Pinkett's blunder teaches valuable NCAA lesson


Pinkett's blunder teaches valuable NCAA lesson

Lets hope that Allen Pinkett doesnt have a fondness for Guinness or a liking for the Temple Bar because he wont be in Dublin, Ireland this weekend. Hes been sent home from Notre Dames opener against Navy on the Emerald Isle for not being sensitive to both his employer (and alma mater) and to the world at large.

As you probably know by now, Pinkett -- a commentator for the Fighting Irish radio broadcasts -- said some really stupid things about college football.

He said a criminal element is a nice thing to have. He sounded excited that coach Brian Kelly had to suspend several players for the early part of the season.

"I've always felt like to have a successful team you've got to have a few bad citizens on the team," Pinkett said in a radio interview. "That's how Ohio State used to win all the time. They would have two or three guys that were criminals and that just adds to the chemistry of the team. I think Notre Dame is growing because maybe they have some guys that are doing something worthy of a suspension, which creates edge on the football team.

"You can't have a football team full of choirboys. You get your butt kicked if you've got a team full of choirboys, so you've got to have a little bit of edge. But the coach has to be the dictator and the ultimate ruler. Here's my opinion: You don't hand out suspensions unless you know you've got somebody behind that guy that can make plays."

In case anyone was thinking that Pinkett might have misspoke -- as so many in the media profess to do these days -- he, when given a chance to back off his comments, stuck by his dumb words.

"I absolutely meant that he said. "The chemistry is so important on a football team. You have to have a couple of bad guys that sort of teeter on that edge to add to the flavor of the guys that are going to always do right because that just adds to the chemistry of the football team. You have to have ... you look at the teams that have won in the past, they have always had a couple of criminals."

Aside from the sheer stupidity of saying such a thing when youre employed by a Catholic university that puts up a very strong front that it is above the pond scum of college football, Pinkett committed two other sins. The first was being tone deaf in a climate of increased scrutiny of everything in his profession. The second was lacking the simple power of observation, which is kind of key for an analyst.

Celebrating the criminal element in college football is -- to say the least -- distasteful in an era when teams have vacated entire seasons and championships for cheating and former coordinators are led away in handcuffs after the most horrifying crime imaginable. Clearly Pinkett wasnt thinking about Penn State, but he should have been because it is the dark criminal cloud over everything in college football and will remain so for a while. But even glorifying the mundane sins of Buckeyes selling jerseys for tattoos is ridiculous.

But Pinkett may have just lost his job as insightful analyst because he hasnt really been paying attention. For the past three years, Notre Dame has lost to Stanford, a program whose marching band is suspended more often than any members of its roster. Notre Dame will insist that super nerd (and noted non-criminal) Andrew Luck was the reason behind the three consecutive defeats -- the most in the rivalrys history. But the rest of the non-criminal element for the Cardinal did a pretty good job of kicking the Irish tail.

And, lets be honest, Notre Dame tries to have more in common with Stanford than it does with Ohio State.

What Pinkett said has a kernel of truth: you cant have a great football team with a roster of choirboys. You need nastiness and grit and diversity and a little anger. Do you really need crime?

Not unless your definition of crime is an over-the-top, poorly dressed trombone player.

Cal’s Sonny Dykes: Quick turnaround ‘not ideal’ for Bears


Cal’s Sonny Dykes: Quick turnaround ‘not ideal’ for Bears

BERKELEY  — Two days before California plays its second game in less than a week against a well-rested USC team, coach Sonny Dykes was still trying to figure out why the Golden Bears were put in this position.

The quick turnaround and short week following Friday's double-overtime win against Oregon forced Cal to condense its normal schedule, something that wouldn't bother Dykes so much if there weren't so many other factors involved.

The Bears already had to trim a day off their regular routine because Thursday night's game is on the road. On top of that, several Cal players are in the middle of midterm exams, reducing their availability for practice even more.

It's a topic that Dykes has been simmering over for a few weeks now and one he wasn't ready to back off of Tuesday.

"When you sit down and look at the schedule, clearly it's not ideal," Dykes said "It's one of those deals where you just go, 'How in the world did this ever happen? How could somebody let this happen?'"

Cal (4-3, 2-2 Pac-12) was coming off a 12-day break when it beat Oregon in Berkeley on Friday night in a game that lasted nearly 4 ½ hours and didn't end until almost midnight local time. The Bears ran 118 plays offensively against the Ducks, which Dykes said was the equivalent of playing two games.

On the other hand, USC (4-3, 3-2) hasn't played since thumping Arizona 48-14 on Oct. 15.

While some team would have had to play the Trojans coming off a bye, Dykes can't understand why the Bears were selected to do it on short rest — and on the road.

"We've had to make a lot of schedule changes and do a lot of different things out of the norm," Dykes said. "It's one thing to do it on six days' notice. It's another to do it on the road. But our guys have handled it well."

The Bears shortened their work week to try to get everything in.

Players were given Saturday off but were back on the field Sunday afternoon. Cal practiced on its normal day off, Monday, but several players were unable to attend due to academic responsibilities.

"The challenge you always face is making sure that you balance keeping them fresh with getting enough reps and developing your young players," Dykes said. "Just teaching them all the things you need to teach them about your opponent in a limited amount of time. We've got to balance getting some work done but at the same time making sure we're fresh."

Cal's players don't seem bothered by the quick turnaround.

Defensive back Cameron Walker and left tackle Aaron Cochran said the short week means more emphasis on studying USC and doing extra film work.

Quarterback Davis Webb, on the other hand, doesn't think it will be much of an issue at all.

"It's a challenge but I think it's a mindset at the same time," Webb said. "We understand that's how the schedule rolled for us this year and there are no excuses. We have to play a tough team on Thursday night and we look forward to the challenge. If you don't know the game plan and what they're going to do by Thursday then you're in trouble."

Chryst to make his first career start for Stanford


Chryst to make his first career start for Stanford

STANFORD  — Stanford junior Keller Chryst will make his first collegiate start at quarterback at Arizona on Saturday, coach David Shaw said Tuesday.

He'll replace senior Ryan Burns, who went 4-3 (2-3 Pac-12) in his seven starts. Burns completed nearly 63 percent of his passes for 1,058 yards and five touchdowns. He's also thrown seven interceptions.

"I hate to get to this point," Shaw said. "But it's the best thing for this offense. We need more production at that position. It's our challenge to support Keller."

Burns led the Cardinal to wins over Kansas State, Southern California and UCLA to open the season but has struggled ever since, averaging 11 points in Stanford's last four games, punctuated by Saturday's 10-5 loss to Colorado.

"It can't just be about the quarterback," Shaw said. "We need to help Keller be more effective. We need to be able to score points with this personnel."

Chryst, the son of former 49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst, has appeared in 10 games over the past two years, throwing for 122 yards on 12-of-27 passing. He's thrown for one touchdown and one interception.

"I've been working with both all year and they're both great people," Cardinal receiver Trent Irwin said. "Sometimes you just need a change. We'll see where it goes and have fun with it."

Stanford ranks last in the Pac-12 in scoring (17.0) and total offense (299.1). The offense has scored just 10 touchdowns all year, fewer than Washington's John Ross and Arizona State's Kalen Ballage, the conference co-leaders with 11 touchdowns.

"Both quarterbacks are good," Stanford safety Zach Hoffpauir said. "Maybe it does stimulate the offense a little bit."

NOTES: CB Elijah Holder will miss the rest of the season due to an unspecified injury. ... OL David Bright and Johnny Caspers are questionable. ... FB Daniel Marx is out