UnafraidShow Quick Take: Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy Still Belongs to Reggie Bush

Reggie Bush gave his 2005 Heisman trophy back in 2012 following several years of NCAA investigations into the allegations that sports agent Lloyd Lake and business partner Michael Michaels gave Bush gifts that included hotel stays, a rent-free home for his family, and a limousine ride and suit for the 2005 Heisman Trophy ceremony.

Lake had expectations that Bush would return the favor by being his meal ticket, and when that didn’t happen, Lake sued Bush for $300,000 and cooperated with the NCAA investigation.

Now that the NCAA has relented on the idea, though they were forced to do so, that players are able to capitalize on their Name, Image and Likeness while in school, and make money off their notoriety, Reggie Bush wants his Heisman Trophy back.

His request has been denied.

But at UnafraidShow, we know exactly who that trophy belongs to:

Reggie Bush doesn’t need to be in physical possession of the Heisman Trophy for us to acknowledge who it belongs to. His 2,218 yards from scrimmage, and 9.4 yards per touch that season electrified college football fans everywhere, and fueled an undefeated Pac-10 season that capped off 23-consecutive conference wins.

The trophy is not only his, but because of the NCAA contending that it isn’t his, much like with the Baseball Hall of Fame keeping Pete Rose on the outside looking in, the first name we’re going to think of every time we hear the word Heisman is Reginald Alfred Bush Jr.

Here are his highlights to remind you of exactly what the NCAA is trying to make you forget:

Here are some of the better takes out in the Twittersphere:

And, for fun, here’s this wild take as well:

Pac-12 Conference: Five Things Must Change to Keep Pace in College Football

Pac-12 conference larry Scott

The Pac-12 is called the “Conference of Champions” because it boasts the most national championships in all of college athletics. That statement is true. Yes, it’s nice and fun to win track, volleyball, softball, baseball, and golf championships. But the reality is that college football is king and the Pac-12 conference hasn’t won a national championship since USC in 2004. If the leadership stays on the current course, only God knows when it will happen again. I will examine the problems the conference faces and the steps it needs to take to remedy them. I promise not to even mention the officiating and replay drama.

1. Admit There is a Problem/Speak Up

The first step to recovery is admitting there is a problem. It seems that everyone outside of Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott realizes the Pac-12 is at the beginning stages of a free fall behind the other four power 5 conferences. Public perception, revenue-sharing payout projections, television contracts, officiating, and conference play schedules are all bad.

The Big Ten and Big XII commissioners have been outspoken when they believe their teams have been slighted by the CFB Playoff committee. They are 100% right to do so because the reality is that there is a tremendous imbalance in the schedules which affects rankings. The ACC and SEC play eight conference games while the Pac-12, Big Ten and Big XII all play nine. In contrast, when Pac-12 teams get slighted the conference just takes it in stride and makes no waves. Here was commissioner Larry Scott’s statement about Washington State being left out of the New Years’ Six Bowls:

“Washington State University had a fantastic season, a very strong record, and captured the attention of the nation with their thrilling style of play and remarkable competitiveness in every game.  While we are disappointed that they were not selected for a New Year’s Six bowl, we made the case for Washington State to the selection committee through the established communications protocols, and we were aligned in our approach with Washington State in this regard.  At the same time, we know that the selection committee has difficult decisions to make, and we respect the committee and its members.”

Does this sound like the statement of anyone who is willing to demand change? Or does this seem like the statement of someone who just takes what they can get? My mom always said the squeaky wheel gets the oil. The Pac-12 is not making enough noise or disruption to cause change. The Big Ten has been left out of the CFB Playoff for three straight years. Their commissioner Jim Delany sees the bias and is now demanding an 8-team playoff. Guess which commissioner is more likely to get something done to help his conference?

2. Fix Pac-12 Network and TV Contracts

The problems with the Pac-12 network are accessibility and revenue generation. Pac-12 fans cannot watch if they have DirectTV or have streaming service providers like Hulu TV or YouTube TV. In the era of cord-cutters, that is a total disaster. The conference doesn’t even have an app on Apple TV or Amazon Fire Stick. To make matters worse, their contract with Uverse was not renewed. If the Pac-12 cannot be seen by most college football fans, the perception of the conference suffers.

