Baseball, College Football ........, DeMaurice Smith, Detroit Tigers, Football, Jim Tressel, Michael Ilitch, MLB, NCAA ............, NCAA President Mark Emmert, NFL, NFLPA, Ohio State (Buckeyes), Roger Goodell, Sports Economics, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary

Take Me At My Word …… !


Take Me At My Word ………….

Well the idiocy of the NFL labor talks continue unabated and much like the stupidity of the Congress and Senate in trying to reach a compromise , here the two sides are so far apart that you could drive a Mack Truck through the chasm of their division. The NFLPA led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has asked that the NFL open up its books for public scrutiny of which I for one don’t believe that the NFL hierarchy ( team owners ) would be willing to do because then the public would find out the lies that have been told by them as it concerns their overall finances . Certainly NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t issued a public statement on the matter . But you’re continuing hear from various sources in and outside the NFL that the two sides are getting closer to a compromise . If only that were so because it seems that neither side at this juncture is truly willing to given an inch in order to elicit any type of real compromise !

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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

FMCS Director George Cohen the federally appointed mediator to oversee the mediation process can’t be pleased with either side at this juncture and with the intransigence being shown by both sides. And should he have to render a decision here you can be sure that it will be one that will be beneficial to one side while being a total detriment to the other even if on appearance it seems to be fair.

With the original collective bargaining agreement having passed as of 3rd March and then summarily extended by 24 hours momentarily before the two sides opted in taking this past weekend off and then extending that deadline by a further seven days . Well with that deadline now expiring at midnight tonight it remains to see whether or not the idiocy will still continue . This much I’m definitely sure of , if these two sides can’t agree how best to split a $ 9 billion ( $9,000,000,000 ) industry in terms of its revenues whereby both sides can feel happy , then the fallout from this debacle will rest squarely upon the shoulders of the NFL , NFLPA and the owners evenly. Any sympathy that either side may well have been looking for from the fans and general public alike will have completely disappeared .

It certainly never ceases to amaze me with the naivete shown by the fans and the college coaches within collegiate athletics . Within the ranks especially of college basketball and football where these coaches are well compensated not only by the salaries paid to them by their respective institutions but also by way of commercial endorsements that are to be had by when their programs become successful. Is anyone now really surprised by the allegations that have been leveled against Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel ? Long thought of as being above reproach who runs an exemplary program we now find out that Tressel much like many of his peers within collegiate basketball and football is nothing more than a conniving cheat and a complete imbecile ! What might make matters worse concerning the allegations against the coach is the very fact that he knew and kept them hidden from the athletics department and faculty of the school. His initial stance was that he hadn’t thought anything improper had gone on concerning the fact a number of players on the team had been receipt of gift monetary and otherwise from independent parties . However , what might be even more disturbing about these allegations is the very fact the coach had been receipt of an e-mail from an attorney , Christopher Cicero who’d also been a player for the Buckeyes when Tressel was then an assistant coach with the program. In that communique it informs Tressel that a number of players on the team had actually been selling memorabilia for financial gain. That is in of-itself is a major transgression of NCAA rules and for the coach to even keep that fact hidden from the AD and school is tantamount to condoning the acts of the players rather than instigating an internal investigation.

Courtesy of USA Today

Ohio State punishment of Jim Tressel called ‘a little light’

By Erick Smith of USA Today

The head of a law firm that helps schools deal with the NCAA said the Ohio State punishment of Jim Tressel appears lenient.

Michael Buckner spoke with The Columbus Dispatch and offered his analysis of the two-game suspension and $250,000 fine given to Tressel by the school for failing to reveal information about possible violation by two of his players.


“Just looking at it, it may seem a little light, especially in light of the fact Tressel didn’t report it to the university within a reasonable period of time,” Buckner said.

The Dispatch noted the NCAA has sanctioned 27 schools since 2006 for violating bylaw 10.1, which requires coaches and others to be truthful and forthcoming about possible NCAA violations. Of the 12 coaches involved, only one kept his job. The others either resigned or were fired by their schools.

“In those periods when he had an opportunity and a duty to disclose, he failed to do so,” Buckner said. “I think the NCAA could also come back and add failure to monitor or failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance. Those are program violations.

“With those three (including the bylaw 10.1 violation), you could look at the two-game suspension and the fine to be the minimum.”

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Clearly here these transgressions by the players of which it now seems the coach had been fully are of at the time were serious enough to warrant an investigation. But with the coach apparently thinking that it was beneath him to actually take this finding to the athletics department beneath him and furthermore being somewhat complicit in trying to hide it all makes one now wonder what else has Jim Tressel suborned to in the past with regard to the football team’s program which may well have broken NCAA rules ? If this were a simple mistake on his part then perhaps one might understand but the act the coach itself was calculated and premeditated and that in spite of his formal public statement on the matter .

With the university having suspended the coach for the first two games of the program’s upcoming 2011 season and a fine of $250,000 being imposed on Jim Tressel they feel that the punishment befits the crime . But I’m not so sure that the NCAA themselves will feel it at all adequate given the fact that coaches have actually been fired or suspended for even longer terms , having violated such rules . But therein lies the actions of the NCAA , as they seemingly pick and choose whom they wish to punish with impunity in order to make an example of a program. Is it any wonder that the governing body of collegiate athletics can’t be taken seriously in terms of its standing and the actions they at times deem fit concerning not only the coaches but the athletes themselves when they’ve broken the rules ? There’s never any consistency as the punishment meted out and not once ever has a coach been financially penalized for any wrong doing on their part by the collegiate body that governs college athletics. If the rules are meant to cover those involved in collegiate athletics then surely the coaches and their staffs fall under those rules apart from the athletes themselves !

NCAA President Mark Emmert who only assumed the position full time in November of last year having served as the interim president whilst his predecessor the late Dr Myles Brand underwent chemotherapy has got his hands full dealing with many of the issues now facing that body. Not only has he got to prove to the public that the NCAA actually stands for something but also that they can be trusted to act impartially and when necessary do what is morally right instead of appearing certain programs over others. Moreover if there was a environment of transparency as it relates to the NCAA’s business dealings rather than a great deal of it being so secretive and done behind closed doors then perhaps the public and college sport’s fan in general may well feel that they can be trusted . Instead they might just be as disliked as the present administration , the Congress and Senate jointly . At this moment the jury is still out with a verdict so it’s anybody’s guess as to what their thought might be on the NCAA .

