It’s Out of the Question: Tee up Johnny Football again

Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, center with towel, sways with teammates during the school song following Saturday's win over visiting Rice.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, center with towel, sways with teammates during the school song following Saturday’s win over visiting Rice. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Johnny Football sure learned his lesson Saturday afternoon.

College football got schooled as well.

What doubts are there that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel had some cash funneled to him – above table, under the table, snapped to him between someone else’s legs – for scribbling his name on a bunch of memorabilia in the months since his Heisman coronation?

And what harm was actually done – aside from sidestepping some archaic NCAA rule — by profiting from someone’s own piece of personalized artwork?

Smart 20-year-old college entrepreneur that he is – his Aggie bio lists him as a “sports management” major — what kind of incriminating paper trail did he leave?

None, as far as the sports’ clownish, contradictory governing body was concerned.

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

But for some other unexplained “inadvertent” violation Manziel apparently committed, Texas A&M (that’s short for Advertising and Marketing) was forced to start the first half of its season opener without his electrifying scrambling ability for the good of the team’s point total.

(Note: A lightning storm Thursday suspended South Carolina’s opener against North Carolina for more than an hour – or longer than Manzeil’s suspension).

Manziel (rhymes with “sell”) apparently signed off on the 30-minute punishment, watching the game with a towel wrapped around neck (perhaps to later autograph and auction off) rather than offer up any sort of legal appeal.

But then, what choice did the sophomoric sophomore have? His best move was to take the hand slap, expose the NCAA again for its farcical ways and draw more support for the plight of  the exploited college athlete. Continue reading

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The K.O. Affect(ion): We knew we were missing something, we just didn’t know what it was

Photo: ESPN

Photo: ESPN

The United Statements of Keith Olbermann, otherwise labeled simply “Olbermann” on your ESPN2 run sheet, has predictably become quite a complicated piece of television to consume on a nightly basis in just its first week.

Even setting the DVR and realizing this would involve more than one take at a time in an attempt to chew upon and digest, it can easily induce an Alka Seltzer moment.

This completely ego-driven return of the former ESPN anchor aiming to rewrite how history has looked upon him has managed to kick it into verbiage overdrive pronto.

From New York’s Times Square, Olbermann has produced a greater luminous effect than all the glittering signage in the background that seemed to be there if only to challenge him for visual attention.

The content isn’t really anything unexpected. It’s pure, unadulterated, look-at-me K.O. OK, we get it.

Photo: ESPN

Photo: ESPN

The comparisons to his previous stint as a smuggest political commentator on MSNBC’s “Countdown” were anticipated. You’d love it more if this somehow spurred the creation of a sports-related Steven Colbert-type character on a daily Onion video, one where the guy’s head would literally explode at the end of each segment.

And reading between the lines in everything Olbermann does, even if there are some less-than-subtle jabs at his own company’s policies, is mandatory if anyone plans to stick with it past the some volatile opening monologue and get to the compelling interviews, retro sports highlight commentary and even a re-washing of his “worst people” segments as they relate to the sports world.

“I’m here to calm you down,” joked Wednesday night guest John McEnroe, introduced shortly after Olbermann’s railing against the NCAA’s decision to suspend Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel for the first half of Saturday’s opener, a follow-up lambasting from the night before where he created a well-told but refreshingly new spin on how the game Manziel  plays is really “college pro football.”

“You don’t need to be that angry,” McEnroe continued. “You seemed fairly mellow early on, and now you’re coming on strong.”

McEnroe couldn’t be serious. But in a way, he was.

Admitted Olbermann: “I have a lot of pent-up anxiety.” Continue reading

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George Raveling’s perspective 50 years later on Dr. King’s ‘dream’ speech — beyond the fact he can read the original copy whenever the moment strikes him

Last month, George Raveling was joined by CBS’ James Brown on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to recall the Martin Luther King “I Have A Dream” speech given 50 years ago — Aug. 28, 1963. The piece aired recently on “CBS Sunday Morning”:

It was about a year ago when George Raveling found himself in Oregon, sitting through a global sports marketing meeting at Nike’s headquarters.
Raveling, the shoe company’s director of international basketball, was part of a seminar on how make a better group presentation.
The model used as an example: Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
“The woman explained to us how a speech had to create a clear vision,” the former USC coach recalled. “From a leadership standpoint, you had to present that vision, and then show people how it would unfold – the strategy, the journey, the destination.
“She took us from the beginning of that speech and showed how Dr. King used his voice, his tone, going low at times, and then becoming more boisterous, how he could manipulate the audience’s emotions as he spoke.
“It was all about getting people willing to follow that vision. She demonstrated how Dr. King took everyone to this ‘promised land,’ and showed them what it would look like.”
One of Raveling’s colleagues sitting close by leaned over to him.
“You’re pretty familiar with all this, aren’t you?” he asked.
“Yes,” Raveling responded, “but I’ve never looked at it from this perspective.” Continue reading

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Play It Forward: Aug. 26-Sept. 1 on your sports calendar — Not to Labor Day the point, but college football kicks off for USC, UCLA

The week ahead on the sports calendar, here and afar:

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

ncf_u_bretthundley_cmg_600COLLEGE FOOTBALL:
USC at HAWAII, 8 p.m. Thursday, CBS Sports Network:
UCLA vs. NEVADA, Rose Bowl, 7 p.m. Saturday, Pac-12 Network:
“The city is different now,” UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley was saying. “Just walking around, everybody knows you for that game. You hear, ‘Oh, you’re the quarterback that beat SC. You beat SC.’ It’s so cool.” As a freshman last season, Hundley facilitated in the rainy 38-28 win over USC at the Rose Bowl. Junior Anthony Barr punctuated it by effectively ending Matt Barkley’s college career with an emphatic sack. Flash forward nine months.
moraldeThe fact both Hundley and Barr return to coach Jim Mora’s squad that has been to the Pac-12 title game two seasons in a row as the South champion turns the expectations up a notch in the pre-season polls. And the fact that USC beleaguered coach Lane Kiffin is without Barkley has no clear-cut starter at quarterback says more about the state of the Trojans’ program . Is there a way Marquis Lee can take snaps out of the shotgun and the just decide himself which way to attack the defense? Mora says that playing the opener in the Rose Bowl may feel like a bowl-game atmosphere, even if the opponent is the Wolf Pack. “What you find the first time you walk into the Rose Bowl is that adrenaline just takes over,” said Mora. “We saw that in the spring game, and then you get tired real easy. So, we’re going to try to create that on Saturday night so that when we come out against Nevada, we’re maybe a tad more relaxed and used to the environment. There will still be a heightened sense of anxiety (on game day).”
LanKifCU_APIf USC’s season, and Kiffin’s future, hangs in the balance of what bowl game the team ends up, at least they’ll start things off with a bowl-type feeling traveling to Honolulu for their opener. USC’s last two trips to Hawaii produced victories of 49-36 (in 2010) and 63-17 (in 2005). USC officials confirm that in neither of those trips did Snoop Dogg pick them up at the airport.

BEST OF THE REST: Continue reading

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