Archive for August, 2009

Is Rich Rod in trouble at Michigan?


The Detroit Free Press reported on its website Saturday night that Michigan’s football program has routinely and excessively violated NCAA rules which restrict the amount of practice and training time schools may require of its players.

The newspaper interviewed 10 current or former players and the parents of four other players. Five of the players, according to the report, gave almost identical stories of excessive practice and off-season workout time, which is supposed to be limited to eight hours a week in the off-season and 20 hours during the season.

If these reports turn out to be true, second-year coach Rich Rodriguez could be in trouble. First of all, the Wolverines went 3-9 in 2008, snapping a string of 40 consecutive non-losing seasons. It is a well-known fact in college football circles that Rodriguez ruffled a lot of feathers when he arrived at Michigan. He attempted to alter some facets of the Michigan football culture, which had essentially remained unchanged …

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Will UGA’s Samuel become a star?


It’s Friday, and all of us are free to discuss any topic that is on our minds, even if it’s not college football. But with the start of the season less than a week away, there are still a ton of things that we don’t know. Here are just a few:


Will UGA’s Richard Samuel become a star? Since the end of spring practice I’ve said that Georgia’s biggest concern for this season is not at quarterback, where Joe Cox is replacing Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 draft choice. The question I’ve had is whether or not one of Georgia’s running backs would step up and show some star power. Because with this offensive line, which I believe is Georgia’s best since the SEC championship team of 2002, a star running back to replace Knowshon Moreno is the thing that Georgia needed most on the offensive side of the ball. That’s because Georgia needs to limit the exposure of its defense and keep Cox in manageable down and distance situations. A star at tailback helps a team do that.

Georgia may have …

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Breaking down the rest of Division I-A



We are only a week away from kickoff. Seems like a pretty good time to step out of the SEC and ACC and take a quick look at the other Division I-A conferences. I’m picking the conference winners with a possible dark horse for each. If you disagree with my picks, please give me yours.



Winner: Cincinnati. The defending champions lost 10 starters on defense but return quarterback Tony Pike and wide receiver Mardy Gilyard, one of the best in the country. I think Brian Kelly is a very good coach. The fact that the Bearcats COULD win tells you how down the league is this year.

Dark Horse: South Florida. I keep waiting on the Bulls to win the Big East. But they have been in the hunt the past two seasons only to fall apart in the second half. A team that has Matt Grothe at quarterback and George Selvie at defensive end should be better than the Bulls have been.



Winner: Penn State. A lot of people like Ohio State because of sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor. …

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Five SEC Players I Would Pay To See


People have often told me that if I had to pay to watch college football, like most folks do, I would view the game differently. That may or may not be true. But I do know this: There are certain players that I would happily pay to see on a weekly basis. Here are just five from the SEC:


1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida: Tebow’s numbers in his first three seasons are staggering. He has run for 43 touchdowns, a Florida record and only six shy of the SEC career record set by Georgia’s Herschel Walker (1980-82). He has thrown for 67 touchdown passes. He had 30 touchdown passes last season and 32 in 2007. If he throws 32 touchdown passes this season, Tebow will be tied with Peyton Manning for No. 2 on the all-time SEC list. (Florida’s Danny Wuerffel holds the SEC record with 114 career touchdown passes).

But here is the Tim Tebow stat that blows my mind: He has thrown 681 passes in his career with only 11 interceptions. That’s one interception for every 61.9 passes he has thrown. That …

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Five ACC Players who will be missed the most



Last week we listed the five SEC players who’ll be missed the most in 2009. Today let’s look at the ACC list. If you have others, please add them to the list. Here we go:


Everette Brown, DE, Florida State:  For several seasons the Seminoles were without the key component to Mickey Andrews’s best defenses: A big-time rusher off the edge. In 2008 Florida State finally had one in Brown and then he decides to pass on his senior year and turn pro. Brown led the ACC and was third nationally in sacks with 13.5. Florida State has only five starters returning on defense and will have two new defensive ends. Andrews could really use Brown this season, especially when the Seminoles go to BYU to face quarterback Max Hall on Sept. 19.


