Friday, June 12, 2009

Offseason Roundtable #11

In an effort to not only increase our chatter about the Cards, but to also increase some reader participation, Edge, RV, and Alan will be doing these roundtables every week. Love the answers? Want to post your own thoughts? Of course you do. And you can do so in the Comments section. Because remember, dear readers, a smarmy sarcastic blog about Ball State athletics is only as good as its small yet powerful reader base. Have at it, boys and girls...

1.) Lane Kiffin has quite possibly committed yet another minor NCAA violation by letting ESPN film an "Outside the Lines" program while he was meeting with a recruit. When and how will this all end?
Alan: It won't end until either Kiffin is run out of town, or the NCAA drops the proverbial banhammer on Tennessee thanks to his transgressions. The bottom line in all of Kiffin's theatrics and problems is that now he absolutely MUST win. Where as before all of this, fans wanted wins, now they expect wins. They are the only things that will make the rabid UT fanbase sit back and forget about all these little problems.

Edge: It's tough saying how it will end, but I can bet on how it will begin to end. At some point, the money-makers and boosters are going to start calling for heads to roll. Some poor guy (or gal) will lose their job simply because of an association with these problems - we'll say an assistant compliance officer or something. It's a shame really, but it happens all the time. Kiffin will not be held accountable for any of this. That is until he starts losing, which almost seems inevitable at this point. I predict turbulence for the next couple years, and in the end, the Kiffin era will be a black eye to the Tennessee program. It's got to put fans in the worst possible situation, and I really do feel bad for Vols fans at this point. Just not the way you want to start 2009 at all.

RV: This is all just fluff, even when major violations are committed, the NCAA hands down a quick pat on the back and whispers "Please don't do that again or we'll have to do something that won't affect you". This won't end until Myles Brand is replaced by someone who decides that our beloved sport deserves to be treated with more respect. I'd have to imagine Tressel, Kiffin, Saban and Carroll all laugh at the idle threats the NCAA has put forward. Someone will finally piss off someone connected and they'll lose a few scholarships, at that point all these idiotic violations will slow down to a slow crawl, reminiscent of the Irish running game.

2.) We've covered the Mark Schlabach article as it related to Ball State and Kentucky, but was there anything else in his toughest/easiest 2009 schedule column that surprised you?
Alan: Surprising? No. It's not a secret that some of the big boys in the SEC schedule pretty weak opponents. It's also no secret that the Big 10 does the same. There are few examples of major conference teams that actually schedule tough quality opponents, and that's a real shame. I long for the days when major college teams played other major college teams instead of Directional State A&M Tech.

Edge: No, I honestly don't think anything else in there was surprising. But I will say that I was surprised to see Ball State even in that article. I think Mark lost some money betting against the Cards during their 12-0 run, then put money on them to win the MAC championship and GMAC. Basically, the Cards shit in his cereal and he's taking it out on them now.

RV: I'm surprised that they don't go after bigger programs. At this point in the season, nobody knows how each schedule will look, so if you're creating a fluff article why not go after the big boys? Every schedule can be scrutinized to some degree and if it doesn't, just make it up like the rest of the sports journalism world. Integrity? Don't worry about that.

3) Breaking news today is that due to players giving other students their own textbooks for free, Alabama must vacate wins from 2005 to 2007. Your thoughts?
Alan: My initial thought was, "Way to go Alabama, and welcome to BSU from like 5 years ago." At least in the grand scheme of things, BSU set the standard. In all seriousness, this is nothing new for the SEC. Most every school save for a small number have been on probation at some point or another during my lifetime, and honestly, vacating wins is the worst punishment around. It's a slap on the wrist and a light slap at that.

Edge: Stupid, and this "textbook scam" thing has been done many times before. Tip: you're going to get caught! But what can you do? Alabama got lucky in that the penalty didn't affect anything from the present to the future. So they get knocked around a bit in the media, but then they can move on. I agree with the way Saban put it when talking to reporters after the ruling. His team isn't going to be affected now, and his recruits won't suffer for it. Time to move on.

RV: Lame. Vacate wins? What the hell does that mean? I'm pretty sure any AD/Head Coach will trade potentially vacated wins (which equate to a slightly above average wrist massage) for a chance to skate the rules. As already established, until scholarships start going out the window, these rules will continue to be massaged, avoided and outright broken. I realize that there has to be a certain level of flexibility when dealing with student-athletes, but does anyone really think that being on double secret probation with the NCAA means anything? Toothless kitten.

4.) Now that we've had a chance to digest a lot of the preseason polls from some of the major names in the business, what teams do you think will surprise everyone with a better-than-anticipated showing in 2009?
Alan: I think Georgia will turn some heads, and I think Notre Dame will be a dark horse contender for the national title, but for very different reasons. Georgia for the reason that their schedule is so tough and their conference so regarded that if the Bulldogs win the SEC, they're a shoe-in for the national title game and not many people are looking past Florida. As for the Irish, they play a reduced strength schedule and are staring 11-1 in the face. With a record like that and an outside shot at 12-0, the Irish are national title contenders for certain.

Edge: I fully expect to see some improvement from Oklahoma State and LSU. I think Oklahoma State will be the wedge between Oklahoma and Texas on who will be conference champs, much like Tech last year. As for LSU, I would be very surprised if they are not the next best team in the SEC in 2009. I also agree with Alan - Notre Dame could do some serious damage, and I also think Ball State will be a bit better than the bottom 20%. I hope that's not wishful thinking...

RV: Insert Homer Pick Here. I am an unabashed Notre Dame fan, and it's time for this team to come to fruition. If someone told me that an OL had 100+ starts, a top 3 WR crew, top 3 TE crew, a QB who can make every throw (and better stats than Stafford through their first two years), talent all over the backfield, a Tenuta-blitzkrieg defense, a soph terror at DE, one of the best defensive backfields in the country and lost very little on either side of the ball...I'd say you're describing a top 10 team. Throw in that schedule and it's almost a lock that they'll be top 10. The only problem is that everyone loves to hate on the Irish, so any slip up will be deemed a death to the Weis era (and rightfully so). But beyond the Fighting Irish, I feel like Miami is going to get their swagger back. There's too much pride and talent to have them continually suck balls and Randy Shannon can't be that bad of a coach. They need to get the ball rolling, and quickly.

5.) It's still a long way to kickoff... what's on your to-do list this summer before the fun begins?
Alan: Lots of barbecuing, getting ready for kickoff, and trying to figure out how in the world I'm going to prepare for the fall. Hopefully my Yankees will get their collective asses in gear, so as not to give me an ulcer.

Edge: Red Sox. 8-0 against the Yanks this year. Alan, I'll send you a bottle of Tums and some Prilosec. But more importantly, the Phish concert at Deer Creek. Definitely the top priority of the summer. And if any of you are in Muncie, check out the local "festivals". Your rock & roll reporter will be making some musical appearances this summer.

RV: Well, my main goal is to get the transition to our wordpress OTP page finished, but that's a hell of a project in a busy summer. Hopefully I can continue to drop my handicap near single digits, find a rich, mute ex-gymnast to marry and find a way to visit friends on both coasts. I submit that none of this will happen, but without goals in life, what do we have?

Readers... Comment section... Go!

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