Saturday, August 11, 2012

Catching up isn't really in SEC country

The other poll: According to Jon Wilner, the Associated Press (which hasn't yet released its entirely meaningless poll but has already collected ballots) is requesting new and still-entirely-meaningless ballots following the Tyrann Mathieu crap. The deadline is Monday; expect a new poll Tuesday or Wednesday that will probably look almost identical to the coaches' one except with LSU third, which means Alabama will probably be first and USC will probably be second. The other one was close enough that even a couple votes here and there with LSU at No. 3 will be sufficient to make that happen.

On a related note: Mathieu apparently is going to one of the HBCUs and therefore the FCS:
Former LSU cornerback and 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu is considering enrolling at McNeese State, a source told ESPN on Saturday.

Former LSU kicker Josh Jasper caused a stir when he tweeted that Mathieu had already transferred to McNeese State, where he could play immediately, but that is not the case, sources said.

Mathieu also is considering Jackson State and Prairie View A&M after ruling out Southern because he wants to leave Baton Rouge.
Whateva. He'll probably be an FCS All-American but will be of no real interest until next April, when somebody takes him in the middle of the draft and ESPN shows all the videos that remind of what he was/should have been.

UCLA gets it over with: The moderately entertaining Kevin Prince era ended Friday when Jim Mora Jr. decided to stop pretending that there's a legitimate quarterback competition at UCLA:
What was clear about freshman Brett Hundley on the field is now official on the UCLA depth chart. He is the Bruins’ No. 1 quarterback.

Hundley, who sat out as a redshirt last season, was told Friday he would be UCLA’s starting quarterback, the school announced. He will assume that role the next time the Bruins take the field.
Hundley would've started last year if he knew the offense; UCLA instead redshirted him (which will be really nice in 2015) and gave Prince and Richard Brehaut a chance to stop being totally mediocre, which played out pretty much as expected.

FYI, Hundley was a relatively big-time recruit who's a dual-threat-ish guy at 6-foot-3 and about 220. I saw him in high school a couple times; he's got legit talent. UCLA might have a decent offense between Hundley and Johnathan Franklin, although Hundley's gonna have to create a lot on his own in the passing game given that only Shaq Evans returns from last year's top four wideouts (Nelson Rosario, Josh Smith and Taylor Embree have all graduated). Regardless, getting him some meaningful snaps in anticipation of being competitive a couple years from now makes a lot more sense than letting Prince get injured again play out the string for a team headed for an inevitable 6-6 finish.

Classic Kiffin: So ... Lane Kiffin hadn't done anything really obnoxious in a while and was kinda drifting to the back of the unlikeable-coaches pack until this happened:
Earlier this week, Kiffin said he "would not vote" the Trojans No. 1 overall when told that Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez mentioned he did. When USA Today caught wind of Kiffin's comments, the newspaper revealed Kiffin did vote USC No. 1, citing his providing of "false or misleading information" to the public and a desire to "set the record straight to protect the poll's integrity."
USA Today FTW. And blatantly lying (which was totally unnecessary anyway) apparently wasn't sufficient; USC released a response Thursday that called the USA Today story "disappointing," and Kiffin answered the inevitable follow-up questions Friday by bitching about an invasion of privacy that was only necessary because of a non-lack of through-his-teeth lies:
"Nothing stays private," he said. "This didn't stay private. They say it does, but it doesn't." 
That's clearly the problem. Only Lane Kiffin (and probably Nick Saban) would respond to getting caught in a flat-out lie by complaining about the ethics of the person/organization doing said catching. Derps gonna derp.

The Penn State awfulness: The Penn State trustees who aren't complete morons have had enough of being grouped together with the ones who are and would like to put an end to all the appeal nonsense:
The Penn State University board of trustees will hold a special meeting Sunday and is expected to formally ratify the consent decree of sanctions agreed to last month by university president Rodney Erickson and the NCAA, "Outside the Lines" has learned.

