Thursday, August 31, 2006

2006 Roster of Voters in the Harris Poll

Here you have it, the roster of the 114 voters in the 2006 Harris Interactive Poll (double-click on the image for an enlarged view). This is a bit of a scoop because we beat Harris to posting the complete list of all their voters, so that shows you what a joke of a poll this is. The Harris poll, of course, was brought into the bowl championship series fold after Associated Press told the BCS it no longer wanted to be a party to the selection process. We haven't had a chance to pick over all the names yet, but there are several members of the media on board.

Admitting You Have a Problem

No longer do you have to run from convenience store to convenience store on the Internet in search of a fireyourcoach site. We're talking consolidation here, folks. It's all in one superstore on the Internet, or at least the names of 27 coaches. The site Redshirted, reportedly operated by a technology worker in Austin, has prices ranging from $50 to $250. Examples: is available for $50 and has a price tag of $250. The site says value is determined on fan base, expectation of success, team record and controversy. All the fireyourcoach URLs direct you back to the site, which is reportedly operated by a technology work in Austin. The site also suggests that a domain name could be used against an arch-rival to help destabilize the coach. "Sometimes your best defense is a good offense." Not all of the URLs have paid off. is still available for $100, and he was ousted two years ago by Indiana. Thanks to the Midwest Correspondent.

Secret Agent Man Raids the Raiders

Before the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, this country's best and brightest were sent on covert missions deep into enemy territory. Knowing that Texas Tech officials were guarding their poster schedule like Stasi, the old secret police of East Germany, only one person was capable of penetrating the elaborate and unprecedented security measures to get the goods. We are happy to report that reader Greg successfully completed his mission and is now resting comfortably at a secret location, awaiting his next assignment. So the question before you is this: was it worth it? We will let the viewing public be the judge on this one. ... The list: Miami, Memphis, Arizona, North Carolina State, Oregon, Wyoming, Nevada, Kentucky, Clemson, Fresno State, Rice, Alabama, Oklahoma, Toledo, Vanderbilt-Tennessee, Washington State-Washington, Brigham Young-West Virginia-Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Louisiana State, UCLA, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida State, Florida, Iowa State and USC. We have several poster images backed up and ready to go, but fear not because we will get to them all. In the meantime, keep them coming! The address: dawizofodds (at)

Give Us Your Best Shot

Are you headed to a game this weekend? If you are and happen to have a camera in tow, we'd be interested in photos from the scene. We will consider shots of almost anything: tailgating, cheerleaders, the band, mascots, the view from the top row of the stadium, the view from the press box, even shots of the game! Any reasonable debauchery will do, although we are not big fans of images taken with a camera phone. Now there's no guarantee we will run your shot and we can't pay cash, but our credit is damn good and we will certainly give you that. Remember to include a brief description with the photo. The address: dawizofodds (at)

Let the Hype Begin

Here is a list of Heisman hopeful sites from the Plain Dealer. We've featured some of these sites before, but there are a couple of additions to the list. There might be a site or two missing, and if you know of an official site we have not included, please let us know so it can be added. As the hysteria builds, check out Heisman Pundit, the authority on all matters Heisman. The list, in alphabetical order of the teams:
Auburn running back Kenny Irons
California running back Marshawn Lynch
Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson
Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb
Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm and running back Michael Bush (combined site)
Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith
Ohio State receiver Ted Ginn
Rutgers fullback Brian Leonard

Reporters' Notebooks

Emily Badger, Orlando Sentinel: The ACC has taken out an insurance policy worth up to $8 million a year to recoup losses from any games canceled because of a hurricane (registration).

Anthony Gimino, Tucson Citizen: The SEC is widely considered the top conference, but teams from the league are only 3-7 against Pac-10 opponents this decade.

Bob Thomas, Jacksonville Times-Union: The average cost of two fans from Jacksonville to spend a weekend in Tallahassee and attend a Florida State game is $813. For eight home games, the total is $6,504 (registration).

Adam Smeltz, Centre Daily Times: Scalpers are cashing in at Penn State, and police are moving in to make sure starving students don't get rich.

Kent Babb, Columbia State: South Carolina officials say the decision to leave the band behind for Thursday night's opener at Mississippi State had nothing to do with cash and everything to do with class.

Tony Phifer, Coloradoan: Fum's Song, a rousing college ditty sung by deceased Colorado State great Fum McGraw, no longer will be shown on the video screen at Hughes Stadium between the third and fourth quarters because of objectionable lyrics. See the lyrics by clicking here.

Tom Dienhart, Sporting News: He has tomorrow's news today with this scoop: Kansas coach Mark Mangino has agreed to a contract extension and will sign the deal Thursday.

Sirius: Three games are scheduled to be broadcast Thursday night by Sirius satellite radio.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

In Your Face!

