Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday (and on randomly selected occasions, sometimes Thursday) the Eye on College Football examines what current hot topic the fans of one BCS team are obsessing over -- rationally or not -- in Breaking Down the Buzz. Today's team: the Washington Huskies .
What they're talking about is ... the return of Cyler Miles, and the departure of Damore'ea Stringfellow. Take a look at a Huskies message board like RealDawg.com's or a blog like UW Dawg Pound and you'll notice a couple of things -- first, that you don't have to be from Georgia to use the alternate spelling of "dog." But also that as is the case at schools as disparate as LSU and their in-state brethren at Washington State, there's a fair amount of draft chatter. The NFL Draft, folks: as inescapable as that TV ad you hate, only hopefully you don't hate it.
But the single biggest story in Huskieland at the moment was Wednesday's announcement that quarterback Cyler Miles has been reinstated to the team after his February suspension over an alleged assault. Now-former teammate Damore'ea Stringfellow, who was also involved in the incident, won't return, however; the school announced he will transfer. Huskie fans have reacted here, here and elsewhere.
What they're saying is ... the loss of Stringfellow is a shame. The return of Miles means the Huskies have their most experienced and arguably most promising quarterbacking option back in the fold, which you'd think would be a dramatically bigger deal than the loss of the team's sixth-leading receiver from a year ago. But Stringfellow's departure was the subject of as much or more discussion among Huskie fans as Miles' return, and that makes some sense considering that 1. Miles return, pleasant as it undoubtedly is, isn't a complete surprise 2. Stringfellow was only a freshman, and one that had flashed a healthy amount of potential in his one season in Seattle. From UW Dawg Pound:
From a purely football perspective, it sucks to see String go. If you ever forget how good a player he could have been, go ahead and pop in the UCLA game from this season and it'll jog your memory. 8 catches, 147 yards, and a touchdown, and a couple of plays that were as dominant as you'll ever see from a WR in terms of manhandling defenders. Still, it may just be best for all involved that Stringfellow gets a fresh start.
That's pretty representative of the general reaction: disappointment that Stringfellow won't stick around, but not much anger that it didn't work out. "Either way, it's good that there is finally closure to this," one poster at RealDawg writes. There is some speculation over the differing outcomes to the incident for Myles and Stringfellow in the UWDawgPound comments ...
I would bet String was offered a chance to keep his roster spot after serving a very lengthy suspension and internal/external punishments in the form of restrictions and services. Door #2 was transfer out. He made his choice. Perhaps Myles should have been punished more in accord with String (if it's true he was the catalyst), but you cant change the fact [note: Stringfellow pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree assault] that String assaulted citizens of the community with premeditation.
Sucks because String is an unreal talent. IMO his potential at WR is much greater than Myles at QB.
... that also just-so-happens to explain why fans seem as broken up over Stringfellow's departure as happy over Miles' return.
What we think is ... we'd accentuate the positive. College football fans -- fans, period, actually, regardless of sport -- have a few universal things in common, and this is one of them: the assumption that a player who has potential will develop and fulfill that potential for his team. Stringfellow was a top-100 overall recruit coming out of high school and may have an NFL future ahead of him, but one terrific game against UCLA doesn't necessarily guarantee it. And with the more-productive (in 2013, anyway) Jaydon Mickens and Kasen Williams still around, wideout would appear to be an area where the Huskies can withstand the loss.
It's hard to see Chris Petersen's debut season going well without a steady hand under center, though, and even if Miles isn't a lock to earn the starting job -- Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams will have their say -- he is the player who beat out both those other candidates for the backup job behind Keith Price last season. It's not a stretch, at all, to think he's the quarterback who will give the Huskies the best chance of winning this season.
That would make him an awfully important player -- and his return worth a serious exhale of relief. Losing Stringfellow may hurt down the road, but not as much as Miles' reinstatement should help where 2013 is concerned.