As much as many of us would like to be optimistic in that there will be a NFL Season this year, let's for one moment pretend there won't be. Let's for one moment assume that neither NFLPA nor the NFL Owners wise up. Where will that leave us?
Well if all else fails, there will still be football. There will still be NCAA Football and there will still be the United Football League which is today's equivalent of the World Football League which only lasted 22 months (from 1974 to 1975). Oh, there's always the CFL and Arena Football as well, but really? Is there anything as good as the NFL? I think the answer to that is pretty clear.
The biggest question that has come to mind in recent months for me has been regarding how tainted the sport is becoming or already was. It seems that with all of the things that are orbiting football at all levels are green and made of paper. That coupled with greed is tarnishing the love that fans (and most likely a majority of the players) have for the game.
From the lockout to current events with USC and Ohio State there is not much talk that has to do with actual football. Either way, NCAA Football will not be locked out. There will be a season no matter what.
After the break, we'll take a look at some of the hot topics that have been surrounding the college football world and a brief look at the upcoming season.
THE DOMINO EFFECT: JIM TRESSEL, TERRELLE PRYOR, OHIO STATE, AND MAURICE CLARETT?
It started with the surfacing of five players exchanging signed Ohio State Football memorabilia for a bit of fresh ink under their skin. Shortly thereafter, the discovery of this and the suspension of several Ohio State players, Jim Tressel resigned due to proof that connected his knowledge of these events. My thoughts, along with others who have speculated, are that Tressel had known of this sort of thing for quite some time. But how many other coaches in the NCAA know about this sort of thing?
As if things didn't seem bad enough for the program in suddenly losing Tressel, who has been the face of the football team since 2001 (although he had previous involvement as various position coaches before that), Terrelle Pryor announced that he would leave his teammates behind to enter the NFL supplemental draft. Should someone take a flier on Pryor (unintentional rhyme) is another story.
To top it all off, Ohio State will not be bowl eligible for a while now. And if that is not bad enough, Maurice Clarett (former Buckeye star running back, former NFL bust, former armed robber, former maced and tased assaulter in a drunken driving stop, former inmate blogger, and now free hustler) is blaming the unpaid struggling college kids for trying to make an extra buck so that they can eat... that guy clearly has room to point fingers, eh?
While he is the last person that should be saying anything at all, he does kind of have a point in this statement, "Anything that any player goes and gets is all based on him and who he meets in the community. The coaches and the university have no control over what the young guy's doing".
In related news, it looks as though the Buckeyes are probably going to struggle for a while.
USC'S 2004 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, REGGIE BUSH'S UN-RETURNED HEISMAN TROPHY, AND BOB STOOPS REFUSING TO ACCEPT THE 2004 CHAMPIONSHIP FOR OKLAHOMA
Recently, the USC Trojans had their 2004 National Championship stripped due to involvement in players accepting gifts and money which is a major NCAA violation and no-no. I think it is pretty well-known in that if players are going take anything, it's going to put the school, the team, and themselves in jeopardy of getting in some big-time trouble.
While we all know Pete Carroll is pretty much a slimeball, I feel for Trojan fans across the world in that they have an even bigger sleezeball in Lane Kiffin who is the current head coach of Trojan Football. No matter, the Trojans won't be going to any bowls anytime soon. I believe that Kiffin's reign there will be short lived as it has been everywhere else. He's just lucky that Carroll is taking most of the heat for all of this now.
Reggie Bush, former Trojan and now New Orleans Saint, was a part of that 2004 National Championship team. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2005 but because of his involvement in accepting not only cash but gifts as well, he is now being forced to return the prestigious trophy that everyone thought he well-deserved. And in which many people still believe that he "earned". With that said, it seems as though Reggie feels the same way because the trophy still has not been returned after he said he would last Septmeber... who knows, maybe he is just too busy making Under Armour commercials or something? In any case... GIVE IT BACK REGGIE! IT'S NOT YOURS ANYMORE!
In light of all this, Oklahoma's head coach, Bob Stoops will not take claim to the 2004 National Championship considering that they physically and literally lost fair and square. He made a brief but firm statement as if he was still bitter about the loss, "I don't have any thoughts (on USC's situation) and we're not claiming any championships".
NO NFL? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR NCAA FOOTBALL?
What it means is that those who drink on Sunday and go to work Monday morning half-hungover will not have to do so if there is no pro football this year. If the season is shortened, most folks can at least make it in to the colder months and have a day of recovery before heading in to work the ensuing Monday. Furthermore, no Monday Night Football means no Tuesday hangovers.
In all seriousness though, college football may not get everyone their full fix of weekend football but it will have to do. There is still plenty of excitement at the college level and in some ways, it is more interesting. Most athletes at the college level are trying to go pro... competition breeds excitement and plenty of fireworks. Sometimes NFL players get complacent and some teams just aren't as motivated as others.
But as talks have heated up in recent days, and plenty of optimism flowing like glasses of champagne at the royal wedding, maybe those who drink Sunday and rely on heavy doses of caffeine Monday morning will not have to be disappointed after all.
More importantly than that, we as Niners fans would get to watch Jim Harbaugh try and transform this storied franchise that we all once knew from the dysfunctional team of the last decade in which we all have had to cringe and watch through crevasses of our hands covering our faces.
But if all else fails...
LOOKING AHEAD AT THE 2011-'12 NCAA FOOTBALL SEASON
There have been some adjustments to the alignment in some conferences which should shake things up some. Most notably, Utah and Colorado have joined the Pac-12 (formerly known as the Pac-10). While Utah may be a good fit, a team like Colorado coming from a much more competitive Big 12 Conference could dominate, but then again, who knows until it actually kicks off?
The Big Ten, which now is comprised of 12 teams, inheriting Nebraska last year will be a bit more competitive. Before that, the Big Ten had 11 teams. They forgot to change the name when Penn State joined in 1990 I suppose. I just wonder if they will stay the Big Ten? Call me crazy but it seems appropriate that the Big Twelve and Big Ten would swap names now. Who knows?
It may be too early to speculate on who would be the front runners for the Heisman but it seems as though LaMichael James of Oregon, Andrew Luck of Stanford, Kellen Moore of Boise State, Landry Jones of Oklahoma, and Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State could be the top five come preseason. There a few more guys that could sneak in to the conversation and most likely there will be.
The best thing about college football is that nothing is predictable like it sometimes can be with the NFL. Yes, you can quote me on that.
Shameless self-promotion... come check us out at @ http://www.thehometownfan.com/