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).


Lookouts Fall To Montgomery Thursday, 6-1

Daniel Palka is locked in at the plate right now, but not even a 2-for- 2 night with a walk from the right fielder could give the Lookouts a win tonight, as they fell 6-1 in the series opener against the Montgomery Biscuits. The Lookouts fell behind early as the Biscuits tagged starting pitcher DJ Baxendale for four runs early.  Chattanooga answered ... (click for more)

Baylor Soccer Ties Brentwood 1-1

The Baylor boys soccer team traveled to Brentwood Academy for a key region soccer match on Thursday.   Baylor's Chase Viland scored off a shot from 18yds out at the 6th minute to give the Red Raiders a 1-0 lead.   The score remained 1-0 at the half.  Nick Coomer (BA) scored off a corner kick to  tie the score at 1-1 at the 46th minute.  The ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Rules That Hutcheson Medical Center And Its Trustees Owe Erlanger $36,379,968.20

A federal judge at Rome, Ga., has ruled that the Hospital Authority of Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties and Hutcheson Medical Center are liable to pay Erlanger Health System $36,379,968.20. Judge Harold Murphy, in a 90-page opinion, discarded a counter-claim brought by Hutcheson against Erlanger. He directed that Erlanger be paid $20 million for money it spent while managing ... (click for more)

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson Hospitalized; 2 Cleveland Police Officers Injured After Altercation With Man With History Of Assaults

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson and two Cleveland Police officers were injured Thursday while intervening in a domestic assault in progress. While driving on 25 th St. N.W. Sheriff Watson witnessed the assault, it was stated. When the sheriff tried to intervene, the man involved in the assault attacked him. During the scuffle the man struck Sheriff Watson numerous times, ... (click for more)

Jill Levine Is An Educational Rock Star

No one has covered the Hamilton County Department of Education drama better than Roy Exum.  Thank you, Roy, but I take issue with your unnamed sources.  Professional jealousy and sour grape darts should not be anonymous.   HCDE is so dysfunctional, and there is good cause to place this public organization under a microscope, dissect it into pieces and discard all ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cancer Is Not A Battle

I read a marvelous essay not long ago where the author urged, “Stop telling the lie that cancer is a battle … a battle implies a fair fight, and there was nothing fair about my cancer or the cancer that took the life of my friend. Those experiences were about as fair as getting hit by a car – and nobody says people lose their battles with automobiles.” Mary Elizabeth Williams, ... (click for more)