White Sox

Frankie O: Just business as usual for BCS

Frankie O: Just business as usual for BCS

Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010
4:56 PM

By Frankie O

It seems I cant pick up a paper or watch TV for more than five minutes these days and have to hear more about the Cam Newton saga.

Once again, NCAA football, and the BCS, are front and center in the sports conversation. As usual though, its for all of the wrong reasons. I could go on and on about my disdain about the BCS and my desire for a playoff for Division I football. (Football subdivisions? What does that mean? Is that taken from the old Rush song?)

I dont even rant about it from behind the bar anymore because everyone agrees. Everyone!

I have never met a fan of college football who thinks the current system is the best we could have. So every year, the media conversation gets ramped up about the inequities of the system and the plights of this years outsiders. (T.C.U. and Boise St.) Theres a great article in this weeks Sports Illustrated that describes the financials of the current bowl system and shows why those in charge dont want to give it up.

Thats because they are making a ton of cash. Really? Go figure! And thats the point. Football and basketball at big-time universities are big-time money makers. Have you seen the seating capacities of the football stadiums at the Big Ten schools that are filled to the rafters every Saturday? It would figure then, that the people who perform each Saturday would be very valuable commodities. And they are. But at this point, they are the ONLY ones not making a huge profit from the games being played.

And that takes us to Mr. Newton, or make that the two Mr. Newtons, since Cams father is also at the center of college footballs latest scandal. Ill take for granted that we all know the allegations that Newton Sr. was asking for cash for his son to play. Ill also take for granted that most know that Newton Jr. has had a checkered past, to say the least, from his time at the University of Florida.

What I wont take for granted is that the person behind the allegations against the Newtons has some issues of his own. Besides having once played for a school that Newton spurned, it seems that Kenny Rogers, who works for agent Ian Greengross, is the subject of 15 allegations of misconduct by the NFL Players Association. I guess big money just brings out the best in folks.

My feeling here, just like the Reggie Bush saga, which took FIVE YEARS to figure out: it is going to be a while, if ever, before we can figure out whos telling the truth. The point I cant let go of is how the system is set up for this to happen over and over again. Do you think that Newton is the only player in big-time college sports that has made a bad decision? Do you think we would be hearing about it now if Newtons Auburn Tiger squad did not have a chance to play in the BCS title game?

Big money is a ruthless business. It brings out the worst in everyone - when they arent getting a piece that is. There is so much that everyone wants some. And again, the only ones that arent getting any are the players themselves. So what would you expect the temptation level to be for a student athlete to take some, if it was being offered?

Student athletes, who almost every time have families with very little? Im just a bartender, but I would imagine the temptation is great, especially when you have con men from every side telling you how much is out there for everyone.

The answer? I dont know if there will ever be one that is foolproof as long as money is involved, but the thought of a scholarship being enough, or the only form of compensation for someone brought to a team, Im sorry, I mean an institution of higher learning, to help them generate more cash is so last century. (How much does a scholarship really cost anyway?) I know one thing for sure, its not as much as what the school says it is.

Another thought: NFL owners must be green with envy when they see 107,000 paying customers at Happy Valley and know that the number one NFL expense, the players, doesnt eat up all the profits at a college game.

Moving forward, there has to be a better way to compensate the upper tier of athletes that everyone knows are there for a reason. I think that any form of additional compensation should be tied to actual classroom performance, but thats me, Im a dreamer!

But even Mr. Dreamer realizes that the system now does not work and it is only going to get worse. But as always, as long as the schools are making big money off of their sports programs, change will be glacial and situations like the ones with Bush and Newton will just be part of the cost of doing business.

Enjoy your BCS!

Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1


Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1

In another example of how amazing Danny Farquhar’s recovery has been, the pitcher will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the White Sox game on June 1.

Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage from a ruptured aneurysm during the sixth inning of the team’s April 20 game against the Houston Astros. But his recovery has been astounding, and he was discharged from the hospital on May 7. Farquhar’s neurosurgeon expects him to be able to pitch again in future seasons.

Farquhar has been back to visit his teammates at Guaranteed Rate Field a couple times since leaving the hospital. June 1 will mark his return to a big league mound, even if it’s only for a ceremonial first pitch with his wife and three children. Doctors, nurses and staff from RUSH University Medical Center will be on hand for Farquhar’s pitch on June 1.

The White Sox announced that in celebration of Farquhar’s recovery, they will donate proceeds from all fundraising efforts on June 1 to the Joe Niekro Foundation, an organization committed to supporting patients and families, research, treatment and awareness of brain aneurysms.

Protection Issues: Bears O-line ranked 21st in NFL

Protection Issues: Bears O-line ranked 21st in NFL

Mitch Trubisky is expected to have a breakthrough season in 2018 with all the firepower the Chicago Bears added on offense. Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Trey Burton will give the second-year quarterback a variety of explosive targets to generate points in bunches.

None of the headline-grabbing moves will matter, however, if the offensive line doesn't do its job. 

According to Numberfire.com, the Bears' starting five could be the offense's Achilles heel. They were ranked 21st in the NFL and described as poor in pass protection.

Last year, the Bears ranked 26th in Sack NEP per drop back and 23rd in sack rate. These issues were especially apparent after Trubisky took over. In the games that [Kyle] Long played, their sack rate was 8.2%. It was actually 7.2% in the games that he missed. They struggled even when Long was healthy.

The Bears added Iowa's James Daniels in the second round of April's draft and he's expected to start at guard alongside Long. Cody Whitehair will resume his role as the starting center, with Charles Leno, Jr. and Bobby Massie at offensive tackle.

If Long comes back healthy and Daniels lives up to his draft cost, they should be a good run-blocking team from the jump. But Long has played just 18 games the past two years and is entering his age-30 season, so that's far from a lock. On top of that, the pass blocking was suspect last year and remains a mystery entering 2018.

The biggest addition to the offensive line is Harry Hiestand, the accomplished position coach who returns to Chicago after once serving in the same role under Lovie Smith from 2005-2009. He most recently coached at Notre Dame and helped develop multiple first-round picks. He's going to have a huge impact.

The good news for the Bears is they weren't the lowest-ranked offensive line in the NFC North. The Vikings came in at No. 25. The Packers checked-in at No. 13, while the Lions were 16th.