One of the biggest problems in major league baseball is that when players are suspended, they can appeal, and later drop the appeal so they miss the game(s) they want to miss. That's not discipline.
I have read dozens of analyses and opinions regarding the decision UF made to allow Channing Crowder and Jarvis Herring to serve their one-game suspensions on October 16th rather than Saturday and had to chime in with my own viewpoint. I do not question the integrity or sincerity of Ron Zook or Jeremy Foley. Nor do I question those of you who agree with them.
I just think you're all nuts.
A suspension is for the next game(s) any player is healthy and eligible for, and there are loads of reasons why.
- What if one of the players in question had a two game suspension? Would you honestly believe he should miss the Eastern Michigan game, play in the next several and then miss the game against Middle? To me that's more than a little bizarre.
- What if one or both gets hurt? Should one suffer a season-ending injury, they wouldn't be suspended at all. They would never miss a game they were healthy and eligible for, and that means no discipline.
- What if one or both were to be declared ineligible? Again, he/they could end up playing in games and never serving their suspension.
- What if they screw up again between now and then? Can't rule out the possibility that another indiscretion could occur in the weeks ahead. So if one of them were to incur a two-game suspension for off the field behavior following the Tennessee game, does he miss Kentucky and Arkansas, return for the LSU game and sit again for Middle Tennessee? What kind of sense does that make?
The bottom line is the purpose of a suspension is two-fold. First, to punish the individual(s) for inappropriate and unacceptable behavior. Second, to create a deterrent to future examples of such behavior. For a suspension to mean anything it must be immediate, and it must be truly punitive. Yes, sometimes it hurts the team, but that's the point. Peer pressure can be a very positive thing if it encourages and leads to better behavior.
I have seen the argument that if last week was Miami and instead the players missed Eastern Michigan there would be an uproar. Please! If you have a clear, stated policy with no wiggle room, there' no controversy. Therefore I have taken it upon myself to state UF's new game-suspension policy.
PROPOSED SUSPENSION POLICY
If any student-athlete's behavior in or out of the competitive arena reaches the point of inappropriateness as to necessitate a suspension from competition(s), the suspension must be served at the next competition for which the student-athlete in question is eligible and certified healthy in which to compete.
ONE QB WILL HAVE A LONG SEASON
When Chris Rix and Brock Berlin go at it tonight, the two senior quarterbacks will be under phenomenal pressure. I can't think of a similar game ever in which senior quarterbacks of national contenders square off opening day. Add in the fact that both have less than unanimous support of their fans and teammates and the losing quarterback in the Orange Bowl could be in for a long year. Sure, it's unfair, but that's the system we're in where even an opening day loss can destroy a season. I think Rix is better, I think his teammates are better, and I think FSU wins this one.
WHAT CAN GATORS GAIN FROM SATURDAY?
Obviously Eastern Michigan is an overmatched opponent. The Eagles gave up almost 400 yards and 34 points to one of the nation's worst teams in their season opening win over Buffalo. They do run the option and have a fine tailback in Anthony Sherrell and a pretty talented quarterbacks, but this one should be a total blowout.
But there are some things Florida can and should get out of this game:
- Finally hit someone else. The longest pre-season in school history will finally come to a close. That in itself is something.
- Defense will be challenged. Option teams put a strain on your tackling and discipline more than anything else. Option teams also like to take advantage of over-aggressive DB to go over the top.
- Offense should cruise, but needs to be crisp. Execution needs to be sharp to build confidence for Tennessee. O-Line needs to dominate, and meaningful playing time must be gotten for Gavin Dickey.
- Rookies get their first taste. Really looking forward to Brandon Siler and Javier Estopinan seeing some action. Hope to see Markus Manson, Mike McIntosh and Derrick Harvey.
REALITY CHECK FOR GAMECOCKS
South Carolina's win over Vandy has the Gamecock faithful all atwitter about trying to upset Georgia this weekend. I wouldn't bet on it. True, the Bulldogs struggled at times with Georgia Southern's triple option, but that doesn't amount to a hill of beans. The Dawgs are the SEC's best top-to-bottom, and I can't see Lou Holtz and company interfering with that.
By the way, have you ever noticed how the top of Williams-Bryce Stadium looks exactly like the Brontosaurus Ribs they pile on Fred Flintstone's car?
Don't forget to email me your questions and comments, but please do not include attachments! Many emails this week had them and had to be left unopened. My email address is: email@example.com .
Finally, I look forward to you joining me on the radio, Sunday nights from 6:00-to-8:00 on Gainesville's WSKY-FM 97.3 (877/975-9825 toll free)