Tag:Florida State
Posted on: August 9, 2008 6:08 pm

These teams had the five best offseasons

A minimum of off-field knuckleheadedness and nothing but positive vibes for these five programs ...

Florida Atlantic: The head coach is coming off a conference title, bowl win and contract extension at age 74. If the Good Lord is willing, Howard Schnellenberger will go until he is 84 and somehow get the Owls into a better league by the time he's done. Eighteen starters return from an 8-5 team. The first four weeks include trips to Texas, Michigan State and Minnesota. Am I crazy for thinking the Owls will beat (at least) one of those teams?

North Carolina: Butch Davis should have the Heels in a bowl in his second season. The top eight rushers and top nine receivers return along with quarterback T.J. Yates who is recovering from shoulder surgery. Assistant John Blake already is showing his worth in recruiting.  The Heels lost six games by seven points or less last season. There's no Clemson, Florida State or Wake Forest on the schedule. A second-place finish in the Coastal Division isn't out of the question.

Ohio State: Duh, right? The thing that gets me is that 13 juniors explored their draft worth in the offseason. Only one, Vernon Gholston, left. That means there are at least 12 other players on the roster who would at least be in an NFL camp at this point. Then The Vest landed the nation's best recruit (Terrelle Pryor). You know I love the Bucks on paper (No. 1 in CBSSports.com preseason top 25). A third BCS title game berth looks likely, even if they lose to USC.

Ole Miss: Ed Orgeron recruited like a mother. Unfortunately, the talent didn't translate to wins in time. Houston Nutt inherits a team that could be the surprise of the SEC West. The defense gets back its top 14 tacklers. Texas transfer Jevan Snead is ready to go at quarterback. One-time five-star recruit Jerrell Powe got eligible a couple of weeks ago. Coming off its first winless SEC season since 1982 don't be surprised to see the Rebels in a bowl game. 

Thanks, Ed.

Texas Tech: Yeah, I know. The Red Raiders are everybody's darling. Mike Leach's spread option might be the most productive in the nation. Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree are a year older and wiser. But the defense has been upgraded too (you only need a little in the Big 12) and Texas has to come to Lubbock. Anything less than 10 victories should be considered a disappointment.

Posted on: July 14, 2008 11:47 pm

Eight schools, 12 great dynasties

These are other great college football dynasties to go along with the Pete Carroll story...

Alabama, 1961-66, 1971-79: The two-time defending champions went 11-0 in 1966 and finished <em>No. 3</em> in the final polls. Bear's second run included national championships in 1973, 1978 and 1979. Bama is spending $4 million a year on Nick Saban in hopes of getting back to those days.

Army 1944-50: Doc Blanchard, Glenn Davis, Red Blaik and consecutive national championships in 1944-45. There were three in a row if you count the Helms Athletic Foundation giving Army its No. 1 ranking in 1946, which we don't.

Florida State 1987-2000: Fourteen consecutive years with a top four finish in the AP poll. From upset kings to ACC kings, FSU ruled the country in that span, at least as far as the Florida panhandle. Bowden is hoping for national title No. 3 before Jimbo Fisher takes over.

Miami , 1983-2002: The Canes changed everything from fashion to end-zone celebrations to the game itself.  It's hard to argue with five national championships under four different coaches. This dynasty lasted so long that a member of the 1987 title team, Randy Shannon, is now the coach.

Nebraska, 1970-1999: Nebraska started dominating college football with Bob Devaney's back-to-back championships in 1970-71. Tom Osborne went on to win 84 percent of his games from 1973-97. That included three national championships and 13 conference titles.

Notre Dame, 1919-30, 1943-49: Knute Rockne won 105 games in 13 years establishing the Fighting Irish -- and college football -- as a national passion. Frank Leahy won 86 percent of his games including four national championships in two different coaching terms.

Oklahoma, 1948-58, 1971-85: Bud Wilkinson was the mastermind behind what might be the most unbreakable record in the game, 47-consecutive victories. The second run includes Barry Switzer's three national championships in 1974, 1975 and 1985. Bob Stoops has a nice little run going himself with a championship and five Big 12 titles this decade.

USC, 1967-1979, 2002-present:  John McKay and John Robinson combined to win seven Rose Bowls and four national championships in the first dominant 13-year run. Pete Carroll came within 19 seconds of becoming the first coach to win three consecutive national championships in 2005.

Posted on: July 11, 2008 12:36 pm

The final word on The $4 Million Dollar Man

Bill Martin is a businessman, a great one judging by his resume. A billion-dollar developer of residential and commercial property, Michigan's AD also founded the Bank of Ann Arbor before moving to the athletic side.

It's hard to figure, then, how Martin ever let it get to this point at Michigan. Columnists with a lot more business acumen than me have been torturing keyboards this week in the analysis of Rich Rodriguez' buyout agreement. See, it isn't an agreement at all. It was a bailout. Michigan is picking up $2.5 million of the $4 million Rich Rod owes West Virginia.

Martin had to know it was going to end this way -- with his coach owing the entire $4 mil and Michigan paying part of the bill. I have questions. Then, below, I have some comments from Rodriguez from a June interview.

