Sidelines: This week in sports

Ohio-State-Michigan

Reporter Brett McMurphy was under fire from plenty of current and former Ohio State football players after publishing a report that suggested Urban Meyer covered up former assistant Zach Smith’s use of racial slurs against athletes. McMurphy, who was the primary reporter regarding the Zach Smith allegations, arrests, and so on, is currently working for Stadium (a sports network). On November 13, McMurphy published a report titled, “The Search for the Truth About Trevon Grimes’ Transfer From Ohio State to Florida” detailing the wide receiver’s process of deciding to leave Ohio State and in turn ending up in Gainesville.

Things don’t totally align here, as Grimes stated that his reason for leaving Ohio State was that his mother had been diagnosed with cancer, and he wanted to be closer to home while she went through her battle. The primary source for McMurphy’s story is Grimes’ father — who according to other reports — supposedly has not had contact with his son or Trevon’s mother in two years.

The real problem with McMurphy’s reporting is that there is a lengthy list of athletes who are denying what happened between Smith and Grimes. Yes, the conversations of domestic violence issues of Smith and whether or not Meyer knew will go on for a long time. If Meyer knew, he was in the wrong. If he didn’t know, he should have done better and made sure he knew what was going on. But what McMurphy is doing now is asinine, and it seems like he just wants to pick a fight with anything he can get his hands on (whether he has credible sources or not).

Colorado announced that Mike MacIntyre won’t return as their head coach. MacIntyre went 10-4 two seasons ago, including 8-1 in conference play. He had his first head coaching gig at San Jose State, where he took a team from 1-12 in his first season to 10-2 in his third season, where he then left for Colorado. In 2017, the Buffs declined significantly to 5-7, and are currently 5-6 despite a 5-0 start this season.

Let’s talk about some more college football. As we near the day that the College Football Playoff committee announces the four teams who will get a shot at a national championship, a huge consideration that is made for each team is strength of schedule. For a team like Michigan, lets say, if they were to beat Ohio State and win the Big Ten, they should unequivocally be in the playoffs. Their one loss, the first game of the season, came to Notre Dame (on the road in South Bend). The Fighting Irish remain undefeated, but have one final test against USC. It’s hard to imagine the Irish not getting a spot should they sit at 12-0 on November 25.

Now let’s look at the SEC, who only play eight regular season games. Alabama played the Citadel in week 11, Georgia played Massachusetts, LSU played Rice and Florida played Idaho. That’s quite a lacklustre list of non-conference opponents. Teams like Alabama and Georgia will likely find themselves in the playoff — and that’s the difficult thing. The SEC champion being a one-loss team should get in. If Georgia beats Alabama, they should be in. If Alabama wins, they should get in. But should the SEC finalist get in?

Right now your top four are: Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Michigan. If Ohio State beats Michigan, they’ll go to Indianapolis to play Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship. Their one loss to Purdue, while not against a ranked opponent, shouldn’t matter more than their wins against Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan (as well as Northwestern). There is still, however, this glory about the SEC, and how a two-loss LSU is somehow still a worthy top 10 team in the country. If LSU had lost 24-21 to Bama — sure, top 10, but they didn’t — they lost 29-0. Their first loss was to Florida, who is now 8-3 and has lost to Georgia, Missouri, and Kentucky.

What happens if Clemson loses to South Carolina, but wins the ACC — will they still get in? Well, probably.

If Ohio State beats Michigan and wins the Big Ten, is it fair that Michigan doesn’t get in with their two losses coming to two teams who would be in the top-4, whereas Clemson could get in, and their only opponents who MAY be in the top-25 at seasons end are Boston College and Syracuse (both are currently three-loss teams).

The CFP should be expanded to eight teams, because it would generate much more interest from fans throughout those two weeks of December, and it would simply bring more excitement to the playoff. If we had an eight team playoff, the matchups right now would be: Alabama vs. UCF, Clemson vs. Washington State, Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma, and Michigan vs. Georgia. Who wouldn’t love all four of those games?

Mental health is an ongoing topic. There are ways we can improve our mental health and help others around us maintain theirs. The latest example of someone looking out for the mental health of others is Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock.

The Leafs star forward, Auston Matthews, sustained a shoulder injury a few weeks ago and will be sidelined likely for the rest of this month (possibly longer). Typically, injured players don’t attend road trips with their teams if they aren’t going to be able to play in any of the games.

Babcock, however, chose to have Matthews on the team’s road trip this past week where the team played the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and Anaheim Ducks.

When Babcock was asked about bringing Matthews on the trip, his response was, “If you’re a married guy, you’ve got three kids, you can be home with your family. But you’re a young guy sitting in Toronto in your condo, what do you do? These are your buddies. Mental health is as important as the physical part.”

Babcock is a prime example of a professional sports figure who is making a keen effort to raise awareness for — and help improve — the mental health of athletes.

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