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College Quarterbacks Poised to Break Out

Trevor KnightQuarterback. It’s arguably the most important position in all of sports to get right, and a team’s fortunes can be made by finding ‘the one.’ However, that is no easy task. We’ve all heard the big names, and it will be no surprise to anyone if next winter Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota or Bryce Petty is walking up onto the stage to collect the Heisman Trophy.

The most talented college quarterbacks are household names over the entire country, and opposing defences fear them. Aside from the big names, there is always a Johnny Manziel in 2012, or a Jameis Winston in 2013 who becomes a superstar, and the 2014 college football season will be no different, so who can we expect to take the next step to become one of the true elite college QBs.

Dylan Thompson, South Carolina: Despite continuous success with the Gamecocks, coach Steve Spurrier had never really found a trustworthy QB until Connor Shaw, now departed for the NFL. Thompson will step into the starting role having experienced playing time alongside Shaw, and could be set to make an instant impact.

Trevor Knight, Oklahoma: Knight had a rather disappointing 2013 season, until he went ballistic on Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, throwing for 348 yards and 4 TDs against a defense packed with NFL talent. The Sooners may have found themselves a future star.

Kyle Allen, Texas A&M: The 5 star true freshman QB is locked in a battle to replace departed legend Johnny Manziel, no easy task in itself. However, Allen comes to A&M with huge talent, and if he can beat out Kenny Hill for the starting job and turn that talent into productivity, could leave the 12th man asking “Johnny who?”

Malik Zaire, Notre Dame: Despite the return of experienced QB Everett Golson, Zaire had a huge spring and has created a genuine QB battle. If his upside can win the job, he could be poised to break out and become the next big Fighting Irish quarterback.

Hutson Mason, Georgia: Following a similar theme to Kyle Allen at A&M, Mason has some huge shoes to fill after the departure of the legendary Aaron Murray. However, he is surrounded by talent and showed he could play in the Bulldogs’ spring game.

Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati: Somewhat of a forgotten man, the former Notre Dame transfer sat out last season, and his potential could be enough to hurdle him over experienced QB Brendan Kay. There is no doubting that the former 5 star recruit has the talent to make a huge impact on the Bearcats.

Resolutions for 2013-14

Can Coach Whitford make people care about Ball State basektball?

Can Coach Whitford make people care about Ball State basektball?

Now is the perfect time to create a wish list for what us dumb fans want to see our intelligent athletic administrators, coaches, and even sports writers to do in the coming year. You have no idea how hard it was to write that.

5. No more attendance stories!
I am tired of them and it is a losing battle to fight. Nothing says die-hard Ball State fan quite like staring at the bottom of the box score wondering why less than 10,000 fans showed up. We have to stop this habit.

Look, Ball State is in a bad spot when it comes to football attendance. Only a portion of alumni care about football, and only a portion of them still live near Muncie. Making things worse is the lack of connection between Ball State and Muncie. There is none.
Students will come to games but only if the weather is good. Many just come out for the tailgating and are too trashed to make it into the game. If they do make it is only for a half. It’s one thing to see a stadium of empty seats. It’s much worse to see a mass exodus in the second quarter of every home game.

These factors make it hard as hell for Scheumann Stadium to be packed. Constantly bringing it up and calling people out is not going to solve it. In fact it probably has made things worse. I’m pulling out the white flag on this one and hope other passionate fans (all 1,000 of us) do the same.

4. Get a player drafted
Not sure why but NFL scouts have not been too kind to Ball State prospects. It is great seeing players signed after the draft but if Central Michigan can score the No. 1 pick we should be able to land someone in the seventh round. Right?

3. Better black uniforms
I was pumped for the black uniforms but then it was nothing too special when they premiered against Ohio. It was just white numbers on solid black. They didn’t even have any names on the back of them. It looked like a poorly funded high school team. Ball State is not that… wait… crap.

