Ivan Maisel in his column on Aug. 7th takes some shots at USC. Now, I'm not thin skinned. I have had to swallow some pride for the transgressions that have befallen SC of late. I have held a pretty high standard when it comes to issues of character. I have even taken some heat for it.
Some of those issues fall right at the programs feet. But others are out of the control of the powers at be as I have discussed here. There is a certain cause and effect when you're on top. The more successful you are the more people want to be affiliated with your program. Sometimes that also means that some undesirables fall through the cracks. Programs need to do a better job of due diligence but that's not a silver bullet. The program needs to stay on the situation so that it doesn't overtake the good side of the program.
From the article:
...The fact is, until USC coach Pete Carroll finishes cleaning house after a scandalous offseason, the reigning empire in college football has moved, not to the West, but to the Southwest.
Mack Brown not only won the national championship but won with players who go to class, give or take a Ramonce Taylor, and stay out of trouble (see Ramonce Taylor)...
That's ridiculous. The reason that it's the reigning empire is because they (Texas) won the Rose Bowl. Texas and Mack Brown are no more immune from character issues than USC and Pete Carroll, it's how you handle them that sets the standard. The Ramonce Taylor situation merely shows that it can happen to anyone, no one is immune. I wish SC had handled some of these things better, but what's done is done its time to move on. I hope Coach Carroll handles these sorts of issues a little more sternly, if more come up, in the future. It's sanctimonious to think that ESPN cares about character. They care about ratings, pure and simple. Besides, when issues like this come up it gives them something to talk about and fill airtime.
He should've consulted the Fulmer Cup before writing this section:
...In the age of the Internet, there are no secrets. Ask Mel Gibson. No longer can a player's transgression be handled with a phone call from coach to police chief. Coaches must deal with transgressions, and the upside of being a disciplinarian is enormous.
Transparency is in, although it should be pointed out that the more success on the field, the more transparent and swift the justice. It is no coincidence that the most successful coaches have the least tolerance. Texas coach Brown didn't wait long to cut tailback Taylor loose. He issued a press release thanking him and wishing him luck.
According to the loyal opposition Pete Carroll has a lot of tolerance for these types of issues, not less. Look, like it or not the coach usually has the final say in how to discipline players when they get out of line. Whether we agree or not is not his concern. Most decent people would prefer to see a high level of character associated with their program, but it isn't always so.
More mindless ramblings:
For the past eight months, the gold spun by USC has wrapped itself around those Trojan necks. Until the sun breaks through the clouds that have gathered over Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Golden State now is Louisiana.
I'm not sure what he means in this passage, but it would seem to me that 33 weeks atop the polls, 3 Heisman Trophy winners, 2 National Championships and 19 second from a third straight NC isn't some ego trip. And I would argue that the 4-letter network was just as complicit in the gold spinning as they were at USC. The fact is Texas won and they deserve all that goes with it. That ESPN wanted SC to win, BADLY, so that they could be king makers and not look like fools for prematurely crowning SC the Greatest Team of All Time.
I understand his confusion:
For the first time since 1998, there is little consensus as to the preseason No. 1. Wire-to-wire national champions have included Florida State in 1999 and USC in 2004. The Trojans nearly duplicated that feat in 2005 before narrowly losing to Texas in the championship game. Miami held the top spot in 13 of 16 weeks when it won the title in 2001. Two others (Miami in 2002 and Oklahoma in 2003) were ranked No. 1 most of the season, then lost in the title game. Ohio State, Notre Dame, Texas, West Virginia and Auburn received first-place votes in the preseason ESPN.com Power 16. Uh, so did Oklahoma. At the end of last week, we revoted.
There has been plenty of talk about pre-season polls and how they should be administered so I won't go into it here. But the fact is it's a popularity contest and it's hard to determine who really deserves to be on top until the season gets under way. Again, it's all about ratings and grabbing the audience's attention so that they can generate more revenue. So who's the flavor of the month this week??