Penn State University and the football community had an absolutely dreadful start to the new year in 2012. The Jerry Sandusky scandal was completely broken wide open by January, and more was coming out about the terror he imposed on those children throughout the years. Then on January 22, 2012 longtime head coach Joe Paterno died from complications from lung cancer after a short battle with the disease. Everything that alumni, faculty, current and former players had known was now tattered and seemingly irrelevant compared to the monstrosities the children Jerry Sandusky abused had gone through.
The bowl season kicks off today with games in New Mexico and Idaho. For any curious soul with no connection to Nevada, Arizona, Toledo or No. 22 Utah State, don’t worry – ESPN has you covered.
Actually, save for a few cameos by its sister stations, CBS and Fox, the network should have you smothered as it will broadcast 29 games from this afternoon through the national title contest Jan. 7 that pits Notre Dame against Alabama.
Granted, things may not be Colin Kaepernick-like exciting as his former Pack take on Rich Rodriguez’s Wildcats, but that game pits two of the country’s top runners – Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey (1,757 yards, 20 TDs rushing) and Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson (1,703, 22) – squaring off. The nine-win Rockets going against the 10-win Aggies isn’t exactly an awful matchup, either.
Yeah, yeah … we’re all just biding time until the Irish and Tide meet up in that winner-take-all showdown. Aside from alums and the bean counters at each institution, no other bowl means that much. So what?
No reason why we can’t enjoy the ride along the way to that BCS culmination.
Yesterday, the athletic director for the Western Kentucky Hilltopers, Todd Stewart, made a bold decision and gave Bobby Petrino a second chance.
People all over the country have voiced their opinion on how Stewart is risking the integrity of the university by setting morals aside to hire a coach with a questionable background to win at all costs.
Let he who is without fault cast the first stone.
There’s no denying that Bobby Petrino screwed up. Royally.
Last spring, Petrino took a Sunday afternoon motorcycle ride that changed the course of his life forever. It wasn’t just the ride. It was the intern that was along for the ride. It was the lies he told to athletic director, Jeff Long, in the hours and days following the wreck. It was the uncovering of the fact that the intern was actually Petrino’s girlfriend. And it was the fact that Petrino had manipulated the hiring process to get her a position within the athletic department.
Encore… Encore… Encore?
If his mind happens to drift off to such thoughts, Johnny Manziel must be wondering how in the name of Reveille he can top his initial show on college football’s grand stage.
All the Texas A&M quarterback did in 2012 was become the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy, and he did so with style, with panache, with a make-something-out-of-nothing skill set the likes of which we haven’t seen since Doug Flutie was making people roll their eyes in disbelief and disgust – only with a couple caveats: Manziel earned his acclaim with foot speed the magician never even dreamed of having and posted his numbers against the best competition in the country.
What do you do if you’re the quarterback of a major division one college football program that defied all the odds and had a record breaking year in the first season in your new conference?
What do you do if you’re the quarterback who took your team into Tuscaloosa, Alabama and dethroned the number 1 ranked, mighty Crimson Tide when nobody gave you a chance to even keep it close?
What do you do if you’re the quarterback of a football team that finished the regular season ranked #8 in the BCS polls and secured a date in the Cotton Bowl under first year head coach Kevin Sumlin?
What do you do if you’re the quarterback that became the first freshman player, in the history of the award, to win the Heisman Trophy; and the first for your school in over 50 years?
What do you do if you’re Johnny Manziel?
Go to Disney Land? Actually, that response is reserved for Super Bowl MVP’s.
So where do you go? Well, there’s nowhere to go but up, just barely. Especially after the season Texas A&M just had. And after the records Johnny Manziel broke this year, there’s not much more he can accomplish.