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College Football ........, NCAA ............, Sports

Keeping It In The Family ……… It Pays …. It’s Simply Business


Keeping It In The Family ……… It Pays …. It’s Simply Business

The never ending story surrounding Auburn Tigers’ quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Cam Newton now seems to be taking on a life of its own. Ever since his departure from Florida under what one might deem rather dubious circumstances an ever darkening cloud seems to be hovering over the player. What might even be more disturbing is the the rumored sources and the actions allegedly by Newton’s father Cecil Newton .

The patriarch of the family is a pastor of a church and there now seems to be allegations that the demands made by the player via his father was a for monies to be exchanged for his services and attendance at Mississippi State University. At the time Newton having left Florida was in attendance at a junior college and he’d been keenly aware that there were said to be several schools who sought his entry into their respective programs . What we now are being made aware of is that the player and his father have not been completely upfront as to his recruitment and the process that would ultimately be the deciding factor as to where he would attend school and play football.

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Slide show for your perusal .

We now know that when first approached about these demands Mississippi State made immediate contact with the SEC (Southeastern Conference) and that Commissioner Mike Slive and the conference’s own internal Infraction’s Committee would conduct their own investigation into the matter. Furthermore, as there were now said to be several approaches made by Newton’s father via a conduit in Kenny Rogers a former college player the NCAA quickly became involved in the matter. But as of yet no outright public statement has been forthcoming from that body. Slive and the SEC have been in possession of this information for over six months and I now find it somewhat curious that it is only now that there seems to be something happening. Given the fact the money that Cecil Newton is said to have been trying to extort ranged from anywhere between $150,000 to as high as $200,000 one has to ask what the hell is going on and how is that these establishments have so lax ?

As to Auburn’s own stance on Cameron Newton and what they feel is an unwanted attack on the player’s integrity . I find it somewhat intriguing and take the view that if the player wasn’t so important to their national title ambitions would the team’s coach Gene Chizik stand so steadfast in his support of the player ? Furthermore given the actions of former Heisman Trophy winner and USC Tojans’ player Reggie Bush this is something that cannot be immediately overlooked and glossed over. The rules are set in place for these players to abide by and at the same time the athletics directors and compliance officers within these schools and the coaches have to be fully aware as to what is going on amongst their recruits. It seems somewhat asinine to think that because a player then chooses to flout the rules when it’s clear that there has been a certain amount of culpability and duplicity on the part of boosters and coaches it is merely the college that is subsequently punished with sanctions imposed by the NCAA. It is only rare for a school to voluntarily sanction itself after the actions of a coach or player and guilt has been proven to be a violation NCAA rules. It now begs the question that should it come to light that indeed Newton and his father acted inappropriately and that there’s clear and irrefutable evidence that the player was accepted into the school after money changed hands then whatever punishment meted out has to be extensive enough to deter this from happening again.

What appears to be the case as of now is that Newton is for an eligible player on the Auburn Tigers’ football team. However, one has to now question what actions if any took place in the recruitment of the player and were they indeed above aboard ? Furthermore , if as is being alleged Cecil Newton’s church was indeed a benefactor of a rather generous donation wherein the refurbishment of that entity was able to take place. Then the perception is there for all to see that whomever made that donation to the pastor clearly was in league with an intermediary action on behalf of the family. There may well not be a paper trail as to the evidence but there are too many coincidences for this to be a mere confidential benefactor ingratiating themselves with the church , its congregation and the community of Newnan and Holy Zion Center of Deliverance , Newnan , Georgia. Cecil Newton has remained circumspect and there has been no admission of any wrongdoing on his part. Many within the African American community there in Newnan may well see this as another ‘witch hunt’ wherein a young African American athlete is being dragged down by the media and allegations that they may well feel are without foundation. But until the rather shall we say laborious investigations are at an end we may well never know the actual truth as to what has really taken place.

Courtesy of ESPN.com news services

Rogers: Cecil Newton put price on son

A former Mississippi State player who worked with agents says Cecil Newton told him it would take anywhere from $100,000 to $180,000 for his son, Cam Newton, to sign a scholarship with Mississippi State.

Kenny Rogers told ESPN radio 103.3 in Dallas on Thursday that when he and Cecil Newton met with two MSU coaches at a hotel in Starkville, Miss., last Nov. 27, one of the coaches said “No, no I don’t want to hear that,” when Cecil Newton asked about the payment for Cam Newton to attend Mississippi State.

Rogers was asked if Cecil Newton told him how much money it would take to get his son to play for Mississippi State. “Yes, he did,” Rogers said.

Asked how much, Rogers said the price would be: “Anywhere between $100,000 and $180,000.

Cam Newton eventually signed with Auburn, where the school says the quarterback is eligible to play. Newton is a leading Heisman Trophy contender and has the unbeaten Tigers in the hunt for the national championship. He’s expected to play Saturday against rival Georgia.

Later in the interview, Rogers said he and Cecil Newton first talked after Cam Newton left the Florida Gators following the 2008 season. In the course of their conversations, he said Cecil Newton told him, “It’s not gonna be free this time.”

Rogers said he was involved with Cecil Newton only in regards to Mississippi State.

Rogers said that on Nov. 28, 2009, he and Cecil Newton followed each other out of Starkville, Miss., after the Ole Miss-Mississippi State game. He said Newton asked him: “What do you think is going to happen? You think it’s going to go through?”

Rogers said he was referred to a Mississippi State booster named Bill Bell. Rogers said he left Bell a message telling him he was with Cecil Newton, who wanted to know if the deal was going to happen.

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We do know once again that an athlete at the height of their college career is once again cast as a ‘villain’ and yet again a family member is partially at the center of attention. One can surmise that these are young athletes who aren’t yet mature enough to actually make a decision for themselves. But I would suggest that when these athletes enter into to the world of academia and collegiate athletics this is but the first step in them learning how to be and act like an adult rather than still being cuckolded like a prepubescent child still unsure of what they want.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the situation now surrounding Cameron Newton and the actions allegedly taken by his father and an associate ? Also do you feel that as things now stand with an investigation now underway would it be appropriate for the school to sit the player out until the facts are laid bare for all to see ? Simply chime in with a comment on this matter .