The Pac-12 loves to boast that it is the only conference that wholly owns its own network. Fox owns 49% of the Big Ten Network. The SEC and ACC Network are entirely owned by ESPN. Who cares if the Pac-12 owns the entire network if it is not generating the revenue the other conferences do? More revenue means more resources for coaches and recruiting. Better players and coaches lead to more success which comes full circle to more money.

When payments are made for this year, the Pac-12 will be last amongst the Power-5 conferences in distributions to their member schools. Over the next five years, the conference will fall even further behind and won’t even reach $38 million in payouts per school until 2023.

By comparison, the Big Ten is expected to provide payouts to schools this year that exceed $51 million. The SEC is currently at $42 million, and the Big 12 is at $38. Even the Atlantic Coast Conference is expected to pass $40 million after previously ranking last. Each of those conferences future projection increases are larger than the Pac-12.

The Pac-12 has to find a way to generate significantly more revenue in a hurry. The schools and Pac-12 leadership need to do away with the arrogant attitude that the conference can achieve success equal to the Big Ten and SEC on a “lean” budget. Success in football drives the revenue for all conferences. Can the Pac-12 have the success necessary on the football field to warrant a network shelling out big cash to air their games?

Jon Wilner does a great job detailing more about the Pac-12 finances.

3. Poorly Designed Schedules Hurt the Pac-12

Pac-12 football schedules are set with a three-step process. The individual teams set their own non-conference schedules. Those are then sent to a company that builds the conference schedules around those. The athletic directors then view and approve the schedules.

The Pac-12 is already playing at a disadvantage to the SEC and ACC by playing nine conference games. I detail how the amount of conference games dramatically affects rankings here. The conference does not do itself any favors by creating competitive disadvantages during conference play. The SEC schedules its teams for success. Their biggest rivalry games are almost always preceded by a bye week or FCS opponent. The LSU-Alabama, Auburn-Alabama, and Florida-Georgia games are prime examples. And they would never have one team coming off a bye playing a team on a Friday night or in the conference championship. The conference’s most important rivalry games are typically played toward the end of the season for the committee to talk about. The Pac-12 literally does the complete opposite of this.

Oregon-Washington, USC-UCLA, USC-Stanford, and any other combination of those games should be highlighted by the conference. Instead, most of these games are at the beginning of the season in 2019 and will be forgotten by the time the committee decides the top four. Stanford plays three of its most critical Pac-12 games against USC, Oregon, and Washington in the first six weeks of the season without a bye. Washington and Oregon are projected to be some of the best teams in the Pac-12 but have similar situations. How on earth does this make sense?

Imagine if the conference scheduled those games towards the end of the season when those teams are 7-0 or 6-1 like the SEC does. You would have “epic matchups of college football heavyweights.” And the loser would fall minimally in the rankings. The Pac-12 has to be more strategic with scheduling because it drastically impacts perception, rankings, and ability to make the playoff.

USC, UCLA, and Stanford typically put together schedules of 11 Power-5 games which no other teams from any other conference would attempt, especially the SEC. This year Stanford plays ZERO FCS opponents and plays 11 Power-5 teams plus UCF. I applaud these schedules and believe every team in college football should follow suit. However, they do need to include strategically plans bye weeks.

4. Game Times

East Coast Bias is real, but the Pac-12 exacerbates the problem with atrocious start times. “Pac-12 After Dark” is always a trending topic on fall Saturday nights, but it’s a thing that nobody on the east coast or midwest sees. These 10p ET kickoffs mean east coast college football fans would be on their 13th hour of games when they end at 1-2a ET. It is unreasonable to expect that fans and media east of the Mississippi will watch. It does a complete disservice to some of the best teams and players in the nation.

Christian McCaffrey didn’t win the Heisman trophy in 2015 because of “Pac-12 After Dark”. Seven of his games started after 10p ET that season. He had one of the most incredible seasons when broke Barry Sanders single-season NCAA all-purpose yardage record (3250), but didn’t get the hardware.

