Monthly Archives: December 2009

Remain calm, recruits, all is well.

Tony Barnhart warns the Gator Nation that the fun is just getting started.

… fair or not, and many in the Gator Nation will say it’s not fair, life is about to get even more complicated for you.

Why? Because from this point forward there will be only one story written about football at the University of Florida: What is Urban Meyer is doing or not doing and when will he return or not return?

What about recruiting? Is he involved or not? How much is he involved? Are opposing schools hammering Florida because of the uncertainty? (Yes). Will Lane Kiffin bring it up when he’s in somebody’s living room? (A most certain yes.)

Looks like he’s on to something.

The big recruiting news today was longtime Florida commitment and five-star safety Matt Elam switching on the Gators to pick Florida State. The way I found out was I overheard Port St. Lucie, Fla., linebacker Jeff Luc, an FSU commitment, excitedly telling his teammates the news after the press luncheon. I asked Luc to be sure I heard him right. “Yep,” he said, then he showed me the text message on his phone he’d just received from Elam. It said, “yeah, I committed today.” The Seminoles are in the midst of an awesome roll. . .

The next month and a half is going to be most interesting.

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Filed under Recruiting, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

At decade’s end, these are a few of my favorite things.

I thought I’d do a list of the best Georgia wins I’ve attended in the Aughts.  Some were close, some were blowouts, but for a variety of reasons, they’re the ones I have the warmest memories of.  None of them are Donnan-coached games, though.  The only one that came close – the victory over Tennessee to end the losing streak – wasn’t particularly memorable besides the result and the over the top fan reaction.

So, in chronological order, my happiest moments:

  • Auburn, 2002. Greene to Johnson is, of course, one of the signature plays in the history of the program.  But the two things that stick out the most besides that were Sean Jones’ heroics in the first half and the weather, which was cold and colder until the go-ahead score, after which none of us Georgia fans either cared or noticed.
  • Clemson, 2003. I’m still of the opinion that the 2003 season was  Mark Richt’s best coaching job and this game is a perfect example of why.  Eight players on suspension, two defensive starters out with injuries, Ring-gate, you name it – all of that and they still went out and cleaned the Tigers’ clock from the opening series on.  (By the way, logistically speaking, that was one of the worst games I’ve ever attended:  one road in to the stadium, choked for hours; the most bizarre path to the opponent’s nosebleed seats constructed by man; and a place that ran out of ice after the first quarter on a day where the temperatures easily exceeded 90 degrees.  Overall, idiots with a lake.)
  • LSU, 2004. God, this was so satisfying.  Nick Saban channelled his inner Kevin Ramsey, with similarly disastrous results.
  • Georgia Tech, 2004. Ah, the glory that was Reggie Ball and Patrick Nix – the engineering school representatives who couldn’t count to four.  And I’ll always remember David Greene coming off the bench to calm the waters by directing a final scoring drive with a fractured thumb.
  • SECCG, 2005. DJ’s finest hour and the last time we didn’t have questions about a Martinez-coached defense.
  • Georgia Tech, 2006. “C’mon dog, it’s a game,” Ball said. “Georgia is Georgia. They’re a good football team, but they ain’t no speed bump or anything like that. It’s just a game.” Sigh.  They just don’t make quarterbacks like that anymore.
  • Florida, 2007. Of course, we all know it wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable if the GPOOE™’s shoulder had been 100%.
  • Auburn, 2007. The greatest Sanford Stadium crowd atmosphere of the decade.
  • Georgia Tech, 2009. Gosh, and I thought Paul Johnson was a genius and all.  And there’s still nothing like the home fans outside of BDS after a bitter loss.

Anyway, there’s my list of what turns out to be nine games over nine years.  What’s on yours?

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Filed under Georgia Football

Mike Leach rates his own buffet today.

Given the allegations, the parties involved and the manner in which things played out over the last 48 hours, it’s no surprise that the Mike Leach firing is the topic du jour in the college sports world.  After surfing the web, I have a few thoughts.

  • Mike Leach is something of a media darling, so you have to give the James family credit for using the same media to get their side of the story out.  (It helps to have a famous dad employed by ESPN.)  And, hey, Leach is out of a job, so it worked.  I suspect Adam James’ next head coach is going to tread very lightly in his direction.
  • Speaking of Adam, this makes me wonder where a football player carries his cell phone at practice.
  • Dennis Dodd makes an entirely appropriate point about common human decency.  I’d probably accept it at face value, too, if the school hadn’t rushed to fire Leach the day before he stood to earn an $800 thousand bonus.
  • Leach’s public statement contains this impressive set of facts:  “When I arrived at Texas Tech, the football program was on NCAA probation and the graduation rate was far below the national average. However, in the past 10 years, Tech has been to 10 straight bowl games, has the third best record in the Big 12 Conference, and has the highest graduation rate for football players of any public institution in the country.” Do the powers-that-be at Texas Tech really believe the next coaching hire will do as well?  If not, how do you let things get so far off track?
  • On the other hand, a Texas attorney asks an equally good question of Leach“Just how does someone as successful and intelligent as Leach lose one of the 20 or so highest-paying jobs in big-time college football?”

Lots of pig-headed stupidity to go around on this one, it seems like.  And contrary to Gregg Doyel’s take-it-from-an-asshole,-they’re-all-assholes-in-this piece, there is a big loser in this mess:  the Texas Tech fan base.  They’re in some real pain.

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Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!

The last morning buffet of 2009

All good things must come to an end, so dig in.

