June 29, 2012- The final chapter in the short Georgia Bulldogs career of Isaiah Crowell may have been written Friday morning when he was arrested on two felony gun charges. Many exasperated Bulldogs fans are calling for Coach Mark Richt to cut ties with the troubled running back who's made just about as many headlines for his problems as he has toting the football...and that's a lot given he was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. I won't jump on that wagon just yet. Everybody deserves a chance to explain themselves and so does Isaiah. That said...this latest round of trouble leaves Crowell on a very short leash and Coach Mark Richt is holding the other end of it.
There's been plenty of criticism of Richt since the arrest. But why a head coach is to blame for his star player being out at 4am and in possession of a gun with scratched serial numbers is beyond me. How is Richt to prevent that? Yes, Crowell has been in trouble before...but nothing of this magnitude... nothing to kick him out of the program...perhaps not until now. But now the ball is in Richt's court...how he deals with this now leaves him open for criticism. If you stick with the kid and he pulls another stunt like this...or worse...then it's on you. But I don't believe it's fair to use the argument..."well Richt recruited him..." Best I remember the entire Bulldog Nation was doing back flips when Isaiah pulled that Bulldog puppy up to the table when he made his dramatic announcement that he was signing with Georgia. But after only one season of Crowell, Georgia was preparing for something like this; the Bulldogs signing of highly recruited RBs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley were huge insurance policies that it appears UGA may be cashing in sooner than later.
My opinion...the Bulldogs would be better off without Crowell. His brief history at Georgia suggests this will probably not be the end of it. But I'm also a big believer that people can change, and if Richt still has faith in the kid and wants to ride this out...I'll trust his judgment on that. But Richt must know that if he keeps Crowell around for better or worse, if and or when the next worse comes, it'll be on him. Here's your chance. Should Georgia keep Crowell?
FOUR TEAMS...WHY NOT EIGHT? (BTW IT WILL HAPPEN)
It's been a momentous week in College Football and I'm still shocked with the speed at which commissioners did a century-old about-face and implemented a four team playoff. For years,decades...playoff was a dirty word in college football and in the span of a fewshort months...now we have one.
Certainly the SEC's dominance of the BCS had a lot to dowith it. When Alabama and LSU met for the National Championship, guaranteeing that for the sixth straight year a team from the SEC would win the crystal trophy, the rest of the college football world was faced with a stark reality. Not only might a team outside the SEC never win another crown, the way the system was set-up, they might not even get a shot to play for it.
Now while that reality was daunting to college football coaches outside the SEC it was untenable for athletics directors and conference commissioners who realized the economic impact of such a reality. In a college football world that with each passing year was becoming the SEC...and then everybody else...how soon would itbefore television dollars, attendance dollars, and even contributors dollars would begin to wane for programs and conferences that were no longer a part of the national championship landscape? Money did have a lot to do with it.
So yes I'm glad we now have a four-team playoff. I would have preferred an eight team playoff...with five guarantee conference champions and 3 wildcard teams...but I think that will eventually happen. I know the commissioners made it a 12-year deal to try and prevent "bracket creep" as they have come to call it but hey...the more lucrative the NCAA Basketball and even Baseball Tournaments became...the larger the tournament fields have become. So even with a 12-year deal, I believe money will change the 4-team playoff to an eight-teamer, sooner than later. If nothing else, the lightning quickness with which college football changed its seemingly-eternal opposition to a playoff should tell you to "never say never." So what do you think? You like the four-team format or would have preferred eight?
ARIZONA WINS COLLEGE WORLD SERIES
Just to put a bow on my last 3 blogs...reminding you that I DID pick Arizona to reach the finals. Nice pat on the back for myself and I didn't see many others who did pick the Wildcats...and if you don't believe me, just reference my Clipboard dated May31st...BEFORE the Regionals even began.
Okay so now that I've broken my arm trying to pat myself on the back...I didn't pick Arizona to win it all...just reach the finals...I picked Florida...so how's that for a coming back to earth moment...the Gators went 2-and-out.
As for the team that reached the finals to play Arizona...how about a nice round of applause for the Gamecocks. Ray Tanner did more with less this season than he had the previous two years when South Carolina won the National Championship. It was a great run by Carolina...Michael Roth, Matt Price, Jackie Bradley, Whit Merrifield, Scott Wingo were a fun bunch to watch and they gave the Gamecock Nation something they'd never had before...a National Championship...and two of them at that!
As for the Florida Gators...they'll be back in Omaha...many more times I'm sure under Coach Kevin O'Sullivan but this year's showing was a Major Disappointment. I still feel they were the most talented team in the nation.Problem is, they didn't play like it enough...certainly not when they got to Omaha and now Mike Zunino, Preston Tucker, Brian Johnson et al will be gone next season. This team...the core group of which went to 3 straight CWS and was the best in school history...missed its chance leaving a bittersweet taste.
Congrats to Arkansas who certainly would have won the whole thing if they could have hit like Arizona...or hit just half as well. And here's hoping that Florida State will one day win the CWS. Coach Mike Martin is one of the true gentlemen in the game and while he doesn't need a title to define anything about his career...it sure would be nice to see him win one.
Arizona's national championship ended an almost BCS- like run of 3 straight for the SEC. Who do you think will be the next SEC team to win the CWS?