More to the point, it's all about attitude, and few teams bring it like Miami. With Hurricane players seemingly running into trouble at every corner, it's clear that posing for mug shots comes natural to this group. ... All kidding aside, we like this poster schedule and like it a lot. It would be difficult to find a poster that so perfectly captures the aura of a team. The list: Memphis, Arizona, North Carolina State, Oregon, Wyoming, Nevada, Kentucky, Clemson, Fresno State, Rice, Alabama, Oklahoma, Toledo, Vanderbilt-Tennessee, Washington State-Washington, Brigham Young-West Virginia-Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Louisiana State, UCLA, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida State, Florida, Iowa State and USC. Send the Wiz a link or image of your team's poster schedule: dawizofodds (at)

Reporters' Notebooks

Larry Williams, Charleston Post and Courier: A follow to our post from Friday. The Atlantic Coast Conference has determined that Clemson cornerback Ramon McElrathbey is prohibited from receiving any sort of monetary assistance despite his extenuating circumstances. Also, an entry from the blog of the Tiger Net's Mickey Plyler. Thanks to reader Dan!

Tom Mulher, Wisconsin State Journal: The mother of Jamathan Lyle, a freshman cornerback who recently left the Wisconsin team, is taking exception to comments made by Badger coach Bret Bielema.

Mark Rosner, Austin American-Statesman: Former Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar has almost no chance of playing when his new team, Sam Houston State, meets Texas on Sept. 30 (registration).

Lee Jenkins, New York Times: Meet Northern Illinois, the team from the pesky Mid-American Conference that nobody wants to play (registration).

Dave Reardon, Honolulu Star-Bulletin: Hawaii players, who have been practicing the Maori war dance every day after practice, don't plan to showcase their new steps in the opener at Alabama.

Rick Harmon, Tampa Tribune: How much clout does Notre Dame carry? A Tampa TV station had planned to pre-empt the telecast of the Fighting Irish's opener against Georgia Tech to show hometown South Florida's game against McNeese State. But after several complaints, the South Florida telecast is being moved to another channel.

Mike Baldwin, Oklahoman: An Oklahoma State receiver who thought his playing career was over after it was discovered he has only one kidney has been cleared to return to the team (registration).

Tim Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Scalpers are making a small fortune on tickets for the Notre Dame-Georgia Tech game, with an average ticket going for $195, almost four times the face value (registration).

Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune: South Florida coach Jim Leavitt didn't score any points with the media during his 1 minute 59 second press conference.

Craig Smith, Seattle Times: Washington State coach Bill Doba, who lost his wife of 43 years to cancer in April, says "it's tough going home at night" without her there.

Peter Hockaday, Casper Star-Tribune: The mtn., the Mountain West's new television network, still isn't on a single TV in Wyoming.

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News: So what happened to Paris? Former USC quarterback Matt Leinart and Trojan women's basketball player Brynn Cameron are expecting a baby boy in November.

Irish Round Table: An interview with Don Criqui, the new voice of Notre Dame football.

Columnists' Corner

Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press: It's put-up or shut-up time for Michigan State coach John L. Smith.

Bob Wojnowski, Detroit News: Michigan's 7-5 season was damning and enlightening. And now we learn if it was also invigorating.

Sam Ross Jr., Tribune-Review: If you ignore questions regarding the offensive line, quarterback, defensive line and secondary, Penn State looks to have a sound team.

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Register: Danny Sheridan sits down for a Q&A and says Auburn will win the SEC West and Tennessee will take the SEC East.

Mark Bradley, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Notre Dame. Can you say overrated? Georgia Tech will spring the upset (registration).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tailgate Crap

Tired of being outclassed by those tailgaters in that 65-foot recreational vehicle? Try a few of these gizmos and you will have that crowd partying over at your jalopy in no time. First we have the Tailgator, top left. This is a gas-powered portable blender that enables you to serve a margarita or daiquiri right from the bed of your 1987 S10 Chevy pickup. Top right, we have the Tablegater, a height-adjustable hitch-mounted table that is shown with an optional stand. After all, you need someplace to set your margarita. Last but not least, we have the Paha Que' Tepee outhouse/shower shelter. This could come in handy after several margaritas. And don't forget about the terrific Map Game Day to help plot your partying strategy. There's more where this came from, so fire up the brats and let's get this party going!

They're Working Out the Bugs at Nebraska

Nebraska's new HuskerVision big screen is already drawing a crowd, but it's not the crowd officials had hoped for. Bugs — mostly moths — are swarming to the new 4,000-square foot LED television. "There's like a billion bugs," said Scott Bennett, who spends about seven hours a week on the Memorial Stadium turf practicing with the marching band. Although John Ingram, an assistant athletic director for facilities, had no comment, others were talking. "The way it's constructed is going to act like a magnet for certain insects," said James Kalisch, an extension technologist with the university's entomology department. And the problem could get worse at night. "If you have night games that go particularly late, there could be a lot more insects," Kalisch told the Daily Nebraskan. "Don't be alarmed if they land on you." ... Thanks to the Big Red Network for the image!

