Monday, July 31, 2006

Siouxner or Later, the Internet Will Get You

From the depths of the Internet, we bring you Siouxner, the man who has claimed responsibility for altering the Adrian Peterson photo that was featured last Wednesday. First a little background and warning to Longhorn fans: You have an insurgent among you! Siouxner, obviously, is a huge Oklahoma fan and he's embedded deep in the heart of Texas (Fort Worth). Take proper precautions, have plenty of canned goods and bottled water on hand and seek shelter if needed! ... Now Siouxner says he is not related to Peterson, does not know the origin of the photo — thought to be taken early in the 2004 season in Norman — and said his altered version first appeared online in December 2004, a couple of weeks before the 2005 BCS title game. But rather than have the Wiz babble, we will let Siouxner tell the story:

Wiz: How did this develop, with your altering the photo?
Siouxner: First, you should understand the message board subculture. It's a great place for fans to "get together" and chat about their team and fight with fans from other teams. I am a regular on Before the 2005 BCS title game between OU and USC, there was a lot of smack talk going down. A fellow OU poster was having a rough go over at a USC site. They didn't seem to think that much of then-freshman Adrian Peterson. He asked for some help. I doctored the photo to put a little bit of scare in them.
The reaction from USC fans was pretty funny, as they were amazed by Peterson's size. Their whole perception changed, but eventually someone found the original. Most of them had a pretty good laugh about it. Then, of course, USC's photoshoppers or "farkers" came over and posted their fine work. It was a lot of fun, at least until their team whipped mine (55-19).

Wiz: Do you have any other "projects" floating around the Internet?
Siouxner: Sure, being a big OU fan, Oklahoma State and Texas are often the objects of my sports venom. So naturally, I have been known to post an occasional pic of an OSU Aggie player or coach violating a sheep or other farm animal. Likewise, there may have been a pic or two celebrating the forbidden love between Mack Brown and Vince Young. I mean, hey, every fan has to do his part, right?

Wiz: Is there anything you want to say independent of all of this?
Siouxner: The users of Photoshop are becoming so good that it is almost impossible to rely on anything you see anymore. I thought I was pretty decent at it, but there are some dudes out there that put me to shame. I guess the old saying applies, "If it looks too good to be true then it probably is." I am still surprised everyone believed it. I mean, Peterson looks to be 280 pounds in that pic.

Wiz: One last question: How can I be 100% certain you are the person responsible for altering the photo?
Siouxner: As far as how to prove that the alteration was my creation? Hmmm. I'm not sure I could prove that. ... I understand why you need to be sure about it. It would be rather embarrassing I would assume if I turned up to making all this up. Usually, when I alter something or make a desktop wallpaper, I save it in stages. However, that pic of Peterson was so simple that none were necessary, so I can't show you a progression. If you want me to test me somehow go right ahead and send me a pic.

Wiz: No, that's not necessary. I appreciate you taking time to give us a glimpse into the farking mind. I will note your response to the last question at the end piece to be fair and open to everybody. Thanks again!
Siouxner: One last thing: If you're a big college football fan and need to get your fix on, check out That is where you'll find me.

A Kinder, Gentler Bunch of Hokies?

In what appears to be a classic case of not being able to see the forest from the trees, Virginia Tech players say the "Thug Life" tag associated with the program is simply not justified. "The perception seems to be like we're kind of the Raiders of the NFL, kind of dirty or whatever," senior center Danny McGrath says. "Is Virginia Tech a thuggish team? I don't think it's true." Hmmmm ... there were those incidents at West Virginia in 2005, when Marcus Vick flipped off the crowd and bumped into a Mountaineer assistant. How about the 143 penalty yards in a 27-22 loss to Florida State in the ACC title game? Raideresqe behavior if we've ever seen it. And Vick's stomping on the back of the left leg of Louisville's Elvis Dumervil. What was that? Well, those days are history ladies and gentlemen! So says coach Frank Beamer, above, who plans to inform players of stricter consequences for stepping out of line. "I think everybody knows how Virginia Tech wants to do it," he said. "We want to play hard and aggressive, but do it the right way ... fair and square. We're going to get it right."

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Blowing the Whistle on Rule 3-2-5-e

Count Scott Wolf, USC beat reporter for the Los Angeles Daily News, among the sharp-eyed reporters on top of the disastrous 3-2-5-e rule, which we have been harping about for the past few days. Wolf, in his blog, says the new rule is expected to shorten games by 10-12 minutes and knock 10-12 plays out of the game. The Wiz won't guesstimate how much time will be shaved from the length of a game, but he will challenge only 10-12 plays being lost. The argument we presented Saturday was actually a conservative estimate of 20 lost plays. For example, we cited seven kickoffs in our mock game. That would mean a game with five scores and the two kickoffs to start each half. Many games have 10 or more kickoffs. Now unless the networks are plotting to step in and insert commercial time between the kickoff and the next play from scrimmage (as is done for NFL games), each kickoff will result in the loss of one play under 3-2-5-e. ... We listed only eight punts in our mock game. Again, a very conservative estimate. Any game dominated by defenses will drive this number up considerably, often resulting in 15 punts. Now let's say a commercial break is inserted 50% of the time after punts. So if you have 15 punts and get eight commercials, that would mean a loss of seven plays under 3-2-5-e. As for fumbles and interceptions, again we will go with a commercial break being inserted 50% of the time. So if you have five turnovers, at least two and possibly three plays will be lost. With 10 kickoffs, that puts you right at 20 plays. Now if you don't believe us, read what Darrell Moody wrote in the Nevada Appeal, where Hawaii coach June Jones predicted his team would lose between 12 and 15 snaps because of the rule and that the lost plays would cost the Rainbows 14 points.

