All posts by Derek Tom

The Class of the Big Ten was Outclassed

At the start of the New Year’s Eve matchup between Michigan State and Alabama, there was a lot of hope and an expectation that the game would be a close, low-scoring affair. By the end of the game, Alabama had pitched a shutout and thoroughly dominated the Big Ten’s best. While it might be surprising considering that both teams were the best in their respective conferences, there are many reasons why it was completely expected.

Alabama recruits players who fit a certain height, weight, and player type mold that translates well to the NFL. When this strategy is combined with selecting from the best 4- and 5-star players in the country and placing them into a well-thought out scheme, it isn’t surprising that Alabama does very well. Against Michigan State, Alabama matched up better than usual. Michigan State does all the things that Alabama does, but does it with players who are not at the same level. Michigan State’s Aaron Burbridge is good, but he isn’t Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, a freshman who showed on throughout the year that he has speed, acceleration, and great hands. Likewise, Michigan State’s LJ Scott isn’t at the same level as Derrick Henry even though the two have a relatively similar physical makeup. Michigan State’s offensive line has been good throughout the year, but couldn’t handle Alabama’s relatively straight forward 3- and 4-man pass rushes.

While it is unexpected that Michigan State got shut out, it shouldn’t be a shock. Alabama practices against a Michigan State-like offense every day. In addition, Michigan State doesn’t run the spread, up-tempo, read option attack that Nick Saban has complained about and struggled against, not necessarily in that order. Giving Nick Saban several weeks to prepare against any offensive scheme is dangerous; give Nick Saban several weeks to prepare against an offensive scheme that is similar to his own and it creates an almost no-win situation for his opponent.

Toward the end of the game, as the announcers ran out of things to discuss, the topic of “will this loss set Michigan State back?” arose. While it is easy to say that an embarrassing loss on one of the biggest college football stages could set a program back, the more pressing concern for Michigan State is how to replace Connor Cook, their starting quarterback for what seems like forever. Considering the string of Michigan State quarterbacks in the NFL either as starters or backups, it is a pretty safe assumption that Michigan State will find someone who can effectively run their offense and maintain the program’s status as one of the Big Ten’s and nation’s elite. As for the semifinal game against Alabama, a loss against one of the best defensive units in college football and against an offense featuring the Heisman trophy winner should not cause panic or set a program back. It happens to almost everyone Alabama faces.

Photocredit: Got Credit/Flickr

Iowa vs. LSU and Why Every Bowl Game is Worth Watching

In 2005, the Capital One Bowl was a pseudo time-filling bowl on New Year’s Day.  This status hasn’t really changed.  As I scanned through the channels to find something to watch, I stumbled upon this game and used it to fill time until the better games began. However, it turned out to be the most dramatic game of the day.

As I did some research for this article, I went back to look at the box score.  I remember watching the game, but didn’t recall all the nuances of who was in it.  For example, the 2005 LSU team featured future NFL standouts Dwayne Bowe, JaMarcus Russell (actually, not really a standout), and Joseph Addai.  Meanwhile, the most successful NFLer on the Iowa team at that time, at least on offense was Scott Chandler.  But this isn’t about where various people in a random Capital One Bowl went after graduation.

Like most high schoolers, determining what colleges to apply to was something that occurred between my junior and senior year.  I used a strategy that, at least at that time, was widely ridiculed mocked by all the “experts” who gave advice about how to choose a college.  Recently, my strategy has been somewhat vindicated and has become more popular.  My college-selection strategy involved wanting to go to a school that had all the major sports.  It also involved eliminating schools that I didn’t cheer for when I watched them on TV as I felt that if I didn’t like watching a team play on TV, there was a good chance I wouldn’t like it if I was physically there.

Prior to applying to schools in the Midwest, my father and I visited three schools: Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa, not necessarily in that order.  When we visited Iowa, we met with some guy who was in admissions.  After the prerequisite discussions about majors, facilities, campus size, and student body, the topic shifted to football.  Being from Hawaii, it was apparent that he had very low expectations about my Iowa football knowledge.  He pointed to a picture on the wall that showed Warren Holloway breaking a Travis Daniels’ tackle in the 2005 Capital One Bowl and asked if I knew what the picture was about.  I surprised him by not only knowing the play, but also knowing all the drives leading up to the play.  In short, my knowledge of that particular bowl game resulted in me being offered a partial scholarship.  More importantly, it led to my mother never telling me to stop watching “useless college football games.”

