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.

Michigan

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.

USC

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ 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

Who stood out at the East West Shrine game?

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For this article I ignored the potential draft position of the players and rated their performance on the field on game day. Let me say up front that I do not agree with the “experts” that watch the practices and leave on game day. In my years of coaching, I have seen a lot of guys that looked like Tarzan in practice but when the pressure was on in a game they played like Jane.

Blair White WR Michigan State 14 points (4th round)

Blair gets open, has very good hands, and can adjust to bad balls (because he has had so much experience with bad QBs). He was a 4th or 5th projection before the EW game but with a very solid game he has moved into the 4th. The one question about him is speed. He is projected to run a 4.52. At 6-1 200 lbs, that is just OK. If he gets under 4.5 he could get into the 3rd.

Rahim Alem DE Louisiana State 13 pts (3rd)

Alem is 6-3 and 262. That is too light for a starting DE in the pros. He doesn’t really look like he can put on another 30 pounds and keep his speed. He is expected to run a 4.7 40 and depends on that speed to be effective. He could be a pass rush specialist at the next level. He had 2 hurries and caused an interception in the game. He needs work to develop something other than a one move outside rush.

Freddie Barnes WR Bowling Green State 13 pts (5th)

Barnes is one of my favorite value picks. He is only 6′ and 206 and runs a slow 4.58. But he is the prototype slot receiver. Ask Tom Brady how valuable WR Welker is to his offense! Barnes is a high motor guy that will block for the run, get open on short routes, catch the ball in a crowd and will be a pain to any D trying to cover him. He was one of the few weapons at BG and still drove Ds nuts.

James Ruffin DE Northern Iowa 13 pts (5th)

Ruffin is another too light DE. But at 6-4 he has the ability to add bulk and be a starting DE. He played really well and got a hurry and a sack. He also caused a penalty and got a couple of other pass rushes. He is not good at anchoring against the run but more bulk will help. He could be a value pick in the 5th and could go higher if he puts on some good weight and still runs a 4.75-4.8 40.

O’Brien Schofield OB Wisconsin 10 pts (3rd prior to injury)

Schofield reportedly tore his ACL which is a real shame. He had never played LB until the EW game but picked up the position very quickly. He got an interception, had the speed to get wide to stretch out the run, and covered receivers well. Given the injury, he will fall to the 7th round or may not be drafted. He will be an outstanding value for someone but not until 2011.

Andrew Quarless TE Penn State 9pts (6th)

This is a very deep TE draft. As a result, Quarless may drop to the 6th. He is a decent blocker but a good receiver. He gets open, and had 3 nice catches in the game including a TD. He is 6-5 248 and should be able to run a 4.7 40. He will be a nice 2nd TE and does well on special teams.

Doug Worthington DT Ohio State 9pts (7th)

Worthington was a mainstay of the Buckeye D. He had a solid EW game as well. He was doubled a number of times, got half a sack in my grading, and was solid in rushing the passer. He is decent against the run but at 275 could add some weight to get better.

Lindsey Witten DE Connecticut 8pts (4th)

Witten was one of the higher rated players at the EW game. But he is another of the underweight DEs in college. At 264 he needs weight to be a potential starter. But he uses his speed (4.7) to get to the QB. He may not be able to add the weight and keep the speed. At 6-4 he could be a LB conversion as well.

Jamar Wall CB Texas Tech 8pts (5th)

Wall will give you a great play then screw up badly. He scored 14 points with 3 excellent pass breakups but lost points with bad coverage and a penalty. At 5-10 with 4.5 speed, he is going to have to improve his coverage skills to make a team. He will contribute on special teams but will be a risk to draft even in the 5th round.

Reggie Carter IB UCLA 8pts (5th/6th)

Carter is a high motor guy with good instincts and the ability to stop the run. At 243 he will likely end up outside and should be OK there if he runs the 4.7 that he is expected to do at the Combine. He covers receivers fairly well and can contribute on special teams.

Alric Arnett WR West Virginia 8pts (6th)

Drafting a WR from a running team is always a little risky. But Arnett may be the exception. He has decent speed (4.49) good hands and can catch the bad pass. The question is can he get open regularly? He looked good in the game.

Greg Hardy DE Mississippi 8pts (1st or 2nd)

Hardy led the SEC in sacks and came into the game with a low 1st early 2nd round evaluation. I was not that impressed in this game. He played a lot better against Florida and Georgia. He got a sack, and had 2 other nice plays but allowed himself to get caught up in the wash too often against the run. He is an outstanding athlete but didn’t make enough plays in the game. He is going to have to add some weight to be a regular. But that could hurt his speed. At an expected 4.58 in the 40, he need his speed. He too may be a LB conversion prospect but taking a conversion that high is a huge risk.

