Posted on: September 1, 2011 6:09 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 6:28 pm

Mississippi State suspends 5 players vs. Memphis

Mississippi State suspended five players, including starting DT Fletcher Cox, for Thursday night's game at Memphis for violating team rules, the school announced.

The other suspended players were freshman LT Blaine Clausell, who was listed as a co-starter at left tackle, Dylan Favre, Chris Hughes and Malcolm Johnson.

Favre was listed as the Bulldogs' back-up quarterback. Hughes, a sophomore linebacker, and Johnson, a freshman wide receiver, are not listed on MSU's two-deep.

All five players are expected to return for the Bulldogs' next game, Sept. 10 at Auburn, a MSU spokesperson said.

Posted on: September 1, 2011 5:10 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 5:43 pm

Ohio State suspends 3 key players for Akron game

Ohio State suspended starting running back/punt returner Jordan Hall and starting cornerback Travis Howard and back-up cornerback Corey Brown for Saturday's game with Akron for receiving impermissible benefits of $300 or less each at a charity event they attended earlier this year.

The Buckeyes already were without RB Dan Herron, WR Devier Posey, OL Mike Adams and DL Solomon Thomas, part of last year's infamous Tattoo Five. Those four plus former QB Terrelle Pryor were allowed to play in last season's Sugar Bowl and had their suspensions delayed until this year. Also, LB Jordan Whiting had been previously suspended for the Akron game.

According to the school Ohio State's actions were "consistent with past practice" and "the university immediately reviewed this information and self-reported the infractions to the NCAA and the Big Ten."

Ohio State has filed for the players' reinstatement for the remainder of the 2011 season, but the university said it also is considering institutional sanctions for these student-athletes.

"We take this matter seriously," Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. "Our commitment to institutional integrity is steadfast, and we must hold everyone associated with our athletics programs accountable for lapses in judgment.  We believe in transparency with the NCAA, all regulatory bodies and all of Buckeye Nation."

The university, which self-reported the violations, said it will have no further comment on the violations.

Posted on: August 30, 2011 8:06 pm

LeGrand joins Rutgers radio network

When I spoke with Rutgers senior Eric LeGrand last month, the former Scarlet Knights defensive tackle said he planned on attending all of RU's home games this season.

That plan remains in place, but now LeGrand will be attending Rutgers' home games in a different role - as an analyst for the Rutgers Football Radio Network.

LeGrand will be on the broadcast for a segment during the pre-game show, at halftime and on the post-game show for every game this season. LeGrand will attend the home games and will call in for his segments for Rutgers' road games.

"I think it's really cool," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "He's going to do post (game), pre (game) and halftime. So we're going to get our 'E-Rock' report."

LeGrand wants to be a sports broadcaster after graduation. During the Scarlet-White spring game, LeGrand spent the third quarter calling the action for RVision, the official broadband network of Rutgers Athletics.

The Rutgers Division of Intercollegiate Athletics also has announced the establishment of the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund” to support Eric LeGrand and his family. LeGrand suffered a spinal cord injury Oct. 16, 2010 vs. Army and was paralyzed.

However, LeGrand told me his goal is not only to walk again, but run onto the field at High Point Solutions Stadium.

"I can't wait to run out the tunnel with 'my' team," LeGrand told "I can't control it, I have to play the waiting game and pray to God every night, every day. He's blessed me so far. I have to believe He will continue to do so."

Contributions to the LeGrand fund are not tax deductible and can be made by sending a check payable to the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund” to:

“Eric LeGrand Believe Fund”
PNC Wealth Management
Attn: Kimberly G. Kingsland, Senior Trust Advisor
One Palmer Square Suite 201
Princeton, NJ 08542

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 22, 2011 11:08 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2011 11:12 pm

C-USA QBs causing some sleepless nights

Defensive coordinators John Skladany of UCF and Andre Patterson of UTEP might want to get some extra shut eye in the next two weeks. Because once the season starts, they’ll be having their share of sleepless nights.

Conference USA returns a national-best four quarterbacks that threw for at least 3,000 yards last season – East Carolina’s Dominique Davis, Southern Miss’ Austin Davis, Tulsa’s G.J. Kinne and SMU’s Kyle Padron.

UCF and UTEP each have to face those four quarterbacks this fall – and it’s even worse for Patterson’s UTEP club, who also has to play Houston and likely NCAA record holder Case Keenum, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility.

“I think four or five years from now, people will look back and say ‘Wow, all those guys came out of that league,’ ” Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora said.

