Man, this college football thing is getting out of hand. We’re only two weeks into the season and already, scandal, allegations, suspensions, poor sportsmanship, bad refereeing and awful fan-dom are already running rampant. (Is it freaking baseball season yet?) Here’s an example …
Here are 13 things that crossed my mind…
1- THE ESPN CFB TWITTER THING.
Hey guys and dolls. Just a reminder that during the college football season, you can follow me on the ESPN college football twitter page, which is at @ESPNCFB. I commandeer the feed every Thursday night and Saturday afternoon to evening. I promise to always try to include some kind of college baseball reference when I can.
And as I tweeted the other day, it’s also really fun and rewarding to get responses like this from the fans following me on there:
2- THE BEST CALL OF THE EARLY COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON.
As you probably all know, a lot has been made of Johnny Heisman’s on-field antics in week one vs. Rice. Of course, it was pretty embarrassing and needless as you’ve heard pundits left, right and center say ad nauseum. But the one thing that’s been underrepresented is, How about a “Hero” status for the ref in the picture above who threw the flag on Johnny Freakshow?
As I’ve railed and railed for years, the NCAA never stops talking about how important sportsmanship is, including making :30 second TV spots devoted to good sportsmanship. But guess what is the last thing you get from college football? Sportsmanship.
Trash talking, intimidation, walking over tackled opponents and standing over opposing players who just got waylaid is the norm now. Have you guys seen Florida play football? They seem to be the worst offenders, especially when they’re losing games, as they showed vs. Louisville in the Sugar Bowl last year and at Miami on Saturday. And of course there are numerous other teams and examples of just plain bad behavior during college football games nowadays. I just don’t see any strides being made in reigning in the attitude and actions of players
Well, except for that ref from the Rice-A&M game. Maybe a call like this against a high-profile player like Manziel will help shed a little light on the subject. Yeah I know, that’s doubtful, but we can always hope. And if so, there’s one thing we can call this referee: American hero.
3- THE BEST ATHLETIC DIRECTOR IN THE LAND
Have you noticed Louisville is good in just about everything now? During the Ohio-L’ville football game in week one, the ESPN research staff put a graphic up on the screen that espoused their recent success, including the Sugar Bowl win over Florida and top 10 finish, the basketball team winning the national title and women’s team playing for their title and of course, the baseball team going to the College World Series. In other words, it seems as if everything Athletic Director Tom Jurich is touching has turned to gold.
Of course, give a sizable assist to the Mother Ship too, as this column in the New York Times points out:
As I told you last March when I went to Cassius Clay-town for the UofL-Bama series, head coach Dan McDonnell told me after his first trip to Omaha in 2007 in his rookie year at the program, Athletic Director Tom Jurich immediately asked him, “What do we have to do to keep you here?”
THAT’s a good athletic director, by the way. It’s good to see the fruits of his labor work out so well. And if you’re in the Louisville area and jonesing for some baseball, head over to Patterson Stadium on Friday and Sunday…
4- ANOTHER REALLY GOOD ATHLETIC DIRECTOR
The venerable Jeremy Mills, our patron saint of college baseball, sent me this picture the other day, getting my hope high for a possible return of baseball to Centennial Field…
I was so jazzed about it, I put in a call to Vermont’s sports information director Lisa Champagne. She put me in touch with the Catamount Athletic Director Bob Corran. I talked with Bob on Saturday morning and asked him about the bus boards and the “Friends of UVM baseball” group and their efforts. Alas, he said the group “has been very active in their mission” but when it came down to brass tacks, Corran said that there has been no further discussion of bringing back any sports at this time.
“Our primary focus is to improve the quality and success of the sports we currently have,” Curran said. “In fact, we just had our yearly planning meeting the other day and the subject of baseball wasn’t even brought up. So I’d say there’s no plans for bring it back at any time in the near future.”
5- SONS OF FAMOUS NAMES
Lots of familiar names will be joining the college ranks after getting drafted this past summer. Of course, every son of a major leaguer might also fall into the “doing him a favor” category by drafting them. But at least you know there is talent there.
Here are some of the better-known names coming to college diamonds this coming season:
- Kyle Serrano, RHP, son of Dave.
Tennessee, 29th round pick (Rockies)
Was considered to go as a possible 1st-round draft pick, but because of his commitment to his father at UT, dropped to the 29th round.
- Cavan Biggio, 2B/SS, son of Craig.
Notre Dame, 29th round (Phillies)
The Houston-area middle-infielder will leave his father, whom he played for in high school, and join his brother Conor as a Golden Domer.
- Lukas Schiraldi, RHP, son of Calvin
Texas, 35th round pick (Nationals)
After a dominating year at Navarro JC, this chip off the old block was expected to go in the top five rounds. His dipping to the 35th shows he was committed to going to Austin for 2014.
- Kacy Clements, RHP, son of Roger.
Texas, 35th round pick (Astros)
According to what I read, this was a charity pick in the draft, because Kacy is far from ready for pro ball. He’ll need to develop big time in Austin over the next few years.
- J.C. Snyder, SS/2B, son of Cory
BYU, 36th round pick (Mariners)
Had 46 hits with 43 walks as a soph at Salt Lake CC last season. Should be an immediate contributor for the Cougars for 2014.
- Torii Hunter Jr., son of Duh!
Notre Dame, 36th round pick (Tigers)
An injury keeps him on the sidelines for the football team this fall, but he should be good to go for the Irish baseball team… unless he decides to concentrate on football only.
