Year of the NCAA; Crackdowns and investigations make headlines

Since the start of 2010, there has been one constant theme in college sports and it continues into the first part of 2011. NCAA crackdowns and investigations have almost become a daily occurrence and breaking news on every news wire across the country. This seems like a cyclical thing that happens every 5-10 years, the NCAA decides to get tough and clean up everything that may have been overlooked for the last few years to the previous decade.

 The one thing that really got the ball rolling here was the final decision on the USC and Reggie Bush investigation that took years to complete. Then before the start of this past college football season, we had what was coined as “agent gate” where the NCAA was investigating North Carolina’s football team and it ended with some suspensions and some players being kicked off the team. But that seemed to be the sign of the times where every other story written was some school was self-reporting this, or this team had to meet with the NCAA about that. It just became a never ending line of violations and compliance issues that dominated the papers everyday but on Saturday. 

The one story that really got everyone going was the breaking news halfway through the season about Cam Newton supposedly being shopped to Mississippi State for $180,000. This was a soap opera story at its finest. Every opponent took their shots and continues to do so, but the real questionable thing that happened here is the fact that Cam got suspended prior to the SEC championship game, then was re-instated 24 hours later. Then all he did was go on to win the Heisman and a National Championship. Since the end of the season, this story has since gone away and will probably be resolved with nothing being done. Because for once there is no real trail of wrong doing, it has all been here say.

College sports fans would have thought that moving on to basketball season would help break away from the problems, but as it has been, the NCAA was investigating Tennessee for recruiting violations with their head basketball coach. But the SEC decided to go ahead and suspend him at the start of conference play, but then the NCAA delivered their letter. Now everyone around the program is wondering what the program will face and if firing Bruce Pearl would help lessen that blow. But this matter won’t be resolved until June.

The one that surprised everyone was the fact that Jim Calhoun of UCONN got busted with a recruiting violation and is going to have to sit out 3 games next season in the Big East conference play. So, it is looking like anyone and everyone is in danger and everything is being magnified 100 times. The question that lingers for everyone is this going to be a long term deal, or will the NCAA do what they did in the past and start lightening up on everyone after they prove a point.

Cheating happens on every level of college athletics, and there is no real way to stop it, unless the NCAA will hit every team they catch with heavy sanctions, regardless of how big or how profitable the program makes the sport. Until the NCAA can find a way to scare everyone straight, it is just going to be an endless game of who gets caught and who gets away with it. The bottom line is, if you are stupid and don’t cover your tracks correctly, then you will face the wrath of the NCAA. But most fans are getting tired of hearing about another school facing sanctions and having problems, just because something slipped out that wasn’t supposed to. I am all for a clean and fair sport, but that will never happen as long as there are schools that make huge amounts of money and there are other schools who can’t make a dime.

Kody’s Sports Korner Bowl Preview; Part 2

Time for the 2nd preview, too much to break down in one post and will continue it here. Be sure to check out Part 1.

Little Caesars Bowl:
Florida International vs Toledo
While this isn’t going to be a marquis matchup that everone will be wanting to watch, this game has some potential to be close. Ok, I couldn’t finish that sentence with a straight face. This game will be ugly and will probably be boring all at the same time. I am not really going to bore you with any more thoughts on this game. But at least it is football.
Prediction: Toledo 38 – Florida Int. 21

Advo Care V100 Independence Bowl:
Air Force vs Georgia Tech

Don’t bllink, this game could be over as quick as it starts. This will be a very fast game because there will be very few clock stoppages. Both of these teams run an option heavy offense and will run the ball with purpose. This is a game for the old school throwback fans like myself. Football is running the ball and punching you in the mouth. This game is very evenly matched in terms of offensive powers. Josh Nesbit for Ga Tech is questionable for this game, so if he does play, that will make the game closer. Otherwise I expect Air Force to be the better team and win this one.
Prediction: Airforce 24 – Ga Tech 17

Champs Sports Bowl:
West Virginia vs NC State –
This game could be a very interesting game, but I don’t expect it to be a close game by any stretch. West Virginia looks to be the better team with the better weapons and that may just be too much for NC State to over come. NC State keeps it close early, but falls to the side late.
Prediction: West Virginia 35 – NC State 14

