Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What we think we know -- Week 10

1. Alabama has never been as good as advertised, which has pretty much what this EXPAT has been saying the entire season.
The offense has been a piston short, and the defense throws rods at the worst possible times. The LSU loss again exposed the team's problems, but so did Arkansas, Penn State, Florida and even Duke. At Baton Rouge, Alabama controlled the first half and led going into the fourth quarter. But it could never get beyond a four-point lead. That put the game in the hands of the defense, which gave up some astoundingly big plays. Too many great defenders left after last year's national championship, true. But this defense should be better than it is this far into the season, and that's on the players AND coaches.

2. He's a loon, but don't tell me Les Miles isn't having fun, and that his team doesn't respond to that. What a marvelous second half for the state of Louisiana.

3. The dismantling of Cam Newton is picking up speed. First came allegations from Mississippi State that he was being shopped around for big bucks. Now comes a Fox story that says he left Florida after being accused of three instances of academic fraud. That follows a dozen a dozen driving violations, including several instances of license and tag problems, speeding, and running red lights and stop signs. And there's the much-visited theft charge involving his purchase of a stolen computer.

Newton's Heisman chances are dwindling, and his eligibility -- and Auburn's national championship hopes -- hang on the findings of an NCAA investigation. On top of all that, the case is quickly becoming an embarrassment for the SEC. Mike Slive's office didn't exactly pounce on the original information supplied by MSU this summer. And SEC teams have clearly turned on each other. Urban Meyer, Newton's former coach in Gainesville, appears to have played a major role in flushing out the pay-for-play pieces by ESPN and the New York Times. Now comes a Fox report that is almost certainly based on a Florida source discussing what is generally considered private student information. Et two, Urban?

Meyer was reportedly outraged by the alleged marketing of his former player. But pardon me if I question his moral authority: How in the world was Newton allowed to stay on the Florida team so long given his chronic problems with the law and the school?

4. Speaking of embarrassment, check out this clip on the reception ESPN reporter Mark Schlabach got while trying to do a report on the Newton case from the Auburn campus. Not pretty. But ask yourself this: If the story involved another SEC school, would the response have been much different? Absolutely not.

5. Every year the EXPATS think ACC football has dug down so deep they must have hit rock and can finally start back up. And every year we find that they've gone even deeper. As bad as the past years have been, this season -- take 10 of "The Breakout Year" -- has been every bit as embarrassing as the rest. Which, given the preseason ballyhooing, may make it the worst year yet. The best team in the league couldn't beat James Madison. That the ACC still has a BCS spot has gone from funny to sad.


Anonymous said...

We know that the gap between Oregon and Auburn is a mere .0027. That hasn’t stopped the ESPN talking heads from digging from Bristol through to China for theories on why Auburn won’t be in Glendale. Now they’re babbling about LSU getting in the title game once Auburn loses both of its last 2 games. Mike Lupica on “The Sports Reporters” went out of his way to say, “Now Auburn, if they lose to Georgia, will drop way down. This is the same Georgia team that lost to Colorado.” Damn New Yorkers.

We know that we probably should start paying more attention to Tomlinson. First, he boldly predicted ‘Bama would lose 3 games this year. Now, all they have to do is lose to either Misipi St or Auburn and he’s right. He also correctly predicted that SC wouldn’t notice all those streaking Ar-Kansas receivers until it was too late. Right again. The game started, I went to the fridge for a snack and came back to see that it was 24-7.

We know that Cam Newton is the target of a witch hunt. The witch-hunters, led by the single biggest hypocrite that ever walked the Earth (Urban Meyer) are out to prove that prior to Auburn’s first game this year, Newton was the most evil person to ever walk the Earth. Staying within the context of college years only, Newton’s story isn’t all that different from Randy Moss – start at a big-time Florida school, run afoul of the school and the law, transfer to a football wasteland (Moss to Marshall, Newton to Blinn College), and rise to Heisman Trophy candidate. And while he may be a jerk, Moss has not been a lawbreaker in the pros (unless you count that meter maid he nudged with his car in Minnesota). So, why can’t Newton’s story be celebrated as a bad kid who got knocked off his pedestal and got his life straightened out and is working toward a storybook ending? Because, thanks to Reggie Bush “wanting to take care of his family,” a complicit football program, and a scum agent, you now have to prove that you are a perfect angel off the field to get the big trophy, allegedly for superiority on the field. So, given this reality, some Auburn grad with a criminal justice degree needs to start scouring records for even the slightest speck of dirt on LaMichael James and Kellen Moore. Surely they stole a lollipop at age 6 or peeked at the spelling test of the kid in the next seat in 2nd grade.

We know that LSU has to be the biggest tease in sports. They tried their best to lose to Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and ‘Bama and only managed to do so once. Might they play down to the competition when Misipi comes to town and actually lose?

We know that every school in the SEC is capable of blowing the doors off low-level FBS teams and all FCS teams. Whew, glad we now know that!!!!!!!!!!

Peering into the future, one would think that ‘Bama might be underdogs at Misipi State this week, with a defense that hasn’t put it all together and an offense that sputters at the worst possible times, and Misipi St’s ground game that makes each drive last about 8 hours and their stifling defense. But I can’t help but think Mark Ingram has one more monster game left in him before he heads to Sunday football games.

Michael said...

Good post, J.

I see at last that you have come to share my observation about the so-called Evil Empire. A lot of Imperial Walkers might be junked by the time this season ends.

Witch hunt? A bit strong given Cam's undergraduate record. And it's not a witch hunt if there's a confirmed NCAA investigation that could involve several schools.

The digging into Cam's past is predictable and a bit sad. But it's hardly a witch hunt when you keep finding stuff that gets behind the glossy Heisman posters.

We agree on Meyer, the Barzini behind this from the start. He keeps Cam on the roster through all that trouble and now appears to be trying to take him out when he's on the verge of accomplishing great things.

What a terrific molder of young men.

Anonymous said...

MG - the reason I used the phrase "witch hunt" was because of the timing. The SEC and the NCAA knew about the "agent" back in July. His issues at Florida were 2-3 years ago (notice I didn't say he wasn't guilty at UF; he clearly was with the computer and very likely was guilty of the academic fraud issues). Only the laptop issue went public while he was there. Anyone could have have brought the fraud to light back then. But now, 4 months after the alleged payment solicitation was known by the SEC and the NCAA, and 2 years after the UF academic issues - and days after the revelation of the agent issue - it's just being reported? Sounds to me like there are multiple people in the Meyer camp with an axe to grind.

I don't sense that the Newtons, Misipi State or Auburn are guilty of anything with the "agent" - sounds like some groupie who was desperate to make a name and paycheck for himself. But again I ask, why wasn't this made public when the SEC & NCAA found out about it in July? And why weren't the academic issues brought to light when they happened, instead of a few days after the agent allegation? It didn't take this long for the world to know about Mike Price, or the Florida State shoes, or Terry Bowden. That's why I labeled it a witch hunt.