Posted on: September 13, 2010 2:45 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2010 2:46 pm

The Pirate keeps firing

Mike Leach went off today during his show on XM/Sirius. Among his more outrageous statements ...

"At Texas Tech I put a bounty on them (shady agents). I was more than willing to pay $500 to put one of those guys in jail."

Would that be an NCAA violation if a player was paid for submitting information?

Leach also said that Alabama wasn't in his top five, but is in his "top seven." Can we assume Alabama is not sixth, then?

"I think Ohio State is better than Alabama ...," Leach said. "The notion that Alabama has the most explosive offense simply is not true ... I'm not going to get on Alabama if they beat Duke."

He also reiterated that he wasn't "responsible for the feelings" of teams he was beating, by backing off during a rout.

And you thought we were going to miss The Pirate? No chance, he's back. Every day on satellite radio. If he is not back coaching in 2011 (Oklahoma State?) it will be a sin.

Posted on: September 12, 2010 11:38 am

The Day After in CFB

The day the ACC died: OK, maybe too harsh but it was certainly one of the worst days in ACC football since expansion.  All four ranked teams lost -- No.  12 Miami (to No. 2 Ohio State); No. 13 Virginia Tech (to James Madison); No. 15 Georgia Tech (to Kansas) and No. 17 Florida State (to No. 10 Oklahoma). The rest of the league (unranked teams) was 4-1. Overall, the ACC was 4-5.

It could get worse next week: Cincinnati plays at NC State on Thursday. On Saturday, Clemson is at Auburn, Duke hosts Alabama, BYU comes to Florida State, Maryland is at West Virginia and East Carolina goes to Virginia Tech.

Get your No. 16 jersey, while they last: If Denard Robinson isn't hot enough, check out what may be a bit of foreshadowing from the Michigan Daily.

YouTube sensations: The two most jaw-dropping plays of the day. Kyle Rudolph's catch and run vs. Michigan and LaMichael James' incredible run against Tennessee.

Rockin' the mic: Following an embarrassing 35-0 home-opening loss to Stanford, UCLA's Rick Neuheisel grabbed a microphone and addressed the Rose Bowl crowd. "We'll get better," he said, "We can't get any worse that we were tonight ... I promise you, we will not give up. We'll be back."

It suddenly seems like a long time since Neuheisel led a pep rally after his first game. It's been only two years.

Miami fans never cease to amaze: While there only seemed to be 3,000-5,000 in the stands at Ohio Stadium, they made themselves known. The kid at the Columbus airport was interesting. Cut into the back of his head by an enterprising barber: "U Swag"

Posted on: September 9, 2010 5:29 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2010 9:37 am

Son of Weekend Watch List

(Overflow from Friday's Weekend Watch List)

How arrogant is LeBron James? You may have heard he is thinking about attending the Miami-Ohio State. Heaven help him if the Miami Heat star watches Miami win. It's 105,000-1. No matter what Jim Tressel says, there will be a much of hacked off Bucknuts ... San Jose State goes to Wisconsin with the distinction of having played more ranked non-conference opponents in the first two weeks of the season (two, counting Alabama) than the Badgers have in the last eight years (one). The Spartans are playing back-to-back home games in the Central Time Zone for the first time since 1999 ... Oklahoma has a nation-best 31-game home winning streak ... Texas A&M ran 99 plays against Stephen F. Austin, the most in the nation last week ... The Big 12 is back to being a running league. For a week. Three backs went over 200 yards last week for the first time since 1998 ... In Rick Neuheisel's 26 games at UCLA (hosting Stanford), he has beaten two with winning records at the end of the season -- Tennessee in first season and Temple in last year's EagleBank Bowl ... Part of an explanation, sort of, for the poor showing against Miami (Ohio).  Florida played 15 true freshman last week. That was the most of any team in the country ... The Boise State-Virginia Tech game was the most-viewed regular-season game in ESPN history (7.2 million viewers).

Posted on: September 8, 2010 12:18 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 12:40 pm

Mark Ingram "probably" out for Penn State

Alabama coach Nick Saban waffled a bit but said that his Heisman-winning tailback could miss the Penn State game.

Ingram missed last week's opener after undergoing arthroscopic surgery.

