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Tag:Miami
Posted on: February 18, 2011 4:52 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 4:57 pm
 

Dodd mail 2/18/11

Sometimes there isn't enough room, even on the Internet. Here are four more spring things to follow 25 Spring Things To Watch  ...

YouTube sensation Johnny McEntee called this week. We chatted a bit about the fallout from his monster video "Johnny Mack Trick Shot Quarterback"

The Connecticut quarterback is a fourth-year walk-on from Southern California. The reason he came East is because he got only Division III interest in the L.A. area. At least at UConn, he gets to experience a big-time program. When I asked him his status for this season, he confidently stated "backup". McEntee hasn't thrown a pass in three seasons. 

He says news outlets from around the world have e-mailed with questions (Japan, Hungary, Italy). As of Friday, the video had been viewed 4.6 million times. It took about 14 hours on one day a couple of weeks ago to get all the tricks accomplished. Did he ever anticipate a lazy Saturday with a camera turning into such a sensation? 

"No way," Johnny Mac said. "It's crazy." 

As for the future, there has to be a way of monetizing -- big corporate word -- his talents. Maybe a series of Johnny Mac Trick Shot videos? The public is willing to watch them. Would they be willing to pay for them?

"I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it," he said.

Don't be a former Miami coach: Got to thinking about this when Randy Shannon recently spurned Maryland which was ready to give the former Hurricanes' coach a soft landing spot as defensive coordinator. The Baltimore Sun reported that Shannon turned down the job because he would have lost $1.5 million in buyout money from Miami. It looks like it is more lucrative to sit on the sidelines as an ex-Hurricane coach than to be employed. 

It's not exactly a curse but consider the careers of these former Miami coaches since Jimmy Johnson ... None of them improved their career after leaving the Hurricanes. Which is strange. Howard Schnellenberger had been in the NFL. JJ was at Oklahoma State. They actually made their careers in South Florida.

Dennis Erickson, at Miami 1989-94: He went to a BCS bowl with Oregon State and dallied with the Seahawks before spending one year at Idaho. In his last three seasons at Arizona State, Erickson is 15-21.  

Butch Davis, 1995-2000: Butch restored Miami to national contention then abruptly left for the NFL where he was largely unsuccessful. Davis has never won more than eight games at North Carolina. His best coaching job may have come in 2010 after suspensions and blossoming agent scandal crippled the program.

Larry Coker, 2001-06: Deserves more credit than he ever gets from vicious Miami fans. Coker kept together the 2001 recruiting class when Davis left, then won a national championship in his first season. Currently, Coker is the coach at Texas-San Antonio which is on track to migrate to Division I-A and join the WAC.

Bet Al Golden didn't think about any of that when he took the job. He's better off thinking about this: The last four Miami coaches are a combined 36-11 in their first seasons.


Nebraska Nowledge: Nebraska fans got their wish -- again. New conference. New offensive coordinator.

It was announced Wednesday that Tim Beck (promoted from running backs coach) has replaced Shawn Watson and will help with the installation of the new zone read option offense. One issue: As of Friday afternoon, no one really knows what happened to Watson. Was he fired? Did he resign? Is he jumping the Snake River Canyon in a rocket? Is he still on staff sweeping the halls? Nebraska isn't saying and no one can seem to find Watson. Bet that he is quietly going about finding his next job. 

What Bo Pelini did was spare Watson the public embarrassment of being fired or having to resign. In a convoluted way, that's a classy move by Bo.

As for Beck, the hope is that quarterback Taylor Martinez stays healthy enough -- and, ahem, determined enough -- to run the new offense. Hanging over the situation is the addition of recruit Bubba Starling -- for now. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Starling could compete for the starting job in August, or sign with a Major League team


You read it here first: On Thursday, TCU and BYU announced their Oct. 28 game at Cowboys Stadium. That was a week after Dodds and Ends had it.   

This week's feedback feedbag ...




From: Grant

Dennis, I have been in the medical profession for 14 years. The issue here is DEHYDRATION. These kids were obviously worked to extreme conditions but they were not hydrated properly. I have seen Rhabdo over the years in the hospital and you can't believe the ridiculous situations people put themselves through that leads to this condition. You might want to consider an article regarding the lack of proper hydration and where was Iowa's nutritional staff? Just a thought.


Grant:

It's hard to believe in this day and age that coaches are still keeping players from getting enough water. That's Junction Boys type of stuff. How in the name of Vince Lombardi does that make them better football players.  


