Tag:Cam Newton
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:33 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 11:36 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Wisconsin 51, UNLV 17

Posted by Adam Jacobi

WISCONSIN WON. The No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers dispatched the UNLV Rebels Thursday night, 51-17, in front of a raucous crowd at Wisconsin's Camp Randall. Senior Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson was stellar in his much-anticipated Badger debut, completing 10 of 13 passes for 255 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in little over a half of work. Meanwhile, RB Montee Ball had 130 yards from scrimmage and four scores, also seeing limited duty before taking the rest of the night off. 

WHY WISCONSIN WON: Wisconsin won for the same reason it has over the last decade-plus: pure physicality. UNLV struggled all game long to maintain the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball, and once tailbacks like Ball, James White, and even freshman Melvin Gordon get a big lane, slowing down the Wisconsin attack is basically impossible. On the defensive side of the ball, Wisconsin struggled at times to keep UNLV from moving the chains, but the Rebels missed on their first eight thrid-down conversion attempts, and were stymied by missed field goals twice early in the game when the score was still close. 

WHEN WISCONSIN WON: As soon as Montee Ball high-stepped into the end zone over a would-be tackler for his second score of the day. We were barely halfway through the first quarter when Wisconsin put together its second easy touchdown drive of the day, and the Badgers would roll up a 51-3 lead after only eight possessions before calling off the dogs. 

WHAT WISCONSIN WON: For head coach Bret Bielema, today's game was a dream come true. His Badgers throttled UNLV early on and looked capable of hanging 70+ points on the beleaguered Rebels, but Bielema got his offensive stars out of the game early in the second half, and UNLV went on to outscore the Badgers 14-0 in the last 1.5 quarters. No, that's not the production Bielema wants out of his defense, but it is enough for him to keep the pressure on them and to avoid any sense of complacency. There were signs the defense had a lot to work on in rush defense even before the Rebels got into the end zone -- now Bielema has the touchdowns given up to prove it.  

WHAT UNLV LOST: The Rebels didn't lose a whole lot other than the game itself. The game was a prolonged act of brutality in the first half, and it was immediately obvious that UNLV wasn't going to win this game, but the offense settled down in the second half, put together a couple touchdown drives, and at the very least covered the ~35-point spread. Further, nobody was seriously injured, and the Rebels have now gotten their most physical opponent of the season out of the way. It sounds cliche, but if the Rebels can survive a game in Madison, they can survive anything anyone else will throw at them, and that can do wonders for a rebuilding team's confidence early in the season.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Russell Wilson looked fantastic throwing the ball with his 255 yards and two passing scores, but Wilson's play of the game came courtesy of his feet. With time winding down in the first half and the ball at UNLV's 46-yard line, Wilson took off on a scramble and wove through the Rebel defense, eventually gliding into the end zone on a sensational run that was immediately evocative of Cam Newton slicing through opposing defenses at Auburn last year. Wisconsin won't face a UNLV-caliber defense in the Big Ten, to say the least, but opposing defensive coordinators are going to be losing sleep after seeing that rush.

Posted on: August 26, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 4:26 pm
 

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

No, Les Miles is not responsible for Jordan Jefferson's arrest Friday on felony battery charges. No, we do not believe there is anything Miles could have done to prevent his senior starting quarterback from visiting Shady's bar in the wee hours of the morning of Aug. 18 and -- allegedly -- kicking a man in the head. No, it is not Miles's fault that Jefferson will not start the season opener against Oregon, and may very well never put on an LSU uniform again.

But if Jefferson's absence plays a direct role in the Tigers losing that game against Oregon? If the quarterback position he leaves behind causes LSU to fall short of the SEC championship that has eluded them since 2007? That you can blame Miles for. And you should.

We won't disagree with our colleague Dennis Dodd that LSU doesn't need Jefferson or any other "difference-maker" at quarterback to have a successful season. They don't even need one to win championships. The Tigers hoisted crystal footballs with Matt Mauck under center in 2003 and Matt Flynn in 2007, quarterbacks no one would deny were "serviceable" but that no one mistook for the first coming of Andrew Luck, either.

Here's where Dodd and I differ: he files backup-crowned-new-starter Jarrett Lee into the same "serviceable" vein as Mauck and Flynn. For his career, Lee has thrown just as many interceptions (18) as touchdowns, including tossing a nation-leading 16 in 2008. His career yards-per-attempt mark is a mediocre 6.6 and his career completion percentage an even-worse 53.5 percent, numbers that would have ranked him third-from-last and next-to-last in the SEC last season. If Lee is indeed serviceable, even that will be a huge step up from his career-to-date.

