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Thoughts of the day: June 24, 2012

  • A few thoughts for Sunday morning:

    1. LET THE SILLY SEASON BEGIN: This is the time of year that coaches need but dread at the same time. They need time away from their sports to get some much needed R and R and with NCAA rules the way they are, there is not a lot of contact with the players. This seven or eight week period is what I call “The Silly Season” because it’s when scholarship athletes do some very silly things, quite often while discovering that they can’t drink themselves invisible or bulletproof. There isn’t a coach on the University of Florida campus – or any Division I campus for all that matters – that doesn’t go to bed praying for a night of sleep that isn’t interrupted by a call from the police department at 3 a.m. telling him or her that one or two of their athletes have discovered that impairment doesn’t necessarily bring about a sense of enlightenment.

    2. ARE WE WELL ON OUR WAY TOWARD A QUIET SILLY SEASON?: Perhaps it’s just my imagination but I can’t remember a June this quiet since Steven Orr Spurrier was the head ball coach. The Zook years always had their little midsummer surprises – anyone remember Taurean Charles? – and there was no shortage of arrests during the Meyer years. There have been arrests since Will Muschamp took over, but driving on a suspended license doesn’t exactly conjure up images of John Dillinger. Hopefully, this is a sign that Will Muschamp has a mature football team with all its priorities in the right places. Given that the first two SEC games are on the road in College Station and Knoxville, this is a team that really can’t afford distractions in the offseason.

    3. IS IT TIME TO CHALLENGE THE NCAA TRANSFER RULES?: Trey Ziegler’s dad, Ernie, was fired as the basketball coach at Central Michigan. The NCAA allowed Trey, a 15.8 per game scorer for the Chippewas last season, to transfer to Pitt without having to sit out a year. The NCAA justifies its ruling because it was Trey’s dad that got fired. Under the NCAA transfer guidelines, the only way that he should be allowed to compete next year is under a hardship – returning home to be close to family, for example – or in the case of UConn, which won’t be allowed to compete in the NCAA Tournament because of poor academic performance. Trey Ziegler’s dad got fired. As good friend Larry Vettel said last week, why is this any different than Darrin Horn getting fired at South Carolina or Seth Greenberg getting fired at Virginia Tech? If Trey Ziegler can play next year, then why on earth can’t Damontre Harris and Dorian Finney-Smith?

    4. THE BEST THAT EVER WAS: Now that LeBron James has won a championship there will be plenty of talk that he’s the best player ever in the NBA. To that, I would say let him finish his career before we elevate him to that lofty status. If he continues on his current path and wins a few more championships, there is no doubt he will rank with the best of the best, but not now. Let him finish his career first and then we’ll see how he stacks up with Michael Jordan. For my money, MJ is the best that ever was.

    5. THE JOE PA LEGACY IS FOREVER ALTERED: Jerry Sandusky will die in prison a very old man after his conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania. The lives of at least 10 young men have been altered forever but at least they will sleep better knowing that by standing up for what was right, a predator was taken off the streets. But how will the people who knew what was going on in State College, Pennsylvania sleep tonight and in the nights to come? As troubling as it is that Sandusky committed these crimes against children, it’s equally as troubling that both Joe Paterno and a number of higher ups at Penn State knew what was going on but decided to come forward would forever taint Paterno’s carefully crafted image. Someone could have stood up. Someone should have stood up. Nobody did because they thought it was better for a few children to suffer than for Penn State and Paterno to be tied to a sexual predator.

    6. THE JOE PA LEGACY IS FOREVER ALTERED, PART II: For years the folks at Penn State carefully manicured a rather saintly image of Joe Paterno. He was married to the same woman for more than 50 years, lived in the same house for more than 40, doted on his grandchildren, didn’t break NCAA rules, graduated players and won more games than any college football coach in history. It was a compelling image of virtue that we all bought into but it was a big fat lie. Paterno might have won a lot of games and done a lot of good things but the good will be outweighed forever by the fact that years ago he knew what Sandusky was up to and didn’t do anything about it. Now, instead of this virtuous image, we see an ego-driven man who cared more about setting records than doing the right thing. It does make you wonder what else we will discover about Paterno in the months ahead. A year ago, I couldn’t imagine thinking that Paterno could have been corrupt. Now I’m not so sure.

    7. ONE FINAL THOUGHT ABOUT THIS CASE: Penn State assistant Mike McQueary let both Paterno and the athletic director know what he saw Sandusky doing in the shower with a young boy as well as the State College police. We also know that Paterno and the AD had conversations with the school president and that there was knowledge that this was not an isolated incident. When McQueary was on the witness stand testifying against Sandusky last week, I had to question his character. I don’t doubt that he told the truth about Sandusky, but I wonder how he could continue to work for Paterno and for Penn State knowing that they did nothing to restrict Sandusky’s access to the university and the football offices? Their silence condoned what Sandusky did. By continuing to work for Paterno and Penn State without taking this to someone with guts enough to do something about it, McQueary also sanctioned a predator.