While I ultimately did not attend Iowa, the events of that day serve as a reminder during bowl season that every game, even the ones that don’t seem very “good,” is worth watching.  Getting offered a scholarship based on a discussion of a Hail Mary play is memorable and demonstrates the power of college football.  In the lead up to the “main event” bowls on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and the National Championship, I encourage everyone to turn on random bowl games.  You never know what might happen or where it might lead.


Photo credit: JOPHIELsmiles/Flickr

Cardale Jones’ Season of Loss

I am a proponent of college athletes leaving school early if they are going to be a first or second round pick.  With the exception of someone like La’el Collins who has his NFL draft derailed with a murder investigation, even if the player slips, he turns into a “value” pick in the second, third, or even fourth round.  In sharp contrast, a player who has a first round grade and decides to go back to school plays the following season one hit away from never seeing the NFL or seeing the NFL at a price tag that is greatly reduced.

According to this article, Cardale Jones would have been a first round pick in the 2015 NFL draft.  If Cardale just managed to be a first rounder and was selected say, 31st, in the 2015 Draft, he would have received a contract somewhat similar to what Stephone Anthony received, 4 years, $7.7 million, and a $3.9 signing bonus. Had he been a top ten pick, he would have received a contract in the 4 years, $20 million range.

Following his struggles this year with Ohio State and the loss of his starting job to JT Barrett, it isn’t out of the question that Cardale Jones has a Matt Barkley-like tumble in the draft rankings and goes from a first rounder to a fourth rounder, or worse.  If this is the case, his contract would be somewhat similar to the one that the Jets gave to former Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, selected in the fourth round (103rd overall) of the NFL Draft.  Petty received a 4 year, $2.83 million contract with an approximately $550,000 signing bonus.

The struggles of Cardale and their impact on his future NFL career can be attributed to many sources.  The first and most obvious culprit is Cardale himself.  He was the one who chose to go back to college knowing that the starter who he replaced was coming back.  He also knew that he was part of a system where his physical skills were not used to their fullest.  Ohio State relies on quarterbacks who have speed and can get the ball to athletic wide receivers and backs.  The offense does not necessarily require a quarterback who can stand in the pocket and throw Vladimir Guerrero-style missiles down the field.  The second culprit is the overhyped stance that the media has taken on college athletes staying in college and not leaving early.  While it is important for most people to stay in college and receive a degree, it is difficult to argue that staying in college for another year was worth going from a first round pick to a mid-round pick and transforming from a player who supposedly would be a franchise cornerstone into someone who is expendable.

In the immortal words of Cardale himself, “we ain’t come to play school.”  In the realm of college athletes who have first round grades, these words couldn’t be more true.


Photo: Pictures of Money/Flickr

The Groan of Wives, Girlfriends, and Non-sports Fans throughout the Midwest

Me: Michigan State made it into the college football playoffs!

Wife: Ugh.  Now we have to go to a place that has a TV on New Year’s Eve. 

As a fan of college football and the Big Ten, I can’t really fault her.  In fact, I feel the same way.  I’m not that keen bringing in the new year in a sports bar or a Buffalo Wild Wings-type establishment either.  A week or two ago, it was possible that the Big Ten would get no team into the playoff and New Year’s Eve activities could commence as normal.  This would have been ideal.  However, Michigan State got into the playoff and “ruined” everything.

This situation speaks to the larger state of the college football bowl system and how even a great thing such as the college football playoff can be botched so thoroughly.  Fans get what they have been clamoring for, a definitive way to crown a champion, yet the semi-final games occur on a day that should be reserved for second-tier bowl games and act as a warmup for the actual main event, New Year’s Day.  In terms of “good” matchups, New Year’s Day, the former undisputed king of good bowl games has become an almost second tier bowl game day, definitely over taken by New Year’s Eve and the National Championship game.  It shouldn’t be this way.

As a result, my plan, at least as of right now, is to spend New Year’s Eve in whatever way I feel like.  I am not particularly invested in any of the teams, or at least not enough to ruin a day with football that my wife looks forward to greatly.  To ensure that I am kept fully up to date with the happenings of the evening, I will charge my phone and check my Bleacher Report app and make sure that all the proper boxes are checked prior to leaving the house.  The fine people at Bleacher Report have proven themselves more than capable of providing Vines, gifs, replays, and notifications throughout important games.  I have full confidence that they will do this throughout New Year’s Eve.

