Tuesday Teabag, March 17, 2015 – Syracuse University

“S” is for Sanctions.

First, happy St. Patrick’s Day!  If there are any typos, it’s not because The Machine’s been drinking since noon.  Second, happy March Madness!  Still studying your bracket to find your upset special (you better pick at least two 12/5 upsets).  While you’re focusing on the teams that are in the tourney, our Tuesday Teabag focuses on one that’s not.

By now you’re well aware of the sanctions the NCAA imposed on Syracuse athletics.  It’s surprising/sad that the football team was involved too.  FYI, if you’re going to cheat, you better at least be good.  And no, winning the Pinstripe Bowl does not count.

Anyway, just recently the NCAA laid the hammer on the Orange.  Jim Boeheim was suspended for 9 games next season (pretty sure he wish that would’ve started sooner so he didn’t have to witness the beatdown against NC State), took away 12 scholarships, and vacated 108 wins, going back to 2004.  Shit, even Otto got banned from the mascot game.  Boom.  Just like that, Boeheim drops from the 2nd winningest Division I Men’s Basketball Coach to the 6th (and Bobby Knight beats him again, this time without Keith Smart).

Otto got hosed!

Otto got hosed!

Boeheim’s no stranger to The Machine.  Last year, we gave him a Teabag when his temper tantrum cost SU the game against Duke.  This time, his actions (or non-actions) have cost him even more.  Suspension, an unprecedented amount of wins vacated, and loss of scholarships affecting kids who weren’t even at the school.  Sounds pretty harsh, right?  Well, The Machine says bullshit.  Syracuse fans should be lucky the NCAA allowed them to keep its 2003 National Title.

Sorry, but we’re not buying your lame excuses.  When your best defense is “everyone else is doing it” you’re shit out of luck.  That didn’t work when your parents busted you for smoking, that didn’t work with your high school girlfriend, and it sure as hell doesn’t work here.  [cue Mom or prude high school girlfriend voice]:  “I don’t care if everyone does it, that doesn’t mean it’s right.”  Now shudder that those two voices are similar.

Look, if you told me that 95% of Division I schools violate the rules, I’d say you’re missing a few.  There’s a reason why no current coaches are slamming Boeheim…because they know if the light’s shined on their school they’re screwed.  But that doesn’t mean there are no consequences for getting caught.  In all facets of life where competition is a driving force, people are going to bend break the rules to gain a competitive edge.  Am I right, New England Patriots?

An equally dumb argument is that Boeheim didn’t know what was going on.  Are you kidding me?  Does Boeheim look like the kind of guy that has a loose, laissez faire approach to life?  Sorry, not buying it.  Coaches, by nature, are control freaks.  College coaches even more so, as they’re trying to mold teenagers into professional student athletes.  These guys know every detail of these kids’ lives before they arrive on campus.  They send scouts out all over the country to watch high school games, and spend countless hours recruiting players and convincing their families they should play at their school.  You think that switch turns off once they get to college?

Perhaps the dumbest argument is the one put forth by Dick Vitale.  Dickie V gave an impassioned ridiculous defense of Boeheim, saying he was guilty of one thing:  trust.  Yeah, Boeheim unknowingly hired a bunch of evil doers.  [cue Dickie V voice:]  Come on!  Are you serious?

You have the Director of Basketball Operations (and others) accessing player’s email accounts, pretending to be the players and corresponding directly with professors and turning in assignments on behalf of players.  Then you have Fab Melo.  You know, your star player who can barely speak English.  Don’t you think Boeheim ever thought, “gee, I wonder if Fab’s inability to speak English is hampering his academic success.”  You need to read this Deadspin article to truly appreciate the clusterfuck that went on with Fab.

There’s no way he doesn’t know something’s up.  Giving him the biggest benefit of the doubt, Boeheim is at best willfully ignorant.  But again, that’s no excuse.  You’re the head coach.  The buck stops with you.  Plausible deniability is no defense.

Wait, my players don't go to class, receive improper benefits, and have their papers written for them?  Noooo...

Wait, my players don’t go to class, receive improper benefits, and have their papers written for them? Noooo…

Also, did anyone else find it a little disingenuous that Syracuse issued its self-imposed ban on postseason play during a year when their team sucked?  They didn’t need any ban on postseason play this year because they were never getting into the NCAA tourney.  Can you be more transparent and self-serving?  Syracuse waited for the most opportune time to self-impose its penalty, so it would do the least amount of damage.  And, for the most part, it worked.

Were the penalties a little harsh?  Maybe, but guess what?  They should be.  It’s called deterrence, and sending a message.  Taking away wins from coaches, tarnishing their legacy, hits them right where they feel it most, their ego.  And you need to have penalties that extend into the future (e.g. loss of scholarships).  The penalties must be severe enough so that’s it’s not worth the risk of cheating.  Even then, teams will still do it.  But if all teams were faced with are backward looking fines and penalties, that’s not enough.  And that’s why The Machine thinks maybe the penalties for Syracuse weren’t so bad after all.

