"Enforcement is broken. The infractions committee hasn't had [an FBS] hearing in almost a year, and I think it's not an understatement to say cheating pays presently. If you seek to conspire to certainly bend the rules, you can do it successfully and probably not get caught in most occasions."
- Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 Commissioner, via ESPN
The Big 12 Media Days got a little more interesting when Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 Commissioner, beat up on the NCAA during his annual address. In addition to discussing the problems of enforcement, he expressed concern over the future of Olympic sports and highlighted increasing division between athletic departments and the universities at large.
The one thing Bowlsby did defend was the current collegiate model for (not) paying student athletes. In his eyes, all student athletes (female and Olympic sports athletes included) would need to be paid.
With conflict over rising tuition, increasing student debts after graduation, and the cost of maintaining high-profile football programs, Bowlsby's concern over university-athletic department relations is justified. The question is whether the NCAA will ultimately be the governing body able to help.
"Michigan is 19-2 at home under head coach Brady Hoke, but 7-11 when playing at other locations"
- Sean Merriman, BTN
Friday Night Lights, the Big Ten Media Days, and fall training camp may all be around the corner, but right now it's time for something much more important: B1G fun facts.
Actually, the BTN's Sean Merriman has some pretty good ones about Michigan's ineptitude, Ohio State, and our lesser known Big Ten brethren. Here are some of my highlights:
"A half-hour after the 2006 game in Columbus, the Ohio Lottery Pick 4 evening drawing was 4-2-3-9, which matched the final score of the game."
"The last time Iowa beat both Ohio State and Michigan in same year was in 1962."
"Former Michigan running back Mike Hart scored a 1280 on his SATs and graduated in the top five of his class with a 94 percent average."
"College Football Hall of Fame Coach Lou Holtz coached at three separate Big Ten schools: Iowa (assistant), Ohio State (assistant) and Minnesota (head coach)."
Was that 2006 game fate, or what? Not only did the final score become the lottery numbers, but that game is indirectly responsible for Urban Meyer becoming Ohio State's coach (kinda). Ohio State won, sending the 2006 team to the national championship against Urban's Gator squad (I don't need to remind you about that outcome), which fueled Urban's rise as a head coach.
"Johnny is coming from a college-style offense so we try to simulate that by giving him a lower awareness."
- Donny Moore, Madden ratings guru, via SBNation
Even if you don't play sports video games, the Madden rookie ratings are interesting because they're one evaluation of the last draft class.
NFL Combine results aren't highly correlated with player success in the NFL, but it seems like they form the primary basis for rating players in Madden. That makes sense, as coding video game players relies on numbers alone, with no scouting reports. Might as well use the most objective physical measurements possible. What was really interesting is that Moore relies on advanced stats to do in-season player updates: "For the in-season updates, Moore relies on advanced statistics websites like Pro Football Focus.'They grade each and every play, and each and every player in every game. That type of scoring is incredibly beneficial to me when I'm doing my weekly updates, as far as who should be trending up and down based on their play that week.'"
As for the actual players, Ohio's own Johnny Manziel (are we claiming him as an Ohioian yet?) didn't quite make the cut for top-15 overall rookie players, but he was apparently very close. From the Big Ten, former Spartan Darqueze Dennard and Wolverine Taylor Lewan made the top 15. Buckeye opponents Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins also were included.
"We need to find out who the quarterback is so we can get going. It is kind of frustrating going up against different quarterbacks in practice because you have to scheme around them."
- Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech defensive tackle, via USA Today
We've written about the Virginia Tech game a good bit already, but that's understandable when it's the main out of conference match-up this season. We know the Buckeyes are favored by a fairly large margin, but the concern is still there that any halfway decent opposing quarterback can carve up an unknown secondary, or that the stingy Hokie defense can stymie the Buckeye offense.
With the ACC Media Days underway we got to hear directly from Beamer and some Hokie athletes. To summarize their responses: (1) The team would really like a quarterback to win the job, like today (2) Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer is the favorite, and has good rapport with receivers already (3) The defense has a lot of personnel to replace.
My first thought is that we should be more concerned about Brewer than we would have been had Logan Thomas still be the quarterback. While big and Thomas was inaccurate, Brewer just transferred due to injury (and shined when he was actually on the field for the Red Raiders).