Groh-ing Pains at Virginia

Looks like the dreaded line between academics and athletics is being drawn at Virginia, and given Al Groh's so-so record as coach, the smart money is on the academic community. Last week it was announced that eight players — a third of Groh's 2006 recruiting class — failed to gain admittance. The revelation provided unlimited ammo for those upholding the academic end of the deal to fire away at Groh, above, who has done little to build the capital needed to fight off such assaults. To make matters worse, Groh had a snarky retort when asked about the academic casualties. Now that the reviews are coming in, it's clear Groh is getting the big thumbs down. Read what Newport News Daily Press columnist David Teel had to say about the coach and his Cavalier attitude: "Groh's public manner is brusque, his 37-26 record just above average. And he is overpaid handsomely — a minimum $1.8 million this year — to navigate the inevitable crises of major college football. ... Losing one-third of a recruiting class, some temporarily, others permanently, is a big deal for any school. For a school that fancies itself a public Ivy and boasts lofty graduation rates, it is an XXL deal."

Nothing to Go Hog Wild Over

Resuming our series of poster schedules, we present you Arkansas' effort for 2006. Although we would be delighted to move the Monet from the main gallery to the back room in order to display many of the entries we have received, the Razorbacks' effort wouldn't make it out of the bathroom. Simply put, this is the most uninspiring poster schedule to date! Now this should be an inspiration to readers who have been thinking about sending the Wiz their team's official 2006 poster schedule but fear it might not meet the stringent standards we have in place. As you can see from the Arkansas schedule, we really have no standards. So if you have an image of your team's official 2006 poster schedule, send it to dawizofodds (at) Previously we have displayed efforts from Florida State, Florida, Iowa State and USC. ... One last note regarding the Arkansas poster: it shows early signs of a curse. Darren McFadden, the player displayed on the far left and SEC freshman of the year in 2005, is likely to miss a considerable part of the season after injuring his big left toe in a fight outside — you guessed it — a bar. A toe injury is never a good thing for a running back. Hogs, Hill, SEC is keeping tabs on this, and from the early reports, it appears McFadden and his brother stepped into a bad situation. Thanks to Pig Kahuna!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

New Rule Will Cut 20-30 Plays From a Game

The new 3-2-5-e rule, which mandates the clock being started when the ball is marked ready to play after a change of possession, will cut between 20-30 plays from your average game. How do we arrive at this number? A change of possession is a kickoff, punt, interception or fumble. Let us say there are seven kickoffs, eight punts, three fumbles and two interceptions in a game. That is a total of 20 plays. Not unreasonable. Previously, the game clock did not start until the ball was snapped. No more under 3-2-5-e. As soon as the ball is marked, the game and play clocks will start. So teams must shuttle offenses and defenses on the field while the game and play clocks are running and get the play off. This will no doubt take up nearly all of the allotted 25 seconds, time that did not run off the game clock before the passage of 3-2-5-e. We can't stress how much an impact this is going to have on games. This is one of the biggest rules changes in years. Remember this when point totals come out for week one because the unders will no doubt be worth a close look. The rationale behind this rule change was to cut the length of the average game by five minutes. We ask why? The popularity of college football is at an all-time high. Will five minutes send the sport plunging into oblivion? No. But if you want to push it off that slope, cutting 20-30 plays is a good place to start.

Friday, July 28, 2006

New Rule Appears Open to Interpretation

A rule designed to reduce the length of games ignited a litany of complaints from coaches attending the Pacific 10 media day in Los Angeles. Specifically, the new rule (3-2-5-e) states that after changes in possession such as interceptions and kickoffs, the clock begins as soon as officials mark the ball ready for play. In the past, the clock did not start until the ensuing snap, giving squads time to run onto the field. "It's the most dramatic, drastic change I've ever seen. Nobody likes it," Oregon coach Mike Bellotti told the L.A. Times. Here are two doomsday scenarios: If only one or two seconds remain, coaches asked, will offensive squads have time to line up and snap the ball for a Hail Mary or field-goal attempt? ... If the leading team takes possession with less than 25 seconds remaining — the time allotted to snap the ball before a delay-of-game penalty — it could simply wait on the sideline as officials mark the ball and start the clock. In other words, the game would end with an empty field. "I wouldn't send my offense out there. No sense in taking a chance," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. Verle Sorgen, the Pac-10 coordinator for football officiating, didn't appear to have any answers. "We'll do the best we can," he said.

California's Perfect 10

Those were the days! Remember when Brigham Young sent out neckties to promote Ty Detmer for the Heisman? Or how about Washington State mailing a leaf to hype Ryan Leaf? Today we have the Internet, and unless you are Notre Dame, having a website to promote your star player is a necessity. California has decided to put its chips on running back Marshawn Lynch and it has created This is Cal's first foray into Heisman promotion since 1992, when the Golden Bears mailed postcards touting tailback Russell White. The campaign went nowhere when Cal staggered to a 4-7 record, and given the expectations entering this season, four wins could lead to an uprising in Berkeley. Officials are also mailing brochures to writers and broadcasters, and so far they say the total cost has been under $10,000. ... A couple of other stops on the Heisman circuit. Louisville's Derby City Duo promotes quarterback Brian Brohm and running back Michael Bush, and the quality Heisman Pundit tries to separate contenders from pretenders. While Notre Dame doesn't feel the need to push Brady Quinn because of the exposure it will get during the normal course of the season, others have taken up the cause. We present you with Brady4Heisman. Oddly enough, Quinn and Lynch each wear No. 10 (some registration).

Thursday, July 27, 2006

USC's Battle With Agents

How problematic were sports agents and their associates for USC last season? It turns out that the situation got so out of hand that by spring, Trojan coach Pete Carroll gathered the agents in an auditorium and gave them a speech that, according to various accounts, was a stern warning that contained "a lot of expletives along the way." The L.A. Times, in a lengthy piece, details the maneuvering of agents around campus as they attempted to position themselves for a shot at the Trojans' plethora of NFL-caliber talent. Carroll's anger with the agents may spill over to this season. The coach reportedly remains upset that several underclassmen left early for a shot at NFL riches and is pointing blame at the agents.

