Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday morning linkage

* Florida coach Urban Meyer and Orlando Sentinel scribe Jeremy Fowler mended fences on Saturday, three days after the blow-up that went viral.

* Running backs Stevan Ridley and Michael Ford impress in LSU's spring game.

* SI's Kerry J. Byrne breaks down the career numbers for a half-dozen high-profile SEC quarterbacks since the late '90s. See if you can tell who's who.

* Aramis Hillary, a backup QB at South Carolina, says he'll transfer to Coastal Carolina after this semester.

* Alas, no SEC teams in the Final Four, but coach Derek Dooley was there for the Tennessee-Michigan State nail-biter.

* Early previews of Tennessee (via Tony Barnhart) and Kentucky (via Dr. Saturday).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"LSU" rhymes with "microbrew"

It would seem as though the last thing you'd need on the LSU campus, especially during football season, is more alcohol.

But according to this story, the LSU chancellor is apparently considering an on-campus brewery. As a teaching tool for food science students, of course. One of the perks of being chancellor of a university: If you put a brewery on campus, you can make them run a tap right to your desk. Mmmm... nothing like a sweet Bert Jones Lager.

(Actually, the Twitterverse has come up with much better names already... just search #lsubeer. My favorite so far: Les Miles' Pale Fail.)

-- Tommy T.


Catching up on recent news:

* The Case of the Tainted Textbooks is all done at Alabama. 21 football wins vacated; asterisks added. The Birmingham News has the story here. (Self-reporting and -flagellating Tide fans can read the NCAA's full communique here.)

* LSU has sent in 55 pages worth of incriminating behavior involving former player Akiem Hicks and former assistant coach D.J. McCarthy. All you'd care to read here and here and here.

* And whilst on the subject of the NC2A, the powers-that-be helpfully provide a scenario to show how infractions are investigated. The make-believe case involves football players who transferred from State U. to schools that just happen to be in Tennessee and Florida. (Not that there's more of that kind of stuff going on down South, you understand.)

Perception and politics in Columbia

This lede from The State newspaper pretty much says it all:

Black lawmakers, angry that the General Assembly could refuse to reappoint the University of South Carolina's lone black trustee, said some of the school's star athletic recruits have been called and apprised of what lawmakers described as the state's racially inhospitable climate.

Story here.

Now on display: Urban Meyer 2.0

The Florida coach got all up in the face of Orlando Sentinel scribe Jeremy Fowler on Wednesday, this stemming from Fowler (and others) quoting WR Deonte Thompson as saying that John Brantley is more of a traditional QB than Tim Tebow. (No surprise there, but the whole thing went blog-wild when Thompson used the words "real quarterback." The fact that NFL scouts have noticed the same thing about Tebow is apparently beside the point.)

Here's Fowler's take on the whole episode. Naturally, there's video.

(Thanks to The Gainesville Sun for the photo, and to Meyer for getting us interested in Gator Nation again at this early date.)

Yes, Nicki Meyer, you got your daddy back.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Is God a Gator?

Don't believe everything you read and half of what you see. . . Gottit.

Still, this insight into Urban Meyer's recruiting methods is enough in line with some of the other stuff written about the Lizard King that it carries some credibility.

Besides, it's a hoot to read. See if you agree.

God obviously is an SEC football fan, but obviously he needs an occasional break to recharge for the fall. Saw his bracket the other day. He's all in for Cornell.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dooley loses the Girl Scout vote

"I don't think you build a team by holding hands and singing 'Kumbaya.'"

-- Derek Dooley, on how his Vols will be Tennessee tough this year. (Video here.) While he may not be using that Gullah-derived phrase, he might want to consider this one as he looks for a starting quarterback: CHUNK DE BALL YAH. (Throw the ball here.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

SEC recruiting: Les must be chuggin' Red Bull

Andrew Bone of the Tuscaloosa News and gives us this early breakdown of SEC recruiting, and LSU is getting commitments like there's no tomorrow. Here's a link.

For Tiger coach Les Miles, maybe there isn't. The Hat is taking heat for his team's slow downward glide since its national championship three years ago. Miles's supporters chafe at the notion that their coach won the crystal with a roster that was largely Nick Saban's players. But it's clear that Saban's program at Alabama is going in one direction, and Miles's in quite another.

Miles himself is one of the country's best recruiters. It's what he does with those players that has Tiger fans wondering about the team's future.