😛 ____ 🙂 ___ 😦

NB : Auburn’s remaining 2010 football schedule .

Auburn’s football roster .

Auburn’s coaching staff .

BCS rankings ………


Top 10 teams

CURRENT BCS STANDINGS

Team BCS Average

1 Oregon .9638
2 Auburn .9611
3 TCU .9259
4 Boise State .8662
5 LSU .8170
6 Stanford .7454
7 Wisconsin .7349
8 Nebraska .7298
9 Ohio State .6613
10 Oklahoma State .6211

Click on this link to view in its entirety BCS rankings

Alan aka tophatal …………………….. 😛

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Karmen

Pseudonym or not she calls herself Karmen Sutra . I wonder why ?

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Oh what a ‘thick booty’ Karmen has got !

BCS, College Football ........, Sports

Who Wants To Be #1 ?


Who Wants To Be #1 ?

Much like the NFL __ College Football has become topsy turvy this season and we’re seeing the same thing happen in terms of the supposed top teams slipping up .And the very fact that over the past two weeks neither two teams that’ve sat atop of the rankings have actually been able to remain there longer than one week. Firstly it was the Alabama ( Crimson Tide) running into the buzz saw that was the South Carolina Gamecocks . If that wasn't enough of a surprise to see this Tide team completely exposed as something of a fraud and then consider what happened this past weekend with the Ohio State Buckeyes as they were simply man handled by the Wisconsin Badgers in their subsequent 31-18 loss. And with the first BCS rankings now having been announced it will be interesting to see what arises between now and the end of the regular season within college football.

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While it would be true to suggest that there are no truly dominant teams this season within college football I do believe what we’re now seeing is an ugly dilution of the talent pool and some rather inexplicable coaching faux-pas’ where blunders by coaches and their staff had led to some of the upsets we’ve seen with a number of highly ranked teams that were thought to be in with a chance of national championship aspirations. And as good as many of the teams are thought to be amongst the BCS rankings I’m of the belief that until the season pans out we’re still liable to see a number of these teams in question make a misstep or two over the coming weeks. Schedules being what they are there’s a tendency for not only complacency to set in but also the fact that injuries may or may not play a part in how far these teams will ultimately go. Furthermore while we can all debate a number of team’s aspirations and the mere fact that a mockery is made of their schedules it does beg the question how best to resolve a the situation where the likes of Boise State’s credentials comes into question. The team’s ___ schedule is one that is simply padded with some lesser lights viewed as sacrificial lambs and a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) schedule that one might view as being as competitive as trying to discern the IQ between Sarah Palin and Delaware Tea Party backed Republican Party senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell. Not much there from either if truth be known and the same can argument can be made for the competitiveness of WAC !

Given what we know and the fact that it’s now being alleged that much of the conjecture concerning the Boise’s schedule stems from the fact that the team doesn’t play in what is considered to be a top tiered conference nor do they tend to schedule what’s considered to be an elite program on their schedule. The SEC , Pac-10 , ACC , Big East , Big 10 , Big 12 are long considered to be the creme-de-la-creme of college football’s elite conferences and within those conferences and divisions there are a number of highly competitive programs. Boise State on the other hand, while now being looked at as a national contender by some analysts there’s a belief that until the Broncos’ schedule is competitive enough where they’re not only playing many more elite programs , we’re liable to simply view the Broncos as just another team that while amassing impressive stats they’ll fall short of what the mainstream fans and pundits desire to see from a championship contender.

I find it somewhat ironic that the Broncos’ state they’re not getting any respect from the BCS pollsters and the writers who cover the program. However it’s come to light that while overtures have been made by Nebraska and Ohio State to schedule Boise as part of their schedule it has since come to light that the Broncos refused those very same overtures requesting Boise play either the Cornhuskers or Buckeyes. The Broncos have supposedly demanded that they be paid in excess of $1million from each school merely to turn up and participate in those games. If that’s not enough to suggest how ludicrous it has become when as it concerns big time college football and the high stakes that are in play . Then clearly we now know that it comes down not only about what’s purportedly about the game itself but also how much money there is awash within the game today !.

From my own perspective while I’ve always maintained that there ought to be a playoff system installed at the end of the college season it’s clear to see that the conferences that make up the BCS has no interest at all in instituting such an approach as it would merely cut into the ‘tens of millions of dollars’ that are derived from the system that’s already in place for the five major season ending bowl games and the lesser tiered games that come into play.

It seems somewhat strange that even with the outcry for there to be changes to be made within the system what we have still creates a great deal of controversy but yet we’re told that this is the best that BCS community can offer the fans . Somehow that’s like being told that the cure for the common cold is nothing more than drinking some concoction made possible by a snake oil salesman.

And while I for one do believe that there are a number of teams with the aspirations to viewed as a national championship contender. The one thing I think that we might all foresee is the mess that the current system will create come season’s end. Computer algorithms and the preference of the pollsters may well play more of a part in deciding who plays for the national championship than anything one might derive of what has taken place on the field of play. It’s hard to think that we may well end up with at least one unbeaten team when it’s all said and done at the end of the regular season. Especially given the results that we’ve all witnessed thus far.

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By clicking on a frame you can see the picture in its original formatted size.

What if anything has been of a surprise to you in the college football season ? And do you as such have a preference as to which two teams you’d like to see play for the national championship ?

NB: Click on the following links provided to view pertinent information .

Football College Conference standings

BCS College Football Rankings ……

Week 7 College Football results

😦

Alan aka tophatal …………….. 🙂

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Eye candy courtesy of Smooth Magazine …… Simone

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Baseball, Basketball, College Football ........, College Basketball, Football, MLB, NBA, NFL, Sports

In The News Today …. Sports That Is …………..


In The News Today …. Sports That Is …………..

