Tom Shatel, columnist for the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald, spoke with former Ohio State players Troy Smith, top left, and Maurice Clarett. Both are now playing for the United Football League's Omaha Nighthawks.
Perhaps their most interesting comments came when speaking about Ohio State and deposed coach Jim Tressel and being a college athlete.
Smith was suspended for two games for accepting $500 from an Ohio State booster.
"I've been suspended by the university and by the NCAA, so I'm kind of cold and coarse when it comes to showing feelings for anybody else," the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner said. "Because I've been the scapegoat. I've been put on the pedestal, with no control over that, and then been the guy you're not supposed to learn from."
He added these rather ominous words: "To tell you the truth, it had nothing to do with a $500 thing between myself and a booster. I took the rap for a lot of people so a lot of people wouldn't get in trouble. But that story can't be told unless I want to get back at a lot of people. I'm not that type of guy. Never will."
Clarett, meanwhile, was suspended after playing one season, leading the Buckeyes to the national title in 2002.
He believes it's a joke for the NCAA to even try to restrict what athletes do.
"To me, you would literally be taking away from your time in your job to police as many people as you have to police," he said. "There's hundreds of (boosters) at all times. Even if (athletes) got paid, they would still go after it. It's a Catch-22. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. As much as people want to paint the picture that it's goody-two-shoes, it's not. My school is underneath the microscope right now. The best way to get them out is to tell the truth."
Clarett said he spoke to Tressel on Monday and that Tressel intends to coach again, probably at the pro level.
Jacory Harris is talking like he has it covered. • The Miami quarterback will lead his team into Lane Stadium today against No. 21 Virginia Tech, and the stakes are already high for the longtime conference rivals. • The Hurricanes (2-2, 0-1 ACC) have lost two in a row against the Hokies (4-1, 0-1), and the loser will have a steep hill to climb to get back into the race. • Harris is climbing the career passing lists at Miami and in the ACC. His 56 touchdown passes tie him with Matt Schaub (Virginia) and Matt Ryan (Boston College) for 13th in league history. Harris is not inclined to shy away from the importance of the matchup, even on the road. • "It's like playoff mentality. We can't lose this game," he said.
Tricky Texas puts Sooners on alert
The Texas Longhorns are taking a ghost from Oklahoma's past into today's Red River Rivalry game.
First-year offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin was calling the plays for Boise State when the Broncos knocked off the Sooners in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl with trick plays in a wild finish. Harsin replaced Greg Davis, who had run the Texas offense for 13 years but resigned after Texas had a losing season in 2010. The Longhorns have already used several trick plays to score touchdowns this season. The message to the Sooners defense is to expect just about anything.
Third-ranked Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) and No. 11 Texas (4-0, 1-0) meet in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
"With us losing those two games, you could either go south or go north as far as your attitude as far as the season. We told ourselves that we're going to take care of Wake Forest, then take care of Duke then take care of Maryland, and so on. We're not too worried about the losses or anything like that, but we've just got to handle it and go out there and win."
EJ Manuel, FSU QB, left
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.