Picture This: Robinson Shots Legit

Thanks to the fine work of reader Mike (the first to find it), we have confirmation that the second photo of Oklahoma lineman George Robinson is indeed legit, giving us confirmation on both photos. The second photo was taken by Steve Sisney of the Oklahoman on March 31, 2006 and ran with a piece on Robinson's workout routine and changes he made in his diet. The original can be located here, and you will have to select "OU" for a category and "Spring Practice 3/21" for a gallery. ... As for the doctored Adrian Peterson photo, a claim has been made by "Siouxner," who said he took the original before the 2004 championship game, then doctored it for a friend who "was having some smack talk with USC fans over the net." He added that "I can't believe that everyone bought it." The Wiz would like to tell Siouxner's story in detail and asks that he contact us directly: dawizofodds (at) Needless to say, we are highly entertained by all of this and promise to keep your identity a secret.

Reporters' Notebooks

Edgar Thompson, Palm Beach Post: The Bowl Championship Series rankings will turn into a made-for-TV event this fall on Fox.

Andy Staples, Tampa Tribune: The NCAA's newest headache: Blogs, personal websites and social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.

Jon Solomon, Birmingham News: Want to try and make a quick dollar? Go out and buy a domain and start pulling for the team to lose.

Darryl Slater, Daily Press: Virginia's dean of admissions says Al Groh's staff must do a better job of recruiting students who can qualify. The comments came after a third of the Cavaliers' 2006 recruits failed to qualify.

Mike Shalin, Boston Herald: The ACC's decision to rework its bowl bid process is being called the "BC Rule."

B.G. Brooks, Rocky Mountain News: Gary Barnett, the man who recruited Pat Fitzgerald to Northwestern, says the new Wildcat coach is ready despite being only 31 years old.

Aaron Fentress, Oregonian: Quite an interesting piece on Oregon recruit Marvin Johnson, who will be given a second chance after getting into trouble in January while visiting Eugene on a recruiting trip.

Brian Rosenthal, Lincoln Journal Star: Nebraska recruit Major Culbert, who was involved in the same incident with Johnson in Eugene, was cleared to join the Cornhuskers.

Mike Baldwin, Oklahoman: Is Boone Pickens, who "donated" $165 million to Oklahoma State's athletic department, getting itchy to replace coach Mike Gundy? (registration).

Wendell Barnhouse, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: He covers it all, from sizing up Duke to the downsizing of Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen.

Chip Cosby, Lexington Herald-Leader: Kentucky coach Rich Brooks, on the hotseat, sets the bar low, saying six wins and a bowl game is the goal.

Ericka Mellon, Dave Hooker and Drew Edwards, Knoxville News-Sentinel: An assistant principal has been suspended while officials investigate allegations that she had a sexual relationship with a Tennessee recruit.

Columnists' Corner

Tom Kubat, Lafayette Journal & Courier: The schedulemaker has done Michigan no favor, but you have to like the creampuffs Wisconsin lined up.

Sean Keeler, Des Moines Register: The balance of power will eventually swing back to the Big 12's North Division, right? Not so says ESPN analyst and former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie.

Keith Whitmire, Dallas Morning News: Reporters waited at an interview table for Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione with microphones and tape recorders pointed, like members of a firing squad (registration).

Jeff Haney, Las Vegas Sun: What are gamblers reading in Las Vegas in preparation for the season? All you need to do is stop at the Gambler's Book Shop.

Rick Bozich, Lousiville Courier-Journal: Louisville is a 24.5 favorite over Kentucky in the Sept. 3 opener. That seems like too many points.

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Register: Picking winners and losers from the academic scandal that has gripped Auburn.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Use of Enhancements at Oklahoma

Although Oklahoma players may not be using enhancements, it's clear Sooner fans are. That photo of running back Adrian Peterson that has been making the rounds? It's a fraud ladies and gentlemen. Thanks to reader Ryan, an original was found. We present you with the original shot on the left, said to be taken in December 2004, next to the enhanced version. We have no doubt that Peterson has beefed up since the original, but the puffed up version raised suspicions. Then all the fire alarms went off when shots of teammate George Robinson arrived at our cyberdesk. But unlike the Peterson shot, all indications are that the Robinson photos are, in fact, legit. The first photo, which has Robinson resembling the Michelin Tire Man, can be found at the Sooner Sports site. The only question that remains is the second shot, and we continue to search for an original. Any leads appreciated....

How to Look Down on Your Opponents

If you are planning a trip this fall, it's always a good idea to have a map of enemy territory and rendezvous points to share with fellow insurgents. The good folks at Map Game Day provide such necessary intelligence. The site, which allows fans to create online sharable maps of college stadiums and surrounding neighborhoods, continues to evolve at a dizzying pace. The latest enhancement is the ability for webmasters to embed maps into their pages (ala YouTube). We haven't had the time to do this yet, but Richard of Map Game Day directed us to a link that he created of Neyland Stadium and the Tennessee campus that contains many of the bells and whistles that can be incorporated. Also comes word that Map Game Day will be starting an NFL site within the next few days.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Slim-Fast or Just Slim and Fast?

Had it not been for all the interest in the offseason physical development of Adrian Peterson, we wouldn't be posting these reported shots of Oklahoma offensive lineman George Robinson. Frankly, we find these before and after shots of Robinson hard to believe (double-click on the image for a closer inspection). If true, and again, the changes here are so dramatic we remain skeptical, what the hell is going on at Oklahoma? The photo on the left, said to taken a year ago, shows a 6-foot-5, 350 pound Robinson. The photo on the right is said to be of the new Robinson, minus 50 pounds. Now Oklahoma's website currently lists Robinson at 332, so again, proceed with caution. Maybe somebody from the Oklahoma camp can enlighten us as to what is going on in Norman. Then again, maybe they don't want to....

Monday, July 24, 2006

This Is Clearly the Work of the Devils

Talk is cheap. And from the looks of it, so is billboard space around Phoenix. Arizona State, somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-1 to win the national championship, is making rather bold statements in a promotional campaign. "Sun Devil Law" is the theme, and from the looks of it, there appear to be laws on the books that we never knew existed. ... We've only scratched the surface, but thanks to the excellent work of Hog, Hills, SEC, you can get more of the Devils' work by clicking here.

