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CHRIS DUFRESNE / COLLEGE MAILBAG

Urban Meyer puts Ohio State on cream puff diet, leaves bitter taste

Chris Dufresne takes time during the season to answer questions on college football. This week's topics include sham matchups, sham rulings and strange stats.

September 27, 2013|Chris Dufresne

Unbuckling the mailbag:

Question: I hope you and the media start a campaign to stop the NCAA scheduling these massacre football games. It is a scam, a sham and a shame. . . . Urban Meyer has the guts leading, 55-0, to go for it on fourth and six? He should be suspended for a game for that humiliation.

Bobby Herbeck

Answer: I'll start the campaign about these silly "paycheck" games, but first things first: You owe the Ohio State coach a big apology.

Meyer did not — I repeat, did NOT — allow his team to "go for it" on fourth and six with the Buckeyes leading, 55-0, last week against Florida A&M.

Ohio State was up only 48-0 at the time, and it was fourth and five.

Kenny Guiton completed a 15-yard pass and that led to the touchdown that made it 55-0 just before the half.

Q: Your story on the Georgia Tech massacre of Cumberland College was interesting — 220-0 is an astounding score. How is it possible to score an average of 10 touchdowns a quarter?

Paul Hovsepian

A: And Bobby Herbeck thinks Meyer was piling on? One problem was that Cumberland did not come properly equipped or prepared to that 1916 game in Atlanta. According to the book "Heisman, the Man Behind the Trophy," Cumberland left campus in Tennessee and hoped to pick up some extra players when changing trains in Nashville. Instead, three players missed the connection. The Bulldogs arrived in Atlanta with only 15 players, 13 of which were Cumberland law students.

Then came a couple of bad breaks: Cumberland starting quarterback Charlie Edwards was knocked out trying to block on the opening kickoff.

Cumberland got the ball first and gained three yards on first down. It was the Bulldogs' longest gain of the day.

Every time Georgia Tech scored, Cumberland elected to kick the ball back to the Yellow Jackets, which was permitted under the rules.

Georgia Tech led, 63-0, after the first quarter and it sort of snowballed from there.

Q: Not sure whether you have participated in college athletics or just reported those events? But to characterize these programs as a pile-it-on would indicate that you have never performed in front of 100,000 people on a Saturday afternoon.

Ed Mascio

A: I did participate in college athletics but have to admit we never played in front of 100,000 in our intramural Ultimate Frisbee league.

Q: What's your coaching record?

Charles L. Freeman

A: I retired with a perfect 1-0 record, no worse than a tie for the best winning percentage in history. My crowning achievement came a few summers ago at my son's junior varsity high school basketball tournament in Palm Springs.

Tom Gregory, then Chino Hills Ayala High's varsity coach, asked me if I could coach a split-squad JV team because he was short on coaches. I gathered the boys up, looked them in the eye, and told them to pick the starting lineup.

It was a running clock, 20 minutes per half, and I told the players to substitute in and out any time they wanted.

I never called a timeout and we cruised to an easy victory.

Any time I read about a coach losing his first game, in any sport, at any level, I raise a champagne toast knowing my perfect record is safe.

Q: I wonder how the NCAA has the power to fine Penn State $60 million? How do these guys have the horsepower to fine a state institution?

H.C. Warren

San Diego

A: Here's what happened: Mark Emmert, a newly appointed NCAA wizard with a shiny wand, decided to junk the rule book in the Penn State sex-abuse scandal. Everyone agreed what happened was despicable and something needed to be done. But instead of going through the normal channels of due process — it used to take years to process cases — Emmert named himself King of Infraction Enforcement and handed down extraordinary, unprecedented penalties.

As I recall, Emmert figured $60 million was how much football revenue the school would produce over the course of the sanctions. Emmert also instituted a four-year bowl ban and the loss of about 80 scholarships.

"It's good to be king," as they used to say in medieval times.

You can understand why USC cried foul this week when the NCAA decided to restore some scholarships to Penn State. USC in 2010 was hit with a two-year bowl ban and the loss of 30 scholarships in the Reggie Bush case.

Penn State has skewed forever, and perhaps irrevocably, how future NCAA cases can be viewed and decided. By going outside his boundaries, Emmert elevated the sanctions business to a different level of chaos.

In my opinion, though, no case should ever be compared with Penn State's.

USC has a better argument against the football-related sanctions by citing the cases of Ohio State, Oregon, and we'll see about Miami.

The NCAA set out to make an example of USC but keeps moving the goal posts.

The NCAA is broken, in case you haven't heard, and few people think Emmert is the man who can fix it.

Q: The NCAA committee on infractions is a joke. Look what happened to Auburn and Cam Newton. Nothing.

Norman Hensley

Santa Monica

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