Of course, none of us know what happened (yet) at Iowa. That's part of the reason I wrote the story. As long as this mystery hangs over the program everything is on the table. Dehydration? Creatine? Transfers? We don't know if the players were mistreated. We don't know if they'll all be back next season. We don't know if everyone on the staff will still have a job in a couple of months. 


I do know there are some parents that are upset. They should be. 


From: Wally

Hey Dennis, This is a good article because this kind of thing needs to be brought to the fore. However, I don't see any part of the story that says that some players actually want to leave......? I also liked your coverage of the pay-for-play scam that the Rev. (Cecil) Newton and his son were leveraging on the title-hungry SEC. It is really too bad that has all died out - it was a HUGE story ... Keep up the good work.......your opinion IS appreciated.


Wally:

Thanks for the kind words. Don't know how you found your way in here with all the haters from Iowa. 

As to your point, once again, we don't KNOW how many kids want to leave. That's the story. Questions need to be asked. I tried to find out, believe me. That's all I can do. There is no information coming out of Iowa. It's our (media) job to get as much information as we can. The public deserves it. None of us should have to wait three months for the school's own investigation to tell us what happened. 

The angle of the story is that a noted compliance source -- AND the NCAA -- saying that -- given history -- there's a chance that several players could leave. People don't seem to realize this is an historic event. I've never heard of 13 Division I-A football players going to the hospital at the same time after a workout at their own school. There is a rule in place, thank goodness, to possibly allow them relief. 

I talked to one of my health professional sources this week who said he believes this will "blow over." I asked why. The source said, "They didn't care when 21 players died, why should they care now?" That's sad.


From: Rickford

If (Jadeveon) Clowney gives South Carolina as many wins as Da'Quan Bowers gave Clemson, Gamecock fans will be sorely disappointed. All Clemson eyes will be on Clowney for how he compares to Bowers. That may be one reason he didn't go to Clemson. 


Carolina On Your Mind:


Are you intimating that the history and tradition of SOUTH CAROLINA swayed the nation's No. 1 recruit. I just checked: In the last five years year, Clemson has been exactly 1 1/2 games better than Carolina (39-27 vs. 37-28). Carolina has won three of the five head-to-head meetings. That, to me, makes it all but even. 


Tiebreaker? Carolina's in the SEC where, as I pointed out here, guys like Clowney tend to dominate and subsequently make millions of dollars. 


From: L.E.


Conspicuously absent from your pre-season Top 25 is Brigham Young. 

You could be right, but I rather think BYU is much more of a top 10 team. Spring ball will tell, but when you look at the way BYU came on offensively late in the year, the upgrade to staff over the offseason, the 10 returning starters on offense and six on defense that started the first five games in 2010 ranked below 100 in total defense; then average less than 230 yards per game over the final eight games. That team could be an enormous sleeper.


We'll know a lot when they open at Mississippi and Texas, but do not be surprised if they win both, defeat UTAH and UCF at home to start the season. Honestly Dennis, I doubt they mind being in the shadows, but do not be surprised if they are not a top 10 team by midseason, with only Oregon State and Hawaii on the road standing between them and an undefeated year, a slate much tougher than any Boise State ever had and no MWC anchor to tie them down to that non-AQ league status. 


BYU travels well...could be a BCS buster for sure. 


Coug for Life:

The basic question is whether BYU will be able to survive as an independent. I'm on record as saying no. Its biggest plus is not talent or the schedule, it is ESPN as a scheduling partner. 

BYU needs games. ESPN will get it games. But will BYU be able to win enough of those games to get a BCS bid? In that sense, it now has the same access to the BCS as Army and Navy. (Notre Dame has its own special privileged access to the BCS.) In other words, it's now HARDER for BYU to get to a BCS bowl. The problem in the Mountain West is that BYU was mediocre-to-good at about at the same time TCU and Utah blew up. BYU couldn't KEEP up. What makes you think that an arguably more ambitious schedule as an independent is going to make things better?


From: Dr. Greg

Dennis, what coach (Rich Rodriguez) does not understand is that he thought he was hired to FIX something. He kept saying it would take time to FIX. Michigan was not broke! They competed for Big Ten titles every year. They were in the national title hunt a few times. They went to bowl games 30 straight years!! He never built on that success. He ruined it.


Doc Wolverine:

Except for the bowl streak, you're a little off. Lloyd Carr was roundly criticized at the end because he didn't have Michigan back in national title contention after 1997. That basically happened once (2006) since '97. Michigan's last outright Big Ten title was 2003. (It was co-champ in 2004). Let's not forget that four of those seven consecutive losses to Ohio State are on Lloyd. 