With signing day still 10 months away, LSU has taken commitments from 9 kids, far more than any team in the SEC. Louisiana is always teeming with top recruits, and it's looks like Les wants to lock down the state as early as he can.

Getting that many commitments builds excitement in the off season. What kind of team he puts on the field next year could determine if he's around to watch these kids graduate.

michael gordon

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tempest in a Tebow

It's pro day in Gainesville, and all eyes are on Tim Tebow and his newfangled forward pass. The Orlando Sentinel is all over it -- the fun starts at 10 a.m., and later in the day is the start of Gators spring practice. Take your bated breath here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Who should get in the Hall?

Nominees for the College Football Hall of Fame were announced a few days ago. Here's the SEC contingent. Winners will be announced in May. This year's inductees could well include people like Eddie George and Deion Sanders; think anybody below should be joining them?

* Charles Alexander, LSU RB, 75-78
* Willie Gault, Tennessee WR, 79-82
* Bobby Humphrey, Alabama RB, 85-88
* Bobby Majors, Tennessee DB, 69-71
* Paul Naumoff, Tennessee LB, 64-66
* Ken Rice, Auburn DT, 58-60
* Jake Scott, Georgia DB, 67-68
* Matt Stinchcomb, Georgia OT, 95-98
* Jerry Stovall, LSU RB, 60-62
* Wesley Walls, Ole Miss TE, 85-88
* Scott Woerner, Georgia DB, 77-80

Monday, March 15, 2010

Big 10 Beatdown Day II: Bookies say Bama and Buckeyes to decide BCS

Holy alliteration, Batman. But the word out of Vegas is Alabama and Ohio State are the two betting favorites to meet in the college football finale next year.

Both teams return truckloads of talent. But each has some hurdles to clear. Both teams play Penn State, and Ohio State hosts Miami in Week 2. Iowa and Wisconsin also await.

Alabama has Penn State for a second opponent. Then comes road games at Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU. The Tide also has a real shot of playing Florida twice in one season, and a ridiculous number of teams that just so happen to have scheduled off weeks before playing the defending national champs. (The soap box just collapsed from overuse on the bye-week fiasco.)

For the record: Ohio State has never beaten an SEC team in a bowl game, but that's got to change at some point. Right?

Read more here.


Big Bucks at the BSC Championship

You think everything is bigger in Texas? Not always.

Alabama spent way more on its trip to the National Championship than the Texas Longhorns.

In fact, on the surface it appears the Tide lost money on the game. But before sending your spare change to Tuscaloosa, remember that each SEC team gets a cut of the other conference schools' bowl money. Plus, think Alabama made a couple of quarters selling "Got 13?" T-shirts?

Do the math here, courtesy of the Birmingham News.

Another interesting fact: Though UT complained bitterly about its 19,000 ticket allotment, it didn't sell out what it had. Texas was last in Pasadena in 2006 (winning the title over Southern Cal in what may have been the greatest championship game ever). Despite a prominent allusion to the Rose Bowl in its fight song, Alabama's last trip took place way back in 1946, with the Tide spanking . . . USC.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

In Oregon, the O stands for "Oh, not again!"

To say the Ducks' ascension to national prominence has met some middair turbulence would be the understatement of the offseason.

Last year, the team's best player got benched for most of the year for a prime-time sucker punch of a Boise State player.

This year, two of the best players on a team deemed a national title contender were in court within an hour of each other. The verdict: No jail time. But coach Chip Kelly, who had gone to the mat defending his players, says they'll be no playing time either for quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. Kelly has suspended his star for the entire season for his part in the burglary of a frat house, the same sentence he doled out to running back LeGarrette Blount for his right-cross expression of sportsmanship last season in Idaho.

Kelly has also suspended Blount's replacement, LaMichael James (the latest in a line of the team's thuggish prefixes), for a physical altercation with an ex-girlfriend. The judge sentenced James to 10 days in jail, but the sentence was suspended because of a lack of jail space. (Maybe some of the convicts can be sentenced to fill some of the holes in Kelly's roster. A key qualification: Their 40 times must be lower than their years still to be served.)

You can read more here. In the meantime, consider how Oregon's woes add street cred to venerable football analyst Kermit the Frog.

It's not easy being green.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Tide needs all the help it can get

Alabama, which will vying for its 83rd national championship next year, may get a little help toward its goal from the SEC.

According to the Birmingham News, the conference is looking into a 2010 schedule that has the Tide's last six conference opponents facing Alabama after a bye week.

