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Tag:Tennessee
Posted on: March 9, 2009 4:39 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2009 4:48 pm
 

Countdown for Bryce Brown

They are fasting by now, drinking only liquids.

The strategy worked last year when Arthur Brown Jr., his father, brother and advisor Brian Butler fasted for a week before the highly-touted linebacker made his college decision.  The story goes that the entire group was hit with a revelation that Arthur, a Wichita, Kan. prospect, should attend Miami.

The group is trying to enter the same physical and mental state as Brown's younger brother Bryce is less than a week away from making his college decision. Bryce's long anticipated announcement will come at a Monday press conference at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita.

Yes, it will probably be overdone. Yes, it will probably be faux dramatic. (Please, Bryce don't play us with the "hat tease".)  But we still can't stay away. No doubt there will be media there from all over the region and around the country. At least four schools -- Tennessee, Oregon, LSU and Kansas State -- will be hanging onto the kid's every word. It will be a recruiting website's wet dream.

But the story of Bryce's recruitment might not come to a flashy climax on Monday. Butler, the celebrated mentor, is under investigation by the NCAA. The association's assistant director of amateurism certification has been to Wichita to question a high school player who formerly trained under Butler.

Read between the lines and it seems the NCAA is trying to see if Butler has compromised the amateur status of any of the high school players he has trained.  That, or it might decide Butler should be disassociated from certain athletes. Fourteen months ago Butler quit his job at a T-Mobile call center to pursue training prospects full time.

Butler, 33, usually charges to train athletes $75 a month for one day a week and up to $200 a month for three days a week. On the surface, it's hard to see how Butler could be making a killing.

"Trust me, I can take you to my house right now and show you a stack of bills and show you my bank account," Butler told me in late January. "I wonder how they're going to get paid."


One question seems to be whether Bryce Brown, or any other player, was given a price break. That could constitute an extra benefit in the NCAA's eyes. Two specific NCAA bylaws come into play here:

 12.1.2.1.6 has to do with "preferential treatment" given to a prospect based on his "reputation or skill or pay-back potential as a professional athlete."

 13.02.13, defines a "representative of athletics interests"

In Butler's case, 13.02.13 would mean he would be steering kids to a certain school. Butler said that the most former players he has at a single school is two at both Kansas and Kansas State. That hardly constitutes a pattern especially since former K-State coach Ron Prince had been critical of Butler.

Butler says that if Prince were still at the school Bryce probably wouldn't be considering the Wildcats. With new/old coach Bill Snyder back in charge, K-State is one of Bryce's finalists.

However, one person with knowledge of the NCAA process told me, "You can turn a ham sandwich into a representative (of athletics interests) if you want to."

"Mr. Brown (Bryce's father Arthur Sr.) pays me more than most people," Butler told me  when informed of the "preferential treatment" bylaw.

"My goal," Butler added, "is to be a millionaire before they (players) are."

On the up and up, of course.

At one time the NCAA had in place a "big brother/big sister" program in which investigators would take a region of the country and speak to the top three to five prospects in that area. I'm not sure if that program is still in place but Butler did tell me that the NCAA plans on talking to the nation's No. 1 recruit.

A best guess is that Bryce has narrowed his choices to Oregon and Tennessee. Based on conversations I've had, the kid is very interested in how he will be promoted. Oregon has at its disposal the Nike marketing machine. That's not to say the kid would be hidden playing in the SEC at Tennessee (on CBS).

Oregon can further sell the nation's No. 2 rushing offense and a somewhat stable quarterback situation. Tennessee can sell the charismatic Lane Kiffin, his superstar staff and a program about to take off .

Stay tuned, the circus is about to end with Monday's announcement. Or, with the NCAA sniffing around, it might just be beginning.

 

 

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: February 17, 2009 9:59 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2009 10:00 pm
 

Mike Leach's job in danger?

They're going to fire Mike Leach.

At least it sounds that way after the cryptic statement released by Texas Tech AD Gerald Myers on Tuesday. Leach let pass a 6 p.m. ET deadline set by the school to sign a lucrative extension.

