All year long we had to listen to media experts insist that no Big Ten team could play with a physical Stanford team that won the allegedly far superior PAC 12. Well, Stanford and its vaunted running game ran into a green wall of reality last night as Michigan State out-muscled them over and over again in the trenches.
Say what you want about the Big Ten and its recent troubles, but the better Big Ten teams know how to play physical football, unlike most Pac 12 teams. Watching Stanford run through defenses like Oregon tells you nothing about how they will fare against Michigan State’s top-ranked defense.
Of course, it didn’t help that alleged “genius” David Shaw showed zero immagination with his play calls. Running Tyler Gaffney up the middle on fourth and three against this defense was just silly, as everyone knew what was comming and the Spartans slammed him for a three yard loss.
Meanwhile, Sparty and Mark Dantonio did the best immitation of Tresselball we’ve seen in years. They were tough on defense and resiliant on offense. This team also didn’t give up after a brutal pick-six before the half and responded with a quick touchdown to stay in the game.
It was a great win for Michigan State and the Big Ten, so perhaps we can be spared some of the smack talk about the PAC 12 for at least a year.
Ohio State University quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) runs the ball against Eastern Michigan University during the second quarter of their NCAA football game in Columbus, Ohio September 25, 2010. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
The Oakland Raiders selected former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor with a third-round pick in the 2011 supplemental draft. Seeing as how they now don’t own a second, third or fourth round pick in 2012, it was quite a gamble for Al Davis and his franchise.
But here are three reasons why Pryor was worth the gamble for Oakland (and three reasons why he wasn’t).
1. Don’t get fixated on the third-round compensation.
No, the Raiders currently don’t own a second, third or fourth-round pick for 2012. But they also just lost cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and tight end Zach Miller via free agency so chances are they’ll recoup that third round pick when the NFL hands out compensatory selections next year. In fact, there’s a good possibility that Oakland will receive a third and a fourth-round pick for next year’s draft. That doesn’t mean that the Raiders should just give away their draft picks, but that’s not what they did. In Pryor, they landed a gifted athlete with plenty of potential…
2. …Pryor is a gifted athlete with plenty of potential.
Pryor is raw as a quarterback prospect but there’s no auguring how good of an athlete he is (which is why Al Davis was so attracted to him). He ran in the sub 4.4-range at his recent pro day and if he doesn’t make it as a QB, he has the quickness and body control to potentially become a receiver at the next level. As of right now, the Raiders don’t have any quarterback on the roster signed through next season. That includes Jason Campbell, who becomes a free agent at the end of the year. Even though Pryor will miss the first five games this season due to a suspension, he gives Oakland the developmental quarterback that their roster currently lacks.
3. The reward could outweigh the risk.
As it stands right now, this isn’t a move that will set the Raiders back for years to come. In the end, all they gave up was a third round pick that they’ll probably get back next year anyway thanks to Asomugha’s decision to sign with the Eagles. If Pryor winds up being a starting quarterback in Oakland, all it would have cost the Raiders up front was a third-round pick. That’s also third-round quarterback money, which is nothing. On the flip side, if doesn’t pan out at quarterback, the Raiders could still try him at receiver. If he flames out there, then hey, at least they didn’t give up a No. 1 overall selection (eh, JaMarcus?).
Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor throws to a receiver against Purdue during the second quarter of their NCAA football game in Columbus, Ohio October 23, 2010. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
What a surprise. The most dysfunctional franchise in the NFL takes the head case from Ohio State in the third round of the supplemental draft.
I guess the Raiders will draft anyone who can run a good time in the 40, regardless of position.
Terrelle Pryor is a major project. I’m not sure he can ever develop into a starter in the NFL, and he’s obviously had off-the-field issues as well. The kid needs to grow up, and landing in Oakland only makes that more difficult.
He would have been better off going to a good team like Pittsburgh where he could learn under good coaches and behind a good quarterback who moves around in the pocket.
In one sense, none of this is surprising. As we’ve said many times, college football players are squeezed by the current system and there are too many temptations for them to cash in on benefits when they don’t have their own spending money. We’ve seen it in the tattoo scandal at Ohio Sate and the potential suit scandal at Alabama. The NCAA needs to reform the rules.
This crap happens everywhere. The deciding factor is simply proof available to the NCAA. With Ohio State, they had an FBI sting that produced the memorabilia that was central to the scandal. So far in Alabama there are tons of photos produced by sites like SPORTSbyBROOKS. We’ll see where that goes.
Here in Miami things might be even worse, as a rogue booster named Nevin Shapiro is in prison. He’s pissed off and he seems determined to take down the Miami football program. Thus the problem – if he can provide proof, Miami is in huge trouble. Some of the allegations are pretty tough as he’s saying he also provided prostitutes to the players.
The NCAA needs to be careful here. If they go off on these programs with massive sanctions, you might end up with a revolt as other schools will realize that this is happening everywhere on some level. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Meanwhile, the officials in Miami need to get on top of this asap.
The biggest problem facing the NCAA is the myth of amateurism in college sports. With the Internet, 24-hour cable channels, and now social media, the activities of “student athletes” is now much more open to scrutiny.
Last week the NCAA found that from February through June 2010, the university “did not adequately and consistently monitor social networking activity that visibly illustrated potential amateurism violations within the football program, which delayed the institution’s discovery and compounded the provision of impermissible benefits.”
The statement included an NCCA request for “copies of materials posted on Twitter by football student-athletes. … Furthermore, the NCAA is requesting information regarding the institution’s efforts to monitor the social networking activity of football student-athletes.”
So the NCAA is now seeking to become a social networking assassin of its own. Or should I say it is just playing another variation of its familiar role of assassin, as the NCAA is often in the business of search and destroy, usually of its own making.