Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first freshman to win the prestigious college football award. He beat out Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein.
On Saturday night Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel Football was named the Heisman Trophy winner at New York’s Downtown athletic Club. Manziel becomes the first freshman to win the Heisman. The 20-year-old beat out finalists Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o and Kansas State’s Collin Klein to take home college football’s biggest award.
Manziel put up some impressive numbers this season. He threw for 24 touchdowns with only eight interceptions. He also ran 19 touchdowns. These numbers probably helped him beat out Te’o because defensive players don’t have the bright and shiny statistics that quarterbacks have. Te’o probably had more impact on the games he played, but he didn’t have the pretty numbers. If voters don’t watch all the games all they have to go by is the numbers.
It would be nice to see a defensive only player take home a Heisman. Cornerback Charles Woodson won in 1997, but he also played some offense as well. Somehow each year offense is seen as being more important than defense.
Hey, LeBron… the Fighting Irish are taking there talents to South Beach.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will be playing for the national championship in South Beach Miami, Florida (January 7, 2013; ESPN) after capping off an undefeated season against the USC Trojans in Los Angeles, 22-13.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly gets showered with Irish-colored Gatorade after his team completed an undefeated regular season by beating USC. (Image credit: AP Photo/Mark J
Throughout the season, the strength of the Irish has been their defense, and the Irish played just as well on defense against USC. USC’s senior quarterback Matt Barkley was forced to sit out following an injury last week against UCLA, and freshman quarterback Max Wittek got his first career start.
Notre Dame held the Trojans to only 281 total yards and intercepted Wittek twice.
The Irish scored on their first three possessions with a touchdown and two field goals, but USC answered with 10 points, and the Trojans were only down by three going into halftime. USC received the ball to start the second half, but Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o intercepted Wittek on the second play of the drive.
With a little under six minutes to go in the game the Irish’s drive stalled and they kicked a 19 yard field goal to go up by nine points. USC began its next drive with a 53-yard completion that gave the Trojans a first and goal on the Notre Dame two-yard line. Following back to back pass interference calls against Irish corner back KeiVarae Russell, USC had four tries from the one-yard line. The Irish held the Trojans to no gain on three rushes and Wittek’s fourth down pass fell incomplete, giving the Irish the ball back with 2:33 left in the game.
Although the Irish had to punt with 15 seconds remaining, the goal line stand epitomized the effort put out by Notre Dame and sealed the Irish’s 12th win of the season.
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson finished the night completing 15 out of 26 passes for 217 yards. He also rushed nine times for 47 yards. Running back Theo Riddick led the team on the ground with 20 carries for 146 yards and one touchdown.
Wittek was 14 of 23 for 186 passing yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The Trojans’ rushing attack was led by Silas Red with 77 yards on 12 carries, but the rest of the team combined for only 18 yards on 15 carries.
The win cemented the Irish’s spot in the national championship for the first time in the BCS era.
Maryland made the latest move in the tectonic plate-shifting that has been college conference realignment by accepting an invitation Monday to join the Big Ten. Rutgers, as expected, followed suit earlier Tuesday afternoon.
With those moves, the Big Ten will number 14. The Big East will absorb another blow by losing Rutgers, and the Atlantic Coast Conference will lose one of its founding members with the departure of Maryland. The A.C.C. was so worried about losing ground in the conference shuffling that it recently raised the fee for members’ leaving the conference to $50 million from $20 million, a payment Maryland is obligated to make to exit.
“The membership of the Big Ten enables us to guarantee the financial sustainability of Maryland athletics for a long, long, long time,” Wallace D. Loh, Maryland’s president, said at a news conference.
Loh characterized Maryland’s athletic department as living paycheck to paycheck and acknowledged that the financial windfall of joining the Big Ten — the conference has its own sports television network and several huge television markets from which to draw revenue — was more than enough to persuade the Terrapins to leave the conference they have called home since it was formed in 1953.
Maryland’s athletic department has been in a terrible budget crunch in recent years and borrowed money from the university’s general fund last year. It announced this year that it was eliminating seven sports, including men’s and women’s swimming and men’s cross-country. “The director and I are absolutely committed to begin the process to reinstate some of the teams we had to terminate,” Loh said.
