Five burning questions questions as we head into the weekend:
1. Could the TMZ report be a game changer in the Cameron Newton investigation? Everyone was all a-Twitter yesterday when TMZ reported that the FBI is asking questions about an Auburn booster in relationship to the Cameron Newton investigation.
Understand that TMZ (which broke the Tiger Woods story) did not say there was a connection between dog track owner Milton McGregor and Newton. Specifically:
“It’s unclear what, if any, direct connection McGregor has to Newton. Back in 2008, McGregor did donate a million bucks toward construction of a new arena at Auburn.”
The report said that the FBI was asking people in the Newton investigation if they were familiar with the fact that McGregor was one of 10 people arrested last month in a bribery scandal. Through his attorney McGregor denied any contact–”direct or indirect”–with Cam Newton or Cecil Newton.
So we need more information. But it is the first time outside of the chat rooms that a direct connection between Auburn and this investigation has been suggested.
Meanwhile, the very good reporting of Mark Schlabach, Chris Low, and Pat Forde of ESPN.com continues to paint the picture that, at the very least, Kenny Rogers was asking Mississippi State for money on behalf of Cecil Newton. Does this story increase the pressure on Auburn to sit the kid down or, is it still just a deal involving one runner and one father trying to get paid? Here is the ESPN.com story.
Now let’s talk about football.
2. How long does Nick Saban go with his starters against Georgia State? Winning the game tonight is not the issue for Alabama when Bill Curry’s Georgia State team (6-4) comes to Tuscaloosa. This is an opportunity for Alabama to work on some things that will be helpful in next Friday’s Iron Bowl with Auburn. Don’t be surprised to see the ball in the air a bunch tonight on ESPNU. The secondary is where Auburn in vulnerable.
3. What is the over and under on the number of carries Marcus Lattimore will get against Troy? South Carolina’s freshman running back carried it 40 times in the win at Florida last Saturday. The Gamecocks still have two non-conference games–Saturday at home versus Troy and Nov. 27 at Clemson–before the SEC championship game with Auburn on Dec. 4. For coach Steve Spurrier this is all about keeping Lattimore fresh and healthy until they get to Atlanta. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lattimore gets the ball fewer than 10 times. I would be tempted to sit him but you can’t mess around with a team like Troy. They have good athletes and Larry Blakeney is a good coach.
4. What happens at Miami if the Hurricanes beat Virginia Tech? Freshman quarterback Stephen Morris will start this third consecutive game in place of Jacory Harris when Miami hosts Virginia Tech in a big ACC Coastal game. Harris has sat out two games with a concussion and in the meantime Morris has played very, very well in wins over Maryland and Georgia Tech. Harris told some people during last week’s game that he would be ready to go against the Hokies, who could clinch the ACC Coastal with a win on Saturday. Harris was informed this week that he is not ready to go and that Morris will get the start. Coach Randy Shannon had previously said that Harris would not lose his starting position to an injury. To win the division, Miami has to beat Virginia Tech and hope that the Hokies lose to Virginia next week.
5. Is Georgia Tech going to take Duke seriously? It better. The Yellow Jackets have dominated Duke in recent outings but we now know that this is not a vintage Paul Johnson team. Duke, on the another hand, is playing much better recently with wins over Navy, Virginia, and a game it should have won against Boston College (21-16). Duke got down to the BC four-yard line at the end of the game and could not score. We had Duke coach David Cutcliffe on the “Barnhart and Durham” radio show on Wednesday and he was very upbeat about the direction his team is heading going into this game. Just thought I would mention it.
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