Posted on: September 25, 2011 4:08 pm

Jerome Simpson plays, Bengals fans don't like it

CINCINNATI -- The Bengals made their decision Sunday on embattled receiver Jerome Simpson -- and Bengals fans made theirs.

The team elected to play Simpson against the 49ers, days after police tracked a shipment of 2.5 pounds of marijuana from California to his home in Northern Kentucky and then found six more pounds of pot after searching the house. No charges have been filed as of Sunday, though surely they will be filed at some point on somebody. Simpson could elude charges, theoretically, since the marijuana was signed for by a woman said to be his girlfriend. Expect Simpson's attorney to play that card.

Bengals fans probably wouldn't be impressed.

They booed Simpson every time they noticed his presence on the field Sunday, even after he made his only catch of the game, a 6-yarder in the second quarter.

Whether it was from distraction or from lack of preparation -- Simpson was excused from two days of practice this past week -- his production was an enormous comedown from recent games. He had topped 100 receiving yards in three of his last four outings, dating to late last season.

On a related note, the Bengals failed to score a touchdown in the 13-8 loss to the 49ers.

Category: NFL
Posted on: September 24, 2011 3:28 pm

Notre Dame wins, crisis averted

PITTSBURGH -- Tommy Rees wasn't good for long, but he was good enough -- for long enough -- to save Notre Dame on Saturday against Pittsburgh.

Rees, who has replaced Dayne Crist as the Irish's starting quarterback, was mostly awful on Saturday but summoned a perfect drive in the fourth quarter -- going 8-for-8, and also connecting on the two-point conversion after his touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Eifert -- to rally Notre Dame past Pittsburgh 15-12.

Other than that drive, the Notre Dame offense was one play, a 79-yard burst off tackle by short-yardage back (!) Jonas Gray for a 7-3 Irish lead early in the second quarter.

Other than that drive, Rees was unremarkable. He was 15-for-32 for 137 yards and two turnovers -- an interception and a fumble. Rees has committed nine turnovers in four games, and had he not led that late TD drive, this week would have been full of talk of a quarterback controversy in South Bend, not to mention a 1-3 season going nowhere in the second year under Brian Kelly. Who would have been described, probably, as "embattled."

Instead, a 2-2 start for the Irish ought to become 4-2 after games with Purdue and Air Force, and after that who knows? A hot team is a confident team is a dangerous team.

Posted on: September 23, 2011 10:32 am

And John Swofford's the snob from Pretty in Pink

So I just read this conference realignment take from wonderful Detroit Free-Press columnist Michael Rosenberg, and it made me nostalgic. For high school. Because that's what conference realignment reminds me of -- high school.

The passage from Rosenberg that struck me hardest was this one:

"Will a 14-team ACC or SEC be stronger, or better, than the 12-team leagues they have now? The ACC, for example, is a middling BCS football league and premier basketball league. Adding Syracuse and Pittsburgh makes the ACC ... a middling BCS football league and premier basketball league. The revenue pie will get bigger, but it will get cut into 14 slices instead of 12. What the ACC really gets is protection. At 14 teams, it feels safer. There is comfort in numbers."

At 14 teams, it feels safer. There is comfort in numbers.

Just like in high school. With that in mind, here are the cliques the leagues represent:

The jocks: The SEC. Duh. Other than Vanderbilt, these schools are in it to win it. There are some nice academic schools in the mix, including (ahem) Florida and Texas A&M, but by and large this conference is here to destroy you on the football field, not in the debate class.

The geeks: The Big Ten. And that's a compliment, people. The Big Ten has the best academics, on a whole, in the BCS. That's an awesome place to be. This is still high school college, you know.

The snobs: The ACC. Epitomized by penny-loafered commissioner John Swofford, this league walks around with its nose in the air because it thinks it's better than everyone else. And in some ways, it is. Everyone else fantasizes from time to time about hanging with the snobs, if only so the snobs will stop snickering at them behind their back. High school is full of weakness, remember. The ACC preys on that weakness.

The cool kids: The Pac-10. They're way out West where the surf's up and the mountains beckon. They're OK at sports. They're OK at academics. They're kind of good at everything, but not great at anything, but man are they cool.

The misfits: The Big East. Big schools. Private schools. Catholic schools. College towns, monster cities. Football, no football. These guys don't fit in with anyone else, so they crowd around the same lunch table and make awkward conversation among themselves.

The losers: The Big 12. Sorry, guys, but that's you. It's Texas and everyone else. There's no pride here, just a bunch of folks hanging around Texas for the protection Texas offers. Which makes Texas the biggest loser of all, seeing how Texas doesn't have the guts to strike out on its own. Instead, it surrounds itself with lackeys who will carry its books and tell the Longhorns how pretty they are. The other cliques think, "Sure, Texas is pretty. But what a lousy personality."

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 22, 2011 4:21 pm

I just met the strongest person in the world

Have you ever seen me write anything along the lines of, "Guess who I just met in the locker room?" No. You haven't. Because I'm not all that impressed by the people I meet in locker rooms. They are, by and large, genetic lottery winners -- lucky souls. I'm not impressed by luck.

But I'm impressed by courage. So guess who I just met?

