Nobody asked me but:
1. Steve Spurrier has a chance to make history (again) at the Georgia Dome: The No. 1 story line heading into Saturday’s SEC championship game is whether or not No. 1 Auburn can stay undefeated and give the conference a shot at its fifth straight BCS title.
The No. 2 story line is whether or not Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton, with everything swirling around him, can lead his team to a victory and, in the process, lock up the Heisman Trophy.
Almost lost in this game is that South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has a chance to win his seventh SEC championship, exactly 10 years after he won his sixth and final one as the head coach at Florida. Spurrier’s seven SEC titles would move him past Vince Dooley and John Vaught on the all-time list. Spurrier would be second only to Bear Bryant who won 14 SEC championships (13 at Alabama, 1 at Kentucky).
For the first time at the SEC championship game, Spurrier is here but is not the headliner. I’ll bet he likes that.
2. TCU is making a good move to the Big East: It’s really a no-brainer. From the start of the 2012 season Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs will know they are good enough to win the Big East and go to a BCS bowl game. No debate. No having to ask for respect. Win your league and you go. Now TCU has to get serious about men’s basketball and the Big East has to figure out how to stage a conference basketball tournament with 17 teams. Understand that the Big 12 (now at 10 teams) was never going to invite TCU to be a part of the club. The Horned Frogs had to step out and do the best thing for their school.
3. I’m sorry that Boise State lost. I was hoping that Boise would go to the Rose Bowl and somehow wind up playing Ohio State in what would be known as “The Little Sisters of the Poor Bowl.” Last week Ohio State president Gordon Gee (the former president at Vanderbilt) said the teams in the Big Ten and SEC deserved a shot at the BCS championship over Boise because “We don’t play the Little Sisters of the Poor.” For about 48 hours the media went just a little batty and then Boise State lost to Nevada Friday night. It was on the same day that Auburn came back from a 24-0 deficit to beat Alabama and Oregon beat Arizona with a strong second half.
So at the end of the day was Gee right? Probably, but I am reminded of something said by the late, great Lewis Grizzard: “Damn, brother, I don’t believe I would have told that.” You may think it. It might even be true. But you don’t say it.
4. Jon Gruden to Miami? Jon Gruden? Did I miss something? What is the facsination with Jon Gruden? Won a Super Bowl. Dynamic personality. Loved it when he sat down with the quarterbacks (Tebow, McCoy, etc.) in the summer of 2009 and gave them the unvarnished truth. It was compelling television and I watched every minute of it. But somebody has to tell me how Gruden’s skill set translates to college football, which is a completely different game. There is no doubt that Miami will make a big splash and win the press conference if it happens. But I’ve seen too many guys come from pro football (Charlie Weis comes to mind) who believe they are so much smarter than everybody and will be able to just out-scheme people to wins. They believe they can flash a Super Bowl ring and the recruits come running. It doesn’t work like that.
And let’s get this on the record. Miami hired Randy Shannonto clean up the program and he did. While other schools were living on the police blotter, Shannon instilled discipline. Miami’s graduation rate under Shannon was second only to Duke in the ACC. He didn’t win enough games, I get that. But if you’re a Miami fan you need to thank that man for what he did for your school as a player, assistant coach, and head coach.
5. Vanderbilt needs to get serious about football: First of all, Bobby Johnson did a helluva job at Vanderbilt with the resources he had. Yeah, he went 2-10 his last season but under Johnson Vanderbilt was consistently competitive and a tough out. As the years pass Vanderbilt fans will realize how good Johnson really was. Now Robbie Caldwell, who replaced Johnson last summer, is gone. Vanderbilt has some decisions to make. First of all, spend the money to get a top flight coach and give him the money to hire a top of line staff. In other words, spend the money necessary to give Vanderbilt a reasonable shot. Do that for five years and if it doesn’t work out, you can scale back on the next coaching hire. It’s like Vanderbilt wants to commit to football but doesn’t want to commit at too high a level because it would be, well, unseemly.
But in order to compete in the SEC, you gotta be all in. Vanderbilt ain’t close to being all in when it comes to football.
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