Niblets for August 2010

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Best comment of the month:

From Tena

I’m not a baseball fan, but this whole episode stinks to the high heavens. WHY in God’s name is congress (A group of liars if there ever was one) WASTING their valuable time on a baseball player who allegedly lied about taking drugs that may even kill him someday. The country is in the grip of a horrible mess caused by the inattention of politicians for the last 30 years. That boil is getting ready to burst,and here we have Congress trying to “look busy”. It’s really disgusting. It’s impossible for Congress to hold anyone in contempt, because that is the feeling that the entire country has -against THEM!…..

You must also become a reader of because I made EXACTLY the same argument. Well done.

Updates on previous columns:

LeBron, Gilbert, Miami and Cleveland LeBron came back to Cleveland for a bike fund raiser. He was roundly booed and expressed disgust that the city wanted to be paid to provide police protection for the riders. LeBron, if you though that was a bad welcome, wait till the Beach Boys come to play.

The NFL, NFLPA, and an 18 game season. If you watched any of the preseason games you saw a lot of fans wearing empty seat costumes. In most games it looked like the average attendance was around 20% of capacity. I have not found league published attendance figures but it had to be very low. That makes it even more likely that we will see the 18 game regular season in 2011 or if a lockout occurs 2012. The injuries that have continued to pile up make the players even less likely to accept 18 games without a major fight.

Fantasy Football Sleepers, handcuffs and avoids in the NFC WR Bryant DA is expected to be the 3rd WR game 1 for the Boys. Move him up on your fantasy draft lists.

As I forecast months ago, AZ QB Leinart is likely not to be the starter. I suggest you take him off your list altogether. QB Anderson might be a bye week fill in available late in the draft.

Texan RB Tate is on IR.

Bengal TE Gresham has convinced me he is the real deal. Add him to your list.

See the comment about Hawk WR Houshmandzadeh below.

Raider RB Bush hurt his thumb so badly it required surgery. He will be out 4 to 6 weeks.

Niblets fresh from the cob:

Browns RB Hardesty on IR He has a history of injury and blew out his left anterior cruciate ligament and has been put on IR. Browns fans can just hope this is not a sign he will often have injuries.

Seahawk WR Houshmandzadeh could be traded or cut. This has to be a HC Carroll issue. Wherever he goes he should be productive. The uncertainty will move him down your draft chart. Carroll wants to prove that WR Mike Williams, the former 1st round pick of the Lions and USC player, is not a bust. Look for several teams to be interested because he is a solid WR and the Hawks will have to pick up the big guarantee given to Housh by the previous administration.

Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension cut to 4 games. We predicted this weeks ago. Meanwhile, one candidate to replace him, QB Leftwtch, went down in preseason game 4. One report from the team said he will but out with a knee sprain 2 to 4 weeks. But his agent’s company said he tore his MCL and will miss the season.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,Fantasy Football,Fantasy draft,Fantasy draft notes,sleepers,LeBron,James,NFLPA,DeMaurice Smith,Browns,Texans,Bengals,Raiders,Cardinals,Bush,Tate,Leinart,Houshmandzadeh,Roethlisberger,steelers

There is a good deal of fallout from the USC debacle.

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During the cold war, the USSR had a department of Revisionist History. When a leader was overthrown he would be removed from history like he never existed. There just is not many job opportunities for a used dictator. The same thing is going on at USC.

Every trace of both Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo are being removed from the school. Pictures are coming down and press books are being updated. The USC President-Elect C. L. Max Nikias announced that the school’s Heisman Trophy for Reggie Bush would be returned. The previous was a political announcement intended to win favor with the NCAA as USC appeals the two year suspension from post season play. Don’t expect that will win the school much favor.

USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett was fired and former USC QB and current Notre Dame football color guy Pat Haden was named to replace him. Former Head Coach Pete Carroll already saw the writing on the wall and slipped out of town in the middle of the night for points north. He ended up getting the Seahawk job.

But the fallout goes a lot further than that. According to a source that would not speak on the record at the NCAA several other schools are now being looked at for similar violations. The rumor is that the list include North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama. The problem with these schools resulted from a party at South Beach in Miami. The NCAA is looking into who paid for the airfare, lodging and other costs associated with the party. Several sports agents were there and the suspicion is that they paid for the trips. One player that was identified is Bama DL Marcel Dareus. Head Coach Nick Saban told ESPN “Our [university] compliance people are looking into it.”

The University of Florida is also being looked at. That investigation involves ex-Florida OC Maurkice Pouncey and a charge that he took $100,000 from someone affiliated in an agent between the SEC Conference Championship game and the bowl win over Cincy.

The NCAA has stumbled around like a drunk walking up a down escalator. It took more than 4 years to finally issue a decision about Bush. It has to do better and get to an answer faster. The result is that the penalty is paid by people that were in junior high when the violation took place. That is not fair.