--Did Martin, that shrewd businessman, read the court documents? In hindsight, it was a fairly cut-and-dried deal.

--How did he not tell Rodriguez that the coach didn't have much wriggle room on this one? In the end the issue was simple: The coach's name was on the contract agreeing to the buyout.

--Assuming Martin did his due diligence why wasn't this issue addressed before, or shortly before, Rodriguez signed at Michigan? Shoving the two-ton elephant to the corner is the exact same thing Rodriguez did when he signed his last West Virginia contract.

Instead, Rodriguez, West Virginia and Michigan were needlessly dragged through the mud. Obama has handlers to spin things when the presidential candidate dares to deviate from his well-crafted script.

Colleges have, well, I've said this for years ... College athletics needs an image consultant. From ham-handed SIDS and public information officers (the overwhelming majority are great people, by the way), to despotic coaches to bankers-turned-AD, the industry knows squat about crisis management. It knows how to let coaches shut down practices. It knows how to limit media access to players whose scholarships are subsidized by the public. It knows how to let a coach chase rainbows in court.

Just being congenial human beings sometimes is a lost art. We long for fall Saturdays and March Madness. We get seat licenses sucking loyal alums dry. We get tuition increases to pay for flat screens in players' lockers. We get ... corporate b.s. There's a situation in Kansas right now involving the university and a local T-shirt maker. Larry Sinks owns JoeCollege.com in Lawrence, Kan. (please, look it up). Kansas contends in a lawsuit that Sinks' is selling unlicensed Kansas gear.

Sinks does not use Kansas trademarks or logos. In fact, the shirts are some of the most devious and creative I've ever seen.

--In reference to overweight coach Mark Mangino: Our Coach is Phat!
--Same reference: Our Coach Can Eat Your Coach
--Transpose the first letters and you'll find out what KU thinks of rival Missouri: Muck Fizzou

Kansas is no different from most schools when it comes to "officially licensed" merch. It is tired, old, over-priced and pretty much sucks. As a longtime consumer of logo gear let me say this: Creativity (and affordability) go out the door when licenses are signed.

The school, obviously, is making a killing on its stuff after winning basketball's national championship. According to Sinks, he is trying to get through life day to day after being slapped with the lawsuit. His storefront on Massachusetts St. in Lawrence is unassuming and modest. But apparently Kansas has determined Sinks has established a lucrative beach head in raiding the school's coffers.

Kansas essentially is trying to say it owns the rights to the color blue and the word "Kansas". The case could be landmark if the jury decides that a shirt with the phrase "If You Mess With The Bird, You Get The Beak," constitutes a licensing violation.

The state itself is named after the Kansa Indian tribe. Using NCAA logic, the school should be barred from wearing anything with the word "Kansas" on it. The NCAA has set arbitrary rules for schools using Indian nicknames. How is Illini "hostile and abusive", as the NCAA put it, and the state name, Illinois, isn't. Both refer to Indian tribes?

How "Seminoles" is less offensive than Indians or Tribe (William and Mary) is a case of palms being greased. The Seminole tribe has a business arrangement with Florida State.

Anyway, back to Rich Rod. Back in June he told me that West Virginia's intent was extend the lawsuit into the fall; not only bleed him dry but distract him from his job. With fall practice looming, it became time for everyone to move on.

Here is Rodriguez' take on the issues taken from that early June interview in Ann Arbor:

 "I was always pushing for things for the program at West Virginia. But that was my job. People say I was petty. I was thinking the other way.

"I was told (by administration), 'Don't worry about (the buyout) ...  We'll reduce it or eliminate it. I don't believe in buyouts.' That's what I was told by the No. 1 boss at the school (president Michael Garrison).

"(I was told), 'We've got to get (the contract) done right now. There's pressure from the governor, to the board to the president.' Maybe I should have had an attorney present. I was getting ready to start practice in a week.

"I probably didn't tell enough in my deposition, how many times I was told, 'Just trust us." That phrase, 'Just trust me,' went on for five or six months.

"I had a meeting with the president before I left. One of the things I said was, 'Here I've been at a place seven years and we've done some pretty good things. You're telling me no to everything. Where there's another school with great tradition, great opportunity telling me, yes.' I said 'I'm getting confused. It should be the other way around.' That was probably the most shocking thing to me, the actions of the president."

Finally, let's end this mega-blog with an anecdote. Shortly after Rodriguez took the Michigan job, his wife Rita was back in West Virginia grocery shopping. A bag boy noticed the Michigan plates while taking the groceries to her car.

"When you go back to Michigan, tell that guy Rodriguez, 'Blah, blah, blah,' Rodriguez quoted the bag boy as saying.

"That's my husband," Rita Rodriguez said.

"Why did he leave?" the bagger replied.

After relaying the story, Rodriguez leaned back and said, "It's time to move on."

Consider that the last words on the subject. Aren't you ready for some football, Michigan?


