Reading Between the Headlines

You know you’ve reached the waning days of summer when the Sports Illustrated College Football Preview lands in your mailbox.  As a kid, you hate to see that issue because it means summer is almost over and you have to go back to school.  For some, as you get older, for four (or five) falls, that means you get to head back to college and live in a place that is pants-optional.  After that, it just means fall is near, so don’t forget to treat the lawn for cooler temperatures!  Lame.

In any case, the SI College Football issue gives hope to people that love college football and are fanatical about their alma mater or adopted alma mater.  However, this only works if your team is actually good.  SI used to rank all 100+ D1 teams with a predicted won-loss record.  That was heartbreaking for many of us as we would page through the Top 25, Top 50, Top 75, and then finally settle into the Top 104, which is where we’d find our school, nestled between football powerhouses Kent State and Buffalo.  In college football, hope doesn’t always spring eternal, but tailgates do, so it’s not all bad.  On to some headlines:

  • Rex Ryan and Tony Dungy had a “man to man” discussion about Ryan’s cursing on “Hard Knocks.”

I lived in New York for a time and became engrossed in their culture of fandom.  It was fascinating to hear about the division between Jets v. Giants fans, Yankees v. Mets fans, and the Knicks v. a team of mole people.  Nonetheless, without fail, Jets fans fulfilled almost every Jets fan stereotype you’ve ever heard.  They were insufferable.  As much as I despised the Giants, I tended to watch more of their games because every time I saw Woody Johnson or Eric Mangini on television, it made me want to quit watching football.  Rex Ryan has changed all of that.  Ever since that first string of F-bombs and handful of pretzel M&Ms, I’ve become smitten.  I hope they win the Super Bowl.  Who cares if that means a nationwide shortage of Skoal?  I want to see Rex unleash a stream of curses while eating a Chipotle burrito so large it makes Joe Buck look like a child.

Clemens is either a massive liar or this is the worst case of “guilty by association” in history.  This is really just the nail in the coffin of an already-tarnished legacy: Clemens was always viewed as a jerk who didn’t really play with much class or humility.  Between his exit in Boston, forcing a trade out of Toronto, then lying to the Yankees about retirement, he has never really been anything more than a “me-first” player.  Sure, this just about crushes any chance of a Hall-of-Fame election for him, but to be honest, even if he was elected, it’s not like any of his teams would look to him as an ambassador of the game.  Maybe he should just tell the judge he was hypnotized.

Wayne Gretzky is one of my favorite hockey players ever.  Nonetheless, one of my favorite moments in “Swingers” occurs when Vince Vaughn’s character makes “Little Wayne’s” head bleed during a game of NHL ’94.  In terms of players who I’d most like to see this happen to, Eli Manning is up there.  So is his brother.  As well as Jay Cutler.  And Tony Romo.  I don’t have any particular disdain for these guys, nor do I wish them any bodily harm, but I just think if it’s going to happen to anyone, I want it to happen to them.  If it happened to Rex Ryan, I think the world might explode in badass.  He’d probably wipe his forehead with hot dog roll and get back to coaching.

Piece of advice for Pirates management: keep this kid out of the Arizona Fall League.

Looking pretty and feminine is expensive!  Plus, he’s got to take care of his wife and family’s expenses as well.  Haha!  Oh Becks, we kid because you’re a washed-up soccer player that really hasn’t done too much in the last ten years to warrant any kind of attention, but you married a plastic Spice Girl that loves Los Angeles so now we’re stuck with you.  And yet, you make millions.  This has been your “Why It Rules to be a Professional Athlete” update.

That’s all for this week.  Thank you very much indeed for your support of the Deuce.  We know the postings haven’t been as regular as we’d like, but the next few weeks promise to bring some new (and hopefully funny) things that have absolutely nothing to do with Stat Boy.  Until then, if you need me, I’ll be pre-gaming.

Somewhere John Calipari is saluting Rich Rodriguez’s ability to be under investigation by the NCAA Committee on Infractions for potential (yeah, potential) violations at two schools at the same time. He goes before the committee for the Michigan allegations on August 14th. West Virginia has their day in December.

Earlier this spring, the Michigan athletic department sent a letter to Booster Club members and other fans about avoiding behavior that could get the school in trouble with the NCAA. Here’s the email in its entirety.

Maybe Michigan should spend more time worrying about Rodriguez and his poor record to date rather than their fans. He should receive email reminders every day telling him not to violate NCAA rules. It probably wouldn’t make a difference. He’d just delete the emails without reading them.

A closer look at the NCAA report on West Virginia shows that in violation 5(a) “Prior to the 2005-06 academic year through the fall semester of the 2007-08 academic year, the [WVU] compliance staff communicated concerns to the football staff regarding various individuals with interactions with football student-athletes during practice and game-day activities. However, individuals who were considered to be noncoaching sport-specific staff members continued to engage in impermissible activities… subsequent to the discussions.”

