1. Let’s say, as the NCAA and Texas A&M did Wednesday, that Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel didn’t take any money to sign his name for people who he knew would profit from his autographs. And let’s say, as ESPN reported several weeks ago, that Manziel signed more than 4,400 items at several signings. Here’s the question that has gone unanswered: why did he sign them all? You can’t blame the NCAA for applying the half-game suspension. It has no evidence that he took money. But there’s no evidence that the NCAA applied common sense, either.
2. Bumped into former Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden in the Atlanta airport Wednesday evening. He said Virginia Tech’s chance to upset No. 1 Alabama will depend on whether Logan Thomas can make something happen with his arm. “That’s what Nick Saban does,” Bowden said. “He’s not going to let you run. That’s what they did to us.” In the inaugural Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic five years ago, the Crimson Tide limited the Tigers to 188 total yards -- zero rushing -- in a 34-10 “upset.” That’s right: Alabama, coming off a 7-6 season, began 2008 ranked No. 24. Clemson was No. 9.
3. So the conservative Big Ten will allow unlimited replays on its stadium video boards this season. So the fuddy-duddy Big Ten sees an issue bigger than respect for on-field authority. That issue is empty seats. The game-day experience of $35 parking and $4 soft drinks is losing its appeal when compared to a 50-inch big-screen (with unlimited replays) in a climate-controlled home. The marketplace trumps concern for the officials. It’s a smart decision. The officials will be fine.