- Ivan Maisel, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. I understand the opinion that the NCAA gave Oregon a slap on the wrist. But why should Oregon have been given major penalties? Plenty of schools hired Willie Lyles. Oregon may have overpaid him at $25,000, but that’s not an NCAA violation. The case may have dragged on for more than two years but the NCAA didn’t have the evidence to cripple the Ducks. They had enough to hurt former head coach Chip Kelly, and if he had stuck around, the overall punishment would have seemed harsher.
2. Realignment has wreaked havoc with traditional rivalries. So many have been lost -- Nebraska-Oklahoma, Notre Dame-Michigan, Pittsburgh-West Virginia -- that nothing can be taken for granted. That’s why the announcement that Notre Dame and USC have extended their relationship through 2023 is great news. It’s safe to assume that the Trojans and Irish will continue beyond that year. The centennial of the rivalry would be played in 2027.
3. No wonder the Yankees want to get involved in the College Football Playoff. The sport is hot. NFL stadiums are hosting bowl games. The Yankees’ New Era Pinstripe Bowl has done well in the Big Apple. Yes, the weather will stink in the Bronx in January. But the NFL plays in cold weather. Yes, bowls have been played at warm-weather sites forever. But the playoff is not a bowl. If the Super Bowl goes well next February in New Jersey, that will quell a lot of concerns about putting the playoff in a cold-weather venue.