So now what?

"We will enter the decision-making process and should have some announcements by next week," Myers said in the statement. "Our decisions will be based on the best interest of Texas Tech and all of its supporters."

Decision-making process? What's left to decide? Myers himself said that Leach either signed the contract or that it would be pulled off the table and the coach would serve out his current deal through 2010. The only decision left to be made, it seems, is to keep Leach as coach.

The school and coach are now backed into a corner. Texas Tech can't keep a coach who 1) doesn't want to be there and 2) can't recruit if he did somehow stay.

The only resolution might be for both parties to start over.

Even if Leach decides to keep coaching going under his current deal, the school can't allow it. It can't allow the program to be run into the ground by a disgruntled coach looking for his next job. Let's not forget, in terms of staying power, Tech is closer to Big 12 South bottom feeders Baylor and Texas A&M than it is Texas and Oklahoma.

There already is a special Tech regents teleconference called for Friday, "including but not limited to the position of the football head coach." That doesn't sound like the regents are ready to discuss spring practice.

That's what is so stupid about this thing. The two sides have agreed to the money -- $12. 7 million over five years. The hang-up is basically over a buyout/termination clause. There has to be a number in the middle that both sides can agreed on. It isn't that hard, fellas.

This is a heck of a bluff to call on both sides. Leach has been unable to go elsewhere while employed at Texas Tech. It isn't because of his winning percentage. The Pirate was too crusty around the edges for Washington, Tennessee, Auburn and Miami, all jobs he coveted the past two seasons.  It may be that Lubbock is the only place in the country that tolerated Leach's shtick.

Some of that support is starting to wane. The only thing worse than being undesirable is being undesirable without a job. If he is fired, let's see how many offers Leach gets in February. All the jobs are filled. Let's say he sits out a year and comes back in 2010. He will be damaged goods and the short list of possible openings doesn't seem to fit: Notre Dame, Louisville, Virginia and Indiana.

Notre Dame: Please. The first tie Leach wears will be his first. (not counting clip-ons)

Louisville: AD Tom Jurich is about done hiring coaches with a wandering eye.

Virginia: See Notre Dame.

Indiana:  Bob Knight went to Tech for his rebound job. Leach to Indiana for his rebound job? Ain't happening.

Mike Leach will be able to get a job, just nothing on a par with Tech, a competitive program in a power conference that can afford to pay him $2.5 million per year.

Unless the sides -- Leach, his agents and the school -- can hammer out a deal soon, this situation has gone beyond the point of repair. There are too many egos, too much money at stake for everyone to walk away.

That includes Myers who will come out of this looking bad no matter what happens. He let it get to this point by not locking up Leach during the season. Even if a deal is struck, he is responsible for making Tech look like backward bumpkins.  Texas Tech has failed to realize that it is Texas Tech. Leach could be that once-in-a-lifetime coach for a program that hadn't done much before him.

There is no middle ground. Either a deal gets done, soon, or Leach is fired. Shortly after, Myers might follow him out the door.

 

 

 

Posted on: February 11, 2009 1:04 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2009 4:06 pm
 

The future of Mike Leach and other items

The feeling seems to be that Mike Leach will let the deadline expire for signing a new contract on Tuesday. I wrote about the situation on Wednesday.

That leaves him only two years left on a deal that is paid him $1.75 million in 2008, eighth-highest in the Big 12. More important, Texas Tech could be assured that Leach would be on his way out. Allowing him to walk after the 2010 season would not only hurt recruiting but probably distract Leach who would be looking for a new job.

That's not to say a new agreement couldn't be worked out at some future date, but giving a sitting coach a deadline to sign a deal is unique.

Here is a copy of what is believed to be Leach's current contract

 A look at the 2009 Pac-10 non-conference schedule: (Thanks to the San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner who rounded up the skeds)

Once again the Pac-10 is showing it isn't shy about playing out of conference. The league plays few I-AA opponents and is willing (maybe because of its geography) to travel to play high-profile opponents.

