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College Football Begins In Earnest

August 31, 2013 - Al Stephenson
The first games were played Thursday evening. A few took place last night. Today, however, marks the real beginning of the 2013 college football season. The usual crop of powerhouses versus creampuffs will fill the bill for those fans who have been clamoring for this day. Let's look at a couple of those matchups.

Ohio State hosts Buffalo at the Shoe coming off last year's perfect season. No national championship for the Buckeyes though. It seems they had some players violate NCAA rules a couple of years ago and there was a bit of a cover up... Hey you know the situation. I don't need to go into detail.

The Buckeyes have high hopes for this year, but it only takes one loss to possibly extinguish their chances for a national title. Today should not be a problem. Be careful though. Stranger things have happened, particularly on opening day.

The other matchup that I find intriguing may or may not have national title implications. I'm not sure Texas A&M has enough firepower to be considered a title contender. They do have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, but he will not be playing all four quarters today. Again, I would assume you know the story, but this one is a little fascinating.

If you have followed the off season travails of Johnny Manziel - or Johnny Football as he is known - it has been a litany of transgressions or near misses if you like. The most serious accusation against Manziel was the fact that he may have violated NCAA rules by accepting cash for signing autographs for memorabilia dealers. Did he or didn't he? Your guess is as good as mine (and yes I do have a guess), but our opinions do not matter. Here, however, is what Texas A&M and the NCAA have concluded.

Manziel will be forced to sit the first half in today's game against the Rice Owls. You heard correctly. His punishment involves not playing in half a game. There is no word on whether he will have to sit facing a wall in the corner of the stadium while he serves his timeout!

If you are a little skeptical of this punishment, join the crowd. Texas A&M has ordered the punishment, suggesting he violated the "spirit" of the rules. The NCAA has agreed to the punishment and will reinstate him at halftime. The following is part of a statement released by the school.

Texas A&M and the NCAA "confirmed there is no evidence Manziel received money in exchange for autographs based on currently available information and statements by Manziel." I don't even know where to start on that information. If there is no evidence, then why is he being punished at all, despite the fact that it's little more than a timeout? Will more information be forthcoming, say after the season?

The view from my seat suggests that this situation does not pass the smell test, but then most never do. It would not be college football without some controversy. So I say let the games begin and let the chips fall where they may.


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