    8. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: If you want to know why there will be a college football playoff in 2014 after all these years of hearing all the excuses why there wouldn’t be one from the presidents and commissioners, then do a simple math problem. Subtract $281 million from $771 million. The $281 million is how much all the bowls combined paid out last season. The $771 million is how much CBS and Turner paid the NCAA for the basketball tournament. The football playoff won’t get $771 million in its first year but its three games will pay out more than all the bowl games combined.

    PARTING SHOT: Okay, it’s not sports related but I’ve been listening to some terrific music today (Upojenie by The Pat Metheny Group with vocals by Anna Maria Jopek) and that got me thinking about the best concerts I’ve ever been to. Here goes my top five: 1. The Beatles, Jacksonville, 1964; 2. Jimi Hendrix, Fayetteville, NC 1970; 3. Bob Dylan, Charlotte, 1974; 4. The Pat Metheny Group, Montreux, Switzerland, 1998; 5. Elton John and Billy Joel, Orlando, 1993. Honorable mention: Jimmy Buffett at old Florida gym in 1979, The Volcano Tour and The Doors, 1969, The Miami Rock Festival.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by Franz Beard 22 months ago

    Email: franzbeard@gmail.com/Twitter: www.twitter.com/@franzbeard247

  • 4 - You've got to be kidding! You are the first person I have heard even mention this.

    I know you are a huge Heat fan, so I understand your bias, but Lebron, in my opinion, he's not even in the debate for greatest player of all time. I'm not even sure most people would consider LeBron the best player on the Heat. In my opinion, that would be Wade.

    He's a great player, no doubt. And he silenced many of his critics by actually playing hard in the playoffs. But I don't think he's even that close to the top 10 of all-time.

    5 - I still think JoPa is a scapegoat in all of this. In my opinion, JoPa did what he should have done which was make sure it was reported to his superiors at the time.

    Could he have done more? Yes. Should he have done more? In hindsight, absolutely. But at the time I'm not so sure. What if he had gone and blown the whistle to the cops and the media and it turned out to be false? And what if that had ruined the career of an innocent man?

    In hindsight, it's easy to say what he should have done. But we don't know what he knew. And we don't know exactly what he was told. And we may never know exactly what he did. But for people to automatically put the majority of the blame on Paterno seems to be a travesty to me.

    He certainly shares in the blame for what happened, but I suspect when all is said and done, there are going to be so many points where something could have been done and so many people involved in covering it up that Paterno's role is going to seem very minor. Yet outside of Sandusky himself, Paterno and his family was bear the brunt of the vast majority of the responsibility.

    8 - I won't rehash my opinions on this but I will believe it when I see it. The basketball numbers look huge largely because there are about 64 tournament games, compared to the 3 games a football playoff will have. That 64 games equates to about $12 million per page for basketball. Surely the football numbers per game will be MUCH higher, which makes sense since college football is much more popular. Let's say for the sake of argument that the 3 college football playoff games create closer to $100 million per game, which is closer to my expectation and about 8 times the average value per basketball game.

    That would total around $300 million, which I think is a more realistic number than the $500-$800 million they've been telling you, but is still more than the 5 current BCS games, yet still far less than March Madness.

    They aren't going to generate the same revenue from a college football playoff unless they add more games, which I think would be a HUGE mistake! If they do that, the college football regular season will become about as irrelevant and make about as much money as the college basketball regular season ... which isn't much.

    This post was edited by AtlantaGator86 22 months ago

  • I never said LeBron is in the debate for greatest of all time. I said others will have him here but let's let him win some more championships and finish his career before we begin that debate.

    And I'm not a Heat fan. I like Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller because they are former Gators but that's about it. I grew up a Boston Celtics fan and became a Bulls fan when Michael Jordan was playing for them.

    As for the football playoff, the network people I talked to in Destin think a $400-500 million payoff is probable and that is not a completely unreasonable expectation. The Super Bowl rights are $603 million for each of the next three seasons for just one game. A $200-250 million figure for the championship game is probably well within reason with something like $75-100 million for the two semifinal games. The network people I talked to in Destin and people who follow and analyze sports business for a living tell me that those numbers are reasonable in this economy.

    This post was edited by Franz Beard 22 months ago

    Email: franzbeard@gmail.com/Twitter: www.twitter.com/@franzbeard247

  • A former FBI director is conducting a complete investigation of the Penn State mess. His report should be interesting and will tell the whole story.

  • good stuff Franz

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    And that's a first down!

  • The former president and athletic director at Penn State will be tried for perjury and most likely obstruction of justice. For all the Penn State people who hoped that this would end with the Sandusky trial, they're going to find out that the nightmare won't end any time soon.

    Email: franzbeard@gmail.com/Twitter: www.twitter.com/@franzbeard247

  • What I don't understand is why the State Attorney who disappeared doesn't get more blame when a case actually was brought to his attention by Penn State and he decided not go move forward with it.

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  • I'm glad to see Penn State move forward to settle civil suits and avoid the legal BS that accompanies some civil suits.

  • The Stones in Orlando back in the 70s. Buffett at the O-Dome in 1990. I've heard Upojenie. What a great CD.

  • Thanks for the thoughts Franz, I concur with your comments regarding Jo Pa, he was an enabler, IMO his legacy is tarnished forever.

    That rock and roll lineup sounds like a Rolling Stone breakdown of the best ever.........