Hernandez, Winston are Perfect Examples of Today’s …

Hernandez
Hernandez

Hernandez will face a far different life than one he grew accustomed to while in prison.

You play for the premier football team in all of the National Football League. You’ve played in Super Bowls and you’ve just signed a new contract for $40 million dollars.

Unfortunately, the next time you see the lights of the stadium where you saw so much success will be from your jail cell. So close to the stadium are you that you will be able to hear the roar of the crowd when your former quarterback throws a touchdown pass to someone that isn’t you.

You… Are Aaron Hernandez. You have just been sentenced to life in prison for murdering your “friend” execution-style just a short distance from your own home.

We really shouldn’t have been surprised by the smug look on Hernandez’s face when the jury verdict was read on Wednesday. This man is clearly a narcissist who must have had his pride hurt so badly by Odin Lloyd that he felt compelled to kill him.  But this is far from the last we’ll see of Hernandez because he will face trial later this year in Boston for the murders of two men at a traffic stop.

How does a man like Hernandez become a murderer? Is it an ethnic thing? Is it a stubborn pride thing? What possesses a guy to think that taking a life is worth more than his life as a professional athlete?

The easy answer is entitlement. When players as talented as Hernandez are first discovered when they are rising in the high school ranks, life is made easy for them. They are enabled by coaches, teachers and even their parents. This isn’t true in every case of course but look not just at Hernandez. Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston fall into this category as well.

Constant entitlement and enabling result in guys who believe they can do no wrong. Just several hours after killing Lloyd, Hernandez was in the Patriots’ facility already working out. To me, that’s a person full of himself and a person who truly believes he is above the law and everyone else.

Karma has come to Aaron Hernandez and there’s nothing good about it.

Winston

Will this latest lawsuit cost the former Heisman winner the top pick in the draft?

More Bad News for Winston

I mentioned Winston above and now he gets his own spot here as he’s back in the news and none of it is good. The woman who originally claimed that Winston sexually assaulted her at Florida State has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the potential number one draft pick.

What will be fascinating about this in the early stages is what does Winston do about his attorney David Cornwell? To this point, Cornwell has pretty much been able to keep Winston clean and away from any serious criminal charges. The problem is that Cornwell recently made comments that do not help Winston’s cause.

Cornwell recently said that his client is more than ready for the NFL in terms of the on-field stuff that comes with it but as for the off-field part, Cornwell wasn’t so sure. “He’s not ready to be an NFL player off the field,” said Cornwell. If I’m the attorney representing the young woman, how in the world do I not attack that immediately?

Civil cases are much different than criminal cases in that much less is needed for a jury to find Winston responsible. I’m not going to say that this is an open and shut case but Winston should be concerned. So too should the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who it appears are all set to make Winston the top pick in the draft.

Will they stay with Winston or decide he’s too much trouble off the field?

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Need to Laugh? Here are My April Fools Jokes for the Rest …

JV
JV

My April Fools Day Jokes begin with Justin Verlander and his main squeeze Kate Upton.

As “The Joker” once said, “Why so serious?”

I think it’s time to have a little fun on this April Fools Day and I’m the one providing all of the jokes. Therefore, here’s my list of “April Fools Gags” you know you want to see.

Major League Baseball

Justin Verlander finally kicks Kate Upton to the curb. He goes 35-2, wins the Cy Young, AL MVP and pitches all four games in a World Series sweep over the LA Dodgers.

Clayton Kershaw takes another line drive to the jaw. This time all of his teeth are knocked out and he returns to the dugout looking like “Jaws” from the James Bond movies.

The Chicago Cubs steamroll the competition and take the National League Central by 18 games. They go undefeated through the divisional round and NLCS and lead the Red Sox 3-0 in the World Series when Boston decides to just give up giving the Cubs the title.

RG

Roger Goodell resigns? Don't I wish?

National Football League

The New England Patriots are stripped of their Super Bowl XLIX title after the NFL finds Tom Brady deflated all of the balls personally.

Rodger Goodell resigns citing his total inability to actually make a decision.

Jerry Jones has more plastic surgery. Wait….

Jay Cutler takes his internet image of “Smokin’ Jay Cutler” to a new level when he lights up a Marlboro in the huddle of a four interception first half against the Packers.