The NCAA has been put in an untenable situation by the NBA requiring players to have been out of high school for a year before becoming eligible for the rookie draft. The one and done just invites problems. The OJ Mayo case is only the shavings off the tip of the ice berg. There are certainly many other such problems in just the 2 years that one and done has been in effect.

But the real problem is the agents. There are way too many dollars to be made by signing a potential 1st round pick. There has been no penalty against the agents that have provided the money.

The NCAA, the players’ associations and the professional leagues are going to have to work together to solve that problem. The leagues are going to have to agree to suspend an agent for a period of time for the first violation of NCAA rules. A second should permanently ban the agent from the business and suspend the agency for which he works for a period of time as well. A third violation within a sports agency should result in the ban of that agency ownership from ever being certified again.

That would be a proposal that the NCAA should make. If the professional groups refuse to go alone, the NCAA should restrict access of pro scouts and coaches to the member schools. While that won’t guarantee the problem would never occur again, it would put the penalty where it belongs–on the agent.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NCAA,College football,investigation,USC,Florida. North Carolina,South Carolina,Alabama,Agents,Bush,Mayo

A tale of two NCAA Violations.

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Both the Michigan and the USC football programs have been sited by the NCAA and are under investigation. However, that is where the similarity stops.


The second most impressive fact about the Michigan football program is that it has the most wins in NCAA history. The most impressive fact is that the Michigan program has never before been sited for a violation. This time they were investigated for having practices during and before the regular season that exceeded the permitted length.

Coach Rich Rodriguez was ratted out by a couple of his former players. They didn’t like the practices but more than that they didn’t like the system that Rodriguez bought from West Virginia. The biggest problem for the program is not the NCAA but the fact that the Michigan faithful don’t like Rodriguez or his system much either.

Rodriguez changed the system from the Big 10 traditional run first and pocket passing to the unique quarterback-centric run and shoot style. That has cost him top recruits by the former staff including now Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett who will compete for the top QB in the 2011 NFL Draft. Michigan fans that had seen their team lose year after year to “that team down south” (Ohio State) were thrilled when Mallett signed to play for the Blue. The fans demanded that Coach Carr be fired after the Blue lost to Appalachian State 34-32 on Sept. 1 2007. Those same fans were furious when Mallett left and sat out in 2008 to be able to play for another BCS school. He knew he would never shine in the Rodriguez scheme.

Rodriguez didn’t have a Michigan pedigree never having coached or played for the team. Strike 1.

No change in the basic system in football has an immediate improvement in the bottom line–the win and loss record. In his first 2 seasons, Rodriguez was 8-16. That was strike 2.

And now despite the insignificant nature of the NCAA violation, it may well become the 3rd and final strike. As trivial as this violation is, it might be the excuse to fire Rodriguez.


In total contrast to Michigan, USC is the champion of the R E A L L Y B I G NCAA violation. If you need any evidence about how serious the list of infractions at USC are, just consider that Coach Pete Carroll beat feet out of town. He left a 4M salary despite 2 national championships, a 34 game winning streak, 3 Heisman Trophy winners, 6 BcS bowl wins, 33 straight weeks as #1 in the AP, and a total record of 97-19. USC hired Tennessee HC Lane Kiffin who was a walking talking violation himself.

USC has now had 6 “substantial” violations since 1953 when the NCAA began tracking school’s records. That also makes them #1 but this list is not so prestigious.

The “latest” problem, if you can call something that started in 2006 recent, is the parents of Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush getting the rent of a house and other gifts totally a reported 280K. A federal investigation of extortion claims by Bush against a “want to be” sports agent resulted in the discovery tapes of conversations about the payments and gifts. There are also allegations that 2009 star RB Joe McKnight received illegal payments and gifts. The NCAA has yet to decide the guilt or penalty if any for the case.

The violation bug must be contagious because the basketball team caught it. Prize recruit O.J. Mayo was in trouble more than he was not. The NCAA investigated a claim by Yahoo Sports that Mayo received money and gifts in the amount of 200K from a sports agent. USC notified the NCAA that it was imposing sanctions on itself and nothing else resulted.

What were the sanctions? The loss of 1 scholarship for 2 years, the vacating of the wins in 2007-08 (when Mayo played) and a reduction in recruiting days and number of coaches that can recruit for 2 seasons. That is a very light penalty.

There is no question that the violations of USC far outstrip the single violation of Michigan. In addition USC has had a history of academic issues, money to recruits and other problems including arrests of players. And yet the NCAA seems to give USC a pass for their problems and I can not explain why.

When in doubt, follow the money. The problem with the NCAA is they are too interested in money and not interested enough in the welfare of their players and basic fairness of the game.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NCAA,NCAA Football,USC,Bush,Mayo,Michigan,Rodriguez,Mallett,Carr,violations,McKnight,Yahoo Sports,NCAA Investigations

USC Coach is forced out due to bad O.J.

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The latest victim of the NBA one and done policy for NBA rookies is Tim Floyd, the former coach of the USC basketball team. The NCAA is more than a little miffed that former one year wonder O.J. Mayo might have gotten free NBA tickets. They were even more upset about rumors that Mayo may have gotten both cash and cloths that may have amounted to thousands of dollars.

