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Offseason Roundtable #7

In an effort to not only increase our chatter about the Cards, but to also increase some reader participation, Edge, RV, and Alan will be doing these roundtables every other week or so? Love the answers? Want to post your own thoughts? Of course you do. And you can do so in the Comments section. Because remember, dear readers, a smarmy sarcastic blog about Ball State athletics is only as good as its small yet powerful reader base. Have at it, boys and girls…

1. College Football Live is traveling the country spending weeks at a time at various campuses. If those guys ever came to Ball State, what would you recommend they take in?
Alan: I would say for entertainment options, head on down I-69 to Indianapolis. However, if they are dead set on having a Muncie week, then there are a few things that are absolute musts. When visiting Muncie, you must have some dill chips and a Blue Moon or three at Scotty’s Brewhouse. Preferably on the patio. You must roll through campus and check out the architecture (Bracken as a stack of books, the Arch building as an easel, etc.). You probably should go to QL’s and get some barbecue. Assuming you can find it and it’s open. You’ll definitely want to close the night with a Carter’s hot dog. Your best bet is one of his Chicago dogs, but a chili cheese with mustard and onion is acceptable. If you’re looking for skanks, head down to Dill Street, assuming the place is even still open and the various strands of herpes that subsist there haven’t demolished it from the inside out. Yet.

Edge: Ah, so many sights to see, so little time. For the food aspect, I’d say get some grub from Scotty’s or maybe Pete’s Duck Inn. Have a beer (or root beer) at the Heorot. Bowl a couple frames at Clancy’s. Campus tour? Why not. And just for the postgame off-camera time, head down to Joker’s and take bets on who vomits first (or make fun of your sound guy next week when he mysteriously has a prescription for Valtrex).

RV: College Football Live spent a week at Florida and Notre Dame (which was a poorly researched week). As gigantic of an Irish fan as I am, I don’t see the need for a full week at any campus when fall practice hasn’t even started. Let’s hope that we don’t have to fill a full week in Muncie…but if they did the first stop would be the facilities. BSU’s facilities are better than quite a few in the MAC which is like having less herpes than Paris Hilton. With enough alumni watching, maybe we could turn some ESPN spin into a helpful venture. You guys can cover the obvious stops on the trip, but if ESPN is coming to town I’m pushing to get something that’ll either get our AD a swift kick in the ass or the boot.

2. With the recent “attention” being paid to USC and their alleged indiscretions, is cheating the norm or the exception at major programs? How can college football combat this?
Alan: The answer to this question bothers me because there simply is no good answer. If you assume it goes on, and that isn’t a huge leap to make, then you’re a cynic, someone who has no faith in humanity, etc. If you assume it doesn’t happen, then you’re woefully unrealistic and have no real grasp on truth and fact. Do I think a large majority of FBS schools are dropping thousands of dollars to players left and right? No. But I think it does happen far more frequently than any of us want to admit or think. Minor schools stand to make millions of dollars in revenue from an increase in bowl payouts, merchandising, etc. so tossing a few thousand dollars at a recruit seems like good business. Illegal. But good business. Major school infractions like this are probably fewer and far between, but I’m sure it happens. Either through over active boosters, friends of the program, or coaches and administrators under immense pressure to win and soon, it’s a powder keg ripe for cheat-tacular explosions. The only solution is the heavy hand of justice and not the subjective unequal slap on the wrists. Coaches who are found responsible for directly cheating should have a lifetime ban. Schools found responsible for lack of institutional control should have to not participate in athletics (all athletics) for two years. That will curb the cheating pretty damn quick I think.

Edge: Cheating is one thing… I won’t say USC isn’t, but outright cheating isn’t something that happens a lot. What does happen a lot is rule-bending. This will never stop, and the haves will always try to outwit the have-nots. It’s nothing new here… it’s going to happen every year, and every year the NCAA sends me a thicker Division I manual because of it. You can’t combat this. It’s like combating performance enhancing drugs. You get a test that works, some guy in a lab coat figures out a way to bypass this. Circle of life guys.

RV: Cheating, unfortunately, is close to the norm. It’s tough for anyone to convince me that recruiting isn’t dirty, when there have been fantastic books written about that very fact and stories pop up all the time of potential infractions. I don’t think all schools are as bad as USC seems to be, but to think that other schools aren’t massaging their recruits with money and coeds is awfully ignorant. The easiest way to combat this would be to blow up the whole idea of college football. There’s no easy way to cut out the cheating, period, it just needs to be better policed. If you get caught, you get slapped. If you can get away with it, good job, we’ll catch you as soon as you slip up.