North to Alaska

We look forward to the day when the first college coach makes a recruiting trip to Barrow. Yes, Alaska's northernmost high school, located 340 miles north of the Arctic Circle, has decided to field a football team. Its nearest opponent is 577 miles away, but the Inupiaq village community — population 4,200 — has decided a six-figure travel budget is not too big of a hurdle to make this work. The force behind this? Barrow High has a frightening dropout rate and has been rocked in the last 18 months by alcohol and drug scandals, plus a murder that implicated two students. Officials decided to survey the 280 students — many students simply say they don't have enough to do — to find out what extracurricular activities they would like added to keep them busy. Football topped the list. ... The Whalers' home field won't need lights because the sun is always out in late summer, but snow and 20-degree temperatures are possible, even in August. Officials plan to park buses in a row to help keep freezing winds off elderly spectators and one of the buses will be heated for the opposing team's comfort. Last but not least, a sentry will be perched in a wooden lookout to scan for those nasty polar bears in case one of the roving giants decides to get too close to the action. Thanks to John for this gem and to First People for the image!

Reporters' Notebooks

Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Linebacker Willie Williams might be returning to Miami, but Hurricane players won't be rolling out the red carpet.

Joey Johnston, Tampa Tribune: Florida State and Miami don't play each other for six weeks, but the war of words has already started.

Mike Shalin, Boston Herald: The bowl trips are nice. The bowl winning streak, which stands at six, is the longest in the nation. But for Boston College, there's more work to be done.

Dow Jones News Service: Schools in the Big 12 Conference want to attract more venture investment to their states, with football as the bait. (thanks Kevin!)

Dave Matter, Columbia Tribune: A look at the 12 best Big 12 games for the upcoming season.

Tom Knott, Washington Times: The lawsuit filed by a one-eyed official against the Big Ten raises unsettling questions.

Brian Vernellis, Shreveport Times: Louisiana State fans are paying more for tickets because of athletic department losses from Hurricane Katrina.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Reporters' Notebooks

Mark Alesia, Indianapolis Star: The Auburn grade scandal has sparked another call for the NCAA to institute new academic reforms.

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Quarterback John Richt, the 16-year-old son of Georgia coach Mark Richt, has received a scholarship offer from Clemson (registration).

Bob Thomas, Jacksonville Times-Union: Why wait to have the 12 most pressing questions answered before the ACC holds its preseason kickoff gathering when you can take a stab at them now? (registration).

Robbi Pickeral, Raleigh News & Observer: ACC commissioner John Swofford says the league is exploring the use of expanded video streaming as another source of revenue (registration).

Ron Higgins, Commercial Appeal: Mike Shula has brought Alabama back to the elite, but can he keep it going? (registration)

Columnists' Corner

Andy Johnston, Athens Banner-Herald: Georgia administrator George Stafford says new rules to curtail tailgating are an attempt to regain control of a situation that simply has gotten out of hand.

Rick Maese, Baltimore Sun: There's no scoreboard that will tell you this, but there wasn't a winner when former Navy quarterback Lamar Owens was cleared last week of rape charges (registration).

Frank Dascenzo, Durham Herald-Sun: Look into this crystal ball and you'll find it difficult to challenge the basic logic that claims Miami, in the Coastal, and Florida State, in the Atlantic Division, will rule the ACC in 2006.

Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Here is one guy's guess at what the most frequently asked questions will be at this week's ACC and SEC preseason gatherings. And he threw in the answers for free (registration).

Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The Big East has reinvented its football program after the defections of Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College to the ACC.

Rick Bozich, Louisville Courier-Journal: Forget the Fiesta or Orange bowls. Louisville running back Michael Bush is talking about picking up that nasty 7-10-pin split.

Brad Rock, Deseret News: The Mountain West TV plan is, well, it's as clear as mud.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Leak's Father: Racial Bias Is Not an Issue

Curtis Leak, the father of Florida quarterback Chris Leak, has clarified comments he made to Mike Freeman of CBS Sportsline that Gator fans did not want his son to break Heisman winner Danny Wuerffel's records because Leak is black. "Some woman did say to me that people around her said something like that. But I've never heard anything like that. And Chris has never told me he's heard anything like that," the elder Leak told the Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun. Leak was quoted earlier by Sportsline's Freeman as saying, "There are fans who don't want Chris to break Danny's records because Chris is black. I can't say it is every Gator fan. It's not. But it's enough. I hear about that from white friends and white fans that support Chris. It's unfortunate it has to be that way, but that's the way it is. There are a lot of white fans who are behind Chris. Those white fans tell me there are other white fans who do not like Chris because he's black. Some of these fans call into the talk shows and post horrible things on the websites. Some of those people are dirt." Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel says Leak can silence critics by winning a title.

Reporters' Notebooks

Pete Thamel, New York Times: Auburn's interim president outlined several proposals to change the university's academic policies in the wake of reports that suggested some athletes were receiving preferential treatment (registration).

Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: In a bizarre story, Miami safety Willie Cooper was shot in the buttocks during a shootout that also involved teammate and roommate Brandon Meriweather. The players rent a house owned by defensive backs coach Tim Walton, with the approval of the university's compliance office.

Bradley Olson, Baltimore Sun: The military jury that acquitted former Navy quarterback Lamar Owens of rape spared him from having to serve time in prison on two related felonies stemming from a sexual encounter with a female midshipman (registration).

Angelique Chengelis, Detroit News: Opponents of a plan to add luxury boxes to Michigan Stadium, including a former speechwriter for President Clinton, voiced their displeasure during a meeting of the Board of Regents.

Bob Condotta, Seattle Times: Washington running back J.R. Hasty is likely to be academically ineligible.

Jimmy Watson, Shreveport Times: Louisiana Tech has lost its defensive coordinator two weeks before the start of fall drills.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Can You Tackle This Man?

That is the question asked by Burnt Orange Nation. The man is none other than Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson, and from the looks of it, he has been locked in the Sooners' weight room for some time. The kid is as tough as they come and he fought through last season with a bum ankle and a myriad of other bumps and bruises. He was even a load to tackle then, but we can't imagine trying to wrestle a healthy Peterson to the turf in 2006. No wonder the Sooners were picked to win the Big 12 South over national champion Texas. Oklahoma's schedule is favorable, with potential potholes Sept. 16 at Oregon and, of course, Oct. 7 against Texas at the Cotton Bowl. Get through that and it could be clear sailing to the BCS title game, which Burnt Orange Nation also points out has been a regular stop for teams from the Big 12 Conference.

