The facts of life.

Alabama became the first team since 2004 (USC) to be ranked number one in the preseason poll and win the national championship. That’s thirteen years. Of course, they didn’t win or even play in their conference championship and came within a score by Wisconsin of staying home. In the end, they squeaked in at number four and then defeated Clemson and Georgia. With just four teams in the College Football Playoff, I continue to embrace the precondition that to qualify, you must win your conference championship. That creates an additional game against a top ranked team and Alabama did dodge that additional challenge. That’s why I continue and will continue to reiterate how problematic it is that Notre Dame never plays a thirteenth game schedule against a top ranked team because they are an independent. Those are the rules we play by, so my voice remains strong but, in the minority, —for now.

While I’m at it, I have also previously criticized the SEC for playing just eight conference games, but I cannot give the ACC a free pass for playing the same amount either. They’re just following the model the SEC created. The problem for the league is that except for Clemson, the perception out there is that the quality of their members is not rated as high as that in the SEC. However, the point is different conferences and different teams play by different rules. Is that even logical?

The rich got richer this week. That’s right. Alabama and Georgia, the two teams who played in the national championship last year, just picked up blue chip players in linebacker of Ale Kaho of Washington and now of the Tide while Cal wide receiver Demetris Robertson is now a Bulldog. Usually, these players would have to sit out a season under ordinary circumstances but the amazing thing here is they both received a waiver from the NCAA and will be eligible to play right away.
Bama lost many players at linebacker to graduation and injury and they just checked out the waiver wire, also known as the transfer route. Presto! The transfer is eligible to play immediately. Georgia followed suit. These are players, when healthy, can make a difference. They are underclassman, so they needed the NCAA to grant the waiver and they did just that a full three weeks before the season starts. Wow, how lucky for everyone. You see, there is no method to the NCAA’s madness; each case is reviewed individually, and they decide on the player’s eligibility. It just took about eighteen days when usually these cases can take months.

Want to know a great rivalry most of you outside of New England probably never heard of? Just a little story of the haves and have nots. The College of Holy Cross and Boston College started playing football in 1896. The schools are separated by just 41 miles and played each other every year until 1986. It was a competitive game until the late 1960s when BC began to dominate. The Crusaders upset the Eagles in 1973 and ’74 and the series ended in 1986 because of one thing. Money. The Eagles had decided they wanted to compete with the big guys while Holy Cross decided it had more in common with the Ivy and Patriot League schools like Harvard, Lehigh, Lafayette, and Colgate. Great schools known for their academics not their football teams. The games simply were no longer competitive. Eventually, BC landed in the ACC where they have seen the size of Alumni Stadium increased twice to 40,000, built a new basketball arena and regularly receive their share of massive profits from the ACC.
Holy Cross, which years ago was offered membership in the original Big East and declined, still plays to sparse football crowds at Fitton Field and basketball at the Hart Center, a facility of just 3,600 built in 1975. Some would say BC sold their soul and Holy Cross preserved their integrity. Others would say the Crusaders missed the boat forever and the Eagles are now the only school in Massachusetts still standing in the big time, known as college athletics. So, guess who is on the Eagle’s schedule this year. Yes, Holy Cross. A game that should not be played and a game that craves for the mercy rule (this rule originates from the Little League playoffs and states when one team is ten runs ahead, the game ends). Forty points should be a fair number here.

Today the FBI and the Penn State Police Department announced they were investigating a potential threat to commit a mass shooting at the Nittany Lions’ Beaver stadium sometime this year. The post stated “I have decided that I’m going to commit the biggest mass shooting in history of the world, killing thousands of fans in beaver stadium during one of the games next year.” The post has since been deleted. Previously, in 2016, a threat was called in prior to a Penn State home game but nothing was found, and the game played and finished without incident. This is now the world we live in when innocent people trying to enjoy have the element of anxiety and fear to think about when they attend a college football game. So sad.

Maryland just announced it has placed individuals on it football staff on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the death of Jordan McNair, an offensive lineman who died in June. The cause of death has not been disclosed publicly but his family claims he died because of heatstroke during offseason practice. While this cannot be confirmed, the question must be asked what role these athletic staffers had that the University would suspend them now, who are they and why did it take the University so long to take this step? We shall see.


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