Daily Archives: December 14, 2010

Parsing the orange and blue tea leaves

While I’m not in the “99.2827% of the internet is firmly convinced that Auburn won’t have a football program by mid-2011” gang whom Will Collier identifies in this post, I do find his taking comfort in Barrett Sallee’s assertion that Gus Malzahn’s decision to stay at Auburn represents insider validation there’s nothing to worry about from the bad ol’ NCAA a tad optimistic.

First off, let’s not lose sight of part of what got Gus to stay:  he’s now the highest paid assistant coach in the country.  He makes more than Dan Mullen now does.  His raise is more than any assistant coach in the SEC currently makes.  Yeah, he had a fabulous year.  But it’s not like he’s the first assistant ever to do that.  If Will and Barrett are going to speculate about what Malzahn’s continued presence means, let’s just say that paying somebody a shitload of money could be interpreted as cutting the other way.

Second, if Malzahn knows something about Camgate that the rest of us don’t, that’s a change.

And third, unless he had a direct hand in Cam’s recruiting, what does he have to worry about anyway?  If  something does turn up and Auburn gets slammed as a result, he’ll just pick up the phone and say, “Get me out of here, Jimmy”, won’t he?  And he’ll go.

None of which is to say that Auburn’s guilty of anything more than giving a scholarship to Cecil Newton’s spawn.  But I’m not sure how much I’d be hanging my hat on Gus turning down Vanderbilt.



Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

“Well done, boys, now let’s move on to a system that works.”

Yum, tiddy bump de-dum… hey, what’s this?  Why, it’s another mindless “we just gotta have a big playoff” column!

… There’s no end of possible solutions. The top eight teams — or the top 16 — could meet in a single elimination tournament. Or maybe we should just start out with 164 teams at the start of the season and run the whole season that way. One loss and you’re out. Or maybe something else entirely. But whatever we do, there just has to be a better system than the one we’ve got now.

Rump de dump de bump… and here’s the best, Jerry, the best.

… Nowhere is the argument for playoffs made more forcefully than in the annual rite of spring know as “March Madness,” when the top 64 NCAA Division I schools do battle for the national championship.

To begin with, the tournament guarantees surprises. Every year, underdogs unload a greater or lesser number of surprises on the top-ranked schools. Most of us, when our favorite team is eliminated, end up rooting for a George Mason or a Gonzaga to defeat Duke or Kansas or whatever national powerhouse has dominated the headlines for an entire season. And oh, by the way, the NCAA and its member schools have made more money by tournament’s end than they ever did at the old National Invitation Tournament — at which a small number of teams — chosen by the tourney directors — played for the title. The drama at the Final Four is palpable.

Tiddy bum, tiddy bum, yump de do… that’s nice, but what about the regular season, dude?

Oh, that.

… The greatness of the college basketball tournament has a harsh fallout during the regular season. March Madness may not completely mute stunning upsets or statement wins in the regular season, but it surely tones them down.

The Vols went on the road and manhandled a legitimate top-five team, but all that ultimately will mean is the Vols will get say a No. 2 seed rather than a No. 3 in the NCAA tournament. Has anyone you know mentioned UT’s win in the last 72 hours? Thought so.

Now think about if that had been a road football win. If Saturday’s stunning performance had been in football — if the Vols had gone to, say, Gainesville or Tallahassee or Ann Arbor and beaten a top-five foe, then the buzz would have been felt from Gatlinburg to Lynchburg to South Pittsburg. It would have been the topic at Sunday school and at the Thursday night card game.

True, a part of that is this region’s unyielding passion for all things football, but it’s also a testament to the unrivaled importance of the regular season for college football. Especially compared to college hoops.

This is not to say that deciding a champion by bowl systems and computer-generated matchups is a better fundamental system than a playoff. It’s not. But as great as March Madness is, its huge and undeniable side effect is the marginalization of the regular season.

Feel the excitement!  It’s… palpable.  La de da de de, la de da de da…


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Oh, what a tangled web…

This had the potential to be a little awkward:


Filed under Recruiting

Now it can be told.

I’m reading this piece on the young quarterbacks facing off in the Liberty Bowl when out jumps this admission:

… Georgia coach Mark Richt said he would have played quarterback Aaron Murray during his first year in college as well, but Murray was sidelined with tendonitis.

First time I’ve heard him put that so baldly.  I wonder when Richt would have played him.  Hopefully not in the fourth quarter of the Florida game, although Murray couldn’t have made matters any worse.

Seriously, had that happened, I wonder how far the coaches would have gone with it (start against Tech after Cox’ meltdown in the second half against Kentucky?), and what kind of message it would have sent to the other QBs.  We’ll never know, but that goes to show how little the G-Day performances meant to Richt and Bobo.


Filed under Georgia Football

The NCAA cracks down.

Not on Cecil Newton.  On Lane Kiffin.

College football coaches now run the risk of being suspended by the NCAA for one or more games if they commit a secondary recruiting violation, such as exceeding phone-call limits or sending a text message to a recruit…

Grant Teaff, executive director of the AFCA, said his group is making an effort to police its own when it comes to recruiting annually one of the most competitive and contentious periods among schools and fans.

“This is our request: Anything that has to do with recruiting, if there’s a proven violation, we want the ability for the NCAA to say this will cost you a week or a maximum of two weeks,” Teaff said.”We as an association asked for that, and they granted that.”

I bet Mike Slive wishes Junior was back in the conference just so he could have the pleasure of getting him suspended.


Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, The NCAA

“Like anything new, it’ll take time to get used to.”

I’m curious – did Jim Delany hire Ole Miss’ “mascot professionals” to come up with that spiffy new logo?  I detect a certain continuity in the lameness.


Filed under Big Ten Football

Somewhere, Houston Nutt is smiling.

Following up on a post from yesterday, yes, Jimmy Sexton is Gus Malzahn’s agent.

… There were reports Monday that the Auburn offensive coordinator had decided to stay at the school for $1.3 per year. That’s $200,000 less than what he would have earned at Vanderbilt (that $3 million per year deal was off).

The move likely saves Malzahn’s career — Vandy is a notorious coach killer — and makes him what is believed to be the highest paid assistant in the country.

How high? A quick check of USA Today’s head coaching salary database shows that Malzahn now makes more per year than the base salaries of half the coaches in the country (61 schools). Ten schools did not provide salary information to the paper.

Vice Chancellor David Williams versus Jimmy Sexton?  Vandy never had a chance.  But every coach in the conference thanks them for trying.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football