That's the rumor going around about Dan Mullen and Penn State. (It began with ESPN, a Scranton newspaper and a Jackson TV station.) Read the Clarion-Ledger story here.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
From Urban Meyer's contract (Go here for the PDF):
Monday, November 28, 2011
Read THE fine print carefully in THE owner's manual for THE new coach for THE Ohio State University. Operating instructions comes courtesy of longtime Florida Gator worshipper Spencer Hall.
For starters,do not fold, spindle or mutilate. But you can press here.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Nothing riding on this weekend's game, except the final piece for the SEC Championship Game, the BCS Championship Matchup and the future of man as we know it.
Spin this anyway you like. Cut it. Mash it. Slice it. Ginzu Knife it ... The SEC still holds all the cards in the national championship race. If LSU wins Friday, they're in -- even if something really peculiar happens next week in Atlanta. If Alabama wins at Auburn. They're in. If Arkansas upsets LSU, they'll be in if Alabama stumbles or LSU falls to Georgia. It's hard to imagine another team or conference getting back into the discussion. And if chalk holds, it's LSU and Alabama Part Deux early next year in New Orleans.
How can you top five straight championships? By having two SEC teams playing for number 6, that's how. Release the hounds!!
Arkansas at LSU
When he was alive, my father used to predict the outcome of games based on the physical attributes of key players. In his eyes, those with "weak chins" were destined for failure. Which brings us to the Hogs. Bobby Petrino's piggies have the size and skill to make this a game against top-ranked LSU. Except that the Hogs are one team at home and an entirely different one on the road. Death Valley on a Saturday can become an alien outpost, but it still ain't in Arkansas. And Arkansas, in its road unies, hasn't shown it can take a punch.TIGERS, 35-24.
Georgia at Georgia Tech:
One of the truly nasty rival games of the year finds the Dawgs paraphrasing The Clash: Should we play or should we blow? The SEC Championship in Atlanta is clearly Georgia's higher calling. But these two teams just can't stand the sight of each other. Tech's defense stinks, again, but their option has driven Georgia crazy for three years running. This one has upset written all over it, particularly with UGA's muddled tailback situation. But can Tech run the ball? Not sure. Not sure of anything on this pick. But I'll run with the Dawgs. UGA, 28-24.
I've seen two punts blocked. I've seen Bo over the top and Bo run the wrong way. I've seen The Kick. I've seen The Comeback. I've seen Musso best Sullivan to Beasley and the bands flee the stadium when the tornado sirens went off around Legion Field.
But I can't for the life of me see how Auburn wins this game. And that's a little scary. Weird things always happen in the Iron Bowl, sure, and Auburn is a far better team on the Plains. But Alabama is bigger, deeper, more talented, more experienced and has a mad on much bigger than the 24-point lead it blew a year ago. If it needs any more incentive, there's that little matter of having a shot at keeping the national championship trophy instate for another year. TIDE, 28-10.
FSU at Florida:
Two awfully trendy pre-season picks limp into their rivalry game like punch-drunk ham-and-eggers. Who wins this one? The team that shows up, that's who. The Good Ship Jimbo springs another leak. GATORS, 20-17.
Ole Miss at Mississippi State:
Something is rotten in the Egg Bowl. For another year, Dan Mullen's Bulldogs couldn't win a meaningful conference game, and Houston Nutt's last Rebel team is one of the worst in school history. Ole Miss laid down several weeks ago, and it's hard to imagine it getting to its feet, even for the instate rivalry game. When the new coach gets to Oxford, he's not going to know where to start. BULLIES, 24-13.
Clemson at South Carolina:
We'll make this quick. A team that got steam-rolled by NC State doesn't have the ball bearings to go four quarters against a defense as talented as South Carolina. If the Roosters don't drop the ball all over the field and the USC defensive backs do a reasonable job guarding the Tiger wideouts, and if Steve Spurrier doesn't try to steal the spotlight with some cutesy calls, the Gamecocks size and speed on defense should prevail. USC, 21-17.
Tennessee 24, Kentucky 7.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
From today's "Mike & Mike in the Morning," on whether Meyer -- if and when he takes over at TOSU -- can make the spread offense work in the Big Ten ...