Advertise With the Wiz

Today marks our one-year anniversary, and now that we have established our niche in cyberspace, we would like to open the doors to direct advertising. If you are interested in reaching our audience, please send an email to dawizofodds (at) Our readers have a passion for college football and with the season set to begin and our audience growing by the day, now is the time to get in the game!

Memphis Polishing Its Resume?

Shakeups are inevitable in college football. In June, after the Kansas City Star mentioned the possibility of Colorado moving to the Pac-10 and Arkansas moving to the Big 12, you had to wonder what the SEC might have in mind if it were to lose a team. Certainly Memphis has geographical appeal. So when the Tigers' poster schedule landed on our doorstep, thanks to reader Mark, we weren't surprised to see a polished effort. It's certainly better than many of the offerings we've displayed from SEC teams. You can take a look for yourself. Here's the list of posters featured thus far: Arizona, North Carolina State, Oregon, Wyoming, Nevada, Kentucky, Clemson, Fresno State, Rice, Alabama, Oklahoma, Toledo, Vanderbilt-Tennessee, Washington State-Washington, Brigham Young-West Virginia-Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Louisiana State, UCLA, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida State, Florida, Iowa State and USC. Send a link or image of your team's poster schedule to dawizofodds (at)

Reporters' Notebooks

Susan Miller Degnan, Miami Herald: A police report says Miami receiver Ryan Moore, who has not been arrested, grabbed a woman by the throat and threatened another woman early Saturday morning (registration).

Jorge Milian, Palm Beach Post: Monday night's Miami-Florida State game could be moved to Jacksonville, Tampa or Orlando if the Orange Bowl is damaged by Tropical Storm Ernesto.

Mark Rosner, Austin American-Statesman: Former Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar has enrolled at Sam Houston State and former Sooner offensive lineman J.D. Quinn has transferred to Montana (registration).

Matt Eagan, Hartford Courant: The Big East is expected to announce a contract extension with ESPN that will keep its games on the network until at least 2013.

Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: West Virginia and Marshall officials appear to have put any hard feelings behind them over a spying incident last April.

Loser With Socks: Who is the toughest coach to play for in Division I-A? Try Penn State's Joe Paterno.

Monday, August 28, 2006

This Site Best Viewed on a Computer

No better time to dust off the playbook and run through the gameplan one last time before the season kicks off Thursday. This is a links site and the Wiz merely sorts through the various options on a daily basis for the best of college football. We're only as good as the team around us, and that is where you the reader come into play. We value each and every contribution and the more input we get, the better the site. Don't be shy! Keep those tips coming to dawizofodds (at) And for all the new visitors, here is a look at how the site is structured:

The Lines: Each Monday, we set up the week with the announcement of the weekly posting of the lines from Docs Sports, one of our sponsors. It will be designated under the header Week 1, Week 2, etc.

Reporters' Notebooks
: This is where news stories and notes columns appear. Time permitting, this is a daily feature.

Columnists' Corner: The best of the best. What the opinion-makers are saying about the state of your team or the game.

Crystal Ball: No need to go to your resident fortuneteller. Prognosticators put it all on the line every Thursday and Friday.

Game of the Week: This is a new feature. We will key in on one game and offer an in-depth look at what each side is saying.

As always, thanks for stopping by the site! And please help spread the word about our humble little corner of cyberspace. The quick and easy URL:

Week 1

We are pleased to announce that Doc's Sports will sponsor our weekly announcement of the lines. If you are not familiar with Doc's, it is a family-run business and one of the trusted names in handicapping. Doc's has been in business since 1971 and built quite the following in Las Vegas with its Big Ten Game of the Year. Doc's is also listed under Sponsored Links (Free College Football Picks) and The Spread (College Football Betting Odds, NFL Betting Odds). And check into getting a copy of Doc's Sports Journal, a 120-page schedule that includes every college and NFL game. Week 1 action gets an early start with nine games on Thursday. We have games through Monday. Click here to take a look at the schedule and the lines.

Wildcat Strike Nothing to Be Proud Of

If you ever lose your checkerboard, the 2006 poster schedule from Arizona could come in handy. We are not sure what is going on here, particularly with the strange bolts of electricity that run through the piece. This confusing design is enough to send us racing to our favorite watering hole in Tucson, Dirtbag's. But the Wiz's attorney has asked many times for us not to discuss anything about our visits to Dirtbag's, so we will leave it at that. The featured list: North Carolina State, Oregon, Wyoming, Nevada, Kentucky, Clemson, Fresno State, Rice, Alabama, Oklahoma, Toledo, Vanderbilt-Tennessee, Washington State-Washington, Brigham Young-West Virginia-Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Louisiana State, UCLA, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida State, Florida, Iowa State and USC. Keep those links and images coming! The address: dawizofodds (at)

Reporters' Notebooks

Mike Knobler, Jeff D'Alessio, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Here's a quiz for you. Only eight of the 65 teams in the six BCS conferences had all their recruits qualify. Name those teams. Hint: No Big East team had a perfect score (registration).

