Daily Archives: April 24, 2012

Nowledge is gud.

SOD sounds like a broken record sometimes.  Care to guess what he’s talking about here?

“I was surprised at the end,’’ Dooley said. “I think that was something where a lot of the newness, it reared its ugly head and so we’ve worked through it and we’re having a good semester and that’s what matters is how you respond to it.’’

Nah, it’s not shower hygiene.  It’s the football program’s academic record, which is astonishingly bad, even by football factory standards.  Check these tidbits out:

           * 30 players were on academic probation from the fall semester, 24 on scholarship. Of the 24, nine were starters and two others did not participate in the spring for academic reasons: Cory Miller and Jerquari Schofield. Another, Arthur Jeffery, has left the program. Miller is likely to return, Schofield is not, a source said.

            * Nine scholarship players were on the 3.0 honor roll in the fall and 13 had a cumulative GPA above a 3.0.

            * The 1.9 GPA among scholarship players was considerably less than in the fall of 2010 (2.37), 2009 (2.31) and 2008 (2.18).

            * Of the 13 seniors-to-be, 10 had a 2.0 GPA or better. Of the 31 juniors-to-be, nine had a GPA of 2.0 or better and seven earned six or fewer hours. Of the 25 in the 2011 recruiting class, 15 had a 2.0 or better and four failed to earn more than six hours.

That’s pretty staggering.  And before you jump on Dooley for being dumb enough to carry six walk-ons who are on academic probation, note that the group as a whole pulled the team’s GPA last fall up from a 1.9 to a 2.06.  At Tennessee.

You’re a head coach at a program which presumably has resources galore to throw at keeping student-athletes academically eligible.  How do you miss this?

It’s remarkable that he’s still got the job.  It’s even more remarkable that if he can get to a bowl game this year, it’ll probably be enough to get him another year at UT.



Filed under Academics? Academics., Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Athlon’s Top 25 SEC running backs

It’s a weird list.  The top two backs are coming back from serious knee injuries that caused them to miss much or all of last season.  The third-ranked back didn’t start last season.  There’s only one player on the entire list who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last year.  And that’s before you even get into the order of names there.

I’m not saying Athlon’s necessarily wrong, just that I’m not sure the conference is as strong at the position as it’s been recently.  Your thoughts?


Filed under SEC Football

On the road again

Gosh, where have I heard talk like this before?

… There are myriad reasons for the Big Ten’s downturn during the BCS era, but the location of the most significant bowl games, including the national championship, undoubtedly hurts the league, which has played several virtual road contests.

Since the BCS launched in 1998, the Big Ten has dropped two games to LSU in New Orleans, including the national title game after the 2007 season. The Big Ten also is 0-4 against USC at the Rose Bowl. While there are exceptions, like Penn State’s Orange Bowl win against Florida State, Big Ten teams generally become roadkill in these matchups.

The Big Ten’s destination dilemma is inherent within the current bowl/BCS system. The big bowl games always have been played in the south and west, and because of the “double-hosting” model, the same holds true for the national championship games. Most Big Ten fans understand the reasons behind this, and have willingly hopped on airplanes every December and traveled far and wide to see their teams play. It’s this willingness that has made Big Ten teams so attractive to BCS bowl committees.

But the future postseason structure will bring change. A four-team setup would create two semifinals, which might take place within the current bowl structure, but most likely will not. The semis could take place at on-campus sites belonging to the higher seeds, a plan Delany advocates, or at neutral sites like Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium and Detroit’s Ford Field. The Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis? Beats facing LSU in NOLA.

Oh, yeah – that sounds like half of our fan base talking about the Cocktail Party.  It’s about the destination, y’all!  It doesn’t sound as good coming from that direction, does it?

As a side note, you’re not a rational human being if you’re equating downtown Detroit and the French Quarter in late December.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big Ten Football, Georgia Football

It’s money that they love, part two.

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s what the people running the sport we love so deeply have to say to you:

“I think [ticket prices will] go up until you reach a point where there is a breaking point,” said Jason Heggemeyer, the assistant athletic director for ticketing at Illinois. “That will be controlled by the market. If people are still willing to pay for that entertainment value, then I don’t think we’ve seen yet what the limit will be.”

