In the world of college football scuttlebutt, Rice University normally ranks somewhere just below one of the military academies and just above other Ivy League schools. It's a fine institution with very little football tradition. But, the first game of the season will bring with it a level of intrigue rarely seen over in West U because Rice will play
host to Texas A&M and the Suspension of Johnny.
The Summer of Johnny has been a roller coaster ride. From photos with hot chicks to dissing the Manning QB camp probably due to excessive partying, hanging with LaBron to allegedly signing a bunch of stuff for money, Johnny Manziel has left his mark on the summer of 2013.
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But, it's that last activity that piqued the NCAA's interest. It started when a memorabilia broker, allegedly pissed over some financial or personal Manziel snub, decided to go public with the fact that the A&M QB was getting paid for autographs...lots of them. On Wednesday, the NCAA gave up trying to prove it, however, and handed Manziel of suspension of one half of football. No, not half the season, just one half of one game, in this case, in the opener
at against Rice.
The punishment from college's governing football body is essentially an admission that they couldn't prove anything, either that he took a bunch of cash or that he was unaware he did anything wrong. Given the hype surrounding the controversy, it has to be one of the most anticlimactic endings since the final episode of The Sopranos.
For Rice, it's all good news. They get to see if they match up against a ranked opponent. They get a slightly better shot now that Manziel will miss the first half (though, let's be honest, Kevin Sumlin and the Ags could probably beat Rice with no quarterback). Because of the controversy, all eyes will be on the game.
And, the game will be on the Rice campus.
It's like a pot o' gold dropped into their laps. If they could make Manziel's return a lousy one, even better, but the fact that they will get a little national spotlight in the first week of the season, even if that light is only reflected off of Johnny's pearly whites, is great for a program that probably won't get that opportunity again this season.