Posted on: April 10, 2008 12:49 am
Edited on: April 10, 2008 1:22 am

CFB national notes

Trying to sort out college football while wondering if Doyel scares small children sporting that dead beaver on his head ...

 Just wondering if Bill Self accepts that crazy/sick/monster money from Oklahoma State, what it does to the football side.


While $3 million is the new $2 million, college football has only one $4 million man in Alabama's Nick Saban. Does Oklahoma State's impending offer possibly cross sports and raise the bar for everyone. I'm told that hoops coaches around the country are hoping Self takes the money from OSU for obvious reasons. It would help everyone.

 Oregon offensive coordinator Chip Kelly added this nugget on how hard it is to evaluate talent: "All of us have only three weeks in December and three weeks in January (actually parts of November and February too for in-person contact). It's such a restrictive calendar, how are you evaluating someone that you're going to invest $150,000 in (in scholarship money) when all you have is bad high school film."


 Fresno's Pat Hill wasn't as upset as I thought when I called. Kansas State recently pulled out of a game to host the Bulldogs in September. It's almost unheard of do something like that less than six months until the beginning of the season. It was a heck of a message K-State coach Ron Prince was sending his players: We aren't good enough to beat a third-place team from the WAC in our own stadium.


"What can you say? It irritates me. (But) it worked out good for us," Hill said.

Thanks to a chance meeting with Greg Schiano at a Nike event, Hill started to find a replacement. A cable network getting involved and Fresno found Rutgers to replace K-State, in what will be one of the better early-season non-conference games. K-State picked up Montana State, an automatic W, to replace Fresno. Prince might be feeling some pressure to produce after sinking to 5-7 last season and lost the AD who hired him. Tim Weiser recently went to the Big 12 as a deputy commissioner.

Hill is used to such schedule shenanigans. His program long ago became too good for most I-A powers to play in non-conference games -- on the road or at home. Fresno is 12-14 against BCS-conference teams this decade but that's only half the point. Hill's anyone-anytime-anywhere philosophy means the Bulldogs have played an average of 3.25 BCS-conference schools each season since 2000.

Coming off a 9-4 season with 16 starters returning, Fresno arguably has the best chance of any non-BCS program to make it to a BCS bowl. The schedule gives them a chance. The season kicks off on Labor Day night at Rutgers. Wisconsin comes to Fresno on Sept. 13 before the Bulldogs visit UCLA on Sept. 27.

Hill has done himself no favors by battling some of the teams for which his team is supposed to roll over. USC had to fight to wire to win 50-42 in 2005 at the Coliseum. Fresno started 8-0 in 2001 beating Colorado, Oregon State and Wisconsin. Since 2004, Kansas State has lost twice to Fresno, including last season's 45-29 thrashing.

"If we were playing a real weak schedule, it would be a lot easier," said Hill who is entering his 12th season. "That's our niche, though. Not many West Coast teams are going home-and-home with us, and we're not going to play a bunch of I-AA games."

It's a Catch-22. Hill would have a better chance of going undefeated if he played an easier schedule, but that would make it harder to get a high BCS ranking. Playing a tough schedule gets the Bulldogs attention and a ranking, if they win. That's a big if.

Playing a weak schedule worked for WAC rival Hawaii last season. The difference was the Warriors at least were ranked going in (No. 23 preseason in AP).

"Lose and we just fall off the map," Hill said. "We just hate it."

 Notre Dame recently issued a tersely-worded e-mail to media covering the Irish. It basically warns media to stay away from recruits while they're on campus. Fair enough. Interviewing or photographing recruits while they are on campus can land a program in NCAA hot water.


Where ND stepped over the line is this passage: " ... any attempt by you or your staff members to contact ... any prospective student-athlete while they are in the South Bend area for the purpose of visiting our campus may be cause for sanctions ..."

Let's see, would that include a certain publicity-hound quarterback who called his own press conference "in the South Bend area" (College Football Hall of Fame, actually) to announce his commitment? We're talking about Jimmy Clausen who  sought the attention two years ago, coming to the press conference with an ESPN camera crew in tow.

ND has overstepped its authority with that last passage. On campus, we understand the concerns. Other than that, we can call recruits, we can call their parents, we can drive to their houses to interview them. We can talk to them when they come to campus -- just not on campus. Remember, these are recruits, public figures, not the property of Notre Dame.

If the school wants to keep us from interviewing the Jimmy Clausens of the world, tell the Jimmy Clausens to stop seeking the limelight.

 The play calling will stay in the family but Steve Spurrier is ready to delegate duties.


