Saturday, December 31, 2005

Trooper Had to Guard Nebraka Athletic Director

Disturbing news out of Nebraska. A state bodyguard was assigned to Cornhusker Athletic Director Steve Pederson at Nebraska's final home game — Nov. 12 against Kansas State — after it was determined that a "legitimate threat" was made against Pederson and his family, state officials said. This came after Nebraska was drilled by Kansas, 40-15, ending the Cornhuskers' 36-game winning streak against the Jayhawks. The response also was in part to a column written by Ben Schwartz in the North Platte Bulletin, Pederson's hometown. One segment of the column read: "Tell me it's wrong to call up Steve Pederson's house at 3 in the morning, breathe heavily into the phone and then whisper, 'I'm going to kill your children.' " Schwartz later apologized (registration).

Miami Clearly Is a Program in Decline

They're still trying to piece together what happened to spark the brawl between players from Louisiana State and Miami at the end of Friday night's Peach Bowl, but at least the Hurricanes finally showed some fight. But they appeared to lose that battle, too. Did LSU pour it on? You betcha it did. What brought this on? Perhaps it was the memory of Miami's 44-3 rout of LSU in 1988 in a Tiger Stadium downpour. The bigger question is what has happened to Miami, winner of five national titles? The last, won in 2001, has never seemed smaller in the rear-view mirror. Asked if his team quit, Hurricane coach Larry Coker said, "I don't think we stopped. I don't think we played the entire day." As for the Miami players, we don't know what they were thinking. The postgame locker room was sealed shut from reporters. One thing is for certain: Coker, whose greatest success has been with others' recruits, must take a good share of the blame (some registration).

No Honor for Hizzoner

The cleanup continues in Boise, where "inappropriate remarks" at Monday's MPC Computers Bowl banquet fired up Boston College players and fans and inspired the Eagles to a 27-21 victory over the hometown Boise State Broncos two days later. Boise Mayor David Bieter, above right, has issued an apology for his banquet remarks in hopes of removing the black eye suffered by his city, but from the looks of letters to the editor received by the Idaho Statesman, that shiner won't be clearing up any time soon.

Columnists' Corner

Tom Powers, St. Paul Pioneer Press: Is Glen Mason worried about losing his job? He doesn't appear to be concerned (registration).

Jim Souhan, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Laurence Maroney? Gone. Greg Eslinger and Mark Setterstrom? Gone. A chance for the Gophers to win their 43rd consecutive Music City Bowl? Gone. Glen Mason and his coaching staff? Going, going ... (registration).

Mike DeArmond, Kansas City Star: Nobody needed this Independence Bowl victory more than Missouri's Gary Pinkel (registration).

Pete Thamel, New York Times: New Jersey is a memory, USC is a dream for two former New Jersey preps (registration).

Ron Bellamy, Eugene Register-Guard: Where did it all go wrong for Oregon? Maybe it should have stuck with Dennis Dixon at quarterback after taking a 7-3 lead against Oklahoma in the Holiday Bowl.

Martin Fennelly, Tampa Tribune: It's called Meineke Car Care Bowl Fever. We're not sure if there is a cure.

Bob Wojnowski, Detroit News: The days of simply lining up and beating opponents the same, old way are over for the Michigan Wolverines.

Joe Biddle, Tennessean: It was an announced tickets-sold crowd of 40,519 at the Music City Bowl, but anybody in attendance knew there was nowhere close to that number of folks in the stands.

Reporters' Notebooks

Randy Peterson, Des Moines Register: Expect the Houston Bowl to have a crowd of only 35,000, but it has nothing to do with the turnout of fans from Texas Christian or Iowa State.

Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News: Michigan's Lloyd Carr is still angry that an untested replay crew was essentially broken in at the Alamo Bowl. "It was ludicrous," he growled. Does he plan to file a complaint? "It's too late," he snarled.

Brian Christopherson, Lincoln Journal Star: The bizarre ending to the Alamo Bowl will assume a place in college football lore.

Ted Lewis, Times-Picayune: A youth group staying at the Hyatt in Atlanta is cause for some sleepless nights for West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez.

Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman: New Boise State coach Chris Petersen has a rebuilding project on his hands, but it involves his staff, not his team, which returns 20 of 24 starters.

Steve Conroy, Boston Herald: Boston College will be rebuilding, but coach Tom O'Brien believes he will have capable replacements to make a run at the ACC Atlantic Division title.

Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger: It was a breakthrough season for Rutgers, but can the Scarlet Knights keep it going in 2006?

Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times: ESPN is interested in switching USC's Sept. 9 game at Arkansas to Sept. 2, and it appears all parties are in favor of the date change.

Chip Towers, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Alex Mortensen, the Arkansas quarterback and son of ESPN's Chris Mortensen, appears to be headed to Georgia Southern (registration).

Friday, December 30, 2005

A Reminder to Drink Responsibly

UCLA appears to be on its best behavior as it enters Friday's Sun Bowl. But a year ago, that wasn't the case. According to a story in the El Paso Times, two Bruin starters were sent home from last year's Las Vegas Bowl after showing up for a team meeting drunk and then throwing up in front of coaches and teammates. The story never identified the players, but an Internet search provided the names of Benjamin Lorier and Eyoseph Efseaff. Bruin tight end Marcedes Lewis provided more details into the shenanigans: "In past years, like when we went to Vegas last year, dudes were drunk and they had alcohol leaking out of their pores at practice. This year hasn't been anything like that for us." Coach Karl Dorrell added, "Spirits are good." We presume he was talking about the team, not the nightlife in Juarez.

Columnists' Corner

Berry Tramel, Oklahoman: A team that was lost in September’s swelter has been found in December’s salt breeze. Oklahoma beat No. 5 Oregon in a rousing Holiday Bowl that showed why the Sooner tribulations of 2005 should be a one-year aberration (registration).

John Canzano, Oregonian: Even if Oregon had pulled out the Holiday Bowl victory and eked past Oklahoma in that final, magical drive, it would have gone down as a qualitative loss, which means the Fiesta Bowl selection committee got it right weeks ago.

Terence Moore, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: How do you say rinky dink, as in something called the Emerald Bowl, as in why is the ACC even sending one of its members to this thing? (registration).