This woman. I read about her in the local newspaper, was inspired to go to the Phoenix Society's World Burn Congress this week in Cincinnati to see what small tasks I could help with, and I saw Sharon Everett walking with and her family. Rushed up, met them. Such gracious people. And such a wonderful cause.

I wanted to share that -- share Sharon's story of courage and perseverance -- with as many people as I could. So I just did. Thank you for reading.

Posted on: September 20, 2011 6:33 am
Edited on: September 20, 2011 9:34 am

Isn't it ironic ... don't you think?

You have to admire the timing, the gall, the pumpkin-sized testicles required to do what Oklahoma did on Monday.

On the same day Oklahoma's Board of Regents gave the school president the authority to move the Sooners to the Pac-12, the Regents also gave football coach Bob Stoops a raise that will move his annual salary past the $5 million mark.

As if the two aren't related.

They're completely related, since conference realignment is nothing but a money grab by schools (engineered by ESPN ... and other networks that include my own, sigh) meant to pay the whopping cost of running a football program. Why does it cost so much to run a football program? The facilities, for one.

And the coach's salary, for two.

A coach's salary is roughly 10 times higher today than it was 15 years ago, and think about that for a minute. That's inflation on steroids on HGH with a horse urine cocktail for good measure. That's insane, as is the arms war between schools to build the biggest, gaudiest, most ridiculous football palace -- stadium or weight room -- in the country.

But how does a school pay for that? For one, it raises the cost of tuition for you or for your kids. For another, it jumps from the Southwest Conference Big 8 to the Big 12 to the Pac-48, chasing ESPN like a junkie chases a dealer.

And then it has the oafishness to announce that it has done both on the same day.

Well done, Oklahoma Board of Regents. Just another reminder that the people running our universities are the dumbest smart people on the planet.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 16, 2011 10:57 am
Edited on: September 16, 2011 11:00 am

Podcast: NFLPA lawsuit, Tebow billboard, media

We did another Two Guys and a Podcast, and we talked a whole lot of Jason Whitlock. The guy fascinates me, and I make no apologies about that. A praying mantis fascinates me, too. So does a grand-daddy longlegs. My kid picks those up with his bare hands, you know -- a praying mantis and a spider. Not a Whitlock.


Anyway, we also talked about the retired players suing the NFLPA, Broncos fans buying a billboard for Tim Tebow, Twitter and how Boise State is not like Miami.

Listen by hitting play below and don't forgot to Subscribe via iTunes!

If you can't listen to the podcast, download it here.

Category: NFL
Tags: Podcast
Posted on: September 16, 2011 6:36 am

Schlichter is down, and he's not getting up

I don't say this as a literal statement, but as a metaphor, as hyperbole to make a point that I don't know how else to make:

Maybe a guy like Art Schlichter shouldn't be simply locked up for 10 more years, or even for life. Maybe a guy like that should just be put down, like a rabid dog, a broken-down horse or any other creature that has a fatal problem that simply isn't -- won't -- get better.

That wasn't literal, but I'm at my wit's end with Schlichter -- and he hasn't done anything to me. But I've been reading about the guy for 25 years, about his gambling issues, his gambling addiction, a problem that doesn't just bring him down. It brings down people around him, the people he uses his charm and grace to swindle out of their retirement funds so he can pay off old debts and rack up new ones.

Art Schlichter, the former Ohio State superstar, the former No. 4 overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft, has a problem that isn't getting better, and it's ruining the people around him. He already has spent 12 years in prison, and this week he was sentenced to 10 more. If he's still alive when he gets out, he'll swindle more money from more innocent victims before he's caught and returned to the only place where he can't do any more damage to society.

Well, I can think of one more place where he couldn't do any more damage to society. And it wouldn't cost taxpayers a penny.

But that's not a literal statement. That's hyperbole, to make a point.

I think.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 13, 2011 4:00 pm

Boise State guilty of, well, nothing really

You know what would have been appropriate in the case of The NCAA vs. Boise State? It would have been appropriate for the NCAA to look over the violations and say, "You know what? This stuff was clearly inadvertent, and more to the point, it was nothing. No sanctions for you. The NCAA isn't into sanctioning schools for inadvertent piles of nothing."

Instead, the NCAA justified its existence, not to mention its hundreds of man-hours into the Boise "case," by giving the Broncos three years of probation along with some small scholarship and practice restrictions. All in all, the NCAA slapped Boise State on the wrist. Which is nice, but this would have been nicer:

Patting Boise on the head, telling the Broncos, "No harm, no foul," and calling it a day.

That would have been appropriate, given that Boise already had self-imposed penalties on itself, including some lost scholarships and lost practice time. The NCAA then added to the scholarship-and-practice reduction, and wrapped a bow on the whole thing by imposing three years of probation -- as if Boise is guilty of something nefarious, something North Carolina-like or Ohio State-like or Miami-like.

Nonsense. Boise State basically committed some bookkeeping errors in terms of housing and transportation for athletes in the summer, including the ridiculous sin of allowing one athlete to bunk on the couch of another athlete.

Anyway, Boise State will survive this, especially if it stays out of trouble over the next three years. Then again, according to this very case, the NCAA has defined "trouble" with a bit too broad a brush.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Boise State, NCAA
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