Friday, February 29, 2008

Don't Mess With Texas

When Texas goes on the recruiting trail, it doesn't have to go far. There are only seven out-of-state players on the Longhorns' spring roster and of the team's 20 recruits signed earlier this month, 19 are from the Lone Star State.

Richard at Map Game Day, who earlier gave us his fantastic recruiting maps, has broken down the 2007 recruiting class into even more detail.

There are two pdf charts. The first breaks down recruits alphabetically by state. As an example, let's use Florida. There were 347 scholarships given to players from the Sunshine State. Of that number, 238 are going out of state and 109 are staying in state.

The second chart gives a school and state-by-state breakdown, examining the number of players from inside and outside a state's borders. Let's use Alabama as an example. Alabama, Auburn, Troy and Alabama Birmingham offered 120 total scholarships, and of that number, 47 of the recruits come from Alabama and 73 are from out of state.

Wiz Back on the Airwaves

Your humble webmaster will be making a guest appearance early Saturday morning on "Sports Overnight America," which can be heard over the Sports Byline USA Radio Network. We'll be on from 12:05 a.m. until 1 a.m. (Pacific) and taking calls from around the globe.

You can listen live by clicking here to start the Internet stream. If you're proudly representing the good, old USA as a member of the military, check out the American Forces Network, available in 177 countries and U.S. territories and Navy ships at sea. The show can also be heard through the Cable Radio Network or one of the Sports Byline affiliates. Please join us. The number is 800-878-7529.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Nevada Fans in a Lather Over Suds

You may have missed last call at Nevada's Mackay Stadium.

Although selling beer at Wolf Pack games brings in over $75,000 a year for the athletic department, officials are considering banning sales in part because games have been marred by alcohol-fueled fights in the stands.

Student Greg Green says shutting off the taps is a big mistake and he has started a Facebook group to fight back. Green says banning sales "could create pregame drinking and a more dangerous situation with people drinking and driving to the games."

Mackay is one of only a handful of stadiums where you can buy beer. At rival Nevada Las Vegas, the suds will continue to flow freely during games at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Writes Ron Kantowski of the Las Vegas Sun: "There's a reason they call Georgia vs. Florida the 'World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.'

"If they banned beer sales at Sam Boyd Stadium, they'd have a name for UNLV vs. Colorado State, too: 'World's Least Attended Outdoor Football Game.' "

Reporters' Notebooks

Sudhin Thanawala, Associated Press: A high school player from Boise is suing the University of Hawaii for allegedly revoking his scholarship offer after coach June Jones' resignation.

Ray Melick, Birmingham News: There is a clear conflict of interest at work when a coach whose multimillion dollar salary that depends on certain players being on the field is also charged with discipline of those players. It has gotten to the point that such discipline needs to be taken over by someone else.

Tom Witosky, Des Moines Register: Former Iowa receiver Dominique Douglas, featured Wednesday on the Wiz, and current football player Anthony Bowman attempted to go on a $2,000 spending spree for hats and shoes last May with credit cards stolen from the rooms of two students who lived in the same dormitory as the athletes, newly released court records show.

Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News: Dick Tomey will return as San Jose State's coach after dropping out of the pool of candidates seeking to become Hawaii's athletic director.

Ferd Lewis, Honolulu Advertiser: Hawaii could end up with as many as seven national or major regional TV appearances.

Mercedes Mayer, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Texas Christian is moving back the start of spring practice to March 18 in order to give injured players more time to recover. "We have a lot of kids recovering from surgery," coach Gary Patterson said.

Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports: USC's Pete Carroll, the ultimate recruiter, is upset at a new piece of NCAA legislation that keeps head coaches at home during the traditional evaluation period in April and May.

Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Five burning questions about the Atlantic Coast Conference as spring practices begin. Plus five burning questions about the Southeastern Conference.

Steve Korris, The West Virginia Record: West Virginia University's Board of Governors wants to expedite resolution of a $4 million claim against former coach Rich Rodriguez so football season won't interfere with the litigation.

Scott Carter, Tampa Tribune: George Butler, whose 1977 film "Pumping Iron" documented the bodybuilding efforts of five-time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger and his young rival, Lou Ferrigno, is doing a documentary based on Florida State's Bobby Bowden.

Kate Hairopoulos, Dallas Morning News: June Jones' first game as Southern Methodist coach — against Rice on Friday, Aug. 29 — will be telecast by ESPN.

Brian Bennett, Louisville Courier-Journal: A look at some of the most intriguing Big East games that won't involve Louisville.

Detroit Free Press: The pros and cons of the four finalists for hotshot prep quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

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Clearly, the End Is Near

Something called No Shame Jamezzz gives Nick Saban a call. Strong language warning.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Will This Lead to Jaw-Dropping Results?

Athletes at Rutgers will be trying out a new mouthguard that safely reproduces some of the effects of steroids and the human growth hormone.

The Pure Power Mouthguard, manufactured by Pure Power Athletics Group, uses bilateral electrical stimulation to relax face muscles, allowing the rest of the body to work more effectively.

Ninety percent of people don't align their jaws properly, according to the manufacturer's site, which causes facial muscles to be "unhappy." The company said there was a physical connection between these muscles and body posture, which in turn has an impact on athletic performance.

Seattle Seahawk kicker Josh Brown tested the device this past season and while it's unclear if he was paid for his endorsement, it certainly sounds like he's on the company payroll.

"I'm a field goal kicker so at first I thought: Why would I need a mouth guard? But it really did help me this past season. I had five or six tackles which is incredible for a kicker. The mouthguard also helped me run faster because my body was in its optimum position."

The mouthguards are not cheap, running between $800-$1,600 each. And you'll have to visit a Pure Power Mouthguard dentist beforehand.

