By Steve Silverman-
(CBS) I have covered college football in one form or another for the past 25 years.
I look at the AP Top 25 and I see USC at No. 1, Alabama at No. 2, LSU at No. 3 followed by Oklahoma and Oregon.
It should be interesting because USC has taken the SEC’s pre-ordained No. 1 spot.
But it is not. College football is no longer about excitement, innovation and memorable plays.
It is a hollow shell of what it once was.
I always understood that coaches would do anything they could to win games, including push failing students through or overlooking the $100 handshakes that had become $1,000 handshakes as the years went by.
I understood and didn’t care.
That may speak more to my lack of moral turpitude than anything else.
But the Penn State atrocity has changed all that.
This school should not be playing football this year. There are too many problems on PSU campus to worry about playing this sport any more.
The students and coaches should not be worrying about what has been taken from them. They should not be concerning themselves with Joe Paterno’s legacy. They needn’t be concerned about victories that were removed from the record book.
What they should be concerned about is a school that allowed a monster like Jerry Sandusky to prey on young, defenseless boys for years and years.
The lack of institutional control was detailed in the Louis Freeh report, but this problem has not been alleviated yet.
Sandusky may be in jail, Paterno may be dead and Graham Spanier may be out of a job, but getting rid of the vermin doesn’t mean that a better system has automatically been instituted.
It just means that those who caused and allowed the problem to grow to epic proportion are gone.
I don’t want to see Bill O’Brien lead Penn State out of the tunnel in Creepy Valley so the Nittany Lions can play football. It’s just too raw and too sickening.
It’s not just about Penn State taking the time to clean up its entire cess pool, either.
It’s about college football’s most visible leaders having the courage to take a stand about what happened at Penn State.
It’s about college football’s head coaches saying that what happened at Penn State was disgusting and criminal and so far beyond the line that the previously holy figure of Paterno should not be protected.
But nobody wants to say a thing.
The best current coach is most likely Alabama’s Nick Saban. He is coming off his second national championship season with the Crimson Tide and he also had a championship season with LSU. Before that, he was the best coach Michigan State had in the last 40 years. He also failed miserably with the Miami Dolphins in the NFL.
He is college football’s top coaching dog. Where is his condemnation of what happened at Penn State? Why won’t he criticize what happened under Paterno? Where is his statement that winning championships doesn’t compare to protecting children from nightmarish monsters?
Kirk Ferentz, where are you? Les Miles, don’t you have something to say? Bob Stoops, you’re not shy. Speak up about something that matters. Urban Meyer, are you going to continue the silence?
The only coach who came close to saying anything was Nebraska’s Bo Pelini, who said he felt uncomfortable playing at Penn State right after the scandal hit last season.
No other coach has felt the need to take on Penn State and their once-legendary coach.
The sport’s so-called leaders seem unconcerned because it didn’t happen on their campuses.
But they need to reassure the rest of society that it’s not just about money and acquiring power. Until they do that, the sport of college football remains under suspicion.
The pageantry of college football has become putrid.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman was with Pro Football Weekly for 10 years and his byline has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Playboy, NFL.com and The Sporting News. He is the author of four books, including Who’s Better, Who’s Best in Football — The Top 60 Players of All-Time. Follow him on Twitter (@profootballboy) and read more of his CBS Chicago columns here.