Why Louisville is in the Big East and not in the SEC
Louisville coach Charlie Strong said that the Nov. 8 release of the "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" video game distracted his team from preparing for its game against Pittsburgh four days later. The Cardinals lost to the Panthers 21-14 and are in a four-way tie for second place in the Big East. Let’s hope a Big East team doesn’t get too distracted by "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked," a just-in-time-for-the-holidays movie that happens to be scheduled for release four days before the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.
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SEC gets Hatted
For those of you who enjoy the tough football played in the Southeastern Conference, here are some of the quality offerings to keep you riveted to your television sets Saturday: Alabama vs. Georgia Southern, Auburn vs. Samford, South Carolina vs. The Citadel and Florida vs. Furman. We tip our hats to LSU and The Hat who took the high road and scheduled an FCS team (Northwestern State) in September and lucked out by playing a 2-8 Mississippi team on Saturday. Les Miles’ destiny continues.
Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt suspended quarterback Randall Mackey and leading rusher Jeff Scott for the Rebels’ game against LSU on Saturday. Nutt may be out at the end of the season but he’s not going down without, well, everybody else. We like to put a positive spin on student-athletes, even when suspended, so we’ll take this suspension as Nutt’s way of keeping Mackey from having the worse passing completion in the SEC — right now he’s at 49.7 percent, just a tad above Kentucky’s Morgan Newton.
The Big Ten has removed Joe Paterno’s name from the Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy because of the child sex abuse allegations surrounding Penn State. The trophy, awarded to the Big Ten champion, will now be called the Stagg Championship Trophy, named after longtime University of Chicago coach Amos Alonzo Stagg. This will be the second change to a trophy awarded in the Big Ten since the football season started — the first was the Iowa Corn Growers Association’s Cy-Hawk Trophy awarded to the winner of the Iowa State-Iowa rivalry game. That trophy was changed because of to criticism over the design of the trophy, which depicted a family staring at a bushel of corn.
A little-known but completely awesome trophy is awarded annually to a football player who started out as a non-scholarship student-athlete. The Burlsworth Trophy, named after former Arkansas walk-on Brandon Burlsworth, has a fairly large watch list, but included among the candidates is Oklahoma running back Dominique Whaley. Whaley was the team’s leading rusher until he fractured his left ankle on Oct. 29 against Kansas State. Football fans can vote online for their favorite player starting Tuesday.
Live a sportswriter’s life
Ever wanted to vote for a real prestigious football award and have it count? We’re talking about receiving an actual ballot and have it count as much as your favorite sportswriter’s vote, or, if you are into making a statement, canceling out your non-favorite sportswriter’s vote. For $35, you can join the Maxwell Football Club and become a voting member for the Maxwell Award and attend their events as a voting member.
If you blinked, you missed it.
CBS News chief investigative correspondent and "Real Sports" reporter Armen Keteyian tweeted this on Tuesday: Tonight on Evening News Mike McQueary breaks his silence and opens a window for me into his emotions. The amount of time it took for you to read that previous sentence was less time than the televised "emotional" interview — an interview that featured 30 words spoken by McQueary while standing on a porch. Here’s the recap of the interview: McQueary’s emotions have been shaken up . . . "like a snow globe." Let the Emmy nominations begin.
Ohio State was told by the NCAA that it is now facing the a Failure to Monitor charge after the discovery that some Buckeyes players were paid to attend a charity event. Imagine that. Let’s give these players a salute for taking time out of their busy days to help out a charity by making an appearance to help bring in money for those less fortunate than themselves. Oh, wait . . .
By the way, Ohio State asked that the NCAA submit its case review to the school by Thursday, Nov. 17, have its hearing with the NCAA during the week of the Big Ten championship game and render a ruling “as soon thereafter as possible.” Why bother asking for this? The NCAA already did that last year when they restored eligibility to several Buckeyes players before the Fiesta Bowl. In lickety-split time I might add.
Fighting ’til the end …
Illinois coach Ron Zook informed the media on Tuesday that he would walk out of his weekly news conference if anyone asked him about him personally. If you don’t have a secret decoder ring, that’s coach speak for "job security." Game on. The Chicago Tribune’s Shannon Ryan asked Zook if he had talked to his players about, you know, fielding questions about his job security. Zook stopped, pointed and stared, then demonstrated a perfectly executed dive play by leaving abruptly.
This is MAC football
Ball State and Northern Illinois squared off in a Tuesday game. Northern Illinois, leading by three points, decided that setting off fireworks with six ticks left on the clock while Ball State had the ball would be a good idea. We’re not talking sparklers, folks. We’re talking New Year’s Eve celebratory fireworks raining down over the stadium while Ball State attempted a last second "The Play." Ridiculous? Yes. Loud? Yes. Spectacular? Why, yes, yes it was.
Not-so-fun-fact via Twitter
@TomOrr4: Last year’s OSU-PSU game featured head coaches with a combined 637 wins. This year the coaches have a combined total of 6 wins. Via Tom Orr, Columbus, Ohio.
The Land of Enchantment?
New Mexico hired former Notre Dame coach and ESPN analyst Bob Davie as its new coach. Davie coached five seasons at Notre Dame and, during that time, the school was sanctioned with loss of scholarships because of improper booster actions and also posted the first ever 0-3 start for the Fighting Irish at the beginning of a season (2001).
Davie was fired so that the school could hire George O’Leary and, eventually, Tyrone Willingham, as his replacement. Luckily for Davie, New Mexico posted a 0-9 start this year, so there’s plenty of room for improvement. As with all Lobos coaches, we wish him the best of luck.
Things that make you go, "hmmm"
According to a New York Times article, Joe Paterno transferred ownership of his house to his wife for $1. This transaction occurred less than four months before the child sex abuse allegations rocked Penn State. This is an interesting turn of events because Paterno led us to believe that he was not aware of the alleged widespread allegations. In fact, Paterno himself stated, "I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention." So he didn’t know about anything except for the "one charge" but shielded his assets — intentionally or not — from potential civil action?
Finally, a Fiesta Bowl executive was indicted. The US Attorney’s office announced that Natalie Wisneski, a former chief operating officer of the bowl, was indicted in Arizona federal court. Among the allegations are that she solicited funds for political campaigns from the bowl’s employees and reimbursed them with the bowl’s money but didn’t claim any expenditures on the bowl’s tax returns. In 2010, Wisneski reportedly made $391,824.