Our thanks to UWire.

Reporters' Notebooks

Kevin Scarbinsky, Birmingham News: Nick Saban, the new sheriff in T-town, is soft on crime.

Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel: A Rhodes Scholar says Florida State's academic cheating scandal was no secret.

Adam Rose, All Things Trojans: USC's Pete Carroll now has his own line of clothing, available — of course — at his website.

Glenn Guilbeau, Shreveport Times: Expected starting quarterback Ryan Perrilloux is likely to remain on indefinite suspension through Louisiana State's spring practice.

Bob Holt, Northwest Arkansas Times: Arkansas is raising ticket prices, with general admission seats going from $35 to $45 a game.

John Lyon, Springdale Morning News: A Little Rock nightclub that admitted former Arkansas running back Darren McFadden although he was under 21 will be fined $500 and put on probation for a year but will not have its liquor license suspended.

Shawn Courchesne, Hartford Courant: Connecticut announced that coach Randy Edsall agreed to a contract that will pay him an average of $1.5 million a year over the next five years.

Ferd Lewis, Honolulu Advertiser: Attendance to Hawaii games hit a 23-year high in 2007, with an average of 41,325 a game. Plus, Sheraton Hotels has signed a two-year extension as title sponsor of the Hawaii Bowl.

Wyndam Makowsky, Stanford Daily: The infatuation with the 40-yard dash may be coming to a close inside of NFL front offices, but analysts and many fans still treat it as gospel.

Allison Voris, Kansas State Collegian: Kansas State running back James Johnson was stabbed five times early Sunday, according to police.

Philip Fisher, Campus Press: Training Ralphie, the Colorado mascot, is no bull. Thanks again to UWire.

It's All About the Benjamins

Dominique Douglas' days as a member of Iowa's football team are over, but that doesn't mean the receiver is hurting for money. Douglas, who posted embarrassing photos on his Facebook page last fall while a member of the Hawkeyes, is back at it with another batch of photos.

Douglas was suspended from the team last fall after he was charged with unauthorized use of credit cards. He has since left school and his future plans are unknown. But really, who needs football?

The End of the Internet

We'll do about anything to catch your attention, in this case pointing you toward an important post by blogging buddy Yost at the quality M Zone.

Internet Service Provider Comcast recently got busted blocking or otherwise hampering file-sharing traffic connected to the Internet via its cable modems. So if Comcast says you can't download a Sex Pistols video, you might be outta luck.

We, of course, disagree with Comcast's heavy-handed and big brother approach. Perhaps its time for Comcast customers to run the option play, and Yost outlines the possibilities in his post.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Last Stand for Willingham?

Welcome to Washington football. A disgruntled fan base. A series of stories by the Seattle Times detailing the disturbing story behind the 2000 Rose Bowl team. A murderous 2008 schedule that includes nonconference games against Brigham Young, Oklahoma and Notre Dame.

Welcome to Tyrone Willingham's world.

Add that Todd Turner, Willingham's biggest supporter, was fired as athletic director.

It's a mess right now in Seattle and Willingham finds himself occupying Hot Seat No. 1 in rankings by Coaches Hot Seat. What will it take to save his job? Coaches Hot Seat breaks it down.

No. 2 behind Willingham is Wyoming's Joe Glenn, who is 26-33 in five years at Laramie. Then there's Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, whose players are getting arrested at a dizzying rate (see post below).

Completing the top five are Arizona's Mike Stoops and Syracuse's Greg Robinson.

Thanks to Image of Sport.

Crime Rate Through the Roof in Iowa City

While Iowa's Kirk Ferentz was off on a Caribbean cruise, two more of his players got into trouble over the weekend.

That brings the total to 14 arrests involving 13 players in the past 10 months. More troubling news could be coming.

Officials continue to investigate allegations of sexual assault in a dormitory room last October. Three members of Iowa's team were questioned in connection with the incident.

In another embarrassing moment last August, photos of Iowa players with large amounts of cash and liquor bottles appeared on one player's Facebook page.

Then you have Albert Young, a senior running back last season, saying this about the crime spree in Iowa City:

"Things definitely have gotten out of hand. There is no way around it. And it started happening even before the season."

Ferentz had a marvelous run from 2002-04, when his teams totaled 31 victories. Any legal problems were overshadowed by the winning. No more. Ferentz, who mysteriously had his contract extended through 2013 before his cruise, has a 19-18 record the past three seasons.

At least Iowa owns the rights to

Reporters' Notebooks

Brian Bennett and Brett Dawson, Louisville Courier-Journal: Louisville and Kentucky are at odds over the date of this year's game. Louisville and ESPN want to play on Monday night, Sept. 1. Kentucky says no, claiming the short turnaround won't allow enough time to prepare for a game the following Saturday against dreaded Norfolk State.

Jeff White, Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia defensive end Jeffrey Fitzgerald is no longer enrolled in school and could be headed to Kansas State.

Ferd Lewis, Honolulu Advertiser: Hawaii's 12-1 season has paid off. The team reached an eight-year, $4.1 million apparel and marketing deal with Under Armour. Plus, details of Greg McMackin's contract were released. He has an annual base salary of $1,100,004 and a $550,000 buyout.

Darren Sabedra, San Jose Mercury News: Jim Harbaugh is bringing a pro mentality to Stanford. The Cardinal will hold nine workouts through March 11 — a "mini camp" — then take a three-week break and resume practice April 3.

Mike Freeman, CBS Sports: The NCAA does little to stop the felony-riddled reign of Phil Fulmer, who heads a Tennessee program that has become perhaps the rottenest, most dastardly ever.

