I’m sorry about his injury, but +1, Mr. Swindle.
(I don’t really need to quote the line here, do I?)
One thing that’s good about our neighbor to the west is that tradition is strong. Resistance to change isn’t futile. You can count on things there.
Like the fact that Nick Saban still doesn’t believe in depth charts, damnit. Or that Tommy Tuberville can piously intone about certain negative practices that he doesn’t encourage his players to engage in, nosiree. Just ask Lee Ziemba.
Ain’t that nice?
UPDATE: Speaking of Alabama… (h/t EDSBS)
We were somewhere around Aiken on the edge of the Piedmont when the Wild Turkey began to take hold… wait a minute. Scratch that.
Let’s try this version of paranoia instead.
One of the longest-serving and most influential members of USC’s board of trustees believes Gamecocks athletes have been targeted by the university’s police force.
Eddie Floyd, a Florence surgeon who has served on the board since 1982, said several months ago he was told that some campus police officers were overzealous in their investigations and arrests of athletes.
“I feel they have overstepped in some areas,” Floyd said Wednesday from his home in Florence. “After talking to some of the people, this is how I feel. And I always say what I feel, good or bad.”
You get the feeling he knows which this is.
… Floyd first voiced his allegations to GamecockCentral.com, a USC fan Web site.
Floyd told the site he believes Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia was being watched by campus police in March when he and two teammates were cited for underage drinking outside the East Quad dormitory that houses many USC athletes.
He also said he knew of an investigator with USC’s police force whose office was decorated with Clemson’s signature Tiger paws.
Tiger paws. I knew it. That’s always been the first sign of an out of control police state. Impanel a grand jury! We need to string some people up, the sooner the better… uh, wait a minute.
But Floyd toned down his comments Wednesday, declining to discuss Garcia’s situation and conceding he knew little about the investigator whom he implied had a pro-Clemson bias.
“One of the investigators that had a tiger paw in his office, my understanding is he said it was a joke. I don’t know,” Floyd said. “I haven’t looked at it. I haven’t seen it. But that’s what I heard.”
It’s not clear whom he heard this from, but…
USC football coach Steve Spurrier last week pointed out what seemed to be a rush to judgment by local law-enforcement agencies, noting that half of the charges against the six football players arrested or cited this year were dismissed.
“I just wish if you’re going to arrest somebody, make sure the guy’s guilty,” Spurrier said.
The OBC is just sayin’, I’m sure. Nothing to see here, folks, you can move on now.
We return you to the bats and ether, already in progress.
This is one of the most depressing posts I’ve read in some time, and that it comes from someone who I’ve always respected as being one of the most rational proponents of a D-1 football playoff (read his comments about what a travesty the New York Giants winning the Super Bowl was, if you don’t believe me) makes it even sadder.
It’s not the playoffs per se that SMQ sees as a problem (although I strongly believe he’s overly optimistic about keeping the size of the postseason under control). It’s all of these business and commercial elements intertwined with the move to a playoff that he believes risks driving college football into becoming some sort of soulless NFL replicant.
… The point is, as the stakes and rewards increase — and, as opposed to a decade ago, a playoff is now widely regarded as an unquestioned fount of lucre — the number of legitimate aspirants inevitably shrinks. The college game can never compete with the NFL without retaining the elements that mark it as a unique animal. A playoff is not a threat to that distinction, as the huge swatch of sports on all levels thriving with a postseason tournament can attest (personally, I associate the exhilirating, unifying experience of advancing through a playoff with high school, not the pros, and this is a very key difference). But some of the trends that accompany the road to a bracket — the growth and increased autonomy of athletic departments headed by sugar daddies/surrogate “owners” like Phil Knight and T. Boone Pickens; the overwhelming media saturation, corporatization, and unstoppable commercial/logo creep; the never-ending facilities race and the further separation of the haves and have-nots — do threaten the distinction. Progress on one front (a playoff) also requires deliberation and foresight to fend off the creeping corruption of the board rooms and marketing departments. They portend the wholescale commodification of tradition, and for a sport that thrives on organic loyalties, the shared experience of the campus, and simple, common bloodlust, nothing could be more fatal.
I have a very hard time arguing with any of that. Regardless of which side you take in the playoffs/BCS debate, do you see many – or any – figures on a national stage with the prestige, the common sense and the wisdom to forge a path that avoids the road towards NFL lite? I sure don’t.
No, I’m not talking about Texas here.
Tony Barnhart, in his swan song run at the AJ-C, takes a trip to Gainesville, Florida to visit the mighty Gators and lays a few thoughts on his faithful readers. This is the one I’m blogging about:
3. Taking care of Tebow: Tebow carried the ball 210 times last season. Kestahn Moore was second on the team with only 104 carries. Mullen concedes that that just simply can’t happen again in 2008. Tebow had a couple of significant injuries that slowed him down at the end of last season. Even if Tebow doesn’t get hurt, the wear and tear of the pounding by SEC defenses has to take its toll.