Kurt Kragthorpe, Salt Lake Tribune: Something that was believed entering the Emerald Bowl was absolutely true: One of the participants was a team that nobody should want to play at this time of year. Except it was not Georgia Tech.

Jim Souhan, Minneapolis Star Tribune: It's a lose-lose situation. Minnesota has offered a great deal of money to a coach, Glen Mason, it doesn't seem to like, a passive-aggressive maneuver that, even if Mason agrees to those terms, will leave sour tastes all around (registration).

Mike Hlas, Cedar Rapids Gazette: Florida players insist it will be different this time, that the 37-17 loss to Iowa two years in the Outback Bowl wasn't a true representation of Gator football (subscription, so story is in comments).

Resistance Is Futile

You've been watching wall-to-wall coverage of bowl games on the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader. Somehow, you pull yourself up from the coach and manage to escape for a moment. As you venture toward the kitchen, you see that computer-generated yellow line flash before your eyes. Enough is enough, you tell yourself. I've been watching too much football and must turn the channel. So you flip over to the Rose Parade, and what do you see? "The Magic of Sports in High Definition." Yes, ESPN has, for the first time, sponsored a float for the parade of parades (float #58 on that link). And you think you could escape this madness by actually going to the Rose Bowl? Ha! Don't bet on it. ESPN is sponsoring the National Championship Tailgate Party, the only official tailgate at the 2006 Rose Bowl. For $20, you too can join this exclusive gathering. Hurry, seating is limited! Only the first 10,000 patrons will be admitted. And if you really want to blend in with the party crowd, don't forget your 2006 ESPN Rose Parade pin (near the bottom of that link). It's only $6.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

They'll Remember This Alamo Bowl

Memories of Cal-Stanford, except the guys in red aren't band members. The final play of the Alamo Bowl is getting a lot of attention, and why not? This frame capture from the ESPN telecast shows the Nebraska bench swarming the field while the final play continues. "It was an obvious violation of rules," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr snarled. Well Lloyd, Michigan had a few representatives milling around on the field, too. But we understand. You lost. ESPN has joined the cause, harping about the bad officiating, but they must have missed the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game, which in our opinion, can't be topped. Nonetheless, the Sun Belt crew assigned to the game did seem a tad overmatched, and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney was among the first to call Sun Belt counterpart Wright Waters to complain. It brings back memories of the 1982 Cal-Stanford game, and we've been saving this glorious link for just this moment. Meanwhile, they could care less in Lincoln, where the Husker Nation is beaming and snickering about that final play (page links to video report). Also, if you are looking for a video of the play, ESPN has one in its Motion section. We were unable to provide a direct link.

Minnesota May Be Looking for a Coach

Minnesota is ready to part ways with coach Glen Mason, who will lead the Golden Gophers against Virginia in the Music City Bowl on Friday. Mason, who earned $1.43 million this season, wants $1.8 million in a new deal. The university is offering $1.5 with incentives. The contracts of Mason's nine assistants are up at midnight Saturday and the university says it will send letters of termination to the assistants if Mason doesn't agree to a new deal by then. "We do not want [Mason] coaching into next season without a renewal," university general counsel Mark Rotenberg told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Some Gopher assistants are taking the hint. Secondary coach Kerry Cooks reportedly is a candidate to join Bret Bielema at Wisconsin (some registration).

Columnists' Corner

Bob Wojnowski, Detroit News: Michigan better let the bitter taste of this 7-5 season marinate, then learn from it, because it shouldn't happen again.

Curt McKeever, Lincoln Journal Star: Even the biggest critics have to give Nebraska some credit after its victory in the Alamo Bowl.

Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times: Opposing recruiters looking to use speculation that USC's Pete Carroll was headed back to the NFL will have to come up with a new strategy.

Barry Tramel, Oklahoman: A victory in the Holiday Bowl will serve as a springboard for Oklahoma's return to elite status in 2006 (registration).

Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman: We knew Texas was going to be good when the season started. But this good? (registration).

Reporters' Notebooks

Steve Conroy, Boston Herald: Boston College got all the motivation it needed to beat Boise State during a banquet Monday night that turned into a pep rally for the Broncos.

Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune: It turns out that the Fiesta Bowl won't be Brady Quinn's last game as Notre Dame's quarterback.

Ron Higgins, Commercial Appeal: Fresno State has built its reputation by playing the best. Now the Bulldogs are finding it more difficult to schedule powerhouse teams (registration).

Bob Holt, Northwest Arkansas Times: Arkansas quarterback Alex Mortensen, the son of ESPN's Chris Mortensen, is looking to transfer.

Nehlen Blog: Jason Gwaltney, a highly recruited running back who choose West Virginia over USC and Ohio State, is leaving the Mountaineer program.

Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal Constitution: The ACC is reworking its bowl lineup, and the Peach Bowl is going to be a big winner (registration).

Jeff White, Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia's defense will have to be at its best to slow Minnesota's punishing running game.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

We're Bullish on Satellite Radio

The Wizard happens to be fortunate enough to have a satellite unit and can say firsthand that it is a godsend for the sports fan. So if you can't locate that bowl game on the old radio dial of yours while you cruise around town, you might want to upgrade to one of these satellite units from Sirius and XM. Between the two companies, nearly every bowl game is covered. Thus, we present you with the listings of bowl coverage for Sirius and XM.

Columnists' Corner

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times: Life after death, as in NCAA death penalty. Try telling that to Southern Methodist.

Dan Bickley, Arizona Republic: Arizona State can aim for the sky in 2006 after defeating Rutgers in the Insight Bowl.

Jerry Izenberg, Newark Star-Ledger: Rutgers put together a helluva plan to beat Arizona State, but didn't have the horses to pull it off.

Bernie Lincicome, Rocky Mountain News: It's over. What became a nightmare of a season for Colorado finally ended.

B.G. Brooks, Rocky Mountain News: New Colorado coach Dan Hawkins isn't expected in Boulder until Sunday, but it appears he will be arriving Friday.

Curt McKeever, Lincoln Journal Star: Nebraska's season resembles that of the 1999 squad, which finished 7-5 before turning it around in 2000 and making a run to the national title.

Ron Morris, Columbia State: South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier finds unique names for plays, but there is a method behind his madness.

Terry Wood, Northwest Arkansas Times: Arkansas coach Houston Nutt is no doubt happy 2005 is about to end. And why not? The 2006 season looks promising.