Stevenson Sylvester OB Utah 8pts (FA)

Sylvester really popped early then disappeared. He attacks the run with great instincts, but he is too small and too slow but showed a great motor early. I have not yet decided how I feel about him but I will let you know when I get deeper into player evaluation.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl draft,projected draft choices,East West Shrine Game,All star game,College Football,Michigan State,Louisiana State,Bowling Green,Northern Iowa,Wisconsin,Penn State,Ohio State,UConn,Texas Tech,UCLA,West Virginia,Mississippi,Utah

What to look for in post 1/1 Bowl games.

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FIESTA BOWL #6 Boise St 13-0 #4 TCU 12-0

Most people think this game is all about the O. Look for the D to dominate. TCU is the top D in the country. Boise is #15. Both teams hoped they would be matched against a “major” power. Frankly, no major power wanted to play them. That is why they have such trouble trying to get games against big name teams. Oregon found that out when they played BS.

TCU is the better team but the experience that Boise has in BcS games gives them a slight advantage.

This should be the most fun game to watch of the bowl season.

ORANGE BOWL #10 Iowa 10-2 #9 Georgia Tech 11-2

Iowa’s two losses came without their starting QB Stanzi. He is back after being injured and now is ready to help the Big 10 get a positive bowl record. Just his presents will help along with RB Robinson. The two have been the keys to the Iowa O. Watch the Iowa OTs Bulaga (Jr) and Calloway (2nd round). TE Moeaki is a 3rd round talent. He is an outstanding blocker with just enough speed to threaten the deep middle.

On D, Iowa is big and physical. They will have to hold their positions to combat the option. LBs Angerer and Edds should both be picked in the late 3rd or early 4th.

GT has the second leading rushing attack in the country. When they have been able to get out front and continue to run the ball, they are unbeatable. The key to stopping the Jackets is to put them in 3rd and long often. They do not have the passing attack to come back from a major deficit. GT runs the option which is something that Iowa has not seen this year. Watch RB Dwyer. He is the key runner for Tech and is a load. QB Nesbitt is not a high percentage passer but can be effective when he wants to throw rather than when he has to.

The line is GT by 5 but I expect Iowa to steal a win.

GMAC BOWL Cent Michigan 11-2 Troy 9-3

My question is how did this game get pushed past Christmas? The games after 1/1 should be big matchups. CM QB LeFevour (3rd or 4th) may be the next big name to come out of the MAC. He has thrown 27 TDs with only 6 picks.

Troy has its own pro prospect in QB Brown. Brown has a better arm but LeFevour has more pub. The best bet here is the Over at 61. CM is a slight favorite but don’t bet on it.

National Championship game—Tomorrow.

Around the NFL Thursday

What to look for in the Wild Card round Friday

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: BCS,BCS Bowls,bowl preview,NFL Draft,College Football,Orange Bowl,Iowa,Georgia Tech,Fiesta Bowl,TCU,Boise St,GMAC Bowl,Central Michigan,Troy,National Championship game,NFL Wild Card round

What to look for in the Saturday January 2nd bowl games.

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PAPAJOHNS.com BOWL South Carolina 7-5 Connecticut 7-5

Despite losing a key player to tragedy and being out-manned regularly, UConn has played a handful of ranked teams close only to lose heartbreaking game after game. Starting CB Jasper Howard was murdered on Oct. 18th. The team carries his memory and his jersey as a rally flag. The heart and hard work was rewarded with an overtime win over Notre Dame followed by a couple of wins to end the season.

UConn’s O scores 31 points per game and is fairly balanced between the run and the pass. The running tandem of Todman and Dixon provide a good ground attack despite not having even an average O line. QB Endres took over half way through the year and has done fairly well completing 64% with 6 TDs and 4 picks. His favorite target is WR Easley (5th round). The D has gotten better over the year but still is young. It is led by DE Witten (4th) and FS Vaughn (5th).

The Ol’ Ball Coach Spurrier still throws the ball all over the place. “Running backs, we don’t need no stinkin’ running backs” seems to be the game plan for SC. QB Garcia has a rating of 124.5 with 2733 yards and 17 TDs. He has had 394 attempts while the top 2 running backs had a total of 211 carries.

The SC D has been very erratic. They allowed 41 points to a bad Georgia O and then held a highly rated offense of #4 Mississippi to just 10. The D is led by OB Norwood (late 2nd) and SS Stewart (6th).

While UConn has won 3 straight, SC has lost 3 of their last 4. SC is a 5 point favorite but I doubt they will win that big. This could be another upset.