Philip Rivers has seven more children bringing his family’s total to 14 kids.

Arizona Head Coach Bruce Arians decides he no longer likes his Kangol and switches to a bucket-style hat.

Marshawn Lynch publishes a book on how to deal with the media in ten words or less. It becomes a best seller and wins numerous awards despite being one page in length.

National Basketball Association

Phil Jackson becomes coach of the Knicks. They go unbeaten in the 2015 calendar year despite only having three players on their roster.

Rajon Rondo and Coach Rick Carlisle spend the summer backpacking across Europe together.

The Lakers re-structure Kobe Bryant’s contract. He will now make $75 million this season.

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili return for another season using walkers with tennis balls on the bottom of them.

Derrick Rose plays all 82 games of the season.

Lance Stephenson blows into the ear of Marcus Smart and gets punch in the groin.

LeBron James takes his talents back to Miami after losing in the Finals again with Cleveland. Cavs’ fans box up jerseys rather than burning them knowing he’ll be back after a couple more titles.

College Football

Michigan will insist that Jim Harbaugh wears Adidas brand khaki pants. Harbaugh refuses instead choosing to stay with $9 Wal-Mart pants as Michigan goes unbeaten.

Nick Saban leaves just prior to the season to take over at Notre Dame after they fire Brian Kelly. Notre Dame pays Saban $15 million per year and tells him most of the players “aren’t catholic.”

Lane Kiffin takes over at Alabama. He’s run out of town after team loses home finale to Charleston Southern.

Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher resigns. Becomes Jameis Winston’s personal man servant in Tampa Bay.

With all three quarterbacks healthy, Urban Meyer decides to go with true freshman equipment manager to play entire Spring game. All three QBs hurt anyway as they trip over their headphone cords.

 

 

 

 

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My Winners for Today’s Semifinal Games and More.

Winston
Winston

A win in the Rose Bowl would make Jameis Winston's career record at Florida State 28-0.

Normally a piece like this would be featured in the research area of the website but I’m “blogging” it today because I just have to break down these New Year’s Day games.

Florida State (+8) vs Oregon (O/U 71) – Despite being the only unbeaten team left in college football, the Seminoles are the three-seed in the first-ever college football playoff. Frankly, there’s a couple of reasons for that and those are the relatively weak schedule and the constant need to come from behind against much of that competition.

The Ducks are out to prove a couple of things; first, that they aren’t a finesse team and second, that their Heisman winning QB is better than Florida State’s. While may will make this a game between Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, I believe the defenses will play a significant role in who advances to the title game.

FSU has struggled defensively compared to last year and that’s giving lots of people reason to lay their money on the Ducks but there is one major concern I have here. Oregon struggles to score touchdowns in the red zone because they tend to go east and west more than north and south and they run out of room near the end zone. Offensive coordinator Scott Frost will need to make proper adjustments there.

Trends: The Ducks are 5-0 straight up in their last five games… Florida State is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games…The total has gone UNDER in four of FSU’s last five games.

The Pick: As badly as I want to take FSU here because of their penchant for comebacks this season, I have a feeling the Ducks are going to run them out of the building with an offensive pace they haven’t seen all year. Take the Ducks to cover and take the OVER.

Jones

The Buckeyes' fortunes will rise or fall behind QB Cardale Jones tonight.

Ohio State (+9) vs Alabama (O/U 58) – Ohio State comes to New Orleans with a team led by a quarterback who has started just one game in his career. Granted, Cardale Jones tore up Wisconsin in the Big Ten Title game 59-0, but he’ll face a much greater challenge in terms of both defensive talent and defensive coaching from Alabama.

The Tide under Nick Saban have always been a run-first team but behind new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, the offense has exploded. The key will be whether the Alabama offensive line can handle a very good defensive line from Ohio State. If the Crimson Tide control the line of scrimmage then it could be a long day for the OSU defense.

Trends: Alabama is 4-10-1 against the spread in their last 15 games… Ohio State is 5-0 straight up in their last five games… The total has gone OVER in 11 of OSU’s last 12 games… The Crimson Tide is 5-0 in its’ last five contests.