Insight Bowl:
Missouri vs Iowa –
This game is interesting, but I really think that will be an embarrasment by the time this game ends. I see a Missouri team that is good, but right now Iowa is stinging after the scandal and will have more focus on this game than they have had all season long. That’s why I think this game will get ugly and Iowa will just run away with it.
Prediction: Iowa 42 – Missouri 24

Military Bowl:
East Carolina vs Maryland –
This could potentially be Ralph Freidgens final game as the head coach at Maryland, but East Carolina isn’t a push over team. I don’t see this one being a great game for Maryland.
Prediction: East Carolina 24 – Maryland 17

Texas Bowl:
Illinois vs Baylor-
Baylor is playing in it’s first bowl game in over a decade, and they have the privilege of playing a Ron Zook led Illinois team. This will almost be like a home game for Baylor, since it will be played in Houston. I figure Baylor will have a lot to play for in this game and should be able to win this game.
Prediction: Baylor 35 – Illinois 14

Valero Alamo Bowl:
Oklahoma St vs Arizona
Oklahoma State will be dealing with the disappointment of letting a chance at a bigger and better bowl have slipped through their hands, while Arizona will feel lucky to have made it to a bowl. I think Gundy realizes there is a Stoops on the other side again and locks up. Arizona wins this in an impressive fashion.
Prediction: Arizona 28 – Oklahoma State 10

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl:
Army vs SMU
SMU gets to play in their second consecutive bowl game under June Jones, and they get to play this one on their own home field. Army meanwhile is coming off their best season in a while and a tough game against rival Navy. While this game will be a battle to the finish, I think the quick turn around and the fact SMU is at home will to much to over come.
Prediction: SMU 35 – Army 24

New Era Penstripe Bowl:
Kansas St vs Syracuse
This is going to be a battle of two programs who are under a resurgence, but with the location of this game and the fact that Syracuse looks to be a little bit better, I don’t see this game being very good for the K-State wildcats. Syracuse with an almost home field advantage should spell doom for the wildcats.
Prediction: Syracuse 28 – Kansas St. 10

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl:
North Carolina vs Tennessee –
This is a match up of two teams who are polar opposites. North Carolina started the season with hope and talk of winning the ACC and Tennessee was in a rebuilding mode and only dreamed of a Bowl game. But with a few bad breaks and some luck both teams are bowling. North Carolina had their team picked apart due to an NCAA investigation and Tennessee had to find the right combination to hit a winning chord. This could be a very tight game and be very entertaining. I look for this one to be decided on the last possession.
Prediction: North Carolina 24 – Tennessee 21

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl:
Nebraska vs Washington –
This game is just an absolute joke, there is nothing really more to say here than the Nebraska Corhnhuskers just embarrass Washington.
Prediction: Nebraska 42 – Washington 10

Meineke car care Bowl:
South Florida vs Clemson
This game is more evenly matched than you would realize, both of these teams are good, but have had some tough luck and bad bounces along the way. While most experts would have you thinking that Clemson will win this one hands down, I see South Florida pulling out a victory in surprise fashion.
Prediction: South Florida 35 – Clemson 28

Hyundai Sun Bowl:
Notre Dame vs Miami
The rematch of the “Catholics vs. Convicts” has come earlier than expected. This should be an exciting game in the fact that these are two very prideful teams playing with a big amount of hurt pride this season. This time around though, I think it will be all Notre Dame.
Prediction: Notre Dame 38 – Miami 17

AutoZone Liberty Bowl:
Georgia vs Central Florida  –
This match up would lead you to believe that Georgia would win this game hands down, but this is a quality Central Florida team and I think they have something to prove in this game.
Central Florida 28 – Georgia 21

Chick Fil-A Bowl:
South Carolina vs Florida St
Another quality match up to end the year in Atlanta. This game has all of the makings of a great match up. But I think Spurrier pulls out some tricks that will help the Gamecocks win.
Prediction: South Carolina 35 – Florida State 21