 A former big-time recruit at San Diego State is facing murder charges.

 This Joe Paterno contract situation might come to an end soon. One resolution being talked about is that JoePa goes on a year-by-year contract. Paterno doesn't seem to be concerned about the recruited repercussions. His current contract expires after this season.


 What kind of country club was being run at Michigan previous to Rich Rodriguez? Part of the reason given by offensive lineman Justin Boren for leaving the team is that linemen had to run to the line out of the huddle. 




Posted on: April 7, 2008 6:58 pm

From deep, deep underground

Ran into this nugget working the streets in San Antonio. (Wait a minute, that sounds disgusting. Let's just say I got some juicy gossip.)

USC and UCLA are very close to announcing a novel idea to heat up their rivalry. Both teams will wear their home colors this season at UCLA's home game Dec. 6 in the Rose Bowl.

That means USC will wear maroon. The plan is for the Trojans to be penalized a timeout when they take the field in their homies. UCLA, then, at its first opportunity will call a timeout to even things up. Pete Carroll apparently has signed off on the p.r. strategy. What a way to ramp up the Trojans-Bruins rivalry.

Something tells me this was the brainchild of Slick Rick.  

  Flew into Austin on Friday and visited with Mack Brown before heading down to San Antonio. Among other things, I wondered what had happened to Mack's stepson, Chris Jessie. Remember him? He was the kid who came off the sidelines and (officials ruled) touched the ball while it was in play. The goof negated an Arizona State turnover.


"He's working in (real estate) development in Chapel Hill," Brown said. "That's what he wanted to do. Bless his heart, I said, 'Hey, you didn't murder anybody. You didn't beat anybody up. You were excited about a game. I can handle that. On a night where there was nobody else playing, your timing was either really good or really bad.' "

Jessie became the story of the game in an otherwise forgettable Holiday, but don't forget Texas staffer Cleve Bryant and quarterback Colt McCoy probably came on the field farther than Jesse.

"If I to to fire anybody, I've got to (fire) Colt first, Cleve second and then Chris," Brown said.





Category: NCAAF
Posted on: April 3, 2008 11:05 am
Edited on: April 3, 2008 6:07 pm

Off to San Antonio, a couple of things on my mind

This was going to be all basketball-related until Ryan Perrilloux decided to go knucklehead again this week. This is from the student newspaper at LSU about an alleged altercation at a Baton Rouge restaurant ...

Another employee at Kona Grill confirmed Wednesday (April 2) that Ryan Perrilloux was involved in a verbal altercation at the restaurant, saying the junior quarterback called a server "Osama."

The employee agreed to speak to The Daily Reveille under the condition of anonymity and said the incident occurred Sunday around 10 p.m.

Another Kona Grill server, Drew Watson, said he knew "all about the incident" but "already agreed to management not to comment."

Perrilloux entered the restaurant with an unidentified former LSU football player and three employees from Crazy Horse Cabaret, the anonymous employee said.

He said the group sat in the cocktail area and began drinking. Perrilloux, the employee said, began yelling obscenities and racial slurs to their server.

After some time, the employee said the server spoke to a manager and asked him to address the rowdy group.

The employee said a manager asked the group to leave, and after the manager threatened to call the police, the group left.

The employee said a manager e-mailed the LSU Athletic Department and said he would not serve any more LSU players until he received a formal apology from Perrilloux.

Kona Grill allegedly received phone calls from LSU coach Les Miles, an assistant athletic director and Perrilloux apologizing for the incident, employees said.

Watson is not the server who spoke about the incident nor the server who was harassed.

LSU Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette said no such incident occurred at Kona Grill.

"We don't have anything to say," Bonnette said.

The Daily Reveille contacted Assistant General Manager Scott Aldridge on Tuesday evening, and he said he did not have a comment regarding the incident.

"I've been receiving a lot of calls about that and would like to stop receiving calls at the restaurant," Aldridge said.

The Advocate reported Wednesday that Aldridge said "Perrilloux was at the restaurant Sunday evening but didn't cause a scene."

Casey Hicks, public information director for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, said the Sheriff's Office was not called out Sunday evening to Kona Grill.

Perrilloux's suspension from the football team was lifted this past week, and he was expected to return to practice Monday.

WJBO reported Tuesday that Perrilloux "will not be participating in Spring practice at all this year" because of "an incident at a local restaurant over the weekend."

Our favorite suspended quarterback appears to be done for the spring which is kind of a big deal considering the spring game is on Saturday. Link

I'm told the fact that Perrilloux will miss the rest of spring isn't related to the alleged restaurant incident, but stay tuned.