  • Joe Kines falls on his sword for Mike Sherman and announces his retirement.
  • John Chavis will answer all of your questions about his future employment once his agent gets things wrapped up.  If it’s a lucrative extension of his current contract, it’ll be all about the support and loyalty he’s felt all along in Baton Rouge.  If it’s a new job, it’ll be all about the challenge.
  • The Mike Leach-Texas Tech squabble has nothing on the Lingerie League.
  • Rupert Murdoch is a greedy swine, so no surprise to find him leading the way at ending free TV as we know it.
  • For the 147 people who watched it last night, the Humanitarian Bowl had a thrilling end to it.
  • Matt Hinton says the Holiday Bowl results will make Nebraska next year’s preseason version of this year’s Ole Miss squad.
  • Corch Meyers is telling recruits that “indefinite” means “until August”.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, College Football, General Idiocy, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Perverse thought of the afternoon

How does the same school that hired Bobby Knight after he was caught choking one of his players (and subsequently lying about it) suddenly find religion over Mike Leach?

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Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!

Factoid of the day

It comes via ESPN’s Chris Low, who notes

… the Bulldogs can make one claim that nobody else in the country can: They’ve won at least eight games in each of their past 13 seasons. No other FBS team can match that streak over that same span.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Envy and jealousy: special teams edition

A shout out today goes to David Hale, who made me laugh out loud with this one:

Special Teams MVP: Drew Butler. This is easily the toughest choice on the board as there’s a good case to be made for four candidates: Butler, the All-American punter who kept Georgia’s offense afloat early by swinging field position; Blair Walsh, who gets my vote as the best kicker in the country; Brandon Boykin, who returned three kickoffs for TDs; Mark Richt, for ensuring Jon Fabris won’t be coaching the kickoff team next year… [Emphasis added.]

Ba-da-boom!

He’ll be there all week, folks.

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Filed under Envy and Jealousy

Now that the season’s over…

In the for-what-it’s-worth department, ESPN.com’s Chris Low reports that Georgia is prepared to “go to $600,000-plus annually and offer a three-year contract” to hire John Chavis.

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Filed under Georgia Football

One man’s electrical closet is another man’s comfort zone.

You can't have a pirate without a sword.

Perspective is a bitch.  What’s playing out in Lubbock, Texas right now scans like some college football version of Rashomon.  The player has one version of events; the coach has another.  Sources “close to the player” provide one set of facts; former players paint a very different picture.

Then there’s the player’s famous dad.  And the administrators who might have a financial stake in the dispute.

Given all that, I’m rather amazed at how quickly some folks have jumped to a conclusion that Leach needs to be gone sooner rather than later.  (James’ colleagues at the WWL – well, May and Holtz, anyway – were going strongly in that direction within an hour or two of the suspension being announced).

I’m not saying Leach is clean here.  This passage certainly indicates he’s dishing out some bullcrap of his own:

Liggett, speaking on ESPN and CNN, said James’ injury “didn’t seem serious enough to the doctor to send him home nor admit him to the hospital. It was Coach Leach that decided he would be better off out of the heat.”

(The National Weather Service reported a high of 66 degrees in Lubbock on Dec. 17 and 55 on Dec. 19, the dates of the events in question.)

Not exactly Death Valley in August.

But that $800K bonus sure puts the school’s actions to date in a bad light.  So does the bad blood that came into being during Leach’s acrimonious contract negotiations with Texas Tech last year, as mentioned in this article.

Now that Leach has sued the school in order to coach in the bowl game, I don’t see how this ends well.  But it’s fascinating to watch in the meantime.

Oh yeah, speaking of that bowl, how much fun do you think James and his teammates are having right now?

James was with the team in San Antonio. Defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill will be interim coach. Asked if it were awkward for James to be around the team, McNeill said, “I hope not.”

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UPDATE: No hearing today; Texas Tech fires Leach.

Minutes before Mike Leach was going to court in attempt to return as Texas Tech coach for the team’s bowl game, the school fired Leach by handing a termination letter to his attorney.

Leach’s attorney Ted Liggett says the letter says Leach is “terminated with cause effective immediately.” No hearing actually took place after the firing.

The “with cause” part will no doubt be the subject of dispute.

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UPDATE #2: More thoughts on “with cause” from Chris Brown.  Chris makes a point about the apology that TTU asked Leach to provide James (which Leach refused to do) that crossed my mind when I read about it in the first place:

Note too that it sounds like the University tried to get Leach to sign an “apology” letter that quoted from the contract, which would have been used against him as an admission as having violated it and thus giving them permission to fire him for cause.

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Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!

Wednesday morning buffet

Get yourself a cup of coffee and grab what you’d like.

  • Rodney Garner could soon be working under his sixth defensive coordinator in Athens.
  • Here’s an early look at Georgia’s 2010 schedule.
  • And here’s an early look at who will be back next season.
  • Recruit’s perspective on Tennessee’s coaches:  “There are a lot of rules they need to catch up on that they’re not sure about.” What’s that old saw about ignorance of the law?
  • Playoff PAC wants the Fiesta Bowl investigated.
  • Given that his owner admitted on national TV that the dog is scared of the band, I’m pretty much of the opinion that this question is moot.
  • You’ve probably heard about the Quinnipiac University National Poll showing that a majority of college football fans favor a playoff.  Two things I found interesting about it:  (1) fans are essentially evenly split on their attitude about the BCS; (2) the weird phrasing of the poll question – Do you think the Bowl Championship Series should, or should not, be replaced with a playoff system as takes place in college basketball? Would most respondents have taken that to mean something similar to March Madness?

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Georgia Football, Political Wankery