While it may seem weird for a Big Ten writer to not care about watching the games live, I feel that my seeming ambivalence is the result of being let down too many times in big games by a team that isn’t Ohio State.  I remember getting excited a few years ago to see Michigan play Alabama when Denard Robinson was breaking ankles with alarming regularity.  That game ended with me feeling depressed and turning off the TV in the third quarter.  The same occurred when Wisconsin fell apart against LSU.  I simply have no faith in the Big Ten’s ability to keep up with a team like Alabama.  Michigan State has some great players and has had a great year, however, they couldn’t win convincingly against Iowa and will face a team with far better players at essentially every position when they take on Alabama.  It just doesn’t seem worth it to risk an evening of fun and friends to watch what will most likely be a decisive Alabama victory.  At least in my house, I’m not alone.

The Big Ten’s Opportunity to Become a Quarterback Factory

The NFL season is at the point where it is reasonable to begin looking ahead to the 2016 draft.  Teams have played long enough for a somewhat significant sample size to be compiled and to provide a direction for what direction to take in the offseason and the draft.  And as draft talk begins, the familiar refrain of “there’s no pro-style quarterbacks” is shouted by analysts everywhere.

The NFL draft has become a lottery of sorts in projecting which quarterbacks will be able to successfully transition from a spread system to a pro-style system.  According to the October 26, 2015 issue of ESPN the magazine, 26.6% of teams run pro-style offenses while 68.8% of offenses run some version of the spread.  In fact, the Big 12 is a conference comprised of exclusively spread offenses.  It is in this field that the Big Ten possesses an enormous potential advantage.

The Big Ten’s current football environment provides an ideal breeding ground for quarterbacks.  Defenses are geared toward stopping the run and the majority of teams run pro-style offenses.  This strategy is generally in line with what NFL teams do.  Teams work to stop the run and make quarterbacks beat them.  Like in the NFL, elite college quarterbacks lead their teams to victory, sometimes in spite of their supporting cast.  NFL analysts often discuss “how (insert quarterback) will perform in December” when the temperatures drop.  In this arena, for once, the weather of the Midwest is actually a benefit as it provides NFL scouts with the opportunity to see how quarterbacks can pass the ball when it is -7⁰F or when the snow hasn’t stopped for the 3 days and escaping the pocket is difficult.

A few years ago, the NFL seemed poised to transition from the traditional pro-style offense to an offense featuring the read option and more spread looks.  While teams have incorporated more shotgun looks, a fundamentally sound, pro-style quarterback is still the most valuable commodity a team can have.  While spread offenses are able to put up points in a hurry, they do a poor job developing quarterbacks who translate to the NFL effectively.  While the SEC has become known for its ability to produce 1st round NFL talent at an incredible rate, it does not have a lock on producing NFL-ready quarterbacks.  Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford have managed to stick.  However, for every Newton or Stafford, there are busts like Blaine Gabbert and Tim Tebow.  Ryan Tannehill and Johnny Manziel still remain works in progress, but have not shown that they can be true difference makers for their teams.  The Big Ten has the best opportunity to claim the throne of NFL quarterback factory.  The majority of teams do not need to transition their personnel to accommodate this type of offense, the personnel is already in place.  The only thing hindering progress is the relative lack of emphasis that many Big Ten teams seem to place on landing talented pro-style quarterback recruits.


Rivalry: The Term that Justifies Everything

It is the job of ESPN and the other major networks to hype up the games they are carrying.  And, of course, when it is rivalry week, the promotion gets taken to a level that could never be matched by the actual game itself, especially when discussing a matchup as big as Ohio State against Michigan.

In a nutshell, Ohio State and Michigan was somewhat of a game until the end when Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock was injured and Ohio State scored a few meaningless touchdowns to make the game seem like more of a blowout than it actually was.  What was most interesting was the way that the announcers discussed Ohio State’s late game display of what would have been considered horrible sportsmanship and irresponsible coaching in any other game.

