Wednesday, August 1, 2012

One month until football season (and other thoughts)

It has been a long time since I last wrote in here as I have, for the most part, taken a break from Michigan State sports and college sports in general.  That's not to say I have been living in a cave and have not taken note of the Penn State situation or the Big Ten meetings in Chicago, but I have been spending most of my time enjoying the summer, watching in my son's Pony League baseball team in June (and working with him on his baseball skills), watching (and being frustrated by) the Detroit Tigers, recovering from an unexpected hernia repair surgery in July, and occasionally tuning into the Olympic Games.

So let's play a little catch-up: The NCAA handed down sanctions against Penn State, and by-and-large I agree with them.  What surprised me was the ruling that Penn State vacate all football wins between 1998 and 2011, thereby stripping Paterno of the all-time record in victories. My immediate reaction was that the NCAA was piling on.  But at the same time, I can understand the argument that the cover-up of Sandusky's evil during this period gave Penn State a competitive advantage that it most definitely would NOT have had if the world knew what Sandusky was doing.  What happened at Penn State was "lack of institutional control" at its most egregious, so it's hard to argue that they were hit too heavily by the NCAA.

Michigan is getting a lot of love from the media (like that's something new?).  They are the consensus media pick to win the Big Ten football title this year. Michigan should be good this year, but Big Ten champions? I'm definitely not convinced.  Then again, I'm hardly an unbiased observer.

This morning, Jack Ebling was on Staudt on Sports.  Unfortunately, I did not catch the entire interview because I had was in a doctor's appointment (follow-up checkup to make sure I recovered from my surgery, in case anyone is interested).  I was surprised to hear Ebling on Staudt's show, because I thought that Ebling and Staudt (two of the kingpins and elder statesmen in Lansing-area sports) did not get along.  This notion was based on something Ebling said on the radio a few years ago when he called out a certain local sports commentator, but not by name. At the time, it was obvious to me that his anonymous sports commentator was Tim Staudt.  If Ebling and Staudt had differences in the past, it must be water under the bridge now because both guys seemed to enjoy the interview, and Ebling had some interesting things to say about his career as a journalist, the upcoming Big Ten season (he goes against the grain and picks Purdue to win the Leaders Division), and his soon-to-be released book about MSU football, Heart of a Spartan.  The book is a must-buy, as it sounds outstanding.

As we approach the start of college football, I will try to post more in this blog.  I meant to post more this summer, but obviously that didn't happen. I think I was more burned out than I realized and really needed a few months to recuperate, since it's such hard work being a couch potato sports fan.

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