But what forced Floyd out of town was a rumor that Mayo had someone else take his SAT exam. Frankly, USC threw Floyd under the team bus even though the coach led the team to 3 straight NCAA tournaments.

The reason that Floyd ended up with political tire tracks across his chest is that the school’s beloved and very profitable football program is currently being scrutinized for previous allegations involving Reggie Bush. USC loves its basketball but not nearly as much as its football.

USC has some major issues. It reminds me of an interview with former Oklahoma LB Brian Bosworth. When asked how he liked pro ball he responded it was OK but the cut in pay was hard to take. The comment was a joke but there are major problems with college athletics.

The biggest problem is money—there is WAY too much of it floating around. The money has led to an NCAA rule book that makes the IRS rule book look like a pamphlet. But the NFL and NBA are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem.

That brings us to the NBA rule that a player must be one year out of high school before they can be drafted. It causes players that have 0 interest in college to fake it for one quarter. They don’t have to attend class in the second quarter because they will be out of school before the grades come back.

The alternative to a single year at college is a trip to Europe to play. It is both difficult and dangerous. The league has to eliminate the policy. It has the developmental league for players that are not good enough to be drafted. It needs to expand that program to include these players. Right now, there are not enough teams to allow each franchise to have their own. The league has decided that it will no longer allow teams to share developmental rosters.

It is past time for both the NCAA and the NBA to fix what they have broken. Until they do, other coaches will have political tire tracks across their chests just like Floyd.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NBA,NBA Draft,USC,COLLEGE BASKETBALL,COLLEGE FOOTBALL,NBA Development League,NCAA,Mayo,Floyd,Bush,Oklahoma, Bosworth

NFL prepares for free agency and some cuts go deep.

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Fryingpan Sports

NFL prepares for free agency and some cuts go deep.

By Bill Smith

Franchise Tags


The Giants had to put the franchise tag on RB Brandon Jacobs. It was a good move because RB Ahmad Bradshaw is in jail in Virginia from a probation violation and the top backup to Jacobs, Derrick Ward is a free agent as well. The Giants front office screwed up by allowing both top RBs to become FA in the same year. It will cost them because Jacobs will be the average of the top 5 RB salaries which should be around 7.5 million dollars.

It will also cost them to resign Ward. He fired his agent and hired Drew Rosenhaus who is famous for getting the max for his players. When the agent is wearing a mask and carrying a gun, you know the deal is going to be costly.


The Ravens have franchised DELB Terrell Suggs. That means that Ray Lewis will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA). Lewis has already said that while he would like to continue to play in Baltimore he would not give the team a “home town discount.” If Lewis moves to another team it will take a couple of years for the D to get back to where it was in 08. It is well documented that Lewis is the heart and soul of the D but there is more to the issue. He is also the brains and the enforcer.

It is the enforcer role that the D will miss most. When a Raven is not playing up to expectations in either a game or practice, it is Lewis that gets on him and challenges him to change gears. A team like the Vikings, Redskins, Dolphins or Cowboys would benefit greatly from signing Lewis. Each team has an above average D lineup but each has not produced on the field up to expectations. Lewis would straighten out the kinks in the D and get them producing.


The Bungles are at it again. Instead of franchising their one offensive weapon WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, they franchised their kicker. Now it looks like the Bengals will be without both starting WRs because Chad Johnson is also rumored to be on his way out. The Bungles will probably pick up a WR or two in the 09 Draft. While PK Shayne Graham is valuable, the punter Kyle Larson is on the field more than Graham. Mikey Brown, this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!


New Orleans cut RB Deuce McAllister. If they think that Reggie Bush can carry the load of 250+ carries, they are wrong. Bush will be on IR by the 4th game.

The Jaguars released RB Fred Taylor after 11 years of service. Taylor was disappointed but expected the news. Taylor is 33. Expect the Jags to sign RB Maurice Jones-Drew to an 8 million a year deal. Former FB Greg Jones will be the backup.

The Buccaneers will not try to resign FA QB Jeff Garcia who started for them for the last 3 years. The team signed Luke McCown to a 2 year contract. That is not good news for a very good defense that is aging. The team is capable of winning now and McCown is not capable of managing the offense to wins at this level.

The Ravens cut about 8 mil off their payroll by releasing CB Chris McAlister. McAlister has been one of the top CBs in the league when he was healthy. Unfortunately that was not very often. McAlister will only be 32 by the start of the 09 season and should be able to find work.

The Broncos released DL Dewayne Robertson on Monday, Feb. 16. Robertson was one of the huge mistakes in FA signings that cost those involved their jobs. He was scheduled to make 16 million this season. That would have been about 4 mill per sack.

The Broncos also released DL John Engelberger, LB Niko Koutouvides, SS Marquand Manuel, and LB Jamie Winborn from a D that couldn’t buy its way off the field.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

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