Jim McBride surveys four items of interest on the college football landscape this weekend:
Food for thought
Who’s up for an Irish breakfast? And we’re not talking about the spread Mr. Dooley’s puts out in the financial district. (Trust us, the blood pudding is not a dessert.) We’re talking Irish football as in Notre Dame vs. Navy in the Emerald Isle Classic live from Dublin at 9 a.m. Saturday. Well, this one may not be a classic (neither the Irish nor Midshipmen are expected to be world-beaters) but what else are you going to watch at 9 a.m.? Reruns of “Flip This House” on A&E? Warning to ND fans over the age of 13: You’re going to loathe the new uniforms.
Speaking of Notre Dame, former Irish running back Allen Pinkett was back in the news this week — for all the wrong reasons. If you’ve heard Pinkett on ND radio broadcasts the last few years, then you’re accustomed to his less-than-salient observations during games, but he outdid himself this time. Speaking on the recent suspensions of Irish players, Pinkett told a Chicago radio station, “I’ve always felt like to have a successful team you’ve got to have a few bad citizens on the team. That’s how Ohio State won all the time. They would have two or three guys that were criminals . . . I don’t want any mass murderers or rapists.’’ Thanks for clarifying that, Allen. Pinkett has been pulled from Saturday’s broadcast.
The Southern Cal-UCLA rivalry hasn’t been very competitive for some time (the Trojans have won five straight), but if recent events are any indication, things could get heated pretty fast. Earlier this month, new Bruins coach Jim Mora Jr. made one of his pitches to recruits on the safety of the UCLA campus, saying, “We don’t have murders a block from our campus.’’ It was a shot at USC, where two students were murdered near campus in April. This week, a USC billboard featuring QB Matt Barkley was strategically placed near the UCLA campus. It was covered up a day later, and neither school said it had anything to do with it.
It’s sure to be an emotional day in State College, Pa., where the Nittany Lions play Ohio in the first game since former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, leading to unprecedented sanctions against the school and the football program. School officials, surely sensitive about anything connected to the football program, have decided to stop playing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” during games. The Altoona Mirror reported that some officials expressed concern over the lyrics, which include “touchin’ me, touchin’ you.” Penn State has denied that report, saying the song has just run its course. Let’s hope that’s the reason.