“Yes, we have to get the ball out of his hands,” Mullen said. “The good news is we’ve gotten to the point were we have guys like Cameron Newton who can come in a take some of that (offensive) package because he’s ready. We also have more guys we can put at the tailback position (like Chris Rainey and Emmanuel Moody), who can take some of those runs away.”
Now whatever you think about Urban Meyer, he’s no dummy. There’s a simple reason why the GPOOE™ got all the carries he did last season – he was the best option to win. And there’s no shame in admitting that; it’s the coach’s job to put his team in the position to do exactly that.
But here’s the catch. Do any of these players Barnhart mentions give Florida as good or better an option to win as does the GPOOE™? I mean, right now, I’d guess there are few fans of Florida’s opponents this year that wouldn’t mind seeing Cam Newton taking crunch playing time away from Tebow. On the other side of the coin, none of us can forget (or perhaps more accurately, will be allowed to forget) the number one reason why Florida lost to Georgia last year.
So which horn does Meyer choose to impale himself on here? I suspect that Barnhart’s got the answer when he writes
… This may be too much X’s and O’s talk for Aug. 7, but here’s the thing that makes it so tempting to run the ball with Tebow. When Tebow is in the shotgun and the Gators have three wide receivers, the defensive is spread to the point where Florida actually has a numerical mismatch. Tebow is such a good runner that the play almost always does well.
The devil you know is always the easier choice.
Once more into the breach, dear friends. Here are a few things worth your brief attention, at least:
Here’s a breakdown of the 12 SEC coaches heading into the 2008 season. Note: The salaries came from various media reports.
|Coach||Media Guide Bio||On The Cover?||Record||Pct.||Bowl Record||2008 Salary|
|Rich Brooks, Kentucky||3 pages||Yes||116-144-4||.447||3-3||$1.1M|
|Sylvester Croom, Miss. State||6 pages||Yes||17-30||.362||1-0||$1.7M|
|Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee||4 pages||Yes||147-45||.766||8-7||$2.6M|
|Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt||5 pages||No||20-50||.286||0-0||$1M|
|Urban Meyer, Florida||11 pages||No||70-16||.814||4-1||$3.4M|
|Les Miles, LSU||6 pages||No||62-27||.697||4-2||$3.751M|
|Houston Nutt, Mississippi||6 pages||Yes||80-54||.597||2-5||$1.7M|
|Bobby Petrino, Arkansas||4 pages||Yes||41-9||.820||2-2||$2.85M|
|Mark Richt, Georgia||3 pages||No||72-19||.809||5-2||$2.8M|
|Nick Saban, Alabama||8 pages||No||98-48-1||.670||5-5||$3.75M|
|Steve Spurrier, S. Carolina||6 pages||Yes||163-56-2||.742||7-7||$1.75M|
|Tommy Tuberville, Auburn||7 pages||Yes||105-53||.666||6-3||$2.8M|
It’s back to the Mandel Mailbag we go, where Stewart deigns to answer this question:
Stewart: In a 2007 edition of your Mailbag, you described Georgia as being a regional power, not a national power (I believe you described yourself as coming of age after the Herschel years). At any rate, in your reckoning of the state of college football, is UGA any closer to being a national power?
– Tommy Bean, Black Mountain, N.C.
After Mandel makes a hundred or so phone calls to Butte, his answer? Maybe yes, maybe no. But definitely not yet.
Well, you certainly can’t get much more national attention than being ranked No. 1 in the preseason coaches’ poll and Sports Illustrated, so clearly, Georgia is heading in the right direction. As I said in that column, however, national prestige is built up over a long period of time, and only now are the Dawgs starting to seep into the national conscience. If they do in fact win the national title this season, then we can start talking about reevaluating their stature.
So even if Georgia wins a national championship this year, and even though Stewart’s own employer has Georgia ranked first in the nation in the preseason, that’s not good enough for Stewart and his friends. Hell, why even bother to play the season out now?
The rest of his answer is just as good. It’s off with their heads for Tennessee and pass the crown to LSU.
… I said at the time, “While LSU is clearly a premier program right now, its big-picture tradition does not match those of the 13 kings. However, if the Tigers were to add another national title here in the next couple of years, they may well graduate to that group.” Having secured said national title, I think it’s safe to say that LSU is unquestionably viewed as one of the kings of college football right now and thus ascends from the rank of baron.
And a paragraph before that, I said, “Tennessee is the lone school [among the kings] that caused any hesitation. The Vols would have been a no-brainer 10 years ago, but they have fallen off the map a bit lately.” Indeed, I think it’s time to face the reality that a decade has now passed since the glory days of Peyton Manning and Tee Martin and that the Vols really are no longer any different from Auburn, Georgia or any number of others listed among the barons. Therefore, Tennessee is officially bumped from the ranks of the kings.
And just to remind everyone, people in Montana evidently live in a time warp of sorts. On Mandel’s list of kings, you’ll find Penn State, Miami and Florida State.
What’s that old Groucho Marx line about clubs? It seems appropriate here.