- Josh Pettitte, son of Andy
Baylor, 37th round pick (Yankees)
Threw a pair of no-hitters in his senior year and added eight MPH to his fastball. Still, his expected top 10 round draft status didn’t happen, so to Waco he goes.
- Ryan Lidge, C, cousin of Brad
Notre Dame, 40th round (Red Sox)
Coach Mik Aoki says, “He can swing it from both sides of the plate with power and his catch-and-throw skills are pretty advanced.”
6- BEST COLLEGE FOOTBALL-COLLGE BASEBALL DUAL SPORT TALENTS.
Our own Kyle Peterson and Omaha.com’s Tom Shatel got into a pretty good twitter discussion the other day about who the best dual-sport college football/college baseball players of all-time were
1- Bo Jackson, Auburn. 1982-85
2- Kirk Gibson, Michigan State, 1977-1979
3- Rick Leach, Michigan, 1975-1979
4- John Elway, Stanford, 1979-1982
5- Deion Sanders, Florida State, 1985-1988
7- SPEAKING OF GREAT FOOTBALL-BASEBALL TALENTS.
Did you happen to see the E:60 feature on former Villanova baseball and football star Matt Szczur? After having an All-American season on the gridiron in 2009 for the Wildcats where they won the national title, then leading the Big East in hitting on the diamond the following spring, Szczur is now a top prospect in the Chicago Cubs system. But the E:60 feature showed how he also became a hero in every day life by being a bone marrow transplant for a 4-year old girl in the Ukraine named Anastasia. The odds of finding matching bone marrow is astronomical – one in 80,000 according to the feature. But Szczur matched the girls bone marrow and he saved her life.
8- SO OKLAHOMA STATE FOOTBALL PLAYERS HAD TESTS TAKEN FOR THEM, GOT ANSWERS BEFORE TESTS, RECEIVED $500 HANDSHAKES AND GOT SEXUAL FAVORS ON RECRUITING TRIPS… (allegedly), AND FIVE SEC PLAYERS TOOK MONEY FROM AGENTS… (allegedly)
Ladies and gentlemen, all this stuff against OSU and those players from Alabama, Tennessee, etc., may or may not be true. But I’m just saying don’t be surprised if it is true. And certainly don’t assume these schools are alone in this. Look people, there is way too much money at stake in college football nowadays. New stadiums need to get paid for. There are higher coaches salaries and higher assistant coaches salaries to pay for now. There are athletic budgets going through the roof, etc. etc. This sport has become all about big money, uber-modern facilities and relentless winning in order to keep butts in seats, ya’ know.
THAT’s why I don’t want college baseball to get much bigger. When money starts becoming this big of a variable, rampant cheating becomes the norm. Stay classy college baseball.
9- THE NINTH QUESTION
Would you like to see college baseball become a bigger profile sport? Explain yourself.
10- DID YOU GUYS KNOW THE BLEACHER REPORT COVERS COLLEGE BASEBALL?
I didn’t. But here’s their home page:
Although, if you look on the home page you probably noticed something that makes us all roll our eyes and sigh. Yes, we should give the Bleacher Report a rash of shit for having a column that is titled, “MANAGERS with Biggest Chance to Add to Their Legacy at CWS.”
“Managers”?… Really? Sweet Jesus people!
11- AH, A COLLEGE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME I’LL ACTUALLY GET TO SEE.
As you guys know, I’ve said in the past that I really love the idea of a college baseball Hall Of Fame. I do. And Mike Gustafson and his cohorts look like they are finally starting to get the physical building part of the HOF going and into the works. Yeah, I know, it’s been a long time coming, ‘coz these things take time.
However, as I’ve always also maintained, I love the people behind this Hall of Fame, but I’m still bummed this building will be placed in Lubbock, Texas. I’ve been to Lubbock twice in my life, once as a kid on a business trip with my father and the only thing I remember is the cab driver couldn’t light his cigarette because he had the windows down. He wasn’t smart.
The second time I went there was in 2008 as part of my drive from L.A. to San Antonio to cover the Final Four for CSTV. Truth is, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to Lubbock again. And I’m guessing 99.8% of the StitchHeads reading this will probably never make it there either.
However, fear not. Apparently there is going to be an Omaha College Baseball Hall of Fame now as well, based around those college players, coaches and teams who made an impact while there at the CWS. The first class of inductees went in before the College Home Run Derby this past July 3rd. This Hall will feature the best of the best of the college players and coaches who were part of the CWS history. With that as the basis, here is the inaugural class:
- Rod Dedeaux, USC head coach.
- Augie Garrido, Fullerton/Texas head coach.
- Bob Horner, Arizona State
- Brooks Kieschnick, Texas
- Robin Ventura, Oklahoma State
- Dave Winfield, Minnesota
12- ALMOST FORGOT TO FORWARD ALONG THE MOST IMPORTANT AWARD FOR 2013.
One of my favorite things to keep track of after the end of any season is the awarding of the Tom Walter Inspiration Award by Phil and Sean over at College Baseball Insider. Here is the piece they put out about this year’s awardees back at the end of July. It’s good stuff…
13- THE WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL TV SPOT
If you’ve watched any football in the last few weeks I’m sure you’ve seen that TV commercial where the guys are playing basketball in wheelchairs and at the end, all of them get up and walk off the floor except for their one buddy who is a double-amputee. The voice over says words like, “dedication,” “loyalty” and “friendship.”
Good spot. Very inspiring. But here’s the question for you guys… Quick, name the product that this TV spot is for?