Welcome Back, Football
As I type this sentence, recent FBS convert Georgia State is in a dogfight with recent FCS convert Abilene Christian in front of 50 people in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. Yet, all feels right with the world, because we've got real, live-action college football happening in front of our eyes.
As for the rest of this week's tantalizing opening week matchups: Adam Jacobi has you covered with the mothership's own viewing guide.
Here's Some Further Sanctions Reduction Rumblings
The Sporting News' Matt Hayes mentioned in his latest blog post this morning (amongst other things) that Penn State is likely to see (at the very least) its final year of the bowl ban lifted in 2015:
Two sources within the NCAA say Penn State, if it continues to "reach and go beyond" benchmarks set by the NCAA in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, will have a "strong case" to get its final year of postseason probation lifted.
As early as next week, George Mitchell, Penn State’s athletics integrity monitor, will release his second annual report on the state of the university’s athletics programs. The NCAA last year restored some scholarships after Mitchell’s first report that, according to one NCAA source, "reached well beyond expectations."
A similar report this time around, and new coach James Franklin gets some breathing room with the job of navigating the two toughest years (2014-15) because of scholarship reductions. At the very least, he could have a postseason to sell to the 2015 recruiting class.
That last sentence about having a postseason to sell to the 2015 recruiting "at the very least" is telling. Word around the rumor mill is that the next Mitchell report is expected to be another glowing one. It seems as if worst-case scenario, PSU is bowl eligible starting next year, but the scholarship restoration timetable remains intact. The best-case scenario would include the remainder of the scholarship sanctions being eliminated effectively immediately, which would mean that James Franklin would be allowed the full 85 scholarships in which to fill his roster (as opposed to the 80 currently allowed for 2015) and the Nittany Lions also being eligible to play in a bowl game this upcoming December/January. Stay tuned...
Ki-Jana Carter Is Getting Some Much-Due Recognition
Ki-Jana Carter has been inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. Aside from learning that such a hall of fame exists, it's a proud moment for all of us fans, especially those who are old enough to remember Ki-Jana's solid performance against Oregon in the 1995 Rose Bowl, highlighted by his famed 83-yard touchdown scamper on Penn State's very first offensive play.
Other Quick Dumps:
- Here's a clip of Billy Crystal's touching tribute to Robin Williams at the Emmys earlier this week. Make sure to have a box of tissues by you, just in case.
- Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers spent $120K for this commercial (obligatory LOLRutgers)
- Grantland has been holding a voting contest March Madness-style to determine the greatest SNL cast member of all-time. We are down to the final two, and it's Phil Hartman vs. Will Ferrell. IMHO, you can't go wrong voting for either one of them. It all depends on whether you're more of an 'Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer' or a 'More Cowbell type' of guy.