With the game well out of reach, Ohio State made the decision to go for it on fourth down when they were on a part of the field where it was not quite worth it to punt, but not quite worth it to kick a field goal.  Later, with about two and a half minutes to go, Ohio State went for it on fourth down with an Ezekiel Elliott run on the Michigan 3-yard line.  Michigan stopped the run and took over on downs.  Surprisingly, there was no criticism from the announcers.  In fact, the game proceeded as though nothing had happened and there was a discussion about how Ohio State and Urban Meyer were doing these things for “recruiting purposes.”  Using this justification, it seems logical to think that Ezekiel Elliott was also in the game for “recruiting purposes,” perhaps to show future Ohio State running backs that if you complain about play calling and not getting the ball, you get to stay in the game to rack up meaningless numbers the following week.

Recruiting is a key part of college football; this is common knowledge.  However, the notion that running up the score is a recruiting tactic is absurd.  Ohio State purposefully decided to keep its starters in during a blowout.  In an emotionally and historically charged game like this one, it isn’t out of the question that someone takes a cheap shot at an opponent who is purposefully trying to run up the score.  As a recruiting tool, Ohio State’s tactics today seemed backward and primitive.  To continue to run Ezekiel Elliott late in the game is a recipe for disaster, and irresponsible coaching, especially in a time when running backs are becoming increasingly replaceable and hit the wall a few years into their NFL career.

The takeaway from the end of Ohio State/Michigan is this: add the word “rivalry” into the mix and everything is justifiable.  Running up the score, unnecessarily endangering your star players, and providing a track record of bad sportsmanship is all okay as long as you do it against a “rival,” a term that has become overhyped, overused, and almost irrelevant in today’s college football playoff structure.  To think that Michigan was any more motivated to defeated Ohio State than say, Michigan State, or any other team the Buckeyes played this year, is an insult to all the teams and coaching staffs that Ohio State has faced throughout the year.

Shattered Dreams and Iowa

The phrase “we need Iowa to go undefeated” is one that probably was not uttered by anyone other than Iowa alumni.  Coming into the season, there was a legitimate possibility that Kirk Ferentz was going to get the axe, but his contract, more specifically his buyout clause, was stopping that from happening.  Now, Iowa is undefeated, has a guaranteed spot in the Big Ten championship game, and looks to be the Big Ten’s best chance at being in the College Football Playoff as an undefeated team and eliminating the counter argument of “they just got in because they play in the Big Ten.”

The beauty of the college football playoff is how much scheduling plays a part.  Luckily for Iowa, very few thought that they would be legitimate contenders and did not schedule them into any true primetime, late season matchups. The Hawkeyes finish the season at Nebraska, the team that has managed to lose a surprising number of close games throughout the season and had a season-defining win in which they managed to ruin Michigan States’ title chances by handing them a late season loss.  While Nebraska will view the game against Iowa as their “championship” game, Iowa should be able to win and go into the Big Ten championship undefeated.

In comparison, the other teams around Iowa in the rankings have far tougher matchups.  Notre Dame finishes its year at Stanford without two of its best players, C.J. Prosise and KeiVarae Russel, while Oklahoma and Oklahoma State play one another in what should be a high scoring rivalry game that will determine who will be the Big 12’s playoff candidate.  Florida, the 8th ranked team in the Week 12 rankings, ends its year at Florida State.

My bound-to-be-wrong prediction for Iowa

Iowa wins at Nebraska convincingly, but not overwhelmingly with a 31-14 win.  In the Big Ten championship game, they play Michigan State.  The Spartans, coming off a huge win at Ohio State and a win over Penn State win a close, low scoring and what most of the country considers to be an “ugly” game.  In the process, the Big Ten manages to have three 1-loss teams.  Considering the huge media hype that constantly surrounds Notre Dame and the possibility of an undefeated Oklahoma State team, Iowa misses the playoffs and no Big Ten team gets to compete for the championship.

While having no team in the championship would be somewhat embarrassing for the Big Ten, it will not be as horrible as people make it out to be.  Clemson and Alabama are clearly the top teams this year and Iowa does not have the weapons or the personnel to keep pace with teams of that caliber.  Iowa getting into the playoff would probably look at lot like a bowl game featuring an automatic qualifier; it will be obvious from the start which team had a “miracle” year that is coming to an end and which team is entrenched as a top contender year after year.  As fun as it would be to have a team from the Big Ten in the playoff, it will probably be better to not have to endure a 60-minute beatdown at the hands of Clemson or Alabama that loses its suspense after the first quarter when Iowa is down by 21.