William C. Rhoden, New York Times: The NCAA isn't allowing athletes to be regular students. Thanks to Get The Picture.

Todd Jones, Columbus Dispatch: Tyrone Willingham had his share of bad losses. His Notre Dame teams lost five times by 31 points or more. Still, the Fighting Irish were never as inept under him as they were under Crewcut Charlie Weis in 2007.

Bill Koch, Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati’s 13-game 2008 schedule features six games against teams that played in bowl games last season, including three against teams that competed in Bowl Championship Series games.

Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The Backyard Brawl between Pittsburgh and West Virginia will be played Nov. 28 (the day after Thanksgiving) at Heinz Field.

Boulder Daily Camera: Colorado will play host to West Virginia on Sept. 18, a Thursday night game to be broadcast by ESPN.

Brian Davis, Dallas Morning News: The official announcement was made moving the 2008 and 2009 Texas-Texas A&M games to Thanksgiving. Plus, the Baylor-Connecticut game in Hartford has been moved to Friday, Sept. 19.

Susan Miller Degnan, Miami Herald: After a scary car accident and two surgeries derailed the start of his college career, quarterback Robert Marve is ready to go as Miami begins spring drills.

Mike Salinero, Tampa Tribune: The Tampa Sports Authority created a committee to resolve scheduling conflicts between South Florida and the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.

Jay Reeves, Associated Press: A Manhattan-based music publisher is making a small fortune selling rights to fight songs for use in an array of new products.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Dorrell's House on the Market

Former UCLA coach Karl Dorrell, who was recently named the receivers coach of the Miami Dolphins, has put his five-bedroom, three-bathroom home in Stevenson Ranch on the market. The asking price is $1,125,000, well within reach of many of our affluent readers.
According to the Los Angeles Times (second item), the 3,500-square-foot house was built in 2000 on a cul-de-sac. It features a pool, large yard and an outdoor fireplace.
The interior features a stainless-steel kitchen appliances, window shutters and a master closet with organizers. Dorrell's salary at UCLA was about $850,000, considered a bargain in an era of $1-million hires. He was fired Dec. 3, two days after the Bruins concluded a 6-6 regular season with a 24-7 loss to rival USC. Dorrell received a buyout of $2.05 million that was to be paid over a two-year period.Neal Weichel at ReMax of Valencia has the listing and you can view more photos by clicking here.

The Terrelle Pryor Watch

All-Galactic prep quarterback recruit Terrelle Pryor paid a visit Sunday to Columbus, fueling speculation that he's about to become a Buckeye (until he shows up at Ann Arbor, State College, Eugene or some other outpost in coming weeks).

Clearly, when it comes to making a college choice, Pryor is taking his sweet time. Speaking of time, check out the watch Pryor was wearing at the Wisconsin-Ohio State basketball game, caught in this photo by Jim Davidson of The Ozone.

Hopefully it wasn't a gift from Jim Tressel, who Pryor is following into the private washroom at halftime. As for Pryor's character, it would appear to be in question if you believe this report from a prep basketball game last month.

Reporters' Notebooks

Kirk Bohls and Suzanne Halliburton, Austin American-Statesman: That Texas-Arkansas game scheduled for 2009 at Fayetteville? The Razorbacks want to soften their nonconference schedule and postpone the matchup until 2014.

Birmingham News: The Southeastern Conference at 75. When it comes to money, revenue or profits, the SEC is second to none. In five parts: How the league got rich; charter schools move on; greatest voices of the SEC; a database of financial details on Division I conferences and a list of compensation for conference commissioners. A wealth of information.

Joe Drape, New York Times: With an assist from Tom Osborne, Bo Pelini is winning them over in Nebraska. With audio slideshow.

Mark Kram, Philadelphia Daily News: Interesting piece on the history of the 40-yard dash.

Dave Curtis, Orlando Sentinel: Meet Florida's Urban Meyer, known as Darth Vader on the recruiting trail.

Frank Schwab, Colorado Springs Gazette: Colt Brennan's incident at Colorado has resurfaced as he turns his attention to the NFL.

Chris Nelsen, Detroit Free Press: How did Michigan offensive lineman Jake Long get called for only one holding call in his career? "It's a skill. If you can get away with it and not get caught, it's absolutely a skill. I try to make sure I get my hands inside every single play, so if I do hold a little bit, the refs won't be able to see it."

Bob Wieneke, South Bend Tribune: There should be no future shortage of talent at Notre Dame, with high school juniors itching to join forces with Crewcut Charlie Weis.

Mark Alesia, Indianapolis Star: Perhaps IU should call itself IOU. Buyouts to coaches and administrators at Indiana have totaled more than $4 million since 2000.

Mark Cuban, Blog Maverick: The owner of the Dallas Mavericks (was he the anonymous $550,000 donor that helped buy out Kelvin Sampson's contract?) has a big problem with the NCAA.

Baton Rouge Advocate: Suspended quarterback Ryan Perrilloux? Louisiana State's Les Miles was more interested in talking about the strike he threw before the Tigers' baseball season opener.

Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman: New Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who can scream with the best of them, has already unleashed his vocal cords in the Longhorns' first two spring workouts.

Ian R. Rapoport, Birmingham News: Alabama captain Rashad Johnson was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after he allegedly pushed a bar security guard to the ground. He is the eighth player arrested since Nick Saban became coach on Jan. 3, 2007. Plus, Auburn's Tommy Tuberville has a few words of Alabama fans: "Regardless of what you hear, we will have a football team next year! We've won six in a row, and we're working on seven!"

Kevin Scarbinsky: Birmingham News: Nick Saban: "It's not win at all costs. Anybody who thinks that or says that is wrong. They certainly don't know me."