Toledo Still Fired Up Over Being Fired

Bob Toledo remains a bitter man. Toledo, now 60, was fired as UCLA's coach in 2002 after a season-ending loss to Washington State. He was told by athletic director Dan Guerrero that he would not be allowed to coach the Bruins in the Las Vegas Bowl. "They bring me in, get me out of my office, and it's 'Go home. Don't talk to the team.' It took a week and I called every kid to explain what happened, and they wouldn't let me coach the bowl game. I couldn't go to the banquet. I don't want to say they treated me like a criminal, but I was really disappointed with the way they did it," he said. ... Toledo was 49-32 in seven seasons at Westwood, including a 20-game winning streak. An embarrassing series of off-field issues, including players misusing handicapped parking placards, and four consecutive losses to USC proved to be his downfall. Toledo got back to work in January when he was hired as New Mexico's offensive coordinator.

Reporters' Notebooks

Todd Lighty, Chicago Tribune: A former Northwestern doctor has been disciplined for burning Rashidi Wheeler's medical records days after the player died at an illegal preseason practice in 2001.

Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Former Wisconsin running back Booker Stanley is facing serious prison time after he was found guilty of three felonies.

Paul Strelow, Columbia State: Clemson and Notre Dame were cleaning up the mess left by a Tiger recruit who slammed Notre Dame's recruiting tactics.

Nelson Hernandez, Washington Post: Former Navy quarterback Lamar Owens was cleared of raping a midshipman, but found guilty of two lesser charges and could face two years in a military prison (registration).

Pete Bosak, Centre Daily Times: A trial date has been set in the indecent assault case against former Penn State player Scott Paxson.

Mark Anderson, Las Vegas Review-Journal: Nevada Las Vegas coach Mike Sanford got a heavy dose of football recently, but it wasn't the American version.

Melissa Pinion-Whitt, Ontario Daily Bulletin: The Air Force senior airman who was shot by San Bernardino County deputy Ivory Webb, a former receiver at Iowa, is scheduled to return to duty Friday.

Tanya Caldwell, Los Angeles Times: Off-topic post. ... Seven of the world's best poker players, including Howard Lederer, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and Annie Duke, have filed a lawsuit against the World Poker Tour.

Columnists' Corner

Geoff Calkins, Commercial Appeal: Mississippi Madman Ed Orgeron, who was preaching the gospel in Memphis and (not) answering questions about the Rebels' quarterback situation, is rough around the edges, but that is the appeal (registration).

Carl DuBois, Baton Rouge Advocate: Fans love to make predictions, but those unpredictable moments are what makes college football special.

Frank Dascenzo, Durham Herald-Sun: The loss of quarterback Zack Asack is another big hit to Duke, whose football season has ended before it started.

Ron Ingram, Birmingham News: Because of the pressures of recruiting and desire for early commitments, a player's senior year has become almost unimportant.

Ron Maly: Howard Jones would understand him, Frank Lauterbur would think he has flipped out, but Kirk Ferentz's Iowa team will go through the regular season undefeated.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Profiles in Courage

James Gundlach, the professor who went to the New York Times with evidence of academic misconduct at Auburn, has been contacted by the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, which has been researching the tax-exempt status of intercollegiate athletics. Of course, this shouldn't conflict with the committee's other pet project, which is researching new ways for members to get re-elected. All in all, it's a good time to throw a little gas on the old fire, wouldn't you say? ... The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Auburn's accrediting body, also wants to know more, and we presume it has nothing to do with how Tommy Tuberville's troops are looking as they get ready to crank it up this fall. Despite the latest round of shenanigans, we do applaud Gundlach for coming forward. Needless to say, it takes big brass ones, and his life will never be the same. Just look at what happened to Linda Bensel-Meyers, who blew the whistle seven years ago on Tennessee. Bensel-Meyers, who was the director of the freshman English program at Tennessee, charged the institution and athletics department with academic fraud. After being spat on by Volunteer fans, she wisely relocated to Colorado. But troubles have followed. Her marriage is over, bills are piling up and her health is in decline. "I hope he's strong," Bensel-Meyers says of Gundlach (registration).

We'll Keep This Rant Short and Sweet

National Public Radio's Scott Horsley reported on the Justice Department's crackdown on Internet gambling. Horsley's 3:33 report aired on "All Things Considered." You can listen to it by clicking here. And from the Department of If You're Not Cheating You're Not Trying, word comes that they are tossing out players at the World Series of Poker in Vegas for collusion. Also, a fine column by Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Click on comments to read the column.

Reporters' Notebooks

Pete Bosak, Centre Daily Times: Lavon Chisley, a defensive end who was kicked off the Penn State team before last season because of poor grades, is a "person of interest" in a grisly stabbing death of a student (thanks to Kevin for the tip).

David Barron, Houston Chronicle: The NFL Network has acquired broadcast rights to the Houston Bowl. The network earlier acquired broadcast rights to the Insight Bowl.

Joe Walljasper, Columbia Tribune: Another day, another raid on prep talent in Missouri. This time Georgia made the score.

J.P. Giglio, Raleigh News & Observer: We just lifted this sentence from Giglio's story: Duke suspended starting quarterback Zack Asack for plagiarism (registration).

John Niyo, Detroit News: Breaking down what must go right and what can go wrong for Michigan and Michigan State.

Natalie Meisler, Denver Post: Adding to the confusion, the Mountain West Conference game of the week will be telecast by OLN, which will be renamed in September.

Tony Phifer, Coloradoan: Wyoming coach Joe Glenn was fuming after his team was picked to finish ninth in the MWC. "We're going to be out to prove people wrong."

Anthony Gimino, Tucson Citizen: The father of Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama reached a plea agreement on two felony charges of securities fraud.

