Monthly Archives: May 2011

Never forget.

Shorter Dennis Dodd:  as the SEC prepares to grapple with serious issues like oversigning this week, on this Memorial Day, we should remember Cam and Cecil Newton.

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Filed under SEC Football

Nice place you got there.

Over at georgiadogs.com, Aaron Murray and Aron White take you on a guided tour of the new weight room.

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Filed under Georgia Football

When you put it like that, it’s hard not to love you.

As most of you have no doubt surmised, I’m skeptical that the SEC presidents will do much of substance next week about oversigning, but when I read a quote like this, I wish they would surprise me.

“Where we get involved in roster management is looking out for the best interest of the student-athlete,” SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom said. “There are cases we have heard in the past that make an argument for oversigning. Things happen during the summer prior to practice, or a student-athlete will leave on his own volition, and that will create a gap in the numbers. Oversigning, in that regard, takes care of that.

What we don’t want to have happen is a student-athlete be displaced against his own choice after signing his letter of intent. [Emphasis added.] There are different issues involved, and the conference has looked at this pretty in depth.”

Because that pretty much nails the oversigning fault line.  And it can’t be that impossible to come up with some guidelines which respect both sides of that.

But, then again, maybe it can.

… But as Farrell — who is against over-signing — pointed out: “In the SEC, the right way is winning.”

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Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

Steele’s 2011 Preseason All-SEC Teams

I’m not one of the kool kidz who received an advanced copy of the mag, but Steele has his preseason All-SEC picks posted at his site.  Here’s what they look like:

Yes, Dawg fans, that’s Isaiah Crowell manning one of the fourth team running back slots.

I see a total of thirteen Georgia players (Boykin is listed twice, for a total of fourteen slots) dotting Steele’s list, five of those on the first team.  Alabama leads the conference with eighteen.  Arkansas matched Georgia’s tally.

A few random thoughts and observations:

  • It’s a long way down for Auburn.  Steele isn’t impressed with the returning national champs.  There are only three Auburn players on his list, none of those on his first team.  Word is that Steele has picked Auburn to finish last in the West this season and you can see why he does that – even Vanderbilt had six names out of the 112 total.
  • Is Chris Relf still in the SEC?  I don’t see listing Bray and Brantley ahead of Relf at this point in time.  And while I understand the need to hedge bets, it’s a little weird not seeing Garcia’s name there, either.
  • Lots of running backs.  The conference is loaded.  Some of the names missing from Steele’s top eight:  Perkins, McCalebb and Demps.
  • Ditto at wide receiver.  Steele screws one spot up by including Chris Rainey, but even with that, I’d have a hard time leaving any of Arkansas’ top four wideouts off the list, but who else do you bump off?  (Before you go there, Tavarres King is likely to produce enough to justify inclusion.)  And I think Dustin Hunter is primed to have a big year for Tennessee.
  • If Georgia has another mediocre year, don’t blame the talent.  Did you ever think you’d see a preseason list which includes more players from Georgia than Florida or LSU?
  • Alabama’s defense is going to be sick.  Steele has two of the Tide’s linemen, all four of their linebackers and three starters in the defensive backfield on his first, second and third teams.  (The other two had better step it up.)
  • Precocious.  Aside from Crowell, check out Jadeveon Clowney, third team defensive lineman.

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UPDATE:  Year2 has some chart action.  The math is interesting for the East; Steele looks like he’s got Georgia and South Carolina in a dog fight.

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Filed under Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football

Slow down a little, aight?

No disrespect to Boise State intended, but ESPN’s Bruce Feldman and Edward Aschoff sure seem to be getting ahead of themselves with this:

ESPN senior writer Bruce Feldman has gone and made me wish I was in charge of national football scheduling.

He recently ranked his “Top 10 ‘should be’ rivalries that aren’t”Insider and the SEC is all over the place. In fact, half of the rivalries involve SEC teams, including his top three.

Respect!