2. Basketball buzz
New coach James Whitford has one big task for him in his first season as Ball State coach. Make Ball State basketball relevant.
This does not mean the Cardinals need to win in his first year and make it to the NCAA tournament. Create a style of play that makes fan want to see will suffice. Talk trash in press conferences, throw a chair, do something! These seasons of the Indianapolis Star placing a 30 word synopsis of a BSU game on page 5 must end. IPFW cannot receive the same media attention as Ball State for another year.

1. Less scandals
College football is reeking with scandal as Oregon and Auburn are the two most recent examples. Basically, the 2011 national championship game looks like a scam. Throw in Notre Dame losing their quarterback, chaos at Rutgers and everything looks dreadful.

This is nothing new but it seems worse than ever. I still love college football more than the NFL but the gap is smaller. Every outcome is suspect years later. Every coach is waiting to jump to the NFL when the NCAA finally catches up to their recruiting violations. Power conferences are stealing teams from each other destroying historic rivalries and weakening college basketball in the process. Yet fans continue to drink beer, eat burgers, and party every Saturday. When ignorance is the best route problems can only intensify.

Death of Fun, Bible Verses

Rest in peace eye black messages

The NCAA football powers that be have had one of those weeks. You know those weeks where literally everything you do just turns to feces in your hand. And not the kind that’s easily disposed of. More like the remnants of Jager bombs, LaBamba’s Super Nachos, a couple Chicago dogs, and about 15 PBRs. That’s the week the NCAA was having. They apparently were not content with their doo doo mess to this point of bowl eligibility and sticking it to the midmajors, and have now put the icing on their poocake with the assassination of fun had in NCAA football on all levels.

When you read the press releases about the latest order of business undertaken at the Playing Rules Oversight Panel’s meetings for the 2011 season, the overarching theme will be the elimination of the wedge block on kickoffs. That’s what they will champion, because it apparently stops concussions. And who likes those? So the NCAA will sit back and collectively pat their own backs for their swift justice against those dastardly concussion monsters.

What will be swept under the rug from the mainstream media, especially those suckling at the NCAA power teet like the ESPNs of the world, is the other two rulings… which are pretty major, at least in the minds of this humble blogger, and pretty much every other blogger worth his weight in Cheetos and Mountain Dew, since that’s what we consume in our parents’ basement while trying to defeat this interwebs.

In 2011, you can forget about seeing Bible verses or area codes under your favorite player’s eyes emblazoned in that fake eye black glare reducer which reduces absolutely zero glare. Granted, it had become a fashion statement more than a vision savior, but is it truly that big of a deal? So the player who isn’t paid for their services, body, or effort doesn’t even have the ability to express themselves in any way shape or form? And this was on the mind of the Panel? Not BCS equity. Not cracking the whip on recruiting violations. Not trying to make college football more economical. Nothing like that comes close to the pandemic sweeping through the sports landscape like eye black and the logos or numbers written on it.

Did I miss something? Was someone offended? Did someone write profanity on their eye black? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen everything from school logos, to favorite biblical verses, to area codes. And I’m also pretty sure I couldn’t care less what someone has written on their eyes. Under their helmets. Which they almost always have on. Yes… clearly that is a good use of time, NCAA. Congratulations.

What’s that? You have more rules changes to expunge this so called “fun” and “excitement” out of these athletes? Fabulous!

Currently, should a player taunt, ridicule, or otherwise draw attention to themselves, a 15-yard penalty is enforced on the conversion attempt or the kickoff. However, the score stands. Not anymore. Beginning in 2011, live-ball penalties will be assessed from the spot of the foul and eliminate the score.

This makes total and complete sense. I mean, hell, if the student athletes on the field can’t be trusted with eye black, we certainly shouldn’t leave the outcome of the game up to them. Let’s leave it in the hands of officials who can basically make judgment calls to disallow touchdowns. I’m sure there will be nothing that ever happens with this sort of power that will further reduce the fan’s faith in officials at the college level. Nope. Never. Sigh.

