This foolishness started a month ago when we asked readers to make something out of nothing. It was called the great billboard competition and seemed simple enough: Fill a blank billboard with a message of choice. The response was overwhelming, including an 11th-hour entry from Ty of Loser With Socks titled Hawg Wireless. We thank everybody for participating, and now it's your turn. A panel of experts has narrowed the list to 14 billboards, and you get one precious vote to decide billboard's best. To get a detailed look at a billboard, simply click it.
Bowden Manure Service
Know Your Forks
College StatiownedSpeak of the Devil
Saw 'Em OffMoney and Grades
Urine for TroubleThe Great Sabanini
Sooner or LaterGood Seats AvailablePhil Fulmer's FlockPiss-Poor JokesPrevious Polls:
No one escapes the long arm of the law in this corner of cyberspace. Louisiana State quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, fresh off his arrest last week at a Baton Rouge casino and suspension from the team, is the subject of the last entry in the great billboard competition. Perrilloux, 20, used his legal-aged brother's ID to get onto the Hollywood Casino gambling boat. Hey, if you're not cheating, you're not trying!
Hank from the fine site Winning the Turnover Battle fired this entry our way. In the lower right-hand corner is a tricked up Louisiana driver's license. If you click the billboard and still can't see the license, you can get a full view by clicking here.
Coming Wednesday, we put the top billboards up for a vote.
Southeastern Conference heavyweights Louisiana State and Alabama don't play until Nov. 3 at Tuscaloosa, but they'll be holding the weigh-in Tuesday in Destin, Fla., site of the SEC meetings.
Tiger coach Les Miles and Crimson Tide counterpart Nick Saban will have their first face-to-face meeting, and although Miles is downplaying the encounter, there is no mistaking the considerable friction between the two since Saban rolled into Tuscaloosa.
The fact that Saban, who led LSU to a share of the national title in 2003, would end up coaching an SEC rival was enough to rile Tiger fans, and Saban couldn't help but take another crack at his former team. During the press conference, the day after LSU's 41-14 victory over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, Saban said, "I think the players that you saw play last night for LSU were primarily players that were recruited when I was there." He followed that with his "coonass" comment.
Miles fired back Feb. 7 when listing states his new signees were from, getting a roar from an audience by closing with "and two from Alabama." Recognizing the crowd reaction, he said, "You bet your ass!"
He continued: "I can tell you that there was some negative recruiting going on out there. I can tell you that in this recruiting class and in this recruiting season, I thought that what appeared to be breaking of rules was much more rampant."
That night, Miles dropped an expletive toward Alabama when addressing fans at the Bayou Bash in Baton Rouge. "We're looking forward to playing Florida. We're looking forward to playing Auburn. But we have a new rival in fucking Alabama!" Miles later apologized ... to LSU fans.
Saban, of course, was accused last week of secondary NCAA rules violations concerning illegal contact with prospects. When Saban was coach at LSU, he was reprimanded for similar secondary recruiting violations concerning illegal phone calls.
What can we expect Tuesday? Probably not much. The real fireworks will be Nov. 3. It's a game Miles needs to win if he wants to escape the shadow cast by Saban.
Michigan State not only has a new coach in Mark Dantonio, but a new uniform design.
The new uniform design is a traditional look, going back to the glory days of the mid-1960s. The most noticeable changes are a single white stripe down the middle of the helmet and the return of last names to the back of jerseys. And Michigan State is now spelled out across the front of the jersey in a simple block font and reduced letter size.
Dave Matter, Columbia Tribune: Here are 12 newcomers to keep an eye on in the Big 12.
Brent Schrotenboer, San Diego Union-Tribune: An audit of the San Diego State athletic department has cited several areas of concern in management and operations, including “cash control weaknesses” in the ticket office. Audit report in pdf.
Bob Condotta, Seattle Times: Washington players are visiting public schools in Seattle as part of a program started by coach Tyrone Willingham. And the Huskies may have found themselves a running back.
It's Week 5 of the great billboard competition and today we present three entries. On Tuesday, we will display the final entry, and on Wednesday we put the best billboards — narrowed to a manageable number by a panel of trusted experts — up for a vote. In other words, no more submissions.
The top entry comes from Ed of the site the National Championship Issue. Ed's site provides different perspectives and discussion on issues and situations within college football, specifically how it crowns its national champion. James of Pack Pride could not resist yet another shot at rival North Carolina, which was 42nd in attendance. N.C. State was 32nd (pdf attendance figures). The last entry comes Sierra Spartan. He takes a shot at New Mexico fans, who had difficulty spelling "Lobos" during during last year's New Mexico Bowl.