I'm not defending Rich Rod because he failed to live up to the Michigan standard but there was some fixing to be done, no doubt.


Posted on: February 8, 2011 12:43 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 4:11 pm
 

Why the NFL loves the ACC

Gil Brandt loves to analyze the draft. At times, Gil Brandt is the draft. The former vice president of player personnel for the Cowboys (1960-89) was responsible for evaluating and drafting several hall of famers in his career.

For the last eight years he has been a draft expert and personnel guru for NFL.com. For the purposes of Tuesday's ACC story, he shared with us some exclusive statistics regarding the conference's strength in NFL war rooms. Since 2000, the ACC is second only to the SEC in total number of players drafted. Highlighting that is a stat Brandt calls a "value index". He assigns a number for each player drafted. For example ...

Schools get 10 points for each player drafted in the top 10; 11 through 30, eight points; 31-60, six points; 61-100, four points; 101-150, two points; 150-plus, one point. Here is the ACC's individual players drafted and value index from 2001-2010 ...

Miami, 62 players drafted/215 VI; Florida State, 51/149; Virginia Tech, 47/106; Virginia, 29/73; Maryland, 26/73; North Carolina State, 27/72; Clemson, 29/70; North Carolina 27/63; BC, 19/58; Georgia Tech, 22/55; Wake Forest, 16/36; Duke, 1/1.

Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Florida State and Maryland won ACC titles in those 10 years.

This is where it gets even more interesting for the ACC in the butt-kicking draft department ...

--From 2001-2010, seven current ACC teams are in the top 26 in Brandt's value index: 1. Miami; 6. Florida State; 12. Virginia Tech; T22. Virginia; Maryland; 24. NC State; 25. Clemson.

The top three probably aren't a surprise but certainly Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina State and Clemson being in the mix raises some eyebrows. During that time Virginia produced the likes of Heath Miller (30th overall, 2005), D'Brickashaw Ferguson (fourth overall, 2006), Chris Long (second overall, 2008) and Eugene Moore (eighth overall, 2009). Maryland notables included E.J. Henderson (second round, 2003), Shawne Merriman (12th overall, 2005), Vernon Davis (sixth overall, 2006) and Darius Heyward-Bey (seventh overall, 2009). NC State draft highlights include Philip Rivers (fourth overall, 2004) and Mario Williams (first overall, 2006). In 2006, the Pack had three total first-round picks. Clemson had Gaines Adams (fourth overall, 2007) and C.J. Spiller (ninth overall, 2010). 

--From 2000-2009, 31 schools have produced 50.8 percent of all selections, essentially a quarter of Division I-A. ACC schools finished second (Miami), fourth (Florida State), ninth (Virginia Tech) and 26th (Virginia) in total picks.

--In that same span, 14 schools produced 56 percent of the top 10 picks. Miami, Florida State, Virginia and NC State are among that group.

--Nineteen schools produced 61 percent of the top 30 draftees. The ACC finished first (Miami), fourth (Florida State) and 16th (Boston College).

--Twenty schools produced 53.3 percent of the top 60 draftees. The ACC finished first (Miami), fourth (Florida State), 14th (Virginia Tech) and 15th (BC).

--Twenty-two schools produced more than half (50.7 percent) of the top 100 picks. The ACC finished first (Miami), fourth (Florida State), 15th (Virginia Tech) and 17th (Maryland).

What does all this mean? The three newest ACC members (Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech) haven't added much in terms in pro talent compared to their previous accomplishments. A large portion of Miami's numbers above came before it joined the ACC in 2004. From 2005 through 2010, Miami has averaged 4.5 draftees per year and has only six first-rounders (none since 2008). From 1999-2004, Miami averaged 7.18 draftees and had a staggering 21 first-rounders. Boston College post-expansion: 1.83 draftees per year; pre-expansion, 2.33. Virginia Tech, has seen its NFL production increase only slightly since joining the league -- 29 drafted from 2005-2010, 25 drafted from 1999-2004. 

--Another strange stat courtesy of the ACC. Through 2010, the conference leads the NFL in linebackers (including those on injured reserve, practice squads and physically unable to perform lists.)

1. ACC, 53; 2. Big Ten, 49; 3. SEC, 46; 4. Big 12, 35; 5. Pac-10, 31; 6. Mountain West, 20; 7. Big East, 17; 8. WAC, 8; 9. Sun Belt, 7; 10. MAC, 6; 11. Conference USA, 5. 

