Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8:42 AM
No doubt about it:
We've been giving lots of attention to the good folks of the National Football League this summer and-hey, who's not excited about the start of the 2012 NFL season where arguably half the league's 32 teams would appear to have legit shots at winning it all in New Orleans next winter!
Still, today's end-of-the-work-week edition of Jim Sez is totally devoted to the college kids-remember their season is just now over a month away-and we promise not to bog down this entire column with more messy Penn State stuff.
Want our opinion on that whole saga?
Good, than we'll point out two things that seemingly nobody else has pointed out during this now nearly nine-month-old escapade:
Number one, not to throw more dirt on now-deceased Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno but there's no doubt he knew that long-time defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was up to no good back in/around 1998 and '99 and than after that "shower incident" in 2001 there was Penn State handing over a coaching position to novice Mike McQueary who later became a major sideline influence ... was that not a "reward" for McQueary for not pushing harder in the Sandusky matter at that time? Hmmm.
And finally, let's please not have any former Penn State coaches-like last year's interim head coach Tom Bradley-claim they were not aware of the Sandusky sex scandals because how does something like that stay buried when it appeared to be rather common knowledge in the athletic department (and maybe elsewhere in university circles)?
No question that each/every one of those coaches under Paterno should have been kicked to the curb in a clean sweep-at least the school got that one right!
Okay, so now the here-and-now Penn State football team must wipe away all that garbage that had nothing to do with them and play a football season with possible (or should we say likely) NCAA sanctions hanging over their heads.
And first-year head coach Bill O'Brien-the New England Patriots offensive coordinator the past couple of years-must do everything in his power to keep the Lions' heads on straight but how about the raw emotion that figures to fill Beaver Stadium on September 1st when Penn State opens the 2012 campaign with a home tilt against a dangerous Ohio Bobcats bunch? It will be interesting to see how many signs in the building reference Paterno come opening day with talk that this weekend the statue of JoePa is coming down despite protests of many blue-and-white fans.
In other College Football News & Notes ...
The Walter Camp Player of the Year Award Watch List has been released and note it includes three Camp semifinalists from a year ago in USC quarterback Matt Barkley, Oklahoma QB Landry Jones and Clemson WR/KR/PR Sammy Watkins but note that overall the SEC (surprise, surprise!) leads the way with 12 "watch list" players and the early money says this will come down to a head-to-head battle between LSU Tyrann Matthieu-a defensive back who doubles as the country's most dangerous return specialist-and Georgia QB Aaron Murray who could well get a seat at this year's Heisman Trophy presentation in New York City when all's said and done with this upcoming season.
Last year's Walter Camp Award winner? Stanford QB Andrew Luck who just inked for a few bucks with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts.
Speaking of Stanford, no question the Cardinal will be hard-pressed to match last year's offensive numbers that included the Pac-12 team finishing eighth nationally in total offense (nearly 490 yards per game) without the aforementioned Luck but did you know that Stanford scored more than 35 points on 10 different occasions last year and actually lost once while scoring 38 points (see that 41-38 overtime loss to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl)?
Keep a close eye on Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor who was just named to the Doak Walker Watch List after he rushed for 1,330 yards (a 5.5 yards-per-carry average) a year ago. Last year Taylor rushed the ball a total of 242 times (that was approximately 18.6 carries per outing) but early signs say he will average closer to 23 or 24 carries a game providing he stays healthy ...
Now, let's jump to the "other coast" and see what's happening at Rutgers where Greg Schiano is gone off to the NFL's Tampa Bay Bucs after 11 years on the New Brunswick campus.
Okay, so Schiano upgraded/improved the program in his decade-plus long stay but don't ignore the fact that the Scarlet Knights really padded their schedules with creampuff non-league games and now in steps new head coach Kyle Flood and the sked includes a non-Big East road game at Arkansas?
Don't think we would have seen much of that in the Schiano Era save for an occasional non-league road game at North Carolina or Maryland ...
Finally, we spent some time/space the other day discussing the quick (or slow) pointspread starts of NFL teams last year and so let's do likewise with the college kids:
Air Force failed to cover five of its first six spread verdicts last year
Alabama started off 2011 with a 6-1 ATS (against the spread) log
Arkansas State covered its first four pointspread decisions last year
Boston College failed to cover 5 of its first 6 spread decisions in '11
Central Michigan dropped its first four ATS decisions last year
Clemson was 7-1 odds-wise to start off the 2011 season
Florida covered its first four games a year ago
Georgia Tech was 4-0-1 ATS out of the chute last season
Kansas State notched six spread wins in its first seven board games last year
Kent State failed to cover its first four games a year ago
Michigan was 5-1 ATS out of the starting gate last year
N.C. State was 0-4-1 ATS in its first five games
Oklahoma State started last year with seven covers in its first eight games
Penn State was 0-5 spreadwise to begin the 2011 campaign
Rutgers was 5-and-oh spreadwise to start off last season
Stanford was 8-0-1 versus the vig in its first nine games in '11
Temple was 4-0 ATS to start off the 2011 season
And Washington covered five of its first six games last year.
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NOTE: Lots of NFL and NCAA Football comin' your way in Jim Sez columns the rest of this Summer of 2012.