3. So Greg Paulus finally lands at Syracuse. Buy or sell him ending up with the Orangemen as a good fit for Paulus? Buy or sell him ending up there for Syracuse as a good fit for them?
Alan: I mean, when your only other option is being an assistant coach or something somewhere or working at a Tire Barn, I guess Syracuse is an upgrade. Maybe? In all reality, it’s a tremendous buy for Paulus. Whether or not he’s successful or not or even sees the field, he gets some more free education from a top notch university and continues to be an athlete. Not a bad way to spend a fall. For the Cuse, it’s certainly not ideal to have a competitor for the most important position on the field who hasn’t taken a snap in over 4 years. But it’s Syracuse, and really, it can’t get much worse.

Edge: He’s not going to get much PT, but he’s back in his home state and gets a chance to be a BMOC somewhere else. Hooray for him. He probably sees this as a win-win, but it’s more of a buy for Paulus than for the Orange. The team seems to be in a confused state with this, and it’s really not impressive to see them going this route. If I were the starting QB and we signed a guy who hasn’t played in 4 years and only has 1 year left? Yeah, all of the sudden I understand Cutler. Just kidding.

RV: Sell. Paulus is 180lbs and is expecting to stand up to the rigors of a full season? What exactly is Syracuse gaining from this besides publicity? Penn State in game two? He’ll get snapped in half. Syracuse is in a rebuidling mode, they aren’t in a position to surround Paulus with talent that will overcome his lack of football snaps over the past four years and they certainly can’t keep his jersey clean. This just puts Syracuse another year behind schedule, but luckily Notre Dame doesn’t play them this year. I wish them nothing but losses this year.

4. The GMAC Bowl has shifted ties away from CUSA and instead the MAC will get to play the ACC #9. Is this really a better option? Isn’t there just a wee bit too many Bowl Games?
Alan: I mean, I guess. At least it will register a bit on the national radar when a MAC School plays a team from a BCS conference, assuming the ACC fills all their spots. What is more likely is the MAC representative will end up playing an at large school from one of the other mid major conferences. So really, this is either no change or a change to playing a crappy team who barely qualified for a bowl in the first place. The bottom line is that there is WAY too many Bowl Games. Teams that are 7th or 8th in their conference, coasting in at .500 with a win over a 1-AA school is not Bowl worthy in my mind. Keep it to the teams, both BCS and non-BCS, that are worthy of being rewarded. Then you’ll have a bowl season worth a damn.

Edge: I will never complain about football in December and January. It’s a rough time for me since I know it’s over so soon after it just began. But, I’m going to go the Rich Brooks route here. Some of these bowls are bullshit. In reality, they don’t mean anything, and the fact that a MAC team will play the #9 team in the ACC…THE #9 TEAM!…just solidifies this position. So you’re telling me that out of 12 teams in the ACC, nine will go to bowls. What the hell is this? Tee-ball? Everyone gets a chance to hit? There’s no outs? We don’t keep score? Come on, people. I’m not opposed to these games, but let’s be realistic and admit they don’t mean a damn thing in the long run. Again, it gives the BCS conferences a hell of a lot more than it gives us peon mid-majors. But keep playing ’em… I wouldn’t want to have to watch Grey’s Anatomy instead of a game.

RV: I think it’s a much better option. If this gives a MAC team a crack at a better recognizable name than I am all for it. If Ball State could’ve played North Carolina or Wake Forest, it would have given them the opportunity to put the MAC on the national radar. I’ve said this before, but a loss to a top BCS team is better than a win over Northeastern. Bowl games are a reward for everyone, it’s a great opportunity for the fans to see their team play someone they wouldn’t have the opportunity to play otherwise. The players really benefit from the extra practice time and the opportunity to end the season on a positive note (Utah, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Maryland, Oregon, LSU, etc). While the number of games might be getting higher, it isn’t upsetting the balance of what we know to be as college football like a playoff would.

5. Delaware has just legalized sports gaming. Give our readers some bets to make for next year should they find themselves traveling through the First State.
Alan: If you’re looking for easy money, bet on either Oklahoma, Florida, or Texas winning the national title. The payouts will be shit, but you can at least cash a winner. For long shot title hopefuls, look to the power conferences whose champion, by design, will likely have a place at the national championship table. So look to the SEC or the Big 12. Outside shots in the SEC? LSU, Ole Miss, or Alabama. In the Big 12? Oklahoma State. And as much as I hate to say it, betting a few bucks on Notre Dame to win might not be a bad idea. There… you’re welcome.

Edge: Imagine being magically whisked away to… Delaware. Hi. I’m in… Delaware. Bet on Florida next year. Anything else is up for grabs. But always put a couple bucks on the longshot in the Derby. Ya never know.

RV: 9/19 – USC vs Washington – With a healthy Jake Locker, expect Sark to figure out a way to give Petey his yearly let down. Put some money on Ole Miss, it’ll be an interesting year in the SEC and they were playing out of their minds near the end of the year and have a lot coming back. Beyond that, let’s get through fall practice and things will begin to clear up.

Have at it, dear readers. Comment Section. Go…

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