see this one being pretty for the Nittany Lions.
Prediction: Florida 35 – Penn State 14

Capital One Bowl:
Alabama vs Michigan St
While most everybody will be expecting Alabama to roll in this game, I expect to see Michigan St give Alabama a run for their money and pull off a upset. Michigan State has been an underrated team all year and is probably the best team coming out of the Big Ten this season. Expect an exciting game, one that should give the Big Ten it’s few bowl wins this season.
Prediction: Michigan State 28 – Alabama 21

Gator Bowl:
Mississippi St vs Michigan
This is a very ho hum match up, there are a lot of better game to watch and I am sure Michigan won’t show up so they can assure to get rid of Rich Rod. That being said, Dan Mullen will have Mississippi State ready to play. Expect this one to be a blow out.
Prediction: Mississippi State 35 – Michigan 17

GoDaddy.com Bowl:
Middle Tennessee vs Miami(OH)
For a match up of two teams that nobody cares about outside of their respective cities. This could be a good game to watch for college football enthusiasts. Miami is going to be playing with a lot of momentum from their surprise win at the MAC championship. Meanwhile Middle Tennessee is trying to get one more win and finish with a winning record. Should be a good game and expect it to be a close one.
Prediction: Miami (OH) 24 – Middle Tennessee 21

Cotton Bowl:
LSU vs Texas A&M
In one of the more exciting bowl match ups, this game should be a lot of fun to watch. But don’t expect to see any surprises here as LSU should be able to find a way to win this game and put another notch in the belt for the SEC. Only question will be if Les Miles will have some Tiger Stadium grass available at this game.
Prediction: LSU 35 – Texas A&M 28

Compass Bowl:
Pittsburgh vs Kentucky
While everyone has Pitt as their favorite and expects them to win this game, Kentucky has been able to hang tough when least expected to. This could be a spring board into next season for the Wildcats and look for a very exciting game between these two teams.
Prediction: Kentucky 28 – Pitt 21

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl:
Nevada vs Boston College
Expect Nevada to play with a lot of pride and be able to move the ball at will on Boston College. This is not going to be a pretty game for the Eagles, but it could be a very close game throughout if Boston College can contain the Pistol.
Prediction: Nevada 42 – Boston College 21

That is the last of the bowl previews for the lesser bowl games. Check back soon for the BCS Preview.