Last night we got football for the first time since January. Not any preseason ridiculousness and fake football, no, we have real life football games going on and that includes a monster performance by a guy we've hitched our wagon to; Russell Wilson. That's right #AllRussellWilsonEverything hit the stage in a big way in his debut against UNLV. The kid went 10-13 for 255 yards and 2 passing TDs. He also added 2 carries for 62 yards on the ground including a 46 yard touchdown scamper.
In short? He did work. Tonight we've got Baylor playing host to TCU in a game that will be a nice test for both teams and should be a lot closer than Wisconsin's beatemdown. So here we go with Fetch Friday folks, some old school to kick you off:
This is an ode to the Ol' Ball Coach as he decided to bench Stephen Garcia in favor of Connor Shaw to start the Gamecocks' opener against East Carolina. That's right, the eternal bro, Garcia, is benched for the start of the opener, we'll have to wait until close to 7:45-ish on Saturday night to catch the Gamecocks fifth year senior's debut, in the second quarter. Head Games and I can't take it anymore.
Now as we get into the season I must implore you to get into the In The Bleachers Pick'em Pool. The ranks are looking thin and apparently it is because of a bad link. Here, yes here, is a good link so go register and get your picks in folks.
Before we go a quick discussion on Miami because this is something that has stuck in my craw as their suspensions dropped earlier this week. This whole idea that "Miami got off easy" by the suspensions of eight guys; five for one game, two for four games and one player for six. Let's go ahead and get into this...
"Got off easy" first and foremost implies that this is over. It isn't. Far from it. The court system just got subpoenas for all 72 Canes involved in the Nevin Shapiro ordeal, that means NFL guys and other former players who are not under the NCAA's "jurisdiction" will be forced to reveal what they received from Shapiro. The coaches and administrators still must be grilled thoroughly. In short, this Miami situation, that has been going on for five months reportedly, is still just heating up. It is far from winding down.
Next comes the comparison to North Carolina. Spare me. I've been through that ringer, the "are they gonna play, are they not gonna play" dance is exhausting. Problem here is Miami has a relatively clear cut case for each player; what did you take and how much was that valued at in total. North Carolina had not only an extra benefit situation but a simultaneous academic probe taking place. Players had cases that were sent to honor court, academic reviews and evaluations of wrong doing to determine on top of the receipt of improper benefits.
That's not really a direct parallel is it folks? For Miami it is about dollar amounts and suspension. This is AJ Green, not North Carolina.
As for length of the suspension themselves; that's a scaled system that the NCAA has used in plenty of cases. Withholding an athlete for a percentage of their season along with a donation to a charitable cause for the value of benefits received is a pretty standard practice. We saw it with the aforementioned AJ Green, we saw that aspect with UNC and we are seeing it now with Ohio State.
Now regarding the scale, it is a baseline, not an end all be all for the reinstatement of eligibility committee. Extenuating circumstances can see the suspensions go down, as was the case with Marcell Dareus, or they can see them pushed up as we saw with Ohio State getting five games instead of four or with Robert Quinn and Greg Little at UNC.
So here we go; if you take issue with the scale itself then that's a totally separate problem than Miami just getting off easy. Going by cash value and the percentage of the season missed the suspensions fall pretty much in line, in some cases even a level up from the actual scale itself.
If your issue is with the time is a different problem. One the NCAA report that they've been digging into this information for some five, almost six months, means this has been going on for longer than UNC's investigation was at the time of the Heels first contest. They've looked at information and the reinstatement proceedings can only begin once the players are ruled ineligible, something Miami only recently chose to do.
Ah, for those of you with issues surrounding the value of the benefits. You can only value what you have substantiated. For Jacory Harris that's $140 in benefits, for Ray Ray Armstrong that was $788 and for Oliver Vernon that number came to over $1,200 in total. If you believe the guys got more than that I'm more than inclined to side with you BUT it isn't what you know, it is what you can prove. Without specific, player itemized receipts they can only pin guys with the amounts admitted to by players themselves and corroborated by Shapiro, business owners, witnesses and other players. Tough titty but hey, that's all you got.
We're here folks, the season has already started and whether you're watching the game from home, a bar, the pressbox or the friendly confines of your favorite stadium enjoy them. Let's hope no one gets hurt, the players are more than just bodies out there for entertainment.
As for me, I'll be in Kenan Stadium watching the boys beat JMU, taking in the opening of the Blue Zone, looking fresh in a crisp blue button up (like an adult) and there will be ample bourbon, beers, good friends and twitter conversations had about the happenings of the day!