 When will people (meaning you, Doyel) get off the Tyler Hansbrough train?

I'm not here to trash the kid. He's really, really good. But to continually harp on his "effort" and his "trying real hard" makes me sick. To say Hansy tries harder than everyone else is an insult to everyone else. Does he play harder than Kevin Love? No. Does he play harder than Derrick Rose? No. The point is, those guys aren't exactly slackers.

Let's go ahead and assume that most players give maximum effort. Hansbrough just happens to have bulging eyes that makes him popular with the Sam Peckinpah crowd. Let's not confuse talent with effort. Hansbrough has both but he's not the most competitive mammal on the planet.

Try taking a dead mouse away from a wolverine. I don't know why I wrote that, I'm just passionate about the subject.

Mike Freeman's America-loves-a-tough-white-guy column  is still the defining word on the issue.

  A colleague this week asked me to rank the top 10 college basketball programs at this moment. Came up with this. 1. North Carolina 2. UCLA 3. Kentucky 4. Duke 5. Kansas 6. Louisville 7. Florida 8. Georgetown 9. Texas 10. Memphis

That was before Indiana hired Tom Crean. So let's wait and see if the Hoosiers can claw their back into the at-this-moment top 10.

  Joe Paterno doesn't need a contract? Careful, Joe, you might get what you wish for. 
Posted on: March 26, 2008 8:37 pm

Rich Rod's chances in court

One man's opinion on the pending Rich Rodriguez appearance next month in West Virginia regarding the lawsuit. West Virginia is suing Rod Rodriguez over a $4 million buyout clause in his contract. I ran into Chris Davis here in Phoenix. Davis (West Virginia Law 1994) is a lawyer and Mountaineers fan watching his team in the West Regional and offered this analysis on how the proceedings with play out.

"We're (school) owed money. Whether or not that full $4 million can be proved as sort of a punitive damage thing ... that's up to a jury. But in contract law, I don't know if we're going to get the full $4 million. I think we'll probably get sever million --- $2 million to $3 million, maybe.

There are a lot of hard feelings till. I'm surprised he's going to go forward with his deposition, personally ... I just think it's going to look bad."


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: March 22, 2008 4:00 pm


... which is another name for Omaha which has been a great host for this corner of the Midwest Regional.

Just bought at Omaha Steakburger here at the Qwest Center. The rest of you have to order them by mail. Here, they're $5.50 a pop.

Best quote of the week comes from Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan who responded this way when asked to describe his swing offense:

"(It's) $99.99, there's a DVD. I can give you the address -- come on, I put my kids through college on the money that I made from the videos that we put out."

Getting ready to go out on the court for Kansas State-Wisconsin and it hit me: It took Duke and the officials in that second-round game to make Bob Huggins a sympathetic figure. His Mountaineers got screwed by the officials in the first half against the Dookies.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: March 15, 2008 1:37 pm

Rutgers stuck with Schiano

I made mention of Rutgers' coach Greg Schiano last week in the Joe Paterno column. Something about Schiano being willing to "crawl" to Penn State if and when JoePa ever leaves.

Don't freak, Scarlet Knights. Your boy is staying. Contracts don't exactly bind coaches these days but I'll say it again: Schiano's contract runs midway into the next decade. He is building a house on campus. Also, don't forget that Schiano has turned down Miami and Michigan. Schiano probably believes that his national championship chances are better right now at Rutgers than those places.

Throw in his monster recruiting and all adds up to Schiano staying for the long term at Rutgers. If you want a juicy name, try UConn's Randy Edsall. Now, back to March Madness...

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Rutgers, UConn
Posted on: March 13, 2008 1:48 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2008 2:35 pm

National notes

I don't have much of a problem with Clemson getting out from underneath Ray Ray McElrathbey's scholarship. I do have a problem with the way they announced it.

The school has done everything possible to avoid saying they are trying to free up a scholarship by offering the backup tailback a graduate assistant's job. It's obvious that McElrathbey is not longer needed now that Clemson has one of the deepest tailback stables in the country. McElrathbey is not going to get on the field. His brother Fahmarr has $100,000 in a trust fund that the NCAA graciously allowed to be formed when their parents' negligence forced Ray Ray to take in his brother.

McElrathbey's situation is not so much a gesture of largesse on the part of Clemson, but as a way to make the school and athletic department look good. And it hides a little-known way of doing business.

For example, it is up to the school's discretion whether a scholarship player transitioning to grad assistant is able to eat at the training table. Kids sign an athletic scholarship expecting all the accompanying perks. McElrathbey seemingly will be well taken care ofl. He would receive a stipend for his meals if he chooses to become a GA, the school said. AD Terry Don Phillips has said McElrathbey will receive financial aid if he becomes a grad assistant..

