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Friday, October 28, 2011

Week 9 College Football TV Schedule-NCAA approves scholarship reform - Crosby Return to be Soon - Hamilton HR -

Week 9 College Football TV Schedule
Friday, Oct. 28
8 p.m.
A win for TCU could place it back into the Top 25.

Saturday, Oct. 22
12 p.m.
Michigan State (11) at Nebraska (14)
Another big game for Michigan State—a win here and it's a definite Top 10 team in the BCS standings.

Missouri at Texas A&M (16)
A game between two teams that are in the Big 12 but want out.

Purdue at Michigan (18)
Michigan has a chance to right the ship, as it needs a win this week.

North Carolina State at Florida State
FSU looked like the team from the beginning of the season last week against Maryland.

Northwestern at Indiana
Big Ten Network
IU may have lost 5-star recruit Gunner Kiel, but a win against Northwestern may get him back.

Central Michigan at Akron

12:21 p.m.
Arkansas (10) at Vanderbilt
SEC Network
Arkansas dipped in the BCS standings after narrowly defeating Ole Miss. A blowout victory over Vandy will move the Razorbacks back up the polls.

12:30 p.m.
Virginia Tech (12) at Duke
Va. Tech needs a blowout victory this week to remind everyone it is one of the best teams in the country.

3 p.m.
Boston College at Maryland
ACC mediocrity at its best this week.

3:30 p.m.
Baylor at No. 3 Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State may be on upset watch this week against the high-powered Baylor offense.

Oklahoma (9) at Kansas State (8)
This is Kansas State’s toughest and biggest game of the year.

Georgia (22) at Florida
UGA finally is ranked in the Top 25. It cannot afford a slip up this week in the swamp.

West Virginia (25) at Rutgers
WVU was crushed by Syracuse last week; does it suffer the same fate against Rutgers?

Navy at Notre Dame
Notre Dame blew its big chance at cracking the Top 25 in losing to USC. Now its BCS dreams are dead.

Iowa at Minnesota
Big Ten Network
Big Ten mediocrity at its best this week!

Wake Forest at North Carolina
Wake Forest is one of the best unranked teams in the country.

5 p.m.
Hawaii at Idaho

7 p.m.
Ole Miss at Auburn (23)
Can someone please notify me how Auburn is still ranked?

Mississippi State at Kentucky
Two teams jockeying for SEC position as bowl season is coming quickly.

7:15 p.m.
South Carolina (13) at Tennessee
How does this SC team play without two of its best offensive weapons?

8 p.m.
Clemson (5) at Georgia Tech
Clemson has been knocking teams out with an offense led by QB Tajh Boyd. How many points does it score on the Yellow Jackets this week?

Stanford (6) at USC
Stanford gets its toughest matchup of the year against USC this week. Oh, and "Suck for Luck!"

Wisconsin (15) at Ohio State
Wisconsin lost on a last-second play last week. How do the Badgers fare on the road under the lights of the Horseshoe?

