I'm wrong a lot.
Throughout the work week, I help produce software and if you've ever used a computer -- let alone pounded out any code -- you're well aware of the fact that bugs and apps go together like Greg Robinson and points. Good teams will eventually iron out the problems before a release, but they're a sober part of software construction.
Those are just the mistakes I make at work. If you were to ask my wife, she'd tell you that I'm just as fallible around the house as I am away from it and that's fine. As long as I'm not responding to these mistakes with encores, I'm pretty comfortable in my skin.
What I try not to be, however, is hysterically wrong. Unfortunately, the college football punditry cannot claim the same after a half year of breathlessly asserting that Ohio State football is everything that is wrong with the game.
As we inch closer to August 12th, I have a feeling many of these columnists will grow to regret a lot of what they have written and said, so in the spirit of historical records, I thought it would be worthwhile to put together a quotebaord of sorts.
You know, for the eventual lulz.
Pat Forde, ESPN
Our favorite Dashette-stalking analyst does a great job of not specifying what sort of penalties Ohio State should receive. After spending a day with the NCAA, he did give us this gem, however:
"I believe some of the NCAA's recent actions have backed up that recommendation -- ask football giant USC. And I believe Bruce Pearl and Ohio State are headed for a serious smack down this summer."
To be fair, he is on record saying USC's situation was worse than what happened at Ohio State.
Ivan Maisel, ESPN
Taking a break from glorifying the Iron Bowl, Maisel appeared on the Dan Sileo show in early June and said Ohio State would be "in the wilderness for five or six years". A week later, he said the following:
"The NCAA knows how to make a program pay for its excess. If found guilty of violations, Ohio State will lose scholarships. It will field teams with fewer players. It might field teams that won't be allowed to play in bowls."
Mark May, ESPN
Unsurprisingly, May has been one of the most outspoken critics of Ohio State during this ordeal. May has hated the Buckeyes since John Harold Cooper handed Pitt its worst loss ever in 1996 (72-0) and Ohio State fans reciprocated at the Sugar Bowl. He thought he could earn some favor when he predicted Nick Saban would be the next coach in Columbus, but failed miserably when he misspelled the coach's name.
His video archive on ESPN is littered with calls for harsh NCAA penalties for Ohio State, most recently when Georgia Tech's violations were announced, saying the two didn't even compare.
Dan Wetzel, Yahoo!
Give Wetzel some credit for breaking the story. Or at least for knowing somebody to leak the story. Generally, he's a fair and dogged reporter that is doing a service to fans of college football by shining a light on program improprieties. It sucks when the light is on your team, but you can't argue his mission.
We can take umbrage with his personal opinions, however.
Last month, in a column titled "Why the OSU case is worse than that of USC", Wetzel decided to treat all allegations as fact and just run with it:
"... the NCAA violations were discovered when the name of the local memorabilia dealer, Dennis Talbott, was seen on checks Pryor was depositing in his personal bank account."
He does drop an "if this is true" later in the column, but why bother, with a title like that? But wait, there's more:
"If USC was guilty of not acting on allegations that weren’t made until after a player’s career was over, then Ohio State faces the more significant problem of not fully acting on allegations made while a player’s career was still active. Plus there are more players than just Pryor involved."
Pete Fiutak, Scout.com
Most of Pete's responses have been measured and reflect the reality on the ground. Not always, however.
"There’s sure to be the always toothless vacated win “punishment,” and there will be some loss of scholarships..."
In response to Ohio State's self-punishment:
"It's the equivalent of a spoiled child getting caught for trying to set fire to the house, and then suggesting he should be punished by erasing the “Good Job!” he received on his macaroni and pipe cleaner art project."
Tom Dienhart, Rivals.com
Dienhart was incredulous at Ohio State's self-imposed sanctions. This from Thursday:
"Go ahead and laugh. I did. Or maybe you want to cry, as Ohio State's disconnect from reality is disturbing. When the school meets with the NCAA on Aug. 12 to receive its punishment, it can count on a heavy hammer of justice that will go well beyond the self-imposed lashing with a velvet rope that Ohio State has administered."
Shit just got real. Velvet ropes?
While arrogant and unfounded at times, this type of commentary is far from uniform. Some national writers have actually allowed the facts to guide what they write (SI's Stewart Mandel comes to mind). Unfortunately, for every writer that is able to keep his/her emotions in check, there are five more without any sort of control.
We'll be sure to amend this after the August 12 COI hearing and again after the NCAA has made a final ruling. The wailing will be delicious.