Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Urban Meyer: covering the spread for wealthy boosters

By Rick Morris

Some coaches dream of glory. Urban Meyer apparently dreams of covering the spread and being a jerk – in what order, I’m not certain.

The same classless guy who couldn’t stop whining about lack of respect from the media even after his team massacred Ohio State for the 2006 national title was at it again over the weekend, having his team effort mightily in the last few minutes of the game against Miami to get a field goal to cover a three-touchdown spread.

Although telecast nationally on ESPN on Saturday night (a testament to what a lackluster college football Saturday it was), Meyer’s shameful performance at the end of the game has escaped the amount of attention it deserved. I myself wouldn’t have known about this had not fellow FDH Lounge Dignitary Nate Noy called to tell me about it. Predictably, Meyer’s lapdogs in the Florida media find nothing wrong with it.

I had heard whispers in Ohio, Meyer’s home state, about what a jerk he is. Now, incidents like this one substantiate that – notwithstanding the fact that I still believe that he may be the best college coach in the country, albeit he has had a full cupboard at each of his opportunistic hops up the ladder. This is not to defend “The U,” an institution for which I have little use. But character is not demonstrated only when the deserving benefit from classy behavior.

This anecdote demonstrates again how damaging gambling considerations can be to sports, both professional and amateur. A close friend of mine lost money on Super Bowl XXXIII when Dan Reeves made a very low-percentage two-point conversion attempt at a moment of the game that ONLY had an effect on anyone who had Atlanta +14 ½ on their teaser bets. Really, now, who goes for two points when down 34-19? Even an incompetent dolt like Butch Davis knows that you get the game to two touchdowns and worry about the two-pointer later if at all. Now, in this situation, we’ll never be able to prove that Meyer did what he did to suck up to some wealthy boosters who put down some major caysh on the Gators – but is there anyone who knows of this situation who doesn’t see it that way?

Ultimately, it comes down to the truism that cockroaches hate daylight. It’s the responsibility of the media to shine the spotlight on wieners like Urban Meyer whenever they classlessly leverage their positions for the financial gain of others via the pointspread. God Forbid that ESPN run one less story per week about Brett Favre and one more about the corrupting influence of Big Money on sports.

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