Hogs, Hill, SEC: Hollywood could be coming to Bentonville. USC appears set to arrive in Bentonville, Ark., four days before it opens against Arkansas in nearby Fayetteville.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It's a Lost Cause for Brown and Brooks

It's OK if you've lost 100 games and your name happens to be Bobby Bowden or Joe Paterno, the biggest winners among the 119 Division I-A coaches. It's another thing to lose 100-plus games and have a winning percentage well below .500. Such is the case for Alabama Birmingham's Watson Brown, left, who has a record of 91-142-2, and Kentucky's Rich Brooks, who is 100-134-4. Of the 10 coaches in I-A who have lost more than 100 games, Brown and Brooks are the only two with losing records. Minnesota's Glen Mason (117-114-1) is a threat to join this exclusive group, but the rest of the losers — for the most part — happen to be big winners. Other coaches with 100 losses: Florida State's Bowden (359-107-4); Penn State's Paterno (354-117-3); Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer (188-102-4); Air Force's Fisher DeBerry (165-101-1); San Jose State's Dick Tomey (161-118-7); Texas El Paso's Mike Price (145-130) and Florida Atlantic's Howard Schnellenberger (128-107-3).

Reporters' Notebooks

Ian R. Rapoport, Clarion-Ledger: Mississippi Madman Ed Orgeron faced questions about Brent Schaeffer, his projected starter at quarterback, and had few answers.

Dave Matter, Columbia Tribune: Colorado has the highest average ticket price in the Big 12 at $75 a pop. Baylor, on the other end, has an average price of $30.

Brian Dohn, L.A. Daily News: UCLA starting linebacker John Hale and reserve defensive tackle Jess Ward are facing punishment from coach Karl Dorrell after the players pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault. Dorrell is also getting a raise.

Seth Emerson, Columbia State: Some high school coaches say an early signing period would take pressure off recruits and decrease the number of players backing out of a commitment.

Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune: West Virginia is not only the favorite to win the Big East, but a legitimate contender for the national title. And the conference is looking to expand its bowl lineup.

Kyle Hightower, Orlando Sentinel: Central Florida paid $10,000 to get out of a 2007 game at Tennessee, clearing the way for the home opener against Texas.

Bradley Olson, Baltimore Sun: Former Navy quarterback Lamar Owens, accused of rape, said his accuser invited him into bed (registration).

Bill Sanders, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville doesn't believe the NCAA will get involved in grading allegations at the university (registration).

Tony Phifer, Coloradoan: Colorado State officials were calling the first day of online ticket sales "a big success."

Natalie Meisler, Denver Post: The Mountain West Conference's lineup of postseason games is about as clear as mud.

Michael C. Lewis, Salt Lake Tribune: Mountain West officials continue to scramble to explain the conference's long-term contract with upstart College Sports TV.

Columnists' Corner

Dave Hickman, Charleston Gazette: The Big East is riding West Virginia's victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl to gain much-needed credibility.

John Pruett, Huntsville Times: The No. 1 topic at the upcoming Southeastern Conference media days? You can bet it will be academics.

Tom Kubat, Lafayette Journal & Courier: This is shaping up to be the year of the quarterback in the Midwest.

Ray Melick, Birmingham News: Moving the GMAC Bowl to Jan. 7, the night before the BCS title game, might not be a wise idea.

Wendell Barnhouse, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: NCAA rules? Franklin Roosevelt spoke words that apply: "Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lloyd Carr Finally Gets His Revenge

A Big Ten referee who worked games for five years after the loss of an eye has filed a lawsuit to get his old job back. James Filson, who lost an eye in an accident in May of 2000, returned to his job that fall without informing his bosses of the accident. According to the lawsuit, "a reporter contacted Lloyd Carr, head football coach at the University of Michigan, and told him that [Filson] had only one eye." Carr then contacted Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney, who had Filson fired. Filson said he was told by Delaney that he "failed to fulfill the 'minimum physical requirements' of the job." Filson claims the Big Ten's actions are a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Filson also seeks back pay and unspecified damages. Thanks to Kevin for the tip!

Escalation in Attack on Internet Gambling

Federal authorities have arrested David Carruthers, the chief executive of BetOnSports, a prominent Internet gambling company that is publicly traded in Britain. Carruthers was nabbed during a layover at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. He was on his way from Britain to Costa Rica. Carruthers has been charged with racketeering conspiracy for participating in an illegal gambling enterprise. A temporary restraining was issued preventing BetOnSports from accepting wagers from customers in the U.S. Under terms of the order, all money held in the accounts of American customers must be returned. BetOnSports, which reportedly took in between 70%-80% of its wagers from customers in the U.S., saw its shares tumble 16.5% before the company requested that trading be suspended. The timing of the arrest is intriguing because a bill outlawing all online gambling with the exception of horse racing and state lotteries is headed for the Senate. If you want to contact your Senator, here is a link that provides web forms to do so.

Reporters' Notebooks

John Maher, Austin American-Statesman: Texas alone pulled in $111,000 in royalties from the sale of EA Sports' NCAA Football '06 (registration).

Chris Low, Tennessean: Tennessee is coming off a disastrous 5-6 season, but California coach Jeff Tedford wishes that weren't the case.

Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic: In the next six seasons, Arizona State will play 14 of its 18 nonconference games at home. The exceptions are away games against Colorado (Sept. 16), Georgia (2009), Wisconsin (2010) and Brigham Young (2011).

Jason King, Kansas City Star: Less than a month remains before Kansas' appearance in front of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, but Jayhawk athletic director Lew Perkins doesn't appear worried (registration).

Jeff Wright, Manhattan Mercury: Kansas State running back Thomas Clayton, convicted of misdemeanor battery in June, has been sentenced to 12 months probation.

Marcus Nelson, Palm Beach Post: Looks like the move to Division I-A in football is paying off for Florida Atlantic. The athletic department broke even for the first time in years.

Associated Press: Notre Dame officials are warning fans about counterfeit tickets and scalpers. Home games against Penn State (Sept. 9) and Michigan (Sept. 16) are causing the most concern.

Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune: South Florida and Notre Dame officials are discussing a home-and-home series. And a whopping eight players from the Bulls' 2006 recruiting class failed to meet entry requirements.