COTTON BOWL #19 Oklahoma St. 9-3 Mississippi 8-4

Ole Miss QB Snead needs to have a good game to impress NFL scouts. He came into the season as a top QB draft prospect but has fallen to the point he would be better off to stay for his senior year. He has completed only 54% with 20 TDs and 17 picks. RB McCluster (3rd) is just 5-7 169 and will have to play WR in the NFL. WR Hodge (6th) and G Jerry (5th) are also prospects on the Rebel O.

The Rebel D has been inconsistent. They held the high powered O of Arkansas to 17 then let a below average O of Miss St. score 41. DE Hardy (1st or high 2nd) is the highest rated player on the team but FS Lewis should be a late round pick.

Oklahoma St. had a disappointing season as well. They were expected to compete for the Big 12 South title but lost to Houston in the pre-league schedule then had lopsided losses to Texas and Oklahoma. QB Robinson is a 3 year starter but had a less than expected senior year. He had a passer rating of 135 but that was down from 149 in 07 and 167 in 08. He is a late round prospect. The O line is led by top OT prospect Okung (early 1st) and G Lewis (6th). RB Tolson (6th) averaged 5.4 with 11 TDs.

The OSU D features CB Cox (2nd) and safeties Sexton and Antoine who are marginal prospects in the 7th round.

Mississippi is a 3 point favorite but expect OSU to win in an upset.

LIBERTY BOWL East Carolina 9-4 Arkansas 7-5

Hog QB Mallett led the team to the 10th best passing game in division 1. He threw for 3425 with 29 TDs and just 7 picks. His top receiver Childs had only 45 catches. Mallett spreads the ball around. G Petrus (4th) heads up his protection.

The Hog D is horrible. It allowed 33 points to LSU in their overtime loss. Only DT Sheppard has a chance to be drafted from that group.

EC’s D will challenge Mallett. It is led by DE Wilson (3rd), DT Ross (7th) and S Eskridge (6th). The D has played very well this year and seem to be getting better each week. The O is led by RB Lindsey. Most experts don’t believe he is a pro prospect but at 5-10 200 he is big enough. Behind an average line he averaged 5 per carry. I like his toughness.

The line is Hogs by 8 but I don’t think so. Take the points and EC may win outright.

ALAMO BOWL Michigan State 6-6 Texas Tech 8-4

This game will be ugly quickly. MSU had a horrible pass D even before the suspensions of several starters on D. TT G Carter (5th) and T Winn (fa) will protect QB Potts. He will be throwing the ball without concern for the MSU d. TT is an 8 point favorite. MSU will be very lucky to keep it that close.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Bowl games,NCAA Football,NFL Draft,PAPAJOHNS BOWL,South Carolina,Connecticut,COTTON BOWL,Oklahoma St.,Mississippi,LIBERTY BOWL,East Carolina,Arkansas,Mallett,ALAMO BOWL,Michigan State,Texas Tech,suspensions

Some Christmas wishes in the Sports world.

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Cowboy Coach Phillips—Some wins after Turkey Day. The Boys haven’t done very well in December. JJ told the Boys faithful that if Phillips doesn’t win in the playoffs, he will be history. Phillips needs some help selling his house ’cause that ain’t happening.

Browns coach Mangenous—One more really silly owner to bail his career out again. Holmgren is “Football Czar of the Month” in Cleveland. There is little chance that Mangini will keep his job past 4:01 PM Sunday January 3. He got the current gig just after getting fired in New York. He needs another very gullible owner.

Buc Coach Morris—A copy of The Idiot’s Guide to Pro Football. Morris is badly over his head in Tampa. He was not even qualified to be OC let alone HC. With the team 1-forever, he needs to learn the game a lot more quickly to keep his job for next year.

Saints’ DC Greg Williams—A head coaching job in the NFL. Williams never got a decent shot in Buffalo and has proven with both the Redskins and Saints that he is ready for a top job. With the number of teams that will be looking for new top guys after this year, he should get a chance.

Former Browns’ Coach Crennel—Renewal of the Coors beer commercials because he isn’t likely to get another job in the NFL. Crennel is too nice a guy to be effective as a head man. He has only had success only in a highly disciplined situation. He needs the commercials because he needs work even though he is still being paid by the Browns.

Ex ND Coach Weis—A Christmas Card from Holmgren. Weis’ best shot at an OC spot is with the Browns to help QB Quinn develop. They were very close in ND and if anyone can turn Quinn’s career around, Weis believes he is the one.

Ohio State Coach Tressel—A win in the Rose Bowl. The Big 10 has a bad record in bowl games with OSU at the bottom of the list. Having suspended several players, his chances are less this year than most. Another couple of losses in the post season and Tress may find out that beating Michigan may not be enough to keep his job.

