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RUSCIN’S RANT - There is no incentive for following NCAA rules

Oct 22, 2013 -- 12:18pm

On Tuesday, the NCAA released the penalties for the University of Miami concluding an over two year investigation into illegal activity centering around former booster and ex-con Nevin Shapiro.  The Canes lost nine football scholarships and former hoops coach Frank Haith (now at Missouri) got a five game suspension.

Bruce Pearl has recruits at a bar be cue at his house and gets a 3 year punishment.

Frank Haith knows that a booster is paying players and he gets only five games.

We have reached the point where the people in charge have no power.

The NCAA has never been this hollow and weak kneed.

There are no incentives for the cheaters to stop cheating.

The reward is much greater than the risk.

So here is my advice to all athletic departments that are doing things the right way….stop!

Following the rules gets you nowhere.  Breaking rules gets you wins, fame, glory, money and very little punishment from the NCAA.  I don’t think there is anything morally wrong with breaking NCAA rules on purpose, it’s not like they are threatening life or property when you break them.

So you have a set of rules that don’t really matter and if you break them you don’t really get punished.  Why would you want to follow these rules again?

Society needs rules.  You don’t need to go 75 mph down main street in your car.  You can’t just go around robbing people.  In sports, you have to have the rules of the game enforced by officials.  With all that being said, I don’t see why we need the NCAA anymore.

Let the schools pay and do whatever they want, pigs will get fed and hogs will get slaughtered (pardon the pun)

I am a college sports fan at heart and if my team was cheating and winning I don’t care.  They aren’t breaking laws, just NCAA rules that don’t have any weight behind them.

I think the lack of punishment for the lack of institutional control at Miami opens up a new era of the wide west of college football.  You just better hope your athletic boosters have enough dough to keep up with the rest of the conference.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WINNERS & LOSERS: Week 6

Oct 08, 2013 -- 12:11pm

Winner:  Bret Bielema

I know fans didn’t like the call, but Bielema is getting credit for knowing that obscure punt fair catch rule that we saw in the Arkansas-Florida game on Saturday.  We all know now that it is a stupid rule, but it was called correctly by the officials on the field.  On a fair catch, the kicking team can’t touch the ball until it hits the ground basically.  The return man gets a couple of steps of bobbling, so he can’t juggle the ball all the way down the field and not be touched.  Bring back the two yard halo rule.  Why was that so bad again?

Loser:  Florida Defense

They complained about Arkansas’ offensive line being dirty in the week prior to the game and these slime balls revealed their true colors Saturday night at the Swamp.  Arkansas hasn’t faced a defense that was that blatantly cheap in a long time.  Florda had plenty of late, cheap shots on quarterback Brandon Allen and didn’t seem to care about the 15 yard penalties that came along with them.  When teams ignore 15 yard penalties for roughing the passer, the officials should start throwing players out of the game.

Winner:  Whoever put Condoleezza Rice on the college football playoff selection committee

I think this is a great idea.  Smart people can figure out who the four best teams in college football are if they do enough research and watch enough games.  Just because she is a woman doesn’t mean she doesn’t know anything about football or can’t learn more about football.  Smart always wins and having a very smart woman on the selection committee doesn’t hurt anyone.

 

Loser:  Brandon Allen

When you complete less than 50 percent of your passes regardless of opponent you get on the list.  I have also noticed that receivers are not giving max effort to make Allen’s sometimes off target throws into completions.  He has to find a new favorite target other than Javontee Herndon.  That guy simply isn’t good enough to be a top target in this league.  The sooner Allen starts looking to get the ball to Hunter Henry more often during a game, the better Allen will be.

Back to the lack of effort by the wide receivers…they either can’t do it or they don’t want to do it.  It doesn’t look like all of the players on offense have bought into Allen being a leader just yet.

 

Winner:  Jonathan Williams

This guy just won’t be stopped and I love it.  It gets me fired up to watch the way he breaks tackles and refuses to be stopped.  He had a great catch and run against Texas A&M and a great reverse the field run for a score against Florida last week.  He will do whatever he has to do to get into the end zone and I think he one of the most valuable parts of the Razorback offense.

 

Loser:  Jadeveon Clowney

He basically quit on his team last week in the Kentucky game.  There isn’t much else to say about it.  He may be hurt, but he has completely lost the benefit of the doubt because he is being openly called out by his coaches.  I think Clowney’s presence creates a huge distraction for the Gamecocks to deal with and it’s one of the reasons I like Arkansas to upset South Carolina this weekend in Fayetteville.

