Thursday, January 10, 2008

Reporters' Notebooks

Kate Hairopoulos, Dallas Morning News: A new fundraising group at Southern Methodist — the Circle of Champions — helped come up with the money to lure June Jones from Hawaii. Membership isn't cheap. Individuals or groups of donors have to commit to paying $500,000 over five years to join and currently there are 20 "units" in the Circle, which adds up to $10 million.

Ferd Lewis, Honolulu Advertiser: John L. Smith wants the Hawaii job. The same Smith who, as Michigan State coach in 2004, said: "Have you been there [to Hawaii]? It's a miserable trip. It's forever. Eleven hours. That's just to get you there. Then, you've got to acclimate and play a game. It's such a lovely trip. It's like a reoccurring bad dream." Plus: Jones owes Hawaii $400,000 for leaving.

Josh Langenbacher, Daily Collegian: Joe Paterno of Oak Ridge, N.J., gets at least one call a week looking for that other Joe Paterno. The one who coaches Penn State. Thanks to UWire.

Mike Casazza, Charleston Daily Mail: Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez has yet to respond to a lawsuit by West Virginia seeking the $4 million buyout in his employment agreement he broke with the Mountaineers.

Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press: Quarterback Ryan Mallett is transferring from Michigan, saying he "just felt forced out, not by any person, but by the system" to be implemented by Rodriguez.

Bill Livingston, Cleveland Plain Dealer: The critics are out, saying the Ohio State's Jim Tressel is one controversial pass interference call from being John Cooper. A penalty flag was the 15-inch-square patch of polyester that became Ohio State's magic carpet in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.

Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press: It has been a rough 12 months for Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, the most powerful figure in intercollegiate athletics.

Sports Couch Potato: TV ratings for the Bowl Championship Series title game were down 17% from last year's game.

Larry Brown Sports: Thank goodness, the worst college football season is finally over.

Ted Miller, Seattle Post-Intelligencer: The margin between the Southeastern Conference and the Pacific 10 is slim.

Bob Condotta, Seattle Times: The final Sagarin ratings are out, and UCLA had the nation's toughest schedule, followed by Washington. Nine Pac-10 teams were among the final 19.

Bryan Mullen, Tennessean: Florida's Urban Meyer is hot that Stan Drayton, his former running backs coach, is leaving for Tennessee. He confronted Drayton. "I can't go into too much detail about that. The conversation was a little rough, a little rocky," Meyer said.

Berry Tramel, Oklahoman: Oklahoma fans paint Les Miles as an emotional buffoon. Oklahoma State fans call him disloyal.

Sarah Talalay, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Officials continue to prepare for a Jan. 26 auction of Orange Bowl items.

Brian Bennett, Louisville Courier-Journal: Former Louisville running back Anthony Allen lost an appeal that would have allowed him to transfer to Arkansas.

Nate Latsch, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Another Notre Dame player is leaving. Defensive back Munir Prince is transferring to Missouri.

To bypass registration, go to Bug Me Not. Here is today's mystery link. Thanks to Gordon Keith.

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