"Mark's improving every day ...," Saban said, "if he can continue to progress he's probably not going to be ready to play this week."

Saban added that Ingram could be healthy by Saturday but won't "be able to practice to get ready to play."

Two questions ...

Does Ingram really need to practice all week to be ready for Penn State?

And is Saban sandbagging and going to run Ingram 25 times against the Nittany Lions?
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 8, 2010 12:11 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 12:21 pm

National notes

Welcome to your up-to-date primer on eligibility issues ...

They are usually young, impressionable. Oftentimes they are female.

That's why Ohio State AD Gene Smith switches tutors every two years, as if the athletic department was a getting a compliance oil change.

"We're not the only ones," Smith said. "We change them out every two years because they get close to the kids."

Or at least the possibility exists. It's something to consider as North Carolina deals with NCAA investigations on two fronts. Thirteen players were held out of the LSU opener for various reasons. The school is looking into allegations that a tutor with close ties to coach Butch Davis may have written papers for players.

Part of the problem no doubt plaguing North Carolina is how to define academic fraud in this case. One prominent compliance officer told CBSSports.com that even writing an outline for a paper can become an issue.

"We teach our people to do nothing," Smith said of his tutors. "Talk them through the issues, talk them through the challenges. Don't write anything for them. If you write notes, it's notes to help them understand. But that's so hard. I feel sorry for them [tutors]."
If any money changed hands between parties, things get murkier. Any extra benefit over $100 could mean a suspension. Without a paper trail, it might be in the offenders' best interest to keep any admission of payment under that amount.

"If it's over a $100 it's a major [violation],"Smith said. "If it's under, you pay restitution ...Back in the day, it wasn't the tutors saying, 'You have to pay me this.' Back in the day it was players saying, 'Thanks for doing this for me,' and giving them money. The player would say, 'Here's 20 bucks or 50 bucks.' Then it emerged where the tutor has stopped charging."

The emotional attachment thing --possible hero worship -- remains a concern. That's why Ohio State swaps out its tutors. Smith laid out a fake scenario involving his star quarterback to prove his point.

"If you were tutoring, say Terrelle Pryor, your math tutor comes in. [The player is a] freshman, unassuming. You tutor him in math. You hear more about things in his life than just math. You establish a relationship.

"They you do it in Year Two, then you do it in Year Three. Here he is going into his Heisman year, you're tutoring him in math. He's got all this pressure on him, comes into one of these tutorial sessions and just starts opening up. Then you've got to get him to do his math. Next thing you know you're doing it."

    CBSSports.com recently dug into the NCAA's reinstatement guidelines. There is generally mathematical aspect to gaining back eligibility after receiving extra benefits.

This is directly from the NCAA ...

"If the value of the benefit ranges from greater than $100 to $300 = 10 percent withholding condition and repayment."

... between $300 and $500 it is 20 percent withholding (assuming that is number of contests) and repayment.

More than $500, 30 percent withholding.

That probably explains Marcell Dareus'  situation. The NCAA originally considered suspending the star defensive tackle for four games after Dareus was found to have accepted approximately $1,800 in improper benefits. The NCAA said mitigating circumstances reduced the suspension to two games.

Four games would fit into the NCAA's mathematical guidelines (four out of 12 regular-season games = 33 percent).

A Wednesday report surfaced that Georgia receiver A.J. Green had been suspended because he sold a game-worn jersey for less than $1,000. Given the NCAA formula, Georgia better hope it is way less than $1,000. Green could be suspended three more games if the price was more than $500.

    Also, don't be surprised if North Carolina "staggers" its suspensions. The school was forced to withhold 13 players in the LSU opener due to various issues.

The NCAA allows staggering "if multiple student-athletes from the same team are required to be withheld," creating, "a potential health risk ... due to playing with a decreased squad size." The NCAA says the largest number of players should be withheld from the first contest to speed up the process.

In other words, expect a lot more Tar Heels to be available on Sept. 18 when it next plays against Georgia Tech.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 31, 2010 5:25 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 6:24 pm

Jeremiah Masoli denied appeal at Ole Miss

The NCAA has denied Jeremiah Masoli's appeal to become immediately eligible at Ole Miss.

