Daily Archives: November 10, 2010

Go play in traffic, son.

Is there another head coach-quarterback relationship in the SEC – hell, anywhere – quite like the one in Columbia?

… Later, a reporter asked Spurrier if it was true – as quarterback Stephen Garcia said – that this game was the biggest in South Carolina history.

“No, that’s not true. Please don’t listen to Stephen all the time when he’s speaking,” Spurrier said.

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Filed under The Evil Genius

Loose lips sink (champion)ships.

Mr. Conventional Wisdom says it’s time for Mike Slive to lay down the law in the Newton matter.  No, not in response to rogue boosters offering recruits cash.  Or runners offering players to schools for cash.

It’s time to put a stop to rumor mongering.

… Somebody leaked some information that caused a story to be written that Newton faced multiple academic incidents while he was at Florida and was on the verge of expulsion before he left in 2009.  We don’t know if that story is true or not. There have been subsequent reports, from unnamed sources, that the story is not true.

But if the story is true, somebody just broke federal privacy laws in releasing that information. And if that person works for an SEC institution and if the leak ever gets traced back to them, I have a piece of advice: You better lawyer up, buddy, because your life is going to get really complicated. Federal judges don’t really care that much about college football. They do care about people violating federal law for their own amusement.

If the story is not true, and if it came from an employee of an SEC institution,  then the leak it represents the worst kind of behavior that cannot be tolerated. The person who gave misinformation to the media, knowing that it was misinformation, should be fired on the spot if they are ever caught.

Now I certainly don’t condone Newton’s academic issues being leaked, but Barnhart’s column is too rich.  He references the SEC’s policy on reporting compliance violations in his column.  That policy was put in place for one purpose and one purpose only:  so that the conference could control the spin.

Well, guess what?  If Joe Schad’s story is accurate, Mississippi State put Slive’s office on notice of what Newton’s dad was up to in January.  Yet here we sit ten games into a season in which Auburn finds itself on the precipice of playing in the SECCG and being in line to play in the BCS title game with no authoritative word from the conference about whether there’s anything to what’s swirling about Newton this week.  That sucks for Auburn, but it’s also not good for its Western Division competitors which are still in the SECCG hunt.  Nor is it fair to the two undefeated mid-majors hoping for a shot at the national title game.

But coaches need to shut their mouths.  That’s the big problem Mike Slive’s got to handle right now.

43 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football

Mind games: third thoughts on Auburn

I know the Georgia coaches and players are saying the right things in public about it,

… The Bulldogs also weren’t buying the idea that all the stories would distract Newton.

“It didn’t seem to bother him last week, so I doubt it,” said Richt, alluding to Newton’s four-touchdown performance against Chattanooga.

Quarterback Aaron Murray granted that Newton’s troubles weren’t “the greatest thing to deal with,” but expected him to be fine.

“He’s a great player, and he knows the difference between what’s going on on the field and what’s going on off the field,” Murray said…

but you’re not going to convince me that behind the scenes they’re not taking some hope that the Newton drama provides a serious distraction to Auburn’s preparation for the game.

After all, they’ve got first hand experience this season as to uncertainty over a player’s eligibility being a distraction for game preparation.  Now the Green and Newton situations don’t exactly parallel – I don’t expect Newton to miss Saturday’s game – but there’s got to be some slight doubt creeping in as the Tigers game plan.

And that is a plus for the Dawgs.  Anything that takes away from Auburn focusing on what’s at stake, even slightly, is a good thing.  Not to mention that Georgia has the psychological edge of coming in with four straight wins in the series.

… Auburn senior running back Mario Fannin – a Hampton, Ga., native who played at Lovejoy High School – has 12 catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns against Georgia and rushed for another score. He doesn’t want to end his Tigers career 0-for against his home-state school

“It will be a big deal,” Fannin said. “That’s something we understand as seniors. We haven’t had a chance to beat Georgia. We’ve came close a couple of times, but we just kind of fell short. We’ve got to make sure we dot our I’s and cross our T’s to make sure we come out on top this time. … To come out with a win and finally beat Georgia senior year would be big.”

The Bulldogs had lost three of five to the Tigers under Richt before true freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Bulldogs upset No. 5 Auburn 37-15 in 2006.

“I do take that win, I was scout team,” fifth-year senior defensive end Demarcus Dobbs said. “It is a big deal. There’s a lot of history between these two teams. To go out saying you never lost to Auburn is a good feeling, especially with them being ranked so high and having a national championship caliber-type team. It’s something to hang your hat on if you were to win the game.”

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football

Better lucky than good

For those of you who posted comments yesterday about Georgia’s bad luck this season, this Michael Elkon post is right up your alley.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Cam Newton, driving Mudcat’s car

If Cam Newton, tight end prospect, had enrolled at Georgia, the Red and Black would likely be having a field day with him and Richt right now on an entirely different front.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

Upping the ante

Unlike the previous two stories, the latest on Cam Newton points a finger in a certain uncomfortable direction.

Two sources who recruit for Mississippi State said that Cecil Newton and his son, quarterback Cam Newton, admitted in separate phone conversations to a pay-for-play plan while Newton was being recruited late last year.

Mississippi State compliance officials relayed the alleged conversations to Southeastern Conference compliance officials in January, according to two other sources close to the football program.

Prior to Newton’s commitment to Auburn, one of the recruiters said Cecil Newton told him it would take “more than a scholarship” to bring his son to Mississippi State, a request the source said the school would not meet. Cecil Newton also referred the recruiter to a third person that would provide more specifics, the source said.

After Newton committed to Auburn, another source said an emotional Cam Newton phoned another recruiter to express regret that he wouldn’t be going to Mississippi State, stating that his father Cecil had chosen Auburn for him because “the money was too much.”

Unpacking this, it seems pretty clear that Dan Mullen’s denials of involvement need to be taken skeptically.  I’d say the same thing about Auburn’s strenuous denials, except I find it interesting that the SEC was told about these conversations at the beginning of the year and let things roll merrily along.  That indicates to me that no one has come up with any hard evidence to support this – yet.

On the other hand, there is somebody who isn’t denying anything.

… Reached late Tuesday night by phone, Cecil Newton Sr., told FOXSports.com that he had no comment.

“I’m not going to confirm nor deny nothing that has been taking place,” Cecil Newton said.

Asked if he had seen the report, the elder Newton said that he knew “nothing about this whole thing.”

“I’ve answered what I need to answer,” Cecil Newton said. “If they’re out there, go with it and make the decision or determination based on whatever you’ve got to say.”

It’s worth watching what Auburn’s official response to this is.  This is no longer a situation where easy condemnation of another program’s disclosure of confidential information is all that needs to be said.  Now the school’s credibility is directly at stake.  You can bet there’s some mad scrambling going on behind the scenes tracking back every booster’s move at the time this was alleged to have taken place.

A fast resolution would be nice, but this is the NCAA we’re talking about.  They don’t do fast resolutions.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NCAA