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 recruitment of Brown is not the issue. So the institution and the football program don’t appear to be at risk. But everybody in the recruiting process knew that Brown, because of Butler, had some potential baggage. There were schools that backed off Brown because of it. Tennessee felt it was worth the risk and, in the final analysis, Lane Kiffin and his staff will probably be right. But this is an aggravation Tennessee does not need with the first game of the Kiffin era two weeks away.
2. Should Auburn be doing a reality TV show? In the interest of full disclosure I need to tell you that I work for CSS on a show called “Talkin’ Football.” They are incredibly professional people who have done a lot for me. Having said all that, I question the wisdom of Auburn’s decision to do a reality show for CSS called “Auburn Football: Every Day.” The idea is to give the cameras unprecedented access to the football program on a daily basis. The cameras will show both the good and the bad. Originally, Ole Miss had agreed to do the show. The Rebels are picked to have a big, big season. But in the final days before shooting was scheduled to start, coach Houston Nutt had a change of heart. I understand Auburn’s rationale. When you’re recruiting in the same state with Nick Saban, you need every advantage that you can get. This show will be watched by a lot of people, including recruits. If it makes a handful of top high school players take a second look at Auburn, then it’s probably worth the risk involved. Football teams can be very volatile families. I’m going to try to keep an open mind on this one. What do you guys think?
3. The recent ruling in the Florida State case is the right one, but it will have an impact on future NCAA cases. Florida Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled yesterday that if a state institution, in this case Florida State, receives documents in any form, those documents are public records. The documents in question dealt with the ongoing NCAA investigation into the academic cheating scandal at Florida State, which would strip coach Bobby Bowden of 14 of his 382 career victories. The NCAA’s records in the case were sent to Florida State on line in a “read only” format. The NCAA’s claim was the public had no right to the documents because Florida State had not received them in paper form and did not physically possess them. Media agencies sued, claiming that the NCAA’s claim violated the state’s open records laws. The court agreed. In a digital age, if a state body gets a document, no matter how it is transmitted, it is subject to open records. The NCAA claims it will be tougher to get people to testify in future cases. That may be true. But full disclosure of how the NCAA conducts its business overrides that concern.
4. Who will call Phillip Fulmer first? How about Louisville? After a posting on my recent meeting with Phillip Fulmer, the former Tennessee coach, several peopled asked where he could potentially land if he gets back into coaching. Fulmer made it clear that he wants to go somewhere that has made a commitment to compete for conference championships. I would suggest that you keep an eye on Louisville, where Steve Kragthorpe has really been struggling (11-23) since he took over for Bobby Petrino. The Cardinals have a chance to get off to a rocky start with road games to Kentucky and Utah followed by a home game with Pittsburgh in the first five weeks. If Kragthorpe doesn’t show some improvement early, don’t be surprised if Fulmer gets a call. Would he take it? I don’t know. But he could certainly win that league in 2-3 years.
5. Was Charlie Ward better than Tim Tebow? This comes from our friends at the Orlando Sentinel and it is a fascinating debate. Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, like most coaches in the South, has been asked if Florida’s Tim Tebow has a chance to be called the greatest football player of all time. Bowden told the Sentinel that he thought Charlie Ward, his 1993 Heisman Trophy winner, might have been better than Tebow. First of all, Coach Bowden is always going to stick up for Ward, who he really admires and likes.
Here are the stats:
CHARLIE WARD: 473-of-750 passing (63 percent), 5,747passing yards, 49 TDs, 22 INTs, 889 rushing yards, 10 rushing TDs
TIM TEBOW: 448-of-681 passing (65.8 percent), 6,390 passing yards, 67 TDs, 11 INTs, 2,037 rushing yards, 43 rushing TDs
It is a great argument today. But if Tebow plays on his third national championship team and/or wins a second Heisman Trophy, the argument is over. It’s Tebow.
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