The Pick: With six national titles between the two of the them, Saban and Urban Meyer will have their teams ready to play. I think Bama wins but I like the Buckeyes getting the points and I like the OVER as well.

Other Bowls

Wisconsin (+7) vs Auburn – Take the Tigers to cover as the Badgers are in a bit of disarray right now.

Michigan State (+3) vs Baylor – I can’t get Sparty’s second half collapse against Oregon’s high-octane offense out of my head. Take the Bears to cover.

Minnesota (+5) vs Missouri – Are you sensing a trend? Every Big Ten team playing today is an underdog. With good reason too, take the Tigers to cover.

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Mariota a Deserving and Welcome Sight as Heisman Winner; …

Mariota
Mariota

Mariota is a humble and deserving winner of the Heisman Trophy.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota deserved the Heisman Trophy. Anyone denying that is an Alabama or Wisconsin fan or has no clue what they are talking about. I would have been more than glad to listen to arguments for either Amari Cooper or Melvin Gordon but at the end of the day, the correct selection was made.

Personally I could not have been more happy with his selection. I am not an Oregon fan and I’m not a fan of their plethora of uniform changes and styles either. What I’m a fan of is guys who play hard, take success in stride and aren’t a consistent problem off of the field for their university.

I know right? What an unbelievable concept!

Last year’s Heisman Trophy celebration featured Florida State’s Jameis Winston wining the award. While his on-field success was more than worthy of the award, his issues off the field were troubling and continue to be so today.

The man who won the award the year before Winston did was Johnny Manziel. Again, a guy whose accomplishments on the field of play were more than enough to warrant him getting the award. but like Winston, he was less than a true role model off of it.

I don’t expect every guy that plays college football to be an angel. I don’t have that expectation at all and not even the Heisman Trust has stipulations on character or being a perfect gentleman off the field in its’ award document either. I do however think if we are going to be presented with the best college football player in America it would be nice if they were in fact deserving for overall conduct.

Mariota

Mariota's win is refreshing in light of recent Heisman winners Winston and Manziel.

Go back and watch the video of Mariota accepting the stiff-arming trophy and then compare it to video of Manziel and Winston receiving their trophies. In Mariota you’ll see a humble and almost embarrassed looking young man who can hardly believe what he is achieving while with the other two you say faces of kings being crowned.

Mariota can be demonstrative on the field but he doesn’t have a signature “money” sign like Manziel does because he acts like he’s been in the end zone before. I have no problem with guys celebrating but do it with teammates. Having your own “look at me” celebration is pathetic.

I’m glad that Mariota won the Heisman and for the record, both Gordon and Cooper would have been worthy winners as well based on everything I’ve seen and heard of them. Whether Mariota’s Ducks go on to win the title or whether he goes on to NFL stardom doesn’t matter – what matters is that good guys can finish first.

Michigan, Wisconsin Remain Open

Two big college football vacancies remain open today in Ann Arbor and in Madison but I think you’ll start to see some movement as early as this week however. For Michigan, their number one target is of course Jim Harbaugh. Despite reports that he wants to stay in the pro ranks, word has it that Michigan isn’t going to away quietly.

With Harbaugh’s 49ers officially out of the playoffs now, look for some more information to come out this week. One way or another, Michigan cannot wait to long for Harbaugh because they have to get back to business sooner or later.

Further West in the Big Ten, it looks like Wisconsin is ready to bring former offensive coordinator Paul Chryst back to take over. Chryst has been running things at the University of Pittsburgh where he hasn’t exactly gotten anyone excited for college football. The Panthers continue to draw pathetic crowds and fans are less than pleased with Chryst’s coaching and recruiting.

Either way, don’t be surprised if Athletic Director and former coach Barry Alvarez goes with the familiar Chryst although I don’t think it will be a warm welcome.

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Seminoles Continue to Live Dangerously

Winston
Winston

Jameis Winston threw three interceptions last night but still rallied the 'Noles past Louisvile.

During the 2013 season, the Florida State Seminoles faced very few moments of urgency. They trailed in the first half at Boston College before storming back to win and then in the national championship game they trailed Auburn by 11 points at the break. We know how that ended…

The 2014 season has seen the Seminoles in far different scenarios. Already through eight games Florida State has trailed in half of them. Last night was no exception as the ‘Noles came back from 21-0 down in the first half to defeat Louisville 42-31. This game was seen as the Seminoles’ last serious hurdle in terms of remaining unbeaten.

