A whole notha level indeed.
It was quite the high bar set for the Zooker last year:
Since Zook arrived in Champaign in 2005, the Illini have, as Zook promised they would, improved just a little each year. A two-win season with a lot of blowouts gave way to a two-win season with a lot of narrow losses.
This year, he’s going for two wins and a tie. Illini fever – catch it!
The Zooker, counting last year’s win total.
I’d say this is pretty unambiguous:
“Our presidents have no interest whatsoever in a plus-one model — none,” (Pac-10 commissioner Tom) Hansen says. “It’s a little annoying that my colleagues continue to float this idea as though it has merit. If they continue to push it, and try to push us into a corner … “
Will the Pac-10 walk away from the BCS?
“Yes, no question.”
Again, before anyone jumps my case and accuses me of being gleeful about this, the point isn’t that playoffs suck per se. It’s that it’s apparent that we’re still at a point where, as much as some people would like us to think otherwise, a playoff is anything but a slam dunk to structure.
Unless you happen to think that a title game without the Pac-10 or Big Ten winners being part of the playoff process is still an improvement over the current BCS, of course. In which case, Bernie would love to hear from you.
Q: Your offensive line is very young. How are you going to get them ready?
A: Stacy Searels [Georgia's new offensive line coach] has a lot of new ideas. He is a great teacher and great technician. We only had six scholarship linemen after last season ended but we were able to bring in five kids at mid-year. If we started tomorrow we would have a true freshman, Trinton Sturdivant, at left tackle. [Emphasis added.] Coach Bobo and I know that we can’t do everything at once because we’re so young. We’re going to have to be careful with this bunch until they get their feet wet.”
Q: You lost all of your starting linebackers. What is the status of that position?
A: Brandon Miller is the whole key to our defense. [Emphasis added.] We moved him from the [outside] linebacker to the [middle] linebacker. And when you do that there is an adjustment. But he is very talented and very capable and has the ability to be a dominant player. If he can play at full speed he will be a big plus for us.
In a way, I know I shouldn’t be surprised, especially in Sturdivant’s case, because there really isn’t anyone else ready to play the position. But it’s still kind of a jolt to see it so baldly stated by the head coach.
Anyone have any idea the last time Georgia started a true freshman at left offensive tackle? And how many sacks the line gave up that year?
Let’s see, Tripp Chandler gets arrested for underage drinking and is given the standard 1.2 game suspension, while over in Tuscaloosa, three players are arrested after a fight in front of a bar (no drinking involved, obviously) and are charged with, among other things, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct and for their transgressions will be suspended for a total of… wait for it… zero games. That’s it. Nada. Zippo.
But don’t think they won’t pay a price.
Saban has established a Peer Intervention Group made up of 15 players who help deal with disciplinary issues. Both center Antoine Caldwell and cornerback Simeon Castille serve on the panel...
“The peer group might say you have to go to 6 o’clock (a.m.) study group. You don’t want to have to explain to your teammates why you can’t get up and get to class,” he said.
No way, Jose! As long as the team doesn’t suffer. Or the coach.
Neither the players nor Saban would discuss what action was taken against the three arrested.
No doubt over concerns that the punishment might be viewed as being too harsh by outsiders who don’t understand how tough peer review can be…