Clemson isn't being as heartless as it might seem.  It will help Ray Ray find another school if he chooses to transfer in order to play out his final two years of eligibility. This is a lot more than they could have done for a kid who has been in academic hot water in the past.

Somewhere in there, though, I'd like to see the school admit it needed the scholarship rather than covering itself with glory.

 There are a lot of things messed up about the college football hall of fame process. Some no-brainer candidates have been left out for years. One player who should already be in is Arizona State's Pat Tillman who appeared on this year's 75-player ballot this week.

Tillman is a national hero, plus an athletic (and academic) inspiration who should have been inducted posthumously the moment he died four years ago in Afghanistan. This is his first year on the ballot. Please, please, please voters. Do the right thing. The voters, by the way, are 12,000 National Football Foundation members and current hall of famers.

Here's the link so you can determine who you would pick to put in this year. Here's my list alphabetically:

Troy Aikman, UCLA (1984-88) He made two schools better. When Aikman determined that he wasn't going to work in a pro style offense at Oklahoma, he transferred to UCLA. When he left OU in 1985, it won a national championship with the triple option. Then there are all those Super Bowl rings.

Tim Brown, Notre Dame (1984-87)  The 1987 Heisman winner was one of the most durable and reliable receivers in NFL history.

Dave Casper, Notre Dame (1971-73) Before there was Kellen Winslow, there was Dave Casper.

Eric Dickerson, SMU (1979-82) He took the money and ran, or so they say. It's weird how many modern-day backs are compared Dickerson. He must have done something right.

Major Harris, West Virginia (1987-89) The precursor to the modern dual-threat quarterbacks. He was Vince Young before Vince Young.

Deion Sanders, Florida State (1985-88) How is this guy not in? Possibly the best college or pro corner ever. I hope the voters aren't turned off by his fashion sense.

Chris Spielman, Ohio State (1984-87) I hope my son grows up to be like Chris Spielman. A man's man, a great football player and a gentleman who gave up his career to be with his cancer-stricken wife. Hello, voters?

Lawrence Taylor, North Carolina (1977-80) Remember what I told you about no-brainers? The voters are obviously turned off by Taylor's brash style and NFL drug use but get over it. This guy changed the game and unlike a certain Heisman Trophy winner didn't beat a double murder rap.

 From the Too Much Information Dept.: Former Oklahoma linebacker Curtis Lofton recently explained why he ran slow 40s at the NFL combine. "I ate so much food, and I didn't use the bathroom the whole time I was down there."


Posted on: March 10, 2008 10:33 am
Edited on: March 10, 2008 11:34 am

College football notes

If this story is true regarding Clemson backup tailback Ray Ray McElrathbey, then Tommy Bowden has some serious questions to answer. The story alleges that McElrathbey's scholarship was taken away to free up space on the roster. Clemson has an abundance of tailbacks and signed the NCAA maximum (25) in recruiting. Ray Ray made national headlines two years ago when he took in his brother Fahmarr because of family problems. Mom had a drug habit and dad had a gambling problem.

Little Fahmarr wowed the crowd at the college football awards in Orlando in 2006 after his brother accepted the Football Writers Association of America's Courage Award. Ray Ray has had injury and academic problems so the alleged decision to yank his scholarship might be at least partially his fault. However, Ray Ray reportedly made the honor roll last semester.

Clemson announced last week, somewhat cryptically, that McElrathbey would not play next season It lauded his academic exploits but did not really explain where -- or from whom -- the decision came from.

This could be a nice way of Clemson letting McElrathbey go after he had become too much of an academic and/or personal burden. But if it in any way was athletically related, I've got a problem. I always thought that it sucked that a kid pledged himself to a university for four (or five years) but had to prove himself every year to keep the scholarship. Unless Ray Ray was tanking in the classroom, he deserved to keep the scholarship if only because of the positive publicity he brought to Clemson.

 As predicted in this space, Cincinnati Ben Mauk is taking another shot at a sixth year of eligibility.  Good luck, Ben. There is nothing underhanded about this attempt. Plus, we'd like to see a Mauk-led Cincinnati coming 10 wins. The Bearcats would definitely be a factor in the Big East.

 A big bad of White Castles goes to the Missouri Valley for once again staging a first-class tournament. The nation's best mid-major conference is still undervalued even though CBS is now televising the championship game. Look for regular-season and tournament winner Drake to make a serious run in the NCAA Tournament.


Category: NCAAF
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