"Sorry, but the SEC defenses across the board are way, way more athletic and more physical ... the closest thing we have in college football to NFL defenses is the SEC. And if Urban Meyer and his offensive style can be successful in the SEC, it'll be like going up against the scout team when they go up against the Big Ten."
Herbstreit also talks about the LSU-Alabama-Arkansas conundrum. Listen here.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Pound sign of the times: What one end of Scott Field will look like for Saturday's Mississippi State-Ole Miss game in Starkville. (Personally, I would have gone with #dogtag.) In this matchup of two offensively challenged teams, perhaps it will help one of them find the end zone. State is also trotting out new uniforms for the game. Go here and here for a look. -- R. Trentham Roberts
Monday, November 21, 2011
The football I caught all the game-winning touchdowns with was made out of vinyl. Each section was a different color, none found in nature. It was from a dime store. It was not regulation. But I'd fire it high into the air -- did I mention I was also a record-setting quarterback? -- and track it down the length of our side yard. Sometimes I would slow down so I'd have to dive for the catch. And as I held the ball in the air to celebrate, I was also the announcer, going crazy over yet another last-second win.
Kids everywhere do this sort of thing. But I was a Georgia boy. So even though the announcer was me, the call was not really mine. The voice in my head was Larry Munson.
Munson died Sunday night at 89. He started calling Georgia Bulldogs football on the radio when I was two years old. On the Sears Roebuck stereo in my childhood bedroom, in the dorm at UGA, driving around Charlotte at night trying to pull in WSB from Atlanta, Larry called out to me.
"HE'S RUNNING OVER PEOPLE..."
"THE STADIUM ROCKS AND SWINGS..."
"MY GOD ALMIGHTY DID YOU SEE WHAT HE DID..."
In TV sports, it's a bonus if the announcer is good, but you don't need it -- the action is there in front of you. On the radio, the voice is everything. He makes you see. "Get the picture," Larry Munson said before every kickoff, and he would tell you which way each team faced and the colors of the uniforms and how hard the wind was blowing and where the shadows fell across the field. He was always worried. Auburn had that big running back and Georgia Tech was hungry to beat us and even Kentucky could pull the upset if we looked too far ahead and dropped a couple on the turf and the penalties, oh, the penalties...
He was a homer -- Georgia was always "we" -- but if he was watching a pile of manure, he never called it chocolate. One miserable night in Starkville, when Georgia was losing to Mississippi State in a lightning storm, Loran Smith -- the Bulldogs' sideline reporter -- checked in to say he was going to call it a night. Munson pondered this and said: "I don't think Loran's calling it a night. I think Loran is going to a graveyard to find a dead man named Jack Daniels."
After a bout with throat cancer 18 years ago, I ended up with a pretty good Larry Munson voice. But every Georgia fan does an impression. Lay down a bed of gravel in the back of your throat, act like right now is the most important moment in human history, and you're off. I remember the campus radio station doing a skit about Munson cooking breakfast: "And the egg CRACKS open and DRIVES into the skillet... FIVE seconds... TEN seconds... needs a block..."
If you follow sports the voices fill your head. Maybe, for you, it's Vin Scully calling the Dodgers. Maybe it's Dick Vitale at Carolina-Duke. For me it's a guy who played piano with Sinatra in Minneapolis, had a fishing show in Nashville, and found his home in a radio booth in Athens, Georgia. He told the stories of the moments I cared about. When he said "we," he wasn't just talking about himself and the team. He was talking about me and all those other listeners. He made me, and them, into us.
I happened to be in Athens on the day of the Georgia-Florida game in 1980. I was on my high-school debate team, and we had been in a tournament, and we gathered in an auditorium on campus waiting for the results. Some kids in the back had a radio and were listening to the game down in Jacksonville. I couldn't hear the words, but I could hear the tone of Larry's voice. Georgia was done. Third-and-forever on their own 8.
And then Larry's voice rose, and I looked over my shoulder and the kids in the back had jumped out of their seats. I know this next part didn't happen, but it's what I remember: The radio was dancing off the floor and the words were flying out of it, like you see in cartoons.
"45, 40 -- RUN, LINDSAY -- 25, 20, 15, 10, 5, LINDSAY SCOTT! LINDSAY SCOTT! LINDSAY SCOTT!"