God told Josh Hamilton he was going to hit a home run
Josh Hamilton hit a huge homer to put the Rangers up by two in the 10th inning of last night’s thriller. After the game, he said this:
“I would tell y’all something, but y’all wouldn’t believe me … The Lord told me it was going to happen before it happened. You hadn’t hit a home run in a while. You’re about to right now.’”
Before we go any further, can I tell you how much I wish that David Freese, when asked about his walkoff homer in the 11th, said that Satan had told him he’d do it, and then he held up the devil horns, Dio-style? That would have been epic.
Anyway: I realize that I’m a big damned-to-Hell agnostic type and everything, so I’m not an authority here. I’m not going to push my non-belief on others. Even if I don’t subscribe to it, I’m not one of those militant atheist types who turn going after religion into a crusade (those people have their own, almost religious zealotry that is more than a little ironic). I think religion can be an important part of a person’s life. I’ve seen it work wonders in people. So if Josh Hamilton believes that God told him he was going to hit a home run and that fills him with wonder and purpose, I feel great for Josh Hamilton.
But can I ask the believers out there: If there is a God, do you really think He rolls like this? That He takes interest in the events of Man on such a granular level that He’s not only telling a guy like Hamilton that he’s going to hit a homer, but He’s also going to note beforehand that Hamilton hadn’t hit a homer in a while? God cares about baseball stats? Is God … a sabermetrician?!
No, of course he isn’t. If He was, He would have said “Josh, you are going to get on base.” Or else He wouldn’t have cared about baseball at all, because I’m told statheads hate baseball and only love numbers, so never mind.
Anyway, theology is not my bag. Maybe God does tell people when they’re about to do their job well. When you’re omnipotent you can multitask. Attend to the suffering here, orchestrate the wonder and miracle of creation there, smite the wicked in another place and still have all of the time in the world to tell rich athletes that they’re about to do something special. Really, it’s not a problem.
Is it?

Pens GM wants Crosby to Come Back at Home

Responding well to contact, Sidney Crosby is closing in on his return to the NHL. [Ray Shero] is hinting that the time is nigh. In an interview on Sportsnet's 590 The Fan in Toronto, Shero talked about the progress of Crosby, who has been quiet since he was cleared for contact. ... [Maybe] the juiciest part [of the interview] was saved for the end. Straight up: Will Crosby play Saturday in Toronto against the Maple Leafs? "No," Shero responded. "I'd like to play him at home first probably. Does it matter though, really? He's going to want to play. The thing with Sidney is that he really wants to play. If I say 'Listen, we want to hold you out until the following Friday because we have a home game' he's going to look at me like 'huh?!'"