Best 2009 Pac-10 non-conference games:

1. USC at Ohio State, Sept. 12 -- Game of the Century No. 1,317. Will this be Terrelle Pryor's coming out party?

2. Utah at Oregon, Sept. 19 -- By this point in the schedule the Ducks will have played Boise, Purdue and Utah. Three BCS league opponents. Combined record from 2008: 29-9. Please, stop the madness. Even if the Ducks win all three, what condition will they be in for the Pac-10 schedule?

3. USC at Notre Dame, Oct. 17 -- Seven in a row and counting for the Trojans ...

4. Oregon at Boise State, Sept. 5 -- Can't understand why Oregon (and Oregon State) keep playing the Broncos. In this case, the loser might be out of a BCS bowl.

5. UCLA at Tennessee, Sept. 12 -- Rick Neuheisel won't be leading any postgame pep rallies in Neyland. When was the last time the Bruins and Vols were each this desperate for a quarterback?

6. Arizona State at Georgia, Sept. 26 -- The Devils were embarrassed by the Bulldogs last season in the middle of a six-game losing streak. In this return game, both teams are rebuilding.

7. Cincinnati at Oregon State, Sept. 19 -- Jacquizz Rodgers vs. the defending Big East champions.

8. LSU at Washington, Sept. 5 -- What is the Washington AD smoking? That brutal non-con schedule helped get Tyrone Willingham fired. Steve Sarkisian starts his career against an SEC monster.

9. Notre Dame at Stanford, Nov. 28 -- Irish season finale. Will it be Charlie Weis' finale?

10. Kansas State at UCLA, Sept. 19 -- Wait, Bill Snyder is actually getting on a plane to play a non-con road game?

11. Arizona at Iowa, Sept. 19 -- The Wildcats are on the rise but Iowa still start the season ranked despite the loss of tailback Shonn Greene.

12. Stanford at Wake Forest, Sept. 12 -- The I.Q. Bowl. Jim Harbaugh's scheduling instincts have to be questioned. His team is starting with consecutive roadies to Pullman (Washington State) and Winston-Salem.

13. Cal at Minnesota, Sept. 19 -- Gophers have almost everyone back in this season that will be a referendum on Tim Brewster's future. (started 7-1, finished 0-5). Hope the Bears have a secondary. Adam Decker could be a preseason All-American.

14. Maryland at Cal, Sept. 5 -- Plenty of revenge motive here for the Bears. Cal was down 28-6 after three quarters last season at Maryland before waking up. After winning nine in '08, the Bears have set their sights higher.

 How the economy will handle the glut of bowls -- natural selection.

 The president is a recruitnik too.

It is the responsibility of this space to keep alive the printed word whenever possible. To that end, let me recommend two excellent, recently-released books.

"KU Basketball Vault, The History Of The Jayhawks," is a unique look at one the most decorated programs in hoops by veteran college basketball scribe Ken Davis. Unique? When was the last time you got souvenirs with your coffee table book?

"Big Boy Rules, America's Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq" will change your entire view of the war, the government and human nature. Steve Fainaru of the Washington Post provides a deeply personal look at the Bush travesty that is the Iraq war. Steve is a Pulitzer Prize winner who was a former colleague at the Kansas City Star.

I know, I know. I can hear you. That's as close as I'll ever get to a Pulitzer.

 

Posted on: February 5, 2009 12:18 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2009 1:54 pm
 

Lane Kiffin accuses Urban Meyer of cheating!

It's on in the SEC East! Actually when isn't it on?

You've got to see this video from Thursday morning with Tennessee's Lane Kiffin accusing Florida's Urban Meyer of cheating. Kiffin says that Meyer called receiver Nu'Keese Richardson on his cellie while the kid was visiting Tennessee.

One problem: I checked with a compliance director at another school and she couldn't find anything wrong with what Meyer allegedly did.

"I've never heard of that," she said of Kiffin's accusation being a violation. "That would surprise me. As long as it's permissible on the recruiting calendar, it should be OK."