Reporters' Notebooks

Kevin Manahan, Newark Star-Ledger: Even in defeat, Rutgers fans made their bowl experience a memorable one.

Patrick Obley, Columbia State: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden isn't talking "what-if" after the Tigers concluded their season with four losses by a total of 16 points.

Randy Peterson, Des Moines Register: Standout Iowa State defensive end Jason Berryman is back in his hometown to play in the Houston Bowl, but he returns with a felony on his record.

Joseph Pearson, Columbia State: South Carolina defensive backs Ko Simpson and Johnathan Joseph aren't talking about speculation that each will leave early to start pro careers.

Ned Barnett, Raleigh News & Observer: It is one of the mysteries of football that the biggest players are the hardest to see. N.C. State left guard John McKeon is a prime example.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Reporters' Notebooks

Kevin Manahan, Newark Star-Ledger: It appears many Rutgers fans made a stop in Las Vegas before heading to Phoenix for the Insight Bowl.

Matt Richtel, New York Times: Internet casinos are outlaw operations in the eyes of the federal government, but they look like solid investments to many of Wall Street's largest firms (registration).

Carl DuBois and Scott Rabalais, Baton Rouge Advocate: Louisiana State quarterback JaMarcus Russell didn't make the trip to Atlanta for the Peach Bowl. His left shoulder, which he separated Dec. 3, hasn't healed, so Matt Flynn will get the start.

Frank Dell'Apa, Boston Globe: Mathias Kiwanuka could have been cashing huge paychecks, but the Boston College defensive end says he has no regrets about coming back for a senior season (registration).

Mark Blaudschun, Boston Globe: So what's at stake for USC in the Rose Bowl besides the obvious? A chance to put this Trojan run among the all-time best (registration).

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: The Alamo Bowl has plenty of ramifications for Bill Callahan and Lloyd Carr. Above all, you don't finish 7-5 if you happen to be the coach at Nebraska or Michigan.

Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman: Maybe it's time to raise the minimum number of victories to qualify for a bowl to seven instead of six.

Mike Malloy, Des Moines Register: It has been a long, hard ride for Quinn Sypniewski, the first Colorado player to receive a sixth season of eligibility.

Dirk Facer, Deseret Morning News: Utah is all business as it prepares to mix it up with Georgia Tech in the Emerald Bowl.

Tom Mulhern, Capital Times: Wisconsin players roll their eyes when the inevitable question comes up about Auburn's speed.

Chris Dempsey, Denver Post: If you're a coach and desire to live in Boise, get that resume polished up. New Colorado coach Dan Hawkins is taking most of his assistants with him after Boise State's bowl game against Boston College.

Jorge Milian, Palm Beach Post: Miami, already thin at receiver, will not have starter Ryan Moore in the Peach Bowl. He has been suspended. Moore is the third receiver lost since the end of the regular season.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Finishing Moves

There was Darnell Autry, above right, carrying the ball and Northwestern to an improbable Big Ten title and berth into the 1996 Rose Bowl. And there was defensive back Hudhaifa Ismaeli, called "the best athlete I have ever been around" by another teammate. But it ended for both, each without a degree. Autry wound up in Las Vegas, working as a doorman in a bar at Treasure Island and as a lifeguard and hotel security agent elsewhere. Ismaeli found work on a production line in a factory that made sewer pipes, or doing construction work. Now, each is poised to take part in graduation ceremonies at Northwestern in June.

Columnists' Corner

Terry Foster, Detroit News: George Perles, the former Michigan State coach, has a big dream. Someday, his Motor City Bowl will become part of the BCS lineup and play host to a national championship game.

David Whitley, Orlando Sentinel: Ancient Hawaiian proverb says, "Uoki loa'a kaumaha luna li'ili ua." In other words, Central Florida has the kind of mentality that will make bowl trips an annual event.

Matthew Aguilar, El Paso Times: It is difficult to imagine, when Texas El Paso finished 2-11 a couple of years ago, that an 8-4 season and a bowl appearance would be a letdown. But the 2005 team didn't live up to expectations.

Greg Hansen, Arizona Daily Star: Arizona remains one of five BCS teams to have gone seven or more years without a bowl appearance, but not all is lost.

Reporters' Notebooks

Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: What do Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, UCLA, USC, Michigan, Wisconsin and Boston College have in common? They rank among the AP top 25 in football and the U.S. News & World Report top 40 in academics (registration).

Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle: College jobs have become much more appealing recently to coaches with NFL experience, but this isn't a good year for those wanting to return to campus.

Ken Hambleton, Lincoln Journal Star: On the afternoon of Oct. 21, 1905, a plucky Nebraska team traveled to Ann Arbor and put up a good fight for a scoreless half, then fell, 31-0, to mighty Michigan.

Tom Reed, Akron Beacon Journal: Pride is at an all-time high at Akron, which rose from the depths in 2002 and plays in its first bowl game on Monday (registration).

Iowa City Press-Citizen: Iowa has Florida beat in one category. The Hawkeye assistant coaches get fatter paychecks.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Columnists' Corner

David Whitley, Orlando Sentinel: Central Florida earned the right to be called Cinderella, but it limped away with a slipper full of sand after losing to Nevada.

Ron Higgins, Commercial Appeal: The decision to temporarily declare USC's Matt Leinart ineligible for saying "Next on Sportscenter" is another example how the NCAA hurts so-called student-athletes (registration).

David Knox, Birmingham News: Cast another vote for a playoff. Says ESPN's Chris Fowler, "You're not going to convince me that attractive BCS bowl matchups are better than a playoff."

Sam King, Baton Rouge Advocate: Outside of USC or Texas, Miami might be the toughest bowl opponent available that Louisiana State could have drawn.

Reporters' Notebook

Jeff D'Alessio, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: A recruiting analyst breaks down ACC and SEC recruiting and lists the top remaining targets for all the teams (registration).

Idaho Statesman: Boise State senior safety Cam Hall has been declared academically ineligible and will not play in the MPC Computers Bowl.

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: Not a bad haul for players from Nebraska and Michigan. Each received an XBox 360 as the primary gift from the Alamo Bowl.

Phil Stukenborg, Commercial Appeal: Ticket sales for the Motor City Bowl are brisk and officials are optimistic about setting an attendance record (registration).