NCAA approves scholarship reform
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The scandal-plagued NCAA is moving swiftly to clean up its image.
On Thursday, the Division I Board of Directors approved a package of sweeping reforms that gives conferences the option of adding more money to scholarship offers, schools the opportunity to award scholarships for multiple years, imposes tougher academic standards on recruits and changes the summer basketball recruiting model.
"It was one of the most aggressive and fullest agendas the board has ever faced," NCAA President Mark Emmert said. "They moved with dispatch on it, and I think they're taking positive steps for schools and student-athletes."
For decades, outsiders have debated whether college scholarships should include more than just the cost of tuition, room and board, books and fees. Now they can.
The board approved a measure allowing conferences to vote on providing up to $2,000 in spending money, or what the NCAA calls the full cost-of-attendance. Emmert insists it is not pay-for-play, merely the reintroduction of a stipend that existed for college athletes until 1972. He also compared it to the stipends received by other students who receive non-athletic scholarships.
Some thought the total amount should have been higher. At the Big Ten's basketball media day in Chicago, commissioner Jim Delany said studies have shown the average athlete pays roughly $3,000 to $4,000 out of his or her own pocket in college costs.
But many believe the measure is long overdue.
"I think it needs to happen or else I think what's left of the system itself is going to implode," said Ohio University professor David Ridpath, past president of The Drake Group, an NCAA watchdog. "We've always lost the moral high ground by saying the educational model is what makes this thing go. I think we're delivering a model that can exploit kids while they're here."
Extra money won't solve all of the NCAA's problems.
Schools must infer the cost of additional funding and it will have to be doled out equally to men's and women's athletes because of Title IX rules. While BCS schools have the money and are expected to swiftly approve additional funding, it may prove too costly for non-BCS schools.
There are fears it will increase the disparity between the haves and the have-nots and could prompt another round of conference realignment.
The board also approved a measure that will give individual schools the authority to award scholarships on a multiple-year basis.
Under the current model, those scholarships are renewed annually and can be revoked for any reason. If adopted, schools could guarantee scholarships for the player's entire career and would be unable to revoke it based solely on athletic performance. Scholarships could still be pulled for reasons such as poor grades, academic misconduct or other forms of improper behavior.
Ridpath said he's personally been involved with 50 or 60 appeals cases after a coach pulled a player's scholarship.
"The reason usually is they find a prettier girl to bring to the dance," he said. "If you're Frank Beamer or Nick Saban, they make a lot of money, and they should be able to coach that kid up."
University presidents are moving quickly to repair the damage caused by a year full of scandals.
Schools from Miami to Boise State, including the reigning the champions in football (Auburn) and men's basketball (Connecticut), have all come under NCAA scrutiny. The U.S. Department of Justice started asking questions about scholarships, Congress has held hearings about a variety of NCAA-related issues and conference realignment has continued to spin wildly.
So, the NCAA's board went back to basics and placed a renewed emphasis on academics.
In August, the board approved raising the four-year Academic Progress Rate cutline from 900 to 930 and linking that cutline to eligibility for postseason play. On Thursday, it passed a four-year plan to phase in the new requirements.
During the first two years, 2012-13 and 2013-14, teams scoring below 900 on the four-year average would be ineligible for postseason play unless the averaged 930 on the two most recent years of data. In 2014-15, teams that do not hit the 930 mark would be ineligible unless they averaged 940 in the two most recent years. After that, everyone must hit 930, no exceptions.
Schools that do not make the grade could also face additional penalties such as reductions in practice time and game limits, coaches suspensions, scholarship reductions and restricted NCAA membership.
The board also approved a measure to include the provision in its bowl licensing agreements, which means it will apply to football teams, too.
UConn's men's basketball team could be the first team to feel the impact.
After posting an 826 last year, a UConn official has said this year's mark will be approximately 975. It would give Connecticut a two-year score of 900.5 and a four-year average of 888.5 -- both too low to make the basketball tourney.
"That's unfortunate," Knight Commission member Len Elmore said. "It's a cautionary tale, but the need for, again, focusing on the true mission of the university is to graduate players and you can't fail at the most important task whether you're national champions or not."
Emmert said if the new rule had been used last year, seven men's basketball teams and eight football teams would have been ineligible for the postseason. And there's almost no way out for teams who don't make the grade.
"You can appeal, but we are going to be very, very strict about appeals," said Walt Harrison, chairman of the committee on academic performance. "So we really don't expect waivers to be a major factor."
As part of the plan, the board agreed to raise eligibility standards for incoming freshmen and junior college transfers. Previously, high school seniors needed a 2.0 GPA in 16 core courses. Now they'll need a 2.3 and will have to complete 10 of those classes before their senior year.
Junior college transfers will need a 2.5 GPA and can only count two physical education credits toward their eligibility.
The other big issue was summer basketball recruiting.
The board has agreed to drop the text messaging ban and allow unlimited contacts to prep players after June 15 of their sophomore year. But coaches. But instead of having 20 evaluation days in July, coaches will have four in April, previous a dead period, and 12 in July. And they'll have more on-campus contact with recruits and current players during the summer. Some of those details will be worked out in January.
Jim Haney, executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, said the changes could help limit the influence of agents or unscrupulous coaches, which has become yet another problem for the NCAA.
"In the summer, there are third-parties looking to access our student-athletes as well, work them out," Haney said. "So by allowing access in the summer, we allow coaches to empower our players to become better players."
The NCAA still has plenty of issues to tackle.
In January, the board is expected to get recommendations on how to shrink the massive rulebook. On Thursday, it backed a plan to focus on integrity issues rather than specifics, and it could include a new definition of who qualifies as an agent. A vote isn't expected until April.
The NCAA did not talk about its long-discussed agent registry or forming panel to help college players make decisions about turning pro.
And it still plans to scrap the current two-tiered penalty structure in favor of four categories with specific penalty guidelines. A vote on that will not likely come until next October.
"I think there's a recognition that the (old) process invited people to step over the line because it was very convoluted," Elmore said. "Now we're getting swift, severe sanctions, and that's what we need."

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