 

 

 

 

Posted on: January 24, 2011 6:33 pm
 

Art Kehoe hired at Miami

Art Kehoe called me out. In the middle of the Miami lockerroom. In front of the entire team. On deadline. A student manager or SID type quietly came up to me in the lockerroom after Miami's 2005 win at Virginia Tech.

"Art wants to see you."

I knew what was coming. If you know Art Kehoe, you know he doesn't let any slight pass. It's part of the reason why he had built great offensive lines at Miami. They played like the man lived -- with a chip on their shoulder -- every snap.

I had written the week of the game that Virginia Tech had passed Miami as a program -- basically saying the Miami dynasty was over

You don't write something like that and then not show up in the Canes lockerroom -- win or lose. So when I walked in that night, they all gawked. The Canes had passed around my column on the plane as I recall. Kehoe was waiting.

In front of God, man and the Hurricanes he lit into me. I was expecting nothing less. Kehoe is a passionate man, a great coach and a hell of a motivator. That's why I was so happy Monday when he was hired back at Miami. Al Golden will be the sixth Hurricanes coach Art has worked for. Golden couldn't have made a better hire. When you're trying to get a program back on track you should always have a link to the past.

Kehoe is that link. Boy, is he that link. There aren't many men walking the earth with five national championship rings -- from one school. Yes, Art Kehoe has been around for all five of the titles in the Miami dynasty.

The man started at  The U (way before it was called The U, by the way) as a juco transfer playing for Howard Schnellenberger in the late 1970s. In 1981, two years before the dynasty started, he began as a student manager. Over 27 years he has coached seven All-Americans on the offensive line, 20 pros and 19 all-conference players as well as an Outland Trophy and Rimington Award winner.

If there was anybody who was going to jump into my jock, it was Kehoe. I had touched a nerve with the column. That night my respect for him jumped through the roof. Miami won 27-7. The Canes eviscerated the Hokies. At least for a night, it was like old-time Miami. When Kehoe got to me, he didn't use any profanity. He didn't get personal. He just yelled, asking something like, "Do we look like we're dead now?"

The answer, of course, was no. I deserved it. Every word of it. Sometimes in this business you eat crow. Sometimes you want to hug a guy when you are doing it. I love how Kehoe was speaking to his team that night -- through me. He was using a hack to show the Canes, they should not back down. Kehoe has passed on that personality to his offensive linemen over the years. Brett Romberg, that Rimington winner, was as bright and brutal of a person/lineman as you can imagine. The gigantic Bryant McKinnie, that Outland winner, finished eighth in the Heisman voting in 2001.

It's 10 years and counting since Miami last won a national championship and, yes, something has slipped in Coral Gables. But if Kehoe's hire is any indication, Golden knows what he is doing. A little bit of the old Miami returned on Monday. I wouldn't be surprised if someday soon, a sixth championship followed. That's how much I think of Art Kehoe.

Posted on: December 30, 2010 11:46 am
Edited on: December 30, 2010 4:15 pm
 

The Year in Dodd

Jan. 8 -- I'll never forget a crushed Mack Brown in the Rose Bowl hallway leading to the Texas lockerroom after losing to Alabama. I ask him, "Would Colt [McCoy] have made a difference?" Mack: "It wouldn't have been close."

Jan. 9 -- God, it's sunny outside in Newport Beach and God I want to be out on the golf course but while working on the national championship game folo, I find out South Florida's Jim Leavitt has been fired and Pete Carroll is leaving for the Seahawks. So much for golf. A hectic 2010 officially kicks off.

Feb. 1 -- What's so special about Cretin-Derham Hall High in St. Paul, Minn. No. 1 recruit Seantrel Henderson? A lot. But the kid's nationally televised commitment to USC turns out to be a mockery of the system.

Feb. 26 -- While the NCAA ponders making sickle-cell trait testing mandatory, another player dies of the affliction.

March 10 -- An all-access embedment with Baylor basketball during the Big 12 basketball tournament begins with the suggestion that Scott Drew might be the most despised coach in the conference.

March 12 -- I'm surprised to see that Baylor's pregame is as much religion as it is basketball. 

Mid-March -- During a first-round trip to San Jose for the NCAA Tournament I inquire about talking to quarterback Andrew Luck at nearby Stanford. I'm told he's busy with finals. Luck will later live up to the hype on the field too.

March 17 -- Before Butler bounces a ball in the NCAA Tournament I was there to chronicle what was then a stepping-stone job.

March 25 -- You know him as Ali Farokhmanesh, the all-Missouri Valley honorable mention who took out Kansas. His teammates know him as "Stroke".

March 28 -- Yes, Magic Johnson deserves to celebrate a Final Four berth with Michigan State.