In layman’s terms, West Virginia’s compliance staff told Rodriguez he was breaking the rules and he ignored them. It is interesting to note that nowhere in the investigation does it mention the compliance staff expressing concern to Bill Stewart or his assistants-for better or for worse.

No one can be surprised that Rodriguez is in trouble for his action or lack thereof at West Virginia and Michigan. That’s like being surprised when the sun rises in the morning or Marion Barry gets in trouble with the law.

This situation was foreseeable but the desire to win overruled common sense. The football program is struggling and now the threat of NCAA penalties looms over the school. They’re enough to raise the red flags which should have been raised when Rodriguez was first considered for the job. Maybe it’s best to find a reason to hit the eject button and find a head coach with a whiff of integrity before he ruins Michigan football more than he has already. That’s the impartial observer in me. The Wisconsin fan says keep him at all costs. He’s doing a great job.

It’s not all bad at Michigan. Ann Arbor has two things going for it even if football is going down the toilet. Mayer Hawthorne and Poutine Burger. Let us know if you’ve had the burger and/or you’re willing to send us one with no Ex-Lax or roofies.

Here go the Mayer Hawthorne: Maybe So, Maybe No

Remember Notti Boy? He put it down for Cedar Rapids and the Hawkeyes. He and Herky the Hawk better wake up. Nebraska’s coming to the Big Ten and well, see for yourself. The game has been raised.

Where do we even start with this? Lucky Charm and Whyte Myk? Fruity Pebble and Nucka Berry must have had the day off. Snow is hanging his head in shame.

How could we forget Flocain who has about as much conviction and street cred as Gil from the Simpsons? Him rhyme card read good. He needs to drop the Ed Hardy and “extra from a Troop or Silk video” look. Actually they should drop the whole act. Lawrence Phillips and Eric Crouch are the only people we want to hear rep Nebraska on a track.

Note: Everyone needs an ear cleansing after that abortion. Typing “wake up” made me think of Brand Nubian. How about Wake Up (Reprise in the Sunshine)? I’m putting it out there. One For All ranks in the top 10 hip-hop albums of all time. Yeah I said it.

Herky The Hawk Said It’s Cool, Dude

There should be a regulation that allows police officers to taser drunk college football players at any time. A taser would have done wonders when I bounced in Madison back in the day. 3/4 of the bar would have been twitching on the ground. I would have been firing off that taser indiscriminately like bukkake in a Japanese porno. Football players and entitled kids from Long Island rocking the black puffy North Face jackets and daddy’s credit card. Anyone who went to Wisconsin in the late 90s and early/mid 00s will know the bar.

Iowa running back Jewel Hampton and cornerback Jordan I. Morris-Bernstine were arrested for public intoxication and “cited for presence in a licensed liquor establishment after hours”.

Hampton was involved in several fights over the course of the evening in the same bar. Morris-Bernstine could have walked away but he kept interfering with the officers as they dealt with Hampton. This was after being told to move away. He didn’t listen so he was taken into custody as well.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz says the incident will be handled internally. Bobby Bowden would say that’s just “boys being boys” and call it a day. If Ferentz wants to put Iowa over the top, he needs to start handling these situations like Bowden and blame the victims.

Damn damn damn. Rich Rodriguez is already off to a poor start in Ann Arbor. Recruits are already dropping expectations and goals faster than Warren Sapp dropp…What? Too soon.

Incoming freshman receiver Ricardo Miller wants to emulate his idol Braylon Edwards on the field.

“I feel most certain I can be the next Braylon Edwards,” Miller said, referring to Michigan’s all-time leading receiver (3,541 yards), who is now with the New York Jets. “I’m not saying this because I’m arrogant or cocky. I just feel that the work I put in on the field and off the field, and the type of player I already am with my height and my hands …

“Braylon Edwards was an idol to me. He’s known for going up and getting balls and being very versatile with his route running. So with that in mind I just feel I can be the next No. 1 receiver that everybody will talk about.”

Yeesh. The picture above should tell one everything they need to know about Edwards’ hands.  There’s no doubt he goes up for balls. Getting them is another story. Miller probably shouldn’t equate his hands to Edwards’ unless he’s planning on dropping more passes.

Then again Miller could be talking about having the same hand speed and velocity when he punches people out of jealousy because they’re friends with people more famous than him. Hopefully he’ll take responsibility for his successes and failures unlike his idol.

Whatever Miller means, it’s probably safe to assume that he has no intention of catching staph infections like Edwards and everyone else on the Browns including mascots TD, CB, Chomps and Trapper.