Nine of C-USA’s 12 schools return their starting quarterbacks. Besides Keenum, Dominique Davis (3,967 yards passing, 37 TDs), Padron (3,828, 31 TDs), Kinne (3,650 yards, 31 TDs) and Austin Davis (3,103, 20 TDs), other returnees include UAB’s Bryan Ellis (2,940 yards, 25 TDs), UCF’s Jeff Godfrey (2,159 yards, 13 TDs) and Tulane’s Ryan Griffin (2,371, 14 TDs).

“The non-BCS schools have to play ‘up’ in non-conference games so you better be doing something a little bit different and take some chances in games with schemes or you’re going to have a tough time winning all four non-conference games,” SMU coach June Jones said. “The quarterbacks are benefiting. They’re spreading the field and doing something different and each team has their own mark.”

C-USA also returns a national-best six quarterbacks who threw 20 or more touchdowns last season.

“They’re all so versatile and they’re also great leaders,” East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeil said. “Which is not easier said than done.”

Even without Keenum last year, C-USA still had seven of the nation’s top 40 quarterbacks in passing yards per game, including four of the top 18.

“It’s an offensive league,” UTEP coach Mike Price said. “But you’re going to win it on defense if you can just slow some people down.”

All of the league’s offensive firepower has taken a huge toll on C-USA defenses. Last year, seven league teams ranked among the nation’s 27 worst defenses in passing yards allowed.

“If you don’t like going against the best [quarterbacks], then you’re not one to be in this conference,” UCF defensive end Darius Nall said.
Posted on: August 19, 2011 9:34 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2011 10:03 am

Biggest AP preseason poll busts since 2001

Take a good long look at the top 10 teams in the Associated Press preseason poll released today because based on the past decade, chances are at least one will not finish the season ranked in the Top 25. Who do you think that team will be?

The AP preseason top 10:

1. Oklahoma
2. Alabama
3. Oregon
4. LSU
5. Boise State
6. Florida State
7. Stanford
8. Texas A&M
9. Oklahoma State
10. Nebraska

In the past 10 years, nine teams ranked in the preseason Top 10 finished the season out of the Top 25 in the final poll.

Since 2001, Tennessee has been the biggest preseason bust. The Volunteers were ranked No. 3 in the 2005 preseason poll, but finished 5-6 and unranked.

The Volunteers also have the distinction of being the only school in the last 10 years that finished the season not in the final rankings twice after being ranked among the top 10 preseason teams.

In 2002, Tennessee was No. 5 in the preseason poll, but an 8-5 record left the Volunteers out of the Top 25. Last season, Texas also was No. 5 in the preseason poll, but finished 5-7.

In the last 10 years 26 percent of the teams – or 6.5 teams per year – that were ranked in the Top 25 preseason poll were not ranked in the final AP poll. Last year, nine teams ranked in the Top 25 preseason poll were nowhere to be found when the final poll was released led by preseason No. 5 Texas.

Here’s a look at the biggest busts based on the AP preseason poll since 2001:

Year-PreRank School (final record)

2005–No. 3 Tennessee (finished 5-6)
2010–No. 5 Texas (finished 5-7)
2002–No. 5 Tennessee (finished 8-5)
2008–No. 9 Clemson (finished 7-6)
2002–No. 9 Washington (finished 7-6)
2003–No. 9 Virginia Tech (finished 8-5)
2008–No. 10 Auburn (finished 5-7)
2007–No. 10 Louisville (finished 6-6)
2002–No. 10 Nebraska (finished 7-7)
2001–No. 11 Oregon State (finished 5-6)
2006–No. 11 Florida State (finished 7-6)
2004–No. 12 Kansas State (finished 4-7)
2009–No. 12 Cal (finished 8-5)

Posted on: August 18, 2011 4:38 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 5:35 pm

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

In May, Adam Bates received his law degree and master's in Middle Eastern studies from Michigan. In 2007, he got his undergraduate degree in political science at Miami.

Bates, 26, is starting an internship with the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., next month. He is a bright young man, very bright.

He also happens to have been a walk-on offensive lineman at the University of Miami from 2003-05. He feels strongly about the hypocrisy of the NCAA and its "amateur athletics."

Bates told me he's been making these arguments for years, but the Miami situation hit home, so he made his feelings known with an impassioned take on his Facebook page Wednesday night.

"I have a hard time stomaching the party line that this is amateur athletics," Bates told me. "It's all about the money. The arm races, the [salaries of] coaches.