I understand big-time programs don’t really like these kinds of matchups because one loss could derail national title hopes, but for my own selfish reasons I want these games every year. As a fan of the game I’d love to see an early-season Goliath vs. Goliath in place of the traditional cupcake snoozer. If only there was a way for games like this to exist during the regular season without the postseason being completely wrecked by one loss …

Here’s what Feldman had to say:

1. Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Boise State Broncos

Attached to the Broncos’ storybook rise to the sport’s elite has been a feeling that they’ve also become one of the most polarizing topics in college football. No fan base seems more offended by Boise State hype than the SEC crowd, which feels as if most of the Broncos’ success has come against suspect competition. What better way to prove that they belong than by taking on the SEC’s resident super heavyweight, Alabama? Watching the Crimson Tide on Boise’s blue “Smurf Turf” would be a fantastic spectacle.

My thoughts: The Broncos aren’t scared of anyone, but a trip to Tuscaloosa might make that walk off the bus just a little slower. Just imagine the shock the state of Alabama would be in if the Broncos took down one of the SEC’s finest. This one needs to happen soon.

Fellas, could we wait and see if Boise is capable of beating an SEC team first?  To refresh, here’s the Broncos’ track record:

  • 2005 (10-3) Georgia 48-13 (9-4) Boise St.
  • 2002 (9-4) Arkansas 41-14 (12-1) Boise St.
  • 2001 (9-3) South Carolina 32-13 (8-4) Boise St.
  • 2000 (6-6) Arkansas 38-31 (10-2) Boise St.

So, four SEC teams with combined records of 34-16 managed to dispose of Boise State squads which went 39-11. Yeah, I know come this September BSU will likely be favored to take its first SEC scalp, but let’s see that happen before we start talking about “proving they belong”.  Seems like they’ve already had four bites at the apple and come up short.

Morrissey gets the last word here.

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Filed under SEC Football

“All we need is one more point than Boise State and we’ll be on the road.”

Clearly, Michael Adams, Greg McGarity and the members of the Georgia Athletic Association executive board don’t spend enough time on college football blogs and message boards.

“He’s not in my hot seat; he’s still in my lap,” Bob Bishop, an executive board member for 29 years, said with a laugh. “I love him. I don’t think you can find a better human being anywhere and he’s a fine football coach. He’s proven that time and time again. But we all know it goes in cycles. He had a bad cycle last year and he made a lot of changes to improve on that. If you have a real bad season again there’s going to be a lot of turmoil all over the state and on campus and behind the scenes.”

Said board member emeritus Gary Hill: “I’m firmly in Mark Richt’s corner. I want him to succeed. Everything is in place for him to succeed and I’m pulling for him to do so. Who wants to go through the turmoil of changing coaches and changing staff?”

Bishop was asked if the board would have to respond to alumni or fan dissension.

“You’ve got to listen; that’s why we serve on the board. But most of that doesn’t play into it,” he said. “You evaluate the program independently and how the program is progressing. We’ve had a couple of down years. It will be very nice if he can improve that 6-and-7, at least modestly. But I think our program is in good shape.”

Translation:  as long as the money flow doesn’t slow, Richt is beloved enough to survive a stretch of mediocrity.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Wake up!

Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

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Filed under Whoa, oh, Alabama

Stare decisis

You may think the harsh stance the NCAA has taken with Southern Cal means bad news for the likes of Ohio State and North Carolina.  I may think the harsh stance the NCAA has taken with Southern Cal means bad news for the likes of Ohio State and North Carolina.  But as Andy Staples astutely points out, that doesn’t mean the NCAA has to agree with us, even at the cost of looking arbitrary.