We now take you to uncharted depths with our weekly non-college football post. Spinal Tap, England's loudest band, will reunite to take a stand against global warming. The band will play Live Earth on July 7 at Wembley and debut its new single, "Warmer Than Hell." The full-length video can be viewed by clicking here.
The three-point line in college basketball will be moved back a foot to 20 feet 9 inches beginning in 2008, the first major change to the three-point shot since it was adopted by the NCAA in 1986. The rule change was the focus of discussion Friday night/Saturday morning on "Sports Overnight America" during the Wiz's appearance on the Sports Byline USA Radio Network. Will the change help or hurt the game? You can listen to the discussion by clicking here.
Proving once again that nobody is safe in this corner of cyberspace, the Wiz takes a shot below the belt in the great billboard competition. This fine entry comes from Houston Nutt, and although we suspect it's not the Razorback coach, all bets are off given the crazy events that have happened this offseason at Arkansas. Maybe an enterprising Razorback fan can file a request through the Freedom of Information Act and get to the bottom of this.
Nutt is obviously bored with this billboard nonsense. "Please get something new. These billboards are lame as hell." Not until we check with Donna Bragg. ...
Mark Silverman, president of the Big Ten Network, conducted a chat Thursday to answer questions about the network, which is scheduled to begin telecasting in August. It's part of the network's media blitz that is designed to win over fans, who then pressure local cable companies into carrying the network. The cable company caves and raises rates, thus passing the cost onto fans. Most of the money, of course, ends up in the pocket of the Big Ten.
Fans never get it and fall for it hook, line and sinker. However, one fan who identified himself as Billy from Cicero knows the game, and he somehow had his prank question get posted during the chat. We suspect the Big Ten will eventually realize this was a prank and will edit the transcript, so we saved a copy for the world to see. Judging from his response, we're not sure Silverman knew what was going on.
Wanted: Guest tonight for Sports Overnight America" on the Sports Byline USA Radio Network. Are you a sportswriter or blogger who wants to be heard by countless dozens of people around the world? This is your opportunity, and we're dead serious. We are looking for a guest for tonight's show. Because it has been an extremely busy week, we haven't had an opportunity to line up talent. The hours? Not good. The show starts Friday at 11:30 p.m. and runs until 1 a.m. Saturday (Pacific). The pay? Even worse, but you'll get an opportunity to plug your site, your book, your newspaper, your whatever. If you are interested, send an email to dawizofodds (at) aol.com.
And for those of you in Los Angeles, we'd like throw our weight behind the "Free Reggie" movement, started by the site LosAnjealous. Reggie is a 7-foot alligator that was illegally let loose in a suburban lake in 2005. Many had tried to capture Reggie, but on Thursday, the chase finally ended when the creature was caught while sunning itself on the banks of the lake.
An almost O.J. Simpson-like media spectacle followed, with Reggie being taken away in an animal control truck and surrounded by a phalanx of five other vehicles, including park police. Meanwhile, TV news helicopters stayed in close pursuit, and footage of Reggie's motorcade to the L.A. Zoo was broadcast live. A life behind zoo bars awaits. Needless to say, a sad, sad day.
The greatest magician of the modern era will be touring the Southeast this fall. The Great Sabanini is coming to a venue near you, and you'll gasp as he transforms a poor NFL record (15-17 ... WTF?) into $4 million per year.
Payback, as they say, can be a bitch. Check out the latest entry in the great billboard competition, which comes from Kohl's Law, located Deep in the Heart of Texas. Last week, a Texas A&M entry took a shot at rival Texas. The Longhorns' response, which you can view in detail by clicking on the image, refers to College Station as "Home of the Agricultural and Mechanical Branch of The University of Texas at Austin." Ouch!
Joe Paterno has done it again. At an alumni function on Monday, the Penn State coach announced his punishment for those members of the team who were involved, either directly, peripherally, or not at all, in a "little skirmish downtown" that has two players in legal trouble.
The entire team will be required to clean out Beaver Stadium after every game.
"If you peel back the warm and fuzzy blanket, it's as much a preemptive strike at the University's Office of Judicial Affairs as it is corporal punishment for the players.
"Consider the timing of the announcement. It comes before the Judicial Affairs folks begin their hearings into the incident."
Bracken continues: "In the pecking order of justice, the legal system is first, then Judicial Affairs and finally, Paterno's court.
Bracken says Paterno has made "a calculated move to undercut the Judicial Affairs office by taking matters into his own hands and meting out his own punishment. That will make anything Judicial Affairs decides to do look like overkill and further advance the perception that Judicial Affairs has some vendetta against the football team.
