Pinkett's blunder teaches valuable NCAA lesson


Pinkett's blunder teaches valuable NCAA lesson

Lets hope that Allen Pinkett doesnt have a fondness for Guinness or a liking for the Temple Bar because he wont be in Dublin, Ireland this weekend. Hes been sent home from Notre Dames opener against Navy on the Emerald Isle for not being sensitive to both his employer (and alma mater) and to the world at large.

As you probably know by now, Pinkett -- a commentator for the Fighting Irish radio broadcasts -- said some really stupid things about college football.

He said a criminal element is a nice thing to have. He sounded excited that coach Brian Kelly had to suspend several players for the early part of the season.

"I've always felt like to have a successful team you've got to have a few bad citizens on the team," Pinkett said in a radio interview. "That's how Ohio State used to win all the time. They would have two or three guys that were criminals and that just adds to the chemistry of the team. I think Notre Dame is growing because maybe they have some guys that are doing something worthy of a suspension, which creates edge on the football team.

"You can't have a football team full of choirboys. You get your butt kicked if you've got a team full of choirboys, so you've got to have a little bit of edge. But the coach has to be the dictator and the ultimate ruler. Here's my opinion: You don't hand out suspensions unless you know you've got somebody behind that guy that can make plays."

In case anyone was thinking that Pinkett might have misspoke -- as so many in the media profess to do these days -- he, when given a chance to back off his comments, stuck by his dumb words.

"I absolutely meant that he said. "The chemistry is so important on a football team. You have to have a couple of bad guys that sort of teeter on that edge to add to the flavor of the guys that are going to always do right because that just adds to the chemistry of the football team. You have to have ... you look at the teams that have won in the past, they have always had a couple of criminals."

Aside from the sheer stupidity of saying such a thing when youre employed by a Catholic university that puts up a very strong front that it is above the pond scum of college football, Pinkett committed two other sins. The first was being tone deaf in a climate of increased scrutiny of everything in his profession. The second was lacking the simple power of observation, which is kind of key for an analyst.

Celebrating the criminal element in college football is -- to say the least -- distasteful in an era when teams have vacated entire seasons and championships for cheating and former coordinators are led away in handcuffs after the most horrifying crime imaginable. Clearly Pinkett wasnt thinking about Penn State, but he should have been because it is the dark criminal cloud over everything in college football and will remain so for a while. But even glorifying the mundane sins of Buckeyes selling jerseys for tattoos is ridiculous.

But Pinkett may have just lost his job as insightful analyst because he hasnt really been paying attention. For the past three years, Notre Dame has lost to Stanford, a program whose marching band is suspended more often than any members of its roster. Notre Dame will insist that super nerd (and noted non-criminal) Andrew Luck was the reason behind the three consecutive defeats -- the most in the rivalrys history. But the rest of the non-criminal element for the Cardinal did a pretty good job of kicking the Irish tail.

And, lets be honest, Notre Dame tries to have more in common with Stanford than it does with Ohio State.

What Pinkett said has a kernel of truth: you cant have a great football team with a roster of choirboys. You need nastiness and grit and diversity and a little anger. Do you really need crime?

Not unless your definition of crime is an over-the-top, poorly dressed trombone player.

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino


Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset


Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset


BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.


SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.


A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.


SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.