Posted on: May 18, 2008 11:39 pm
Edited on: May 19, 2008 7:27 am

A look into a college president's mind

I'm beginning to understand why Florida State is in the middle of an academic fraud scandal. Its president is clueless on a lot of issues. T.K. Wetherell showed a sometimes stunning lack of knowledge during a college football forum last week in Dallas.

The lowlights ...

T.K. to reporters: "The press, and I've dealt with them in politics, I've dealt with them now as a university president, in the five years I've been at Florida State, I have never seen anyone in the press say, "Oops, I'm sorry, I missed that one," or "I got it wrong."

 I have a list in my office of about 36 issues that have been written relative to Florida State University that are factually incorrect. They have been printed, put on the TV or in the newspaper, and I can show you from an impartial standpoint, that is not a true

statement that was made. I have taken that to the given editor and shown it to him. Not one time has anybody stood up and said, "You know, you're right."

D&E: You're wrong about that one, T.K. Every newspaper that I know of prints corrections on a regular basis. You could stoke a fire with the newsprint devoted to corrections in USA Today on a daily basis. This is not to rip the four-color. It's merely to point out that we do police ourselves.

"Impartial standpoint"? You're anything but impartial. You played ball at Florida State for an assistant named Bowden. You've been president at FSU since 2003. Perhaps the editors you're approaching are the impartial ones and don't consider your gripes necessarily to be corrections.

T.K.: "You tell me you treat my athletes like students and make them abide by the same rules, et cetera. They're held to a totally different standard. It's absolutely different when you're an athlete, and probably ifyou're an athlete ... you're probably held to a different standard than you are at some other school, some other place.

"It doesn't make it right. I know it's a fact, but I think the press ought to think long and hard before they write some of those stories. It's amazing to me that I see an athlete rung up for a DUI when it's on the front page of the Tallahassee

Democrat. Two pages over, three people get murdered, and it doesn't really seem to matter."

D&E: Wow, where to start on this one?

T.K. you've got to be kidding if you don't understand that every play on your football team is a public figure. That happens the moment he signs that letter of intent, whether you like it or not. Players should be held to a higher standard. They're players, the highest profile representatives of a university in many cases.

Classy of your to use the murder analogy but it doesn't fit. "Doesn't seem to matter?" Show me a paper that doesn't properly cover a triple murder. If it wasn't for a diligent media, those murders wouldn't be covered. Neither would your misbehaving Seminoles when they step out of line. It's up to the media to be a public watchdog not "cut them some slack," as you said, when players get in trouble.

T.K: (on his school's academic scandal that broke last year) Hell's bells, they (media) had it so screwed up, they couldn't even figure it out. They had people ineligible that were walk-ons that were graduating and just didn't want to go, so they didn't go. They decided, well, they had done something in some class. We couldn't say you're wrong, and we sure as hell couldn't say you're right.

"So the press' obsession with scooping one another to find out the names, to me the press

should have controlled themselves in that case. They were the ones that were creating the feeding

frenzy, not the students, not the university."

D&E: Yeah, those tutors writing papers for football players were completely blameless. So was the academic climate at FSU that allowed it to happen.

T.K.:  "I think you'd treat the athlete just like you would treat a music major or whatever. Why differentiate? Why differentiate between them?"

D&E: Because the athletes are using taxpayers money for their scholarships. Because they have to be accountable. Because they play in front of millions of people each week. Because the music major doesn't make money for the university. Because ... wait, is this guy serious?

<o:p> </o:p>

T.K.:  "Let me suggest two things the media could do ...

"I think you ought to get out of the blog business in your newspaper, because it's severely hampering your reputations, and it's become a thing to do. If y'all want to set up a blog page over here, then blog to your heart's content, but when you do it under the name of the stpetetimes.com or whatever, people assume that you believe that and that's part of your paper. And whether you like it or not, that is you. You are accepting, I think, liability, quite frankly. But that's another issue.

"The second thing you need to do ... you call one of the coaches and you want to do a nice fluff piece on a player,

and you do your fluff piece on the player, and somewhere in there the kid said, yeah, I did something wrong in my youth, I drank a beer, I smoked dope, whatever. Well, you go write that. Maybe just one sentence in there, but you turn that in to your editor, and you know what, you don't write the headline, somebody else writes the headline. "Reformed drug dealer making a name for himself at Ohio State" is what the damn thing says. The article is really pretty good, but the headline is a killer."

D&E: Let me suggest two things you can do with those opinions ...

Seriously, blogs are here to stay. Look, I don't particular enjoy having to blog about the crazy uncle at this college football forum. Blogs aren't perfect and they're still evolving. I can't define what a blog is but at least with us you get a name attached to it. If you have a problem with something I write, you know where to complain.

I think what you're upset about, T.K., are the guys sitting at the keyboard in their underwear in their parents' basement. That's not us, at least it's not me. I'm actually wearing a tank top and sipping a glass of Orvieto at this moment.

Point 2: Thank God, writers don't write their own headlines. Every story needs at least one other set of eyes on it. That's why there are copy editors who know what a headline count is. Headline writing is a craft. Kind of like institutional control, T.K. Look into it.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: May 18, 2008 11:26 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2008 11:30 pm
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