The only things affecting next year are Boeheim missing the first 9 fluff games of the season (pretty sure the Cuse can handle Colgate without Jim at the helm) and the loss of scholarships.  [Edit:  the suspension is for the first 9 conference games, so Jim will be on the bench against the Raiders]. That stings, for sure, but the 12 scholarship losses are phased out over 4 years.  It’s certainly not the “death penalty” that Syracuse fans are now calling on other schools to receive.  Importantly, SU is not banned from next year’s postseason, which is key.  Syracuse has one of the best recruiting classes in the country next year, so keeping their postseason eligibility was an absolute must in order to avoid any defections.

And that’s why no one should cry foul about the NCAA sanctions.  Be thankful they stopped where they did.  Did they take away too many games from Boeheim?  Probably.  But that won’t matter when SU’s in the Final Four next year.

Enjoy your teabag.

Grading the Draft: The three year look back of the 2012 Draft

Yes.  Finally.  You may say offseason, but The Machine says Draft Season.  You may also be wondering:  Why hasn’t The Machine put up a mock draft yet?  Are we lazy (no way [grabs another beer]).  Did we lose our love for the Draft (not a chance).  Then what is it?  Well, we respect the Draft so much that putting up a mock draft before free agency starts is moronic.  Like, really dumb.  Like, is the dress blue or white dumb (who gives a shit)?

Sorry, mock drafts before free agency are pointless.  And we openly judge any mock draft before the combine.  Teams fill their needs through free agency first, then the draft.  Query:  is anyone going to be mocking a WR to the Jets anymore?  Exactly.

But what, then, can we do with our time?  Great question.  Maybe we can watch some spring training [laughs hysterically].  Well, while you wait for The Machine to put up its first mock and details for The Machine’s Draft Party, sit back and , it’s not too early to analyze a prior draft.

Given all the preparation, analysis, and studying that teams do, you’d think that drafting (at least in the first round) would be a slam dunk.  But, as The Machine will show you, that’s not exactly the case.

Drafts, like that fine box of white zin you have in your fridge, take time to mature.  A good rule of thumb is it takes three years to give a true analysis of a draft.  Instant analysis of a draft is dumb.  Like, really dumb.  Case in point:  3 years out, it’s unquestionable that the Seahawks had the best draft, drafting Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagoner, and Russell Wilson with their first 3 picks.  However, the instant analysis of the 2012 Draft was harsh.  Kiper gave them a C-, Pete Prisco graded the Wilson pick a D (I mean, they had Matt Flynn, what were they thinking?), and SB Nation gave them an F.

With that said, let’s take a look at the 2012 and see how the experts did.

The Colts got it right, but very few others did.

The Colts got it right, but very few others did.

Round 1 Team Pick Position
1 Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck QB
2 Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III QB
3 Cleveland Browns Trent Richardson RB
4 Minnesota Vikings Matt Kalil OL
5 Jacksonville Jaguars Justin Blackmon WR
6 Dallas Cowboys Morris Claiborne CB
7 Tampa Bay Mark Barron CB
8 Miami Dolphins Ryan Tannehille QB
9 Carolina Panthers Luke Kuechly LB
10 Buffalo Bills Stephon Gilmore CB

First, wow.  Ok, Luck’s legit and Kuechly’s a stud, but what about the rest?  Blackmon’s not even in the NFL anymore (so much for those background checks) and Trent Richardson just joined him on the unemployed line.  RGIII?  The Cowboys traded up to grab Claiborne, and he’s been a huge disappointment.

What about the rest of the first round?  Glad you asked.

Round 1 Team Pick Position
11 Kansas City Dontarie Poe DL
12 Philadelphia Eagles Fletcher Cox DL
13 Arizona Cardinals Michael Floyd WR
14 St. Louis Rams Michael Brockers DL
15 Seattle Seahawks Bruce Irvin DE
16 New York Jets Quinton Coples DE
17 Cincinnati Bengal Dre Kirkpatrick CB
18 San Diego Chargers Melvin Ingram LB
19 Chicago Bears Shea McClellin DE
20 Tennessee Titans Kendall Wright WR
21 New England Patriots Chandler Jones DE
22 Cleveland Browns Brandon Weeden QB
23 Detroit Lions Riley Reiff OL
24 Pittsburgh Steelers David DeCastro OL
25 New England Patriots Dont’a Hightower LB
26 Houston Texans Whitney Mercilus LB
27 Cincinnati Bengals Kevin Zeitler OL
28 Green Bay Packers Nick Perry LB
29 Minnesota Vikings Harrison Smith CB
30 San Francisco 49ers A.J. Jenkins WR
31 Tampa Bay Bucs Doug Martin RB
32 New York Giants David Wilson RB

The rest of the first round isn’t that pretty.  Brandon Weeden just turned 60, and he’s a career backup qb, David Wilson’s already retired, and several other players haven’t made much of an impact.  Number of pro bowlers from the first round?  6.  That’s it.

Well, at least they had that moment.

Ever wonder why the Browns always suck?  It starts with inept management.

Upon review, the 2012 Draft sucked.  For all the scouting and sleepless nights in the war room, a lot of teams (cough, Cleveland Browns, cough) got it wrong.  The Machine grades the first round a D.  The best player (Russell Wilson) wasn’t drafted until the third round.  And despite 4 receivers drafted in the first round, the best one (Alshon Jeffrey) was drafted in the second round.

Ok, back to this draft.  Now that free agency has started, our mock drafts will be coming fast and often, all leading up to the greatest non-sporting night of the year.  Check back soon to find out your team will draft.