John Adams: Newton mess is paying off in motivation

John Adams

Ever since the Cam Newton controversy crept across the bottom of our TV screens, we have been hearing about what a distraction it would be for an Auburn team in the running for a national championship.

Did you notice how distracted Auburn was in the second half as it was rolling past Georgia 49-31 last Saturday? Did you also notice that every close-up camera shot of Newton showed a championship smile?

If he's burdened and distressed by the investigations into his NCAA eligibility, he's as good of an actor as he is a quarterback. And if Auburn is losing its focus, you couldn't prove it by the Bulldogs.

I have no idea where this story is headed: national championship, Heisman trophy, NCAA probation, or all three. But my best guess is that it's providing more motivation than distractions.

"Lack of respect" has become the most common motivational ploy in sports. And logic rarely has anything to do with it.

Regardless of a team's success or volume of praise, its antennae are always receptive to the slightest perceived insult. The same coaches who seem utterly devoid of a creative call in the heat of a game can become wondrously innovative in convincing a team that it has been disrespected by outside sources.

So what if the truth gets twisted beyond recognition in the process. This is a result-oriented venture. And based on its popularity, it works.

That's why Auburn coach Gene Chizik has the easiest motivational job in the country. He doesn't have to raise an eyebrow, much less his voice. The truth requires no embellishment.

Whether his players are more attune to history or current events, there's mounting evidence the general populace is out to get them.

Check out the BCS rankings, which have unbeaten Oregon No. 1 and unbeaten Auburn No. 2.

The Tigers have beaten four teams currently ranked in the BCS top 25. Oregon has beaten one.

Auburn's FBS opponents have a 59-43 record. Oregon's are 39-50.

The Tigers have beaten five FBS opponents with winning records. The Ducks have beaten two.

Give Oregon plenty of credit for style points. But based on what the teams have accomplished, Auburn is more deserving of a No. 1 ranking.

The inspirational advantage from that is minimal compared to how the Tigers have been might be impacted by the criticism heaped upon their star quarterback. Just a few weeks ago, he was the subject of one feel-good-story after another, most of which focused on his circuitous route from college football obscurity to Heisman favorite.

Then, he was implicated in a story that said an agent tried to get money for him to attend Mississippi State. Next, a source-driven story said he committed academic fraud at Florida. Finally, there have been more stories alleging that Newton's father was shopping him to the highest bidder. The sheer volume of the yet-to-be-proven allegations have created enough smoke to influence some Heisman voters to look elsewhere for a candidate.

How's that for a lack of respect?

There's also history to consider. Six years ago, an unbeaten Auburn team didn't even get a chance to play for the national title. Just another reminder for the Tigers to feel as though the world is out to get them.

They still have plenty of work to do. They must beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Thanksgiving weekend and beat South Carolina a week later in the SEC championship game to reach the national championship game.

They might not be good enough to pull it off. But they won't lack for motivation.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at htpp://twitter.com/Johnadamskns.

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Comments » 24

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

I hate cam newton

volfan73120#211815 writes:

For those who might have missed it last night, here is a link that explains more about the Auburn situation.
http://www.tigerdroppings.com/rant/me...

PUL4VOLS writes:

No link explains anything until something is proven instead of reported on as allegations. He will continue to play until the NCAA says, "No more" if it does. A lot of hype and hearsay. Until charges are brought, it's all a media frenzied craze. So we wait and see what happens. Too many are coming to too many conclusions without the whole story being revealed. That is a crying shame.

utnut#215669 writes:

what happened to dave hooker? I have been out of pocket.

Flabbergasted writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

I hate cam newton

You are an idiot.

volzcrushm writes:

Just for the fun of it.... where have the bama trolls been? lol... I wonder if they'll spit on that new Saban statue if Auburn beats them?? I wonder if by some miraculous reason, CN is declared not eligeable(sp.?) just before the bama game??

pauln500#205995 writes:

Excellent article, John. I have been enjoying your work over the last few months.....that's significant because I used to detest all of your columns. Keep up the good work.

veinsoforange writes:

in response to pauln500#205995:

Excellent article, John. I have been enjoying your work over the last few months.....that's significant because I used to detest all of your columns. Keep up the good work.

