Monday, November 28, 2011

Don't Blame the Pac-12

We are going to get a terrible, terrible contest Friday night, but it should have been one of the marquee match-ups of cfb's last regular-season weekend. Of course, I'm talking about Rick Neuheisel's death march into Eugene. The Ducks and Bruins are slated for the newly expanded league's first championship game, which should be about as competitive as Balboa-Lang I. Oregon is certainly the deserving representative from the North; they beat Stanford - pretty decisively - and only have one conference loss. But UCLA is a terrible rep from the South. They are 6-6, coming off of blowouts losses in two of their last three games, and lugging around a lame duck head coach who never truly got his team to buy-in what he was selling.* But don't blame the PAC-12 for this; this is not a problem arising from a lack of competitive teams. It's a problem of misplaced sanctions in NCAA punishments. Pete Carroll presided over Reggie Bush when Bush was receiving crazy amounts of improper benefits. Yes, that is wrong and should be punished. But, no, that's not what the NCAA did. Instead, they punished a group of kids who had nothing to do with anything during the Bush-era. It's the current Trojans who have been banned from the post-season, while Carroll and Bush rake in millions in the NFL. It's these kids who suffer from the actions of shady adults. And it's these kids, these current Trojans, who truly deserve a shot at the inaugural PAC-12 title. They're 10-2, took Stanford to the wire, and beat Oregon in Eugene - you can't tell me they wouldn't make a better opponent than UCLA (a team they just crushed 50-0). If you watch any of the game Friday night, save the 'west coast football is overrated' and '[insert team A] could easily win that conference' arguments, and place the blame where the blame is due: the antiquated way with which the NCAA deals with amateur football in this country.

"What'd you expect? I'm Rick Fuckin' Neuheisel. Lawyered."
* Of course, he was selling the coaching equivalent of flea-market quality knock-offs being hocked out of the back of a dirty rape-van.

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