We ran outside. You could hear hollering from the dorms, and car horns honking, and people just stood there on the sidewalk and screamed. This went on for hours. I was 16, and it was the most spontaneous joy I had ever been a part of. From that moment on I knew where I would be going to college.
It wasn't until later that I heard what Larry said after he got Lindsay Scott into the end zone. For a while, there was nothing on the air but the cheers of the Georgia fans in the Gator Bowl. Then Munson said this.
Well, I can't believe it, 92 yards and Lindsay really got in a footrace. I broke my chair. I came right through a chair, a metal, steel chair with about a five-inch cushion. I broke it. The booth came apart. The stadium, well, the stadium fell down. Now they do have to renovate this thing. They will have to rebuild it now. I, this, this is incredible. I didn't mean to beg Lindsay to run, but I HAD to. 26-21 with a passing attack that wasn't working all DAY, and Lindsay caught it, I think, the 25 or 30 or so, no timeouts left in the game.
You know, this game has always been called the World's Greatest Cocktail Party. Do you know what is going to happen here tonight, and up in St. Simons ... where all those Dawg people have got these condominiums for four days? Man, is there going to be some property destroyed tonight.
26 to 21, DAWGS on top. We were gone. I gave up, you did, too. We were out of it and gone. MIRACLE.
If that impossible, spontaneous poetry ends up being the voice you grow up with, the voice of your team, the voice in your head ... all you can do is accept the gift and count yourself lucky to hear it.
-- Tommy Tomlinson
Perhaps the last and best of the SEC's traditional voices has passed. Larry Munson, whose growling, hob-nailed boot of a voice became synonymous with Georgia football, died Sunday. He may have been the best college football announcer of all time.
Read the fine AJC.com obit here.
So LSU and Alabama and Arkansas sit stop all the polls (go here to see 'em). Full disclosure: I'm old enough to remember when the Big 3 of the Big 8 led the way in 1971. It was all so simple then: Nebraska beat everybody. First was the 35-31 Thanksgiving classic over Oklahoma, then the 38-6 mauling of Alabama in the Orange Bowl, one of just a dozen bowl games. (And as proof that a final poll is never really final, we bring you TipTop25.com, where author James Vautravers takes another look at the rankings and does some repair work. Here is his take on the 1971 season.) -- R. Trentham Roberts
Friday, November 18, 2011
In light of Missouri coach Gary Pinkel's DWI charge, couldn't pass up the opportunity to show him promoting roadway safety. Click here for the Columbia Missourian's coverage of Pinkel's arrest, suspension and the $300,000 it could cost him. (And under the category of how times have changed, here's a line buried deep in the Missourian's main story: "Head football coach Woody Widenhofer was arrested and pled guilty to DWI in 1987, but he did not miss any games. Widenhofer was fined $500.")
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Go here for the full database from USA Today. Parse it anyway you like, but here's the headline: the SEC pays the going rate and then some. 7 of the 11 highest-paying jobs are in the conference.
Comes word that a couple of SEC schools are interested in the services of one Daniel Glauser, who's currently manning the offensive line at New Mexico Military Institute. The reason he gets a mention is not because of his size (6-6 and 315) but because he would apparently be the first Swiss to play D-1 football. His offers and official visits include Arkansas and Mississippi State (which just might have the inside track because, as everyone knows, cowbells are a common sight in his homeland). Here's hoping he makes it to the SEC, where the headlines and nicknames are just sitting there waiting: he's at a military school (SWISS ARMY KNIFE) in Roswell, New Mexico (CRASH) and, well, he's from Switzerland (THE BIG CHEESE or, my personal favorite, THE NEUTRALIZER).
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
* Wanted to see how Stanford-Oregon played out before posting any bowl projections. Good thing. Here's how SI's Stewart Mandel sees it at the moment (go here for full list, then here for one from CBSSports):
Monday, November 14, 2011
Being a naturally humble person and coming from a naturally humble university and all, I won't say much about Georgia-Auburn except WOOOOOOOOOOOOO 45-7 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...
(/realizes we have to play LSU)
So that's enough about that. To cleanse the palate, here's Joe Adams faking out the entire state of Tennessee:
P.S. WOOOOOOOOOOO 45-7 WOOOOOOOOOO....