Don't try to compare this to Alabama losing Mark Ingram. One is the defending Heisman Trophy winner lost to an injury. The other is a free-agent, mercenary with his own crisis management firm.

Because Masoli was kicked off Oregon, he is in this situation. Ingram's injury was bad luck.

The NCAA's reasoning is that Masoli indeed sought a transfer because he was kicked off the team at Oregon. That violates the intent of the waiver, according to the NCAA.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, Ole Miss
Posted on: August 31, 2010 12:52 pm

Panic in the streets of T-Town: Ingram out

Scratch another Heisman for Mark Ingram?

Alabama's Heisman Trophy winning back will miss Saturday's season opener against San Jose State after undergoing arthroscopic surgery Tuesday on his left knee. Ingram hurt the knee in Monday's practice. After Saturday, he will be listed week-to-week.

"We will make every decision in the future based on what’s best for Mark and his career as we consult with [the doctors] on his progress," Nick Saban said in a press release.  "This is not an injury that will affect Mark’s future ability to make a full recovery in a relatively short time frame.”

After San Jose State, Alabama faces Penn State on Sept. 11, followed by Duke and Arkansas to close out the month.  In the case of minor arthroscopic surgery, it is conceivable Ingram could be back for the Penn State game.

"It was a situation where everyone involved thought it would be better to take care of it now, so he would not have any issues with it later on in the season," Saban added.

Chasing another Heisman is probably down on the list of concerns for Ingram at this point. Alabama is well stocked at the position. Sophomore Trent Richardson, a preseason all-SEC pick by the media, will likely start in Ingram's place.

Posted on: August 31, 2010 11:53 am

Son of 25 Things to Watch

These five "things" didn't make the cut ....

26. This is the best, most-inside look at Nebraska's move to the Big Ten. The Omaha World-Herald piece shows that Nebraska was tipped off in January about possibly being left out as conference shifting took place. From there, the school played a risky, clandestine mating dance with the Big Ten that resulted in the school joining on June 11.

27. Odds on winning the national championship from Bodog.com

Alabama 4-1
Ohio State 5-1
Oklahoma 15-2
Boise State 8-1
Florida 9-1
Texas 14-1
Nebraska 15-1
Miami 18-1
TCU 18-1
Virginia Tech 18-1

In case you're scoring at home, Boise State has a better chance of winning the national chanmpionship than Florida, Texas, Nebraska or Miami.

28. Just in case you need help getting into the 2010 Heisman race, Texas coach Mack Brown says the 2004 Heisman race might not be over. 

29. Most fearsome ...

Defensive line: Iowa returns four all-Big Ten starters and its top two reserves. Only two players rushed for 100 yards against the Hawkeyes last year.

Offensive line: Alabama. Having the defending Heisman Trophy winner and his sidekick (Trent Richardson) to spring lose, how hard can it be?

Secondary: North Carolina. All four starters are back (for now) on a unit that allowed 175 passing yards per game.

Offensive backfield:  Virginia Tech. Tyrod Taylor is ready to break out. Tailback Darren Evans returns to find his spot taken by '09 freshman sensation Ryan Williams. The only question for Frank Beamer is how to split the carries.

Defensive backfield: Texas. Three starters back from a unit that picked off 11 more passes (25) than touchdowns allowed (14).

Linebackers: Michigan State. Big Ten defensive player of the year and All-American Greg Jones is in the middle. He is bookended by Spartans' No. 2 tackler Eric Gordon and talented sophomore Chris Norman. 

Oklahoma. Four receivers averaged at least 12 yards per catch. Watch tiny Ryan Broyles who went over 1,000 yards on 89 catches.

Special teams: Nebraska. Alex Henery handles the kicking (24 of 28 FGs) and punts (41.4). Adi Kunalic has 86 career touchbacks, 38 percent of his kickoffs. Niles Paul averaged 28 yards per kickoff return and 10.7 on punt returns.

30. Comeback player of the year

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder rebounded from shoulder surgery. Auburn's Zac Etheridge came back from a serious neck injury. Baylor's Robert Griffin ripped his ACL in the third game of the season.  Georgia Tech defensive back Cooper Taylor needed heart surgery .

They're all back in 2010 but the winner has to be Boston College's Mark Herzlich who beat cancer and inspired a nation during his recovery -- part of which was televised.

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