Aaron Kelly, WR, Clemson: Running back James Davis was a great, great player for the Tigers. But the guy Clemson is really going to miss will be Kelly, the ACC’s all-time leader in career receptions with 232. Kelly, from Marietta, was a big target …

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If I’m a Bama fan, I’m about to explode

We are now just 10 days away from when, as the great Al Ciraldo used to say: “Toe Meets Leather.” So what did we learn over the weekend?

If I’m an Alabama fan, I’m about to explode: There have been rumors all summer that something was going on with Alabama football players Julio Jones and running back Mark Ingram.  Now we know what because of the reporting by Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News. The NCAA is looking into a fishing trip that the sophomores took with a 56-year-old man who, the school claims and the man claims, has absolutely no connection with the University of Alabama.  Alabama claims that Jones had a previous relationship with the man from his days of growing up in Foley, Ala. So when he and Ingram were invited on the trip, Jones accepted an offer from a friend.

If there is no Alabama connection with the man in question, then why is it a story?

 It’s a story because Alabama has had to spend four months looking into it. It’s a story because Alabama is …

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Tennessee does not need Bryce Brown aggravation


It’s Friday. Mercifully, the season is only two weeks away. And this is your day to talk about anything that is on your mind, even if it’s not college football. And as I’ve said before, please keep it clean because my momma reads this blog.

I’ll get things rolling.


1. Tennessee does not need the Bryce Brown aggravation. But you had to know that some aggravation was coming: Bryce Brown, Tennessee’s highly-recruited freshman running back, had a messy recruitment from the beginning with his “advisor” Brian Butler. For a while, you’ll recall, Butler was selling recruiting updates on Brown from a dedicated website. He had to back away from that. Now the NCAA is sniffing around some fundraising Butler and others did to help Brown and other students take a number of “educational” trips to Southern colleges. Now it may turn out that no NCAA rules were violated here. If some were, Brown may have to sit a couple of games.

 This much is clear and this is important: Tennessee’s …

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Fulmer definitely wants to coach again


New York–The last time August rolled around and Phillip Fulmer WASN’T getting ready for a football season, he was in the sixth grade in his native Winchester, Tenn.

“When this time of the year finally came I knew I was going to miss coaching,” said Fulmer. “I just didn’t know I would miss it this much.”

As a player, assistant coach and head coach, Fulmer has spent most of the past 40 years at the University of Tennessee. In 17 years as head coach, Fulmer had won 152 games, two SEC championships, one national championship (1998) and took the Volunteers to the SEC championship game five times, the last appearance coming as recently as 2007. But last November, as the Volunteers stumbled towards a 5-7 finish, athletics director Mike Hamilton informed Fulmer that the time had come to make a change.

“It was tough. I’m not going to kid you,” Fulmer said. “Given our track record, I certainly believed we could get things turned back around if given a chance. But that wasn’t what …

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Five SEC players who will be missed the most


Some friends and I got into a debate the other day. Here was the question: Every team had some good players in 2008  who are not coming back for this season. Can you name the five SEC players who will be missed the most in 2009?  Here are my picks. Understand that these guys weren’t necessarily the best player on their respective teams. But based on what these teams need this season, I think these five guys will be missed the most:


1. 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.

2. Andre …

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Preseason practice: How hard is too hard?


It is one of the oldest questions in college football: Coaches know that at this time of year it is important to push their teams, mentally and physically, in order to get them ready for the season. At the same time, the coach also wants to get to the first game with a reasonably healthy team.

Push them too hard and the injuries start to mount up. Here are just a few injuries that have already impacted the upcoming season:

**–Darren Evans, RB, Virginia Tech: Evans, who set the school record for rushing by a freshman in 2008, tore an ACL and is out for the season. Virginia Tech opens against Alabama in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff on Sept. 5 at the Georgia Dome.

**–Isaac Madison, CB, Arkansas: Was projected to be a starter on a defense that desperately needs improvement. Torn ACL. Out for the season.

**–Jaybo Shaw, QB, Georgia Tech: The backup to starter Josh Nesbitt broke a collarbone and will be out for six weeks. He may decide to redshirt.

**–Aaron Corp, QB, Southern …

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