Paul, you are as sick as JA. Or, maybe you are John because this article makes me sick!!! How can you comment positively on this article or JA?

How sick this article is. JA only writes articles that shed a negative light onto the UT Athletic program and now......

Now, he puts a "POSITIVE" twist on the most negative media topic in the country regarding another school!! What a joke.

JA you should truly be banned from Knoxville!!!

Cldvols1 writes:

Lol!

cloudodust writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

I hate cam newton

I believe your ire should be directed at Daddy Newton and the so-called boosters, so-called money laundry men...Cam Newton is a heck of a player. I personally hope he had nothing to do with anything on the backswing...

ibvolman writes:

in response to AlvinToles:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Guys, can't we all just get along?

murrayvol writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

I hate cam newton

Do you know him?

murrayvol writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agent, your command of the language is tremendous.

murrayvol writes:

in response to ibvolman:

Guys, can't we all just get along?

Not a chance.

murrayvol writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"We never bring excuses."

That's hilarious shenhead. You should take your act on the road. I suggest the passing lane of I-65.

murrayvol writes:

And in closing, great column John. You make all of us think.....some not so clearly, however.

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Do you know him?

yea

CrankE writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

...just probations.

CrankE writes:

2004: Press has no integrity and curiosity regarding Reggie Bush. Auburn gets the shaft.

2010: Reggie Bush scandal finally breaks. Press suddenly claims integrity and curiosity about all things Cam Newton. Auburn receives the shaft.

Cute isn't it?

Seems to me that the tarnishing of the Heisman isn't being done by the players receiving it, but by the sports press who vote on it.

But hey, what else is new?

FIRE JOHN ADAMS!
REGIME CHANGE AT KNS!

rab writes:

I love to watch the guy play. Time will tell about all the other stuff.

heisthelord367 writes:

guys, when we play another SEC team it's war, when it's one of our brothers (aka another SEC team) in the SEC representing our conference, then get behind them...that's the SEC tradition...fight your brother in your matchup when you play them in the season, and then pull for the one who represents us in the National picture...more SEC wins, better recruits, which means better football all around the SEC for wannabe's like you and me to watch ;)

OrangePride writes:

I will wait til all the "facts" have been assembled and we have something on which to base a conclusion. There is a lot of individual testimony and hearsay at this point, however, that doesn't look good. That is fueling a national meltdown regarding Newton's candidacy for any post season awards and Auburn's legitimacy for the national title. So we will see, but I would surely like to see an Auburn-Oregon matchup.

murrayvol writes:

in response to OrangePride:

I will wait til all the "facts" have been assembled and we have something on which to base a conclusion. There is a lot of individual testimony and hearsay at this point, however, that doesn't look good. That is fueling a national meltdown regarding Newton's candidacy for any post season awards and Auburn's legitimacy for the national title. So we will see, but I would surely like to see an Auburn-Oregon matchup.

But would you like to see it without Newton?

dvsvol writes:

in response to volfan73120#211815:

For those who might have missed it last night, here is a link that explains more about the Auburn situation.
http://www.tigerdroppings.com/rant/me...

Thanks for the link. I waded through this whole set of articles and can only conclude that this will be sad for all of college football, particularly Auburn, Alabama, SEC, and all SEC institutions. You have to wonder where similar corruption exists, and to what extent. I truely hated every minute of this read, but could not stop following this extravaganza of greed. I suspect that this type of corruption infiltrates every level of government and big business, but it leaves me feeling stunned and sad. I can only imagine how I would feel if I were an unsuspecting Auburn fan who merely loves his team, like I do my Vols.

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