Jim Masilak, Commercial Appeal: A loss to USC took its toll on Fresno State, but the Bulldogs are grateful for one more game (registration).

Duff Wilson, New York Times: University High, a correspondence school in Miami being investigated for giving fast, high grades to qualify high school athletes for college scholarships, is going out of business Dec. 31, its founder says (registration).

Mick McGrane and Brent Schrotenboer, San Diego Union-Tribune: Oregon coach Mike Bellotti says there is an East Coast bias in college football.

Jason King, Kansas City Star: The victory over Houston in the Fort Worth Bowl will give Kansas and its fans plenty of reason to be optimistic entering 2006 (registration).

Chris Low, Nashville Tennessean: Offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe says he's back at Tennessee because "it was the right thing to do."

Patrick Obley, Columbia State: Clemson offensive lineman Christopher Capote had to have his right ear essentially reattached after a harrowing automobile accident.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Texas Has Been Infiltrated by Infidels

Ha! We got your attention. Works every time. This is what is called a tease, as in teasing a story. This piece happens to be about USC fans who to live in Austin of all places. Yes, the Austin chapter of the USC Alumni Association has about 180 members. We are going to expose their clandestine operation right here, right now. They gather on game days at the Seven-10 Grill and Sports Bar, which is tucked into the back of an alley, a bowling alley. And they are not alone. Operatives are busy planning attacks in other parts of the Lone Star State. In Dallas, there will be a "Let's Mess With Texas" Rose Bowl viewing party. The North Texas chapter has about 1,500 members. Said one Trojan alum of Texans: "They have the aura that everything is bigger and better. I don't think they really know what is going on outside of Texas." Oh, and the poster child? Her name is Jenn Sterger. Read more about her here. And see more of her here.

The Long and Short of It

We smell a rat, and it's a rather large one at that. Here's the deal: Former Temple assistant Toby Neinas, son of sports consultant Chuck Neinas, has been hired as an assistant at San Diego State by new coach Chuck Long, left. Toby is the son of sports consultant Chuck Neinas, who was used by San Diego State during the searches that landed Long and athletic director Jeff Schemmel. As one person commented to the North County Times, "I am sure the fact that both Chuck Long and Jeff Schemmel landed their jobs from Chuck Neinas had nothing to do with this." Yea, right. Chuck Neinas is arguably the most powerful player in college athletics these days, and he has quite a history with San Diego State. He help the school land Mike Bohn as athletic director in 2003, then helped Bohn get his new gig at Colorado. That paved the way for Schemmel, then Long. And who did Bohn turn to when he needed a coach to replace Gary Barnett earlier this month? You guessed it, Chuck Neinas, who made the initial contact with Boise State's Dan Hawkins.

We're Fired Up About This One

Because we know you are packing on the pounds this holiday season, the Wiz wanted to remind everybody that getting up off that couch can help you burn 500 calories a day. Now if exercise doesn't flip your switch, consider the West Virginia approach — just burn the damn couch! Our fondness for that couch-burning crew from Morgantown is well documented, so when we were informed that a new blog had opened shop dealing specifically with West Virginia athletics, we couldn't resist the opportunity to run yet another photo of what Mountaineer fans do best.

Power of the Oppressed

It should come as no surprise that many newspapers are cutting editorial staffs. Now although this is a disturbing trend, there seems to be no end to the number of writers ready to work for nothing. One only needs to glance at the letters to the editor of a local paper to see some of the best prose in ink. And unlike many of the paid staffers at the paper, the letter-writers aren't afraid to let it rip. This week we present some offerings from the Mobile Register, where that Alabama-Auburn thing never dies.

Columnists' Corner

Richard Justice, Houston Chronicle: After losing to Kansas in the Fort Worth Bowl, Houston is again at a football crossroads. Yes, another one.

Bob Wojnowski, Detroit News: During the telecast of the Alamo Bowl, TV commentators surely will recount the famous Battle of the Alamo in 1836, when brave Texans fought the Mexican Army for the right to brandish "Fire Millen" signs.

Randall Mell, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Penn State fans are back at it, complaining that Bobby Bowden's 31 victories at Samford should not count in his total of 359, which is six wins ahead of Joe Paterno.

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Register: Alabama coach Mike Shula doesn't want an Xbox 360 for Christmas. He wants some beefy linemen.

Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle: OK, we're late on this one, but it's such a good read: How the Mormons saved Las Vegas.

Reporters' Notebooks

Patrick Obley, Columbia State: Expect to see plenty of empty seats at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Clemson has sold 9,500 of its 12,500-ticket allotment. Colorado? Only 2,000 tickets have been gobbled up by Buff fans.

Joey Johnston, Tampa Tribune: Everything went wrong 20 years ago when Tampa got its bowl game. Now the Outback Bowl is a source of pride for the community. Also, a look at some of the stars of past Outback Bowls.

Joseph Goodman, Miami Herald: Penn State's gameplan for its matchup against Florida State in the Orange Bowl? Get after Seminole freshman quarterback Drew Weatherford (registration).

Jason King, Kansas City Star: Kansas will lose much of its defense, but coach Mark Mangino said the Jayhawks will reload, not rebuild (registration).

Thomas Murphy, Mobile Register: Would it be surprising to know Alabama's highly regarded defense played only one of the best 61 offenses in the nation in 2005? It's true.

Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune: What's it like for Robin Quinn, mother of Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, to be living in the shadow of the Ohio State Buckeyes?

Phil Stukenborg, Commercial Appeal: Who will foot the bill for this one? Memphis coach Tommy West kept his promise. The Tigers will wear black shoes in the Motor City Bowl, a switch from the normal white the team wears (registration).

Friday, December 23, 2005

Changing the Face of Texas Football

It was 1969, and Texas had just defeated Arkansas, 15-14, in Fayetteville in what had been billed as the Game of the Century. President Richard M. Nixon entered the locker room and declared the Longhorns as national champions. Julius Whittier was a member of the team, but as a freshman was not eligible to play varsity at the time, and he watched from Austin. Whittier was also the only black football player at Texas. He didn't know it at the time, but Longhorns were the last all-white team to win the national championship. In 1970, Whittier became the first black letterman for Texas, and today he takes great pride in the Longhorns. About half of the players are black, including standout quarterback Vince Young (registration).