Florida Football Coach Urban Meyer—A Tebow clone at QB. After winning 2 BcS Championships in 4 years, Florida will likely take a step back next season. They lose their star QB and most of the D this year. Given the development of the Bama team as well as a couple of other SEC teams, it will be very hard for them to get back to the national championship game.

For College Football fans everywhere–A real playoff.  We will not get a playoff until the big contributors to college programs tell the pinhead presidents “NO MORE MONEY UNTIL YOU SUPPORT A REAL PLAYOFF!” If you wonder what it will take, follow the money.

The Chicago Cubs—Some pitching and a shot at the World Series. It’s been over 100 years since Cubbie fans had a chance to say something other than “wait ’til next year.” Enough of that, let’s see some playoff baseball.

Cleveland Cavs–Some of the magic from last year but in the 2010 playoffs.  O’Neil has been OK but the team has not come together like they did last year.  They need to regain the chemistry they had last year but extend that in the playoffs.

Most of all—A very Merry Christmas to all of you. Thank you for taking the time to read this site. If you have any suggestions for more gifts for sports teams, let me know.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,Cowboys,Playoffs,MLB Baseball,Browns,Buccaneers,Morris,Phillips,Saints,Williams,Crennel,Holmgren,Weis,Tressel,Ohio State,Notre Dame,Collegel Football,NFL Draft,Florida,Tebow,Cubs,NBA Basketball,Cavilers,Alabama,SEC,Big 10,Rose Bowl,bowl games,BCS,BCS Championship game

What did we learn from this week in college football?

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football

Goodbye Notre Dame? Not so fast my friend.

The fans are ready to move on to a new coach. It even looks like the team is ready for a new leader but neither of them matter. The only people that matter are in the administration of the school.

Far too often pinhead administrators want to prove to the fans who is the boss. The Ohio State Athletic Director was hearing demands for Coach John Cooper to be fired in part because he was beaten like a nail by hammer Michigan. Instead, he gave Cooper a significant extension. The following year both the AD and Cooper were history. But the Buckeyes still had to pay off the contract. It was the gift that keeps on giving.

Don’t bet the house that coach Weis is gone. ND doesn’t like paying ex-coaches. There is no question that the team needs a new direction and that needs to be more than just a change in the coaching staff.

The two previous ND coaches won 58% of their games. Prior to the loss Saturday, Weiss had a winning percentage of 58. That can not be a coincidence. Based on the Sporting News top 25 recruits ND has a commitment from 1 and shot at 3 others. That will help but not much. ND is not going to be a BcS candidate for the big game any time soon.

The problem is a fan base that has the expectation of a national championship run every year for a team that will at best be moderately reliant a couple of times a decade. There are other teams in the north that are now in the second tier of college powers. Unless Global Warming makes the deep south unbearable, colleges north of the Mason-Dixon line will be second class citizens for the foreseeable future.

Michigan not Rodriguez friendly. Rodriguez is not very Michigan friendly either.

Coach Rich Rodriguez has not made many friends at Michigan. He got off on the wrong foot by not committing the Blue history to memory. He further irritated Blue fans by turning his back on Michigan stars of the past. He also brought a new system that 2007 QB of the future Ryan Mallett wanted no part of. As a result, Mallett left the team for new digs in Arkansas.

If you are winning Big 10 titles and BcS bowl games you can get away with more than a little arrogance. When you struggling to win enough games to get an invitation to the Tidy Bowl in Michawalka Minnesota you had better be sucking up to the power brokers.

Rodriguez faced an extra challenge bringing his wide open O and 3-3-5 D to the ultra conservative Michigan program. He needed a run and shoot type QB similar to White that he had in WV. He also needed lighter more athletic O and D linemen. The cupboard was bare when he got there and there wasn’t any of the things that fit his system. But again due to arrogance, he refused to change his system and implemented it with what he had. When the Michigan HC is advertising for walk-ons it is not going to be a good year.

After a 3-9 result in 2008 a 5-7 2009 is not good enough. The fans are screaming for his firing. But for the fans there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the AD has said that Rodriguez will be back next year. The good news is that the AD will not be around then because he is retiring.

I doubt that he will be fired this off season. But with a new AD coming in, it is not out of the question. He has tried to smooth things over with the key donors to the program but kissing up to contributors is not his style. He may last another year but will be gone for sure after that and may not be part of a trip to OSU next November.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Notre Dame,NCAA Football,BCS,BCS CHAmpionship,BCS Bowl,Weis,Rodriguez,Michigan,Ohio State,Cooper

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