Ian R. Rapoport, Clarion Ledger: Even though the NCAA has dropped its crowd noise penalty, the SEC continues to insist that cowbells used by Mississippi State fans are illegal and can draw a penalty.

Andy Staples, Tampa Tribune: A reporter remembers his days as a walk-on at Florida and how he ended up covering the team.

Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News: Remember the brawl that broke out at the end of the 2004 Texas Tech-Southern Methodist game? The teams play again Saturday night in Lubbock (registration).

John Maher, Austin American-Statesman: Winning a national title has enabled Texas to cash in. The Longhorns have displaced North Carolina, which was No. 1 for the past five years, in licensing revenue (registration).

Billy Turner, Times-Picayune: New Orleans was once a hotbed of prep talent. All that changed after Hurricane Katrina swept through the city.

Brett McMurphy and Gregg Becnel, Tampa Tribune: Three projected starters for South Florida will miss the first two games and possibly six because of a second positive drug test.

David Showers, Northwest Arkansas Times: Some Arkansas fans waited for hours outside a Wal-Mart to have Lou Holtz autograph a copy of his new book.

Evan Woobery, Mobile Press-Register: Auburn self-reported seven minor violations to the NCAA, including one involving the recruitment of a junior college player who eventually signed with Mississippi.

Jonathan Okanes, Contra Costa Times: With the season upon us, Aaron Taylor says he has no regrets over leaving his job as a studio analyst for ABC.

Iliana Limon, Albuquerque Tribune: A series of heavy summer rains have New Mexico officials scrambling to firm up the turf at University Stadium.

Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh has moved the start time for its Sept. 16 game against Michigan State from 3:30 p.m. to noon to avoid a conflict with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Columnists' Corner

Bernie Lincicome, Rocky Mountain News: Will Texas be able to defend its national title? It is hiring lawyers right now.

Mike Huguenin, Orlando Sentinel: At least five national title contenders are going to have their championship hopes dashed in September.

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Press-Register: A book about the 1966 Alabama team that finished undefeated but was denied a third consecutive national championship is a worthwhile read.

Ray Melick, Birmingham News: We are days from the start of the season, but in Dixie it's always football season.

Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman: The man who came up with the idea for the blue turf at Boise State now says he wants no credit for the idea.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Only Man for This High-Pressure Job

Weather can play a big part in a game. You know trouble is around the corner when a 998-millibar low moves into the area, but exactly how will it impact the kicking game? Mixing Mother Nature and football is dangerous business and best left to professionals, but finding the right meteorologist for the Wiz proved to be a daunting task. We needed somebody who could break down not only the science, but also the passing game. Enter a man who needs no introduction. He comes to us from KREX in Grand Junction and has built an enormous cyberspace following from his days at WCCB in Charlotte, where his unique and innovative approach to weather sent the station's ratings through the roof. Welcome former college quarterback and meteorologist extraordinaire Mark Mathis, who will be bringing his forecasting wizardry to the Wiz.

Wiz: Tell us about your playing career.
Mathis: I was a walk-on at Baylor during the Southwest Conference days and the scout team's quarterback for two-and-a-half years. When I realized I was not going to play, I decided to drink beer and chase women. Not necessarily in that order!
Most of the teams we played back then ran the option or power-I offense, which means I got the hell beat out of me during the week. My sophomore year we had the No. 2 defense in the country. We had guys like Ray Crockett (Denver and Detroit), Thomas Everett (Dallas, Pittsburgh), Ron Francis (Dallas), James Francis (Cleveland) and Ray Berry (Minnesota). I was officially the fourth-team quarterback behind Cody Carlson (Houston) and Tom Mickey (Canadian Football League). They called me Flutie, and later in life they called me Rudy!
I had scholarship offers to play at Air Force and Kansas State, but my entire family went to Baylor so I thought I could walk on there and play. I didn't, just got the hell beat out of me.

Wiz: How the heck did you go from college football to weather phenomenon?
Mathis: I wanted to do sports right out of college but saw how hard the sports guys work in small markets and decided weather was the way to go. I went to Mississippi State and got my meteorology degree. I had stops all over the country doing "normal ... we are going to save your life" weather and just got sick of it.
When I went to Charlotte they said I could have a little fun. Well, I kicked that door down pretty quick. I think I did everything on air but the weather in Charlotte! It was a great deal of fun. I knew I couldn't compete with the other big stations because those guys just loved the weather, so I decided to go the opposite direction. James Ray says, "If you want to be a success, find out which way everyone else is going and head the opposite direction." Well I did!

Wiz: Your tenure in Charlotte brought you notoriety on many fronts. Can you tell me about the experience?
Mathis: The GM in Charlotte wanted to "create a disturbance" while I was in Charlotte. So I did! It worked and it got noticed. I always thought if someone (out of five stations) would do what I did, I knew it would get noticed but would it be successful? Well, it got noticed and it was highly successful! It almost developed this cult following after a while. If I did the weather normal for a few days the GM would run back to the weather office and ask if I was looking for a job. It was a lot of fun and mostly ad-lib. I would just play off of the story (usually an entertaining one) right before the main weather.