Scott Dochterman, Cedar Rapids Gazette: Iowa's Kirk Ferentz has suspended receiver James Cleveland and backup quarterback Arvell Nelson after drug-related arrests early Saturday at the dormitory room they share on campus. There have been 14 arrests involving 13 Hawkeye players during the past year.

Tommy Bowman, Winston-Salem Journal: Louisiana State, consider this your last warning: Appalachian State, with 12 starters returning, begins spring drills on Monday.

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Help Spread the Venom

Got the goods on your hated rival? Heard something about their coach? Keeping it a secret will do you no good. Just imagine the sleepless nights, tossing and turning while knowing that you could destroy what little shred of respectability they have left. Go ahead, spill the beans. Trust us, you'll feel much better about yourself! The tip jar: dawizofodds (at)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bruce Pearl Feels Up Erin Andrews

OK, this is a college football blog, but considering Erin Andrews' diminished role on ESPN's college bowl telecasts this past season, we had to bend the rules.

Bruce Pearl was involved in perhaps the biggest game of his Tennessee coaching career Saturday night when his No. 2 Volunteers played at No. 1 Memphis. Bless the man. He not only had the common sense during a halftime interview of a tense game to grab a handful of Andrews, his team ended up winning the damn game.

Part of the beauty is that you can see it coming, with Pearl almost giddy seconds before grabbing Andrews. One particular frame in this video is our favorite, and we embrace it much like Pearl does Andrews.

Imagine Phil Fulmer doing this. ...

South Florida Can Be Tight With Money

South Florida is either cheap or the model of efficiency. The 2007 staff of coach Jim Leavitt ranked near the bottom in pay among Bowl Championship Series teams, according to Brett McMurphy of the Tampa Tribune.

Offensive coordinator Greg Gregory's $120,000 salary made him the lowest-paid offensive coordinator among BCS teams. Gregory also made less than every offensive coordinator in Conference USA. His salary ranked 94th among the 119 Division I-A offensive coordinators.

There are 1,071 I-A assistant coaches, and 1,065 made more than South Florida tight ends coach Larry Scott, whose salary was $50,000.

The salaries of Leavitt's assistants totaled $950,000. That's 73% of the Big East average of $1.29 million.

As a note of interested, South Florida athletic director Doug Woolard made $421,000, considerably higher than the Big East average of $362,683.

McMurphy's story has a pdf file that lists how South Florida, Florida State and Florida rank nationally compared to other conferences and also lists BCS highs and lows for assistant coaching positions, men's and women's basketball and athletic director salaries. You can also download the pdf file by clicking here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Book on Nick Saban

With no games to watch and spring football still weeks off in many parts of the country, bloggers have been getting caught up with their reading, including the book "How Good Do You Want to Be" by Nick Saban (with an assistant from Brian Curtis).

Mark Paden of The Auburner recently completed Saban's book and notes a passage where the Alabama coach talks about how a Little League coach should do "the right thing" and suspend his standout player who skipped practice to go to the mall. Of course, Saban did just the opposite last Nov. 17 when he lifted a one-game suspension to standout receiver DJ Hall at halftime of a crushing 21-14 loss to Louisiana Monroe.

Losers With Socks — "notice the forward by known cheater Bill Belichick ... Bama will be back on NCAA sanctions in no time" — has even more fun with this, rewriting a passage to indicate what Saban was really thinking at halftime of the loss to the Warhawks:

"No one outside the team knows that DJ Hall was supposed to be suspended for the whole game, and if we put him in now maybe we can save some face. What do you do?

"At first, it seems clear that the right thing to do is to keep DJ Hall suspended for the whole game. You’re playing a f---ing Sun Belt school, no need to break the glass on the fire alarm just yet, right? But then you think about how important he is to the wide receiver corps. How John Sarah Jessica Parker Wilson counts on him for so much, as do you.

"You picture the embarrassing loss against a Sun Belt school that would completely de-justify your $4 million per season salary, the only thing you truly care about. No one would know, you tell yourself, unless the over-paid coach with the paid athletes can’t pull off the win against mighty Louisiana Monroe."

Saban is also catching hell in an excellent column by Ray Melick of the Birmingham News, who says the coach had no business signing 32 players earlier this month:

"That's seven over the NCAA maximum of 25 in any given year, and, at least at first glance, 17 over the number of scholarships the Tide would seem to have available for next year, based on losing 15 scholarship seniors from last year's team."

Reporters' Notebooks

Brent Schrotenboer, San Diego Union-Tribune: A troubling financial picture at San Diego State, where average home attendance tumbled to 17,868 and donations to athletics continued a downward trend. A contract extension for Chuck Long, who has three years remaining on his current deal, has been tabled until 2009.

Brian Mine, San Luis Obispo Tribune: From the creampuff scheduling department: Wisconsin will close the 2008 regular season with a home game against feared Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. "Cal Poly clearly is a talented football team and I’m appreciative of their willingness to come to Madison," Badger coach Bret Bielema said. Thanks to Kevin of We Are Penn State.

Suzanne Halliburton, Austin American-Statesman: Yes, spring football has started. Texas went through its first drills Friday and the Longhorns are indicating that they plan to use more trickery on offense.

David Scott, Charlotte Observer: North Carolina Charlotte officials are lobbying to start a football program. The plan calls for the 49ers to start play in I-AA and then moved to I-A.

Brandon George, Dallas Morning News: Oklahoma will have eight wins reinstated from the 2005 season after an NCAA appeals committee partially overturned a ruling in the infractions case involving former quarterback Rhett Bomar.

Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports: Connecticut's Randy Edsall, a member of the Football Rules Committee, said: "We, as coaches, are willing to do some things to speed up the pace of play because we understand the TV games are a little bit longer. We also have to have the cooperation of the TV people." Thanks to Get the Picture.

