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The NCAA will not be paying college football players any time soon. That said, NCAA president Mark Emmert is open to the idea of players bypassing college football altogether on their way to the pros. "If you are a ballerina, or a ballet dancer, you don't go to college," Emmert says. "You go straight to a ballet troupe. But you don't have to make this artificial juncture. Go dance."
Emmert seems to believe that the size of the college football stage renders the pay-for-play concept unnecessary. "The reality is, they are playing in front of 100,000 people. And so it would seem the exploitation is they have a big audience watching them. So I suppose if they played in front of just 5,000 people they wouldn't be exploited."
So the solution seems to be two-fold: college football players should take up ballet or play in smaller stadiums.
We just discovered Coaches Hot Seat Ranking and we're fans. (And by hot seat, we mean the safe-for-work term referring to coaches at risk of losing their jobs due to losing records, underwhelming expectations, NCAA violations or just plain idiocy.) So we've decided to start our own little Coaches Death Watch. This week's top three:
* Bo Pelini. Someone has it in for Bo. A 2011 video of Pelini just surfaced in which the coach sounds off on Husker Nation: "Our crowd. What a bunch of [f-bomb] fair-weather [f-bomb] - they can all kiss my ass out the [f-bomb] door. 'Cause the day is [f-bomb] coming now. We'll see what they can do when I'm [f-bomb] gone. I'm so [f-bomb] pissed off." (Deadspin has the audio.)
In Pelini's defense, half the crowd in Lincoln that day bailed at halftime assuming the 'Huskers, trailing by three touchdowns to Ohio State, were toast. But Pelini rallied the troops to win a dramatic comeback victory. Still, that is a lot of f-bombs.
The controversy has left Pelini in an awkward situation, forcing him to apologize to fans for an incident two years ago. Further stirring the pot, former Nebraska star QB Tommy Frazier criticized Pelini via Twitter ("losing is just not what #Nebraska fans deserve") following a 41-21 loss at home to #16 UCLA.
Nebraska won't punish Pelini but someone seems fed up with his strong, but not stellar, 51-21 record in his six seasons at the program.
* Charlie Weis. Charlie's ass must be feeling the heat after a 1-11 debut campaign as the boss man at Kansas and a 1-1 this season so far, including a loss last week to the Rice Owls. Rice isn't bad, but Kansas stinks.
* Mack Brown. A year removed from a lackluster 9-4 record and having limped (1-2) into 2013, Brown is starting to feel the heat from Texas Longhorns fans.
Brown has carried the 'Horns to four BCS games, including the national championship in 2005, but has yet to return since a loss (37-21) to Alabama in the 2009 title game.
Despite a lustrous career record with the school (151-45), the clock may be ticking. Ending the prior year at the fringes of the Top 25 (#19) and beginning the following season with back-to-back losses to the likes of BYU and a 44-23 to the Ole Miss (#25), is a good way to crank up the rumor mill about your replacement.
Speaking of which, the AP reported on Tuesday that Nick Saban's agent fielded a call from former UT regent Tom Hicks in January, a few days following the (third) win by Saban's Crimson Tide in the BCS National Championship. Shortly after, "Hicks asked UT coach Mack Brown if he was ready to retire."
We imagine that was nothing more than a polite inquiry. A passing inquiry over dinner, perhaps. We can't imagine Hicks was thinking of Brown's contract that, while it runs to 2020, can be bought out by UT for $2.75 million if he's fired in 2013. Maybe that flitted through Hicks' mind while he wrestled over his order at the Driskill Grill, an Austin institution since 1886. The 12-ounce Aged Prime Rib-eye for $36? Or maybe this has-been's contract for $2.75 million?
The Hawkeyes may have made off with the hardware on Saturday, but somebody made off with their swag in return.
Nine Iowa players returned to the visitors' locker room after a hard-fought 27-21 victory over Iowa State to discover their cell phones and cash had been stolen. Iowa had just bested the Cyclones for the first time since 2010 to reclaim the Cy-Hawk trophy.
The longstanding rivals - the two teams first played in 1898 - have been battling over the Cy-Hawk since 1976. The trophy has stirred its share of controversy over the years as well. The current model only dates to late 2012, and replaced a short-lived revision to the original. The Iowa Corn Growers Association donated a new model in 2011 - featuring a good ol' fashion (white, presumably) family of four surrounding a bushel of Iowa corn - that was met with widespread ridicule. We envision yet another version for 2014 and beyond, adding a small detail: rather than the traditional stiff-arm pose of the running back topping the trophy, the player will have a bag of loot slung over his shoulder.
In (somewhat) related news, someone has sheared the tails from more than a dozen horses in Natrona County, Wyoming, in recent months. No word yet on any involvement from the visiting Idaho Vandals, or the Northern Colorado Bears, both of whom suffered thumpings (42-10, 35-7) to the host Cowboys. Our money is on the Vandals.
By the way, Wyoming equines are at great risk of tail-purloining: more than 100 reports were filed last year, and during a short stretch in the summer of 2012, 62 horses had their tails and/or manes cut off.
Why would anyone do this, you ask?
"There's a market for this stuff," South Dakota rancher T.J. Aisenbrey told the Rapid City Journal, upon announcing a $2,000 award for any information on the theft of the mane and tail from his horse Sundance.
Our Picks For Week Four:
Boise State (+4) vs. Fresno State
North Carolina (+6.5) vs. Georgia Tech
San Jose State (+3.5) vs. Minnesota
North Texas vs. #9 Georgia (-33)
Michigan State vs. #22 Notre Dame (Under 42)
Maine at #18 Northwestern (-28)
Mike Luce is our man on campus. He welcomes your comments.