Posted on: March 6, 2008 6:22 pm

Wanted: Millionaire Willing To Throw Money Away

Whoever wrote this press release gets the positive spin award. It's obvious the All American Football League is dead before it ever gets started.

You'll remember the AAFL was going to debut in April at various stadiums, mostly in the Southeast. It had the unique (I guess) twist of employing only college grads. Hey, who didn't want to see Shane Matthews again at The Swamp? Apparently, a lot of people.

Don't believe the second paragraph of the release that blames the downturn in the "subprime mortgage crisis." Well, it could be that or it could be that the Florida franchise had sold less than 3,000 season tickets.

I've got a better chance of starting at shortstop for the Yankees than the AAFL has of landing a TV contract.

The joke of this league was that it was being run in their retirement afterlives by former august educators like Cedric Dempsey (NCAA executive director) and Charles Young (UCLA president). Hey, anything for a buck right?

Anyway, save all those AAFL souvenirs. They'll be worth something someday.

The press release that moved on Thursday ...


In an attempt to secure kickoff of its inaugural season as well as its long-term future and success, the All American Football League has begun discussions to explore multiple financing options.

Since inception, the League's finances have been indirectly tied to the $300 billion federally guaranteed student loan asset backed securities market.  In August, the subprime mortgage crisis began spreading into other sectors such as municipal bonds and federally guaranteed student loans.  The situation, which was considered to be temporary at the time, has continued to worsen.  

Despite the fact that the Federal Reserve has repeatedly lowered interest rates during this financial crisis, their efforts have not yet restored liquidity in many asset backed markets, including municipal bonds and student loans.   

The League held its inaugural draft in January, and the team rosters and staffs are all in place.  All teams are scheduled to open training camp Wednesday if liquidity can be immediately restored.

Every effort is being made to insure that the '08 season will be played as planned, but  this  depends upon a locating new majority owner with the needed liquidity, which in turn depends upon the League being able to finalize a TV deal.  Otherwise, the inaugural season will be postponed to '09.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: AAFL
Posted on: February 28, 2008 4:53 pm

Student Princes at Kansas State

Leftovers from the Ron Prince story. The Kansas State coach signed what is believed to be a BCS-conference record-tying 19 junior college players.

"Very few programs have said, 'We on an ongoing basis, are going to evaluate the players that come out of the community colleges who fill our needs.' It's very telling that the highest ranking that a Kansas State team had was that following year (when K-State signed 12 juco transfers in 1997)."

(Kansas State was ranked No. 1 for three weeks in 1998 and fell a game short of playing in the first BCS title game.)


"At Virginia, we had a different way of putting the team together, no mid-year transfers, no community college players.


"We had 20 million players within six-hour driving radius at Virginia. Here the population is much more decentralized. Texas.

--Look at the recruiting list in the story. Eleven of the 19 juco players are from California. Offensive coordinator Dave Brock has experience in that region. He was on the Temple staff in 2003 when then-coach Bobby Wallace signed at least 19 jucos.

--It's clear from the depth of Ron Prince's research that he was ready for the job.

"I looked at all 12 (Big 12) teams, for the last six years, their signing classes and their rosters. The reality for our situation was, after the '03 season we were consistently one of the younger teams. We had too many young players.

"I told coaches, we're going to start facing teams in the Big 12 South that were much more veteran than us. Colorado, ourselves and Iowa State were likely going to be very young. In preparing for this year … (the question was) how are we going to have enough high school kids in their third, fourth and fifth year playing for us?

"That's why Virginia Tech is so good. You don't see them put a freshman or sophomore out there unless their name is (star linebacker) Xavier Adibi."

--Kansas State is not the only school to oversign. Alabama did it too this year. But Prince signed seven more than the limit (25). Some of those will grayshirt (enroll, but not on scholarship). Others will not qualify academically. I asked Prince if that is an accepted practice.

"For us grayshirting is a huge part of it, taking a high school kid who might not get recruited by anybody else. I can see down the road how this kid is going to have tremendous value.

"There are players who know they're going to grayshirt. There are players who know they're going to go to a community college. If you sign a player, at least everybody knows where he's going to go.

"What we've done is establish our relationship with them and know they'll be here some day. We do enough business in that world that the player feels good about us.