One thing I do find ironic is one of the more vocal supporters of this measure was Indiana coach Bill Lynch. Readers of this blog will remember Lynch as the former coach of our beloved Ball State Cardinals. Lynch made this statement after the taunting rule was unveiled: “Just run it into the end zone, how hard is that?” Well, Bill, after watching your teams lose 21 straight games as well as the pantsings we took at pretty much every major school we played, I’d say it’s hard. Damn hard. However, let us be clear that Lynch’s support is only one of the many reasons why this change in rule is awful.

I understand the need for some semblance of control, and the desire of the NCAA to not have their games get out of hand. This isn’t the XFL, after all. But again, just like the eye black, this is a terrible solution for something that wasn’t really all that big of a problem. Unless I’m just missing something. Which is possible. I mean, I only watch 10-12 hours of college football per week in the fall. I’m sure Bill Lynch and the NCAA Rules Oversight Panel watches way more than that. I’m also tickled pink that Bill Lynch supports giving officials even more power than they already have. The same officials that elicited this response from Lynch…

Ironic, your table is ready.

Another Loss for the Little Man

I used to believe that athletics was the place for the little guy. Figuratively speaking, of course. A place for the smaller schools to have an opportunity to compete with some of the larger schools and prove that for a specific period of time, maybe, just maybe, a Cinderella story could occur in front of our very eyes. Blame it on my Indiana childhood and watching Hoosiers too many times.

Isn’t that a sports fan’s dream? To be the Boise State in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl? To be the Appalachian State that beats Michigan in the Big House? That, among other things, is the distinguishing characteristic between a fan of a non-traditional program and those who don the colors of a national powerhouse. You celebrate the little things, revel in the achievement of a team that may not have actually crested the hill, and you aren’t disappointed (for long) when a season doesn’t end as magical as you once thought. You don’t consider it your birthright to compete for national championships. You only want the same opportunity as everyone else. You don’t want to be seen as some midmajor freak show not worthy of inclusion because of a smaller fanbase or the inability of your team’s supporters to travel to the Far Away Bowl. You want nothing handed to you, you just don’t want things taken away.

This week, the NCAA Legislative Council has done just that, with their change in bowl eligibility rules paving the way for the larger BCS automatic qualifying conferences to grab an even bigger slice of an already ridiculously distributed pie. Under the current system, the one that apparently is on its way out the door, all 7-5 (or better) teams have to be selected for postseason play before a 6-6 team can be. In other words, it doesn’t matter the size of your budget or the size of the school. If Tulsa, with an undergraduate enrollment of 2,756 made it to 7-5, while 55,552 student behemoth Arizona State limped home at 6-6, the Golden Hurricanes were bound to be selected before ASU, no matter what the networks, travel agents, or power conferences wanted. With the proposal passed yesterday, that goes out the window.

This plan that now rests at the feet of the Division 1 Board of Directors says that any team, once they reach 6-6, would be bowl eligible. In other words, a 9-3 team from a conference without multiple bowl tie ins, who must rely on an at-large berth to play in the bowl season, could very easily (and definitely would) be passed over for a 6-6 Big 10 team. Or a 6-6 Pac 10 team. Or, and it pains me to say this, a 6-6 ACC team.

If you’re a fan of a power conference, this news should thrill you. If you’re not, and find yourself supporting a team in one of the SunBelts/MACs/MWCs of the world, then here is example #4,356 of how the larger programs and conferences continue to stick it to you.

Say goodbye to any bowl bids outside of the locked in contracts for conferences not at the BCS automatic qualifying table. Forget about Cinderella storylines or David versus Goliath. Best case scenario? There are more bowl berths than 6-6 or better BCS conference teams. At that point, little brother has to be invited to the party. Worst case, and exceptionally more likely, is there will be teams left behind. And those left behind won’t be from the power conferences.

It’s another in an exceptionally long and always growing list of nonsensical, territorial, money-hoarding decisions by the powers that be. It’s as if we’re in the middle of Football Civil Rights, but this one gets no referendum, no voice outside of the little man, and certainly and without question no hint whatsoever of “fairness”, “equity”, or “honor” which the NCAA has lauded itself for possessing in spades. In the college football world, there is no storybook ending to David and Goliath. Goliath knows better than to tempt fate with the little man.