RUSCIN’S RANT: Winners & Losers

Oct 02, 2013 -- 2:22pm

 

Winner:  Aaron Murray

Murray delivered a big time performance for the second time this year.  I like it when critics tell someone they can’t do something and that athlete goes out and proves them wrong.  I feel good for Aaron Murray and the shows he has put on against South Carolina and LSU.  His clutch-ness has kept Georgia relevant in the national championship picture.

Loser:  Arkansas’ Defense

One of the most common excuses I heard following the Texas A&M game was that “nobody has stopped that offense this year.”  Arkansas’ defensive coaches said themselves the performance wasn’t good enough against the Aggies and I agree.  The tackling took a massive step back and A&M’s trio of average running backs ran all over the Razorbacks.  Chris Ash has a lot of butt chewing to do this week to get the defense back to the level they were playing at earlier this year, unless what we saw in early September was a fraud.

Winner:  USC Athletic Director Pat Haden

He fired Lane Kiffin in an airport parking lot.  Kiffin deserved less but I applaud the move and as Jen Bielema would say… #karma.

Loser:  Mack Brown

Add Texas great Earl Campbell to the group of people calling for Mack to go.  I’m sure Mack will get some sort of cushy retirement package when he is shoved out the door in Austin at the end of the year because Texas isn’t relevant anymore.  Oklahoma is going to crush them at the state fair and the death march for Mack will continue.

Winner:  Jim Cheney, Arkansas offensive coordinator

I have been critical of Cheney in the past but I will give him some DAP this week.  Arkansas’ offensive game plan was good on Saturday against Texas A&M.   The game plan was creative without having to rely on stupid trick plays.  It was the offense that didn’t cash in on a few key stops from the Razorback defense, but when it’s your first year in a system, you can’t always capitalize when those opportunities come along.

Loser:  Notre Dame Football

Less than a year from appearing in the BCS championship game, Notre Dame football is back being where it belongs;  in the land of the college football mediocre.  Maybe the Irish need more linebackers with fake dead girlfriends to help convince college football fans that they have a good team again.

WINNERS & LOSERS — Week 4

Sep 23, 2013 -- 12:29pm

Winner:  LSU

As I write this today, they are the best team in the SEC.  LSU has an explosive offense led by quarterback Zach Mettenberger.  LSU is always great on defense.  This team has all the pieces to compete for national championship and that isn’t just because they beat Auburn on Saturday.  If LSU beats Georgia on the road this week, they could be favored in every game the rest of the year, even against Alabama in November.

Loser:  Jim Cheney/Bret Bielema

This is a big boy radio station and a big boy website and you can rip guys and still like them which is what is happening here.  Cheney’s offensive game plan against Rutgers never kept the Scarlet Knights off balance, with the exception of the first drive of the 2nd half.  Keeping defenses guessing is about more than running trick plays.  You have to have passing to set up the run and that isn’t happening now.  Maybe it’s because A.J. Derby’s inability to throw the ball, but what if it isn’t.

As for Bielema, it is my opinion that he called for things to go conservative way too early against Rutgers.  When you are on the road and it’s only the 3rd quarter, even up three scores you can’t get comfortable.  They got comfortable and they got beat.  Also, I don’t think this team ever believed they could win this game and that is on the coaches to make these players believe.

Winner:  Tyler Murphy, Florida quarterback

Florida lost quarterback Jeff Driskel Saturday to a broken leg and it was addition by subtraction I’m afraid to say.  Tyler Murphy came in and the Florida offense sparked to life.  If Murphy can keep getting better every week, Florida has a chance to win the east.  The Gators have the best defense in the SEC, pair that with a dynamic offense and watch out!

Loser:  Alabama

Nick Saban’s team slept through most of the game with Colorado State.  It’s a good time for a wakeup call game because if the Tide doesn’t show up against Ole Miss this week, Alabama will lose.  It’s as simple as that.

Loser:  All Players United protest

A group of players had the letters “APU” written on their gear this week to hope to change things for college athletes.  This doesn’t do anything.  Nobody noticed and nobody cares.  If the APU movement really wants to make a statement, stage a sit in.  Get a ton of players at big schools to show up and refuse to play.  That will make a huge statement and people will pay attention.

 

WINNERS & LOSERS — Week 3

Sep 16, 2013 -- 11:19am

 

WINNER:  Johnny Manziel

Finally, his play is overshadowing the fact that he acts like a 20 year old idiot off the field.  He had a great game against Alabama, but two crucial interceptions helped to flip the game in favor of Alabama.  After the game, Manziel actually spoke to reporters and he could not have handled the moment better.  He said the things exactly as the losing quarterback in a big game should.  He was poised, calm and dull.  For Manziel, dull is good when he is at a press conference.  I was happy to see some maturity from this guy for the first time ever.