If he isn't? There's the fans' choice, JUCO transfer (and former Georgia Bulldog) Zach Mettenberger, who some thought could have a Cam Newton-like impact for the Tigers. But given that even the entirety of spring practice and the bulk of fall camp wasn't enough for Mettenberger to unseat Lee as second-string -- much less challenge Jefferson as the starter -- it seems unlikely Mettenberger is the savior LSU fans have been hoping for, either.

And the lesson of LSU's past two seasons is that if neither Lee nor Mettenberger are up to serviceability, the Tigers aren't winning an SEC championship. Yes, the LSU defense should be lights-out, but John Chavis's units were already 11th in the nation in scoring defense each of the past two years; they can't get much more lights-out than they already are. But thanks to an offense that finished dead last in the SEC in total offense in 2009 and 11th in 2010, LSU finished a combined five games out of first in the West anyway.

So why has Miles waited so long to find a solution to his team's quarterbacking dilemma? In 2008, Lee so thoroughly submarined the season with his interceptions (and the pick-sixes that still define his career, for most SEC fans) that Jefferson -- a lightly regarded recruit by LSU standards -- was named the starter in November. The only insurance Miles took out against Jefferson's failed development that offseason was the signing Chris Garrett, a previous Mississippi State commitment who disappointed LSU's coaches and has since left the team.

In 2009, Jefferson was actually mildly efficient as a quarterback, but still: worst in the SEC in total offense is worst in the SEC in total offense. Miles responded by signing four-star quarterback Zach Lee out of Texas. Too bad Lee had his sights set elsewhere; he signed a professional baseball contract and never so much as stood on a gameday sideline.

Miles may have finally solved his 2012 quarterback issues with the addition of Mettenberger to the 2011 class, but where this season is concerned, it may be too late. Whether by choice or simple failure, Lee's known mediocrity meant he was gambling the future of his quarterback position -- and arguably his team's title chances -- on the development of Jordan Jefferson and two risky recruits.

Miles is known for riding his luck, of course, and it's still to early to say for certain he's come up snake eyes this time. But we also won't be surprised if this one portion of mismanagement forces his team to walk away from the championship table once again.
Posted on: August 25, 2011 1:23 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 1:34 am
 

Miami to declare investigated players ineligible?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Of the dozens of Miami players named in Yahoo's now-infamous report from disgraced embezzler and Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, detailing a massive pattern of illegal benefits given to players over a period of nine years, 12 are still with the Hurricanes, awaiting word on the fate of their eligibility. That's a situation without a whole lot of extra time to be resolved, as the Hurricanes open up play just nine days from Thursday.

[MORE: Twelve current Miami players named in report] 

To that end, the Miami Herald is reporting that all 12 players are expected to be named ineligible by the university soon -- but with a better resolution in mind:

If it hasn’t already, the University of Miami is expected to declare the 12 or more football players being investigated by the NCAA ineligible within the next week if the school wants the NCAA to rule on their reinstatement in time for the season opener Sept. 5 at Maryland.

UM had not declared the players ineligible as of early Wednesday afternoon, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

This is, if nothing else, a precautionary step; by declaring the players ineligible, the school puts the players' fate in the hands of the NCAA rather than putting the players on the field and rolling the dice with NCAA penalties. The one single way Miami could face the most severe penalties from here on out is if the team knowingly lets players with eligibility problems compete anyway (look what knowingly putting Terrell Pryor and his friends back onto the field in 2010 did to Jim Tressel and Ohio State, for example). With a declaration of ineligibility for all players involved, Miami demonstrates a proper respect for NCAA rules and protocol.

Moreover, as the Herald article explains, the sooner these players are ruled ineligible, the more likely it is the NCAA rules on their punishment before the September 5 season opener against Maryland, which is the first day that ineligibility would truly matter. For example, as astute fans will recall, Cam Newton was declared ineligible by Auburn last season. Auburn quietly made the designation on the Tuesday prior to the SEC Championship Game, then happily announced Newton's reinstatement by the NCAA the very next day. While it's unlikely any of the 'Canes receive similar one-day vacations from eligibility, a ruling and subsequent course of punishment could come similarly quickly from the NCAA, and then at the very least the process back to the field will have begun for the players involved.