-- Tommy T.
The rankings of LSU, Alabama and Arkansas in all of this week's polls (go here for a look). Tough division, the SEC West. Still wondering about that lone vote in the AP poll for Georgia Southern, though -- could it be because the Eagles (9-1 and #3 in the FCS poll, with their only loss coming to Appalachian State) are playing at Alabama this weekend? Just wondering.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Lost in all the weekend hubbub was the great story of how Derrick Brodus came to kick for Tennessee on Saturday. Go here for the details from GoVols247. The episode also gave us one of the gameday quotes of the year, courtesy of UT's Derek Dooley:
"Just get him here and we'll do a Breathalyzer."
OK, so I still feel like the Scarecrow after the attack of flying Honey Badgers, er monkeys. Legs over here, arms over there, guts strewn west toward Tuscaloosa. BUT ...
1. Great game. Great setting. Two great teams. So is there any need, room or moral imperative for a rematch?
I'm of two minds. The BCS is supposed to be about the two best teams standing in the final games. So if Stanford loses to Oregon, and Oklahoma State drops a game, can anybody argue that another bout between the SEC's Godzilla and King Kong makes as much sense as anything? But if I'm LSU, I've settled things. I went on the road and won. Why should I have to beat Alabama again? This kind of rematch happens all the time in the NFL and other sports, but almost never in college football. So if the tumblers fall into place, let's just look at chapter II as a glimpse of the future, when the college game goes to some sort of limited playoff.
2. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is a fine prospect, already good enough to win 11 games on the Tide's schedule. But he's not good enough to beat LSU, not yet anyway. Saturday, he didn't see the field particularly well and his passes floated for most of the night. One of his nerf balls led to fourth-quarter interception that cost Alabama the lead. McCarron also didn't spot some wide open receivers and was never precise enough to compete against LSU's extraordinary defensive backfield.
That said, he looked like Johnny U compared to poor Jarret Lee.
Lee, the front-runner for the SEC Player of the Year at kickoff, was by the third quarter doing a passable impersonation of Jimmy Stewart in "Vertigo" -- flashing back to a nauseatingly spinning world with interceptions -- along with Kim Novak -- falling from the sky. Credit Les Miles with spotting the PTS symptoms and employing the quick hook. It won the game for his team. Whether it salvaged Lee's psyche remains to be seen. As good as LSU is, it may still need a passing game to win another BCS title.
3. Generally, cheap shots are a private affair. Which makes Tyler Mathieu's clubbing/calf throw of Dre Kirkpatrick all the weirder. The assault took place in the middle of the field, when Mathieu and Kirkpatrick might as well have been contestants in "Dancing with the Stars,'' minus a few sequins. Mathieu, who had done little in the game but yap at this point, must have wanted his name mispronounced by Verne Lundquist one more time. Why he wasn't tossed is one of the bigger questions of the night.
4. Alabama fans are still in an uproar about the goal line catch/interception that may have turned the game. Spare me. Tide tight end Michael Williams was running alone, but injured Marquis Maze threw a pooch punt instead of a forward pass. That gave Tiger safety Eric Reid enough time to leave his own man and catch Williams at the goal line. Williams still caught the throw, and the stadium erupted. But Reid came up with the ball. Did he steal it after Williams had hit the ground, meaning the play was dead? Maybe. But football is a simple game. You throw the ball. You catch the ball. You don't leave it to the officials to make the call in perhaps the biggest game of your life.
5. Good riddance to Houston Nutt, but who knows where Ole Miss goes from this point? Suffice to say a school still engaged in Civil War over its former plantation owner mascot needs a fresh start. Ole Miss. Fresh start. Try saying that with a straight face.
Some of the names being thrown around include Alabama's Kirby Smart, Auburn's Gus Malzahn, Houston's Kevin Sumlin and Louisville's Charlie Strong. Ron Higgins of The Commercial Appeal tries to make a case for Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez (though with Saint Archie on the search committee, I imagine the new coach will be more of the squeaky-clean variety). Fact remains that Ole Miss has the second-lowest enrollment in the SEC (ahead of only Vanderbilt) and for years some of the state's best players have been lured elsewhere. The back-to-back Cotton Bowls were more an exception than an annual expectation.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Catch or interception? They'll be arguing that one for a while. The photo is from The Daily Reveille. Click here for the CBS footage, which had several replay angles. Look to the right for a poll on The Play of the Game of the Century.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Les Miles has been hired as spokesman for Louisiana's turfgrass industry. Story from The Times-Picayune here.