Columnists' Corner

Jason King, Kansas City Star: Houston and Kansas players have been trading insults all week. They settle it on the field Friday night (registration).

Tom Hoffarth, L.A. Daily News: Too many bowls? Ratings show that the viewing public can't get enough.

Dick Harmon, Deseret Morning News: Brigham Young scored 28 points in losing to California in the Las Vegas Bowl. It should have been enough to win.

Double D, Boston Herald: One of the Wiz's favorite handicapping columns is back, with a look at the coming week's bowl games.

Jeff Shain, Miami Herald: Texas, owner of the fifth-worst graduation rate in Division I-A football, is playing for the nation championship (registration).

Dave George, Palm Beach Post: Could the BCS possibly evolve into a playoff system? It might be closer than you think.

Geoff Calkins, Commercial Appeal: Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams will be doing plenty of running before the Motor City Bowl (registration).

David Whitley, Orlando Sentinel: Do we turn on Kalakaua, Kapiolani or Keeaumoku? Central Florida players have plenty to worry about in Hawaii.

Randy King, Roanoke Times: Three Virginia Tech linemen will carpool 700 miles to get to the Gator Bowl.

Reporters' Notebooks

Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic: There is a long list of Arizona State players who are battling the flu and it is becoming a concern as the team prepares to play Rutgers.

Marlon W. Morgan and Jason Smith Commercial Appeal: The losses continue to pile up for Mississippi Madman Ed Orgeron. Assistant George DeLeone and running back Jamal Pittman are leaving the program. But he scored by landing the talented Greg Hardy and four JUCO players (registration).

Chadd Cripp, Idaho Statesman: The coaching transition at Boise State is creating an awkward recruiting environment.

Chad Hartley, Reno Gazette-Journal: Nevada cornerback and co-captain Kevin Stanley has been booted off the island. He was declared academically ineligible.

Jamey Eisenberg, Palm Beach Post: Joe Paterno knows a thing or two about bowl games, and the Penn State coach already has his team in Florida, preparing for the Orange Bowl.

Ira Schoffel, Miami Herald: Cornerback Antonio Cromartie, sidelined five months ago by knee surgery, is practicing and wants to play in the Orange Bowl (registration).

Nate Allen, Northwest Arkansas Times: Alabama Birmingham offensive coordinator Pat Sullivan has interviewed for a vacancy on the Arkansas staff.

Paul Gattis, Huntsville Times: Alabama cornerback Simeon Castille has been ruled academically ineligible for the Cotton Bowl.

Charles Durrenberger, Arizona Daily Star: Arizona assistant Josh Heupel, the 2000 Heisman Trophy runner-up as a quarterback at Oklahoma, is headed back to Norman.

Carl DuBois, Baton Rouge Advocate: The Peach Bowl carries a powerful incentive for victory, but will Louisiana State and Miami be motivated after late-season collapses?

Phil Stukenborg, Commercial Appeal: Memphis players, many of whom have never seen snow, are in a festive mood as they arrive in frigid Detroit (registration).

Rick Star, Tribune-Review: West Virginia is 0-3 in bowl games under Rich Rodriguez, who is tired of being asked about it.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

This One Goes to Eleven

We were sitting around the old castle with the blokes the other day, wondering, "What if we were to start a contest to determine the best NCAA football blog in the land?" Hello Cleveland! The only thing better would be building a replica of Stonehenge to display on the site. But much to our dismay, Red Reporter beat us to it. Then we learned that the Wizard was not only nominated, but named a finalist! This was a total surprise, given the number of complaints we receive, like how much more black could the site be? And the answer is none. None more black. Despite all the commotion, the bottom line at the Wizard remains the same: Have ... a good time ... all the time.

A Journey Into the Unknown

So you're ready to saddle up and head for Old El Paso and the Sun Bowl. You arrive safely and immediately start gazing at the twinkling lights of Juarez, one of the most dangerous places known to man. The locals tell you not to step foot in the city for risk of life and limb. You think back to that time your mom told you not to stick that knife in the toaster, but you did it anyway and survived, so what could go wrong, right?

Thug Life

Booker Stanley is in trouble again. The Wisconsin running back allegedly beat and choked a woman at his off-campus apartment early Wednesday. He faces tentative felony charges of second-degree reckless endangerment, false imprisonment and intimidation of a victim and two counts of misdemeanor battery. In case you forgot, here's a link to those gruesome images from Stanley's alleged involvement in a fight last April, which led to four misdemeanor charges. At least somebody in Madison is starting to get upset (link to a page with a video report). What remains to be seen is if Stanley, although suspended indefinitely, will appeal the suspension and be allowed to play in the Capital One Bowl (some registration).

Columnists' Corner

Jason King, Kansas City Star: The breakfast included pancakes. The talk included football. And Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins put on the butter and syrup when talking about Mark Mangino's program (registration).

Matthew Aguilar, El Paso Times: Jordan Palmer's poor play in the GMAC Bowl raises questions about his ability to lead Texas El Paso next season.

Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune: You have questions, we have answers. What you need to know about the Notre Dame-Ohio State matchup in the Fiesta Bowl.

Jeff Shain, Miami Herald: Winners, please. He gets busy with predictions for the coming week's bowl games (registration).

Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News: In an effort to help you in your postseason investments, he offers his two cents on which side to take (registration).

John Rohde, Oklahoman: They're getting nervous in Norman. USC is only 14 victories shy of breaking Oklahoma's NCAA record winning streak of 47.

Mark Bradley, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Tech isn't happy about having to play in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco. "We got screwed," tailback P.J. Daniels said (registration).

Al Jones, Biloxi Sun Herald: Southern Mississippi wasn't at its best, but the Golden Eagles were good enough to finish a turbulent season with a victory against Arkansas State.

Reporters' Notebooks

Mike Sullivan, North County Times: New San Diego State coach Chuck Long has his No. 1 recruit: defensive coordinator Bob Elliott.

Mark Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Teams in the ACC and SEC who don't play in bowl games will earn almost as much money as teams that do (registration).

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Score one for Georgia over West Virginia. The Bulldogs got the prime practice facility in Atlanta in preparation for the Sugar Bowl (registration).

