Around College Football: June 11th

By Chris Hengst

Kevin Plank, Under Armour CEO, plays a role at Maryland similar to that of Nike czar Phil Knight at Oregon. Namely, he speaks and the athletic department makes sure his wishes occur. Or his clothes are worn. Plank owns a line that is steadily breaking into college athletics so I’m sure he’s an intelligent person. Asking his fan base to be patient with Terrapins head coach Randy Edsall would be more in line with an executive of L.A. Gear. They aren’t going bankrupt in College Park but the aftermath of firing Ralph Friedgen couldn’t have gone worse. Maryland posted a 2-10 record in Edsall’s debut season, more than 20 players transferred and with the anticipation of Mike Leach‘s inaugural year at Washington State, 2012 figures to offer a hefty kick to the groin. Plank wanted Leach at Maryland. He had a prior relationship with him through Texas Tech’s uniform sponsorship and appeared to pursue the offensive savant in the winter of 2011. But for whatever reason, Leach’s interview, his legal baggage or his quirkiness, the Terrapins decided on the buttoned-up head coach at Connecticut. No one expects Maryland to compete for gridiron conference titles on an annual basis. Avoiding dumpster fire debuts and the hilarity of a “vote of confidence” after one season isn’t an unreachable goal.

It’s mid-June, so we’re struggling a bit for storylines but West Virginia may introduce a gray version of their football uniform this fall. If that provokes a drink out of you in anger or happiness, Dana Holgorsen approves. Committed to their primary colors of white, blue and gold recently, the move to the Big 12, an outgoing Big East championship and athletic director Oliver Luck‘s insistence to weigh in on everything realignment-related seems to have given the Mountaineers a set of big boy pants. With senior Geno Smith, a pre-season Heisman candidate under center, West Virginia figures to present an intriguing offensive challenge in their first Big 12 foray. But while that squad scored seventy points on the Clemson Tigers in 2011, it also lost to Syracuse. Part of me wonders whether the depth is there for the Mountaineers to make a serious run at the Big 12 crown or whether the grind of replacing Louisville and South Florida with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State catches up in a hurry.

The Jerry Sandusky trial began today and I have to admit a wrong here because I never thought it would get this far. But as there will always be criminals in this country, so too are there incompetent lawyers. Joe Amendola, the former Penn State defensive coordinator’s counsel, allowed the prosecution’s first witness to maul him on cross-examination. The witness, a 13 year-old at the time of his abuse and now 28, recounted multiple, graphic instances of sexual assault in Nittany Lions showers. He explained his lack of a paternal role model, his reliance on the gifts Sandusky provided and the general creepiness of an adult man treating an adolescent boy like a scorned lover when the latter pulled away. Worse, Amendola remarked in his opening statement that he plans to allow Sandusky to testify on his own behalf. From the jury selection to the first day of trial, this has been a whirlwind of “are you serious” moments. It doesn’t appear any of that will stop and the only guarantee is that Jerry Sandusky dug a deeper hole for himself than I thought possible.

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