NCAA Week 1: Sportsmanship and Upsets

College football is without a doubt my favorite sport. Amazing athletes playing for the love of the game is very rare in this day and age. This weekend “kicked off” the college season so to speak and it did not disappoint. Matt Barkley at USC proved that being the first ever true freshman to start for the trojans was not a fluke, Oregon and Boise State had drama after the game, and Oklahoma was SHOCKED by BYU. The biggest story however might be the injury to Heisman hopeful Sam Bradford.

Following his Heisman winning season last year as the second sophomore ever to win the trophy (Tim Tebow was the first just a year before), this year had high hopes for both Bradford and the Oklahoma Sooners. The team was ranked #3 in the nation before the start of their game on Saturday against BYU, who was ranked #20. In the 2nd quarter, Bradford was hit by linebacker Coleby Clawson and suffered what has been classified either a grade 2 or grade 3 sprain. These injuries can take from 2-6 weeks to rehab as a #2 sprain and a grade #3 would mean surgery. What does this mean for the Sooners? If the second half of the game is any indication…migraines. This doesn’t mean that they won’t finish in the top 15, and quite frankly, they would probably win the ACC with ease…but the hopes were so high in Norman that these consolation prizes probably wouldn’t ease the pain.

Before this all happened, the big story was the after game tussle between Oregon and Boise State. Following the game, one of the Boise State players touched and apparently said something offending to Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount whose night was already ruined by a terrible offensive performance by the Ducks (Blount running 8 times for -5 yards). After punching the player, Blount went after some fans in the stands as well; I am guessing he was going to get his money’s worth. Following the event, Blount was suspended for the remainder of the season by Oregon Coach Chip Kelly…The ironic part of this all is that it was national sportsmanship week for all NCAA games and Blount himself was part of the pregame handshakes to start the weekend off right.

I don’t think it inspired.

Should the NCAA demand handshakes before the games? Does this really inspire sportsmanship amongst these schools and players? Is it okay that some teams (Oklahoma State and Georgia) decided that they shouldn’t shake hands due to fear of a fight from their players?

I am not going to give too much of an opinion but if a coach can’t control his players from a pregame handshake, maybe new coaches should be on the menu. A coach should inspire and teach…and if a player can’t shake hands without getting into a fight, maybe they shouldn’t be on the field.

…end rant

To the upcoming weekends…get well Bradford, nobody, including Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma State fans want you hurt. Shake hands, respect the game, and walk off the field after you are embarassed on national television. Most importantly though, Oklahoma, you could always be winning the ACC.

For the upcoming season, pick up your NCAA flags and go all out with a tailgating flagpole to rep your favorite team!

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