IT’S ALL HAPPENING

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Starting Five

New York’s most eligible execrable bachelor thought I did such a great job last week, he’s letting me, @okerland, write again.  Always happy to talk on Twitter or in the Comments…

Marcus Dupree had a Gurley way about him and never even made it to the NFL

1. TODD’S ALL FOLKS*

Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy…

All we’re highly drafted RBs who played under football royalty that is Nick Saban. We all drooled at their talent and thought about the days when they would take the NFL over by storm. Scouts thought so highly of them, they were all first round picks.

Four years later and many would say that none of them have lived up to the hype and promise during their Alabama days. What’s happened? Was it Saban’s system, Alabama’s talent level compared to other teams or did Saban work these guys so hard that they don’t have any energy left? (If one was to check how many of Bama’s 1st round picks have done in NFL, you’ll see many haven’t fared that well).

But the problem isn’t just at Bama. LaMichael James, Tre Mason and a host of other stud CFB running backs can’t find their way in the NFL. These are guys who were basically untouchable in college and now the only thing they’re touching is the bench.

A friend of mine told me that brains is what separates those who make the NFL and those that don’t. Everyone at the next level has virtually the same speed and if you don’t, you work real hard (or take PEDs) and you’ll find a roster spot.

I mention all this in relation to Todd Gurley, the Georgia running back recently suspended for autographs. At least two people on Twitter (@IDtheMike & @abrandt) have suggested that maybe Gurley did this on purpose to give his body a rest and to start preparing for draft.

The shelf life of a RB is fairly short in respect to other positions. Look at Adrian Peterson, the Vikings won’t publicly admit it, but his production has gone down and if they get out of that contract they will.

If Gurley withdraws, his agent can front him money while he works out at one of the numerous combine camps across the country. He rests, gets stronger, learns about the NFL and then after 2-3 strong years in the league gets paid (No one said NFL coaches are smart)

Could this become a trend in college? We have to wait and see how it turns out for Gurley. Everyone thought HS BB players would flee to Europe to speed up their draft clock. It hasn’t turned out that great for those that did.

*The judges would have also accepted, “Gurley, Interrupted.”

2. SHOW ME…SOME POWER

Of course he’s good with wood. He’s a Carpenter.

The Royals and Cardinals were last in their respective leagues in home runs this year and both made the playoffs using pitching and timely hitting. (Ask a Cardinals fan and they’ll tell you how the Cards play the greatest brand of baseball this side of Abner Doubleday.) (Ed Note: Not to be confused with Albus Dumbledore, though why would you?)

Two games into each LCS, and it’s as if both teams visited the same vitamin shop (or is it Shoppe) that McGwire did many moons ago (btw, McGwire hit 70 HRs in 98, the Cards barely have over 100 this year). Every time I turn on a game, another Royal or Cardinal is going deep. And they aren’t those lazy fly balls to the short porch at Yankee Stadium, these are blasts. On Sunday night a pair of Cards, Matt Adams and Kolton Wong, swung and I said “That’s gone” (I also say that’s gone when watching games at a stadium because I have such high hopes for the Mess).

It’s as if Yost and Matheny had their teams work on fundamental hitting all season and then once the playoffs started said go ahead swing away. (Sort of like Miyagi in KK2 teaching Daniel that Bone Dance and how to dodge a flying crane).

On a side note, pitchers get a chance to warm up but how come catchers can’t go down to bullpen to practice blocking balls, etc? Probably would have helped Tony Cruz last night.

3. ROCKY ON TOP

I’m a Rocky Top alum, I can’t say proud one because I really don’t live and die with the teams like I do with ND, but I got a free education there so I can’t complain.

The last 5 or so years have been laughable there. Fulmer got forced out, Lane came in and lit dumpster fire after dumpster fire, a lawyer with very little coaching experience got the job and is now replaced by Butch Jones who found a loophole to bring in 500 freshmen last year (could be slight exaggeration)….Athletic Departments were combined (I could write for days on how crazy this was) … Senior employees were pushed out …. Senior employees sued for being pushed out … The Pat Summitt drama, etc.

And then this weekend it got weirder. Two months ago, Tennessee hired a new track coach from Penn State (I don’t know why JJ got fired, because as I said I don’t care that much). Coach comes in and two weeks into practice cuts 6 freshmen. Now it isn’t rare for a new coach to get rid of freshmen but that usually happens at the end of the season with a wink and a nudge, not before the season begins.