Bracken closes by saying, "This appears to be designed to subvert Judicial Affairs and prevent them from performing the function they're charged with in an effort to save his football team and the season. If that's the case, then it's not nearly as noble as it appears on the surface."
David I. Andersen, Cleveland Plain Dealer: Raymond Williams, Ohio's Mr. Football in 2003, was sent to prison after violating his probation.
Craig Smith, Seattle Times: Washington State cornerbacks coach Ken Greene has been dismissed, reportedly for incidents of misconduct.
Bart Wright, Greenville News: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said of his Southern Baptist beliefs, "It makes some people uncomfortable, I guess, but there's really nothing in [the Bible] to be afraid of."
Chip Brown and Barry Horn, Dallas Morning News: A wish list from Big 12 coaches: an early recruiting signing period, a fifth year of eligibility (eliminating redshirting) and a ninth bowl tie-in. Plus, five Big 12 games will be telecast by ESPN this fall.
Paul Finebaum, Mobile Press-Register: Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville has come out of hiding after the Elvis-like coverage of the Crimson Tide's hiring of Saban.
Dave Reardon, Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Ferd Lewis, Honolulu Advertiser: Hawaii officials were put on the hotseat by state lawmakers who asked why facilities are in such poor shape, but in the end, what was accomplished?
Barry Jackson, Miami Herald: The parents of slain Miami player Bryan Pata were awarded a $2 million settlement from his apartment complex's insurance company.
Glenn Guibeau, Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Louisiana State officials, despite protests from PETA, plan to put another tiger in captivity on campus after mascot Mike V died Friday following emergency surgery.
James Varney, Times-Picayune: Louisiana State backup quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, 20, was suspended from the team after he attempted to gain entrance to a riverboat casino using his brother's identification.
Bob Condotta, Seattle Times: A new book chronicles Washington football under the Dawgfather, Don James.
Mark Tupper, Decatur Herald & Review: Perhaps the worst has passed for Illinois. The recruiting has been stellar, confidence is building and the stadium is undergoing a massive makeover.
Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press: Michigan announced it will play Toledo in 2008, days after the Big Ten decided against adding a ninth conference game.
Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Former Georgia coach Vince Dooley had surgery to remove a tumor near his vocal cords and all signs point to a complete recovery.
We continue to layeth the smacketh down in the great billboard competition. Mike sent us this entry, taking a shot at the Rice Owls. Some might say the Owls can't draw flies, and that appears to be the case. A check shows that Rice was 112th in attendance last season (pdf file), with Rice Stadium filled to only 21.9% of its capacity.
Our friends at UCLA have a lot of explaining to do. The picture above shows that jackass from "American Idol" fame, Sanjaya, shooting a spot Friday on Venice Beach. Now why is this assclown disgracing the Wizard of Odds? He is dressed in a Bruin jersey and said to be dancing with UCLA cheerleaders. If you're Jerzy Siewierski and a defensive tackle for UCLA, you have a new nickname: Sanjaya. He's wearing your jersey No. 90.
We're not 100% sure these are Bruin cheerleaders, but the people responsible for this fiasco took time to paint the Bruin bear and "UCLA" on the graffiti wall behind this shot (see video below). That's damning enough. Let's not even mention the Bruin mohawk.
Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: Nebraska athletic director Steve Pederson is pushing for a rule that would give athletes a fifth year of playing eligibility.
Chip Alexander, Raleigh News & Observer: Tracking where some North Carolina State assistants landed after the firing of Chuck Amato.
Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune: South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe is expected to have a charge of serving alcohol to an underage person at a sports bar dropped if he completes 16 hours of community service.
Ed McGranahan, Greenville News: Linebacker Antonio Clay, who started 11 games last fall for Clemson then left the team after the death of his sister, is back and ready to enroll in summer school.
Steroid Nation: Loren Wade, the former Arizona State player accused of murdering teammate Brandon Falkner, tested positive for steroids after the shooting.
John F. Berry, Riverside Press-Enterprise: Opening statements in the trial of former San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy and Iowa receiver Ivory Webb were delayed after the wife of his defense attorney went into labor. Video of shooting.
Dan Gelston, Associated Press: Penn State coach Joe Paterno called the incident that has two players in legal trouble a "little skirmish downtown."
And the billboard would not be complete without mention of fans urinating in the stands at Carter-Finley, which was first reported last fall by the Technician, the North Carolina State student newspaper. "I know people were urinating in their sections," student body president Will Quick said after the Sept. 23 game against Boston College. "I have heard reports of individuals being splashed by urine." Nice ...
Less than a month ago, we received an email from Dave Farris. "Everyone needs goals in life and hobbies. I have decided on a goal that is both unattainable and utterly ridiculous. It is my goal to go and see all 119 NCAA Division I-A football stadiums before I die."