Wiz: What are the meteorological equivalents to X's and Os?
Mathis: Bruce Coslet, Famous Football Quotes: "We can't run. We can't pass. We can't stop the run. We can't stop the pass. We can't kick. Other than that, we're just not a very good football team right now."
Mark Mathis: "I can't predict storms, I hate upper atmospheric discussions. 700mb charts bore me, hurricanes get on my nerves and who the hell cares about a tornado in Kansas? Other than that, I am just not a really good meteorologist.

Wiz: Anything you would like to say independent of this to our audience?
Mathis: I love the quote from Bill Cosby: "I don't know what the secret of success is but I know the secret of failure ... and that is constantly trying to please everyone!"

Wiz: One more thing: Is there a site you would like to plug?

Meet Nebraska's New Quarterback

Sports by Brooks has two photos posted said to be of former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller, who was demoted last Sunday in favor of Rudy Carpenter and has since transferred to Nebraska. Although Sun Devil coach Dirk Koetter didn't give a specific reason behind his bizarre switcheroo, the speculation centered on Keller not doing things right off the field. From what we see here, Keller was doing plenty right off the field! Of interest in this photo is the young woman on the left doing what appears to be the Shocker.

Wall Street Journal Ranks the Rankers

Predicting the results of the college football season is huge business, but when you look back at those magazines sitting on the coffee table when it's all over, you'll see that most prognosticators didn't have a clue. The Wall Street Journal has a dynamite piece in its Weekend Edition that ranks college football's fortunetellers by examining the track record of 12 of the most-read guides and preseason rankings the past five years. Lindy's ranks at the top of the Journal's list, and if you are a Notre Dame fan, you'll like what the Birmingham-based magazine has to say about 2006. Iowa fans, meanwhile, might be in for a disappointment. The Journal also found that some teams are consistently treated more generously by preseason polls, notably Tennessee and Kansas State. The piece is available online only to subscribers. Otherwise, run down to your newstand and pick one up before it is replaced by Monday's edition. Thanks to Greg for the tip!

Signature Effort From North Carolina State

Here's proof that design doesn't count for everything. North Carolina State has something special here. Nothing like having the team sign your poster schedule, is there? Wow, what a terrific idea! This is something the players will cherish and can only help to foster team unity. The Wolfpack might be the first, but they won't be the last. Don't be surprised to see this idea spring up on poster schedules in 2007. Our thanks to Corey, who heard about the site from the Wiz's appearance on Morning Mojo on 620 The Bull, and Marty of the great CFB Stats. Keep them coming folks! Send an image or link of your team's poster schedule to dawizofodds (at) The featured list: Oregon, Wyoming, Nevada, Kentucky, Clemson, Fresno State, Rice, Alabama, Oklahoma, Toledo, Vanderbilt-Tennessee, Washington State-Washington, Brigham Young-West Virginia-Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Louisiana State, UCLA, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida State, Florida, Iowa State and USC.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

It's About Quality, Not Quantity

When it comes to marketing, no team has been as aggressive and innovative in recent years as Oregon. With various websites, billboards, uniform designs and even personalized comic books for recruits, the Ducks are second to none in getting the word out. This brings us to the 2006 poster schedule. Actually, this is one of six posters produced by Oregon, all of similar design, and you can view the rest by clicking here. Our reaction? This is one ho-hum effort, folks. Innovative isn't the proper word here. Uninteresting seems to fit the series. Maybe it's just that we've come to expect more from the No. 1 marketing team. And maybe they've gone to the well one too many times. Thanks to Marc for this. The featured list: Wyoming, Nevada, Kentucky, Clemson, Fresno State, Rice, Alabama, Oklahoma, Toledo, Vanderbilt-Tennessee, Washington State-Washington, Brigham Young-West Virginia-Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Louisiana State, UCLA, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida State, Florida, Iowa State and USC. Send an image or link of your team's poster schedule to dawizofodds (at)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Who Takes Advantage of the System?

Something is seriously wrong here. As usual, we can't help but think about those fatcats running the NCAA, which has at least nine honchos pulling in more than a quarter-million a year, including president Myles Brand, above, who is compensated to the tune of $870,000-plus. On the other side we have Ramon McElrathbey, a 19-year-old cornerback at Clemson. McElrathbey, who has seven siblings ages 6 through 23, spent most of his childhood bouncing around foster homes. His mother, Tonya, said she has battled an addiction to crack cocaine for more than a decade. Tonya said McElrathbey's father has lived in Las Vegas the past three years and has a severe gambling problem. He has never seen his son play a down of football. Ramon, determined to do what is right to help his family, recently was granted temporary custody of his 11-year-old brother, Fahmarr. The two will be living together in an off-campus apartment, and last Friday Ramon took Fahmarr to his first day of classes at a local middle school. After the story was published by the Charleston Post and Courier, Clemson officials received an unrelenting deluge of calls and emails from fans asking how they could help. But because of NCAA rules that restrict the ability of college athletes to receive financial assistance from most of the outside world, Clemson is treading cautiously as it tries to navigate a complex situation that could end up in a violation of NCAA rules. Yes, something is wrong. Very wrong. ... Thanks to reader Dan for this.