April 6 -- That was the best coach of all time you saw win the national championship.

April 11 -- Even if the venue stunk, the Frozen Four was great again even if the fans of a team not involved in the championship game made the most noise.


May -- Jack Dodd and dad took in a three-game Cardinals-Padres series in San Diego. Ate fish tacos and made friends of ushers who openly root for Pads, leading one sarcastic Dodger fan to shoot back, "Let's go, sta-aff!! (clap-clap, clap-clap-clap)."

Also in May -- Haley Dodd graduates from high school, commits to the University of Missouri.

June 1 -- Big 12 spring meetings begin in Kansas City with all hell breaking loose.

June 3 -- Big 12 schools are so spooked by impending conference realignment that an ultimatum is issued: Declare loyalty or else. Nebraska won't commit, having been in talks with Big Ten since January.

June 9 -- Colorado announces it is joining the Pac-10.

June 11 -- Nebraska trashes Texas on the way to announcing its departure for the Big Ten in 2011. The Longhorns take their worst beating in seven years.

June 12-15 -- Texas re-commits to the Big 12 after a failed raid by the Pac-10 to take six Big 12 teams. The crucial hours come on Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13 when Fox Regional and ESPN essentially decide it is in their best interests to make a financial commitment to a 10-team Big 12 rather than lose an entire BCS conference. If the Big 12 had gone away, the new Pac-12 could have, and still might, go out to bid leaving one or both (Fox, ESPN) from losing another BCS property.

A portion of the remaining Big 12 have nots (Missouri, Iowa State, etc.) agree that Texas should get an increased share of conference revenue just because it's Texas. There is no Big 12 with it. The Horns spend the rest of the year establishing its own network, reportedly with ESPN for $15 million per year.

June 16 -- Troy is burned to the ground.

Mid- June -- Went on a Mexican cruise to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Smoked a Cuban cigar, body surfed, watched World Cup soccer at 7 in the morning and enjoyed a seal show -- in the pool where my son and I were swimming! Mexican health laws are a little bit different than ours.

July 21 -- Nick Saban goes there with the p-word.

July 27 -- Tom Tuberville finds out he could retroactively win the 2004 national championship.

August -- Jack begins practice for CYO seventh-grade football. No two-a-days, more like two-a-weeks.

August 15 -- Haley moves into her University of Missouri dorm 30 years after her dad moved out of Columbia. Yes, a few sentimental tears were shed.

August 27 -- It's the Year of the Comeback.

August-September -- North Carolina football is ripped apart by an agent scandal than resulted in mass suspensions, an NCAA investigation and resignation of assistant coach John Blake.

September 7 -- Boise State launches itself into a season-long national conversation with a 33-30 win over Virginia Tech.

October -- Through a series of stories and spectacular performances we are introduced to this juco quarterback at Auburn. What's his name? Oh yeah, Cam Newton. We will learn more. Much more.

October 9 -- It's officially a national race again as defending national champ Alabama loses to South Carolina.

Also, I enjoy being a Kappa Kappa Gamma dad during the sorority's Dad's Weekend at Missouri. After tailgating, Haley and I watch Mizzou beat Colorado 26-0.

October 12 -- Turns out, South Carolina's win was a bigger deal than we thought. The Gamecocks become only the 45th team ever (in wire service era) to a beat a No. 1 team.


October 16 -- Wisconsin beats No. 1 Ohio State with something called the forward pass.

October 24 -- How crazy has the season gotten? The day before the game, Janet Dodd hits the Worldwide Interweb and somehow gets her husband a hotel room within walking distance of Faurot Field on homecoming weekend. Then People Magazine's "Sexiest Dad Alive" figures into Missouri's 36-27 defeat of BCS No. 1 Oklahoma.

October 31 -- Texas is well on its way to becoming the biggest disappointment of 2010.

Also in October -- Ascension beats CYO diocese power Cure of Ars for its only win of the season. Jack is proud. Dad is prouder.

November 4 -- Story breaks of Cam Newton's dad soliciting $180,000 from Mississippi State.

November 6 -- Matt Hayes of the Sporting News and I get trapped in the LSU postgame celebration after an amazing win over Alabama. We get a behind-the-scenes look at the LSU's coach's "Lesticles."

November 12 -- Why not go wall-to-wall on the scene with Cam Newton? With this ...

November 13 -- And this ...

November 23 -- And this ...

November 26 -- On the day after Thanksgiving, Auburn and Alabama play one of the best Iron Bowls ever and Boise State's Kyle Brotzman misses two chip shots against Nevada. Afterward, neither Cam Newton nor Brotzman are talking. For different reasons, of course.