"Our conference signed the most (junior college players) in the nation. That may send up red flags to some people but this is who we are. There were 20 mid-year signees in this conference."

"Coach (Bob) Knight didn't take a lot of pro prospects out of high school. He took guys who were going to be there four years. That's what we're doing with our high school players. Our expectation is they're going to be here 3, 4, 5 years."


Category: NCAAF
Tags: Kansas State
Posted on: February 24, 2008 1:39 pm

Recommended viewing

Been sitting on this pretty cool DVD for a while. "Winning Lives, The Story of Ted Ginn Sr." debuts 8 tonight (Sunday 2/24) on CSTV.

It's a documentary on the inspirational coach at Glennville High School in Cleveland. Ginn, father of Miami's Ted Ginn Jr., decided to long ago dedicate his life to the kids (not just the football players) at Glenville. He has gone on to found the Ted Ginn Academy in Cleveland. I profiled him in September 2006
 prior to the monster Ohio State-Texas game.

The doc goes inside the man (who doubled as a security guard at the school), Cleveland's inner city and the redemptive powers of football.




Category: NCAAF
Tags: Ohio State
Posted on: February 21, 2008 4:01 pm

Keeping the seat warm for Will Ferrell

LOS ANGELES -- Waiting here in the USC sports info department before going up and see Pete Carroll.

I'm in Heritage Hall, which can be a tourist trap. All those Heismans in the lobby. Superstar coaches ducking in and out. But here I am killing time typing at a desk that used to be occupied by Will Ferrell. Frank the Tank, Ron Burgundy etc. got his start here at a sports info assistant.

Since he became a big-time actor, Pete has brought Ferrell into the program on numerous occasions. Most notably, during Rose Bowl practices one year when Ferrell -- unknown to the players -- suited up and was golf-carted into a drill. Matt Leinart completed a pass to this "walk-on tight end" as Pete described him.

Ferrell took his helmet off and the players went nuts. It was during the "Old School" days and players began chanting "You're my boy, Blue!"
Pete announced on  his website (, believe it or not) that he went to see the premier of  "Semi-Pro" Tuesday in Westwood. Gave it a thumbs up. I'm fired up to see it because of all the old ABA references. I cant remember going to Spirits of St. Louis games as a teenager and seeing a young Moses Malone and a frequently tardy Marvin Barnes. Just saw a thing on HBO last night. George Gervin and Artis Gilmore even have cameos.

Anyway, I don't feel any funnier sitting in Will's old seat, but it is nice to be in the same ass groove as my comedy hero.

Stay classy.
Posted on: February 20, 2008 12:22 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2008 12:29 pm

National college football notes

 The time has come to quit tinkering with our game.

The NCAA rules committee last week issued a series of confusing proposals that have to do with the "pace" and "tempo" of the game. That's code for -- watch out.

Two years ago this same group applied a bunch of misguided timing rules that cut approximately 16 plays out of each game. Coaches howled, fans protested. The college game, in 2006, was bastardized. Thankfully, the rules were tweaked again in 2007 to give us back our familiar game.

Now the rules committee is proposing NFL rules that are sure to make our college game more like, well, the NFL.

 After the game is declared dead (not counting change of possession or injury), the offensive team will have 40 seconds to snap the ball.

 On out of bounds plays, the clock will start on the signal from the referee, not on the snap of the ball (except in the final two minutes).

These are two rules that have helped compartmentalize NFL games into nice, tidy, three-hour windows. Games in which each team basically runs 62-68 plays.

Last season, the average I-A team ran 72 plays per game. At least six ran 78 per game. Tulsa led the nation running an average of 80.4 plays. That offense was the first to produce a 5,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard receiver and a 1,000-yard rusher on the same squad.

Let's see, what was the last NFL team to do that?

The opinions of rules committee folks vary. One source in the room said that teams might lose the equivalent of one series (three or four plays) per game. Some say the 40-second rule could actually add more plays because officials will be more cognizant of getting the ball in play so as not to cheat an offense.

The fact that there is no consensus is scary. We like the game the way it is. What the suits don't realize is that, by and large, fans want to spend as much time as possible on campus on a football Saturday. A lot of them are driving five, six, seven hours to get there. College football is an event, not a commodity.

The average length of a game last season was 3 hours, 23 minutes, 4 seconds. That's up 1:47 from 2006. Anyone complaining?