Christian Hackenberg: Hype Combined with an RGIII Trait

The start of the college football season is accompanied by an onslaught of NFL projections, positional rankings, and mock drafts.  It is fun in the beginning, becomes mundane and repetitive at about week 6, and gets interesting again during the final playoff push, conference championships, and bowl games as top players distinguish themselves from others.

Christian Hackenberg made headlines before stepping onto Penn State’s campus because he decided not to flee in the wake of NCAA sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky scandal.  He was a 5-star recruit and, at the time, was the future of Penn State.  Fast forward a few years and Hackenberg’s career at Penn State has been relatively unremarkable outside of the hype and attention he gets by virtue of his powerful arm, supposed NFL potential, and 5-star recruit status.

In 2013 and 2014, his first two seasons at Penn State, Hackenberg threw for 2955 and 2977 yards, respectively.  He had a completion percentage of 58.9% and 55.8%, respectively.  While not horrible, in an era where college quarterbacks are putting up eye popping numbers, Hackenberg was putting up numbers that were quite pedestrian, especially for a player who some scouts were touting as a potential top NFL draft pick.

He has no weapons

Hackenberg supporters often use this defense when trying to rationalize his lack of production.  And they aren’t wrong.  He had Allen Robinson, a future 2nd round pick in the 2014 NFL draft and no other truly viable options.  After Robinson left for the NFL, he had DaeSean Hamilton (899 yards in 2014) and Geno Lewis (751 yards in 2014), players who had good receiving yardage, but accounted for a measly total of 4 touchdowns.

He hasn’t had a good offensive line

This phrase is another common Hackenberg defense.  And it seems fair.  Hackenberg was sacked a lot and has been given the pretty obvious nickname of “Christian Sackenberg” by some media members.  However, in a vacuum, sack numbers can be misleading.  The Washington Redskins’ quarterback odyssey involving Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, and Robert Griffin III has shown the way that sack numbers are very dependent on the quarterback under center.  A quarterback who knows how to get rid of the ball quickly (Kirk Cousins) will take far fewer sacks than one who holds onto the ball too long (Robert Griffin III).  While Hackenberg has been the victim of his offensive line crumbling, he also falls into the Robert Griffin III category of holding onto the ball too long than

When compared to the holy grail of big-armed, pro style quarterbacks, Andrew Luck, Hackenberg falls astonishingly short.  In his 2010 campaign, the year before he went pro, Luck passed for 3338 yards, 32 touchdowns, and had a completion percentage of 70.7%.  That year, his top receiver was Doug Baldwin who had 857 yards and 9 touchdowns.  His next leading receiver was Ryan Whalen who accounted for 439 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Luck’s quarterback prowess allowed him to put up great numbers and be productive with a supporting cast that had similar to production to the players around Hackenberg.

It isn’t fair to declare someone a player a “bust” in college since players can make incredible strides in a year, but, at least for Hackenberg, it is fair to at least begin derailing, or for some people outright destroying, the notion that he is the next great NFL quarterback.  Top NFL quarterback prospects don’t have three week stretches where they throw only 1 touchdown, 4 interceptions, and can’t break the 200 yard mark against Indiana, Temple, and Illinois.  If you are not a believer in stats as they can be misleading, especially at the college level, his CBS scouting report states that he “has a bad habit of holding onto the ball too long and clamming up when the walls start to wear down….(he has) frenetic eyes which leads to flawed decision-making.”  Robert Griffin III has shown the world happens when a quarterback goes down the path of holding onto the ball too long and taking sacks; the fact that Hackenberg has the same trait without the same athleticism and escapability doesn’t bode well for Penn State or his NFL aspirations.

Did Wisconsin Move its Quarterback of the Future to Receiver?

In July 2013, Wisconsin landed one of its biggest quarterback recruits, D.J. Gillins, a 4-star dual-threat quarterback from Jacksonville, Florida.  Unfortunately, the signing occurred during the tenure of former coach Gary Andersen.  Now, Gillins is in a sort of quarterback purgatory as he doesn’t quite fit into the current system, but has undeniable talent that could allow him to contribute in a different role.

Following the lead of former scrambling quarterback turned do-it-all player, Tanner McEvoy, the Badgers have moved the redshirt freshman to wide receiver and might use him on special teams.  While this isn’t the worst use of a talented and athletic player, hopefully the move isn’t permanent.  The Badgers have the rare opportunity to develop a mobile quarterback and truly expand their offense to heights that haven’t been since Russell Wilson.