FSU will host Virginia next Saturday then play their final road game of the season at Miami. Home games against Boston College and Florida round out the season. Certainly anything can happen especially with those two rivalry games but the Seminoles will be favored heavily in all of their final four games.

Cards

The Cardinals just couldn't hang on to the upset over Florida State.

Great teams always find ways to win and so far in 2014 this is exactly what FSU has done. Despite all of the controversy surrounding Jameis Winston for one thing after another and then the more recent allegations against running back Karlos Williams, the Seminoles have persevered. That doesn’t mean some luck hasn’t come their way either.

Most notably was the pass interference call against Notre Dame. While I believe it was the right call, it was still a stroke of luck that it was even called in the first place. There was also the Clemson game in which Winston sat out for his stupid decision to yell obscenities in the FSU Student Union. In that game, the Tigers missed field goals which would have won them the game rather than forcing them to overtime where the Seminoles prevailed.

Last night was no different as the bounces once again went the way of Florida State. Winston threw three interceptions but on one of those he forced the interceptor to fumble the ball back to FSU. Then there was the mishandled snap near the goal line where the ball seemed to roll free for an eternity before FSU tight end ick O’Leary fell on it for a touchdown.

How long can the Seminoles keep living dangerously? My guess is that they’ll survive the final four games but the real test will be when they enter the four-team playoff where they will likely face an SEC team. There’s no question Florida State can win the national title again but the doubts are much greater than they were last year at this time. Will luck and all the bounces continue to go their way? Only time will tell at this point.

Gurley Will Return But I Have Issues With the NCAA

The fact that I have issues with the NCAA is not shocking.They are easily one of the most incompetent and over-judicious bodies I’ve ever seen. Georgia’s Todd Gurley can attest to this. I do not excuse Gurley one bit for signing collectibles and then taking money for his signature because he knew it was wrong and did it anyway. The problem I have is how easily the NCAA has just cast aside Florida State’s Jameis Winston.

The FSU signal caller has far more of his stuff than does Gurley on the website where their wares are hocked. Yet amazingly, the NCAA seems to be uninterested in this fact and takes Winston’s word that he didn’t accept money.

So let’s see; Gurley signed far less stuff and was paid. Winston has been in trouble since he set foot on the Florida State campus yet no one believes he accepted money. Actually, no one can prove he accepted money. I mean, I’m sure the Beats headphones Winston wears all over the place were purchased with money he found lying on the street right?

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Winston Situation is a Referendum on the Whole Darn Problem

Winston
Winston

While I'm pretty sure Jamies Winston is guilty of several things, getting money for autographs shouldn't be one of them.

Off the field, the last seven days have been pretty bad for the reigning Heisman Trophy Winner Jameis Winston. His school, Florida State University, has opened an investigation into his sexual assault allegations. According to Title IX rules, FSU is within its’ rights to investigate the alleged assault on their own. Winston has also been linked to the same sports’ memorabilia people that have cost Georgia running back Todd Gurley his season.

On the field, Winston was brilliant in leading the Seminoles over Syracuse in Western New York on Saturday. He was 30 for 36 for 318 yards and three touchdowns and is proving once again that he seems to play better the more the off-field scrutiny he is under.

Signing autographs for anyone is not against the law nor is it against the rules of the NCAA. Accepting so much as a dime however is a violation of NCAA rules and to this point Winston claims he never accepted any money. ESPN’s Darren Revell said the signatures on 500 pieces of memorabilia were in the same location on each piece and were signed with the same marker.

While that doesn’t mean Winston did anything wrong, it suggests that he did these signings at one time which under almost all circumstances results in a payment.

Gurley

Todd Gurley was suspended for making money on his name. Georgia makes millions on it but that's OK.

I don’t have the answers here and I’m not going to claim to but I’ve been around long enough to know that where there is smoke, there is almost always fire. Going back to the FSU investigation for a minute, while this will not result in any jail time or legal ramification, it could be a tremendous thorn in Winston’s side from here on out in his personal and professional life.