A story posted a Tennessee TV station's website says: "Football coaches are not permitted to contact a prospect while his on an official visit to another school's campus." Hey, it's on a TV station's website so it has to be accurate, right?

Oh, one other thing. How could Meyer be "cheating" if Richardson wasn't supposed to be at Tennessee in the first place? Kiffin adds that the receiver said, "he wasn't even coming to visit us."

Anything to work the crowd. There's a lot of bitter fruit here. Richardson had apparently committed to Florida in May. Kiffin is going Ernest Angley on us, taking the message, preacher-style, to the orange-coated streets. Meyer is the devil and Kiffin is going to drive him out. The K-Man might be good at playing to a crowd but what goes around, comes around. I seem to recall that Tennessee has to visit Gainesville this year and The Urban Legend does not take slights well. Anybody remember the payback for the Gator Stomp?

Count on another couple of extra touchdowns dropped on you in September, Lane. You're preaching to the choir now. The devil will get his due -- later.  

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 10, 2008 12:44 am
 

National notes

My Heisman ballot:

1. Tim Tebow
2. Sam Bradford
3. Colt McCoy

I can't give you a quantitative reason why Tebow is my No. 1. His numbers are down from '07. However, after watching him lead that fourth-quarter comeback against Alabama, it's more of a feel, an emotional reaction.

I go back to Sept. 27 when Tebow basically called his shot after the Ole Miss loss and then delivered! Nine wins in a row. Go back and at the quotes from that day. Tebow as Babe Ruth pointing his bad toward the Wrigley Field bleachers.

Until Saturday, Bradford was my guy. I had started hyping him for Heisman back when he was a freshman. How many players ever have led the country in pass efficiency two years in a row?

It's hard to vote Colt McCoy third when he took a team with a mediocre offensive line and led it in passing and rushing. The point is, I can't slide a piece of paper between the three of them.

The voters: John Adams, Knoxville News Sentinel; Tony Barnhart, CBS; Mark Blaudschun, Boston Globe; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; B.G. Brooks, Rocky Mountain News; Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Brian Davis, Dallas Morning News; Mike DeArmond, Kansas City Star; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Michael DiRocco, Florida Times-Union; Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle; Scott Ferrell, Shreveport Times; Anthony Gimino, Tucson Citizen; Herb Gould, Chicago-Sun Times; Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune; Mike Griffith, Knoxville New Sentinel; Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune; Matt Hayes, Sporting News; Tommy Hicks, Mobile Press-Register; Ron Higgins, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Mark Janssen, Manhattan Mercury; Todd Jones, Columbus Dispatch; Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star; Ted Lewis, New Orleans Times-Picayune; Mike Lopresti, Gannett Newspapers; Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger; Ray Melick, Birmingham News; Rodney McKissic, Buffalo News; Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune.

(Two voters did not want their names used)

The rest of the national awards, etc.


MVP: McCoy

There's a difference between the Heisman winner and MVP. McCoy did more with less. Texas wouldn't be in the conversation without him.

Best quarterback: Bradford

This is getting confusing so let's just drop it.

Best running back: Shonn Greene, Iowa

The nation's No. 2 rusher came on in the second half of the season to surpass Michigan State's Javon Ringer and UConn's Donald Brown as the most consistent ground force in the nation.

Best receiver: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech


Do back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards do anything for you? An NFL star in waiting.


Best tight end: Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma

This was tough. I recently shifted away from Missouri's Chase Coffman who was too injured at the end of the season to back up a spectacular first eight games of the season.

The 6-foot-6 inch Gresham gets opens, is hard to tackle and has speed. Need anything else?

Best offensive lineman: Andre Smith, Alabama.

He is what coaches look for when they recruit left tackles. A case can be made for Smith, the likely Outland Trophy winner, being Bama's MVP. Without him protecting John Parker Wilson and carving out holes for Glen Coffee, the Tide don't start 12-0.

Defensive player of the year: Rey Maualuga, LB, USC

From a troubled beginning, this voracious tackler became the foundation for one of the best statistical defenses in history.