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Press-Register: Do coaches still build character? Given recent developments in the Southeastern Conference, the answer is no.

Chris Nelsen, Detroit Free Press: Former Michigan receiver Adrian Arrington, who left a year early, said, "If Lloyd Carr came back, I probably would have stayed."

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Bo Gives a Tour of the Big House

Bo Schembechler won 194 games in 20 years as Michigan coach. So who better to give a tour of Michigan Stadium?

Past classic coaches videos: Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes, Hayden Fry, Lou Holtz, Bobby Ross, Dan Devine, Gary Barnett, Pat Dye, Terry Bowden, Jim Tressel, Eddie Robinson, Bear Bryant II and Bear Bryant III.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Rules Chairman Discusses Changes

Last week, the Football Rules Committee made several changes in an attempt to reduce the time of games. We've been examining the changes since, but have yet to hear from the man in the middle of all of this.

Michael Clark, who is the coach at Bridgewater (Va.) College, is also the chairman of the rules committee. We asked Clark if he would explain what the changes could mean to games in 2008 and to clarify the position of the committee in making these changes. Here is what he had to say:

"Length of game is really a product of television (at the Division I level) and the amount of passing that now goes on at all levels of college football. I think what people need to understand is that when the rules committee meets there are a lot of important players sitting around the table.

"Although they are not all voting members, the trainers, game officials and conference commissioners are a few of the groups who are there and have legitimate input into the process. They have different perspectives, an example being that the trainers lobby heavily on safety issues.

"In my time with the group, I do believe all of the Divisions remain committed to keeping the college game the same at all levels. To do this there is some give and take among the groups.

"From an ESPN perspective, I believe 3 hours and 20 minutes is the number they would like to work near [for length of games]. However to do this there has to be all three groups involved and not just the played game itself. Television production has to be more disciplined with time of commercial breaks and piggy-backing replay and commercial time together. College administrators need to keep halftime events tracked tightly and the like. In the past, all game-length responsibility has been pushed on the game product itself.

"It is our hope that the 40-25 clock will add a consistent pace of play. NFL studies show when they made this change it also added four plays per game. The live ball carrier out of bounds happens on average about 12 times a game. A couple of those are in the last two minutes where there will be no change and the handful of plays lost through this should be replaced by the 40-25 pace of play. It should be a push.

"Two years ago there was an overreaction to game length that had a negative impact on college football. Last year we tried to attack dead time in games while returning plays and game time increased beyond the 2005 levels. (Although offense and scoring are a variable here, too.)

"The subtle game-timing adjustments — trying to eliminate second kickoffs with ball being placed on 40, and the referee starting the 20 minutes of halftime after the final play is completed (have those bands ready to go) — we hope this time we got it right. It is a great game."

The mtn., DirecTV Strike a Deal

The Mountain West Conference's TV network — the mtn. — and satellite carrier DirecTV have reached an agreement to start airing the network in August.

The mtn., much like the Big Ten Network, faced distribution troubles from the start. The network currently is available to only to 1.2 million homes nationwide. Partners Versus (70 million) and CSTV (42 million) also have the ability to air some select league games on satellite and cable companies.

Adding DirecTV will significantly increase the coverage area of the league's athletic events and will pressure its primary competitor, DishNetwork to follow suit.

Reporters' Notebooks

Adam Rose, All Things Trojan: The newest member of Facebook lists his interests as teaching coaching, playing basketball and surfing. Meet Pete Carroll, coach of the USC Trojans.

Phillip Fulmer, Knoxville News-Sentinel: Yes, the byline is correct. The Tennessee coach writes a guest column in response to Tuesday's column by John Adams, the paper's sports editor. Thanks to Richard at Map Game Day.

Chip Scoggins, Star Tribune: Former Duke coach Ted Roof's stay at Louisville lasted only a month. He has been hired as defensive coordinator at Minnesota.

Andy Hamilton, Iowa City Press-Citizen: Iowa's Kirk Ferentz had his contract extended through the 2012 season.

Ben Smith, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Georgia House voted, 142-10, to stop making out-of-state university mascot tags if neighboring states don't return the favor. Glad we finally got that settled. Thanks to the Get The Picture.

Greg Johns, Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Washington officials are trying to pump new life into their stalled $150 million proposal for state funding to help renovate Husky Stadium.

Ebonique Wool, Daily Illini: A year later, the Chief Illiniwek debate remains at Illinois. Thanks to UWire.

Boi From Troy: Another price hike for USC season ticket holders, pushing Trojan ticket ticket prices up 65% in the past five years.

Associated Press: ESPN must provide the relatives of George Gipp with any materials it has related to the exhumation of the Notre Dame halfback's body, according to a ruling in a lawsuit stemming from the exhumation.

Another one bites the dust. The Albuquerque Tribune will publish its final edition Saturday, ending an 86-year run.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's Time to Put Overtime Rules in the Toilet

The Football Rules Committee continues to seek ways to speed play during regulation, but when it comes to overtime, the clock is stopped.

Several rules announced last week were the latest attempts to reduce the length of games, but overtime remained untouched. That would appear to be an oversight, especially after examining the list of the 10 longest games of 2007. The top eight went into overtime.

As overtime rules stand, each team gets a possession starting on the opponent's 25-yard line, putting the ball well within range of kickers in this day and age. There is a play clock but no game clock. Beginning with the third overtime, teams are mandated to attempt a two-point conversion after a touchdown. These rules have resulted in an ultra-conservative approach by coaches and multiple overtime games.

