Randy Smith: I Promise - My Last College Football Blog Until Summer

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

I promise: this will be my final college football blog until later this summer. I wanted to make a comment or two about the recruiting wars (won last week by Alabama). As I have already stated, recruiting is not an exact science, though the Crimson Tide certainly makes it seem that way. You get the nation’s top recruiting class year in and year out, and you win a BCS National Championship. Pretty simple isn’t it? 

The Tide inked a total of 26 players, with 20 of them rated four stars or higher. They had just one five star player in running back Derrick Henry, who is the type of player who can contribute right away. I know this is an overused cliché, but Nick Saban has brought Alabama to the pinnacle, where the Tide never has to rebuild; they just reload.

The SEC did very well as expected. Three of the top five recruiting classes were from the SEC, with Florida right behind Alabama in second place, and Ole Miss (????) rated fifth. People who follow college football on a regular basis wouldn’t have been more surprised at Coach Hugh Freeze’s class if UTC’s Russ Heusman had signed it. To say that the Johnny Rebs had their best recruiting class ever might be a bit premature, but it’s easily the best in many, many years.

I really think it’s unfair to automatically claim that Ole Miss cheated in signing a class this rich in talent, but that’s the general opinion. Ole Miss signed two of the top three prospects in the nation as their two five-star players. They also added twelve other four-star players as well. To those who think Ole Miss cheated, perhaps you’ve never attended a game in Oxford, Mississippi. There is not a more beautiful spot to gather for a college football game than the famous “Grove” in Oxford. There are still plenty of beautiful “southern belles” around campus to lure any healthy young male athlete, and as far as football tradition goes Ole Miss has a traditionally great program.

To those who say, “the rich keep getting richer”, well, they do. But think about how it was in the 1950s and 1960s. There was no limit as to the number of players a school could sign. Alabama’s “Bear Bryant” Auburn’s “Shug” Jordan and Ole Miss Coach Johnny Vaught, absolutely ruled college football. If there was a player any of those three wanted, they were successful in signing them. Signing classes would not be limited to 25 players. They would usually sign anywhere from 50-75 players a year. There were recruiting guidelines, but nothing like we have today. So, if the “rich keep getting richer”, the rich must work a lot harder than they did fifty years ago.

The changes in the game, both in player ability and in general technology have been good for athletes, coaches and fans alike. College football is a really big business with literally billions of dollars being spent by hundreds of teams, thousands of athletes and millions of fans. But there is still one thing that bothers me; like it was in 1960, players cannot receive anything more than their scholarship and a little expense money when they play on the road. Some say, a college education is enough, while others claim the players deserve a big piece of the pie for toiling as they do as college athletes. I think the correct scenario is buried somewhere in between. Players in any sport on the collegiate level must work all year long on their sport. Unlike it was in 1960, if players do what they must to stay in shape and on top of their game they must work and train year around. That leaves very little time for having a job, especially with academic schedules involved. Why not pay each student athlete a stipend of $1000 a month while they are in school. It would ease things a bit on their parents, give them a little pocket money, and the NCAA wouldn’t miss a penny. Once again, no more writing about college football until the summer.


rsmithsports@comcast.net

---

Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).


PHOTOS: Lookouts Celebrate Winning Second-Half Title

Four weeks ago, no one would have expected the Lookouts would be even close to winning the second-half title. An 11-game winning streak put them into the race and when they swept the Tennessee Smokies Sunday they had concluded an incredible comeback. The Smokies were still in a position to win before Chris O'Brien's pinch-hit triple plated Corey Seager and O'Koyea Dickson with ... (click for more)

Phillips, Thompson Win FCA Races At Chattanooga State

Geno Phillips and Dean Thompson didn’t have much competition Monday morning in the FCA races at Chattanooga State. Phillips was victorious in the 10K with a time of 35 minutes and one second as he beat runner-up Andy Highlander by almost two minutes.   Highlander was timed in 36:48. Thompson was the winner in the 5K with a time of 17 minutes, two ... (click for more)

Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of Boy, 3; Child Had Numerous Injuries After Left With Boyfriend; Mother Was In Workhouse

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Police said Dakota James Arndt had numerous injuries over his body. Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother, Brianna Kwekel, who was in the Workhouse at the time. Ms. Kwekel was serving 48 ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)