landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
As reported before, the CoFoPoff semis (Peach & Fiesta Bowls) will be played on Saturday 12/31/16. The big change now is ESPN moving the Gator and Citrus Bowls to Saturday 12/31 with an 11 AM EST kickoff time. The Outback, Cotton, Rose, and Sugar Bowls will remain on their traditional date, Monday, January 2nd.
Some of these are obvious, some less so. (And some are maybe not as dumb as the other implies.)
But shark tanks? Really?
ESPN came up with a list of the 25 athletes with the greatest unfulfilled potential. There are two Michigan athletes on this "coulda-been" list. I could have easily guessed Drew Henson, but not Roy Tarpley. Guess I can't argue.
Also, a Buckeye is No. 1 on the list.
As is typical for this time of year (which is to say, any time between April and August, also known as the "offseason") news has come out of some college football players being arrested. In this instance, the culprits attend Auburn. Naturally, there's been some snark about glass houses and all that, some disagreements about whether the offenses were serious (I believe marijuana is involved) and stuff like that.
Mostly, though, my mind drifts back to a belief I have held* for several years: No college football team with any intention of contending for a national title should ever schedule a big opponent for the first week of the season.
The offseason takes a long time. There are eight solid months between games. Those eight months include an entire semester of school and a long, hot, often boring summer. This is the time period in which players have the least to do in their lives--less structure, less routine, less supervision from those that have the most influence on them.
So it is totally predictable that some players are going to get in trouble on occasion in the offseason. For some it will be a minor issue, but for others the problem will be a bit more serious.
And in many cases a coach will be expected to enforce a consequence that involves the loss of playing time.
And such a consequence must, for both purposes of discipline and publicity, take effect no later than the next available game.
Now, if a contending team happens to be playing Eastern Michigan, it might elicit a chuckle from media and the player feels bad, but a contending team can still roll to an easy victory. No big deal.
But if that first game happens to be scheduled against, say, Notre Dame or Alabama, a missing player could be the difference between winning and losing.
Yet no coach** can, in the public eye, delay a suspension like that for purposes of being competitive in a tougher game. So they suspend the player, cross their fingers, and hope.
So a team suffers due to one (more more) player's infraction based not on the infraction but on a predetermined accident of schedule.
The obvious solution, one that thinking athletic directors across the country should be wise enough to adopt, is to never schedule a huge game in the first week.
It makes the schedule boring, and it might mean turning down money for one of those fancy neutral site games, but if you don't want your team's postseason jeopardized because a couple of players were at the wrong party at the wrong time in April or June, you schedule a cupcake to open the season.
*I am not the first to think about this and I don't want to pretend that I am unique here; I may have even been prompted along this line by thoughts I read on this board, though I do not recall.
**Except Jim Tressel, but even he can get fired if things are bad enough.