Johnny Football celebrated his first round draft status by buying everyone of drinking age in his favorite bar in College Station a beer and a shot.
I can think of worse ways to say thanks.
Wins over Rice and Duke don’t sound like much, because, well, they’re wins over Rice and Duke. And, in fact, the Liberty Bowl was in little doubt from the first play from scrimmage, as MSU’s monster-sized quarterback carried what looked like two-thirds of the Owls defense for three or four yards. If there’s one thing Dan Mullen is experienced with, it’s beating programs from lesser light conferences.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl, on the other hand…
Texas A&M lived up to the new SEC motto – “Defense doesn’t win championships; it’s just something you do until the offense comes back on the field” – with a vengeance. And if there’s anybody who knows how to exploit a shitty defense, it’s David Cutcliffe. (If he watched the game last night, Willie Martinez was probably having acid flashbacks to that 2006 debacle in Athens.)
In the end, though, despite Duke’s best efforts, the game wound up being a giant platform for the talents of one Johnny Manziel, who simply wouldn’t quit. His defense finally caught up with him and made a couple of big plays, but if the rumors are true about Johnny Football, this game was one helluva farewell to college football from him.
And it was also a reminder about how puzzling the media response to Manziel was this season. Sure, he’s brash at times. But it’s not like he got somebody pregnant, was caught dealing drugs or brandished an AK-47 (although I’m not sure that gets you in trouble in Texas these days). He had another dazzling year and yet it’s almost as if it didn’t matter. And it should have, because, at least for me, he’s been the most fun CFB player to watch since Darren McFadden.
I mean, what can you say about this?
Let’s see A.J. McCarron top that.
Wakey, wakey, football fans.
I’m not sure what this says about college football, but it’s probably not complimentary.
As much as I’m looking forward to hearing the dulcet tones of Uncle Verne again, I’m really starting to dread the coverage of the ‘Bama-TAMU game.
Grab a plate and get to it.
Bruce Feldman has a fascinating piece up about why memorabilia dealers may have it in for Johnny Football. It seems they’re not real happy about the Manziels trying to cut themselves in for some of the sweet action.
“When his family filed to patent his name, ‘Johnny Football,’ all of us dealers, and I’m talking like 500 of us, had items on eBay related to Johnny Manziel,” Rudolph told CBSSports.com Wednesday. “They weren’t necessarily signed by him. I had Heisman programs from where he won the Heisman. So on that listing it would say, ‘Johnny Manziel, Johnny Football, Texas A&M Heisman Program.’ eBay swiped across the country and took all of those items down. All of ‘em. And, in addition to that, they banned everyone who had done it for two weeks. No prior warning or nothing.
“I had 400 items up. I had six or eight related to Manziel and they pulled all of ‘em. I called [eBay]. I said, ‘I’ve never had any trouble on eBay whatsoever.’ They said, ‘This is a legal thing and you violated a legal code so you’re suspended for two weeks.’ For me, I’m small time. That was an irritating thing because for two weeks, I couldn’t sell anything. I am quite sure for people whose livelihood are this business, that was crippling.
“If there’s anybody who has an ax to grind, pick any of those people.”
Meanwhile, there are schools like Ohio State and South Carolina scrambling to declare that their star players whose autographs are being sold in bulk on eBay are as pure as the driven snow. Of course, back in the real world…
Rudolph says his company has paid many pro athletes for the signing of items, but says when it comes to college athletes, “it gets a little sketchy. … we’ve had arrangements to sign memorabilia for us as soon as their bowl game ends. We have many bowl games down here in Florida. It may be two hours after the game ends, we’re gonna meet at this hotel room. We’ll buy their used game jerseys, their cleats. They’ll sign stuff for us. That’s a gray area because the moment they’re signing and getting their money, their eligibility is done, but when the arrangement is made before their eligibility. … that’s what I can say. I have never had a paid signing with an eligible player, but I know that is going on all the time. All the time.”
It’s probably just a bunch third-sting offensive tackles looking for a little extra jack before stardom doing that.
The sleaze is palpable.
Some random thoughts on Autographgate:
However, the NCAA cannot suspend a player on mere suspicion. It needs hard proof. Even before the Miami misconduct scandal that led to a mass exodus of its top investigators, the NCAA’s enforcement department has done little to inspire confidence it can get to the bottom of such matters. This particular situation, however, may be fairly cut-and-dried.
As a current NCAA athlete, Manziel is required to cooperate with investigators or risk forfeiting his eligibility (see: Maurice Clarett and Dez Bryant). That includes supplying bank records if asked. If there’s a mysterious deposit somewhere, he’ll have to explain it.
First, keep in mind that no one claims to have seen any compensation pass between the two. But even if it did, what if Manziel was smart enough to get paid in cash? If the autograph broker refuses to cooperate and there’s no such mysterious deposit, what’s the NCAA got left?
Meanwhile, somewhere in this great land of ours, Cecil Newton is chuckling.