Maryland’s athletic director, Kevin Anderson, did not specify which sports would return. “For me, the most important thing today is that no future Maryland athletic director will ever have to look in young men and young women’s eyes and say that you can’t compete anymore, that you can’t wear the colors for this school,” Anderson said. Maryland made its announcement at a news conference Monday in College Park. Its board of regents approved the move in a meeting Monday morning. The university’s chancellor, William E. Kirwan, told The Washington Post that the board voted overwhelmingly in favor of the move.
Rutgers, according to The Star-Ledger, announced its move to the Big Ten at a news conference Tuesday. It will be joining an exodus from the Big East, whose exit fee is $10 million. In recent years, Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced plans to leave for the A.C.C., and West Virginia is already in the Big 12. The Big East has tried to fill the void with a patchwork of teams from far-flung conferences, including Boise State and Memphis.
Rutgers was reportedly hoping to negotiate the rule of having to wait 27 months to compete in a new conference so it could join the Big Ten by 2014. Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia were successful in that negotiation, and Maryland is expected to request that the A.C.C. lower its exit fee.
The realignment process has been like a set of dominoes that continue to topple across the country. In response to Maryland’s departure, the A.C.C. is expected to try to lure one of the Big East’s founding members, Connecticut.
A.C.C. Commissioner John Swofford issued a statement that read: “Our best wishes are extended to all of the people associated with the University of Maryland. Since our inception, they have been an outstanding member of our conference, and we are sorry to see them exit.”
The Big Ten, which had until recently maintained that it was content to stay with its 12 teams, appeared to be responding to Notre Dame’s recent decision to join the A.C.C. in all sports except football.
November always promises to be intriguing in the college football world, and the games did not disappoint at all. There were plenty of upsets and high drama for the top teams on November 17th. Notre Dame is now the clear cut number one. Now the debate can begin for who is number two.
A wild Saturday of college football ended with some shockers that will shake up the BCS standings. Number one Kansas State got manhandled by what looked like an underachieving Baylor team. From the first play, Kansas State didn’t seem like they were ready to play a Big 12 football game. The defense that stepped up all season had no answers for the Baylor Bears attack. They played from behind for most of the game and couldn’t overcome mistakes by their quarterback Collin Klein. The score got out of hand in the fourth quarter and the Bears won the game easily by a score of 54-52.
The number two team in the country, Oregon, never got their offense going either in their 17-14 loss to Stanford. The pressure from Stanford’s defense and the BCS rankings seemed to weigh heavy on the Ducks as the game went on. Whatever decision Coach Kelly made backfired in a major way. The Ducks bypassed a chip shot field goal attempt in the first quarter and didn’t make the first down. Stanford’s quarterback Kevin Hogan is the real deal and displayed a great pocket presence on Saturday.
The rest of the top 10 won on Saturday including Notre Dame over Wake Forest. The Fighting Irish should be place atop the rankings come Sunday afternoon. A host of one loss teams and maybe even some two loss teams will be fighting for one of the spots in the BCS championship game.
Other notable games…
Clemson outscored North Carolina State in a shootout. While Florida State won easily over a depleted Maryland team. Speaking of Maryland, multiple local and national sources are reporting that the school is in negotiations to leave the ACC and join the Big Ten. They may not be the only team considering joining the Big Ten. The nationally ranked Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University are in negotiations leave the Big East in order to facilitate a move to the Big Ten. (I’ll have more on that early next week)
Nebraska beat up on Minnesota to move within one win from representing the Legends division in the Big Ten championship. Michigan kept pace by hammering Iowa during senior day. Denard Robinson started at running back and finished the game with 98 yards rushing. Ohio State withstood an overtime game with Wisconsin to pull out a hard fought victory 21-14.
UCLA bounced back from last year’s debacle against USC to beat the Trojans 38-28. UCLA earned a bid to the PAC 12 championship and could play back to back games against Stanford. I think it’s safe to say that former NFL head coach turned FOX Sports analyst Jim Mora, Jr. has the Bruins football program relevant again.
Oklahoma and West Virginia had the wildest game of the day on Saturday. The Sooners escaped Morgantown with a 50-49 last second victory.
LSU junior DB Tyrann Mathieu has been kicked off the football team, according to KTBS-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Well, maybe the “Honey Badger” really don’t care.
Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann “‘Honey Badger” Mathieu was kicked off LSU’s football team Friday for breaking an athletic department rule, a blow to the Tigers’ national championship hopes three weeks before their season opener. Mathieu’s dismissal came after the cornerback’s repeated violations of LSU’s substance abuse policy for athletes, a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com.