Non-BCS story of the year: While covering that Boise-Nevada game on a bitterly cold night in Reno, a window in the press box has to be cracked so the clock crew "can hear the whistle." We're not exactly in Columbus, folks. Haven't heard a line like that since the Class 4-A state title game in 1984.

November 27 -- Miami's Randy Shannon is fired after an uninspired loss to South Florida. Jon Gruden gets his name in the search, as he always does, but in the first major hire of his career, AD Kirby Hocutt eventually picks Temple's Al Golden.

December 1 -- The best guy to talk about Kyle Brotzman's disappointment happens to be Boise resident and fan Bill Buckner.

December 1 -- Cam Newton is declared eligible to play in the SEC championship game because he didn't know his father had sought $180,000 for his services at Mississippi State. Hilarity ensues. Commissioners go nuclear.


December 4 -- Oregon beats Oregon State and Auburn beats South Carolina (again) to clinch BCS title game berths. Both schools are first timers in a BCS system than has seen only 14 teams play for the national championship since 1998.

December 5 -- Told you it was the Year of the Comeback.

December 6 -- Yes, we came this close to the end of the BCS.

December 8 -- When Tim Tebow left Florida, that made it a lot easier for Urban Meyer to resign. This time it stuck.

December 9 -- The nation's top rusher is a good guy. Really.

December 11 -- While in New York for the Heisman, a short, middle-aged man listening to his IPod strikes up a conversation with me on the elevator. Hello, Donny Osmond.

December 11 -- Cam Newton wins the Heisman surrounded by eight security goons but no family members in the post-ceremony presser. Sad.

December 13 -- Legends and Leaders? C'mon Big Ten.

December 19 -- Jack and dad enjoy the Chiefs and Rams in St. Louis during Christmas break. It's nice watching a game without a deadline to meet or a petulant coach to question. It's even better doing it with my wingman.

It was a great year. May 2011 be even better.

Posted on: November 29, 2010 12:02 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 12:41 pm
 

Jon Gruden to Miami -- or not

If Jon Gruden has been let go by Miami, well, it's a damn shame.

The man had the job for two hours Sunday night. What the heck is going to happen to all his commits? The next coach is going to have a heck of a salvage job. Shabby way to treat a coach, Miami.

What? Wait, Gruden never was hired by Miami? You're kidding? I saw it on Twitter. I saw it from sources. I saw it in blogs. I saw in my e-mail. When a guy can't trust those outlets who can he trust?

For those of you sarcasm-impaired, calm down. We have entered a dark, confusing, dangerous age in journalism. Rumors are now stories. If we don't react to them, you do so at your own peril. Sources can send us scrambling like Top Gun fighter pilots. We have to. If we don't, we risk getting scooped. There's the same chance we also might end up chasing those wild geese.

My friend Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com added credibility to himself and his site covering the Big 12 realignment story this summer. He had a source, or sources, who turned out to be right. What happened Sunday night I'm not sure. I was getting those same texts, e-mails, blogs and scuttlebutt telling me that something was up with Gruden and Miami. Real? Not real? I see names attached to Twitter accounts. Sometimes I don't know who is at the other end of those accounts.

Just sayin'.

It was a strange week: Michigan AD Dave Brandon felt compelled to react to rumors that Rich Rodriguez was going to be fired after the Ohio State game. These days a high-ranking official like Brandon almost has react to such rumors. His silence would have lent credibility to them -- and that's sad. And until Michigan plays another game, those rumors could be true.

Also last week, film surfaced of Nebraska coordinator Carl Pelini seemingly going after a guy holding a camera on the field following the Texas A&M game. Before it could be confirmed by any reliable source, Pelini himself confirmed it by apologizing.

Whatever sources there were Sunday night in this Gruden "story" were wrong. Or at least, they were wrong for the moment. Or maybe just Gruden and Miami couldn't work something out. Thank goodness, our Clark Judge added some finality to the situation quoting a source -- one you should trust -- saying there was a "zero percent chance" Gruden would end up at Miami.

All that being said, would anyone be surprised if Gruden eventually did become the Miami coach? He issued this non-denial denial on Sunday.

"I am committed to MNF and to ESPN," Gruden said in a statement. "I enjoy working with Mike [Tirico], [Ron Jaworski] and our entire crew and am just trying to get better at this job."

Nowhere in there does it say, "I am not going to be the coach at the University of Miami."

Maybe that's because it could still happen.  Gruden would be a great hire for Miami. The nation is getting an inside look at his expertise each week on television. He has a Super Bowl ring. He has coached in college, though not in 19 years.

