Posted on: June 5, 2009 3:36 pm

Predicting the bling ...

We're all Heisman candidates in June. Mom, dad, the plumber, the cat. Well, maybe not the cat.

This is the time of year to salute every swinging hick who dares to dream of a trip to New York. With that in mind, here are my Heisman rankings.

1. Colt McCoy, Texas -- It's his time. Among the Three Amigos, it's his turn.
2. Tim Tebow, Florida -- Voters will be wary of making Superman a two-time winner. There has only been one.
3. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma -- Back-to-back ain't happenin' either.
4. Jevan Snead. Ole Miss -- This year's Matt Stafford.
5. Jahvid Best, Cal -- No. 3 rusher last season, should be the nation's leading rusher in 2009.
6. Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech -- The hoss in Paul Johson's option offense.
7. Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State -- Cowboy No. 1
8. Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State -- Cowboy No. 2
9. Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State --  Cowboy No. 3
10. Case Keenum, Houston -- 5,000-yard passer.

The others -- Arrelious Benn, Illinois; Eric Berry, Tennessee; Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas; Daryll Clark, Penn State; Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame; Aaron Corp, USC; Noel Devine, West Virginia; A.J. Green, Georgia; Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma; Max Hall, BYU; Greg Hardy, Ole Miss; Tim Hiller, Western Michigan; Jerry Hughes, TCU; Colin Kaepernick, Nevada; Julio Jones, Alabama; Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan; MiQuale Lewis, Ball State; Jake Locker, Washington; Taylor Mays, USC; Kellen Moore, Boise State; DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma; Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State; Todd Reesing, Kansas; Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State;  Charles Scott, LSU; Brandon Spikes, Florida; Triumph the Insult Comic Dog; The Kobe and LeBron puppets; Zach Galifianakis; Conan O'Brien; Lassie; David Letterman; Iron Man; Alex Trebek, Tina Fey, shall I go on?


Bednarik/Nagurski Award (best defensive player): Jerry Hughes, TCU

Biletnikoff Award (best receiver): Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State

Broyles Award (best assistant coach):  John Chavis, LSU defensive coordinator

Groza Award (best kicker): Kai Forbath, UCLA

Ray Guy Award (best punter): Derek Epperson, Baylor

Lombardi Award (best lineman): Greg Hardy, Ole Miss

Mackey Award (best tight end): Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma

Davey O'Brien Award (best quarterback): Colt McCoy, Texas.

Butkus Award (best linebacker):  Brandon Spikes, Florida

Outland Trophy (best interior lineman):  Ciron Black, LSU

Rimington Trophy (best center): Kristofer O'Dowd, USC

Eddie Robinson Award (coach of the year):  Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Thorpe Award (best defensive back): Eric Berry, Tennessee

Doak Walker Award (best running back):  Jahvid Best, Cal



Posted on: May 7, 2009 11:04 am

Daniel Hood and the coaches poll

Tennessee's newest football signee claims he had interest from 27 schools until they found out his criminal past.

My question is, how did it even get to that stage? It's shameful that apparently 27 schools got to the recruiting stage of Hood. Any reasonable effort to check his background would have produced his sordid past. One recruiting site said among the schools recruiting Hood were Florida State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, UCLA and Stanford. Stanford?

How many of those schools stayed on Hood after they found out about him? Here is evidence that Hood had at least two offers as long ago as 14 months.

This kind of reminds me of the case of Colt Brennan. The Hawaii quarterback served one week in jail after being convicted of burglary and felony trespassing while at Colorado. Brennan was able to reshape his life and become a Heisman contender.

But once again, felony trespassing is a loooong way from sexual assault. We can only hope that Hood makes Tennessee proud. I still say that UT doesn't need Hood given its recent past, its controversial present and its reputation in the future. Yes, give the kid a scholarship -- somewhere else.

I'm wondering how many kids are dying to attend UT but can't for financial reasons. I want Hood to tell them why he deserves the scholly more because he plays a mean defensive line.

  The Gallup Poll apparently has discussed the coaches in the coaches poll completely hide their ballots.