Here's what can be done:

Overtime possessions begin on the opponent's 40-yard line. No more rewards for teams that fail to advance the ball. As it stands, teams can send out the kicker and likely get a field goal even without advancing past the 25. Putting the ball at the 40 would reward teams that are able to advance into field goal range.

Teams will have two minutes to score. Having two minutes to score from the 40 is more than fair and would add to the urgency of overtime. Besides, if you have a game clock for four quarters, why do you not have it during overtime?

After a touchdown, a team must attempt a two-point conversion. Extra points are successful 95% of the time. The success rate on two-point conversions is 45%. This would lessen the chances of multiple overtimes.

Stoops' 2008 Compensation: $6 Million

Bob Stoops is scheduled to receive a one-time $3 million benefit on Dec. 31 for coaching Oklahoma for 10 seasons, according to his contract obtained by the Oklahoman through the Oklahoma Open Records Act.

The $3 million, combined with the 47-year-old coach's guaranteed salary of $2.77 million and additional income he could gain from performance bonuses means that Stoops is likely to earn more than $6 million in 2008.

"Bob Stoops is worth every penny and always has been and always will be," athletic director Joe Castiglione said.

Oklahoma generated $26.1 million in athletic revenues the year before Stoops arrived in Norman. In 2006-07 — Stoops' eighth season at the school — the athletic department generated $66.3 million in revenues, with football directly accounting for $28.5 million. That doesn't include another $18 million in contribution, advertising and licensing dollars that football likely had a big hand in landing.

Thanks to Geoff Rodgers.

Reporters' Notebooks

Carolyn Jones, San Francisco Chronicle: An arborist was brought in to snip ropes and dismantle a wooden platform at California's Memorial Stadium oak grove, where tree-sitters have been roosting for more than 14 months to protest the university's plans to build an athletic training center where about 100 trees stand. Thanks to Larry Brown Sports.

Sam Donnellon, Philadelphia Daily News: Imagine this thought when Joe Paterno was promoted to Penn State's head coach in 1966: Fidel Castro will surrender power sooner than he will — and without a coup, anger or any ugliness.

Chris Foster, Los Angeles Times: Rick Neuheisel and Norm Chow say they plan to customize UCLA's offense according to the talent on hand at Westwood.

Cindy Luis, Honolulu Star-Bulletin: Hawaii officials have set a goal of selling 30,000 season tickets, up from last year's total of 22,975.

Brian Bennett, Louisville Courier-Journal: Rod Council, Louisville's best cornerback, was dismissed from the team after he was arrested in connection with an armed robbery in his native North Carolina.

Cliff Kirkpatrick, Corvallis Gazette-Times: Hard-hitting Al Afalava, a three-year starter at safety for Oregon State, was cited for criminal mischief, which is a felony, DUII and hit-and-run by police.

Rich Emert, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The recruiting saga of Christian Wilson. Michigan's loss was North Carolina's gain.

Ian R. Rapoport, Birmingham News: The lawyer for Alabama defensive lineman Jeremy Elder said he has been shown no evidence that his client admitted to committing two acts of first-degree robbery and that he will reserve judgment until he views the facts.

David Ferrara, Mobile Press-Register: Alabama recruit Julio Jones has become a star witness in a murder trial. The receiver told jurors about events on the night of May 12, when he saw an acquaintance fatally shot in the head.

James Vareney, Times-Picayune: Two Louisiana State players expressed surprise at the indefinite suspension of Ryan Perrilloux, saying everything appeared to be coming together for the troubled quarterback.

Randy Rosetta, Baton Rouge Advocate: "Woo, pig sooie" has been a rallying cry for Arkansas fans since the 1920s. But how did "Calling the Hogs" begin?

Joseph Person, Columbia State: South Carolina starting receiver Dion Lecorn was arrested and jailed on a marijuana charge after police responded to a complaint of loud music coming from a car parked outside an apartment complex.

Andy Hess, Student Printz: Two Southern Mississippi players have been put on indefinite suspension for violating team rules.

Jack Salisbury, Stanford Daily: Stanford and Oregon State will open the season on Thursday, Aug. 28, in a nationally televised game.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Long and Short of It

Thanks to the terrific work of, the ultimate site for college football stats junkies, we bring you the 10 longest and shortest games of the 2007 season:

The longest games with the date played (broadcast partner) and time:

Tennessee-Kentucky 11/24 (CBS): 4:43*
Southern Methodist-Memphis 11/24 (Local & PPV): 4:33*
Louisiana State-Kentucky 10/13 (CBS): 4:27*
Miami (Ohio)-Minnesota 9/8 (Big Ten): 4:23*
Hawaii-Louisiana Tech 9/8 (ESPN+): 4:23*

Fresno State-Texas A&M 9/8 (Fox National): 4:21*
Arkansas-Louisiana State 11/23 (CBS): 4:20*
Hawaii-San Jose State 10/12 (ESPN): 4:17*
Louisiana State-Alabama 11/3 (CBS): 4:13
Arizona State-Texas 12/27 (ESPN): 4:12**
* overtime ** bowl game

The shortest games with the date played (broadcast partner) and time:

Maryland-Florida International 9/8 (none): 2:39
Buffalo-Ball State 9/29 (none): 2:40
Sacramento State-Fresno State 9/1 (none): 2:43
Arkansas State-Southern Mississippi 11/24 (none): 2:44
Liberty-Toledo 10/6 (none): 2:45

Central Connecticut State-Western Michigan 9/22 (none): 2:45
Tennessee Tech-Auburn 11/3 (none): 2:45
Utah-Colorado State 10/27 (the mtn.): 2:46
Bowling Green-Kent State 10/20 (none): 2:47
Kent State-Ohio State 10/13 (Big Ten): 2:47

Are Crewcut, Tressel Cheating?

