BARNEStorming: The NCAA and Thoughts Around the College Football World
The NCAA needs to get some continuity. The organization has always meted out what has been deemed “selective enforcement,” and that is never a good thing for college football.
There used to be a joke that the NCAA is so mad at (insert historically established school) they are going to put (insert mid-major school) on probation for 25 years. Some schools are not punished, others are punished harshly.
Now, the NCAA seems to have taken that policy to individual players.
Somehow, Joey Gatewood is eligible at Kentucky after playing at Auburn last season. Suddenly, Cade Mays can play right away at Tennessee after starting on the offensive line at a division rival, Georgia, last year.
Guess who else played at Georgia last season? A young man named Otis Reese. He played in 25 games in his career for the Bulldogs before deciding Athens was not for him, so he transferred to Ole Miss in January.
Guess who the NCAA has not cleared to play? Otis Reese.
One kid played at UGA last year and is in the lineup already for Tennessee. Kentucky played at Auburn in the opening game and Gatewood basically changed sidelines.
Reese would easily be seeing significant playing time in the Rebels’ secondary and the unit could use him as Ole Miss is attempting to win games by outscoring the other team’s offense in shootouts.
This is not a question about the policies of the SEC. No, the conference has deemed Reese eligible. It is the NCAA who is holding up the show. Does the organization have a grudge against Ole Miss? There are not many other conclusions except one, ignorance.
Sometimes, NCAA stands for “No Clue At All.”
EVEN MOTHER NATURE THOUGHT IT WAS A BAD IDEA
Earlier this week, LSU announced it would eliminate “wellness checks” for fans entering Tiger Stadium for Saturday’s home game. Instead, the school asked fans to do a self-assessment prior to entering the stadium for the game with Missouri.
The reason given by LSU: the school did not want to inconvenience fans by making them wait in line.
There are rabid college football fans who have had their seasons altered by COVID-19. These folks are simply ready to go to see their favorite team play. It is not hard to imaging a die-hard fan ignoring a test to go attend a game in person.
But Mother Nature was having none of this. She sent Hurricane Delta screaming to the area just before the game. This forced the SEC office to move the contest from Baton Rouge to Columbia, Mo.
THE RED RIVER SHOOT…, THIS ONE IS NOT WORTH WATCHING
Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Central Time, Oklahoma takes on Texas in the annual Red River Shootout. But this year’s game seems to lack the luster of the Billy Sims, Ricky Williams or even the Baker Mayfield days. Last week, Oklahoma was beaten by Iowa State and Texas fell to TCU.
Not only is this not one of the best games on this week’s schedule, but it is also not even one of the best of the early-game kickoffs.
Florida at Texas A&M, Virginia Tech at North Carolina, N.C. State at Virginia and even Coastal Carolina at Louisiana all have more appeal than the game in Dallas.
The game is always held in conjunction with the Texas State Fair. To make matters worse, the fair has been cancelled for the first time since World War II.
SMALL SCHOOLS, BIG ARMS AND LEGS AND HANDS
Defenses should never rest on schools that are not in the Power 5 Conferences.
If you look at the college football passing statistics, of the five leaders in total yards thrown, four come from Group of 5 schools. Only Pitt’s Kenny Pickett cracked the top five, checking in at number three.
Shane Buechele of SMU (and a transfer from Texas) leads the country, followed by UCF’s Dillon Gabriel. After Pickett comes Jack Abraham of Southern Miss (an Oxford, Miss. native), and Louisiana-Monroe’s Colby Suits.
By the way, college football’s top three rushers? Sincere McCormack of Texas-San Antonio, Spencer Brown of UAB and Ulysses Bentley IV from SMU.
The top three receivers, in terms of total yards receiving, in the land also matriculate at Group of 5 schools. Reggie Robertson, Jr. paces the way from SMU, UCF’s Marlon Williams is second followed by UTEP’s Jacob Cowing.
If no one noticed, SMU has players in all three categories including two national leaders.
MWC TO THE RESCUE
The Mountain West Conference has announced its schedule for this season. There is one team it benefits most, and it is not a MWC team.
As mentioned in this space before, BYU seems to have a pretty clear path to an undefeated season, but the lack of schedule strength hurts the Cougars with the playoff committee.
Now the Mountain West is going to resume play, the Cougs pick up two more games. BYU ends the season against San Diego State, but more importantly BYU travels to Boise State Nov. 7. It will be one of only three road games for the Cougars this season.
Every little bit helps.
FOR WHOM WILL THEY BE ROOTING?
Arkansas visits Auburn this weekend and the battle lines are clearly drawn. It is War Eagle vs. Wooooo Pig Sooie!
But wait, are we sure the War Eagles are all for Auburn?
There might be one little group of War Eagle folks who will be pulling for the Razorbacks this week. They hail from a small town in Arkansas called War Eagle.
Yes, there is a War Eagle, Ark., and House Beautiful magazine has named the place as one of “the top 60 charming American towns you’ve never heard of but should visit ASAP.”
The town is home to the War Eagle Mill which was built in 1832, and it has been destroyed and rebuilt three times. Today it is still operational, and each fall is home to an elaborate craft festival. Unfortunately, the craft fair has been cancelled for this year.
But that will give some certain Arkansas residents free time to yell “War Eagle” this week.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.