This came consultation with Gallup by the American Football Coaches Association.

If it happens, welcome back to the stone age. Gallup seems to think that there would be less pressure on coaches if the public didn't know how they voted, or even their identity. Currently, the 61 coaches release their ballots at the end of the regular season. At least we know who the 61 voters are. Now, even that shred of info might be hidden.

So let's recap: The national championship might be decided by 61 anonymous men who may or may not be actually voting, may or may not be voting their friends (or themselves) unethically high (or low) and who, no matter how this turns out, will continue to line their pockets with BCS bowl money based on their poll.  

Where do we sign up?
Posted on: May 6, 2009 4:26 pm

Blanket answer to Hood posters

Wow, it's weird that nobody really cared about this kid until he signed with Tennessee.

To all those apolgists who have flamed me, I have one question about Daniel Hood: Would you let him date your daughter?

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Tennessee
Posted on: May 6, 2009 2:54 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2009 3:24 pm

Tennessee signee had role in sexual assault

Remember the name Daniel Hood. Remember what he and a partner did to a 14-year-old girl six years ago.

"...duct tape being placed over 70 percent of the victim's body and the use of an object in the assualt," according to court records.

Now remember that Daniel Hood has been signed to play football at Tennessee. In one sense, this sexual assault goes way beyond the provocative ramblings of a rookie coach. This is telling the world that Hood's football prowess makes it easy to overlook a heinous act.

The girl, now a woman, who was sexual assaulted was Hood's relative. The woman also has written a letter to the university "urging" Tennessee to admit Hood according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel. Hood was 13 at the time of the crime. 

It's hard to find a soft place to land on this issue. Almost every other school ignored Hood because of his past. Tennessee took a chance, perhaps because it is Tennessee. Lane Kiffin's stated goal is to make the UT brand visible to everyone. This ought to do it. Hood guarantees that one one point, Tennessee will be seen on ESPN, CNN, The 700 Club and The O'Reilly Factor. Maybe in the same day.

Hood, now 19, was recruited out of Knoxville Catholic High where he had a 3.8 GPA. Administrators had nothing but good things to say about him. But shouldn't Knoxville Catholic officials be criticized too for allowing Hood to attend their school? It seems the only reason he is walking the streets is because Hood was tried as a juvenile and found to be deliquent "on the basis that he had committed the adult offenses of kidnapping and aggravated rape." Hood's 17-year-old accomplice in the crime was tried as any adult. He is currently serving a 10-year sentence.

I remember former coach Phil Fulmer calling me for taking a cheap shot in this blog about a rash of Tennessee arrests. I told him it, in fact, was a cheap shot and didn't apologize. The criticism was merited for program that seemingly had run off the tracks and wild into the streets.

While Lane Kiffin's first few months have been controversial, we mostly smiled. This is serious stuff, going way beyond anything that happened under Fulmer's watch. Back then, the school and program looked the other way. Now, the program and university are partners in rationalization of a situation they created.

I'll go back to the point I always make in these situations: Daniel Hood shouldn't be barred for going to college, but perhaps it shouldn't be Tennesse where there are plenty of students worthy of a scholarship who haven't committed sexual assault.

Opinions have come streaming in ...

Here is the original front-page story in the News-Sentinel.

Here is columnist John Adams' take.

This asks the question whether the paper should have even published the story.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Tennessee
Posted on: April 16, 2009 4:25 pm

Notes on the biggest weekend of the spring ...

More than 50 schools will be playing spring games this weekend. Enjoy this pupu platter of cfb appetizers ...  

 You know things are going good for the national champions when the biggest news to come out of the spring involves a plaque.

Tim Tebow's words following last season's Ole Miss loss have been immortalized near the football offices.

 With Lane Kiffin on the eve of his first spring game at Tennessee, the next on-field hurdle is for the new coach to find out what it's like between the lines in the SEC.