When rankings and postseason accolades are affected, clearly a change has to be made.

5. Make it Matter More to Fans

Pac-12 fans as a whole are just not engaged and invested at the same level as SEC, Big Ten, and Big 12 fans. As a Pac-12 fan, it is frustrating and sad to admit that. The schools have to find a way to ignite the rabid nature of fans. It is time to do away with the casual kind of fandom. There is no reason that USC and UCLA games are quiet as a church mouse until something good happens. Fans have to live and die with the games. That is the only way to get respect from the rest of the nation.

The Pac-12 has some of the best football in all of college football, but until these things are fixed, it will continue to be underappreciated.

Kyler Murray is a Perfect Example of Why the Teenage Twitter Police are Predators

Kyler Murray Tweets Heisman

If you wait to bring people down in their in their shining moment, you are a predator.

Kyler Murray wins the Heisman, and on a night he is celebrated, the teenage twitter police wanted to tear him down. Y’all are going to have to stop trying to hold people’s feet to the fire for things they tweeted while 14-15 years old. People evolve and grow from stupid teens. Kyler Murray is now 21 years old. Consider the things did and believed to be true at 14 versus the things you did and believed at 21. Now stack that on top of the things you believe and do now. There was likely a ton of evolution of thought and maturity there.

Our need in society to tear people down in their greatest moments is sickening. Whoever unearthed Kyler Murray’s tweets from when he was 14 and waited to bring them out publicly should be embarrassed. The first click bait article about it 10 minutes after the Heisman ceremony was over. When somebody makes statements, tweets, or remarks that may be perceived as racist, sexist, or disparaging against someone’s sexuality it is fair for people to ask them about it. However, for someone to screenshot deleted tweets and hold on to them until your moment in the sun is wrong. Lying in wait to attack is predatory behavior. This is no different than showing up at someone’s housewarming and asking them about the time they got arrested for shoplifting or asking someone at their wedding reception about the time their child died.

After I said this on Twitter and Facebook a few people asked me would I feel differently if Murray’s tweets had been racist by a white person. I said no. In fact, this did happen multiple times in 2018. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had racist tweets surface right before the NFL draft. Also, Milwaukee Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo had tweets come out immediately after he was named NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player. I don’t know if either one of them is racist, but I realize that even if they were things could have changed from 14-21. They must be judged by their actions and character now. We cannot reasonably expect teenagers to tweet responsibly when adults find it a tough task.

Change Happens

When I was at  Oregon, I played with a guy who grew up with the skinheads and Aryan Nation crowd. I knew him for years, and even though we weren’t particularly close, his racist perspective wasn’t obvious. During my redshirt sophomore year, we sat down and had a very real conversation. He told me about his past and how coming to college was the best thing for him. He saw how wrong the people were who taught him falsehoods about people of other races. His college experience with friends and teammates showed him there were two kinds of people: good and bad. He learned that character was most important, not skin color. I’m not sure if that moment was where his epiphany happened or whether he just wanted to share it.

So, I hate to give him the only true test of racism. I asked him would he have a problem is one of the “good Black guys” married his daughter would he be ok with it. His honesty was, and vulnerability was admirable. He said it would be hard because an interracial marriage would cause so much tension within his family and community. However, if he treated her great, I would be happy and accept him and defend him.

The entire time I was sitting there in shock at what I was hearing. At 20 years old, I would have expected to hear this from a kid from the south or middle America, but not a kid from the melting pot that is southern California. My conversation with him did teach me a valuable lesson. We have to allow people room to grow, mature, and change. Everyone must be accountable for their words and actions, but we cannot be shortsighted enough to permanently label them racist, sexist, and homophobic. Imagine if there were social media and smartphones around to capture the ridiculous things you did and said as a kid. I can raise my hand and honestly say I would have a lot of questions to answer. So why on earth would people try and hold someone’s teenage tweets against them?

Let’s be wary not to tear people down in their golden moments. We have to judge people for who they are, not who they were.