Best defensive lineman: Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Ask BYU's Max Hall what he thinks of the nation's sacks leader In their October matchup, Hughes sacked Hall three times.

Best defensive back: Eric Berry, Tennessee.

Lane Kiffin should be at Berry's house right now making sure he's happy, comfortable and ready to take 20 snaps a game on offense.

Best special teams player: Kevin Huber, P, Cincinnati

You won't find many other All-Americans on the best Cincinnati team in history that won 11 games and the Big East. We'll give it to Huber who bombed 20 punts more than 50 yards and dropped 20 punts inside the 20.

Remember when Cincinnati used to be a basketball school?

Freshman of the year: Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State

How did he get from Texas to Corvallis?

Coach of the year: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Staff of the year: Penn State

The Broyles Award is doing a disservice to Penn State. The honor goes to the assistant coach of the year. Not only were there no Penn State assistants among the finalists, the Broyles folks didn't do the right thing and pick the entire Penn State staff.

With JoePa ailing, his staff basically took over and led the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten title. Big ups to defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, defensive line coach Larry Johnson and quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno. They were the glue.

Biggest disappointments: Georgia, Notre Dame, South Florida, West Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee, the ACC, the Pac-10.

Biggest surprises: Oregon State, Ball State, Alabama, Buffalo, East Carolina, Rice, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech.

Sometimes you just live right: Charlie Weis almost got run out of town after a 6-6 season. His reward? A trip to the Hawaii where he can continue to recruit linebacker Manti Te'o. 

Don't give me any of this stuff about a dead period. Te'o will be a captive audience as the Irish take over Oahu.

Best games: Texas 45, Oklahoma 35, Oct. 11 in Dallas.

The winner usually wins the Big 12 South and competes for the national championship. Right? Right?

Texas Tech 39, Texas 33, Nov. 1 in Lubbock.

Not to pick on the Horns here but the reason they are playing Ohio State instead of Florida is Crabtree's game-winning catch with one second left.

UCLA 27, Tennessee 24 (OT) Sept. 1 in the Rose Bowl.

Tennessee's defense held UCLA's Kevin Craft to only four interceptions in the first half. Then, in his best performance of a long, long season, Craft rallied the Bruins in the second half.

Rick Neuheisel led a post-game pep rally.

Florida 31, Alabama 20, Dec. 6 at the SEC championship game.

The BCS was smiling as the closest thing to a national semifinal was played out in front of the largest Georgia Dome crowd in history.

Whine of the year: Pete Carroll and USC

You lost to a team you weren't supposed to (Oregon State). You paid for it in the polls. Deal with it. Maybe the difference between that and Florida losing to Ole Miss? Urban Meyer has made a habit lately of winning the big ones <em>and</em> the little ones.

Best stories:

Six teams ranked No. 1 during the season (the most since 1984)

Alabama arriving a year early (at least) under Nick Saban

Utah, TCU and BYU making a huge statement by the Mountain West: The BCS doesn't belong to the six power conferences.

Notre Dame's collapse from 4-1 and Weis barely hanging on for another year.

Oregon State beating USC and chasing its first Rose Bowl in 44 years.

Coaches in waiting.

Coaches waiting in line ("resigning" in the middle of a season).

The end of a Bowden (Tommy).

The continuation of a Bowden (Bobby).

The longing of a Bowden (Terry, to get back in the game).

Joe's hip.

Charlie's knee.

Nate Davis' gloves.

Jay Jacobs' "shock" over Tommy Tuberville's "resignation."

Tennessee goes from old school to youngest coach in the country.

The (sad) state of Washington. (Combined records of the Huskies and Cougars, 2-22).

Big 12 quarterbacks.

Big 12 offenses.

Big 12 top 10 games each week.

The Big 12 surpassing the SEC, if only for a moment, as the best conference in the country.

The tie in the Big 12 South.

The cry that followed.

Politcking.

Text messages.

The high road.

Running it up.

Calling off the dogs. 