Given that the SEC schedule was put together just after Lee signed the papers at Appomattox, any changes now will feed the paranoia grist mill claiming Alabama's undefeated 2009 season was rigged from the start.

Bama hasn't lost a conference regular season game in two years and will go into next season as one of the favorites for the national crown.

Read more.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Casting call

Seeing the news that Robert De Niro will play Vince Lombardi got us to thinking about who might be cast as some of the great Packers -- Hornung, Nitschke, Starr, etc. -- and then we got to wondering if there was any face in Hollywood that could do justice to LSU's Jim Taylor. (Suggestions welcome.)

Mark your calendar: Big Ten beatdown day

And no, it's not (necessarily) Sept. 11, when Alabama hosts Penn State. It's New Year's Day, 2011, when three bowls will measure SEC-Big Ten prowess, all at the same time:

* Capital One Bowl, 1 p.m. -- first pick from SEC and Big Ten after BCS choices are made.
* Outback Bowl, 1 p.m. -- second pick after BCS choices.
* Gator Bowl, 1:30 p.m. -- No. 5 SEC vs. No. 3-4 Big Ten.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The White House is united in honoring ... uh, never mind

From White House press secretary (and Auburn-born and raised) Robert Gibbs:

Ackbar über alles

From the folks in Taiwan who brought you the Tiger Woods re-creation comes this look at the Ole Miss mascot movement:

You can also watch it here in English, but why would you want to?

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Crimson Tide rolls into the White House

We're waiting for official word that President Obama has put Nick Saban in charge of congressional lobbying on health care reform. We can here his talking points now: "Make his ass quit!" "It's all part of the pwah-cess!" Move over, Rahm. Let a real man take care of the final few votes.

OK, so maybe we're getting a little head of ourselves here and looking beyond the next game, and now doing our jobs, and neglecting the importance of the organization and overlooking the merits of the University of Auburn. Sorry, this Sabanspeak is contagious.

For now, we'll stick to the script and the photo ops and well, read for yourself here on how Alabama's visit Monday with the president turned out. Be sure to take time for the video, and the big
ol' Roll Tide the Boss gives at the end. (Not bad for a neighborhood organizer, not bad at all).

By the way, I hear Saban and Obama got out their I-phones to settle on a date for next year, too.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Turning to the SEC: A dozen to watch as spring practices unfold

Southern Pigskin gives us a scorecard to mull as spring practices start revving up.

Some of these names you'll recognize; some you won't. See for yourself. Again, we could quibble . . . Ok, we will quibble.

For starter's, there's a lot more riding at Alabama on the return to health of Dontae Hightower than whether Josh Chapman can fill the shoes (certainly not the pants) of Terrence Cody. Hightower is the rare form of brains and brawn who can take over the leadership of Nick Saban's defense -- IF he can recover from an horrendous knee injury. Chapman will have plenty of help at nose guard. Even with all the talent Saban has assembled, no one is ready to be the defensive quarterback besides Hightower. Cade Foster, the heir apparent to Leigh Tiffin, is a smart choice, given Tiffin led the country last year with 30 field goals, and Alabama doesn't beat Tennessee without him.

Otherwise, the article does shine an extra bright light on quarterback, in particular the new ones vying for snaps at Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Those schools face almost as many questions about their coaches, but that's a different story for a different time.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Joe Schad's Top 100 college players to watch

Interesting bit of off-season cud to chew: The ESPN analyst picks his top 100 players to watch in 2010. Not sure that means he thinks they're the best or the most interesting. Probably it's a combination of the two.

Alabama has the most names in the list, with 7. Throw in Florida's contributions and the top two programs in the SEC have more than 10 percent of the top players.

There will be some quibbling with some of the rankings. And let me start with mine: John Brantley?

Take a look and tell us what you think.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"I don't read that crap," but my players steal it!

In a far-reaching contribution to jurisprudence, Texas A&M-Commerce football coach Guy Morriss defended his players from stealing copies of the student newspaper because it's free.

The team members, caught on videotape, took the papers because of an offending headline involving some teammates and a felony. Don't you hate when that happen. Here's another oucher: The athletic director said the players had to have help because he doubted they were smart enough to do the deed on their own.

Morriss, former head guy at Kentucky and Baylor, called his team's actions the best team-building exercise he's ever tried. Wonder if he'll call in for pizza if the team ends up in court.

Read more here.

And here.