… USC got drilled for an extra-benefits case in which a player received great quantities of cash and goods from an outside source because of his notoriety. An assistant coach allegedly knew and did nothing about it. (Former USC assistant Todd McNair has denied this, and the NCAA’s most compelling piece of evidence is a two-minute phone call between McNair and one of the would-be agents after Bush left USC.) In August, Ohio State will go before the COI in an extra-benefits case in which multiple players received lesser quantities of cash and goods from an outside source because of their notoriety. The head coach knew and did nothing about it. (No allegedly necessary here. The NCAA has smoking-gun e-mails, and coach Jim Tressel has admitted he hid the information from the proper authorities.) At some point in the not-too-distant future, the NCAA enforcement staff will wrap its investigation into North Carolina’s football program. The Tar Heels face an extra-benefits case in which multiple players received cash and goods from an outside source (in this case, an agent or multiple agents) based on their notoriety. In this case, the associate head coach was a former employee of one of the suspected agents, and the NCAA will presume he knew and did nothing about it. It’s entirely probable the NCAA will accuse former UNC assistant John Blake of acting as an agent runner.

So will the COI consider the precedent it set in the USC case when it adjudicates the Ohio State and North Carolina cases? Not if it follows NCAA guidelines. The organization recently launched a Web page designed to demystify the enforcement process. Among the nuggets is a section which concerns using precedent when assigning penalties.

“Each case is unique, and applying case precedent is difficult (if not impossible) because all cases are different,” according to the Web page. “Each case has its own aggravating and mitigating factors, and the committee considers both sides in assessing penalties.”

No two robberies are the same. No two Ponzi schemes are the same. No two DUI cases are the same. Yet every day, judges in real courts weigh precedents and try to find the most similar cases so they don’t issue a sentence out of step with the sentences handed to those who committed similar crimes. Is it too much to ask that the NCAA give its member institutions the same kind of justice?

Sadly, it might be.  After all, it’s not like the NCAA’s decision to allow Ohio State to play in the Sugar Bowl was consistent with sanctions it delivered in similar circumstances to other schools.

It’s pretty sad when doing the right thing turns out to be a surprise.  But that’s how I feel about what’s coming.

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Filed under The NCAA

Down for the count

If part of Mike Slive’s purpose in rolling out details of his oversigning legislation in advance of the Destin meetings was to win the hearts and minds of a few coaches, it’s not working.

… In an unofficial survey of the SEC’s 12 head coaches, it sounds like it’s about 8-4 in favor of not drastically changing the rules. In addition to Saban, Ole Miss’ Houston Nutt is in that camp, along with South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier and Tennessee’s Derek Dooley.

That’s more coaches in opposition than Pennington and Barnhart counted in their tallies.  Neither accounted for Dooley siding with Saban.

Reading between the lines of Low’s post, the sticking point, as I anticipated, is Slive’s proposal to drop the 28-player signing limit down to 25.  The Tennessee head coach isn’t impressed.

“I think one of the best things we do in the SEC is manage scholarship numbers,” Dooley said.

Now that isn’t to say that SEC oversigning legislation is DOA.  The presidents and chancellors may override their head coaches’ wishes.  Slive may astutely settle for half a loaf instead of nothing at all.  But it’s clear the coaches intend to signal their opposition.  Loudly.

… How it all shakes out — and how all the athletic directors and presidents vote next week — remains to be seen. But this much is certain: It’s been communicated rather pointedly to Slive by several of the coaches that if he wants the SEC to continue winning national championships and likes trumpeting the fact that the league has won five in a row, then he’ll see to it that the rules concerning oversigning and grayshirting aren’t completely overhauled.

Imagine what they’re saying in-house to their athletic directors and presidents.

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UPDATE:  Oh, to be a fly on the wall for this.

… The SEC’s annual spring meetings will begin Tuesday in Destin, Fla. The regularly scheduled football coaches meeting will start an hour earlier than normal. Slive has a few things he wants to discuss.

As for the example Barnhart gives of Slive making a “pretty forceful case”, everybody in the room at that meeting had the same opinion of Lane Kiffin (except for Junior himself, of course).  The commissioner won’t enjoy the same level of agreement this time around.

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Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

This is probably Mark Richt’s fault, too.

Black out.

Once she’s arrested, how soon do you think it’ll be before someone suggests Spencer Hall should count her in the Fulmer Cup standings?

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UPDATE:  It looks like Spencer is on the (grand)mother.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football