Well , I’ve been running through the back pages of the newspapers just trying to catch up on the latest as the sport’s world is concerned . And what with an emphatic triumph for the NFL as whole with the success of Superbowl (SBXLIV) being the most watched television event in the nation’s history. There’s a great deal for the NFL to feel proud about at present. Though I’m not so sure , that’ll be the case if the March 5th, deadline comes and passes and an agreement is not reached concerning the renegotiation of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFLPA .

The ramifications for both sides could be dire, if an accord cannot be reached before the deadline. But considering the antics being shown by both sides , I’m of the opinion that somehow at the last prevailing minute calmer heads should prevail. But then again I may well prove to be wrong. We’re dealing with a bunch of spoiled owners and an even crazier bunch of highly overpaid players. And in both cases, the parties concerned are more interested in what’s best for themselves and most definitely not what’s in best interests or the league or the fans !

In college basketball Kansas routs the Texas ‘Longhorns’ 80-68 . And for Rick Barnes as coach of Texas , this can’t be all that pleasing a time. The former #1 ranked Longhorns have been losing games with almost the same frequency that the Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates and New Jersey Nets have become accustomed to be doing, with almost as much relative ease. Now I’m not one to suggest that the Longhorns are about to be mired in mediocrity along the lines of the Nets, Pirates and Royals. But much more of this and the Longhorns’ faithful, as well as their boosters could well be calling for Barnes’ head on a silver platter.

The Carolina Panthers’ Julius Peppers feels that he’s no longer appreciated , loved or wanted by the organization . And granted, John Fox’s team severely underperformed throughout much of this past season. So much so, that one had the distinct feeling that had not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers performed so abysmally in the NFC South . Then in all probability , it could well have been the Panthers seated at the foot of the division, with one the NFL’s worst records. And it certainly didn’t help that Jake Delhomme the team’s quarterback was about as reliable as a flat tire would be a welcoming sight to a stranded motorist.

Having been franchised tag in each of the last two seasons , Peppers now feels that it’s time for the Panthers to up the ante and pay him what he no doubt believe that he’s worth. For Panthers’ GM Marty Hurney , this has more to do with looking at the entire scenario that the team now faces and whether or not it’s best to revamp the roster and start afresh. Or retain players such as Delhomme and Peppers. In the case of Peppers, Hurney knows only too well that he’ll be asked to ‘break the bank’ in order to retain one of the league’s best defensive players and ‘run stoppers.’ What appears to be imminent is that there will be a parting of the ways , between Peppers and the club. It may not yet be fact but it appears to the direction that the organization is heading in.

Now unless I’m mistaken , I was under the impression that Red Sox GM Theo Epstein was as astute a baseball mind as their is around MLB ? After-all , he has been the primary architect behind much of team’s success, more than anyone else within the organization . And that includes team manager Terry Francona . But the worrying thing here is that the organization has gone out and acquired Adrian Beltre’ from the Seattle Mariners. Beltre’s production over the past two seasons has been about as inspired,, as the lack of ingenuity and productivity being shown by the members of Congress and the Senate combined. But somehow Epstein is of the belief that the player will be a ‘good fit’ for the team . At a price tag approaching $14 million , one would certainly hope so for the Red Sox’s sake !

The Red Sox having lost Jason Bay to free agency , they were in need of some offensive fire power but one would have hardly thought that Beltre’ fitted the bill in that respect. There’s no doubt that Adrian Beltre, when he’s on form ,he is a very good player. But far too often , he has been known to go into prolonged slumps with his bat and his defense has been about as helpful as a hole in a bucket. This may or may not prove to be a costly gamble by the Red Sox. Given the fact that they now have to contend with a rejuvenated and much more confident New York Yankees’ team , within an already highly contentious and competitive AL East division. If the Red Sox aren’t able to get something out of Beltre this season, then it may well prove to be nothing more than afterthought on their part. Especially when one considers the vast financial resources at the organization’s disposal.

Coming off a 48 point night for the Orlando Magic in their 123-117 victory over the New Orleans Hornets, who were playing without their point guard and best player , Chris Paul . Magic’s guard and swingman, Vince Carter had one of his better games , if not his best game , since he was acquired by the team . Now that’s all well and good but there has to be more of this from Carter , on a night in and night basis – if the Magic are to viewed as a legitimate threat within the Eastern Conference as well as the rest of the NBA. But were it not for the offensive output by Carter , then the end result would’ve been entirely different as to the outcome.


Albeit, that Carter was ably assisted by Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis , the Magics’ bench offered very little by way of assistance, combining for a total of 23 points during the game. If this is what Stan Van Gundy believes to be , is ‘his best’ and ‘most balanced team’ since he assumed the role as coach. Then someone, had better check out the ‘sugar level’ of his Kool-Aid. Because there’s definitely something awry with that, as well as Van Gundy’s thinking on the matter.
And before the Magic can even think about contending for an NBA championship once again this season they’ll have to contend with the Boston Celtics , Cleveland Cavaliers , Atlanta Hawks and a sometimes quite dangerous Miami Heat team led by the universally admired skills of Dywane Wade . Is that enough of an answer for you Stan ?

So Florida State has to vacate 12 wins from its football program , in light of the cheating scandal that took place. Rather than standing up and being held accountable for their actions or lack of it thereof. Former University President T.K Wetherell and Athletics Director Randy Spetman had threatened a lawsuit against the NCAA . All of this took place under the less than caring eye. Yes, I said it ! It all took place under the less than caring eye of their now former coach, Bobby Bowden . Though that’s not to say that his his successor , Jimbo Fisher is as equally to blame. If you’re known to be turning a blind eye to the malfeasance of your student athletes, then you’re in effect no better than they are, in terms of the actions that they’re being accused of !

Now the program starts afresh as it looks to make its presence felt within the ACC . As to how this will all play out over the upcoming season remains to be seen . For the ‘noles’ faithful not seeing Bowden walking up and down the sidelines up there in Tallahassee will no doubt seem very strange . But had the faculty not given Bowden free reign as to the program began to spin out of control and almost allowing him to dictate the terms under which he originally wanted to retire . Then perhaps none of this all might’ve happened. But then again who knows ?

