- If you haven't read Taylor Branch in The Atlantic on The Shame of College Sports, do so. Immediately. His brilliant piece details the 100+ year history of cheating in college sports (starting with Walter Camp's $100k slush fund for Yale players at the turn of last century) and the tenuous hold the NCAA has over their member schools (were the conferences to negotiate their own TV contract for basketball's postseason, like they did for football in the early 1980s, the NCAA would no longer make any money and would probably go bankrupt). Most interestingly, though, is the anarchy that could result should the NCAA lose a couple of key cases in court. As Branch explains, if Ed O'Bannon (suing the NCAA for using his image in video games without paying him) and Joseph Agnew (a former Rice player challenging the NCAA's rule limiting scholarships to one year contracts) are successful, the landscape of college athletics will completely change, and the NCAA may cease to exist.
Unfortunately, as John Gasaway explains, Branch does go a bit overboard in comparing the NCAA's exploitation of its athletes to slavery and colonialism.
- Really early bowl projections! CBSsports.com's Jerry Palm has Northwestern missing the postseason entirely. Off Tackle Empire's Bama Hawkeye has Northwestern in the Little Caesar's Bowl against Toledo. ESPN's Big Ten bloggers also says NU is going to Detroit. Joy.
- CBS's Dennis Dodd goes in on conference realignment, ripping apart ACC commissioner John Swofford and Pittsburgh chancellor Mark Nordenberg. Much deserved, but not exactly ground-breaking. It's a good thing for Northwestern Jim Delany created the Big Ten Network so early and kept the Wildcats away from this mess.
- Lake The Posts gives his thoughts on the Army loss. As LTP does so well, he explains the big picture of how the loss combined with Illinois' win over Arizona State puts a serious dent in NU's claim to be Chicago's Big Ten team. Unfortunately, he also gets into some classic hindpsychology (copyright FireJoeMorgan) about how Army "wanted it more" and how NU "lacked drive and spirit". It seemed to me NU played hard and just got beaten by a team that was better that day. If Trevor Siemian leads NU into the end zone on his last drive and the 'Cats win in overtime, no one is questioning Northwestern's effort even though the first 58 minutes played out the exact same way.
- This is a couple weeks old, but Draft Express (by far the best website out there for NBA draft analysis) put together a detailed scouting report of John Shurna. An excerpt:
Shurna brings some clear-cut positive attributes to the table from an NBA perspective, namely his three-point shooting, passing, cutting, ability to play in a team offense, and general basketball IQ. He's clearly caught between positions defensively, but his best chance would appear to be as a reserve stretch-four for a team that plays small ball, where his negative attributes could be somewhat curbed. Maximizing his physical attributes, becoming a more serviceable rebounder, and continuing to improve as a three-point shooter could all help his stock, but he doesn't appear to have a ceiling much higher than what he currently is.