It’s Dan Mount again and I’m here with another edition of Around Campus. Since its Halloween, I’m going to do an edition where I talk about the tricks and treats of the college football season. Also, some games that could be worse than getting dental floss in your bag and ones that are as awesome as a full-sized bar of candy. You can leave comments below, or follow me on Twitter @DanMountSports.
Trick: The continued fallout of the Penn State scandal: This week the university settled the lawsuit stemming from the child sexual abuse by former Nittany Lions assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The settlement is around $60 million and it will be paid out to 26 victims. The number of victims involved in the settlement is double the amount that Sandusky was convicted for. It’s still sad that we’re still having to talk about this, but there is going to be more fallout to come with the trial of former president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president of finance and business Gary Schultz. I do hope there is some closure for these victims. I’ve known victims of this kind of abuse and every day can be a struggle. Especially if it’s dragged out in the media.
Treat: The great quarterback play: Onto something a lot more positive and that is the great play from the QB position. The top four Heisman Trophy candidates according to ESPN’s Heisman Watch are quarterbacks. Jameis Winston has been a revelation at the position for No. 3 Florida State. He wasn’t expected to be this good this quickly. Oregon’s Marcus Mariota has kept the Ducks’ offense humming along despite Chip Kelly going to the NFL. (Some think Mariota could be better than Cam Newton.) Let’s not forget last year’s winner Johnny Manziel. (Who’s also drawing comparisons to Newton.) Let’s also not forget Baylor’s Bryce Petty and Alabama’s AJ McCarron.
Trick: The Grambling State football program: I don’t often talk about SWAC teams or FCS football in my column, but I’ll touch on this. The Tigers were once a proud program led by the legendary Eddie Robinson. (Who had the most wins as a Division I coach.) However, things have gone horribly wrong ever since. The program was solid under former Grambling QB and Super Bowl-winner Doug Williams, but he was dismissed. Things came to a head a few weeks ago when the team refused to play a scheduled game at Jackson State and thus had to forfeit. The program is going through plenty of financial strife and the players had enough of it. There were rumors of long bus trips to Indianapolis from the campus in Louisiana and not getting food on road trips. If this is true, then good on the players. They need to be treated with respect as they are representing the university. I do hope this gets resolved as it is a great program with lots of tradition.
Treat: Surprise teams: I know that Missouri lost last week to South Carolina, but they have been a joy to watch. Many picked the Tigers to be near the bottom of the SEC, but Gary Pinkel’s crew has proved the doubters wrong. Let’s also not forget Art Briles’ crew in Waco as Baylor continues to light up the scoreboard. The dashing Kliff Kingsburgy has also made the Red Raiders a surprise contender. It’s nice to see teams rise above the expectations. Let’s see if they can keep it up.
Here are the latest BCS standings
To keep with the Halloween theme, I’m going to find some games that will be horror shows and a couple potential thrillers. Here’s the list.
Horror show: (4) Ohio State at Purdue, Noon ET (Big Ten Network): The Buckeyes are still in the mix for the national title, but need some help to get into one of the top two spots in the BCS. The Boilermakers have been outscored by over 100 points in the last four games.
Thriller: (21) Michigan at (22) Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC or ESPN2): This is a shot for the division lead in the Legends Division. The Spartans are 4-0 and the Wolverines are 2-1, but can get back in it with a win. Michigan’s offense will be tested by the Michigan State defense, but I’m worried on whether or not the Spartans can score enough.
Horror show: UTEP at (12) Texas A&M, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2): The Miners are 1-6 and are going into College Station against Johnny Football. Manziel is still recovering from a shoulder injury, but can get a rest if the Aggies get out to an early lead.
Thirller: (7) Miami (FL) at (3) Florida State, 8 p.m. (ABC): This is the matchup that ACC fans have been waiting for. The Seminoles already beat Clemson in a top five test in Death Valley. The Hurricanes are looking to get that program-establishing win so they can get their old swagger back. However, the Noles are big favorites for a reason. I like FSU’s defense and Jameis Winston too much.
That’s it for this week. I’ll see you next week and I hope you have a Happy and safe Halloween.
Dan Mount is a college football and NHL writer for TJRSports.com. He is based out of Watertown, NY.