Mathieu was suspended for a game last year for failing a drug test, and he had been undergoing counseling throughout the spring and summer, the source said.
At a news conference on Friday, LSU coach Les Miles said Mathieu’s dismissal was for a violation of team rules.
LSU picked up 18 first-place votes in the first USA Today coaches’ poll — two fewer than Alabama — but the Tigers edged the Crimson Tide for the top spot in the preseason rankings.
LSU picked up 1,403 points in voting of the nation’s coaches, edging defending national champion Alabama with 1,399.
The top five teams in the USA Today preseason coaches’ poll:
USC also had more first-place votes than the Tigers — 19 — but is third in the initial poll with 1,388 points. Balloting was finished before the Trojans signed Silas Redd, the transfer from Penn State.
It is the second time since 1998 that teams that met in the previous season’s title game are the top two teams in the preseason poll.
Oklahoma, with one first place vote, is fourth in the preseason poll, followed by Oregon, Georgia, Florida State, Michigan, South Carolina and Arkansas.
The SEC, which has won the last six BCS championship games, has five of the nation’s top 10 teams and seven teams in the preseason poll. The Big 12 has six teams, but only one in the top 10.
First the statue, now the harsh reality of the sanctions handed down by the NCAA. To say they have left the Penn State football program reeling would be a huge understatement.
‘View from outside Beaver Stadium, where Joe Paterno’s statue once stood’ (via Deadspin.com)
The NCAA has wrapped their head around the unique circumstances surrounding the Penn State football program and fined the university $60 million for their part in the Jerry Sandusky “cover-up.” Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA stated in a news conference on Monday morning,
“In the Penn State case, the results were perverse and unconscionable, No price the NCAA can levy will repair the damage inflicted by Jerry Sandusky on his victims”
Penn State did not argue the sanctions and accepted them without question. They have been ordered by the NCAA to pay the fine to programs outside of the university that help prevent sexual abuse or assist victims of abuse.
While no child should ever have to endure life altering abuse, will the rest of the NCAA sanctions actually help anyone heal? The Nittany Lions must vacate all wins from 1998 through 2011, a total of 112 wins. Those wins were not a result of any illegal activity of those players on the field, the lower level coaches, and anyone else involved in the football program, especially their new head coach. Will rewriting the sports history books help the abuse victims that the leaders of Penn State allegedly turned their backs on?
The rest of the NCAA sanctions includes reducing the amount of scholarships for four years, a four-year postseason bowl ban, and five years probation. The NCAA did rule that all current players can transfer immediately as an eligible player to other schools without penalty. Thankfully, those young men that had nothing to do with what happened to the victims will not be penalized for the failures of a few, but where does that leave the team and their new head coach, former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Bill O’Brian?
Bill O’Brian has decided to stick with Penn State, and according to his statement this morning, he knew he was facing tough times ahead, but did he really know how tough those times would be? According to Jesse Palmer, ESPN College Football Analyst, the penalties handed down by the NCAA are crippling to the Nittany Lions. A four-year reduction in scholarships and a four-year postseason ban could devastate the football program for the next eight years. Bill O’Brian must immediately speak to his players and resell the Penn State football program. He knows that each player, given the right opportunity, could walk from his locker room and into another without blinking an eye. To know his players had nothing to do with the scandal, yet to be punished in such a fashion will be difficult for O’Brian to overcome.
Not only does O’Brian have to worry about his current players, he has to sell his program to new recruits. Potentially, he has to suggest to new recruits that if they want an opportunity to play in any postseason game, they must “redshirt.” O’Brian knows players want to be recruited by teams that have the ability to play in postseason bowl games and be able to compete for National Championships. He must use his remaining scholarships wisely. He must choose recruits that are without controversy; he does not need to give scholarships to individuals that could be banned for criminal activity or dropped from the program because of academic eligibility.
Once the team gets beyond the four-year scholarship ban and the four-year bowl ban, the potential for postseason play could still be out of the Nittany Lions reach. Can Bill O’Brian successfully coach a team that in six years will consist of mostly walkons? Probably not, but in the meantime, Coach O’Brian must focus on getting his team through the next four years. He is going to have to step carefully through the coming seasons to keep the Nittany Lions competitive and keep the Penn State faithful involved in the program. Penn State alumni must prepare themselves and accept that Joe Paterno’s legacy is no more, and bowl games will be a thing of the past, at least for the next eight years.