Flyovers.

"To me that's a little ridiculous," Bradford said.

That's a good way to end it, for now.

 

 

Posted on: December 10, 2008 12:44 am
 

National notes

My Heisman ballot:

1. Tim Tebow
2. Sam Bradford
3. Colt McCoy

I can't give you a quantitative reason why Tebow is my No. 1. His numbers are down from '07. However, after watching him lead that fourth-quarter comeback against Alabama, it's more of a feel, an emotional reaction.

I go back to Sept. 27 when Tebow basically called his shot after the Ole Miss loss and then delivered! Nine wins in a row. Go back and at the quotes from that day. Tebow as Babe Ruth pointing his bad toward the Wrigley Field bleachers.

Until Saturday, Bradford was my guy. I had started hyping him for Heisman back when he was a freshman. How many players ever have led the country in pass efficiency two years in a row?

It's hard to vote Colt McCoy third when he took a team with a mediocre offensive line and led it in passing and rushing. The point is, I can't slide a piece of paper between the three of them.

The voters: John Adams, Knoxville News Sentinel; Tony Barnhart, CBS; Mark Blaudschun, Boston Globe; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; B.G. Brooks, Rocky Mountain News; Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Brian Davis, Dallas Morning News; Mike DeArmond, Kansas City Star; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Michael DiRocco, Florida Times-Union; Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle; Scott Ferrell, Shreveport Times; Anthony Gimino, Tucson Citizen; Herb Gould, Chicago-Sun Times; Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune; Mike Griffith, Knoxville New Sentinel; Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune; Matt Hayes, Sporting News; Tommy Hicks, Mobile Press-Register; Ron Higgins, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Mark Janssen, Manhattan Mercury; Todd Jones, Columbus Dispatch; Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star; Ted Lewis, New Orleans Times-Picayune; Mike Lopresti, Gannett Newspapers; Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger; Ray Melick, Birmingham News; Rodney McKissic, Buffalo News; Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune.

(Two voters did not want their names used)

The rest of the national awards, etc.


MVP: McCoy

There's a difference between the Heisman winner and MVP. McCoy did more with less. Texas wouldn't be in the conversation without him.

Best quarterback: Bradford

This is getting confusing so let's just drop it.

Best running back: Shonn Greene, Iowa

The nation's No. 2 rusher came on in the second half of the season to surpass Michigan State's Javon Ringer and UConn's Donald Brown as the most consistent ground force in the nation.

Best receiver: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech


Do back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards do anything for you? An NFL star in waiting.


Best tight end: Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma

This was tough. I recently shifted away from Missouri's Chase Coffman who was too injured at the end of the season to back up a spectacular first eight games of the season.

The 6-foot-6 inch Gresham gets opens, is hard to tackle and has speed. Need anything else?

Best offensive lineman: Andre Smith, Alabama.

He is what coaches look for when they recruit left tackles. A case can be made for Smith, the likely Outland Trophy winner, being Bama's MVP. Without him protecting John Parker Wilson and carving out holes for Glen Coffee, the Tide don't start 12-0.

Defensive player of the year: Rey Maualuga, LB, USC

From a troubled beginning, this voracious tackler became the foundation for one of the best statistical defenses in history.

Best defensive lineman: Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Ask BYU's Max Hall what he thinks of the nation's sacks leader In their October matchup, Hughes sacked Hall three times.

Best defensive back: Eric Berry, Tennessee.

Lane Kiffin should be at Berry's house right now making sure he's happy, comfortable and ready to take 20 snaps a game on offense.

Best special teams player: Kevin Huber, P, Cincinnati

You won't find many other All-Americans on the best Cincinnati team in history that won 11 games and the Big East. We'll give it to Huber who bombed 20 punts more than 50 yards and dropped 20 punts inside the 20.

Remember when Cincinnati used to be a basketball school?

Freshman of the year: Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State

How did he get from Texas to Corvallis?