Now the one thing that has become abundantly clear in the midst of this all. Well, it has been the way in which the NCAA has dragged its feet concerning USC (Trojans) and that of the egregious transgressions within both their basketball and football programs. And the fans and public alike, are to believe that the NCAA has the student athletes’ best interests at heart ? That’s at least three loads of horse shit to begin with ! The NCAA cares about as much of the college student athlete as a member of Hezbollah cares about an Israeli or a Jew !

Well guys, those are but a few of the stories that I touched on and have read diligently. What pieces have you come across that peeked your interests ? And what views if any, were you left with after having read those pieces ?

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

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<strong> Alan De La  Garza  </strong>  who's  more  widely known   for her  portrayal  <strong>District Attorney   <em>  Connie  Rubirosa </em>  </strong>  on  the  long  running   NBC  hit  series   <strong> "Law  &  Oder " </strong>   starring  Sam Wateron,   Linus  Roache,  S.  Epatha  Merkerson,  Anthony  Anderson   and  rounding out the  ensemble  is   Jeremy  Sisto.

Alan de La Garza , actress, who’s more widely known for her role as Asst DA ‘Connie Rubirosa’ on the long running NBC hit drama “Law & Order” . The show stars de La Garza , alongside Sam Waterson , Linus Roache, S. Epatha Merkerson , Anthony Anderson and rounding out the ensemble is Jeremy Sisto. de La Garza to my mind can skip down to her skivvies and anything less as and when she pleases. You won’t hear any complaints from me at all !

Alabama, BCS, College Football ........, Sports

Herein Lies The Rub , The BCS Is …. ?


Herein Lies The Rub , The BCS Is …. ?

Someone really needs to let me know why I’m suppose to be enamored with the college football bowl games that we’re now being festooned with. It has become something of an oxymoron to think that these Bowl Games are in the best interests of competitive collegiate football. But that is what the BCS hierarchy would have us all believe. And who am I, to question their rationale ? Oh I know , I’m one of a growing number of detractors of the system ! But let’s put it this way, they’re hardly liable to listen to the fans of the game, much less anyone else.

Bill Hancock  , the recently installed  Executive  Director  of  Bowl College Series (BCS).  Hancock  will oversee  the  operations of the BCS but  is ultimately  answerable to the  six  major  conferences that  essentially make up  the  organization.  picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo /  Rex Thompson .......
Bill Hancock , the recently installed Executive Director of Bowl College Series (BCS). Hancock will oversee the operations of the BCS but is ultimately answerable to the six major conferences that essentially make up the organization. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo / Rex Thompson .......

The six conferences that in large part makes up the BCS, are essentially the custodians of a financial behemoth who’d rather see the status quo remain as is. And why not, when one considers that the system rakes in , in excess of $ 6 billion a year. The SEC, Big 10, Big 12,ACC , PAC 10 and the Big East make the operations of KBR (Kellog Brown & Root) (a Halliburton subsidiary)and Blackwater LLC seem like positive bastions of morality and accountability. Less we forget also, the six conferences in question, as too the BCS, is registered essentially, as a charity as a way of circumventing having to pay federal taxes. And the way the BCS operates, offers absolutely no transparency whatsoever. Much like the two aforementioned government contractors. Who by last count were under investigation by federal government under the auspices of the US Justice Department, for numerous issues borne out of their operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Misappropriation of funds and several criminal charges brought against both entities.

Nick Saban (center) leads  out  his Alabama  team ('The Crimson Tide') prior  to the start  of  NCAA college football game.  Saban  as a coach will be seeking  his  second national  title , having  won  a national championship  with LSU.    picture appears courtesy  of getty images/  Rich  Costello ..................
Nick Saban (center) leads out his Alabama team ('The Crimson Tide') prior to the start of NCAA college football game. Saban as a coach will be seeking his second national title , having won a national championship with LSU. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Rich Costello ..................

Now it’s understandable that the system has its admirers as well its detractors. But from there your guess is as good as mind as to their very existence and what they represent and do. Does anyone really know ? But somehow here we are regaling over the virtues of this pseudo organization. They are about as trustworthy as La Cosa Nostra (Mafia). But then again what’s new ?

Courtesy of The Washington Post

BCS again proves its worthlessness

By John Feinstein

Let us begin today by turning to John Swofford, the commissioner of the ACC, a football conference that might — might — have one good football team. As it happens, this is Swofford’s year to be the spokesman (read: spinner) for the BCS because the six commissioners who run the so-called power conferences take two-year turns trying to defend their indefensible system.

After Sunday night’s BCS “selection show,” — which had all the suspense of the tallying of the electoral college — Swofford said this about the fact that undefeated Texas Christian and undefeated Boise State had been so graciously included in the BCS bowls — actually one BCS bowl, since they will play one another in the Fiesta Bowl.

“I think it certainly shows that there’s more access than before in terms of the BCS system,” Swofford said. “If you look back in recent years, there’s a consistency in that access that is evident and very healthy for college football.”

Gee, why does the BCS need to spend all that money on former White House flack Ari Fleischer when it has Swofford and his fellow commissioners out there to drop such words of wisdom on us?

To paraphrase another former White House press secretary, here’s what the commissioner meant to say: “Look, Congress pretty much forced us to let them [non-BCS schools] into our house, but you can be damn sure they’ll be using the back door.”

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In order to read John Feinstein’s article in its entirety just click on the link provided
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University of Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown (L) smiles as Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy (R) takes the golden hat off of the Texas Oklahoma Trophy at the conclusion of their NCAA college football game against the Oklahoma University Sooners in Dallas, Texas October 17, 2009. picture appears courtesy of  Reuters / Jessica Rinaldi ......
Texas coach, Mack Brown (left) and the team's quarterback, Colt McCoy (12) seen here at the end of a NCAA game . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Tim Sawyer ................

