Posted on: June 20, 2011 9:01 am
Edited on: June 20, 2011 11:52 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Considering all the recent transgressions regarding the improper use of memorabilia, I really hope that each Auburn football player received a special note regarding their recent jewelry package -- a reward for their dominant run in the 2010 season.
Players began receiving their commemorative hardware over the weekend and wasted no time showing it off to the world. This photo comes courtesy of offensive lineman Jorrell Bostrom.
Now would be an appropriate time to note that NCAA Legislation Cite 184.108.40.206 says that the total value for any single award received for a national championship may not exceed $415, and the total value of any award for a conference championship may not exceed $325. The hope, obviously, is that most of these rings find their way into safe-keeping. After all, $415 is a small price to pay for a lifetime of getting to end arguments with "Kiss The Ring!"
Posted on: November 5, 2010 11:27 am
Edited on: November 5, 2010 11:33 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
The college football world was rocked last night with the reports that the recruitment of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was being investigated by the NCAA, with allegations that a man representing Newton's camp was shopping the high school star around to multiple schools. Former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond informed the university that Newton's commitment could be obtained for a price. An ESPN.com report identified the man shopping Newton as former Bulldog Kenny Rogers. Newton's father has vehemently denied the allegations, and the family has hired a lawyer to "protect our interests."
At "Tiger Talk," a weekly radio show with Gene Chizik, the Tigers' head coach declined to comment directly, though he offered some very strong words in support of his starting quarterback.
“Unfortunately, I can’t comment,” Chizik said. “But here’s what I can say, and I’ll say this very loud and very clear: Cameron Newton is eligible at Auburn University. Period. End of Story."
[video below, H/T: TWER]
Posted on: October 21, 2010 5:34 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2010 7:29 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The production and sale of college football-related art is a multi-billion dollar business* in the state of Alabama, and no one profits from it more than Daniel A. Moore , the Birmingham-based artist whose oil paintings of famous moments in Alabama football history have made him a household name statewide. An example from last year's narrow escape against Tennessee :
Each and every Moore production is wildly anticipated (and eventually purchased by the thousands) by Crimson Tide fans in much the same way indie rock geeks salivate over their favorite band's next release.
Auburn fans, however, haven't had any equivalent single artist to turn to for their artistic needs. But maybe that's just a case of not having the right artist with the right motivation. Not surprisingly, budding Heisman candidate/Auburn folk hero Cam Newton may just be that motivation, as painter Carolyn Foret describes on her website:
Inspiration hit me fast last weekend! Pardon me right now, Alabama fans or those not interested in football! But CAM NEWTON came to life on my easel after watching him superman himself into the end zone a couple of times for my team, AUBURN UNIVERSITY.What does that life look like? Like this:
A gauntlet may have just been thrown down in Mr. Moore's direction. Maybe more to the point: if you needed any better evidence of the hold Newton and his seismic impact already have on the imaginations of Auburn fans, you've got it.
*Possibly a slight exaggeration.
HT: @warblogle .
Posted on: October 20, 2010 6:15 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Check out any of this week's multitude of Internet Heisman polls you like, CBS Sports's included , and you'll notice they'll have two things in common: 1. Cameron Newton 2. LaMichael James . Sure, James occasionally comes in a narrow third to Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, and there's even a few random holdouts declaring someone other than Newton to be the leader, but the consensus is universal that both Newton and James are in the very thick of the Heisman race.
This is significant because both Newton and James, like the polls, have something unfortunate in common: high-profile arrests.
By now, virtually every college football fan knows that while at Florida in 2008, Newton purchased a stolen laptop and tossed it out a window when a police investigation located it in his dorm room. (Those fans and even occasional writers, anyway, who aren't under the frequent misapprehension that Newton stole the computer himself.) Fans outside the west coast may have forgotten in James's blistering start, however, that James was suspended for Oregon 's season-opener after being arrested on three charges stemming from a domestic violence incident.
At the time, many pundits opined that Heisman voters would pass on supporting the candidacy of a player associated in any way with a domestic violence arrest. (James eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge and was sentenced to 24 months probation.) Similarly, some writers and even a minority of Auburn fans wondered whether even Newton's tremendous physical talent was worth the risk of recruiting and signing a player tarred as a thief and character risk.
But at midseason, with both players in the midst of brilliant, Heisman-worthy seasons, those concerns appear to be the very furthest thing from the trophy-tracking media's -- and potentially Heisman voters' -- minds. When Newton's past is referenced at all, it seems to be placed within the context of his redemption as charismatic team leader and even selfless community volunteer . (If you watched CBS' broadcast of the Auburn-Arkansas game, you know that Newton aspires to one day open his own day care center .) James's arrest and suspension seems to have become an afterthought as soon as he exploded for his eye-popping 72-yard touchdown run against Tennessee .
As far as this blogger is concerned, this is as it should be. Media members (or Heisman voters) trying to parse what off-field missteps would be worth altering coverage or opinions and which ones wouldn't opens up all kinds of messy ethical dilemmas and value judgments that aren't worth bothering with; if a player is on the field, what happens on the field is (almost always) the only fair criterion for which they should be judged.
But whether you agree with that position or not, the larger, more important lesson to learn from Newton's and James' unambiguous success (and resulting Heisman standing) is that once the on-field exploits are spectacular enough, the off-field mistakes simply aren't going to matter.
In mid-season, with Newton and James providing us fresh highlights and mind-blowing stats on a weekly basis, this seems blatantly obvious -- "analysis" on par with "that Les Miles sure makes some unorthodox decisions" or "maybe Virginia Tech shouldn't have tried playing James Madison five days after Boise." But we'll all do well to remember it come the offseason, when the next Newton or James gets in legal hot water and we're assured this is a major setback for the player's reputation and profile.
