August 20, 2009 · 3:43 PM
Whilst scrounging around the website of The Oklahoman looking for Oklahoma State news (Mel Kiper thinks the Cowboys beat Georgia en route to becoming a top five team, by the way), I came across this rather remarkable tale of vindictiveness.
… Court documents obtained by The Oklahoman from Balogun’s lawsuit against the NCAA allege that comments made by the FOX TV announcers immediately after that play ultimately sparked the NCAA’s inquiry into Balogun’s past.
“He played a little semi-pro ball, the Prince George Jets, the Maryland Marauders, before he went to Lackawanna,” color commentator Charles Davis pointed out during the telecast.
According to court records, the day after watching the title game and hearing Davis’ remarks about Balogun’s semi-pro past, an official from Florida State‘s compliance office contacted the Big 12 Conference and suggested the league investigate Balogun’s eligibility.
Give the jackoffs from Tallahassee credit for stick-to-itness: when the Big XII pronounced itself satisfied with Balogun’s status, the FSU folks went directly to Oklahoma and pushed the school into reinvestigating the situation. The rest, as they say, is history.
What this means for OU if it turns out that it played an ineligible player last season may not be too good – especially for a school that’s recently run a little too close to the edge of the envelope with Rhett Bomar. And aren’t FSU and OU scheduled to play each other in the near future? If so, I’m sure there won’t be any hard feelings on anyone’s part about this.
August 20, 2009 · 7:58 AM
Jeff Schultz talked to Coach Martinez yesterday about how his defense played last year. Here’s how Martinez spot analyzed the four games that Schultz pointed to as Georgia’s worst defensive games of the season:
♦ Alabama (41-30 loss): “They did a good job jumping on us [31-0]. We couldn’t make a play. We settled down, and there was a moment where we had changed momentum, but we just couldn’t finish it.”
♦ LSU: “Poor tackling. Not to make excuses, but we had some bad weather that week and couldn’t practice the way we wanted. We just gave up too many big plays.”
♦ Florida (49-10): “I thought we had a great game plan. We just couldn’t overcome the turnovers [by the offense]. Defense is about changing momentum, and we couldn’t do that.”
♦ Tech (45-42): “We didn’t tackle well. We were there. Everybody knows what they’re going to do in that offense. If we tackle well, we win that game.”
I agree to some extent with what Martinez says there. What I can’t figure out to start with is why Schultz thinks the defense performed more poorly in the LSU game than it did against Kentucky. To me, that’s not even a close call.
But what I’m truly disappointed about is that Schultz didn’t ask the question I’d really like to hear Martinez answer – why the defense hits stretches when it completely disappears in a game, and why that’s something that’s persisted over the course of the last three or four seasons. To me, that’s an indication there’s something problematic on a systemic basis, rather than something that can be attributed merely to injuries or a bad week of practice.
August 20, 2009 · 7:13 AM
If you’re trying to maintain the warm and fuzzies about the game in Stillwater, it might be best for you to avoid reading David’s depressingly excellent post on Georgia’s defensive woes with running quarterbacks last year.
Remember: you have been warned.
August 20, 2009 · 6:59 AM
Tony Barnhart posted yesterday about the five departed SEC players he believes will be missed the most this season by their respective schools. Leading the list is ol’ number 24:
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia: How could I pick Moreno instead of QB Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 draft choice? Simple. Right now I think Georgia is more confident about the play of senior quarterback Joe Cox than it is at the running back position. If Moreno was back to run behind this veteran offensive line, I believe the Bulldogs would be good enough to make a serious run at Florida in the SEC East. Georgia has some good running backs. I just don’t see any GREAT running backs. At least not yet. Moreno was a great running back.
Now, only someone who’s insane or a Georgia Tech fan would argue that Moreno wasn’t a great back, so I’m not going there, but it seems to me that Barnhart’s larger point sort of begs the question of whether Georgia having a stable, veteran offensive line this season makes up – at least somewhat – for Moreno’s departure. I mean, didn’t we just come off a year when every pundit and his brother from Montana told us repeatedly what huge losses Sturdivant’s and Vance’s injuries were to Georgia’s chances? So now they’re back, they’re healthy, but that evidently doesn’t mean as much as we were led to believe.
Color me confused.
August 20, 2009 · 6:28 AM
I’m not trying to make this sound sinister, but it’s apparent that the situation with Bryce Brown’s eligibility at Tennessee is a bit more serious than the school first let on.
Tennessee has received the NCAA’s initial ruling on freshman running back Bryce Brown’s eligibility and is reportedly appealing without revealing the issues it disputes.
“That’s not a final decision by any measure,” athletic director Mike Hamilton said on Wednesday, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
Maybe not, but it’s serious enough to appeal, nevertheless. And no one, including Hamilton, should have been surprised about what concerns the NCAA.
… Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the crux of the NCAA’s investigation revolves around Brown’s relationship with Brian Butler, who was Brown’s adviser/handler during his recruitment. Brown was one of several prospects that Butler mentored.
In particular, the NCAA is looking into some of the fundraising Brown accepted in high school to visit college campuses and what role Butler might have played.
Low speculated yesterday (after cautioning us not to jump to conclusions – and don’t you love it when somebody does that?) that the timing over this suggested that the NCAA was furnished with information about Brown by another school, but I’m not sure I buy that. I think the NCAA is concerned about the potential AAU-ing of college football recruiting and is engaged in some judicious bud-nipping here.
If nothing else, should it take some time to weigh on the merits of the UT appeal of Brown’s current ineligibility such that he isn’t cleared to play until, say, mid-October, that still has a significant impact on both the athlete and the school. Brown doesn’t have a scholarship right now. He’s limited with what he can do with the team. It’s hard to see how he’ll be game-ready when he’s cleared. All in all, that more than likely adds up to a lost year. And since he doesn’t strike me as the kind of player who’s making a four-year commitment to his school, that probably means Kiffin only gets two years out of him.
More trouble than it’s worth? Perhaps not. Given Brown’s ability and Tennessee’s needs at present, it’s hard to argue with Kiffin’s risk/reward analysis in signing the kid (particularly since he hedged that bet by signing Oku as well). But in situations where it’s a closer call, will the NCAA’s concerns be given greater weight by programs facing the decision to make offers to recruits with “advisers” which want to avoid this sort of uncertainty? Probably.