Rocky’s V: Grambling returns, chasing the “Big 3” and carnival games

10/25/2013

Rockys VI. Grambling returns to football field

My dad always had some great sayings he’s given me throughout my life, but one of his best is this: “Life owes you nothing.” But especially in today’s age of entitlement, many people seem to think the opposite… that life owes them everything. My dad’s saying is what I immediately thought of when hearing of last week’s decision by Grambling’s players to walk out of practice and not travel to their game that week. The team was said to be disappointed with the direction of the team as well as unsatisfied with what they viewed as poor conditions of their facilities and travel arrangements. They may have a fair argument, but it is not the place of 18-21-year-old kids who are receiving financial aid from the university to quit on Grambling and quit on the game of football. The players may have thought Grambling owed them plush facilities and a 12-0 record, but it doesn’t. Yes, there may be a drop in revenue at the school thus making it difficult for the school to provide the resources that were “promised” to the recruited athletes. Yes, it is not easy to go through a mid-season coaching change. But you know what?  Deal with it like a man, not a spoiled brat. The Tigers will return to the field this week, but hopefully among the administration, coaches, and most importantly, the parents of these kids, an important life lesson was not lost. All of us in adulthood have gone through some situations that have been unpleasant, but you make the best of it. You don’t quit on ANYTHING. If kids do not learn this at a young age, like in this situation, they will grow up without the scars and toughness to deal with adversity when they get older and it really matters.

II. Ohio State deserves no more than their #4 rank

The first BCS rankings came out this week with Alabama on top, Florida State at #2, Oregon third and Ohio State at #4. Buckeye fans are already lashing out about not enough respect for their program that has not lost a game in two years. But I’d like to put aside all the statistics, rankings, and hypotheses for a moment and just go by what my eyeballs are telling me when I watch the top college football teams and that’s this: Ohio State is FAR from being in the same conversation as Alabama, Oregon and Florida State. While OSU was struggling to put away Iowa, Alabama put 52 on Arkansas, Oregon laid 62 on a good Washington State team, and in a dominating performance nobody saw coming, Florida State smashed Clemson right out of Death Valley. And that was just this weekend. To me, Ohio State is right now laying the foundation for future greatness under Urban Meyer, but this is not the year they are the top team. They still don’t have the four- and five-star talent pervasive throughout their team that that I see playing for the Crimson Tide, Ducks and Seminoles. It will come in time, but right now, they are not in the same league roster-wise as the Big 3.

III. So who ends up ahead at season’s end, FSU or Oregon?

Schedule wise, Oregon has the tougher upcoming schedule, with the likes of UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State looming. The Seminoles toughest remaining games are Miami and Florida, neither of which are looking like powerhouses this season. So if each team wins out, the Ducks clearly take it in my opinion. FSU may have a shot if they blow everyone out as the season carries on, but to me there is another factor involved. I feel many were hoping to see an Alabama-Oregon national championship game last year, but a late Oregon loss to Stanford and an undefeated Notre Dame team got in the way. Voters will not miss this opportunity this year should both Alabama and Oregon go undefeated.

IV. Mariota will win the Heisman

Sadly, it’s time for me to concede that Tajh Boyd will not win the Heisman this year after a poor performance in his team’s shellacking by Florida State. I will now jump on the Marcus Mariota bandwagon as my new pick for college football’s top award. His 19 touchdown passes and ZERO interceptions are reason alone, but the true reason lies in the fact that to me, Mariota is totally invaluable to the Oregon Duck football team. He is the most important player on arguably the nation’s best team. Johnny Manziel dazzles, but Texas A&M is not a great team with a defense that is abysmal. Plus, we’ve already been there, done that. Other top candidates Jameis Winston of FSU and AJ McCarron of Alabama are great, but they also have NFL-type talent all over that roster, especially on the offensive and defensive lines. Mariota plays in more of a system-based program and without him, that system fails miserably. I think the award that goes to the nation’s most outstanding player should consider just how valuable that player is to his particular team.

V. NCAA one again proves itself inconsistent and someday may be irrelevant

The NCAA hands out punishments in the same way a carnival worker hands out prizes. It’s like they have this giant wheel they spin and whatever random sanction the arrow lands on when the wheel stops spinning is the punishment they dish out. This week, the NCAA ruled that Miami (FL) will not face any future bowl bans and will lose nine measly scholarships. This punishment stems from a rogue booster handing out millions of dollars in benefits over the years to Hurricane players. USC is rightfully disgusted by this ruling because they lost a 2004 BCS championship, two bowl seasons and 30 scholarships all because ONE family (Reggie Bush’s) received a couple hundred thousand dollars illegally. Add in the slap on the wrist for Johnny Manziel earlier this year, when they handed out another circus-worthy “punishment” of a half-game suspension for Manziel in a game the Aggies were going to win handily without him. To me, this is just another display of weakness and inconsistency that adds fuel to the argument that someday college football’s powerhouses will leave the NCAA for a four or five “superconference” system. When a governing body doesn’t show the competency to do its job, the members that they oversee will begin to look elsewhere.

– Rocky Boiman

Rocky Boiman is an analyst for WestwoodOne’s coverage of NCAA Football. Each week in “Rocky’s V,” the former Notre Dame captain and Super Bowl champion offers his opinion on five topics that have captured his interest from around college football. You can also follow Rocky on Twitter.

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