Dan McCarney, San Antonio Express-News: Michigan fans might not be excited about a trip to the Alamo Bowl, but Nebraska fans are expected to arrive in San Antonio in droves.

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: And speaking of Nebraska, yet another recruit has backed out of an oral commitment.

Will Vandervort, Columbia State: Clemson junior receiver Kelvin Grant says coach Tommy Bowden isn't being truthful about the reasons for his dismissal from the team.

Steve Kirk, Birmingham News: You have been warned, plan accordingly. Expect one, possibly two Alabama players to be declared academically ineligible for the Cotton Bowl.

Associated Press (via Chicago Tribune): Iowa is the toughest place to play in the Big Ten. Minnesota center Greg Eslinger said of fans at Kinnick Stadium, "Every once in a while they'll throw cigarette butts at you. ... Sometimes they're lit."

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

File This One Under Sharing

Colorado is buying 103 iPods for football players to the tune of about $36,050, a week after a state audit criticized athletic department spending. Our first reaction was to run out and buy Apple stock. Our second reaction was to see if we could field a team that could be more competitive in the Big 12 title game. That might get us a new laptop or something. But couldn't this lead to more trouble in Boulder? After all, lost amid all this hubbub was that in 2003, former Colorado defensive end Matt McChesney was sued by the Recording Industry Association of America for illegally downloading and sharing copyrighted music. Yes, that same McChesney who is now employed by the New York Jets. When the suit hit the fan, McChesney was accused of sharing more than 1,300 pieces of copyrighted music online. Among the songs McChesney was accused of downloading: "I'm a Thug" by Trick Daddy and "She Swallowed It" by NWA.

Columnists' Corner

Paola Boivin, Arizona Republic: A nice piece on former Arizona State quarterback Paul Justin, who returned to Tempe 14 years after playing to earn his degree.

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: A touch of crass: Nebraska learned of Josh Freeman's decommitment via a text message from the player's father.

Rick Starr, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: West Virginia is not only trying to beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, it must try to prove critics of the Big East wrong.

David Mayo, Grand Rapids Press: Why should you watch every bowl game? If you are searching for an excuse, he has one for you.

Kevin Scarbinsky, Birmingham News: If there is one person that knows how to slow the Trojan horses, it's Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik.

Reporters' Notebook

Susan Miller Degnan, Miami Herald: Miami is hurting at receiver, so expect Devin Hester to see extended time at the position in the Peach Bowl (registration).

Dave Ranney, Lawrence Journal-World: Kansas a basketball school? Officials expect 10,000 Jayhawk fans for Friday's game against Houston in the Fort Worth Bowl.

Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle: Instant replay will be used at every bowl, the first step in making the system mandatory throughout Division I-A next season.

Patrick Kinahan, Salt Lake Tribune: You don't drink, smoke or gamble. How do you have fun in Las Vegas? Brigham Young players seem to be enjoying themselves.

Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star: Terry Allen is Missouri State's new head coach. Yes, that Allen, who as Kansas coach in early November 2001, was told: Beat Nebraska that day or clean out your desk. The Jayhawks lost, 51-7 (registration).

Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman: Dan Hawkins isn't the only thing Boise State lost to Colorado. The former coach is taking several assistants with him.

Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times: In a bizarre story, USC quarterback Matt Leinart was declared ineligible for a short period of time by the NCAA for appearing in a promotional segment for ESPN.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Columnists' Corner

Rick Cleveland, Clarion-Ledger: If motivated, Southern Mississippi should have no trouble beating Arkansas State.

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Register: Mike Price is back in Alabama, and he is showing grace and an ability to turn around a Texas El Paso program.

Martin Fennelly, Tampa Tribune: George O'Leary took one hard fall and hit bottom. Now he has Central Florida in a bowl game.

Reporters' Notebooks

Mick McGrane, San Diego Union-Tribune: Bob Elliott, the defensive coordinator at Kansas State the past four seasons, is expected to join Chuck Long at San Diego State.

Suzanne Halliburton, Austin American-Statesman: The attorney representing two Texas players said police have no plans to charge the two in a Dec. 10 incident (registration).

Andy Staples, Tampa Tribune: Florida's recruiting class, regarded by some as the best in the nation, could swell to 33 players.

Chris Dempsey, Denver Post: Mark Helfrich, the quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator at Arizona State, will be Colorado's offensive coordinator next season.

B.G. Brooks, Rocky Mountain News: Colorado quarterback Joel Klatt is not pleased with a hit by Texas linebacker Drew Kelson that likely ended his college career.

Lincoln Journal Star: Josh Freeman, a top-flight quarterback recruit, has changed his mind. He plans to attend Kansas State instead of Nebraska.

Charles Durrenberger, Arizona Daily Star: Arizona is having a banner recruiting haul. The question is, how is Mike Stoops doing it?

Monday, December 19, 2005

We Take Our First Peek ... at a Bowl Game

It's a fitting way for Southern Mississippi to end the season. A team once displaced by Hurricane Katrina plays in a displaced bowl game. That's right, we're talking New Orleans Bowl, baby! The only things that have changed are the site (Lafayette) and Sun Belt representative (Arkansas State ... it seemed like North Texas had a lock on this bowl, didn't it?). Tuesday's epic battle kicks off the postseason, and the Golden Eagles are 17-point favorites. Although this is the eighth bowl in nine seasons for Southern Mississippi, not everybody is happy with coach Jeff Bower (he does graduate 85% of his players). The Indians are just happy to be here, considering the program moved from I-AA to I-A in 1992. The joy is at such a high level that starting linebacker Chris Littleton got into trouble Saturday night and was arrested on charges of battery of a police officer and resisting arrest. So much for Lafayette hosting a bowl game again (some registration).

Columnists' Corner

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times: When attempting to pick winners for that office bowl pool, examine the critical do-they-really-want-to-be-there factor.

Wally Hall, Northwest Arkansas Times: That grumbling coming from Arkansas fans? It's mainly because Notre Dame and Tennessee have moved ahead of the Razorbacks in the courting of quarterback Mitch Mustain, the nation's No. 1 recruit.

Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star: It's that time of year again, when the bowl games unite against the bashers (registration).

Reporters' Notebooks

Tom Mulhern, Wisconsin State Journal: Wisconsin fans have a reputation for traveling, but demand for tickets to the Capital One Bowl is lackluster at best.