He has the right to remain 100% silent while being questioned by FSU authorities but what has already been uncovered is disturbing. Florida State officials have admitted what many of us assumed about the Tallahassee Police Department’s investigation. It was poorly done and was essentially swept under the rug to make things easier for Winston and the football program.

Regardless of how this investigation turns out, the real issue here is the eventual death of amateurism.

My personal opinion is that a player should be allowed to make money any way possible (within the law obviously). Take Gurley for example who is currently suspended for signing jerseys for money. Why can’t he make money for this when the University of Georgia is making money hand over fist by selling his jersey on their own website?

Move away from football for second… There was a time in amateur athletics when athletes basically lived on whatever they had. Corporate sponsorship was not allowed at the time so many Olympic hopefuls had to rely on their families for financial support.

Now, look at a guy like Michael Phelps who apparently got bored being an average citizen and was arrest two weeks ago for his second DUI. Phelps has made millions off of sponsorships like the ones he’s had with Subway, Under Armor and several swimming apparel companies. The mere fact we call Olympians ‘amateurs’ anymore is a joke.

While I firmly believe Winston has screwed up royally and much of it due to feelings of entitlement, the system still needs to be overhauled. College athletes need to be allowed to take advantage of their fame especially considering the money they bring in for their universities.

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College Football Provides More Talking Points

Fisher Winston
Fisher Winston

Jimbo Fisher and Jameis Winston must have some kind of relationship.

What is it about college football that it seems to provide us with no shortage of great, terrible or just plain kooky moments? Yesterday was no exception as there were upsets, big wins and coaches seats that got hotter. Let’s start with the kooky stuff first.

Earlier in the week, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended for the first half of last night’s eventual OT win against Clemson. On Friday, FSU was not satisfied with Winston’s explanation and suspended him for the full game. So it was with some surprise that as the Seminoles took the field for warm-ups that Jameis Winston was fully dressed and participating.

The video, which I’m guessing you’ve seen by now, shows Head Coach Jimbo Fisher clearly disgusted over his QB’s decision. What I found really odd was that after Winston returned to the field without pads, you can clearly see Fisher apologize to him. My question is why and for what? Just what in the wide wide world of sports is going on at FSU?

How does your QB not know he shouldn’t be dressed for action? How forgets to tell him this nugget of information? Fisher apologizing to him tells me everything I need to know about who runs the team and it sure isn’t anyone named Fisher.

Muschamp

Will Muschamp has to be feeling the pressure as his Gators struggle.

Time to dust off the resumes’ for Hoke and Muschamp

It wasn’t exactly a secret when the season began that Michigan’s Brady Hoke and Florida’s Will Muschamp were both skating on thin ice in regards to their respective jobs. After yesterday’s performances I don’t think either man should plan to do any skating any time soon.

In Tuscaloosa, Muschamp’s Gators hung tough with his mentor’s Alabama Crimson Tide thanks to Bama miscues but in the end lost 42-21. The loss was one thing but the fact the Gators gave up a school record 645 yards and tallied only 200 of their own will not sit well with the Florida faithful. Prior to 2009, the Gators owned the SEC but now they will struggle once again to even reign in their own division.

In Ann Arbor, if were possible for a head coach to be fired during an actual game, this instance may have occurred while the Michigan Wolverines and Utah Utes waited out a storm delay of several hours with Utah holding a 26-10 lead. The frustration on social media was running hot and with good reason. Michigan would eventually lose by the same score.

During the game, Hoke was seen in a verbal argument with defensive coordinator Greg Mattison which will not do Hoke any favors as his team falls to 2-2 with wins against Appalachian State and Miami,OH. Going back to last year, the Wolverines lost five of their last six games and nearly lost games to UConn and Akron as well. Hoke may be a ‘Michigan Man’ but he is not getting the job done in any way, shape or form.

Other Items of Note

Raise your hand if you had Indiana as the one Big Ten team to salvage a significant non-conference win. The Hoosiers, who lost to Bowling Green last week, knocked off #18 Missouri in Columbia 31-27… Michigan State scored 73 in a win over Eastern Michigan and Georgia hit 66 in a win over Troy… Not to be outdone was East Carolina who bested North Carolina 70-41.

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