It’s now on to the Bowl Championship Series , a series of games set out to reflect the popularity of the collegiate football. But in no way does this determine or truly represent who eventually is the national champion in collegiate football, at the 1 A level. The national championship game will pit Alabama (13-0) of the South East Conference against Texas (13-0) of the Big 12 Conference. Alabama the newly installed number one team in the nation against the number three. Though these two teams are unbeaten , it was probably more out of serendipity than anything else that the BCS was in some way fortuitous with this final scenario. Whoop di-do , if that wasn’t a joke to begin with ! A ranking system that has a computer as part of the derivative in determining the actual ranking. Well there is voting , but that’s done by the coaches and writers who cover the sport. Did I miss something here ? Please let me know when China and the US begins to use computers as part of the democratic process , well with regard to them (computers) being able to vote. Can someone say I Robot ?

Well as much as I may well be looking forward to the big game itself, I’ll just say that I may well or may not watch. It’s not that I’m not an avowed a fan of collegiate football. But let’s just say that the game in terms of the BCS, is in dire need of restructuring . Unfortunately as it is all driven by commercialism and money. We ’ll just have to continue living with this monstrosity as determined by the game’s hierarchy and the tv broadcasters who over the years have emboldened the BCS to carry on with this outrage.

Now if you were under the impression that in any way shape or form, the BCS benefits the smaller conferences and schools within collegiate football. Then you’d be sadly mistaken, as theirs is the mantra ,…..’you’re on your own buddy’ ! And given the fact that it’s a rarity if the BCS actually recognizes the merits of a smaller conference and the contributions and competitiveness of a smaller school’s program. It is as if they’re not worthy of being part of the bigger overall picture as to the system and what it allegedly stands for. But you’d be hard pressed to find someone within the BCS not try and change things to the benefit of the smaller conferences and schools with national title ambitions. It’s essentially a ‘closed shop amongst the Big Boys’, unless you happen to gate crash the party. And even then, you’re still at a disadvantage in the ‘pecking order’ of things.

Click here…. to view the various series of Bowl Games that’ll take place leading up to the culmination of the national championship game Citi BCS National Championship game.

College Football ........, Sports

A Bedtime Story And Fairy Tale All Rolled Into One ……………


One upon a time in a place, far, far ,far away. There stood two very famous college football programs. Between them they’d won several national championships. And in-fact , they were so scary that they ran amok within collegiate football. They were very much like demons who ran wild and literally destroyed everything within their path.

Shrek and  Donkey   ..........

Shrek and Donkey ……a kid’s animated movie(“Shrek”) based on a number fairy tale characters that were well worth watching and laughing about.

But in the ensuing years something went awry as these two once esteemed college programs fell upon hard times. So much so, that they’re barely talked about nowadays. And when they are , it’s always in the past-tence. Now if you’re wondering as to which two programs , I’m indeed talking about . Then I’ll give you something of a hint with regard to their logo or mascot.

Florida  State  Seminoles  mascot.
Florida State Seminoles mascot.
 Sebastian  the Ibis , the Miami  Hurricanes' mascot.
Sebastian the Ibis, the Miami Hurricanes' mascot.

And now that these two esteemed programs have fallen upon hard times. Their effervescent and erst-while fans are of the belief that hope, is just around the corner. And that they’ll indeed rise to prominence once again. For many it can’t come quick enough. While for others they can only live in hope and pray that the impossible can happen.

As you’ve no doubt noted the programs are from the state of Florida. Where college football comes only second to …..well, nothing. As it borders upon being maniacal amongst the fans. It may well be God then family. But college football ranks right up there as to its importance.

Florida  State  football  coach   Bobby  Bowden  on the  sidelines.      picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo  ............
Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden on the sidelines. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo ............

For the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida State Seminoles these last few years have proven to be a torrid time and a woeful existence. Nonetheless, football as their fans know it continues to exist. As to what form it takes to those on the outside looking in, is anyone’s guess.

The Florida State Seminoles under their long tenured coach, Bobby Bowden , has seen its fortunes rise and then bite the dust. And while no one doubts the fervor of the coach to be in his position and to continue coaching. In essence, the game has suddenly passed him by. He no longer gets the recruits that in large part , others could only dream of. But now it’s merely scraps that’ve been left on the table, as to the merits of the program’s recruiting. It is now no longer about what you’ve done in the past. It’s more about what have you done lately ? And one can reasonably suggest that Bowden and his staff haven’t exactly been doing anything of great value at all. The program and its play has become languid , lacking imagination , creativity and above all competitiveness. And the feeling is that the only reason , Bowden remains in the position is to actually pad his stats , with regard to his tally of collegiate wins. That tally now stands at 382 wins.

And as commendable as that might seem. When you’re not in the midst of things, as to national championship aspirations. Then it just doesn’t mean anything. The program under Bowden was steeped in that tradition. From major Bowl appearances to national championships. And for the program those came in 1993 and 1999, respectively. Fast forward , to today and you’d be hard pressed to find anything that’s at all desirable with regard to the program.

Miami  Hurricanes'  coach  Randy   Shannon  on  the  sidelines  of a  game.     picture  appears   courtesy  of  cstv.com/sports/collegefootball/miami hurricanes
Miami Hurricanes' coach Randy Shannon on the sidelines of a game. picture appears courtesy of cstv.com/sports/collegefootball/miami hurricanes

For the Miami Hurricanes and their once esteemed program. Their fate as of late , has essentially mirrored the economic downturn of the country. Only in the case of the Canes , theirs has been somewhat longer. Everyone could see it coming but the so called experts merely stuck to their homespun truths, that there wasn’t really anything wrong and the tide would indeed turn. Well that tide has now become a cyclone. And the program and its players have essentially become caught in the midst of dire mediocrity and sheer ineptitude. Not unlike what we’re also witnessing from their counterparts in the guise of the ‘noles.

But then again both programs and many of their more famous alumni would have you believe that ‘…. change is just around the corner’. A far cry from those gaudy days when the Canes’ program , then under the auspices of Howard Schnellenberger , Jimmy Johnson , Dennis Erickson, Butch Davis and Larry Coker were reigning supreme. Each led the program with a certain amount of distinction. And along the way,they’ve won five national championships and produced a litany of players at the collegiate level who then went on the play in the NFL.

In light of that , it has been a long time since one can really attribute anything of merit with regard to the program. Their last national championship came in the 2001-02 season . When they won the Rose Bowl. defeating Nebraska 37-14 in what would prove to be the last of their five national championship wins.