It's important to note that rulings on individual eligibility are separate from the NCAA's investigation into institutions, so even if the 12 players get their situations worked out within the next week or two, Miami itself is still in for what's probably a lengthy investigation. Here's more from the Herald:

Stacey Osburn, the NCAA’s associate director of public and media relations, told The Miami Herald in a phone interview that she could not comment on any specific cases, but elaborated on aspects of the process. In a reinstatement situation, any decision involves only that specific player and the facts presented. It is separate from the overall investigation of the institution, although if it is later found that a reinstatement decision is based on lies told by an athlete, the institution is subject to more severe penalties.

Still, as mentioned before, the 12 players don't have the luxury of waiting even two weeks (much less until the end of the investigation) before they need to have their eligibility resolved, so if and when Miami declares them all ineligible, it gets the ball rolling on putting them all back on the field, and it's therefore for their own good.

Posted on: July 26, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 5:34 pm
 

NCAA moves towards closing Newton loophole

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Aside from Auburn's fans and coaches, there didn't seem to be many people happy with the NCAA's decision last fall to rule Cam Newton eligible after his father Cecil Newton admitted he'd asked Mississippi State boosters for $180,000. That even goes for people who agreed with the NCAA's ruling, like president Mark Emmert, who stated plainly (as Gene Chizik will tell you) that the NCAA had no evidence to rule that Cam knew of his father's request or that the family had received benefits from anyone ... but also affirmed that "I think it's absolutely a fundamentally wrong for a father to try to sell the services of his son or daughter to the highest bidder."

And in the interests of protecting that stance, Emmerts's organization has moved towards making requests like Cecil's an eligibility-breaker in the future. An official release from the NCAA Tuesday details a proposal for an "expanded definition of agents," one that would "include third-party influences, including family members, who market student-athletes’ athletics ability or reputation for personal financial gain."

The statement reads:

The cabinet at its recent meeting in Indianapolis agreed to sponsor legislation for the 2011-12 cycle that would define agents as individuals who either directly or indirectly:

  • Represent or attempt to represent a prospective or current student-athlete in the marketing of his or her athletics ability or reputation for financial gain; or
  • Seek to obtain any type of financial gain or benefit from securing a prospect’s enrollment at an institution or a student-athlete’s potential earnings as a professional athlete.

The new definition would include certified contract advisors, financial advisors, marketing representatives, brand managers or anyone who is employed by or associated with such individuals.

The new definition also would apply to third parties, including family members, who shop prospects to various institutions for personal financial gain. In the past, the agent definition applied generally to third parties marketing an athlete’s skills to a professional sports team. The cabinet’s proposal expands the definition to include people marketing athletics skills to a collegiate institution for personal gain.

Under the new definition, Cecil would have been acting as Cam's "agent" and -- one would assume -- having an agent operating on his behalf (even without his consent) would have resulted in Cam's having been declared ineligible. The definition might also be broad enough to include the likes of "advisors" like Bryce Brown mentor Brian Butler (or, if certain allegations involving Oregon stick, Will Lyles.)

The proposal will be reviewed at the NCAA's 2011-2012 legislative session and could be put into effect as soon as April of next year.

If we play devil's advocate for a moment, we have to wonder if it's entirely fair to prospective athletes to pay the price in elgibility for others' actions they may have no control over. (Consider a scenario similar to the famous Albert Means case: if a high school coach goes behind a recruit's back and asks a school for money in order to push the recruit towards that school, how is that the player's fault? Would their college football career be ruined all the same?)

But all the same, Emmert is right that the attempted sales of athletes' services (whether that sale is completed or not) is "fundamentally wrong." If the NCAA believes the proposed legislation might help stamp out some of those sales pitches, it's legislation they must consider.

Posted on: July 22, 2011 2:47 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 3:12 pm
 

PODCAST: Florida LB Jon Bostic

Posted by Chip Patterson

Florida faces several challenges heading into the 2011 season. With a brand new coaching staff, new schemes on both sides of the ball, the Gators find themselves looking up to South Carolina in the SEC East. But Will Muschamp knows the Gators expect to be fighting for that SEC title, and this year's squad will try to reclaim that division crown.

CBSSports.com's Adam Aizer talks with junior linebacker Jon Bostic about the struggles of 2010, the hopes for 2011, and his thoughts on the new head coach.

