College Sports

Warner: Texans’ Success A Distraction From Penn State Scandal

By BARRY WARNER, SportsRadio 610
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Barry Warner fires off on anything that pops into his bald head.

Barry Warner fires off on anything that pops into his bald head.

The Odd Couple
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Wonder what NFL “guru” Mike Lombardi has to say about the “soft” Texans after another double-digit, butt-kicking victory – this time against a bad Tampa Bay team, 37-9. That’s four in a row by an average victory margin of 22.5 points.

The running game was devastating, with all three running backs each scoring a rushing touchdown. Arian Foster makes another “can-you-believe-this” catch-and-run for a 78-yard score leaving a few jock straps in the turf.

Both sides of the ball were dominant.

Ho-hum Brian Cushing had eight tackles, a sack, an interception and one hit on Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman. The defense combined for four sacks as Wade Phillips once again showed why he is as good as any defensive coordinator in the NFL. At the break, his defense had a plus-13 in turnovers, with 89 points coming off them.

How good are the 7-and-3, first place Texans? We will find out during the last six games when they play the surprising Bengals and the Falcons – two playoff contenders.

Reflecting On Something Terrible

The victory took the focus off the most tragic story I’ve ever seen in semi-pro football – the Penn State child sex abuse scandal – the coaching and administrative careers, a mere sample of the lives forever ruined by pedophile coach.

Where does this rank on the scale of American tragedies? Like Watergate and the cover-up? Like the Baylor basketball murder and cover-up or the O.J. Simpson murders? Or the recent Casey Anthony trial? This is right up there with any of them, and the media coverage will not go away.

There’s one more thing the Trustees could have done. Having failed to cancel the Nebraska game, which they should have done, the money generated by the final home game of this blown-up season should be placed in escrow and distributed to the victims once what will be a torturous and bizarre legal process runs its course.

That will be a down payment for the huge hit the university will take when the civil awards start coming down. Fortunately, Pennsylvania trial and district courts are still off-limits to TV coverage. We will be spared a Casey Anthony circus, sort of.

Among the many messages resonating from the Penn State scandal, the business of big time college sports may be too far out of control to be reined in. At what price is football KING of the campus? Another is that coaches, who win enough games, become far too powerful for their own good. The 84-year-old Joe Paterno should have retired at least 10 years ago, but he had so much clout the school couldn’t coax him into leaving.

Small town –> cult-like mentality.

Ultimately, to protect the Penn State brand and the millions of dollars being brought in because of Paterno’s football program, it appears people who knew better looked the other way and allowed a disgusting cover-up to continue for years. Rest assured there are other scandals waiting to happen, because it’s become so inordinately important to a school’s financial bottom line to win lots of football games and get mega TV exposure.

Friday night, the Odd Couple phone lines did not stop. KPRC-TV Legal Analyst Brian Wice spent a couple of segments giving the audience the legal overview. After he left, my radio partner Shaun Bijani and this old-schooler got into a rather heated debate.

I felt the Saturday game at Happy Valley should have been cancelled or moved to a neutral site. A message should have been sent.

Texts blew up as Bijani’s face got redder.

After the 17-14 Cornhuskers victory against Penn State, my position was further validated by Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini.

“The game should not have been played.” Pelini said after the game. “The fact is kids were hurt. That’s a lot bigger than football, the NCAA or the Big Ten. I think it’s all about the young kids and educating them.”

I made those words big and bold so Shaun would have no trouble reading it.

It won’t matter to the kid, who is ejoying a Cougar high with his nationally-ranked alma mater hosting SMU this Saturday.

UH Going National 

ESPN will have their College GameDay show broadcast from the pathetic Robertson Stadium prior to the contest. I no doubt Coog fans will be calling and texting about quarterback Case Keenum to win the Heisman after Stanford’s 17-game win streak ended during their loss to Oregon on Saturday. It was a disastrous result for Stanford (9-1, 7-1) as the Cardinal topple from the national title discussion.

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck – the presumed No. 1 pick in next year’s NFL draft – struggled against the speedy Ducks defense, passing for 271 yards and three touchdowns but also throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble.

For most of the game, Luck looked uncomfortable in the pocket. That might have been due in part to playing without his best tight end Zach Ertz (knee), as well as to the pressure Oregon’s defensive line was able to put on him. Luck was sacked three times Saturday, which is one fewer than Stanford had allowed all season.

Most of the state’s other CBS affiliates, who have a choice, have opted for the Cowboys hammer my hometown Buffalo Bills. According to the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron, only stations carrying the Texans are in Houston, Beaumont, College Station and Victoria

Missouri and its head coach, Gary Pinkel, had to take extra satisfaction in Saturday’s 17-5 thumping of the Texas Longhorns. Pinkel was one of the first Big 12 coaches to squawk about the Longhorn Network and to blow the whistle on plans to air high school games on it. More than anybody, Texas is why Missouri wound up leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference, a move I still think will be a long-term mistake. But the Tigers at least have the last laugh on the Longhorns, having not only beaten them but keeping them out of the end zone for the first time in eight years. Trouble is, defeating Texas is not that big a deal any more. They are as mediocre as mediocre gets.

– chirp–

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