Reporters' Notebooks

Kyle Tucker, Virginian-Pilot: A hydrotrack underwater treadmill. A bod pod. Cooling shirts. Core temperature pills. Virginia Tech has gone high tech and it's not cheap.

Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio State has started Heisman campaigns for Troy Smith and Ted Ginn.

Chip Brown, Dallas Morning News: Prices for tickets to the Ohio State-Texas game could be headed for some kind of record (registration).

Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic: Quarterback Sam Keller, in his first comments since transferring to Nebraska, had nothing but good things to say about Arizona State.

Jeff McDonald, San Antonio Express-News: Texas players say Godzillatron, the new scoreboard and video screen in Memorial Stadium, could become a distraction.

Dave Hickman, Charleston Gazette: The dumb jock image is on its way out, according to West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez.

Iliana Limon, Albuquerque Tribune: New Mexico games not on TV will be streamed over the Internet.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Grabbing the Bull by the Horns

In case you missed it, a podcast is available from the Wiz's appearance Thursday on the Morning Mojo on 620 The Bull in Raleigh-Durham. You can go directly to the mp3 by clicking here. It is the second interview behind North Carolina defensive coordinator Marvin Sanders. And to other bloggers, here is an opportunity to have your voice heard. Host Joe Ovies has come up with a terrific idea. Writes Joe: "Once a week we'll take a look at what's poppn' in the blogosphere and would like your help if you think you can pull off those written opinions on the radio. Come on, it can't be that hard! So if you bloggers think you are good enough to drop some knowledge on the morning show, drop me a line." Details are available by clicking here.

Going Gonzo at Ohio State

How far will a player go for an edge? Ohio State junior receiver Anthony Gonzalez might be taking it to an extreme by sleeping and studying in an altitude tent, a 6-by-6-by-8-foot plastic chamber that is placed over his bed. An attached device then draws air from the tent, removes a percentage of oxygen and pumps rarefied air back into the tent. This creates an atmosphere that is similar to living at an altitude of 8,000 feet. The idea is to increase Gonzalez's number of red blood cells, which carry oxygen through the body, and improve his endurance. Gonzalez spent $5,000 on the system last summer. Now is this cheating? The World-Anti Doping Agency is considering adding the tents to its 2007 prohibited list. That could result in the NCAA also banning the tents. Thanks to Buckeye Commentary.

And Speaking of Thin Air ...

We bring you Wyoming's poster schedule. Maybe you didn't know this, but War Memorial Stadium in Laramie sits at an elevation of 7,220 feet, making it the highest Division I stadium in the nation. Given that edge at home, Joe Glenn's Cowboys should have done better than 4-7 last season. And we trust Wyoming will have a better poster schedule next season, too. The featured list: Nevada, Kentucky, Clemson, Fresno State, Rice, Alabama, Oklahoma, Toledo, Vanderbilt-Tennessee, Washington State-Washington, Brigham Young-West Virginia-Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Louisiana State, UCLA, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida State, Florida, Iowa State and USC. Keep them coming! Send an image or link of your team's poster schedule to dawizofodds (at)

Reporters' Notebooks

Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic: Last Friday, Sam Keller was named Arizona State's starting quarterback. Now he is a member of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, despite a late pitch from Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who made numerous calls Wednesday to the Kellers.

Ben Wear, Austin American-Statesman: Texas' new Godzillatron could be in violation of a state law that prohibits light-emitting diode signs along the state's highways (registration).

George Schroeder, Oklahoman: The father of former Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar said his son is close to making a decision about his future (registration).

Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune: South Florida is the latest team to purchase RecruitingRadar, a software-based recruiting program. The service costs $28,800 annually.

Michael Pointer, Indianapolis Star: For the second consecutive year, Indiana has put a billboard promoting the Hoosiers' upcoming season in the backyard of rival Purdue. Anybody have a photo? Please send it to dawizofodds (at)

Lynn Henning, Detroit News: Now it can be told. When George Perles was fired as Michigan State coach in 1994, university president Peter McPherson made a pitch to land Nebraska's Tom Osborne.

Michael Rothstein, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: The eligibility of Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowski won't be affected for his involvement in promotional spots for a TV show.

Heather A. Dinich, Baltimore Sun: Maryland has reached an agreement for naming rights to Byrd Stadium. The price is $20 million for 25 years (registration).

Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: June Jones and Jerry Glanville, two former Atlanta Falcon coaches, are returning with their new team, Hawaii. The Rainbows will practice next week in Atlanta before busing to Birmingham to play Alabama (registration).