"The NCAA doesn't want to deal with this -- if it all. If not for [the media] discovering these situations, the NCAA would still stick its head in the sand. If [the media] sorted through everyone's laundry, they would find the same stuff that Yahoo did at Miami."

Bates' strong view on the so-called "amateur" aspect of college athletics:

"There is an awful lot of righteous indignation floating around college football lately. A man spending the next 20 years of his life in federal prison for fleecing investors out of more than $900 million says he gave some money and benefits to some Miami Hurricanes over the last 10 years. I'm not interested in talking about what did or didn't happen. I'm not interested in confirming or denying the spiteful ramblings of an insecure snitch with an inferiority complex. I'm interested in talking about hypocrisy.

"I want to talk about the hypocrisy of the NCAA and, by extension, its constituent school administrations; the very people who have enriched themselves so shamelessly on the backs of the kids they're soon to righteously delight in punishing.

"First, a little background: I had it easy at the University of Miami, and it often felt like it was too much to bear. I had an easier time in class than most of my teammates, and far less was expected of me on the football field. I went to school on academic money and I played football because I wanted to and because I had played my whole life, not because it was the only way for me to get through school or make a better life for myself and my family. I can't speak about what it's like to be a high profile recruit, an All-American, or a future NFL star and the pressures such statuses entail. But I can tell you this: College football is a grind.

"The NCAA says players put in 20 hours a week. Anybody who has spent any time around a college program knows that 60 is a better number. Then add 12 to 15 hours a week of class on top of that. Seventy-five hours a week, in exchange for a stipend mathematically designed to make your ends almost meet.

"The president of the NCAA makes more than $1 million a year. Any head coach worth his salt is making two or three times that. Talking heads at ESPN/ABC/CBS and the presidents of most major institutions join them in the seven-digit salary club.

"That's what this is really about, and people have to understand that. Why is it a problem for [former Georgia wide receiver] A.J. Green to sell his jersey when the NCAA sells 22 variations of the very same jersey? Why can't [former Ohio State quarterback] Terrelle Pryor get some free ink from a fan? Why don't people react the same way to that as they do to hearing that Peyton Manning is selling phones for Sprint or that Tiger Woods gets paid $100 million to wear Nike gear? What's the difference?

"The difference, as far as I can tell, is that the NCAA has done a wonderful job duping people into believing this multibillion-dollar-a-year industry is pursued for the sake of amateurism. It's a total sham. The coaches aren't amateurs, the administrators aren't amateurs, the corporate sponsors and media companies that make hundreds of millions of dollars a year on the backs of these players aren't amateurs. The only 'amateurs' involved are the guys doing all the work. Pretty nice racket if you can get it.

"The NCAA and ESPN are going to be telling you that some great kids are scumbags because they allegedly broke rules designed to keep them poor and implemented by people making money hand over fist. An ESPN shill in a $5,000 suit is going to ask you to morally condemn the kids who provide the framework for said shill to make enough money to afford that suit because those kids might have taken some free food and drinks. They're going to be called 'cheaters' despite the obvious fact that boat trips don't make you run any faster or hit any harder.

"Oklahoma gives Bob Stoops $3 million a year and nobody blinks. A car dealership in Norman gives [former OU quarterback] Rhett Bomar a couple hundred bucks and everyone wets themselves. Urban Meyer sat on TV this very day, making approximately $1,500 an hour to sit there and flap his lips, and was asked to judge a bunch of 20-year-old kids for allegedly accepting free food and drinks and party invites.

"Is that immense delusion intentional or do people actually not realize the hypocrisy they perpetuate?

"What's that you say? The rules are the rules? I call bull----. When the rules are propagated by the very same people they're designed to benefit, I say the rules must be independently justifiable. What is the justification for saying that A.J. Green can't sell his jersey? That he won't be an 'amateur' anymore? Doesn't the scholarship itself render him no longer an amateur by any objective definition? Doesn't the fact that Georgia spent hundreds of millions of dollars advertising itself to A.J. Green render him no longer an amateur? Doesn't he stop being an amateur when UGA promises him that his career at Georgia will net him NFL millions? Doesn't the fact that millions of dollars change hands thanks to the service he provides make him not an amateur?

"Is it because athletes should be treated like other students, lest they not appreciate the 'college experience?' Other kids get to sell their belongings, don't they? They get to go to parties and drink and throw themselves at women, don't they? They get to have jobs and earn their worth, don't they? And other kids don't spend 60 hours a week having their bodies broken or their spring mornings running themselves to death in the dew in the dark.