Yahoo! has raised questions about speaking engagements by coaches — among them Notre Dame's Crewcut Charlie Weis and Ohio State's Jim Tressel — at high school events that include fundraising.

Crewcut's appearance at Cincinnati's Elder High — home of Fighting Irish tight end recruit Kyle Rudolph — was among the speeches in question. Notre Dame officials insist that no violation was committed, but Yahoo! quotes Steve Morgan, who used to oversee rules enforcement for the NCAA, as questioning the practice.

Tressel is scheduled to speak at a March 5 event involving Cincinnati's La Salle High, whose standout receiver, DeVier Posey, signed earlier this month with the Buckeyes.

Ohio State said Tressel's participation in the event at La Salle is not a violation, but will review the coach's role at previous fundraisers for possible violations because money raised at those events may have benefited prospect student-athletes.

Reporters' Notebooks

Kurt Streeter, Los Angeles Times: UCLA's Rick Neuheisel, on the recent Seattle Times' series that detailed several players on his 2000 Washington team had run afoul of the law: "I am not going to run and hide."

Jonathan Kealing, Lawrence Journal-World: Boondoggle City: The Orange Bowl travel cost for Kansas, which took more than 500 people to south Florida, is about $2 million.

Howard Richman, Kansas City Star: The NCAA closed an investigation into Kansas State's football program without any findings.

Andrew Logue, Des Moines Register: Sedrick Johnson, who signed letters of intent with Iowa State and Texas A&M, is likely headed to Iowa State.

Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports: Although momentum for a plus-one system continues to build, the Big Ten and Pacific 10 remain adamantly opposed.

Keith Claverie, Daily Reveille: Quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, suspended once again by Louisiana State's Les Miles, is too talented of a player to be released. Besides, if Miles was going to kick Perrilloux off the team for good, it would have happened by now. Thanks to UWire.

John Adams, Knoxville News-Sentinel: In the last six weeks, eight Tennessee players have either been arrested or disciplined for breaking team rules. Now it's time for Phil Fulmer to be replaced as Volunteer coach.

Mike Casazza, Charleston Daily Mail: West Virginia running back Noel Devine and running back and receiver Jock Sanders were allegedly involved in a weekend incident outside a nightclub in Morgantown. Police are investigating.

Mitch Vingle, Charleston Gazette: Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese says, "Right now there's not a lot of support to add a ninth team" to the league.

Christopher Walsh, Tuscaloosa News: The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a petition to hear an appeal in the defamation lawsuit filed by two former Alabama assistant coaches against the NCAA and recruiting analyst Tom Culpepper.

David Wasson, Tuscaloosa News: Alabama defensive lineman Jeremy Elder is facing two counts of first-degree robbery.

Barry Jackson, Miami Herald: Although quarterback will command lots of attention, plenty of other position battles are looming when Miami begins spring practice next week.

Wendell Barnhouse, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Heisman winner Tim Tebow says there is no lack of motivation for himself or his Florida teammates. "You want to prove people wrong, but I'm just worried about our team winning the Southeastern Conference championship. We didn't get that accomplished last year."

Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel: Athlete tutoring is not only a concern at Florida State. Schools across the country run the risks of tutors bending the rules to better athletes' grade-point averages.

Brad Gray, Daily Texan: Vince Young, back on the Texas' campus to finish work on his degree, has once headache: Parking tickets. Thanks again to UWire.

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Advertising Age

Unlike Rich Rodriguez, when Joseph Oliverio Painting signs a contract, they stick to it.

'That Would Be a Wonderful Investment'

It's truly amazing what passes for "news" these days in the propaganda that is disguised as corporate media. We can only imagine that advanced lessons of "Baby Razorback" will include directions on how to file a Freedom of Information Act request in an attempt to chase away a football coach.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Looking for Blame in Endless Games

The Football Rules Committee was right. An average game lasts too long, especially when it comes to games telecast by CBS.

The network's telecasts averaged 3:47:04 to blow away the competition. By comparison, the average game in the 2007 season lasted 3:23:04. That's up from 3:21:17 in 2005 and 3:07:24 in 2006, when the controversial 3-2-5e rule not only dramatically cut the length of games, but the number of plays.

The 3-2-5e rule was abolished for the 2007 season and the average number of plays returned to 143.42, on par with the 2005 average of 140.71 (a difference of plus-2.71 plays).

What is disturbing is that the average length of a game increased 1:47 from 2005. Hence the conundrum facing the Football Rules Committee: How to keep the integrity of the game in place while not damaging revenue streams (often referred to as commercials).

A study conducted by Marty of cfbstats, the ultimate site for college football stats junkies, and Matt from the excellent College Sports Schedules, has given us another network-by-network breakdown. We're once again happy to serve as the press agent for this project — as we did last year — and you can view the full details of this year's study at
Extracting commercialization from a telecast is difficult. Perhaps the best method is to examine the impact on a game. The chart above shows the average number of plays per minute in a 2007 telecast. As you can see, the fewest number of plays per minute belonged to the networks whose games also lasted the longest, suggesting increased commercial time.
Above and below we have charted the plays per minute of networks who have been broadcasting games each of the past three years. (TBS, NFL, Big Ten Network, Versus and the mtn. did not meet the three-year criteria.)

You can see the impact of the 3-2-5e rule in 2006 across the board and how the number of plays rebounded in 2007 to meet or exceed the 2005 averages. It's also interesting to note that CBS and Fox have had a stranglehold on fewest plays since 2005, again suggesting that games broadcast by these networks have higher than average commercial breaks.
Our thoughts: While commercialization is arguably the leading contributor to games dragging on to no end, other factors — increased passing, overtime and instant replay — are also to blame:

Passing: Blame this on the popularity of spread offenses. Increased passing results in an increase in clock stoppages. Simple as that.