Seth Emerson, Columbia State: Another example of why early commitments mean nothing. A defensive back who said he was headed to South Carolina is now considering Notre Dame.

Mike Kern, Philadelphia Daily News: Maybe there are good reasons new Temple coach Al Golden looks a little worn down.

Columnists' Corner

Dave Weekley, Charleston Gazette: ESPN is attempting to drive viewers to buy high-definition TVs by broadcasting its schedule of Thursday night games in letterbox format.

Ted Miller, Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Washington's biggest problem the past three seasons hasn't been a lack of talent. It has been a loser's mentality that starts with an indifference to conditioning.

Ron Kantowski, Las Vegas Sun: Because he's counting carbs and does not play golf, this columnist decided to skip the Mountain West Conference media daze, er, days.

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: Nebraska is the team to beat in the Big 12 North, but who will win the South? Here's a vote for Texas.

Mike Huguenin, Orlando Sentinel: When it comes to the best collection of running backs in the nation, nobody can top Georgia.

Josh Moon, Montgomery Advertiser: That New York Times piece carving up the Auburn athletic department failed to connect the dots.

Joe Biddle, Tennessean: While it's easy to pick on Auburn and dust off all the jokes about (insert football factory name here) academics being an oxymoron, let's be real.

Carl DuBois, Baton Rouge Advocate: This is what you get when you ask fans what questions a reporter should ask during Southeastern Conference media days.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Shuffle Up and Deal!

The Wiz went on a bit of a rant last week over the knuckleheads in Washington wanting to take away sports betting and online poker. Turns out, plenty of others share his feelings. The Bruins Nation linked to a "Daily Show With Jon Stewart" video on the shenanigans in Washington, and the M Zone also took up the cause. Reader Kevin pointed out that online casino shares soared in England after the House vote. And last but not least, the great Norman Chad chimes in, saying poker players — of all people — are getting a bad rap. He cites a recent comment by something called Bob Costas: "At the risk of alienating degenerates from coast to coast, I must say I find it hard to get worked up over a 'sport' that boasts all the pageantry and magic of Saturday night in my Uncle Murray's basement." Costas went on to say that poker delivers "a different type of superstar: pasty, portly, sketchy, the kind of 'athlete' who breaks a sweat just cutting the deck." Chad says that Costas can have his Mickey Mantle. He'll take Doyle Brunson any day of the week. ... By the way, ESPN is cashing in on this year's World Series of Poker. You'll be able to watch live coverage of the Main Event's final table on pay-per-view and for $24.95.

Reporters' Notebooks

Jerry Hill, Waco Tribune: Interesting story ... G.J. Kinne, a top-flight prep quarterback, says he will attend Baylor. His dad, Gary Joe Kinne, was hired as the Bears' linebackers coach in January. Gary Joe, you may recall, was the Texas prep coach who was shot in the abdomen by the parent of a player and lost 80% of his liver.

Anthony Hanshew, Huntington Herald-Dispatch: You wouldn't think of Marshall and Kansas State as rivals, but the short series has produced several memorable moments.

Donnie Webb, Syracuse Post-Standard: It's bleak. It's very, very bleak. If you believe the preseason magazines, Syracuse already has reservations in the Big East basement.

Dave Hickman, Charleston Gazette: Former Miami linebacker Willie Williams to West Virginia? Coach Rich Rodriguez says he called, but the Mountaineers told him, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Jim Young, Greensboro News-Record: Coaches are flocking to North Carolina, where there appears to be a bumper crop of prep talent.

Andy Staples, Tampa Tribune: Continuing the fine Gators at 100 series. A look at Florida's 1993-96 teams, which had a combined record of 45-6-1 and won a national title.

Dave Curtis, Orlando Sentinel: We're not done with the Gators. Coach Urban Meyer is fawning about his trip to watch a New England Patriot minicamp practice.

Ryan Wood, Lawrence Journal-World: If you take Kansas defensive coordinator Bill Young at his word, he has a budding star in lineman Rodney Allen.

Dave Matter, Columbia Tribune: Insurgents continue to pour across borders into Missouri. Iowa is the latest to swoop in and steal a top-flight recruit.

Mitch Sherman, Omaha World-Herald: A look at the strategy used by new Nebraska recruiting coordinator Shawn Watson. And the Cornhuskers are not shy about taking on Texas.

John Maffei, North County Times: San Diego State opens the season on Aug. 31, but unless something changes, that game and most of the rest of the Aztec season won't be on local television.

Mark Anderson, Las Vegas Review-Journal: The so-called experts say that Nevada Las Vegas coach Mike Sanford is beginning to turn around the program.

Phillip Marshall, Huntsville Times: James Gundlach, the Auburn professor who accused a colleague of academic misconduct, says he will no longer cooperate with a committee that will investigate the allegations.

Ron Higgins, Commercial Appeal: Louisiana State coach Les Miles has plenty to say about the state of the Southeastern Conference during a Q&A.

Columnists' Corner

Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: With the first game only 46 days away, it's time to ponder 10 pressing questions (registration).

Terence Moore, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Notre Dame-Georgia Tech series has an ugly past. Take 1978, for example, when the Irish contingent was pounded back by a combination of dead fish and whiskey bottles before, during and after a Notre Dame rout of the Yellow Jackets (registration).

Jerry Brewer Louisville Courier-Journal: Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, who moved closer to making Bill Gates money, now must prove he's worth it.

Ray Melick, Birmingham News: If Melick had a degree — any degree — from Auburn, he'd be inclined to hide it right now.

John Pruett, Huntsville Times: The fact that Auburn officials have been trumpeting the university's high national ranking in the NCAA's Academic Performance Rating only adds to the embarrassment.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Another Colt That Likes to Chase Fillies

When it comes to running with the fillies, Leinart the horse is no match for Leinart the quarterback. Leinart, a 3-year-old colt named for Heisman winner Matt Leinart, finished fourth Saturday in his debut in the $45,400 fourth race at Hollywood Park. The colt is owned by Scott Heider, a USC graduate whose horses race in the Trojans' cardinal and gold colors (halfway down on page). The Kentucky-bred Leinart cost $90,000 at the 2004 Keeneland September Yearling sale. The quarterback, the No. 1 pick of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, has yet to be given a value. He's still unsigned.