Don't forget to Subscribe to the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast on iTunes


Posted on: July 20, 2011 1:39 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 2:13 pm
 

NCAA still sniffing around Auburn

Posted by Tom Fornelli

As Auburn head coach Gene Chizik recently found out in Destin, Florida after a rather testy exchange with NCAA Vice President of Enforcement Julie Roe Lach, the NCAA's investigation into Auburn is not over. More specifically, Chizik will "know when we're finished, and we're not finished." Now according to a report from outkickthecoverage.com, we know that the NCAA was in Montgomery asking questions as recently as last month.

According to the report, NCAA investigator Jackie Thurnes was in Montgomery interviewing a businessman with ties to the school.

As part of the latest round of investigation in Montgomery, Thurnes conducted interviews with Montgomery businessmen with relationships to Auburn University. Reached for comment by outkickthecoverage.com multiple individuals who spoke with Thurnes declined comment. Those interviews dealt with the NCAA's continuing probe of Cam Newton, but also focused on allegations levied on HBO's Real Sports by former Auburn player Stanley McClover. McClover told HBO that he'd been paid to play football for Auburn. The NCAA investigating McClover's claims is interesting because typically the NCAA statute of limitations on collegiate wrongdoing is four years. McClover last played at Auburn in January of 2006, but the NCAA reserves the right to expand the statute of limitations if there is a connection or pattern of wrongdoing.

Here's our original story on Stanley McClover

One allegation that Thurnes is reportedly looking into has to do with the suit Cam Newton wore to the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

One such individual, Thomas Buckelew, a tailor at Buckelew's Clothing for Men in Montgomery, Alabama, finds himself buffeted by allegations that he provided high-priced suits to Cam Newton at reduced costs. The very suits, you guessed it, that Newton wore at the Heisman ceremony. According to sources, Newton's suits, ties included, cost in excess of $4,000 each. NCAA investigator Jackie Thurnes was informed of this allegation, and the NCAA has spent time investigating its validity.

Since providing the suits at a reduced rate, if proven, would constitute an improper benefit and hence an NCAA violation, the NCAA has to take each allegation seriously. Indeed, last week Georgia Tech's 2009 ACC title was stripped for a mere $312 in improper clothing benefits.

When contacted by outkickthecoverage.com Buckelew admitted that he knew Newton and had worked with him but then said he'd "rather not get into it" and that he hasn't talked to anyone with the NCAA about his relationship with Newton. Buckelew also went on to say that he hopes the attention on him continues because it's been "good for business."

Maybe for him, but should these allegations turn out to be true and the NCAA keeps looking around and finds more violations at Auburn, it won't be very good for business at Auburn. 

Posted on: July 20, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 12:39 pm
 

Can the SEC renegotiate its TV contract or not?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The SEC's feeling pretty good about itself these days, and you don't even need to see the league's impressively unsubtle media guide cover (or equally to-the-point Media Days T-shirt) to know it. When you're in the middle of a streak of five-straight national titles, distributing record amounts of revenue to your member schools, watching your most prominent critic scramble in the wake of the Ohio State scandal, and just generally becoming more and more college football's resident 500-pound gorilla, a little bit of chest-puffing is going to come naturally.

In fact (assuming the continuing NCAA investigation into Cam Newton's eligibilty doesn't gain any more traction), there's really only one black lining to the SEC's giant silver cloud: its television contracts.

Yes, the same contracts primarily responsible for all that record-breaking revenue. The money they're generating today isn't a problem; it's the money they'll generate in the year 2023 that might be, when the 15-year deals the SEC signed with CBS and ESPN in 2009 will still be in effect.

As the even-more-lucrative deal signed by the Pac-12 this year illustrates -- a deal that still allows Larry Scott's league the right to start its own network, an option the ESPN-locked SEC doesn't have -- by the time 2015 or 2016 rolls around, the SEC will be being paid far less than market value for its product ... to say nothing of the start of the next decade. That the Big Ten's and Pac-12's conference networks promise to produce exponentially increasing revenue during the life of the SEC's (finanically static) contract must make the situation even more uncomfortable for Mike Slive.

Which is why he addressed the topic head-on in yesterday's chat with the Associated Press, promising that his conference would not be simply twiddling its televised thumbs for 13 more years (emphasis added):
"Obviously when we did our deal we set the pace, and in our contract we have a concept called look-ins," Slive said. "At periodic points during the life of the contract, we can sit down with ESPN and take a look-in and look at the status of television, technology, all aspects of television, and at that point make adjustments that the parties agree are appropriate to make sure that everything that we intended to achieve with the contracts would in fact be available to us."
Are we wrong in thinking this is Slive's veiled attempt at asserting that, yes, they will be asking ESPN for more money? That once that "status of television" has changed, the "look-in" will give him the opportunity to renegotiate the deal?