Board chairwoman Karen Peetz called the meeting "so that there can be no misunderstanding as to where we as the board stand."

The resolution the board will consider states "the process followed by the (NCAA) was unfortunate and the punitive sanctions are difficult," and refers to the consent decree as "binding."

The outcome of Sunday's meeting seems almost certain, sources told "Outside the Lines," because two straw polls about whether to appeal the sanctions were taken by a quorum of trustees during a conference call Tuesday.
Clarifying that the four noobs who are promising a federal lawsuit (which would go nowhere anyway based on the Jerry Tarkanian ruling back in 1988) do not represent the board as a whole seems like a pretty wise move, which would be the first of those by anybody at Penn State in a while.

It seems to me that the only real debate is whether Erickson, as the interim school president, had the authority to sign the NCAA's consent degree without board approval. That's undoubtedly an interesting legal discussion to be had between a bunch of guys making $1,000 an hour but is purely a Penn State issue that has no bearing whatsoever on the NCAA (unless he didn't have that authority, in which case Mark Emmert could either unilaterally impose the planned four-year death penalty and let Penn State deal with it or offer the same settlement package and let the Board of Trustees vote on it). There is no scenario in which this gets better for Penn State.

Speaking of which:
Both the FBI and a criminal investigative division of the United States Postal Service are looking into the possible existence of a pedophile ring that involved Jerry Sandusky sharing boys with other men connected to Penn State.

Sandusky was recently convicted on 45 counts of child sexual abuse. "Investigators have interviewed at least one man who claims to have knowledge of Sandusky and a very prominent man, with strong ties to Penn State, both sexually abusing a boy." 
Ughghgh. I didn't think it was possible for The Stuff to get significantly worse; I was wrong. I don't even know what the reaction/result would be if it turns out Sandusky was in fact involved in a child sex ring featuring major donors/boosters, which is what the story implies. The death penalty would be guaranteed but not even relevant since the Department of Education and Department of Justice would decimate the university entirely. I don't even know what else to say except that I hope (for the sake of the people allegedly involved) that the details in that story aren't accurate. Sadly, they probably are.

Alabama loses a couple guys: Alabama lost one guy permanently and one guy temporarily this week. The first:
Alabama freshman wide receiver Chris Black will have shoulder surgery and miss 3-4 months.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Black was injured in Sunday's open practice at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Black was one of the top five-ish receiver recruits in the country last year but wasn't high on the depth chart (he was even with a couple other freshmen on the third unit) despite the fact that both Darius Hankins and Marquis Maze have shuffled off the eligibility coil. Kenny Bell, DeAndrew White, Kevin Norwood and Christion Jones should be the four guys getting regular playing time on the outside; Black might have been of some value in the slot but won't really be missed this year. 

The second:
Travell Dixon has decided to leave Alabama Crimson Tide for family reasons. The junior college transfer from East Arizona Community College confirmed to TideNation his intent to transfer.
Dixon's loss is slightly more significant: He was a highly touted juco guy and thus was expected to contribute right away, being listed second to Dee Milliner at one of the corner spots going into camp. Deion Belue, another juco guy, is gonna start at the other spot, but after him, there's only one other corner with any experience on the roster (junior John Fulton). The depth is somewhat lacking. Alabama's pass D will probably still be respectable or something.

Louisville ouch: One of Louisville's top wideouts is done for the year:
Louisville wide receiver Michaelee Harris will miss the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Coach Charlie Strong said Harris was injured in practice Thursday.

Harris tore his right ACL in December and had been attempting to fully recover in time for the season opener against Kentucky on Sept. 2.
Yeesh. Somebody get that guy a knee, stat.

