Friday, June 22, 2007

Some Links

While there not be a lot going on in the world of college football in mid-June, that doesn't stop the media or the fans from devoting countless hours writing and talking about it. As the years go by, and especially since the baseball strike of 1994, football has become the most popular sport in the country (and it's not even close). I've always thought it superior, but it's nice to see that everyone else finally realizes it now. That's why you have people like Stuart Mandel and Peter King of Sports Illustrated doing their football columns essentially year-round now. It's why you can turn on the NFL Network and watch grown men go through tackling drills in mini-camp. If you had told someone 20 years ago that we would be doing that, they would have laughed at you. Now, football is king. And that ain't changing, maybe ever.

First off, it was a sad week in college football when Indiana's Terry Hoeppner succumbed to a brain tumor. I can't talk about Hoeppner like I knew a lot about him, but after reading many of his ex-players' accounts, he seems to be one of the most well-liked and respected coaches in the Big 10, if not the country. It's a shame his story hasn't recieved more press and attention. If Lloyd Carr or Jim Tressel had passed away, it'd be the leading story on Sportscenter for a week. But because this seemingly great man coached lowly Indiana, he is briefly mentioned before everybody moves on to bigger stories.

Sports Illustrated has story by Rival's Steve Megargee in which he breaks down the top 25 toughest schedules in the country for next season. The Huskers are ranked 12th, which isn't too bad and is probably pretty accurate, although the biased side of me thinks that our slate merits at least a top 10 position. Sure, Oklahoma isn't on the docket, but we still might have to play them in the Big XII title game, and if not them, then a rematch with a top-10 Texas team awaits, so I think our rankings could potentially rise because of that. What I find funny is Notre Dame being ranked 13th. When are people going to stop drinking the Charlie Weis kool-aid? Megargee says "The start of Notre Dame's schedule couldn't be much tougher. The end couldn't be much easier." Really? The start is that hard for them? They play a Calvin Johnson-less Georgia Tech team (who also replaces their starting QB in Reggie Ball), an overrated Penn State team, as well as a hapless Michigan State team. That said, I do give them credit for having Michigan, USC, and up-and-comers in UCLA and Boston College (who I'm still not as sold on as some other media members are). Either way, I'm looking forward to the Irish having a five or six loss season and still somehow making a BCS bowl.

In one of my personal favorites of the past week, Big 10 commish Jim Delaney wants Comcast cable to apologize for remarks about the soon-to-be-unveiled-and-then-folded Big 10 Network, which still hasn't been picked up by most cable companies. Comcast's remarks that hurt Jim's feelings: Comcast said the network will show "second and third-tier sporting events," called it "a niche sports channel" and added: "Indiana basketball fans don't want to watch Iowa volleyball, but the Big Ten wants everyone to pay for their new network." OHHH BURN! I thought this was hilarious, partly because I hate the Big 10, but mostly because it actually is a dumb idea. Would you pay for an NFL-network type channel that showed crap like women's softball and basketball? No, of course not, no man in his right mind would. Let's say it gets you two more football games a week from your conference, is that worth the price when you can just go to a sports bar instead and spend the money you didnt spend on Jim Delaney's pipe dream on beer? I think not. Stupid idea, and no cable company is going to put it on basic cable, which is where it needs to be if it is going to even have a chance of survival.

Over on College Sports TV's website, Brian Jones breaks down the Big 12 in an apparently unresearched article. Why do I think that? Because he has the Huskers QB battle between Keller and Zac Lee, with no mention of Ganz. I'm not saying that Lee won't be a factor, I think he's gonna be a good player. But if your going to write about the situation, at least include the all the front runners. How do you not mention Ganz, him and Keller are all Husker nation has been talking about all spring.

Before I sign off, I suggest you all check out the ongoing statistical supremacy over at Double Extra Point, they are doing some crazy stuff over there that I barely even understand. Also, for more frequent updates on recruiting and day-to-day stuff, head over to Big Red Network. Links for both sites can be found at right. Have a good weekend everybody.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Stick a Fork in him........he's done

Well I'm glad to report that I'm finally back in the swing of things. I've graduated from college, moved to a new house, and come to the sad realization that I am no longer a college kid and will now have to start working to support myself. Gone are the days of sleeping until 10 A.M. and few responsibilities. In other news, my brother may be joining Husker Guy as a contributor, as he is something of a recruiting expert and will be writing from time to time about developments with prospects and signees.

Now, to today's main topic:

We all breathed a sigh of relief when Mo Purify was allowed to enter a diversion program after post-barfight arrest five weeks ago, but it appears that our exhale was premature. For those of you who dont know, Purify was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of DWI, which was followed by his prompt dismissal from the Husker football team by Callahan.

Before I say anything about Mo, let me say this: I've done it. I've made the same mistake that he did, the difference is that I didn't get caught. How many college kids (or adults for that matter) have two or three too many beers and then get behind the wheel? Trust me, it's a large number. There have been times where I had 10 or 12 too many and still drove, and to this day I still kick myself for my stupidity. So what Purify did is not that different from what happens in towns and cities across the country, which is bad of course but I think it's important that people realize it.

That said, the stakes and the circumstances of Purify's mistake are much larger than the average person who gets stopped for a DWI. If I had been pulled over for drunk driving, it'd cost me 3 grand and haunt my record for a while. For Mo, it's not going to cost 3 grand. The fines and violations will, but the damage he did to his potential for future income on the other hand is irrevocable. With the personnel the Huskers have in place on offense, Purify had the potential for a 60 catch-900 receiving yard-10+ TD season. Whether or not he really would have gotten those numbers is debatable, but the potential was there. With a performance like that, he would have the potential to be a second or third round draft pick (taking his somewhat pedestrian 40 time into account). Let's say that he would have been drafted in the middle of the 3rd round. The initial salary fora pick in that range is $345,000 a year, not counting whatever signing bonuses there are and other considerations. The average contract length for NFL rookies is six years, meaning that his total compensation off of just salary would have been just over 2 million dollars. And that's the first contract. The real money is made in a player's second contract, and who knows how it would have played out. But none of that matters now. With Goodell in charge of the NFL, there is no longer room for oft-troubled players who don't learn their lesson. While Mo isn't a Pacman Jones, his actions the past month and a half don't bode well for his draft potential. Adding to that is the fact that he never established himself as a game breaker before his suspension, unlike USC's Mike Williams, who sat out a year before being drafted a couple years ago. Williams was star player with no criminal record, meaning that even if he did sit out a year, a team would still take him. Mo has none of that going for him. At this point, he would be extremely fortunate if someone were to even offer a free agent contract to him. If he's lucky, someone might take a chance on him later this summer in the supplemental draft, but even that is a longshot.

It'd be one thing if Purify got in a barfight 5 years ago. People would be more forgiving, more understanding, and would go out of their way to make sure that he still had an opportunity to make up for this mistake. But he didn't get into a barfight 5 years ago. That was 5 WEEKS ago, and no judge (or football coach) is going to have any leniency when the kid obviously didn't learn anything from his previous altercation. It's been a rough couple of weeks for him, and its going to get worse before it gets better. The diversion program he was allowed into no doubt demands that he remain law-abiding for a certain amount of time (usually a year). Unless driving violations don't count, this means that he will be kicked out of that program and face charges for the prior assault as well as drunken driving, meaning that he could face jail time. I hope everything works out for him, and if nothing else he will live on in Husker lore for his game winning catch at A&M. It's too bad though.........he could have been one of the greats.