The 2010 Heisman race suggests that unless the offense committed is one serious enough to keep him away from his entirely, it simply won't be.
Posted on: October 20, 2010 3:02 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Let's start with the actual college football information provided by Les Miles ' appearance at today's SEC coaches media teleconference, namely, that he and defensive coordinator John Chavis are not planning on deploying a quarterback spy to help keep Auburn quarterback/hellbeast Cameron Newton in check:
No, I'm not sure what "other very talented perimeter" means. Or "when he throws it or hands it off, it's a very talented group," either, exactly. But the point is clear enough: Miles isn't going to assign a spy to Newton, which makes some sense when you consider that the most effective defense against him to date has been to drop as many players into zone coverage as possible.
Of course, all we really know is that Miles isn't going to assign a visible spy. Since he makes it clear that if he can find a way to put a transparent 12th defender on the field, he will:
When asked how he would defend Newton otherwise, Miles respnded, "If I could have a spy no one could see, a guy on the field that didn't count, that would be a great answer."If this was any other head coach, we'd all have a good laugh at his debonair wit and move along to the next question. But since this is Les Miles we're talking about, there's no point in pretending we're not going to be watching very carefully Saturday to see if Newton suddenly falls to the ground for no apparent reason. If he can win that North Carolina game ... and that Tennessee game ... and that Flordia game ... well, finding a way to turn a defender invisible and sneaking him onto the Jordan-Hare Stadium field doesn't seem like such an impossible task.
Posted on: October 19, 2010 5:13 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 5:19 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
If you watched Auburn 's mad, mad, mad, mad 65-43 win over Arkansas Saturday, you know that SEC replay officials upheld a pair of highly questionable calls that both resulted in Tiger touchdowns: one, an apparent Mario Fannin fumble at the Razorback goal line that had been ruled to have crossed the plane of the goal, and two, a Broderick Green fumble that may have occurred after his knee was down and was returned by Auburn's Zac Etheridge for a backbreaking fourth-quarter score.
So, if you also have some tiny inkling of human nature and the nature of college football fans in the SEC in particular, you have an idea of what's coming next: all manner of rage, invective, and mockery directed in the officials-in-question's direction. The Razorback powers-that-be wasted no time in registering their complaints to the league :
Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long said Monday in a release the school is petitioning the Southeastern Conference concerning “several officiating calls and review decisions” made Saturday in a 65-43 loss at Auburn ...Translation: Dude, we are so freaking ticked off right now, you have no idea . But of course, Hog fans aren't bound to follow any rules of "decorum" in getting their gripe on, and if you're as enterprising as Fayetteville's McDonald Eye Associates , you can even score some sweet free publicity in the process :
Fayetteville-based McDonald Eye Associates is taking it upon itself to make sure Arkansas doesn’t have any more questionable officiating. The company said in a release Tuesday it will offer free laser vision surgery to any on-field or replay booth official from Saturday’s Arkansas-Auburn game ...There's really only three words to type in response, right? Well Played, Sirs .
Posted on: October 18, 2010 12:57 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 3:24 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
By any measure, Auburn 's 2010 season to-date has been a stunning success. Gene Chizik 's Tigers are sporting a surprising 7-0 record, the No. 4 ranking in the initial BCS rankings, and potentially sole possession of first place in the rugged SEC West after this week's visit from fellow unbeaten LSU . (Which, by the by, you can watch at 3:30 ET this Saturday, only on ... wait for it ... CBS!)
But those accomplishments have all been earned despite the struggles of an increasingly flammable secondary, one that suffered a 428-yard, five-touchdown carpet bombing at the hands of Arkansas last week and now ranks 108th in the country against the pass. Auburn fans might have argued that things couldn't possibly get worse after that performance, but no, things can actually get worse: Chizik has announced that injured starting safety Aairon Savage will have surgery today and is officially "out for a while."
Unofficially, however -- according to other reliable reports out of Auburn , anyway [Nevermind--see below.--ed.] -- Savage has broken multiple bones in his leg and is unlikely to return this season. It's a heartbreaking development for Savage, a sixth-year senior who had already lost consecutive seasons to a torn Achilles tendon and an ACL tear before being granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
But it's hardly good news for Auburn, either. The Tigers will likely replace Savage with fourth-year junior Mike McNeil , who missed all of 2009 himself with a broken leg suffered during Auburn's spring game. The next safety up in the rotation? Either sophomore walk-on Ikeem Means or true freshman Demetruce McNeal , neither of whom have ever started a collegiate game.
It gets even worse for the Tigers from there. Current nickelback T'Sharvan Bell was forced to leave the Arkansas game with what's reported to be a hamstring injury and might not be ready for LSU, forcing Auburn to turn to either converted high school quarterback Chris Davis (also a true freshman) or sophomore Anthony Morgan . Again: neither has ever started a game at Auburn. Take one of the worst secondaries in the nation, subtract two of its top five players, replace them with underclassmen, and what do you get? Auburn may really, really not want to find out.
If there's any silver lining to this thunderhead, it's that LSU's 113th-ranked passing offense -- fresh off throwing for all of 54 yards against FCS McNeese St. -- doesn't look poised to take advantage of Auburn's issues this particular week. But if Auburn wants to stay undefeated and in the thick of the BCS race, McNeil is going to have to step into the void with authority, and Chizik will have to find some way of keeping his beleaguered unit afloat.
UPDATE: According to a report in Savage's hometown Albany Herald , Savage has broken a bone in his ankle and could return as soon as six weeks. That would give him a chance to be ready for the season-ending Iron Bowl or potential SEC Championship game, and certainly by Auburn's bowl game. Good news.