Overtime: While this has been a huge success, the rules committee blew it by not taking a look at overtime rules in an attempt to speed play. We will address this in detail on Thursday. Stay tuned.

Instant replay: A necessary evil, but one that can be streamlined. That's why the Wiz was mystified that the rules committee — while trying to shorten games — would agree to give coaches an extra replay challenge if the first one is upheld. Instituting this rule guarantees longer games.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The New Facemask Rule

Although the Football Rules Committee's tinkering with clock rules received most of the attention last week, there was a surprising adjustment to the facemask penalty for 2008.

Gone is the five-yard penalty for an incidental grabbing of the facemask. Only a 15-yard penalty remains and although the exact wording of the new rule has yet to be released, it appears a facemask penalty will be called only when there is a pulling, twisting or turning of the head.

Deciding between a five and 15-yard penalty was often a judgment call and the new rule eliminates a gray area for officials. But how many facemask penalties could this involve? Marty at, the ultimate site for college football stats junkies, was able to give us a look at facemask penalties the past three seasons. The data is graphically displayed above, but the season-by-season breakdown and totals go like this:
  • In 2005, there were 188 five-yard facemask penalties (51.4%) called and 178 15 yarders (48.6%).
  • In 2006, there were 198 five yarders (56.3%) and 154 15 yarders (43.7%).
  • In 2007, there were 177 five yarders (50.3%) and 175 15 yarders (49.7%).
  • Three-season totals: 1070 facemask penalties called, 563 (52.6%) were five yarders and 507 were 15 yarders (47.4%).
Using these numbers as a guideline, the expected number of facemask penalties will be reduced by more than 50% in 2008. But total penalty yards will also increase. Using 2007 as an example, Marty says 1770 more penalty yards would have been called in the 792 games that were played. Although on average that is only 2.23 extra penalty yards a game, there will be some games that get rather chippy and an extra facemask penalty or two could make a big impact.

Reporters' Notebooks

Bryan Mullen, Tennessean: Tennessee punter Britton Colquitt has been suspended for the first five games of the 2008 season and stripped of his scholarship after a weekend arrest. Colquitt was charged with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident early Sunday, according to police.

Jack Bogaczyk, Charleston Daily Mail: Plenty of unpleasantness still exists between the Big East and Atlantic Coast. There are only four regular-season games scheduled between conference members for 2008, the lowest total since the Big East began playing round-robin football in 1993.

Mike Baldwin, Oklahoman: Here's one line of thinking why quarterback recruit Kody Spano switched his commitment from Oklahoma State to Nebraska.

Dave Matter, Columbia Tribune: A look at the five teams who will probably be considered the leading candidates to play in December's Big 12 title game, their three toughest conference games and a few other scheduling items.

Lake the Posts: When it comes to Northwestern fans, Alan Abrahamson, a columnist for NBC and NBC, ranks among the best.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Reporters' Notebooks

Thayer Evans, New York Times: More fallout from the recruitment of prep running back Darrell Scott, who chose Colorado over Texas. Roger Sonsini, whose comment that Colorado "did something and offered something that Darrell and his mom couldn't pass up," has been fired from his job as an assistant at Scott's high school.

Natalie Meisler, Denver Post: Colorado assistant Darian Hagan talks about how he got Scott to come to Boulder. "It got to the point when it was all about our relationship," Hagan said. "Their facilities and stuff, we can't compare to that."

FanBlogs: Has Louisiana State quarterback Ryan Perrilloux left the team?

Wendell Barnhouse, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Florida quarterback Tim Tebow says he was asked by several politicians positioning themselves to run for the White House to appear with them on the campaign trail.

Sunday Morning Quarterback: Why do rules mandate seven men on the line of scrimmage? Here's the reason.

Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune: The South Florida-Central Florida game has been moved up a day to Sept. 5, a Friday night. Plus the mayor of Tampa wants South Florida to become a high-priority tenant at Raymond James Stadium to give the team its choice of scheduling dates after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Andrew Logue, Des Moines Register: Iowa State recruit Sedrick Johnson has signed a second letter of intent to Texas A&M, but he's still legally bound to Iowa State. The matter is in the hands of the NCAA.

Associated Press: Former Texas running back Ramonce Taylor, who scored 15 touchdowns in the Longhorns' 2005 national championship season, is serving five months in jail for violating probation.

Albuquerque Tribune: Amateur athletic update: Route 66 Casino Hotel will become "the exclusive gaming sponsor" for New Mexico's athletic department as of July 1.

Associated Press: Clemson reported 13 NCAA secondary violations, with two of the more serious infractions involving businesses using images of student-athletes in advertising or photographs for sale.

Joseph Person, Columbia State: The Black Crowes will play at Williams-Brice Stadium on April 18 as part of the Gridiron Bash, a combination of fan events and rock concerts held in conjunction with the spring game.

Chip Alexander, Raleigh News & Observer: Membership in North Carolina State's Wolfpack Club, the school's athletic booster organization, has reached 20,000 members. Penn State, Texas A&M, Clemson and Florida State are believed to be the only other schools to surpass 20,000 in booster membership.

Susan Miller Degnan, Miami Herald: Some longtime Miami fans are infuriated over the new seating plan in Dolphin Stadium.

Detroit Free Press: Michigan's Rich Rodriguez: "I don’t have a wizard hat, I don’t have snake oil."

Chris Foster, Los Angeles Times: UCLA quarterback Patrick Cowan could miss spring drills after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

Andrea Jones, Atlanta Journal Constitution: A ban on the use of college logos on burial items like coffins or urns has been lifted in Georgia.

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