COUNTDOWN TO THE SEASON

Del Olaleye: The weekly college football update includes UNC, Ohio State

Urban Meyer -- and his fans -- are in the news. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Not the way to start fall camp

If you’re UNC’s Larry Fedora you had to think the worst was behind you when last season ended. The 2017 season was a disaster. Injuries destroyed the depth across his football team and he finished the season 3-9. When you’re depending on LSU transfer Brandon Harris at QB to start the year things probably aren’t going in the right direction. A new season usually brings new hope. That is until your team is hit with mass suspensions because multiple starters sold exclusive Jordan brand shoes. North Carolina is one of a few football programs to wear the Jumpman logo on their uniforms and the players thought selling Jordan brand shoes wouldn’t be a bad way to make some some extra cash.

Tar Heel fans found about the suspensions this week but Fedora and his assistant coaches had this hanging over their heads since January when the violations were self reported. One the suspensions handed down just so happens to affect the most important position in their program. North Carolina entered fall camp hoping to settle a quarterback battle. That battle has some clarity now that potential starter Chaz Surratt has been suspended for four games for his entrepreneurship.

The NCAA has their rules and until they are changed they must be followed but multiple Tar Heels players will miss a third of the season for essentially selling stuff they own. They were given these things only because they play football so making money off them is considered an impermissible benefit. The NCAA calls these secondary violations. The same way they classify a coach seeing a recruit at the wrong time of year or calling a player during a “dead period.” Coaches get a slap on the wrist for secondary violations. They definitely wouldn’t be forced to miss a fourth of the season. UNC is an ACC opponent so I’m not crying that some of their players won’t be available for their game against Miami. I hope the Canes blow them out. Just  know that if actual paid employees of the North Carolina program did the same thing nothing would come of it.

More on Ohio State and Courtney Smith

It turns out Ohio State never met with Courtney Smith despite her allegations that their former employee and her ex-husband Zach Smith was physically abusive to her. This is according to Ms. Smith’s lawyer, Julia Leveridge.  As their six-person committee attempts to get to the bottom of who knew what and when, that factoid might be something Ohio State needs to answer for.

We’re not done with the Buckeyes

If you didn’t know college football fans are weird and borderline nuts just take a look at any video from the Urban Meyer rally. I guess the petition to save Meyer’s job that has 30,000 signatures wasn’t enough. They all wanted to look other crazies in the face. As simply as it can be put, the people in Columbus wanted to get together to try save the job of alleged enabler of domestic abuse. One person at the rally was the father of former Buckeyes and current Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. It just so happens the younger Elliott has had his own issues in regards to treating women in the correct manner.

We didn’t need Ohio State fans showing up en masse in front of a building to point out the obvious. We all know they value a great football coach over anything else. Urban Meyer left Florida because he couldn’t control the monster he had created. No one talks about that very much because he won multiple titles in Gainesville. The people in Columbus certainly didn’t care about all that after having to deal with a 6-7 season under interim coach Luke Fickell. Fickell was promoted to the position after Jim Tressel resigned following previously being suspended for five games for lying about his players getting free tattoos. There are people that haven’t forgotten about Meyer’s time at the University of Florida. His former players are talking about their time at Florida with Meyer and isn’t at all complimentary. I’m sure Buckeyes fans will blame Brett McMurphy for that too.

 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Keep an eye on Alex Bowman this weekend. Image via: Wiki Commons.

For the first time since July 1984, NASCAR returns to one of its most popular cities in Nashville, Tennessee for the inaugural Ally 400 at Nashville Super Speedway. This track is a 1 1/3rd mile concrete oval that was dormant for nearly ten years and was only used as a testing facility. So it came as a bit of a surprise last season when it was announced that this track would be getting a date. For a lot of drivers, this will be a brand new racetrack, but we will see practice and qualifying, so that will be a huge help for the newcomers that haven't raced here before. Back when the Xfinity and Trucks ran here, this track featured a lot of first time winners. Back in 2008, future NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski shocked the world by jumping in Dale Jr's car and capturing his first win here. There will be a lot of veterans like Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick who have plenty of experience at this track, but it will be tough to compare. It should be fun with everyone coming into this race with minimal knowledge.

Last week, Kyle Larson continued his hot streak by winning the All-Star Race. Overall, while Larson and his Hendrick teammates probably enjoyed the race, the feedback from crews and fans was less than positive. As I was walking through the garage area and talking to a few crew members, a lot of them were very critical of the 450 horsepower motor and the tall spoiler to try and keep the cars bunched up. When I asked one of the crew-members what he thought about the package he told me, "Oh it's awful. The track is terrible, the package makes it impossible to pass and it's super hot out here." On green flag runs, it was the same as it ever was as the lead car would pretty much take off and the only time there was really any "pack racing" it came after there were restarts. The whole race was well-intentioned and the fans showed up as it was nearly a capacity crowd, but the whole thing just didn't make any sense. From the start time being in the nearly 100 degree heat to the wacky full-field invert at the end of each stage. Let's hope that next season's All-Star Race is a lot more concise.

In Silly Season news this week, Truck Series regulars GMS racing announced that they would be fielding a full-time cup series team. The team is currently owned by Allegiant Airlines CEO Maurice Gallagher and his son, Spencer, who used to drive for them in the Xfinity Series. This move seemed to come from out of nowhere as there was never any indication that this was a move they were exploring anytime soon after they turned down the opportunity to purchase Furniture Row Racing in 2019. This is certainly a great sight for the sport as there will be more new teams on the track and with their close relationship with Chevy, it wouldn't be a surprise if they step in and help this team become competitive. The favorite to drive their car has to be 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed. He has easily been their best driver in trucks, and it would make the most sense for him to get the promotion.

This week at Nashville, the driver that I have winning is Alex Bowman. Now while this is a brand new racetrack and he has a grand total of zero starts here, this track suits his driving style perfectly. With the inclusion of this track, there are now four tracks with a concrete surface. Nashville, Bristol, Dover and Martinsville. At the three of the tracks they have run at, he has shown a lot of speed, including a victory at Dover this season and a top ten finish at Bristol. This is also a track where crew-chief Greg Ives said Bowman has gravitated towards during testing. In an interview with Sirius XM Ives was quoted as saying "we used to have a lot of fun testing there," so this is clearly a track that they both enjoy going to. Another big factor going into Sunday will be just how fast these Hendrick Motorsports cars are, they have finished 1-2 over the last four points races. He has watched his teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott have immense success, and now this week I think he is due for a third win of the season. Look for the bright purple #48 Chevy to go to victory lane this week at Nashville.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome