It’s Friday. The season starts next Thursday and Lord, please let it get here quickly. We have just about talked this sport to death.
Because it’s Friday the floor is open to you on any topic. Keep it clean, of course. Here are five topics just to get the party started:
1. How many South Carolina players will miss the Georgia game on Sept. 11? It’s a pretty good bet that tight end Weslye Saunders will not play in the opener with Southern Mississippi next Thursday. The NCAA has had a couple of prayer meetings (that’s Southern for “serious conversations”) with young Weslye over several issues.
Now, thanks to some good reporting by Joe Person of The State newspaper in Columbia, we learn that a bunch of Gamecocks have been living in a local hotel.
Nothing wrong with that because they get a $500 monthly allowance to live where they want. The problem is that the Whitney Hotel is not a Motel 6. It has a limo service and whoever runs the thing was letting the players live there for $450 a month. Person’s reporting revealed that using the lowest possible discount rate the hotel provides, the value of the room was, at a minimum, $1,200 a month.
It won’t shock you to know that there is a rule against that. The standard punishment here is for the players to pay the difference in what they should have paid and what they actually paid PLUS a two-game suspension. That means several South Carolina players could miss the Sept. 11 game with Georgia.
Spurrier won’t make any excuses, he never does. His attitude will be that the players knew the rules and chose not to follow them. They get $500 a month for housing and they made the choice. Spurrier doesn’t believe in baby sitting players and he’s not about to start now. But if this blows up and a season with so much promise goes quickly south, I’m not going to be surprised if he walks away.
2. Some advice to the freshmen at Florida. Don’t mess with Mike Pouncey: This much is clear. Something happened at Florida which caused two of Florida’s “Five Star” recruits–Ronald Powell and Dominique Easley–to miss part of practice on Tuesday. Coach Urban Meyer would not say why. There were reports that the two players were not happy with the way they were being pushed in practice. On Thursday Meyer said everything was “fine.”
At Florida’s media day Easley compared he and a couple of his freshmen teammates to LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat.
That’s just precious. I guess young Mr. Easley feels he and his young teammates have arrived in Gainesville to save the program that has only won 57 games and two national championships in the past five seasons.
All-America offensive lineman Mike Pouncey said that the freshmen need to talk less and play more.
“At the end of the day the freshmen need to just shut their mouths and just come play,” Pouncey told reporters when asked about the freshman class. ”They haven’t done nothing on Saturday, and most of the fans don’t even know who they are. Until they prove themselves they just need to sit back and let the older guys play.”
Highly recruited freshmen. Don’t you just love them?
3. Splitting Michigan and Ohio State is a bad idea: There is now talk that the Big Ten might split up Ohio State and Michigan when the conference goes to divisional play in 2011. The thinking is that the two old rivals would play once in the regular season and possibly again for the Big Ten championship and a spot in the Rose Bowl. In order to do that the Ohio State-Michigan game would be moved to an earlier spot on the calendar instead of the last game of the regular season.
Bad, bad, idea.
The Big 12 screwed up and did away with the annual Nebraska-Oklahoma game when it went to divisions. This would be an equally bad mistake. The ACC split of Miami and Florida State thinking they would play for the title. Hasn’t happened yet.
For anybody who cares, this is how I would split up the Big Ten:
Everybody gets to keep one rivalry game from the other division, just like the SEC.
4. More trouble at North Carolina: The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has always taken a lot of pride in conducting its athletics program the right way. This is where Dean Smith worked, for goodness sakes.
So school officials and alumni can’t be happy today to learn that the NCAA is looking into possible academic misconduct by a number of Tar Heel football players. This comes on top of the NCAA investigation into DT Marvin Austin and possible improper contact with an agent.
Now we have no idea who will be available when North Carolina takes on LSU a week from tomorrow at the Georgia Dome. This was a season with so much promise at North Carolina. Will it now start to unravel?
5. The FWAA strips USC of another championship: Pat Haden, the new athletics director at Southern California, has already sent Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy back to the Heisman Trust. They have stripped photos and references to Bush from Heritage Hall.
USC will return the BCS championship Trophy of 2004 if the appeal of its NCAA sanctions is denied.
Now USC will have to send back another national championship trophy, this one given by the Football Writers Association of American, which has presented the Grantland Rice Trophy since 1956. That organization (of which I am a member and former president) voted to vacate USC’s title but not to award it to another school.
My personal preference would have been to award the trophy to Auburn, which went 13-0, won the SEC championship, but did not get a chance to play for the national championship. Auburn finished No. 2 behind USC in all the polls including the final FWAA vote that season. But I respect the decision of my fellow writers.
Assuming USC’s appeal of its NCAA sanctions will be denied, the Trojans will have been stripped of two national championships (BCS, FWAA). The Associated Press announced earlier this year that USC will be allowed to keep its 2004 title.
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