Thursday, June 30, 2011

Officer Nick lays down the law

Ever notice how Nick Saban talks like a cop? Big, bureaucratic words that sort of rise up and overwhelm his sentence structure and the point he's trying to make?

Well, Officer Nick is in fine form in this full-length film (really a 16-minute video) of his opening remarks to the high school participants of his football camp.

But here's the thing: Saban is perfectly at home in his own skin. He's not afraid to challenge the kids, to boss them and to coach them. He even let's fly with a little barnyard darling, despite the presence of a lot of moms and dads.

See what you think. In his detouring syntax, Saban is making some pretty important points: Dream big and work hard to make those dreams come true.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Greatest plays ever? Let's hear 'em

After reading about the death of N.C. State's Lorenzo Charles, got to wondering about the best plays ever in SEC annals, and the players that will forever be associated with those moments. Because I'm still on my first cup of coffee (and because no one ever accused this of being the thinking fan's blog), I didn't get much further than Billy Cannon's Halloween run (LSU-Ole Miss, 1959) and Barry Krauss' one-man goal-line stand (Alabama-Penn State, 1979 Sugar Bowl). What else should be on the short list?

-- R. Trentham Roberts

UPDATE: Thanks to a couple of comments from Anons, we would do well to consider "Run, Lindsay, Run!" (Georgia-Florida, 1980) and Herschel Walker barreling over Bill Bates (Georgia-Tennessee, 1980, Walker's first college TD).

And the Always-Right Rev. Gordon informs me that, when all is said and done, it was the 2nd-down stop by Alabama's Don McNeal that may well have been the defining moment of the goal-line stand. See for yourself.

Monday, June 6, 2011

By the numbers: SEC spring meetings, etc.

25 -- number of recruits that SEC teams can sign starting next year, after school presidents and chancellors voted to reduce the number from 28. More about that from the scribes at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Montgomery Advertiser and and Gamecock Central.

18.3 -- in millions, the amount each SEC school will get from revenue sharing this year. Click here for the breakdown.

0 -- number of tickets remaining for the LSU-Oregon game at Cowboys Stadium on Sept. 3. Click here for more on the sellout.

And if that's not enough reading for a Monday morning, click here for the Birmingham News' spring football preview and here for a look at what Tennessee is spending on recruiting services.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Top 10 jobs -- again the SEC dominates the list

Someone will have to break down the criteria used by Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples on why Texas is better than Ohio State is better than Florida or Alabama or Georgia. Suffice to say that when he chooses the best college coaching jobs in the country, the differences in the top schools must be as small as Jim Tressel's last millimeter of moral high ground.

For our purposes, the SEC again dominates the top of the list. And while the first three spots go to Texas, Ohio State and Oklahoma, the conference takes over the Top 10 from there.

Interestingly, Staples puts Florida and Georgia at the top of the SEC schools. Florida, we get. Georgia, which historically ranks at the bottom of the SEC's upper tier, we don't. As Staples points out, the Dawgs have almost exclusive rights to one of the country's most talent-laden recruiting pools. They have a rabid fan base, great facilities, a superb college town and buckets of money. Well, guess what, they always have. Yet UGA floats into the national conversation every 10 years or so, stays awhile, then disappears.

At this moment, Georgia coach Mark Richt appears to trapped in one of Georgia's classic Major Tom phases, drifting slowly off into space ("Can you hear us, U-G-A?") after a blast-off that included a No. 2 final ranking in the polls during Richt's early years. But we digress.

Interestingly, Tennessee comes in at 16, among the Arizonas and Arizona States, with good reason I think. Despite their tradition and fervor and money, the Vols dominate a state that never produces enough players. That drives Tennessee to recruit nationally and take way too many chances on questionable kids. Ergo The Fulmer Cup, which honors the fruits of UT's dogged pursuit of only the top student-athletes.

Here's the list. What think you?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ol' Ball Coach offers to be the Pay Window

USC coach Steve Spurrier is willing to spend money and name names.

He set the SEC meetings all atwitter by proposing that football players receive $300 a game for expenses. Here's Atlanta's version.

That's $3,600 a player for 12 regular-season games. For an entire squad -- 8X8...carry the three... salt and pepper to taste -- the price tag comes to about $300,000.

To which the Gamecock coach says, Chicken feed!

Not only did Spurrier propose picking up the bill himself -- he says he and other coaches at big football schools can easily afford it -- he waved around a piece of paper that purportedly held the names of other SEC coaches who support his idea. Among the signees: Messrs. Saban, Muschamp, Petrino and Miles.

That immediately put those who did not sign on on the clear defensive. Witness coach Mark Richt's blatant Wallenda to appease all sides.

Some athletic directors immediately poo-poo'd Spurrier's proposal. But we have not heard the last of this. The Big Dog conference in college sports has broached the question that has been ignored too long by caretakers of "amateur" athletics.

As the Ol' Songwriter once put it, You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.