Workers remove the statue of former football coach Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium on Penn State’s campus in State College, PA. (Christopher Weddle, Centre Daily Times via AP)
The iconic statue of Joe Paterno was removed from outside Penn State University’s football stadium on Sunday, removing what had become, for fans of the late head coach, a symbol of his central role on campus and, for critics, a constant reminder of the worst crisis in the university’s history.
The statue was promptly removed and wrapped in shrink wrap before being covered by a blue tarp. The structure was transported by forklift inside Beaver Stadium, the home of Penn State football since 1960.
University President Rodney Erickson released a statement early Sunday, explaining his decision to remove the statue of Penn State’s beloved Hall of Fame football coach.
“(The statue) became a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our university. For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of our university and public safety to remove the statue and store it in a secure location, I believe that were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse.”
University officials have not yet identified where the statue would be permanently held after its removal.
Paterno’s 7-foot-tall, 900-pound statue had become a flash point in recent days, after the findings of an internal university investigation suggested that Paterno and several top administrators conspired for more than a decade to cover up allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
According to the report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, Paterno helped shape the university’s reaction to at least two abuse allegations – the first in 1998 and another in 2001. In the latter, university officials opted not to notify outside authorities for fear of bad publicity, Freeh said.
Paterno’s family has strongly criticized Freeh’s conclusions and vowed to launch their own investigation. They have openly and publicly criticized the decision to remove the statue.
Paterno, who led the university to two national championships during his 60-year coaching career, earned a reputation for putting integrity and academics ahead of athletic accomplishments. He was also a generous donor, giving more than $9 million to the university over the course of his life.
Several buildings on campus, including the library and a Catholic student center, are named after him or his wife, Sue. Those will remain, Erickson said.
Former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley was one of a number of top officials who “failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade,” the Freeh Report concluded. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
On Thursday morning, the Wikipedia page for the NCAA death penalty had been edited to include a 10-year ban for the program, a penalty that has been called for on many occasions since Sandusky’s crimes began to come to light. The question, however, is whether the death penalty is the right response.
The argument is familiar by now. Supporters of the Penn State program point out that the only people harmed by a “death penalty” are people who had nothing to do with Sandusky’s crimes, ranging from the new coaching staff led by Bill O’Brien to the student-athletes to the rank-and-file members of the community who derive part or all of their income from Penn State football (vendors, facility workers, etc.). The response from the other side is that the plight of the children abused by Sandusky should take priority over the players and coaches (individual community members who suffer financial repercussions rarely seem to enter into the equation). There’s also the argument that an example needs to be made of Penn State, as a deterrent to other universities who put the success of their football teams and other athletic programs first, ahead of moral concerns, academics and the student body at large.
In reality, though, the truth is that the “death penalty” is not just the right thing to do in terms of a deterrent to other programs. It’s the right thing to do for Penn State.
When Penn State faced Houston in the TicketCity bowl in January, the game drew protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church. While the WBC is as detestable an organization as one will ever find on this planet, they won’t be the only ones protesting when Penn State takes the field this season. If allowed to play, the Nittany Lions will do so under the damning shadow of the Freeh Report, whether it’s protesters inside or outside the stadium or simply the media scrutiny that will accompany any season. The best thing for Penn State as an institution is to make a fresh start, beyond what they’ve already done by replacing the coaching staff and the university officials in the Sandusky scandal, like former president Graham Spanier and former athletic director Tim Curley. The “death penalty” would enable that to happen.
Of course, some of the concerns about the effects of a death penalty are valid, and should be addressed. O’Brien and the other coaches who gave up other jobs to come to Penn State and find themselves without work would need to be compensated until they can find new employment. The players, who are without fault (unlike the SMU players in the ’80s), would need to be allowed to transfer without the loss of eligibility. And ordinary individuals whose livelihoods are derived from Penn State football should be compensated in some way for their lost income. If they’re university employees, they should be retained at their regular rate of compensation and given whatever work is appropriate. If they’re not, other remedies should be found, perhaps from the football boosters who helped support the Penn State program while Sandusky was committing his atrocities.
Many of those arguing against the “death penalty” for Penn State have their hearts in the right place. It’s not easy to argue for the punishment of those who did no wrong. However, if those punishments can be addressed, then the NCAA “death penalty” is the right decision, not only for the benefit of the victims and for our educational institutions as a whole, but for Penn State itself.