"I know that this has kind of been done before by a couple of guys who have gone to see all of the Major League Baseball stadiums, but those guys are obviously pussies. What are there, like 30 of those?"
The man had a plan and he had a site, Project 119, that had documented his 18 stadium visits.
Since that email, much has changed. During a three-day trip to 17 stadiums that covered nearly 2,100 miles, Dave and his posse of Shawn Wuske and Tony Galietti were interviewed by ABC affiliate WICD in Champaign.
His total now stands at 35, and he's preparing to hit the road again. The trip is called "The Great Nor'Easter" and is detailed in the map below, provided by Map Game Day. There are nine stadiums on this tour, and the trip will put him over a third of the way toward his goal.
Dave says he has already "talked to some people about Army, Boston College and Syracuse. I am curious about getting into Navy, so if you are a cadet and know where to get some help, that'd be great."
If you're at the Naval Academy or any of the other destinations and can help this road warrior, you can reach him at: dave (at) project119 (dot) com.
Barry Jackson, Miami Herald: More indications Miami will move to Dolphin Stadium in 2008. Boosters and board of trustee members were given a tour of the facility and received a sales pitch from stadium owner Wayne Huizenga.
With the start of the season about 100 days away, we invited Sam Chi of the site BCS Guru to be our guest on "Sports Overnight America." He broke down each of the BCS conferences and took an overall look at the national title chase. And if you're a fan of the Atlantic Coast or Big East conferences, you don't want to miss co-host John Woolard's extended rant about that. Listen to the show by clicking here.
Bill Snyder's creampuff nonconference schedules at Kansas State were the stuff of legends. Those days are gone in Manhattan. Coach Ron Prince is eagerly scheduling quality nonconference opponents, including an opener this fall at Auburn and a season-ending game at Fresno State.
"The Auburn game will be covered all over the country and Fresno will be at the top of their game this season," Prince said. "From a recruiting standpoint and getting out message about Kansas State and having our logo behind those talking heads, that's what it's all about."
Many of Prince's Big 12 counterparts have a different idea when it comes to scheduling. Granted, Nebraska and Colorado have challenging nonconference schedules, but teams such as Texas A&M, Iowa State and Kansas are — for the most part — taking the creampuff route.
Another entry in the great billboard competition from Loser With Socks, this time taking a nasty, nasty shot at Florida and quarterback Tim Tebow. Leave it to the take-no-prisoners site to bring the group NAMBLA and term fluffer into the competition. The site has already run a version of the billboard with a Muslim theme, so you'll have to check it out. You can click on the above billboard for a detailed look.
Details are starting to emerge about a May 3 meeting between Houston Nutt and citizen journalist Thomas McAfee, whose scrutiny of Nutt's phone and text messaging records through the Freedom of Information Act helped spark speculation and rumors that the Arkansas coach had an inappropriate relationship with Fort Smith news anchor Donna Bragg.
McAfee and his attorney met face to face with Nutt and his wife Diana in the office of Nutt's attorney. McAfee said the meeting produced heated words — a "scolding," according to McAfee — but no revelations or concessions.
"I asked him, 'What do I have to apologize for?' " McAfee told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "Do I have to apologize for asking questions?"
McAfee also said Nutt demanded to know who put him up to requesting his phone records and if he had any conversations with former Razorback quarterback Mitch Mustain.
"I guess he thought I and Mitch Mustain were in cahoots," McAfee said.
We're sorry to report that Natalie Nelson, who rocketed to fame as a USC Song Girl after she was photographed cheering at the wrong moment in the 2006 BCS title game at the Rose Bowl, has completed her eligibility. Yes, her Song Girl days are over.
Nelson was immortalized by the photo, which sparked a series of Internet spinoffs, some of which we display below. We Are USC conducted an exit interview with Nelson a few months back, and although the questions are of the softball variety, we get a glimpse into what life as a Song Girl is really like.
You can watch Natalie's last major appearance as a Song Girl in our exclusive You Tube video, which was shot at the 2007 Rose Bowl and has been viewed nearly 50,000 times. Thanks to Displaced Trojan for the tip and M Zone and Trojan Wire for the images below.
We have a mystery guest for this week's edition of "Sports Overnight America" on the Sports Byline USA Radio Network. Join the Wiz from anywhere in the world starting at 11:30 (Pacific) Friday night by going to SportsByline.com and clicking "Listen Live." The broadcast is also available over the American Forces Network — available in 177 countries and U.S. territories and Navy ships at sea — or the Cable Radio Network. Last but not least, check the list of Sports Byline affiliates. Give us a call at 800-878-7529.