This season, the Badgers have arguably “too much” experience at quarterback with Joel Stave and Bart Houston being a redshirt senior and a redshirt junior, respectively.  It makes sense to see the Badgers try to put Gillins at receiver, a position where he can contribute.  However, entering the 2016 season, it is conceivable that Gillins can win the job over Houston and dramatically change the way that the Wisconsin offense operates.

With the exception of the Wilson season, the defensive game plan against Wisconsin has always been, stop the run and make the quarterback and his generally average receivers beat you.  When Wilson was around, the mantra was the same, however, Wilson’s added ability to escape the pocket and make plays was a game changer.  His ability to run and pass left defenses dumbfounded.  In many respects, college football is about broken plays and one player using dominant physical attributes to rise above the rest.  Joel Stave and Bart Houston, while talented quarterbacks, don’t provide much in the way of game breaking ability and serve more of the game manager role.  They might escape the pocket and scramble effectively for a first down occasionally, but they are never truly a threat to make a few people miss and run 70 yards off a read option keeper.

The comparisons between Gillins and Wilson are somewhat uncanny.  Both are former baseball players, both have athletic ability that could be utilized at almost any position on the field, and both are playing in a Paul Chryst offense.  The main variable in this situation is the ability of Chryst to adapt his system to fit the needs of a developing quarterback.  He has proven that he can take almost any quarterback and turn him into an efficent game manager, but his ability to effectively develop a mobile quarterback is still debatable.  When he was at Wisconsin, Wilson was, essentially, a finished product.  Chryst was able to use Wilson to elevate the Badger offense to new heights, however, it isn’t a stretch to think that most coaches could use a talent like Wilson to create a potent offensive attack.

Quarterback is, and will continue to be, the most important position on the field.  Hopefully, Chryst doesn’t continue the trend of moving athletic quarterbacks to other positions and at least gives Gillins the opportunity to compete for the job next year.  The return of a Wisconsin offense featuring a mobile quarterback would be welcome by all.

Perhaps the NCAA Needs to Intervene: J.T. Barrett and Ohio State

The title of this article is something no one says.  When the NCAA gets involved, things get botched.  It happens time and time again.  But with the way the J.T. Barrett case is being handled, it seems that the punishment won’t fit the crime unless the NCAA does something.

J.T. Barrett is 20.  He consumed alcohol as a minor and then got into a car and began driving around.  He was stopped by the police and arrested for OVI, a misdemeanor, after trying to avoid a DUI checkpoint.  So far, the primary story has involved his suspension, how it will impact the team, and if the suspension is too long/short.  Yet, the fact that nothing is being said about his underage drinking speaks volumes about where college sports stands on the matter.

College students engage in underage drinking as a matter of routine.  That is a fact that isn’t disputable.  In many ways, it has become accepted to the point where underage drinking is no longer prosecuted.  The same can be said for DUI.  Regardless of the way that society views underage drinking and DUIs, student-athletes are held to a different standard, the NCAA has made this abundantly clear.  No promoting businesses in any way, no getting any sum of money, no getting free meals, no trading autographs for tattoos, no getting family members paid, the list is endless.  But, based on the reaction to the Barrett news, drink underage, and then drive, and no one cares.  The media says nothing.  The analysts say nothing.  And, so far, Ohio State’s stance basically is, for getting caught while driving drunk:  sit out a game.  A one game suspension should be long enough for everyone to think there was a “tough” stance on the issue without jeopardizing a college football playoff run.

At this time, Barrett will miss the Minnesota game.  And then he will return to play out the rest of the season.  The drinking and driving incident will be a small blemish on his record while everyone praises (or criticizes) him for plays that he did or did not make.

Since the incident happened so recently, it makes sense that the NCAA hasn’t commented or handed out punishments.  However, in other incidents such as autograph signings or “working” at jobs that didn’t exist, the NCAA swooped in and doled out swift justice.  Hopefully, in a case where an individual drove drunk and turned his car into a potential life-altering battering ram, the NCAA takes action.   Doing nothing would send the message that autograph signings, receiving free meals, and taking money from boosters and coaches is unacceptable and worthy of a season ending or even college-career ending punishment while drunk driving is worth only a single game suspension against a team that Ohio State should beat handily.  Regardless of what team you cheer for, that’s a stance that cannot be supported.