AP Jerry Sandusky is shown in this booking photo released early Saturday morning by the Centre County Correctional Facility in Bellefonte, Pa.
Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky has been found guilty of nearly all of the allegations of child sex abuse leveled against him.
After 20 hours of sequestered deliberations, the jury of seven women and five men read 45 “guilty” verdicts late Friday as Sandusky stood and looked at the jury with his left hand in a pocket of his brown sport coat. There were three not-guilty verdicts.
One of the victims — identified as Victim 6 during the proceedings — was surrounded by his family and they cried as the verdict was read.
After court was adjourned, the former Penn State defensive coordinator was led in handcuffs to a waiting police car to be taken to the local county jail.
“The legal process has spoken and we have tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories publicly. No verdict can undo the pain and suffering caused by Mr. Sandusky, but we do hope this judgment helps the victims and their families along their path to healing,” Penn State president Rodney Erickson said in a statement.
Sandusky likely will be sentenced to life in prison. He faces a maximum sentence of 442 years and will be sentenced in approximately 90 days.
Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, looked forward stoically as the counts were read off and her husband repeatedly was found guilty. At one point, dozens of counts in, she started shaking her head.
Sandusky’s daughter, Kara, broke down as her dad was handcuffed, and held her hand over her heart as her father walked out of court.
The jury found Sandusky not guilty of three sex abuse crimes, including the alleged rape of Victim 2, the boy assistant coach Mike McQueary said he saw being raped by Sandusky in a Penn State locker room shower in 2001. He was also acquitted of indecent assault on Victim 5, who testified in court, and Victim 8, who was the subject of an eyewitness account from a Penn State janitor.
Sandusky and his lawyers, along with prosecutors, had been summoned to court to hear the verdict. Assembled spectators shouted jeers such as “pervert” as Sandusky and his wife walked into the courthouse lit up by flashbulb bursts.
The crowd of hundreds outside the courthouse let out a cheer as word emerged that Sandusky was guilty.
After the verdict, Attorney General Linda Kelly said the jury believed that Sandusky “calculatingly and with meticulous planning mercilessly preyed” upon his victims.
“The jury here in Bellefonte, Pa., would and did believe a kid,” she said, referring to testimony by Sandusky’s victims. “I hope this outcome allows the victims to heal and encourages other victims to come forward.”
Sandusky’s attorney, Joe Amendola, said the defense plans to appeal the guilty verdicts, arguing it was not prepared to go to trial as soon as the judge ordered.
“The Sandusky family is very disappointed, obviously, by the verdict of the jury but we respect their verdict,” he said. “We had a tidal wave of public opinion against Jerry Sandusky.”
He added that Sandusky fully planned to testify in his own defense, but the plan to have him do so was scuttled when the prosecution threatened to have Matt Sandusky, his adopted son, testify as a rebuttal witness that he was molested by his father.
After the verdict, the family of the late Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State head coach who was Sandusky’s boss, released a statement.
“Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today’s verdict is an important milestone,” it read. “The community owes a measure of gratitude to the jurors for their diligent service. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families.”
The two-week trial was remarkable for the graphic tales of abuse that ranged from Sandusky playing tickle monster in the shower to aggressive sex including oral and anal sex on boys as young as 8. At one point, jurors were brought to tears by the testimony of the alleged victims who are now grown men.
The defense scored some points back during week two of the trial by putting Sandusky’s wife on the stand and hearing her testify that she never saw anything inappropriate between her husband and children and knew some of the accusers to have behavioral issues. They also poked holes in the stories of two lead investigators on the case by showing that the men told potential victims that others had already come forward claiming Sandusky raped them.
During 30 hours of testimony over two weeks, the jury heard from eight accusers, one eyewitness, a string of character witnesses testifying to Sandusky’s character, and members of the police who investigated the case.
Two people the jury did not hear from include Sandusky himself, who waived his right to testify, and Sandusky’s adopted son Matt. Matt Sandusky was one of his father’s most ardent supporters following Sandusky’s November arrest, but contacted prosecutors at the end of last week saying he was, in fact, a victim of his father’s abuse and would be willing to testify, sources told ABC News. The prosecution did not put him on the stand, and the revelations about Matt Sandusky’s willingness to testify are not known by the jury and will not factor into deliberations.
ABC News’ Michael S. James and Brian Hartman contributed to this report.