Daily Archives: February 7, 2007

“Where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire.”

Wow. Just wow.

The New York Times has the mother of all articles on the Zooker and this year’s Illinois recruiting class. This puppy is nasty.

Start with a few choice quotes about the Illini’s success this year:

John L. Smith, who was recently dismissed as the head coach at Michigan State, expressed a view shared privately by many rival coaches and recruiters: “If they had a winning program and all of that, it would be a different deal. If they had the greatest facilities in the world, then maybe they could sell them. But what are they selling?”

He added, “Where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire.”

Tom Lemming, a longtime recruiting expert now with CSTV, said a recruiting class this good at a university like Illinois, with little recent tradition, was virtually unprecedented. “I’ve never seen anything like it in 28 years,” he said.

“If something is going on, they’ll get theirs,” said the Wisconsin assistant coach Randall McCray, who recruits in Chicago for the Badgers. “But if nothing is going on, it’s just jealous people that are getting beat in recruiting. I don’t know.”

“I don’t know”? Heh – I bet you’ve got a sneaking suspicion, my man.

And it’s good to know that the Zooker’s AD has his back:

In a telephone interview Monday, Guenther said the university hired an outside law firm to investigate anonymous tips and complaints about suspected recruiting improprieties, and to determine the source of rumors about the program. He said the investigation had cost the university thousands of dollars.

Guenther also said he and Illinois coaches were convinced that another university’s coaching staff had leaked unflattering personal information about recruits to a Web site. He would not name the Web site or the university, other than to say it was not a Big Ten program.

“I take this stuff so seriously,” he said. “I have an interest in the coach’s and the program’s reputation. It’s defamation of character, and it’s got to be challenged.”

Wonder who the mystery program is? I don’t know for sure, but perhaps Tom Lemming’s questioning quote might give a discerning fan a hint.

The article goes on to take a series of shots at the Zooker, and then, best of all, eight recruits are flat out asked if something dirty is going on at Illinois. At least there’s a denial:

None of the eight recruits interviewed for this article said they had been offered anything illegal by Illinois coaches or staff members.

And for those of you who have kids at Illinois in fraternities, don’t say you haven’t been warned when it goes down:

Kevin Johns, an assistant coach at Northwestern, said: “We’re recruiting two different types of character, two different types of kids. They can get in almost any kid that they want. We have to go through academic admissions.”

Make sure to read the article in its entirety. There’s more going on between the lines than is printed.

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Filed under College Football, Recruiting, The Adventures of Zook

Around the blogosphere, National Signing Day edition

  • There’s a “Gang of Six” sighting over at CFR:

Say what you want about the Gang of Six but five of the original six have now appeared in and won BCS games, including championships from USC and Florida. Three of the original six (USC, Boise State, Louisville) plus 2005 entrants Florida and Notre Dame were in this year’s series of BCS games.

And about Boise State… I never got to it around bowl time, but I ended up being a year early on my whole bold prediction thing. Boise slayed their dragon alright, it just took another year and for Jared Zabransky to do something other than melt down. There was an article by Austin Murphy in last week’s Sports Illustrated documenting the in’s and out’s of their Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma that might be worth a look.

One can be good for a long time in college football with talent and a mundane offense, but the innovators alone are the ones who move the wheels of history.

  • And a thorough debunking of same by Mr. King at DawgSports.

(Ed. – Am I really supposed to believe that Florida and Southern Cal won their games because of offensive innovation to the exclusion of anything else? Or that Louisville wasn’t the clearly superior team from a talent standpoint in the Orange Bowl? And why couldn’t Charlie Weis’ offensive genius save his team from being overmatched by a fast, aggressive defense?)

  • David Ching has some last thoughts worth reading on the recruitment of Antwane Greenlee and D. J. Stafford.
  • Groo at DawgsOnLine reminds us that while we’re busy fretting over Signing Day, the kids already in the fold have started puking their guts out for us.
  • Mergz at Saurian Sagacity has a followup on his recruiting rankings/end of season polling analysis. He’s starting to draw some interesting conclusions:

In both studies, the eventual mythical national champion was ranked no worse than 9th in trailing 4 year average recruiting classes (9th for Texas, 4th for Florida). If these two studies hold true, we can expect at least 14 of the top 25 average classes to end the year ranked in the top 25 of the Coaches’ poll (likely a far better percentage than your average pre-season poll).

  • As for all you playoff fanatics who think that the system for NCAA basketball is far superior to the BCS setup we enjoy for D-1 football, go figure.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Georgia Football, Recruiting, The Blogosphere