They don’t even bother to hide it anymore.

We’re little more than wallets and their interests lie in calibrating how easily and deeply they can reach into us.  When it’s not about pure greed, it’s about making up for their own financial goofs, but either way, play your part and take what they give you.  Because that’s all you’re gonna get.


Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness

It’s money that they love, part one.

Ivan Maisel thinks one tell that change is coming to the BCS is that the usual dogs aren’t barking about the current discussion, but it’s the why they’ve stopped that’s more pertinent.

… The desire of a prime-time window for as many BCS bowls as possible has pushed the championship game past the first weekend of NFL playoffs. While it’s difficult to quantify the effect, Thompson and others are firm in their belief that once the NFL takes the stage, the buildup of a four-month season toward a championship event is irreparably interrupted.

Those prime-time windows also have fallen in midweek, which makes it difficult for fans to attend without blowing up their work schedules. Attendance has fallen — neither the Sugar Bowl nor the Orange Bowl has topped 70,000 in the last two years. Both had done so every year since 2002. The secondary ticket market — StubHub, Craigslist, etc. — has left schools stuck with the tickets they are obligated to purchase.

I must have missed the “settling it on the field” concern.

They took the TV checks and let things fall where they may.  Now that things haven’t worked out as well as they like, it’s time to make changes.  The question is, what happens when those changes don’t take them to a better place?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness

Players are from Venus; coaches are from Mars.

Take this as sort of a piece with yesterday’s pot post, but Janoris Jenkins doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about when it comes to his proclivity for producing offspring.

In meetings with NFL executives leading up to this week’s draft, ex-Gators cornerback Janoris Jenkins has been asked about getting in a bar fight, being kicked out of Florida and recurring troubles with marijuana.

He was fine with that. But here is the question that seemed out of place to him: Why does a 23-year-old have four children by three different women?

“It’s weird because I had those kids while I was playing college football and it didn’t affect me not once,” said Jenkins, who is from Pahokee. “I’m proud to have my four kids. If they want to throw that in my face, so be it.

“Everybody has kids. Where in the book do it say you can’t have kids? It doesn’t say that in the law. I’m a great father. I’m there whenever they need me.”

As the article notes, it’s a reasonable response, but the thing is, if you’re a middle-aged, middle class dude who doesn’t share Jenkins’ background, it’s a reasonable question.  Basically what you’ve got are two sides who believe they’re not doing anything unusual here but can’t comprehend the other party’s perspective.

Call it a generation gap, or call it a culture gap, if you prefer.  But when each side sees the other as a bit alien, that has to have a frustrating impact on communication and motivation.  That can’t be easy for a fifty-something head coach trying to get 100 kids rowing in the same direction.  You begin to see the value in having younger assistants with varied backgrounds who can help bridge that gap – starting on the recruiting trail.

The trick is in having the wisdom to judge correctly which gaps can be bridged.


Filed under College Football

Tuesday morning buffet

Dig in, y’all.

  • It’s the little things about SOD’s tenure in Knoxville you appreciate:  “The two seasons under Dooley were the first back-to-back losing years in program history in 100 years.”
  • That’s a trend his assistant coaches hope gets reversed this year.
  • Damn you, FOIA requests!:  evidently some Arkansas boosters want to provide the football coach with a private phone.
  • Meanwhile everybody at Arkansas – including Bobby Petrino – loves the John L. Smith hire.  (If it’s such a great move, why only commit to a ten-month contract?)
  • File this under dogs and cats, living together.
  • Somebody needs to explain to me why having a spring game against another school interferes with developing players while playing one that’s inter-squad doesn’t.
  • An IRS official takes the position that paying college players wouldn’t affect schools’ tax-exempt status.
  • Former agent Josh Luchs says most agents lose on their first deal with a client because after the third round of the draft, the commission check will not cover expenses already spent and invested on that prospect, which seems to beg an obvious question.
  • In case you’re interested, Matt Hayes thinks Jarvis Jones and Aaron Murray are two of the fifteen best players in the country right now.


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, College Football, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, The Adventures of Zook