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Greg Schwem Headshot

The 'Sham Cam' and Other College Football Innovations

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I am so disappointed in Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. How dare he spend last weekend throwing five touchdown passes, rushing for 98 yards and nearly rallying his team from a 21-point deficit against Southeastern Conference foe Alabama.

I was expecting so much more, particularly after CBS Sports revealed it would train a camera exclusively on the Heisman Trophy winner. Dubbed the "Johnny Cam," it would follow every move of a player who spent his offseason embroiled in an autograph signing controversy, was asked to leave a quarterback camp run by pro football's Manning brothers, and popped up on Instagram at numerous bars and frat parties.

And yet all he did against Alabama was "football stuff." On the field. Booooring! Thanks to recent investigative reports by Sports Illustrated and Yahoo Sports alleging everything from academic cheating to drug abuse to cash stuffed envelopes at Oklahoma State and numerous SEC football programs, it's clear that the real action takes place off the field. That's why I'm imploring CBS technicians to put their heads together before this week's slate of games and come up with some visual innovations that capture the true spirit of college football. I can almost hear the announcers now:

"Welcome sports fans to the college football game of the week. Verne, who's playing?"

"Who cares Gary? We may not even have time to show the game. Let's meet our team of reporters, who will tell us their assignments. Joe?"

"Thanks Verne. I'll be monitoring the 'Eye on the Prize Cam.' This is a specially trained camera that continually scours the stadium parking lot searching for boosters, agents and hangers on who provide players with cash, cars, clothing and other gifts not permitted by the NCAA."

"Awesome Joe. I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of you today. Tracy?"

"Hi Verne. This is Tracy, down on the sidelines next to the "Sam Cam," named after Samantha Lynne Goudie. You may recall that on August 31, Goudie tried running onto the field at the University of Iowa's Kinnick Stadium while allegedly highly intoxicated. Goudie later tweeted, 'YOLO' (You Only Live Once) from jail. Should any other spectators attempt similar stunts today, the Sam Cam will bring you all the action."

"Can we follow their tweets as well, Tracy?"

"Wouldn't have it any other way Verne. YOLO!"

"Thanks Tracy. Let's quickly head to the school library. Jeremy?"

"Good afternoon Verne. As expected it's pretty quiet at the library today but I'm here with another innovation, the 'Sham Cam.' This camera focuses on tutors who are spending game day doing class work for the players. We'll pan left so you can see a female grad student putting the finishing touches on the star running back's psychology midterm. Miss, a word please?"

"Talk to the coach."

"Okay, thanks for your time. Back to you Verne."

"Uh, Verne, it's Joe. I hate to cut in but the Eye on the Prize just got a terrific shot of the starting linebacker's parents being slipped the keys to a brand new Escalade. And what appears to be the deed to a house."

"Nice work Joe. By the way, the score on the field is 23-20. Sorry if we missed a few plays. We still haven't introduced Chris. Where are you, buddy?"

"Verne I'm up in the press box with the 'Get Out of a Jam Cam.' It looks over the shoulders of the university's public relations staff as they furiously write press releases claiming to know nothing about improprieties. Sir, how about a word?"

"Our investigation is ongoing. We are monitoring the situation. Our investigation is ongoing. We are monitoring..."

"Okay, that's enough. Wow Verne, these guys are focused."

"Thanks Chris. Finally, we have one more reporter hovering overhead in the blimp. DJ, what's up?"

"Verne, I think I have the easiest assignment. I'm up here with the NCAA Enforcement Cam."

"What does it do?"

"If it sees any illegal off the field activity, it simply turns the other way."