 One question, though: If Gruden is hired by the Canes would he be returning to Miami?

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 28, 2010 9:19 am
Edited on: November 28, 2010 1:06 pm
 

Miami speculation leads off big Sunday

It looks like the biggest college football Sunday, well, until next week when the BCS bowls are announced. At issue today:

--Let the Miami speculation begin. Randy Shannon’s firing means a wide net will be cast. As Gregg Doyel pointed out, Miami pretty much has said player conduct isn’t an issue anymore. Miami fired a fine man who had recruited good players and good citizens.

Forget that, it’s time to find a football coach. Miami’s legacy is so deep that a rule has been named after it. Well, it doesn’t have an official name but next year points will be taken off the board for excessive celebration during a play. I’ve written about …

Anyway, to the speculation:

Miami needs a head coach. Miami needs an offensive coach. Miami needs a coach with quarterback experience. That doesn’t necessarily mean a former quarterback (Mark Richt?) but it does mean one who can coach (and recruit) quarterbacks.

My short list in no particular order:

Dana Hologorsen, Oklahoma State offensive coordinator – No, he’s not a head coach but he’s the reason the top three offensive players in the Big 12 play for Oklahoma State (Brandon Weeden, Kendall Hunter, Justin Blackmon).

Mike Leach, Key West resident-- He’s laying low in the Keys filing lawsuits until the next big thing comes along. If Miami wants to go 180 degrees from Shannon then this is their man. Note to Miami, though: Bring representation. This former lawyer is legally armed and dangerous.

Charlie Strong, Louisville - Defensive guy. Definitely not a quarterback guy. Strong, though, is known as a great recruiter who could get Miami back on track in a hurry. That pretty much goes for whoever Miami hires. We’re talking the ACC, here.

Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech -- He’d come in a heartbeat. He loves Miami, knows how to recruit there. Tubs has two national championships rings from Miami. Is he too old though, 56, for Kirby Hocutt’s tastes?

Greg Schiano, Rutgers -- Here’s what you have to ask yourself – Has Rutgers dragged Schiano down? He led it to unprecedented heights but the Knights will miss their first bowl in five years this season. Or, are Miami’s resources just waiting to be tapped by an energetic former Hurricane assistant. Schiano has recruited South Florida for years.

Mark Richt, Georgia -- His name is automatic given his ties to the program (former quarterback) and success at Florida State and Georgia. But how does Richt go from the hot seat at Georgia to a hot candidate at Miami in just a few weeks?

Jon Gruden, TV analyst -- He'll be mentioned because he's always mentioned because he desperately wants back in and keeps throwing his name in the mix. Best to think of Gruden as a symbol. Miami would be wise to go after a guy with NFL ties.

Brent Venables, Oklahoma defensive coordinator -- This seems to be a great fit: Venables and Miami AD Kirby Hocutt were together at Kansas State. Venables is known as a good recruiter. The downside: Venables' defenses haven't been great lately although the talent seemingly has been there.  

--West Virginia’s Bill Stewart is “seriously mulling” retirement according to a West Virginia pay website.

--Other issues today: Three-way ties in the Big Ten and Big 12 have to be settled for BCS berths.

Oklahoma is expected to slip past Oklahoma State (and Texas A&M) in the Big 12. Wisconsin is expected to grab the Rose Bowl berth ahead of Ohio State and Michigan State.

In Oklahoma’s case, it’s fitting that the final Big 12 game (in this configuration) could be OU and Nebraska in the Big 12 title game. It’s that rivalry (among others) that was altered when the Big 12 was formed.


Stanford is at least projected to be at No. 4 in the BCS standings as of Sunday morning. That means the Cardinal would be guaranteed a BCS bowl (if Oregon beats Oregon State), most likely in the Orange Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl.

TCU seemingly has clinched a Rose Bowl berth, at least, after destroying New Mexico. The Horned Frogs’ regular season is done. It’s difficult to project them falling out of the No. 3 spot in the BCS. 

 

 

Posted on: November 11, 2010 10:40 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2010 2:48 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Much credit to Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer for the work on these Joe Paterno statistics: As JoePa pursues win No. 401 Saturday at Ohio State , it's worth noting how he won a significant portion of his first 400. For the first 27 years of his head coaching career, Penn State played as an independent. The Nittany Lions regularly faced these six Eastern independents -- West Virginia, Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Pittsburgh and Boston College .