Want a playoff? OK. Want it so much that you'd be willing to give up games like tonight's?
Here's Cecil Hurt's take from the Tuscaloosa News, a thoughtful columnist writing at the top of his craft.
Yes, the peg is LSU v. Alabama, but Andy Staples goes broader than that: On the South's looney-bin love affair with football.
Little wonder that the most religious part of the country follows football with a spiritual zeal. Who says there are only heavenly rewards.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Tommy here. Are y'all giddy? I'm giddy. Of course, I'm not an Alabama or LSU fan. Many of them are already curled up in the fetal position. Or drinking. Or both.
The SEC has a slew of big games every year, but this one is special. Even the New York Times decided to write dueling pieces about LSU-Alabama. The stories do get into identity and academics and other topics NOT APPROPRIATE FOR GAME DAY, but here's the Bama story and here's the LSU story if you want to check them out.
But what you really want is predictions. You should know, if you haven't come around here much, that Michael Gordon is a Bama fan extraordinare. It was a great show of restraint for him to leave out the word "we" in his pick.
Let's save the prose and put out the same caveats I used for last year's game in Baton Rouge. If Alabama can avoid giving up Big Plays and being sucked in by the Trick Ones, it should win. Last year, it couldn't deliver on either of those fronts. This year, I think it will. Of course, that presumes AJ McCarron's head doesn't explode from the pressure and the staggering talent of the LSU team. He'll have to show more precision under a level of heat he hasn't seen all year. But the kid can play. So can his teammates. Tide, 24-21.
Peter St. Onge:
Two super defenses - but different. LSU is built on speed more than size, and it hasn't faced an offensive line with the kind of push that Bama will bring. LSU will have to work for its yards just a little more than the Tide. Nick Saban, with the football world watching, coaches his way back to an NFL sideline. Bama, 20-13. (And yes, the Saban to the NFL thing was completely gratuitous. Can't let Gordon enjoy this too much.)
As much as anything, I'm interested in seeing the in-game adjustments by both teams -- what happens after Richardson rips off a 45-yard TD early on, or Lee hits Randle for 70 just after halftime. Gimme LSU, 18-17, with a late two-point conversion from The Hat & Co. being the difference.
For weeks now my suspicion has been that Alabama would win this game in a blowout, and I still wouldn't be surprised if it ends up something like 31-10. The great thing about this game is that the teams are so similar (great defenses, questions at QB) but the coaches are so different. It's like a real-life test of the old line about Bear Bryant -- "He could take his'n and beat your'n or he could take your'n and beat his'n."
So who's the better coach? The Saban X3000 or the Mad Hatter?
I want it to be Les, because we need more entertaining weirdness in the world, and especially in college football. Plus, LSU is awfully good on the road and at night. It's so, so tempting. But I just can't do it. Alabama, 23-20.
Your video preview headquarters for LSU-Alabama:
Nick Saban's take:
Les Miles' take:
CBS Sports keys to the game:
And the winner will be ...
Fox Sports' preview:
LSU's Daily Reveille has an 8-page special section today. Click here for the Reville website, then go to the lower right to flip through the pages. (And don't miss the ad for Tiger Plaza apartments on Page 8.)
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Continuing with items that have no bearing whatsoever on the big game:
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Checked in on StubHub just to see what the going rate was for Saturday night ducats. They range from $300 for a spot in the corner of the end zone to $6,000 for the rarefied air of the Ivory Club. Or you could just go to eBay and spend 9 bucks on 2 ticket stubs from 1997. (And you get a picture of the band to boot!)
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Quick Q&A on the biggest game of the season from the CBS crew of Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson.
I know Gary thinks highly of himself, but he knows the game and isn't afraid to tell you what he thinks and just saw. Verne stumbles these days more often than Gerald Ford, but he's still got the voice and presence to stand up to a Big Game atmosphere.
May be my Crimson paranoia, but I think Danielson believes LSU is goinna win.
See what you think.