We don't think so. And if that's Slive's intent, it could make for some very interesting discussion at these "look-ins." Because when asked to comment on the SEC's contract in June, ESPN official Burke Magnus didn't sound particularly open to altering the basic terms of the contract (emphasis added):
"We knew when we made a 15-year deal that time was not going to stand still so we purposely built in these look-ins," Magnus said. "They don't reopen the deal. There's no outs. It's an opportunity for both of us to really take stock of where we are and see what we could be doing better."
There's a lot of wiggle room in both of these statements, of course, even before we account for the possible game-changer that would be SEC expansion. Slive could simply be referring to digital distribution or kickoff times on ESPN2 or any of a dozen other things. Magnus could simply be indicating that the SEC won't be jumping to another network, not ruling out his network giving the SEC a raise. But the plainest reading, we think, is that Slive is going to want some fundamental monetary change to the contract ... and that ESPN may dig in its heels against "reopening the deal."

As SEC Media Days begins today, Slive will have plenty to celebrate. But until he secures the same financial footing for his league that the Big Ten and Pac-12 enjoy -- not just today, but for the future -- he'll still have one major question hanging over his tenure. Here's to hoping SEC Media Days gives us something approximating an answer to it.


Posted on: July 15, 2011 4:52 pm
 

Friday Four Links (and a cloud of dust), 7/15

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

On certain Fridays we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.

THE FOUR LINKS ...

1. Sure, we love Twitter for its ability to get big news out quickly and allow fans (and, ahem, bloggers) to interact directly with their favorite athletes and coaches. But we love it even more for allowing college football players the chance to Tweet pictures of their teammates dressed up like Harry Potter:



That's Alabama offensive lineman Tyler Love, as photographed by Tide safety Will Lowery. We'll turn this whole site into a Tyler Love tribute page if, in the event Alabama wins another national title, he pulls a wand out of his sock and screams "Accio crystal football!" on the championship dais. 

2.
One of college football's most well-known annual charity events still isn't well-known enough. It's Penn State's yearly "Lift for Life," which last weekend raised nearly $100,000 for kidney cancer research. Over its nine-year run, the event has raised almost $600,000 and is growing each year. A video report:



Well done, Nittany Lions.

3. It was a busy week of comings-and-goings on the personnel front in the SEC. Ole Miss return man/receiver Jesse Grandy is now officially no longer a part of the Rebel roster. Georgia linebacker Richard Samuel has moved back to running back after moving to linebacker last year (and may have a better shot at playing time after Caleb King's recent departure). Former Auburn backup linebacker Jessel Curry has landed at Delaware. And new Virginia Tech lineman Brent Benedict confirmed that a conflict with Bulldog strength-and-conditioning coach Joe Tereshinski was responsible for his leaving Athens.

4. Fans of Michigan submitted designs for a Wolverine mascot as part of a contest at the Detroit News. Even though there's no way to make this work as an actual flesh-and-cloth presence on the sidelines, we thought we'd pass on our favorite anyway:



More schools should totally be represented by vaguely feminine fang-toothed anime killing machines, right? Am I right? (No, I am probably not right.)

AND THE CLOUD ...

We're not sure who's really talking up Southern Miss for an undefeated season (negotiating road trips to both Virginia and Navy in a three-week span won't be easy), but head coach Larry Fedora is surprisingly fine with that talk anyway ... Desmond Howard says Michigan should start retiring numbers again, numbers like, say, just to pick an example totally at random, Desmond Howard's ... Alshon Jeffery took to Twitter to dispel rumors he'd been arrested for a fight ... Former Tennessee receiver (and one-time Lane Kiffin recruiting coup) Nu'Keese Richardson has had another run-in with the law ... The schedule of players to be made available at the annual carnival of cray-cray that is SEC Media Days has been released ... Cam Newton made an appearance (of sorts) in a Jeopardy! Daily Double answer recently ... Mississippi State and Ole Miss play out their rivalry in a who-has-the-best-promotional-Intern
et-video
battle ... and, finally, though the Syracuse version was the first college-themed "pillow pet" to catch the Internet's eye ...



you should know there's a whole zoo of the things out there for purchase.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com