Many have attributed the downward slide of the Hurricanes’ program. When it saw fit to leave the Big East Conference and then make their way to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) . Which could hardly be considered , to be a bastion of powerhouse football at the college level.But it may well have been done primarily to add to the luster of the conference and the financial inducements at the time. The ACC in all essence, is more widely known for its college basketball prowess, than anything achieved at the collegiate football level. And for the Canes and their coach, Randy Shannon, in his third season ,who has been entrusted to bring back to the luster to the program. It can’t be understated, that there are some very difficult times ahead for the program.

As for a former player for his alma-mater and a member of a championship winning team. Randy Shannon , though not viewed as the ideal replacement for his predecessor , Larry Coker. He does know and have the wherewithal to add some discipline and ability to the Canes’ program. But if anything it has been his overall inexperience that many have began to question. And therein lies the conundrum that’s said to be facing this program. Whereas , it was felt that Coker went away from the things that brought success for the program. The vast majority of the recruiting was done locally within the South Florida area. Long considered to be a hot-bed of footballing talent. Coker , saw fit to shy away from that mindset and at the same time made a major upheaval with regard to his coaching staff. And that was after having found success in winning the program’s last national championship.
Which goes to the old adage ‘…. if it ain’t broken, it doesn’t need fixing’. Shannon for his part has reversed the philosophy of Coker’s.

There was indeed a time when a FSU , Miami Hurricanes’ match-up actually meant something on the national football stage. Now it’s more like having to endure the removal of a bad tooth but without the assist of novacaine to brunt the pain. Something that you could well do without but for the sake of others , you’ll just grin and bare it. And on Monday , the 7th September , we’ll get to view this on a national stage as to the programs face off against each other. It’ll no longer be for the footballing supremacy within the state. As for all sense and purpose the University of Florida (Florida Gators) now rules the roost within the state of Florida. Having won two national championships in the last three years-in 2006 and 2008, respectively. All this was achieved under their coach, Urban Meyer. Which has brought about something of a new pecking order within the state.

As to the event on Monday and what can be envisaged. If it’s anything like the games in recent memory . Then we could be either in for a treat or quite possibly a great deal of tedious and uneventful play from both teams. Having alluded to the fact earlier, the competitiveness of both programs have left a great many of their most vociferous fans wandering if there’s still a need for the two teams to actually play each other. But on the fact of it , it doesn’t really tell us anything at all, as to how far either of the teams have come. They’re no longer viewed as being relevant on the national stage. And within the ACC , they’re not even considered as being amongst the better teams within the conference. That’s indeed how far both have fallen on the national stage.

Much like any fairy tale that’s often told, the fans of both programs are said to be looking for a happy ending. As to which of the two teams will prevail, your guess is as good as any. But one can only surmise that the ending of this tale has some happiness for one and some heartache for the other.
Who do you think this will apply to ? The Canes or the ‘Noles ?

College Football ........, NCAA ............

It’s For All The Marbles And Offcourse Then There’s Mryon Rolle And Tim Tebow ………


Well this  Saturday the  Florida State  Seminoles  face  their  antagonists  and  instate  rivals  the  University of Florida Gators. In  a game  that  all  but  will  signify  who  has bragging rights  to  call  themselves  the instate  champions  of college  football within  the state.    That being  said  we’ll  also be  seeing  two of the  heralded  players  within  that  state’s  much  heralded  college  football program.   They  are  Myron Rolle of  Florida  State  and  Tim  Tebow  of the  University  of Florida. 

Tim Tebow the Gators’ quarterback runs  for a first  down against  the  Citadel during  the  first half of  he  game played  in  Gainesville, Florida.  The Gators  would  go on  defeat  Citadel  70-19  in  a  lopsided win. picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/Phil  Sandlin  ………….

 

Tim Tebow we  already know as  the reigning  Heisman  Trophy  winner  and  with  Myron Rolle he’s  the  Rhodes’ scholar  who one  day  hopes  to  become  a  neurosurgeon.  What  hasn’t  escaped many who  understand the  intricacies  of  the game  is  what  this  will  mean  to both   programs  as  well  as the  players  themselves.  To say  that  they’ll end  their  careers  on  a  high  would  be  an  understatement. Albeit  that  Tebow  has yet  to  make  it  clear as to  what  his ambitions are  once  the  season  is  over.  The  one thing  for  sure  that  we  know  concering  Rolle  is  that  having graduated already  in  2 1/2 years  with  3.75 GPA and  with a  degree  in Exercise Science  and a  Masters in Public  Administration.  But it  has  been his interest  in  articulating  his  passion  for  medicine  and  helping  others  less  fortunate  than  he.  His  interests in  biochemistry   and  all  that  it  entails  shows  that this young  man  is  indeed a  very  extraordinary  human  being. And  with the aspirations  to  become a  neurosurgeon  it  can  be  said  that his  calling  is  a  profound one.   The  beckoning of the  NFL  can’t  be  far from  his  mind  but pursuant  of  that  may  well  lie  the  fact  that  Rolle himself  doesn’t  seem  to  be  overly   concerned   by the  riches  that  particular   will   reward  him with.

 

 

Florida State Seminole safety Myron Rolle is congratulated after the  Noles’ defeat of Maryland 37-3 in a game  played  in College Park, MD. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Rob Carr ……………..

 

For Rolle’s counterpart who’ll be  on  the  opposing team. In Tim Tebow  we have  a player  who it can  be said  is  having  another stellar year.  Though  on the face of  it  his  statistics  aren’t  as  eye  popping  as  last  year.  It can be said  that he’s  now  leading  the  Gators  with   even  more  assuredness  than  anyone  could’ve imagined.  And what  the  team  has been  doing as  of  late  to  their  opponents  has sent a  shiver  across the  college scene.  So much  so  that  there’s  the  belief  that  this  team  is  by  far  and a way  playing  better than  any other  college  program  at present.   In every  facet of  the  game at present they’ve  been  playing  with an exuberance  not seen  in  a team  in a long  while.   Their  confidence  now  is at  an  alltime  high  but  that’s  not to  say  that they’re  about  to  go  into this  game  thinking  that  all  they’ll  have to  do  is just  to  turn up  to intimidate  their  opponents.  Nothing  could  be  further  from  the  truth  and  one doubts  that  the  Gators’ coach  Urban Meyer would even allow  them  to  think  that  way.  The  game  singularly  would  have   tremendous  ramifications  were  they  to  lose.  National  championship   aspirations are  still  within their  grasp.   And with a game  against  Alabama  in the  offing   for  the  SEC championship, one  has  to say  that there’s  still  a  great  deal  to  play  for.

