Football Friday returns this week – albeit a day late (blame it on Frankie V and the Eagles getting embarrassed on Thursday night football).
This past week, Sports Illustrated released a story on the Oklahoma State football program, and the measures they allegedly took to reach elite status in the NCAA world. The five part article detailed how players received money, sex, and how coaches looked the other way if an elite player had tested positive for drugs during the season. The article is an extremely interesting read and recommend it if you have the time to take a look.
After reading part one of the series, entitled “the money”, which goes into detail about how the players received cash in exchange for playing well, I looked at the comments section of the article. I was surprised to see that the majority of people shifted the blame from the OSU players onto the NCAA. They claimed that if the NCAA simply paid their student athletes, this type of thing would never be an issue. After all, the NCAA makes ridiculous amounts of money off of these kids, and the same kids never see a dime of it.
In a vacuum, paying student athletes certainly does make sense. However, it is just not as easy as it sounds. I mean, you can’t just pay a select few players; you would have to pay everybody. So, Joe Schmo who does nothing for the university financially is getting paid as much as the Heisman contender. Also, do you really think boosters would stop giving players the performance bonuses? These guys have deep pockets and will stop at nothing to motivate the kids that play for their former school. Oh, and football is not king everywhere. Plenty of schools make more money off their basketball, baseball, and hockey programs. If you pay athletes in one sport, you probably would have to pay them all. Would smaller schools be able to handle that burden financially?
Other comments suggested letting the players sell their signature. This comes from the Johnny Manziel incident this past summer. Readers suggested that players should be allowed to receive compensation for signing merchandise, and that they should be able to sign contracts with memorabilia companies to ensure themselves an income. Again, this seems like an okay idea, but it would take about three seconds before this started getting thrown into the mix recruiting wise.
“Oh, so Tennessee has a company willing to give you X amount of dollars as part of a signing deal? Well I know a guy and I think he could do better than that…”
It’s likely that top talent would start going to the highest bidder, and that is just one more thing that would make it harder for smaller schools to compete with the big boys.
I’m not saying it’s not a good idea that players should get paid. I do feel they deserve something. Especially football players who are putting their bodies through hell for four to five years at a school and bringing the school tons of money while doing it. The point of this rant however, is to show that there is almost no fair way to do so. If you have suggestions, please leave them in the comment box below, as I feel this is an extremely intriguing debate to have. But until we find a fair way to pay players for their participation, just remember that these athletes are receiving free education and world class coaching in exchange for their letter of intent. They are far from victims.
GAME BALLS: WEEK 3
Brett Hundley, QB UCLA
Finished 16-24 for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns in UCLA’s 41-21 victory in Nebraska. Led the Bruins to 38 unanswered points to close the game.
AJ McCarron, QB Alabama
Was 20-29 with 334 yards and 4 touchdowns in Alabama’s 49-42 win over Texas A&M in college station.
Mike Evans, WR Texas A&M
The first player to get a Donchez game ball in a losing effort. Caught 7 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown in a 49-42 loss to Alabama. Honorable mention goes to Johnny Manziel.
This week for the Irish
Notre Dame will return home this week to host the Michigan State Spartans. Sparty is unbeaten thus far with victories over Western Michigan, USF, and Youngstown State. Connor Cook looked sharp last week and has officially taken the starting quarterback job held by Andrew Maxell. The Spartan offense has struggled this year, but a duel threat quarterback like Cook could be a problem for the Irish, as they struggled to contain the mobile quarterbacks they’ve played so far. Defensively, MSU is as solid as ever, holding the #1 national ranking on defense. The defense is led by Max Bullough, a pre-season All-American and arguably the best linebacker in the Big 10. Bullough and the rest of the Spartan front 7 will be a huge test for the Irish running game, and they may have to lean on Tommy Rees more than ever to win this one. Forgive me for being cliché, but this game will be your typical grind it out war we’ve come to expect from MSU and ND in years past. The Spartan defense does scare me. It will be very tough to get the backs going and its likely Rees will have to win this game with his arm. Fortunately, the MSU offense has sputtered at times this year and I believe the Irish defense will do enough to keep them in check so that Rees and company won’t have to match the opposition score for score like they had to in the Big House two weeks ago. I think Diaco can force Cook into mistakes and that will be the difference in the ball game. Don’t think it will be easy though; Sparty is tough.
Prediction: Notre Dame 21 Michigan State 17
What else I’m watching this week
#23 Arizona State at #5 Stanford
The Sun Devils grabbed national headlines this past week with their crazy victory over Wisconsin, so plenty of eyes will be on this one. Both of these teams will play the Irish later in the season, so during an otherwise weak schedule in the NCAA this week, this game is worth a look.
Breaking Bad, Sunday AMC
Last week this show put on quite possibly the best hour of television I’ve ever seen. If you follow it, you know that we should be in store for craziness this week. If you haven’t seen it, don’t waste another minute. Hop on Netflix and binge on it.
Week 4 Picks
Last week 0-1
Overall YTD 3-2
Last week hurt. I was incredibly confident in my UCONN +7 pick, but a pick six in the fourth quarter broke my back and ended my hopes for a cover. So it goes. For this week, I actually do not have a play at this time, but if you’re interested check on twitter as that could change later in the week.
Comments or questions? Contact me via Twitter. @TylerDonchez.