Coach of the year: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Staff of the year: Penn State

The Broyles Award is doing a disservice to Penn State. The honor goes to the assistant coach of the year. Not only were there no Penn State assistants among the finalists, the Broyles folks didn't do the right thing and pick the entire Penn State staff.

With JoePa ailing, his staff basically took over and led the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten title. Big ups to defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, defensive line coach Larry Johnson and quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno. They were the glue.

Biggest disappointments: Georgia, Notre Dame, South Florida, West Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee, the ACC, the Pac-10.

Biggest surprises: Oregon State, Ball State, Alabama, Buffalo, East Carolina, Rice, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech.

Sometimes you just live right: Charlie Weis almost got run out of town after a 6-6 season. His reward? A trip to the Hawaii where he can continue to recruit linebacker Manti Te'o. 

Don't give me any of this stuff about a dead period. Te'o will be a captive audience as the Irish take over Oahu.

Best games: Texas 45, Oklahoma 35, Oct. 11 in Dallas.

The winner usually wins the Big 12 South and competes for the national championship. Right? Right?

Texas Tech 39, Texas 33, Nov. 1 in Lubbock.

Not to pick on the Horns here but the reason they are playing Ohio State instead of Florida is Crabtree's game-winning catch with one second left.

UCLA 27, Tennessee 24 (OT) Sept. 1 in the Rose Bowl.

Tennessee's defense held UCLA's Kevin Craft to only four interceptions in the first half. Then, in his best performance of a long, long season, Craft rallied the Bruins in the second half.

Rick Neuheisel led a post-game pep rally.

Florida 31, Alabama 20, Dec. 6 at the SEC championship game.

The BCS was smiling as the closest thing to a national semifinal was played out in front of the largest Georgia Dome crowd in history.

Whine of the year: Pete Carroll and USC

You lost to a team you weren't supposed to (Oregon State). You paid for it in the polls. Deal with it. Maybe the difference between that and Florida losing to Ole Miss? Urban Meyer has made a habit lately of winning the big ones <em>and</em> the little ones.

Best stories:

Six teams ranked No. 1 during the season (the most since 1984)

Alabama arriving a year early (at least) under Nick Saban

Utah, TCU and BYU making a huge statement by the Mountain West: The BCS doesn't belong to the six power conferences.

Notre Dame's collapse from 4-1 and Weis barely hanging on for another year.

Oregon State beating USC and chasing its first Rose Bowl in 44 years.

Coaches in waiting.

Coaches waiting in line ("resigning" in the middle of a season).

The end of a Bowden (Tommy).

The continuation of a Bowden (Bobby).

The longing of a Bowden (Terry, to get back in the game).

Joe's hip.

Charlie's knee.

Nate Davis' gloves.

Jay Jacobs' "shock" over Tommy Tuberville's "resignation."

Tennessee goes from old school to youngest coach in the country.

The (sad) state of Washington. (Combined records of the Huskies and Cougars, 2-22).

Big 12 quarterbacks.

Big 12 offenses.

Big 12 top 10 games each week.

The Big 12 surpassing the SEC, if only for a moment, as the best conference in the country.

The tie in the Big 12 South.

The cry that followed.

Politcking.

Text messages.

The high road.

Running it up.

Calling off the dogs. 

Flyovers.

"To me that's a little ridiculous," Bradford said.

That's a good way to end it, for now.

 

 

Posted on: December 5, 2008 6:21 pm
 

Latest from theSEC championship game

ATLANTA -- Florida receiver Percy Harvin remains questionable for Saturday's SEC championship game.

While Florida coach Urban Meyer said the Gators' biggest home-run threat would be evaluated after a Friday afternoon practice.
 
"We're going to hold him until everyone leaves (practice) then we're going to make an evaluation after that," Meyer said.

Harvin suffered a high ankle sprain last week against Florida State.  Harvin's health is the No. 1 subject around the SEC championship game which will determine one of the participants in the BCS title game. The often-injured star averages only 8.7 touches per game but leads the Gators in receiving and is second in rushing.

He was named to the American Football Coaches Association All-American team this week.


 Sometimes you have to find out what you don't want to do.