Garry Smits, Jacksonville Times-Union: The Gator Bowl must find a new sponsor after Toyota decided to end its 12-year relationship with the bowl (registration).

Keith Whitmire, Dallas Morning News: The Fort Worth Bowl has changed its name to the Armed Forces Bowl and taken on a new title sponsor in Bell Helicopter (registration).

Dan Wolken, Colorado Springs Gazette: Air Force offensive line coach Pete Hurt was reinstated, a week after striking an offensive lineman during a practice.

Ron Kantowski, Las Vegas Sun: Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson urged fans to help pressure cable providers to carry the conference's new TV channel.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

This From Our Promotional Department

If you in happen to be in the Raleigh-Durham area Thursday, tune in to 620 The Bull sports radio between 6 and 10 a.m. (Eastern). The Wiz will be a guest on Morning Mojo. Also be sure to check out 850 and 620 The Blog. Our thanks to Joe Ovies. ... If you'd like to have the Wiz on your show, drop him a line: dawizofodds (at)

Keller Decision Expected This Week

Regardless of the circumstances behind the sudden and unexpected demotion of Sam Keller as Arizona State quarterback, one thing is clear: If he wants to transfer, plenty of teams are interested. Keller's father, Sam, told the Arizona Republic that he has spoken with Oklahoma, Colorado, Louisville and Texas El Paso, and that Notre Dame and Iowa also have interest. Of course, Nebraska remains in the mix and Cornhusker coach Bill Callahan confirmed Tuesday that Keller has received a release from Arizona State to talk with Nebraska. Sam said his son could even return to Arizona State and redshirt, then finish his undergraduate degree and transfer under the new NCAA rule allowing such a move without sitting out. "Everyone thinks this is easy. People want him, we pull the trigger. That isn't the case. It's been emotional and stressful. It's put us in a tremendous bind," Sam said. Keller's mother, Melissa Coveney, told the Lincoln Journal Star that an announcement on her son's future should come by Thursday. Thanks to Cactus Ranch for the image. Update: ESPN reports that Keller has enrolled at Nebraska.

Coming to a Theater Near You ...

Any regular moviegoer will notice similarities between Nevada's poster schedule and the latest Hollywood blockbuster promotional poster. What a wonderful effort here (double-click on the poster for a closer look). It's bold and clean, has a lot of detail (including the Fremont Cannon) and the entire piece just snaps out at you. No surprise to learn that Nevada has a newfound commitment to marketing after the Wolfpack's 9-3 season in 2005. Thanks to Aaron for this. Time is running out. Send an image or link of your team's poster schedule to dawizofodds (at) The list of posters we have featured: Kentucky, Clemson, Fresno State, Rice, Alabama, Oklahoma, Toledo, Vanderbilt-Tennessee, Washington State-Washington, Brigham Young-West Virginia-Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Louisiana State, UCLA, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida State, Florida, Iowa State and USC.

Reporters' Notebooks

Pete Thamel, New York Times: The high price of humiliation. With the weakest teams in Division I-A becoming more expensive, top programs are stooping lower for competition. Thanks to Joe for this beaut! (registration).

Andrea Jones, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: A week into the new semester, it's clear that Georgia president Michael Adams' war on underage and excessive drinking is off to a rocky start (registration).

Michael Rothstein, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: The paper's Notre Dame beat writer, who exposed a possible NCAA violation involving safety Tom Zbikowski, gets an earful from Fighting Irish fans (thanks to Bruce).

Brian Davis, Dallas Morning News: An anonymous e-mail sent to Oklahoma president David Boren on March 3 triggered the internal investigation that led to Rhett Bomar and J.D. Quinn's dismissal from the Sooner team (registration).

Lynn Henning, Detroit News: An edited excerpt from his new book details how Michigan State quarterback Jeff Smoker's 2002 season went up in smoke.

Mike Lucas, Capital Times: Barry Alvarez, the former Wisconsin coach and current athletic director, will join Fox's BCS broadcast crew.

Chris Low, Tennessean: Tennessee receivers coach Trooper Taylor collected $3,000 in violation of NCAA rules on supplemental pay last month, according to a report filed with the SEC by the university.

Chuck Carlton, Dallas Morning News: Former Texas running back Ramonce Taylor has enrolled at Texas College, an NAIA school in Tyler (registration).

ESPN: Former Miami linebacker Willie Williams has enrolled at West Los Angeles College.

Columnists' Corner

Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times: Rating the best and worst football films of all time.

Anthony Gimino, Tucson Citizen: Here's hoping that Penn State defensive back Knowledge Timmons and Hawaii offensive lineman Hercules Satele can finally settle the brains-vs.-brawn debate.

Dave Fairbank, Daily Press: On Dec. 15, Division I-A will be known as "Football Bowl Subdivision" and I-AA will be called "Football Championship Subdivision." Why?

John Pruett, Huntsville Times: Is Auburn in for a rough go of it? Coach Tommy Tuberville, normally an unfailing optimist, is sounding like a man who almost dreads the start of the season.

Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman: The upside? As many as 35 coaches make as much as $1 million a year. The downside? The timetable for turnarounds has sped up dramatically (registration).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Keller Could Be a Cornhusker

What actually happened at Arizona State? Sam Keller was named the starting quarterback on Friday, then a bizarre switcheroo on Sunday had Rudy Carpenter replacing Keller. What happened in 48 hours that changed coach Dirk Koetter's mind? The first reports had 19 players coming forward Saturday to Koetter to express their preference for Carpenter. This suggests that Koetter had lost control of the team, which is unlikely at this point of any season. One thing is clear: the switcheroo had nothing to do with what happened on the practice field. Koetter said so himself. "It didn't have anything to do with how the quarterbacks played," he told the East Valley Tribune. So what was it? It's a guessing game, and guessing they are. The site Cactus Ranch — you might remember it from our earlier billboard posting — is filled with speculation. A common theory is that one quarterback (Carpenter) was doing things right off the field and another (Keller) was not. Columnist Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic alluded to "numerous players on the ASU football team who had concerns about Sam Keller as a leader." She goes on to describe the bizarre scene Sunday, when Carpenter was surrounded by media members after practice. Wrote Bolvin: "Several teammates walked by and shot their fists in the air as a show of support." It's clear Keller is not a popular teammate. We'd be stunned if he hangs around. Reports here, here and here have him packing his bags for Nebraska.

No Reason to Boo the Big Blue

We aren't going to sit here and bash Kentucky's poster schedule. No reason to kick a program when it's down, which in the case of the Wildcats seems like forever. Our best guess is that the poster actually serves as a countdown of sorts to the start of basketball season, which is what the Bluegrass State really cares about. The Wiz would also like to mention that poster schedules from every SEC team except Georgia and Mississippi have been displayed. Can anybody help us out on the final two? Send an image or link to dawizofodds (at) Here is the list of teams we've featured: Clemson, Fresno State, Rice, Alabama, Oklahoma, Toledo, Vanderbilt-Tennessee, Washington State-Washington, Brigham Young-West Virginia-Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Louisiana State, UCLA, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida State, Florida, Iowa State and USC.

Attention All Pencil-Necked Geeks

You scratch our hairy back and we'll scratch yours. Example 1A: George "The Animal" Steele was nearly unbeatable under the direction of "Classy" Freddie Blassie. Without Blassie, Steele was just another ham and egger. So in our attempt to gain control of the world (wide web) title belt, we are asking journalists in the audience to give us some love. In other words, a shameless plug ( Why? The more people who know about the site, the more tips we receive and the better the content for all. Hopefully, in some small way, we are making your job easier. Help make our job easier.

Score One for David

Late this month, the Wiz will celebrate his first year in cyberspace. We have our share of critics and our share of supporters. But we were truly humbled by the words penned recently by Yaysports! regarding our coverage of the 3-2-5-e rule. Yaysports! was taking a few rips at ESPN for being late to jump on the 3-2-5-e story. After referencing our brief explanation of the rule, Tar Heel of Yaysports! wrote: "We're quoting that from the greatest wizard this side of Merlin, the Wizard of Odds. His immaculate blog posted that on July 28. And a mere 13 days later, ESPN runs the exact same story. In the meantime, Mr. Odds posted not one, not two, but three separate entries about it. No wonder why ESPN carries the moniker the World Wide Leader in Sports. They even quoted Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, the same coach that the Wiz had quoted in his article." ... While it's always nice to be ahead of the curve, it's even better when people like Yaysports! notice.

Monday, August 21, 2006

First and Tundra

Can't wait for your football fix? Go north to Alaska, where the prep season is already underway and there's no need for Friday night lights because it's still light at 9:30. But that will soon change, when the state begins its rapid plunge into winter. That is why two-a-day practices start in July and the season begins in early August. In late October, the state title game is played. "You really don't want to be playing football in Alaska in November," Dimond High receiver Mike Melendez said. Only 29 high schools play football, reaching from Ketchikan, at the southern tip of the state, to Barrow, located north of the Arctic Circle. For players, getting noticed by college coaches is next to impossible. "You play your butt off, but most colleges don't have us on the recruiting circuit," Dimond defensive end Austin Mallory said.

So Who Did They Miss?

We have a new clubhouse leader — for number of players and coaches crammed on one poster. If Clemson is as indecisive on the field as its marketing department was in designing the 2006 schedule poster, then the Tigers are in for a big fall this fall. There are so many players on the poster, one wonders if the Tigers have handed out more scholarships than allowed by NCAA rules. They've never tried to skirt the rules before, have they? Our thanks to Sam and the Sporting Gnomes for the poster. Time is running out. Send your team's poster to dawizofodds (at) Our featured list: Fresno State, Rice, Alabama, Oklahoma, Toledo, Vanderbilt-Tennessee, Washington State-Washington, Brigham Young-West Virginia-Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Louisiana State, UCLA, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida State, Florida, Iowa State and USC.