" Yeah I do (understand how tough it is)," Kiffin said.  "It is so competitive. But being in the NFL, how can someone tell me that the NFL not competitive? That's the highest level. People are fighting for their jobs, for their paychecks, for their families. Is it different than the Pac-10? Sure it is. There's more balance. Top to bottom it's better. But go be a head coach in the NFL. That's as cut throat as it gets up there."

 Houston receiver Patrick Edwards might sue Marshall after suffering a compound fracture in a game last season in Huntington, W.V.

Edwards was injured when he ran supply cart in the back of the end zone chasing a pass. Amazingly, Edwards has participated enough to take part in non-contact drills during the spring.

 Ohio State assistant Dick Tressel probably wasn't thinking when he evaluated option offenses recently.

"The evolution of this quarterback-off-the-line-of-scrimma
ge kind of football, where backs are running laterally and they're reading things, and [the quarterback is figuring out] when to give it to him and when not to, the defenses have caught up to that, bottom line," Ohio State's running backs coach told the <em>Cleveland Plain Dealer<.en>. "They know where you're going just like that."

Does Tressel even know the Buckeyes open with Navy which has led the country in rushing four consecutive years?

 Navy will be led by one Ricky Dobbs, a mercurial quarterback who wants to become president by 2040.

Dobbs is only 6-feet-1 but has the "it" factor when it comes to being a leader -- a huge factor at a place like Navy. Dobbs ran for 224 yards and four touchdowns last year in a spot start against SMU. In his spare time he ran for vice president of his class.

He was known for calling the Douglasville (Ga.) High School administration even after he got to Navy. The ebullient Dobbs is known for having a unique handshake for teammates and friends. In his first career start last fall, he led the Mids to a 16-0 victory over Northern Illinois becoming he sixth Navy quarterback to rush for 100 yards in his debut.

 How does San Jose State impact the entire bowl structure? If there is even one school penalized by the NCAA for not achieving a 925 APR (basically a 60 percent graduation rate) it could mean a bit of chaos. If there aren't enough bowl eligible teams, a bowl could be forced to petition the NCAA to take a team with a losing record.

San Jose State is reportedly among a few schools who could receive a postseason ban from the NCAA in May. The school could receive waiver but you better believe the NCAA football issues committee is watching. With 68 slots to be filled among 34 bowls, there isn't much margin of error.

The last three years there have been 72, 72 and 71 bowl eligible teams. That means an average of 3.6 bowl-eligible teams did not get invites. The school could receive a postseason ban from the NCAA for underperforming in the APR (basically achieving a 60 percent graduation rate).

 OK, these spring games are officially getting ridiculous. Southern Miss is holding a pep rally before Saturday's game.

 Alabama is slipping. Saturday's spring game is expected to draw 70,000-75,000. That's down 20,000 from the Nick Saban lovefest two years ago.

 It's SEC spring day on Saturday. Eight of the 12 teams, including all six teams in the SEC West, will stage spring games.

Posted on: March 26, 2009 2:36 pm
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Tennessee
Posted on: March 20, 2009 3:37 pm

Thank you Greg Shaheen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This is why we love the tournament:

About 1:45 pm. CT in the bowels of the Sprint Center. Three games, all close, in the final seconds. We, the media, get to watch all three simultaneously -- Kansas-North Dakota State, Tennessee-Oklahoma State, Utah State-Marquette. All we needed was a bar, a couple of taps and a waitress asking, "May I help you guys?"

Believe it or not it wasn't always this way for us media urchins. We used to feel like we were out of touch at these sites. The bowels of these arenas can be just that -- bowels of arenas. Damp, cold, forbidding.

But right now I'm looking around at eight flat screens in the media work room. Every game that's being played is on. The NCAA has a heart. I don't know this for sure but I'm guessing Greg Shaheen is responsible. Shaheen oversees the day-to-day operation of the tournament for the NCAA. I consider him a friend of the media who helps us get our work done. Thank goodness, the Pac-10 wasn't successful. The league tried twice to hire Shaheen to become its new commissioner recently.

There, that's my private thank you to the man responsible for making our insulated little world a bit more comfortable. 