That's what happened to Steve Sarkisian who will be named the new Washington coach some time after Saturday's season ender at UCLA. It was just a short time ago when USC's offensive coordinator was Al Davis' No. 1 choice to become the Raiders coach.

I was sitting in his office shortly after his marathon interview. The crotchety Davis is thorough, if you consider thorough what the team is going to eat for lunch. That was one of the questions thrown at Sarkisian. It was at that point that he knew the NFL -- at least the Raiders -- was not for him.

His friend and fellow USC coach Lane Kiffin eventually got interested in the job. We know what happened from there.

Sarkisian's departure makes it four assistants that have left Pete Carroll's side in recent years.

Norm Chow -- left for the Titans in 2005 and was fired after last season. He will go against Carroll for the first time on Saturday.

Nick Holt -- left Louisville to join Carroll's original USC staff in 2001. Holt then left to become the Idaho head coach in 2004 and 2005 before returning as defensive coordinator in 2006.

Kiffin -- The son of Monte Kiffin left the staff in 2007 to take the Raiders' job. That unfortunate dalliance that ended earlier this season probably helped him get the Tennessee job last month.

By the way, the Sarkisian deal is done. Both Washington and Sark didn't want it to get out until after Saturday's game but, hey, we have to do our jobs.

Current receivers coach John Morton is reportedly a candidate to replace Sark. Great piece here by theL.A. Times Bill Plaschke regarding the situation.


 For the second consecutive year the nation's No. 1 team is an underdog going into a conference championship. Last year it was No. 1 Missouri losing to Oklahoma. This year it's Alabama giving up 9 1/2-10 points to Florida.


 Hoping for upset in the Big 12, Texas? Congrats, you're actually a part of the four biggest upsets in the Big 12 title game history:

1996 --Texas 37, Nebraska 27. James Brown (the one without the cape) hit Derek Lewis with a 61-yard pass on fourth-and-1 to help clinch it. The game allowed Florida to slip into the Sugar Bowl for a rematch with Florida State. Steve Spurrier won his, and the school's first national championship.

1998 --Texas A&M 36, Kansas State 33 (2OT). Purple people were on pay phones (10 years ago was before cellies) calling for tickets to the Fiesta Bowl at halftime. It looked even better when K-State was up by 15 with 12 minutes left. Sirr Parker's game-winning touchdown catch that his life story was made into a movie. 

2003 -- Kansas State 35, Oklahoma 7. Who needs a Big 12 championship when you're this solid in the BCS? In one of the great BCS fumbles of all time, the Sooners still played in the national championship game despite losing  by four touchdowns. USC got justice later with a split title.

2007 -- Oklahoma 38, Missouri 17 -- This one barely qualifies as an upset. Oklahoma was a three-point favorite but Missouri was No. 1 going in. The Tigers were coming off perhaps the biggest game in their history, beating rival Kansas. They had risen to the top spot but were underdogs  in a game in which Oklahoma rolled.  OU's was the first defense all season to hold Missouri to less than 31 points.

 How does this happen?  Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was named Associated Press' Big 12 player of the year. He was AP's second-team quarterback. Complicating matters further Heisman-wise: Sam Bradford was the first-team AP quarterback. Texas Tech's Graham Harrell was the AFCA first-team quarterback.

 

 The favorite at Auburn now seems to be Florida State's Jimbo Fisher.  If the school can come up with the money to fund Fisher's multi-million dollar buyout it might work. Fisher has a background at Auburn as quarterbacks coach from 1993-98.

 

Posted on: December 2, 2008 11:47 am
 

Tommy Tuberville job update

The walls seem to be closing in around Auburn's coach.

Tubs looked safe on Saturday after the Alabama loss but as of Tuesday morning I hearing that his job may indeed be in danger. Stay tuned.

--For those of you who thought Lane Kiffin might be a little, oh, inexperienced. It looks like The Laner might have committed an NCAA violation before he even took the Tennessee job.

 

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Auburn, Tennessee
 
 
 
 
 
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