"It's nonsense. Unmitigated, indefensible nonsense. The players are ‘amateurs' for the simple reason that they're cheaper to employ that way. What is bad about giving a poor kid some money to spend? What is wrong with showing your appreciation for the service someone provides by giving them some benefit of their own? I'm supposed to believe it's wrong because the NCAA says it is?

"These players are worth far more than a free trip to the strip club and a trip around the bay on a yacht. A.J. Green is worth more to the NCAA and the University of Georgia than the cost of his jersey, and Terrelle Pryor is worth more than the value of a tattoo.

"I don't know much about players taking 'illegal benefits' and if I did I wouldn't be snitching about it like a lowlife, but I can tell you this: I hope to the bottom of my soul that every player in America is on the take, because they're getting shafted. The powers that be make too much money this way to ever change, and the rest of the country seems far too committed to delusions, institutional partisanship, and jealousy to see their own glass houses, so take what you can get while you can get it, youngbloods. You earned it."

Posted on: August 17, 2011 7:42 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 8:34 pm

Fiesta Bowl likely on the move - to Jan. 2, 2012

The Fiesta Bowl likely is moving – to another date.

The game could be moved up three days to Monday, Jan. 2, 2012 at 8:30 ET, sources told

Because of the uncertainty of the NFL lockout earlier this summer, the BCS only scheduled the Rose Bowl on Monday, Jan. 2, 2010 (5 p.m. ET) and didn’t schedule a game that night in case the NFL regular season schedule was pushed back a week and was required to play that night.

However, with the lockout settled and the NFL regular season schedule remaining the same – it ends on Jan. 1, 2012 – the Sugar, Orange and Fiesta bowls were given the opportunity by the BCS to move one of their games up to Monday night, Jan. 2.

The Sugar, which also hosts the BCS title game on Jan. 9, 2012, had the first opportunity but decided to remain on its original date of Jan. 3, 2012. The Orange also turned down an opportunity to move off Jan. 4, 2012.

The Fiesta Bowl, originally scheduled for Jan. 5, 2012, wants to make the move to Jan. 2, 2012, because it would draw higher television ratings by having a Rose Bowl lead-in game compared with playing on a Thursday night. Also since Jan. 2, 2012 is recognized as a holiday, it would be more easier for visiting fans to attend.

A Fiesta Bowl spokesman declined comment on the expected move.

The Arizona Republic reported the holdup whether the Fiesta Bowl will be moved depends on if the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, who host the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 1, will waive part of its stadium rights for crews to transform the stadium immediately after the game for the Fiesta Bowl. A Cardinals spokesman said told the Republic the Cardinals want to explore ways to make it happen. The NFL game is now scheduled for 4:15 p.m. ET at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Ironically, all three BCS bowl games that had the option to move also are hosting NFL games on Jan. 1. The N.Y. Jets play at Miami at Sun Life Stadium, Carolina visits New Orleans in the Louisiana Superdome and the Seahawks play the Cardinals in Glendale.

Here is the BCS bowl schedule if the Fiesta Bowl moves as expected:

Monday, Jan. 2, 2012–Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., 5 p.m. ET
Monday, Jan. 2, 2012–Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., 8:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012–Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, 8:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012–Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, 8 p.m. ET
Monday, Jan. 9, 2012–BCS title game in New Orleans, 8:30 p.m. ET

Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:33 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 1:36 pm

Emmert: no conference realignment summit

After NCAA president Mark Emmert read erroneous media reports that he planned to have a summit on conference realignment, he emailed several officials throughout intercollegiate athletics to clarify no meetings would take place. obtained the document Emmert sent out.

"I have been and will continue to engage individual presidents and commissioners about the reform effort that was launched last week as part of the Division I presidential retreat," Emmert wrote. "In that context, all constituents have been involved in meaningful discussion on how best to conduct our business, including conference realignments, in the best interests of student-athletes. Open and frank discussion is needed to ensure expected reforms are not derailed in any way. However, I have not proposed, nor do I have plans to propose a summit on conference realignment as recently reported by several media outlets. Such reports are simply in error."

Getting all the key players from the SEC, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten, ACC and Big East conferences together to discuss conference realignment would seem like a good idea for the future of college athletics. But an NCAA spokesman said that was never a consideration.

"Conference affilations are the purview of the conferences not the NCAA," said Bob Williams, the NCAA's vice president of communications.

I asked Williams if there also were legal reasons why Emmert wouldn't meet with the BCS conference commissioners.

"Antitrust is always an issue," he said.

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