"I don't know anyone who thinks the game is too long now anyway," said an officiating crew member from a BCS conference. "What do they care if the game is 20 minutes longer, or a half hour?"

We think rules committee member Randy Edsall, the Connecticut coach, has it right.

"We, as coaches, are willing to do some things to speed up the pace of play because we understand the TV games are a little bit longer, " Edsall said. "We also have to have the cooperation of the TV people."

Two changes that were discussed: 1) compel networks to go to a commercial during a replay. That kills two birds. Networks get to sell product, instead of wasting down time with happy chatter.

2) Cut the length of halftime.

"We might have to go to a 15-minute halftime," Edsall added. "Get your (commercials) done before the game. Get them done in your breaks. There has to be some give and take on all three sides. It just can't always be the coaches trying to come up with ways to (speed up) the pace of the game."

All of this year's proposed rules changes are still subject to approval by the NCAA oversight panel. Let's hope the panel takes a long, hard look at the proposals and the rules committee's track record before rubber stamping things. In 2006, that was a disaster.

  Nice job by the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association, which is working on a college version of the Rooney Rule.

The NFL long ago compelled teams to interview at least one minority candidate when filling a head coaching position. The AD's association is doing the same except for one key ingredient.

It has no way of forcing schools to interview minorities. Instead, schools will be "encouraged" to adhere to the standards.

That's a political move without any teeth. Until the NCAA steps in (which it probably can't), expect more of the same. To his credit, president Myles Brand has used his bully pulpit to encourage more minority hiring but more needs to be done.

The college presidents need to agree as a group that their schools will interview at least one minority candidate for every head coaching opening. The ADs have shown they don't have across-the-board support. If they did, they would have agreed to sanctions for schools that don't comply.

 The silly (off)season has kicked off, fittingly, in the SEC. Too much time and not enough to do for our college football stars frequently is a dangerous combination.

 Tennessee kicker Dustin Colquitt, with a history of alcohol-related problems, recently spoke to a group of fifth-graders graduating from a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) class.

Colquitt was charged Sunday with a DUI and leaving the scene of the accident. The Clinton, Tenn., police chief has apologized for allowing Colquitt to speak.

 Alabama lineman Jeremy Elder admitted to robbing two students on Sunday. One student said Elder got $26 after being confronted at gunpoint. The student also said he was able to identify Elder from video footage taken at Bryant Hall, the athletic dorm.

Elder was spotted walking toward the rear of Bryant Hall after the alleged robbery wearing a checkered black and white (houndstooth?) baseball cap adored with the Alabama "A".

At least the caper was well thought out. Good luck with the rest of your life, Jeremy. You'll need it.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: February 18, 2008 9:16 pm

End of the line for Ryan Perrilloux?

As a three-time "loser", Ryan Perrilloux is running out of chances at LSU.

The talented LSU quarterback's third career suspension came down Monday from coach Les Miles. The announcement contained no specifics but apparently it is the result of a bunch of little stuff like being late for meetings, classes etc. Except that Perrilloux has exactly no equity built up with Miles. The three suspensions have been for different and troubling reasons

Combine that with the fact that Perrilloux arguably saved LSU's season with effective backup work and his do-or-die start in the SEC championship game. This was going to be his team in 2008. Miles has little behind him on the depth chart but it is clear the coach has little patience. I scraped up this two-day old blog
 if you really want to get into rumor mongering.

Bottom line: Don't be surrpised if Crazy Les boots even crazier Ryan. How do you screw up such a great situation? From quarterback of the defending national champions to looking for a school to transfer to.




Category: NCAAF
Tags: LSU Tigers
Posted on: February 14, 2008 1:10 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2008 4:53 pm

Mauk denied sixth year at Cincinnati

The NCAA just denied Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk a sixth year of eligibility. Typical of the times, though, Mauk is not done pursuing his eligibility for a final year with the Bears.

He intimated that he might be pursuing this from a legal angle. Why not? There's a little thing called a temporary restraining order.

Mauk was the trigger man for the first 10-win at Cincinnati in 50 years. Strangely, Cincinnati based its case on Mauk's 2003 redshirt season at Wake Forest. Mauk missed most of the 2006 season at Wake after injuring his shoulder. He took advantage of a short-lived NCAA rule to transer to Cincinnati without sitting out.