LOSER:   Mack Brown

You could give him this honor for wanting to make Johnny Manziel a safety, but we will give it to him because his time in Austin is over.  I don’t know how the exit will go down, but Mack Brown will not be the head coach at Texas in 2014.  I love it.  Texas has it all…money, brand recognition, great city, they even have their own TV channel!  In spite of all that, the Longhorns are soft like cotton on the field.  There is no toughness in Austin anymore and Mack has to go so they can bring someone in who can make Texas football players have some guts again.

WINNER:  Seahawks fans

It’s not college football, but it is awesome to watch a football game on TV with a crowd that doesn’t have to be told by a video board when to be loud.  Seattle’s crowd Sunday night set the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd at a sporting event and I could hear them loud and clear on my TV in my living room. 

LOSER:  Jim Cheney

I thought the offense got a little cute at the worst possible time Saturday against Southern Miss.  When backup quarterback A.J. Derby is in the game…that is not the time to experiment with Keiro Small in the wildcat.  When the ball is on the 41 yard line…that is not the time to experiment with Kiero Small in the wildcat.  I can’t come up with any reason ever for Keiro Small to be in the wildcat.  It reminded me of a pizza buffet that has a bunch of crazy pizzas on the buffet but no peperoni.  Play the hits!  Williams, Collins, Henry.  Less cuteness, just play the hits.

WINNER:  Arkansas’ Defense

I don’t know if it’s the opponents or not but the Razorback defense has shown me something through three weeks of the season.  Charlie Partridge has made a good defensive line better.  Robert Thomas and Trey Flowers have greatly improved.  They are getting decent play out of the secondary.  Also, I haven’t noticed a ton of missed tackles.  Do they play perfect on every single snap?  No.  When you look up at the end of the game, they have more than gotten the job done.  I still want to see them perform this way against better teams.

RUSCIN’S RANT — Pulse of the Fan Base

Sep 10, 2013 -- 7:31pm

We are in the third week of Razorback football season and I have noticed a pattern.  So far this season, each week has had a theme.  Week one was easy to detect, it was opening week.  Excitement was everywhere to see Bret Bielema and his Razorbacks run through the “A” for the first time and they delivered with a stellar performance, beating Louisiana soundly.

Last week, we all got distracted.  Samford week became “road, home game” week.  Bielema did something no Razorback coach is supposed to; tell the truth about how difficult the travel to Little Rock is!  Didn’t he get the memo?  Little Rock is magical, its enchanted and it is not be referred to as the longest road trip of the season!  This comment kicked off discussion throughout the state about a topic that will be on the front burner in three years, whether or not the U of A will continue to schlep players, equipment and personnel to War Memorial Stadium to put on a football show for the Little Rock metro area.  I think this practice was perfect for the by gone era of Razorback football when the nicest stadium in the state that the Hogs played in was War Memorial Stadium, but that was more than 25 years ago and it’s time for this tradition to be put to bed.  I could go on but I will save that for another blog post in three years.

So as we all ranted and raved and got cocky about the Hogs, wouldn’t you know they didn’t really show up Saturday night and were actually trailing Samford in the 4th quarter.  To quote the great Principal Richard Belding from the iconic teen sitcome “Saved By The Bell,”  what is going on here?

Then in the 4th quarter the planets aligned properly and the Razorbacks cruised to a 10 point win thanks to the rushing performance of Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins.

Two games with two very different looking performances have led us to this week.

It’s Southern Miss Week.

The team that has lost 14 in a row, including a perfect season of 0-12 a season ago is coming to Fayetteville this weekend which means one thing.

Around here it’s known as “they’ll be fine” week.

As soon as the post-game phone calls started coming into our radio show, the majority of fans had one phrase to share….”they’ll be fine.”

What does this mean?  They’ll be fine?

The team that almost lost to an FCS team will be fine?

This is the sound a fan base makes who got a little too over confident in order to prevent thoughts of another nasty season to creep into our brains.

So let’s discuss it.  Will they really be “fine”?

Will this dynamic rushing attack continue to click when real live SEC defenses like Florida, South Carolina and Alabama come on the schedule next month?  My guess is they will have their moments but will mostly be slowed down.

Will Brandon Allen play like he did against the Ragin’ Cajuns or like he did against Samford?  Honestly, he will probably be somewhere in the middle.  All those reps they give the running game in practice mean that the passing game doesn’t get to be as polished as we have seen it be in the past so it will have hit and miss moments.

If you want to know the real answer to all these questions, here is the truth.  The Razorbacks have only played two games and there aren’t any absolute truths about this football team yet.

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