What makes this story even stranger is that one of the kids cut was recruited by the new coach at her old school. Essentially, the coach thought the runner was good enough for Penn State but not good enough for Tennessee.

Now that Deadspin has picked up the story, it will become mainstream and Bilas will jump on his soapbox (a short soapbox for he has a small vertical) and the issue will be fixed.

My problem in this and the Simmons case in Alabama is why don’t ADs step up right away and try to defuse situation? Especially at UT where the AD has been under heat for 5 years and counting now. It’s as if not one AD ever took a PR class.

4. FANTASY OR REALITY?

Fantasy Football has taken over our viewing of games on Thursday, Sunday and Monday. Crap my team’s losing, oh but Shady McCoy torched ‘em for 150 yards and 2 TDS? awesome, I’ll win my fantasy league this week.

I have no issue with Fantasy Football, I play in 4 leagues (two I care about, two I don’t), but I am baffled by the people who live and die by it. By people who tweet experts about who to start in this league or that league. That you need to be told who to add to your roster.

The guys I play fantasy football with aren’t diehard players, but they stay up to date with the league. Rarely has a week gone by where a player ESPN suggested I pick up was still available. I’d love to find a league like this.

Number two pet peeve is when ESPN will post projected stats for that week. My first year playing, I got sucked in and went with the guy projected to get the higher numbers. After 16 weeks of wanting to curse ESPN, I started going with my gut. I started winning.

i’ve always wanted to run a simulation to see if playing all of ESPN’s suggestions would help you win the league. I don’t think it would.

Last year, I drafted 4/5s of the Bears offense knowing that with Trestman’s offensive background, the Bears would score and why not get double points everytime Cutler through a TD? I made it to the Championship game. You think Matthew Berry would approve that approach?

5. THROWING STONES

CSI: Tallahassee or CSI: South Bend? Or, both.

This week ND plays Florida State in Tallahassee and much will center around Winston’s legal troubles, including the sexual assault case that the school has finally decided to hold a disciplinary hearing.

ND fans like most fans are on red alert to mock FSU for their handling of the allegations and they have a point. FSU sat around and did nothing until the media grabbed a hold of it and even over a year later, a disciplinary hearing has finally been scheduled.

My only issue with ND fans attacking FSU over this is that five years ago ND football had their own sexual assault issue. In that instance, the player never missed practice or a game and wasn’t interviewed until 15 days after the incident. Unfortunately his victim took her own life and the case was hard to pursue so no formal charges were ever brought.

Now yes there was an investigation but unlike at FSU, very few people knew the name of the player who was charged with sexual assault. You don’t think life would be a living hell for Kelly each week if he had to answer questions about said player? And yes, said player kept his nose clean for the rest of his time at ND.

FSU has plenty to mock regarding its handling of Winston, the kid has had enough strikes against him and they seem to believe his word is more important than anything else.

But as the saying goes, those in “glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

2 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING

  1. FSU is holding a ‘disciplinary hearing’ for Winston NOT because of the media ruckus, but because they are in hot water with the FEDERAL GOVT over alleged ‘Title 9’ infractions. Personally, I don’t think Title 9 was MEANT nor is the school QUALIFIED to investigate sexual assault & in fact find this ‘hearing’ a waste of time & nothing but ass-covering window-dressing. I do not like Winston as a person. His crab leg theft & PATHETIC excuse for said thieving was the final straw for me. However, the guy was investigated (albeit poorly) by the local police for the alleged assault and then by the STATE prosecutor when this all hit the fan LAST year. Both times, he was not brought up on charges. So, what is the SCHOOL supposed to find or punish? Possibly underage drinking? As a scholarship player, is he not allowed to have the opposite sex in his room/apt? Heck, if that’s the case, the entire football team would have to be suspended or “disciplined”. Plus, the university is NOT a legal entity; what are his rights under their questioning?

    FSU is COVERING THEIR ASS, just as all corporations do. And I can’t believe I actually feel sorry for Winston, but I will if the university turns on him to save themselves as he will not have seen it coming – he, like many other elite athletes are protected, shielded, & EXCUSED their entire young lives until they are no longer deemed worth shielding (i.e. are of no use to THEM anymore) by the powers over them & they are left abandoned & in shock.

    As for THIS year’s autograph scandal – Gurley, Winston, & whomever else those oh-so-intrepid ESPN “reporters” suddenly uncover – while I mostly agreed with jdubs position last week, the thing is – the NCAA VACATED any power to punish on this “infraction” due to NOT doing a damn thing to Manziel last year. The horse is out of the barn on this one.

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