  

Tebow(15)  and  teammate  backup  quarterback  John Brantley(12) leave the field  after  the  team’s  win  over the  Citadel.  They’re congratulated  by  fans as  they  make  their  way  to  the locker  rooms.   picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/Phil  Sandlin ……………………… 

 

When  the  two  teams  step  unto  Bobby  Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium in  Tallahassee.  This  game will  mean a great deal  to  the  fans  in attendance  and  those watching  nationwide.  Both  teams are  ranked in  the  AP Top 25.   The  BCS rankings as they  now  stand leaves a  lot  to  be desired  and any slip up  by  any  of the  teams  ranked  within  the  top5  most assuredly  would  signal the death knell  as to their ambitions. And an emphatic win  by  the Gators  over  their instate  rivals  could  very well  be  the thing  that’s needed  to cement an even  greater presence amongst  the national  championship  aspirants as well as the  justification  to  the  public at large. Seemingly   playing  the  best  of  any  of  the  teams at the  upper echelons of  the  rankings.  Florida’s  ranking of #4 in  the BCS  doesn’t  on  the  face of  it  do them  any  justice.  But  for  their  loss to Ole  Miss we mightn’t  be  discussing  the   facts  and  opining  on it.  But  that’s indeed  why  the  games  are  no doubt played on the  field  and  not  in  the  minds of the  protagnosticators and  analysts.

 

 

Myron Rolle

Florida State safety  Myron Rolle is  congratulated  by Back Judge Tommy Pace having  entered the  game in the first half against Maryland. The game played in College  Park ,  Maryland  was  won 37-3 over Maryland. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Rob Carr ………………

As  for Bobby  Bowden  and his Seminoles’  team  this  may  well  be  all the  inspiration  that  they  need  to derail  the  ambitions  of  Urban  Meyer’s team.  Though  the  team  has played  with a great deal  of  gusto of late.  They’ve been  viewed as somewhat of  a disappointment  within  the ACC.  Their 8-3 over  record  though (5-3) within  conference and  sitting  atop  of the  Coastal Division. So  much  were  was expected of the team as a whole. Nor  too was the inconsistency  of  their play throughout much of  the season.  There’s  a great deal of  talent  on both  sides  of  the  ball  on  this team.  And in  Christian Ponder they’ve  a quarterback  who’s playing with a great deal  of confidence and  it’s  now beginning to  be  embraced by  his  teammates.  And  they’re feeding  of  this  with their  play, raising  it to what’d been  expected  by  Bowden himself. And for  all  of  the  coaching experience  by one of  the  grand  old  men  of  the  game it  can  be said  that for Bowden this  is a season that  has turned around  somewhat.  A bowl berth is theirs  for  the  taking should  the team  close its  schedule with  the  wins  needed. But much of  that  now  is  predicated  upon their  performance this  upcoming  Saturday in their  home stadium. 

Gators’ offensive  lineman Carl Johnson(57) celebrates  with  teammate Percy Harvin after he’s  scored a touchdown  on  an  11yd reception in the game played against the Citadel,  in Gainesville, Florida.  The Gators went  on to  win with  game in  a lopsided  fashion, winning 70-19. picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/John Raoux ……………………..

Rivalries being  what they are can either be  exciting or they  can  dampen  the  ardor of  the  fan  should  the  event  fail  to  live up  to expectations. And that if  anything is something  that I  for  one feel  won’t  be happening  this  upcoming Saturday.  With  so much  at stake  for  both  teams they’ll  be playing with a great deal  of passion  and   physicality. Both  teams it can  be  said  have  their set  of  renowned  athletes. The Gators however have  been lighting up  the  scoreboards with such propensity  that  it  has  become  downright scary  to  see  them  play  with  a full head of  steam.  

Seminoles’ quarterback Christian Ponder(7) splits Maryland  defenders Jeff Allen and Dave Philistin  to score a touchdown during the  second half of the  game played in College Park,Md.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Rob Carr …………..

The Seminoles for their part  know that  they’ll have to  raise  the level of their  play if  they’re to  have  a  remote  chance  winning  the  game.  Such  has been the ferocity of  this  rivalry  at times that  it  has  to  be said  that  without  these two  teams  college  football within  the state  as  of  late would  be  nothing  more than afterthought.  Yes  Florida’s most recent  championship was in  2006 .  And with the  Seminoles  now appraoching  on almost a decade since  their  last win  of  national  championship.  The woes  of within  the  state  though  not  acute  it has  to  be said  that  if  there’s  not the  presence  of  at least  either Florida, Florida  State  or  Miami on the  national landscape when  it  comes to the  college  game.  There  isn’t  as such  any  veracity  to  the  game  overall. 


Florida State quarterback  Christian  Ponder  is  sacked  by  the  Terrapins’ defense  during  a game  played in  College Pk, Maryland.  The  Seminoles  would  go on  to  defeat the  Maryland Terrapins  37-3. picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/Rob Carr  ………………….

As the season slowly  winds  down  to  its  culmination, it  can  be said  as  to  the  vagaries   therein.  We’re all unsure  as to  what’ll  happen  as to the  fortunes  of  a  number  of  teams.  But  for  many  of  them  their  fates  will  lie in their  own  hands.  And for  others it’ll  lie  in  the  hands  of  the  BCS committee  and  the computer geeks who’ll  be  playing  with the  numbers   in deciding  who’s worthy of  a BCS Bowl Berth  and  who’s not.  Technology for all of its  advances  and  we can’t yet   to  decide  on a  national  champion  in athletic  endeavor . That  it may  well  come  down  to the  crunching of  numbers  when  it’s  all  said  and done as to  who’ll be  a  participant in the  game itself.    

tophatal ………..