Posted on: March 17, 2009 10:02 am

What we learned from the Bryce Brown saga

There is a way clean up recruiting. NCAA president Myles Brand led the charge in 2004 after recruiting scandals at Florida State and Colorado.

Brand used his bully pulpit five years ago to address a "culture of entitlement". Hey, all it took was Williams' diary about scarfing down steak and lobster during his Florida State recruitment. That was when FSU victories still counted, by the way.

Bravo for Brand. The recruiting process had spiraled out of control. The NCAA needed to close up some loopholes.

Several columnists were up in arms again Monday when celebrated recruit Bryce Brown announced his signing with Tennessee. The more more than year-long "drama" played out with the Wichita, Kan. tailback walking into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (ugh!) sporting a Miami hat (gag me). He then took it off and put on the Tennessee hat (barf bag, please).

As distasteful as that scene was -- please, kids, give us something original than the chapeau charade -- it doesn't necessarily mean the process needs to be cleaned up this time. Brown was taking advantage of the rules that allow prospects almost two months to sign letters of intent. We've become so wrapped up "commitments" and "national signing day" (please, not capital letters) that kids like Brown become boogie men when they don't sign on the prescribed date.

Dinner theater histrionics aside, Brown was taking advantage of the system. Sure, the kid and his advisor/mentor Brian Butler were quirky. Brown committed to Miami in February 2008 with the caveat that he would take all five of visits. Huh? In the end, things degenerated so much with Miami that Brown taunted the school (described above). Butler was the first of his kind in college football, a handler who recruiters had to go through to get to Brown.

You know what Brand can do this time? Nothing. Blame the kid, blame the culture of recruiting it is what it is. There has been a cry for an earlier signing date to head off scenes that played out on Monday. An earlier signing day would only move the angst to December when several states are still involved in the state playoffs. Imagine being pressured into signing with a school the same week you're playing for a state championship.

The early signing day is brought up by coaches each year and each year it is shot down. Such legislation would be self-serving. The coaches can get their recruiting done earlier, get on with spring practice and have a longer offseason. I'm in favor of letting the athlete take as much time as he wants. I've brought this up several times, but the top recruits could really make a statement by waiting until August to sign a scholarship agreement.

"That's funny you said that," Eugene Byrd, told me in 2003. Byrd was the director of the National Letter of Intent program. "There's even a place on our website where it says you don't have to sign a letter of intent, you can use this scholarship agreement."

Administrators are amazed an alternative, the scholarship agreement, isn't utilized more. After the football signing period ends ... a scholarship agreement is basically a yearly promise from a school it will provide X amount of books, board and tuition if a prospect comes to that school.

It's not the NCAA's fault that marriage vows can be viewed less solemnly than a recruiting "commitment." It's up to us -- fans, journalists -- to just calm the heck down. Hey, I'll admit it. I drove to Wichita to talk to Butler. I wanted to find out what he was about. Others have followed. The NCAA is now involved into an investigation of Butler.

I think Butler's a mostly innocent party. The guy cares for the kids but also has an entrepreneurial spirit too. I also think that the NCAA is out to make an example of him, trying squash him before more of his kind pop up. Slimy handlers in college basketball long ago soiled that sport's recruiting. In the end, don't be surprised if the NCAA labels him a "representative of a university's athletic interests" and he will be done. Which university? Doesn't matter. The NCAA will find one.

By the way, let's give Brand credit for being the most accomplished CEO in NCAA history. There was doubt about his abilities when the former Indiana president took over. His claim to fame was firing Bobby Knight. While that was a lifetime achievement good enough for me, some wondered how an academic would do leading the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Brand has turned out to be a forceful leader. I can't imagine Walter Byers, Dick Schultz or Cedric Dempsey trying to clean up recruiting on their own. In fact, I can't imagine the last of those three doing much of anything. Our thoughts and prayers now are with Brand who is fighting pancreatic cancer. His legacy will be having led the NCAA into an era of unprecedented credibility.  

There will be more Bryce Browns but there will be fewer Willie Williams.

Small victories.



Category: NCAAF
Tags: Miami, Tennessee
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com