Terrance Harris, Houston Chronicle: Pressed for time and can't decide which bowl games to watch? Here is a handy guide to separate the studs from the duds.

Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Mr. College Football" takes a crack at explaining how the bowl selection process in the ACC went awry (registration).

Ron Bellamy, Eugene Register-Guard: Oregon has played five games against Oklahoma, all in Norman, and lost them all by an aggregate score of 184-17.

Jim Masilak, Commercial Appeal: Akron, a year after being the only bowl eligible team left out of the postseason lineup, is thrilled about its trip to the Motor City Bowl.

Odeen Domingo, Arizona Republic: Jeff Joseph is a man of many hats. His son, Devraun Thompson, plays for Rutgers. And Joseph was on Arizona State's 1987 Rose Bowl team.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Longhorns at Center of Probe Likely to Play

Don't expect Texas officials to take action against running back Ramonce Taylor, left, or cornerback Cedric Griffin, who reportedly are being investigated by Austin police in connection with alleged assaults on Sept. 4 and Dec. 10. The attorney representing Taylor, who has started the last four games, and Griffin, who has started every game, provided new details into the Dec. 10 incident. The attorney also said that his clients were not involved in the Sept. 4 incident. Bottom line: Expect Taylor and Griffin to be on the field Jan. 4 when the Longhorns play USC in the Rose Bowl (registration).

Is a Playoff the Way to Go?

The smorgasbord of bowl games is about to begin, with 28 games in 16 days. Excessive? To some, yes. But others say this is the perfect way to end the season. The topic even sparked the interest of Congress, which held a hearing to ask gridiron movers and shakers whether the NCAA should stage a Division I-A playoff. It's already done on all other levels, including I-AA, where Friday night's finale was an example of what a true title game means to players and fans (story is in comments).

Reporters' Notebooks

Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin receiver Marcus Randle El, the brother of former Indiana and Pittsburgh Steeler standout Antwaan, was arrested after alleged being involved in a bar fight. He likely won't play in the Capital One Bowl. Potrykus also has a piece on Bret Bielema denying he has an escape clause in his contract that would allow him to leave for Iowa, if that job were to become open.

John Heuser, Ann Arbor News: Larry Harrison, who left Michigan after allegedly being caught fondling himself outside a home, has now been dismissed from the North Carolina A&T team.

Jeff D'Alessio, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The paper presents its Super Southern 100, the top players in the region. Here is the list (registration).

Mike Sullivan, North County Times: Is San Diego State getting serious? The hiring of Chuck Long appears to be an indication the school wants to change its football image.

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: Now that finals are over, Nebraska is preparing for its final football against Michigan in the Alamo Bowl.

Paul Honda, Honolulu Star-Bulletin: Hawaii is battling to keep its homegrown talent from leaving the state.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Texas-Sized Trouble Brewing for Longhorns

The Rose Bowl is over two weeks away, but already there are questions whether Texas will have enough players to field a team for its matchup against USC. Starting cornerback Cedric Griffin, left, and running back/kick returner Ramonce Taylor reportedly are under investigation by Austin police for incidents on Sept. 4 and Dec. 10 that allegedly involved robbery and assault. One report said the Sept. 4 incident involved an automatic handgun. Nice. We can only hope the Austin police act quickly because if there is one thing the fine God-fearing citizens of Pasadena don't need, it's the importation of alleged criminals into their law-abiding city. We also have a link to a page featuring a video report from KEYE (some registration).

San Diego State Takes a Long Shot

A Gulfstream IV jet, owned by San Diego Padres owner John Moores, a San Diego State booster, landed Friday at Norman's Max Westheimer Field. On board was Aztec athletic director Jeff Schemmel, who had arrived to pick up Chuck Long, the Oklahoma offensive coordinator who will be introduced Saturday as San Diego State's coach. Long was never a fan favorite at Oklahoma, but he is stepping into what many believe is a gem of a job. We also have a video report (registration).

Reporters' Notebooks

Chad Hartley, Reno Gazette-Journal: It's official: Nevada fans do not travel well. As of Thursday, the school had sold about 75 tickets for the Wolfpack's game against Central Florida in the Hawaii Bowl.

Joseph Person, Columbia State: This could be it for the Independence Bowl, which is without a corporate lifeline for the second year in a row. Person also has a report on South Carolina co-defensive coordinator John Thompson being put on a paid leave of absence.

David Staba, New York Times: Turner Gill, Buffalo's new coach, faces one of college football's most monumental challenges (registration).

Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman: Boise State lost Dan Hawkins, but a big cheer went up when Chris Petersen was introduced as his replacement.

B.G. Brooks, Rocky Mountain News: Dan Hawkins said all the right things in his first day on the job at Colorado.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Report: Texas Players Under Investigation

Several players from Texas are being investigated by the Austin Police Department for robbery and assault, according to reports in Austin. The investigation stems from two incidents on Sept. 4 and Dec. 10 (some registration).

Long, Hawkins, Petersen Have New Jobs

Oklahoma offensive coordinator Chuck Long has been offered and is expected to accept the job at San Diego State, the Oklahoman reports. It's not clear if he will stay with the Sooners through the Holiday Bowl, which, oddly enough, is played in San Diego. And as Colorado was introducing Dan Hawkins as its new coach, Chris Petersen was taking over for Hawkins at Boise State. We currently offer a link to video of the Hawkins press conference here. KTVB in Boise has several video reports posted on Petersen and Hawkins.

I-AA: No Argument Here

A national champion will be crowned Friday night when Northern Iowa and Appalachian State meet at Max Finley Stadium, which is plopped in a warehouse district in Chattanooga. One sportswriter couldn't tell if he was supposed to cover the game or load trucks. Each team will be playing their 15th game, but the players have balanced academics and athletics (story in comments), which apparently can't be done on the I-A level. This championship, unlike I-A, will be won on the field (registration).

Officer in Central Florida Shooting Cleared

Dennis D.R. Smith, a reserve officer for the Orlando Police Department, has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of Central Florida campus police officer Mario Jenkins, left, who was working an undercover operation to combat illegal drinking before the Central Florida-Marshall game on Sept. 24. But authorities said Michael John Young, who allegedly grabbed Jenkins in a bear hug during a pregame confrontation between Jenkins and a tailgater, will face charges of felony battery on a law enforcement officer and a misdemeanor charge for obstructing a law enforcement officer.