Anyway, Harris had 37 catches for 455 yards and two touchdowns last year, which made him the obvious No. 1 guy heading into camp. The other projected starters coming out of spring were Scott Radcliff on the outside and Devante Parker in the slot; sophomore-to-be Eli Rogers had gotten bumped down the depth chart (despite putting up a pretty comparable 41 catches for 454 yards and a TD last year) and will likely just move over to Harris' spot, so the drop-off shouldn't be massive. It will still be something since Harris was the only unquestioned starter at the position throughout the offseason.

It's probably worth noting that Louisville was voted at media day as the favorite (by a lot) in the not-very-good Big East.

SEC woooo: Auburn freshman Jovon Williams, a top-100(-ish)-overall guy and a top-10-ish running back, may or may not have actually done anything in high school:
Auburn freshman running back Jovon Robinson is being held out of practice while the NCAA investigates allegations that his high school transcript was falsified.

Memphis City Schools said in a statement that NCAA officials contacted the school district Tuesday regarding allegations involving a former Wooddale High School athlete. The statement said schools superintendent Kriner Cash ordered an immediate investigation when a school guidance counselor resigned after admitting to creating the fake transcript.
Oh. OK then. I'm totally shocked that this happened at a Memphis school. This is my shocked face:

Anyway, it seems reasonable to assume that Robinson is gonna end up ineligible and therefore not at Auburn. Outside of losing a talented guy who might have been in line to start in a couple years, the damage should be minimal. This year's carries will presumably go largely to some combination of Onterio McCalebb, the not-quite-as-tiny Tre Mason and Florida transfer Mike Blakely, who sat out last season but was a relatively big-time recruit a year and a half ago. In the event that the ball needs to go to somebody who weighs more than 120 pounds, Corey Grant will probably be the guy.

And the down-the-road depth chart won't be totally lacking, either. Auburn already has four-star Jordan Wilkins in the 2013 class and is probably the favorite for borderline five-star guy Greg Bryant, who recently decommitted from Oklahoma.

So yeah: The Robinson story is probably more amusing from an "lol SEC" standpoint than it is from a meaningful-for-Auburn standpoint.

Oh that's OK I didn't want to watch anyway: The Pac-12 Network(s) acknowledged Friday that they probably won't have any deals in place with satellite providers by the start of the season.
"I don't expect all of them will be on at launch. I do believe that as we talk about our content over time, our fans that are customers of those distributors will get what they want."
Translation: Be prepared for lengthy negotiations that could easily last until next year, which is exactly what happened with the Big Ten Network when it was launched back in '07.

The rest of the quotes in that story are very corporate-y and not very informative; just know that if you have any intention of watching a lot of Pac-12 football beyond whatever games ABC picks up, you should either (a) have Cox/Time Warner/Comcast or (b) go to a place with one of those providers. My Dish Network ALL OF THE SPORTS package will be useless, which is pretty inconvenient since watching Arizona and Arizona State is kinda relevant to my job.

Big Ten humor: ESPN's Big Ten bloggers are in the middle of a series of polls of various Big Ten players from 11 of the 12 teams (Penn State isn't included because some of the questions are related to the Penn State awfulness). One of the questions: Who's the dirtiest player in the Big Ten? The results -- with former players removed since, I mean, they're former players -- are awesome:
Michigan State defensive end William Gholston -- 2 votes
Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland -- 2 votes
Illinois' offensive line -- 1 vote
Iowa's offensive line -- 1 vote
Illinois center Graham Pocic -- 1 vote
Indiana center Will Matte -- 1 vote
Anyone on Michigan State's defense -- 1 vote
Anyone on Purdue -- 1 vote
Nebraska defensive end Eric Martin -- 1 vote
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o -- 1 vote
No one/don't know/declined to answer -- 12 votes 

Ballsy: This is a pretty inconspicuous sign in the middle of Austin:

Sure it is.

The television thing: Andy Staples put together an extremely long and equally fascinating story about the history of TV deals and their weird reversal in value over the 25-ish years since the legally mandated end of the CFA. I don't have much to say about it but highly recommend it if you've got some time to kill. Read it. Do it.


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