The Suspect Six weren't exactly national powers, at least they weren't against Paterno. Penn State was 112-14-1 against those schools before joining the Big Ten. Throw in the service academies -- Army, Navy and Air Force were especially devastated during the Vietnam War -- and Joe was 130-16-1. Those 130 victories before joining the Big Ten account for more than half of his wins as an independent and 32.5 percent of his total victories ...

Who keeps track of this stuff? Michigan can win its 300th all-time game in November against Purdue ... Two backup quarterbacks go at it in Atlanta. Miami freshman Stephen Morris led a last-minute win over Maryland last week. Georgia Tech goes with sophomore Tevin Washington who replaces Josh Nesbitt , out with a broken arm ... With a win over Kent State , Army (5-4) assures that all three service academies are bowl eligible ... Syracuse (6-3 heading to Rutgers) is one of just nine I-A teams with four road wins ...

This is where playing I-AAs becomes a liability. Arizona State (4-5) must win its final three games to become bowl eligible. The Sun Devils played two I-AAs and now must sweep Stanford, UCLA and Arizona ... SEC teams are averaging 31 points per game, the most since expansion in 1992 ... Vanderbilt has attempted four field goals and 72 punts ... The Big East has no bowl eligible teams. At this point last year it had three.


Posted on: November 2, 2010 5:38 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2010 6:57 pm
 

Big East expanding to 10 teams

John Marinatto looked like a wounded man last spring in Phoenix. Not so much physically, but emotionally.

According to reports, the Big East commissioner's conference was under attack. The popular notion was that the Big East didn't have long to live after the predatory Big Ten got through with it. Depending on what you read, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and/or Syracuse, were candidates to leave the Big East. Marinatto put on a brave front last April at the BCS meetings saying the league was using former NFL commissioner and Georgetown chairman of the board Paul Tagliabue as a consultant.

In an unguarded moment, though, Marinatto admitted to checking his text messages for the latest news during Mass.

The skies cleared above the Big East a bit on Tuesday when the league announced it would expand to 10 football-playing schools at some point in the future. No timetable given but a conference source said, "You can say the Big East would want to move quickly."

At eight teams in football, the Big East is the smallest conference in Division I-A. It was weakened significantly when it lost Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston to the ACC in 2003. Since then, during BCS television negotiations at one point, the league received a waiver to remain an automatic qualifying BCS league because potential TV partners wanted the league's Northeast markets.

In the last month it was learned that the Big East and TCU of the Mountain West had spoken. Villanova, already a Big East basketball member, is trying to decide whether its I-AA football program should move up to I-A. If that is the case Temple, another Philadelphia school and former Big East member, would probably be out of the running for a return to the conference.

Other schools mentioned include Central Florida and Houston from Conference USA.

One source said Villanova was "50-50" about whether to join the league in football. If Villanova joined in football, the league would have to add only one more football member. An NCAA moratorium on I-AA teams transitioning to I-A ends next summer.


TCU is the outlier in the discussion but a potentially valuable addition for the Big East. Forget the geographic designations, the school would be as far from some Big East schools as it is currently in the Mountain West. TCU probably wouldn't join as a basketball member. There is thought to be some reluctance within the Big East about adding any more basketball members to the already unwieldy 16-team basketball conference. The soonest TCU could leave for the Big East would be 2012. Per Mountain West rules, TCU would have had to notify the league office by Sept. 1 of this year if it was leaving for 2011.

One potential hurdle has been removed if TCU were to join. The Mountain West does not have a financial penalty for schools that leave the league.

Best guess: If Villanova doesn't move up, look for TCU and Central Florida to join. The league would be wise to value the Dallas-Fort Worth and Orlando markets. The Big East already is in Tampa-St. Pete with South Florida. A natural conference rivalry no doubt would develop between UCF and USF.

After expansion, Big East could set to reap a financial windfall from its next television contract. The league's TV deal with ESPN and CBS expires after the 2012-13 season. The football deal with ESPN expires after the 2013 season. Negotiations would probably begin around September 2012.

Because of increased competition for league rights, conferences have been seeing a huge spike in income. The SEC finalized a 15-year deal with the SEC and CBS in July 2009 worth $3 billion. The ACC signed a 12-year deal with ESPN in May worth $1.86 billion. The ACC more than doubled its major rights holder income with the deal.

Fox narrowly missed out on winning at least part of the ACC contract. A merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, another possible player in college sports, is awaiting federal approval.

The Big East presidents made the decision unanimously to expand Tuesday at their annual meeting. A smaller, core executive committee is studying the expansion issue and could meet anytime to address the issue, even by phone, according to a league spokesman.

 
 
 
 
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