Rose Bowl Notebook

Suzanne Halliburton, Austin American-Statesman: Texas will try to learn from the mistakes Oklahoma made in last season's title game (registration).

Doug Krikorian, Long Beach Press-Telegram: Reggie Bush's biological father wants to set the record straight.

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News: Coveted defense end Walker Lee Ashley has been academically approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Wolf also reports that USC's opening opponent in 2007 could be Idaho, coached by former Trojan assistant Nick Holt.

Reporters' Notebooks

Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The ACC will be making adjustments to its bowl-selection process after Georgia Tech and Boston College were sent on cross-country ventures. Knobler also chips in with this gem: The No. 24 team in the AP poll has won its bowl game each of the past six seasons (registration).

Don Williams, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Texas Tech has suspended two receivers for violation of team rules.

Joe LaPointe, New York Times: Joe Paterno's political ties could clear the way for Penn State's Tamba Hali to be reunited with his mother for the first time in 11 years (registration).

Brian Rosenthal, Lincoln Journal Star: Former Nebraska standout Turner Gill will be named Buffalo's coach on Friday.

Adam Schmadtke, Orlando Sentinel: Central Florida fans are bowled over by the high cost of seeing the Golden Knights play in the Hawaii Bowl. Schmadtke also reports on Central Florida's plans for a 45,000-seat stadium.

Charles Durrenberger, Arizona Daily Star: Arizona coach Mike Stoops has added the nation's top junior college prospect to his recruiting class.

Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Chick-fil-A is eating the Peach. The fast-food giant will acquire exclusive naming rights to the Atlanta bowl next season, when it will simply be called the Chick-fil-A Bowl (registration).

Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk is dating the older sister of Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn.

Margaret Fosmoe, South Bend Tribune: Notre Dame fans will find out Monday who won and who lost in the lottery for Fiesta Bowl tickets

Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News: Michigan's Lloyd Carr has come out in favor of a 16-team playoff.

Michael Smith, Louisville Courier-Journal: Kentucky's Rich Brooks, winner of nine of 34 games, is talking bowl for his Wildcats in 2006.

Ryan Wood, Lawrence Journal-World: Houston's passing game doesn't worry Kansas as much as the Cougars' running game.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

So He's Not the Player of the Year?

In the interest of fairness, we present Matt Leinart's side of the story surrounding the incidents Saturday night/Sunday morning at Marquee, the New York club where the USC quarterback was photographed dancing with a Texas woman who allegedly slapped the USC quarterback after he made an inappropriate move. "She didn't slap me. And I didn't grope her," Leinart said. has the story, which is also linked at Ben Maller and Deadspin.

Columnists' Corner

Stan Hockman, Philadelphia Daily News: Joe Paterno quit? That will never happen in a million years (registration).

Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel: Tim Tebow looks good on paper, but high school credentials don't mean squat in college.

Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: And you thought your school had it bad. Imagine, for a second, being tied to Colorado.

Caulton Tudor, Raleigh News & Observer: North Carolina needs an offensive coordinator, and former East Carolina coach Steve Logan would be a perfect fit.

Reporters' Notebooks

Frank Fitzpatrick, Philadelphia Inquirer: Penn State might be a team shroud of secrecy, but that's not the case if you pick up the glossy fashion magazine W (registration).

Terrance Harris, Houston Chronicle: Former Western Michigan coach Gary Darnell will be hired as Texas A&M's defensive coordinator.

Izzy Gould, St. Petersburg Times: Yet another reminder why recruits should never give their cell phone number to a coach.

Lorenzo Perez, Raleigh News & Observer: North Carolina State fans are gobbling up tickets for the Meineke Car Care Bowl. The same can't be said for followers of South Florida (registration).

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia's Mark Richt is likely to get a restructured contract after the season (registration).

Ferd Lewis, Honolulu Advertiser: Central Florida is transporting a 253-member party to Honolulu for the Hawaii Bowl. That alone will cost in excess of $500,000.

Keith Whitmire, Dallas Morning News: Lee Hays, the man who will install the spread offense at Baylor, has been through Marine Corps sniper school (registration).

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ballroom Dancing Classes Come in Handy

Nothing like getting in the gutter in search of the truth. Photos of Matt Leinart partying it up at Marquee after the Heisman ceremony appeared on Deadspin and Ben Maller, so we must ask: Is young Matt living a life of sin? The woman pictured with Leinart certainly doesn't appear to be Brynn Cameron, who was linked to Leinart in this April 28 story and even as recently as Oct. 21. Maybe this is why Vince Young of that Brokeback Mountain team didn't want anything to do with Leinart and Reggie Bush after the ceremony (breaking protocol, we might add). Even more shocking: the woman Leinart pursued for most of the night was from Texas! According to Deadspin, Leinart "hit on one of the girls from Texas all night, danced with her, and then was so drunk he groped her ... she turned around and slapped him, and left." We wonder if that was Vince Young's girlfriend. Quite a different story from this so-called behind-the-scenes piece.

Hawkins to Colorado Is All but Complete

It appears Boise State will be looking for a coach. The Rocky Mountain News reports that Dan Hawkins is believed to have received a verbal offer to replace Gary Barnett at Colorado, and the Daily Camera takes it one step further, saying Hawkins likely will be introduced as coach by the end of the week. The Idaho Statesman reports that Hawk, as the locals call him, spent Tuesday in Boise, despite prior plans to take a recruiting trip. We also have a video report from Boise's KTVB (some registration).
Update: The Denver Post reports Hawkins meeting with Boise officials, including president Robert Kustra, on Wednesday. The Idaho Statesman reports that Boise State offensive coordinator Chris Petersen already has expressed interest in replacing Hawkins.
Update II: KTVB in Boise has a new video report. The station talked with Hawkins, who issued a no comment when asked directly if he was taking the Colorado job. KUSA in Denver also has a video report and a 30-minute interview with Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn, who says Barnett was owed $4.2 million, but the sides settled on $3 to end the agreement.
Update III: KTVB reports it's a done deal, and Hawkins will be introduced as Colorado coach Friday. Colorado Board of Regents will sign off on the deal Thursday. In a seamless transition, Petersen is expected to take over at Boise.