Wake supported Cincinnati's pursuit of a sixth year. This from the Cincinnati press release: "NCAA Bylaw ... states that a redshirt year is considered within the control of the student-athlete and/or institution and does not constitute a missed participation opportunity."

Cincy will be OK. It has Notre Dame transfer Demetrius Jones and a couple of good recruits on the roster.

Why am I writing about Cincinnati? As long as coach Brian Kelly is there, the Bearcats have a chance to go to a BCS bowl in any given year. Forget about Greg Schiano and Tom Bradley, Kelly might be the next coach at Penn State. Which leads me to the next item ...

You've got to read the latest from Happy Valley from one of my favorites, Harrisburg Patriot-News columnist David Jones:

It seems like the winds of change are finally blowing through. It looks like a significant portion of the Penn State trustees would support president if he decided to make a move on Joe Paterno. It seems clear, after reading this, that JoePa is entering his last season. The question is, does Joe go quietly or does he fight it?

It also raises another issue: What is Paterno telling recruits, specifically Terrelle Pryor? The nation's No. 1 player delayed his signing last week, in part, so he could take an official trip to State College. The word is that Paterno told Pryor that his replacement will come from within the staff. That might be news to Spanier and AD Tim Curley who might prefer to go outside for a replacement.

If it's a promotion, expect Tom Bradley to replace Joe (no surprise). Bradley is recruiting his --- off trying ot land Pryor.

Posted on: February 10, 2008 9:55 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2008 4:53 pm

Mile High Clubbing

As Hunter S. Thompson once said, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

Example: Sunday night's flight to Chicago (and points East for a story), was an all-timer. It's a quick hour-and-something flight that turned into one of the wackiest times I've ever had in the air.

First, the chap next to me was bragging about heading to Chicago for the Jerry Springer show. Not to watch it. Turns out he's going to be on the JS Show. How did I verify this information? Certain things you just know. Let's just say I haven't seen too many guys banned from bringing an open beer onto a plane. Then once he gets on, Senor Einstein pulls out his cheap digital camera and begins shooting the Missouri sunset.

Let that sink in: The Missouri sunset.

I wasn't going to talk to the guy because I wanted my IQ intact but the flight attendant got this morsel out of him.

 FA: Why are going on the Jerry Springer Show?

Einsten: Me and my ex-girlfriend, I slept with her sister, and (then) she slept with my brother.

Who, whoa, whoa waaaay too much information.

This guy was actually looking forward to getting into a fight, says they pay $100 per brawl. Nice.

My attention quickly turned further to the flight attendant who was talking about his celebrity encounters in the air. Jerry Seinfeld, he said, was the worst. During a flight from Salt Lake City to Detroit, Jerry apparently was not exactly the master of his domain.

The flight attendant was busy serving other passengers when Jerry demanded service.

"I paid $400 for this upgrade, do you have any idea who I am?" Jerry spewed.

Then it was on. It's always good when some celeb uses the do-you-have-any-idea-who-I-am card.

"Let me check the manifest," the flight attendant said which only made Jerry angrier.

"Does anyone know the person in 2A?" the attendant teased.

When the flight was over,  Jerry apparently complained to the gate agent, filling out a customer service form. As Jerry walked away the agent tore up the card with a flourish.

Other flight attendant nuggets...

Alanis Morrisette, Brennifer (Brad Pitt-Jennifer Anniston when they were together), Muhammad Ali -- all nice.

 Rachel Ray, the f-bomb dropping Frankie Muniz -- both bad.

They do realize they are Rachel Ray and Frankie Muniz don't they?

--This one almost slipped out without much national notice. LSU is going to open the season at home against Appalachian State. The first time, apparently, the defending champions of I-A and I-AA have met in the season opener. If LSU thinks this is going to be an easy opener it is crazy. Did Les Miles talk to Lloyd Carr at all? Oh wait, they don't get along so probably not.

There will be exactly one Heisman candidate on the field that day. App State's Armanti Edwards is the man. Crazy Les has done it again. Instead of getting himself a Nicholls State to pound into submission he scheduled a real, live opponent that could win the game outright and embarrass the Tigers. The only thing LSU has going for it (after losing a lot of talent from '07) is that it has warning flare fired up in Ann Arbor.

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