Reporters' Notebooks

Sam Ross Jr., Tribune-Review: Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny is ready to play, and cornerback Justin King said he will be when fall practice begins.

Mike Sullivan, North County Times: A building boom at San Diego State has left no room for an on-campus stadium. This could be problematic should the NFL's Chargers leave town and Qualcomm Stadium is razed.

Andy Staples, Tampa Tribune: Some people called the 1984 Florida Gators champions. The NCAA said the Gators cheated.

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: An increasing number of teams are restricting players' activities on the Internet. But is this a violation of free speech? (registration).

Mike Baldwin, Oklahoman: Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder, who raised ticket prices by 50%, knows the Cowboys have to start winning — and fast (registration).

Ron Higggins, Commercial Appeal: The new supervisor of football officials for the Southeastern Conference is about to be tossed into the fire (registration).

Scott Rabalais, Baton Rouge Advocate: Louisiana State could have enough talent to compete for the national championship. But just as easily, the Tigers could finish 6-6.

Columnists' Corner

Kevin Scarbinsky, Birmingham News: Auburn won't have to give up its 2004 People's National Championship. And isn't that really what's important here?

John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader: The NCAA says it could never, ever approve a playoff system for Division I-A, citing loss of class time as one reason, but it offered no resistance to a 12th game.

Kevin Modesti, L.A. Daily News: With U.S. teams struggling to be competitive on the international level, maybe it's time we outlaw sports such as football.

Dick Harmon, Deseret Morning News: Brigham Young will have one of college football's top offensive lines, thanks to strongman tackle Eddie Keele.

Joe Person, Columbia State: It's the ploys of summer for South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who has been critical of workout habits of some of his players.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

It's Time to Hide the Women and Children

We know. It's the middle of July and it's steaming hot, but you needed that "College GameDay" fix now, didn't you? We have it, thanks to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Lee Corso rolled through town for a speaking engagement and dropped some words of wisdom on the locals. For starters, yes, Georgia Tech has a very good chance to beat Notre Dame in the opener (he was in Atlanta, remember?). Texas will lose two games. USC's dynasty is far from over. The new five-game BCS model is a disaster. They will be jumping off the Ohio State bandwagon before long. Oh, and "College GameDay" will expand to two hours this fall (see, there was some news). As for the "Lee Corso Is a Penis" sign held up during a GameDay telecast last fall, let us refresh your memory. Don't forget that classic radio interview Corso gave to KTCK-AM in Dallas. And to close it out, Corso now has a website.

Reporters' Notebooks

Randy Kenner, Knoxville News-Sentinel: Tennessee has agreed to a deal with Host Communications worth at least $83.4 million over 10 years for most of the multimedia rights to Volunteer athletics (registration).

Tim Kirby and Todd Schulz, Lansing State Journal: Michigan State freshman defensive back Ken Tinney has been kicked off the team and kicker John Goss, who missed key field goals in losses to Michigan and Ohio State, has left the team and is working in sales (thanks to Kevin for the tip).

Philadelphia Daily News: A Notre Dame player is reportedly transferring to Temple and will be eligible this fall because he is a full-time graduate student.

Heather A. Dinich, Baltimore Sun: Plans to renovate Maryland's Byrd Stadium include lowering the field about 30 inches, installing a temporary bubble for winter workouts and, of course, luxury suites (registration).

Nelson Hernandez, Washington Post: A jury heard a secretly taped phone call in which former Navy quarterback Lamar Owens apologized to a female midshipman he is accused of raping (registration).

Tony Phifer, Coloradoan: Workers are putting the finishing touches on the installation of FieldTurf at Colorado State's Hughes Stadium.

Hartford Courant: Connecticut and Temple have agreed to a four-game series beginning in 2007.

Athens Banner-Herald: ESPN analyst Bill Curry has accepted a job at a private school where he will teach leadership to high school students.

Kyle Ringo, Boulder Daily Camera: Meet the man they call "Captain Video." Colorado's Jamie Guy is the Big 12 video coordinator of the year (registration).

Randy Kennedy, Mobile Press-Register: The GMAC Bowl in Mobile will be played on Jan. 7, the night before the BCS title game. ESPN earlier sought to move the Alamo Bowl to that date.

Columnists' Corner

Dick Harmon, Deseret Morning News: Brigham Young has 21 non-binding commitments, but is all of this early stuff such a good idea?

Jerry Brewer, Louisville Courier-Journal: The fat new contract given to Louisville's Bobby Petrino should put an end to the coach's annual flirtations with other jobs.

Brian Rosenthal, Lincoln Journal Star: Word on the street is that incoming junior college running back Kenny Wilson is the real deal and just what Nebraska needs to keep the momentum going.

Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel: Miami is backpedaling after taking a huge risk on linebacker Willie Williams, who didn't pay off and has decided to transfer.

Friday, July 14, 2006

At Auburn, They Have No Class

Looks like they are running a diploma mill at Auburn, where athletes are getting top grades without having to go to class. Professor James Gundlach spilled the beans about the work of sociology department colleague Thomas Petee to the New York Times. It's a disturbing piece, starting with Gundlach watching a Tiger game on TV in 2004. Up pops a graphic showing that one of Auburn's prominent players was being honored as a scholar athlete for his work as a sociology major. Gundlach had never had the player in class, and two of his colleagues could not recall having taught him, either. So Gundlach checked the player's academic files, which led to the discovery that many athletes were receiving high grades from Petee through directed-reading classes. In fact, 18 members of the 2004 football team, which finished undefeated and No. 2 in the nation, took such classes. ... Now there's a lot of material here and yes, Auburn should be ashamed. But rather than taking the opportunity to jump on the predictable bandwagon and bash Auburn, let's be honest here. This type of stuff goes on at every big-time football factory. Athletes are coddled, they get top-notch tutors. Seldom do they mingle with the general student body, and when they do it's usually at a nightclub with disturbing results. Auburn's crime is that it once again got caught (the end of the piece spells out the university's many embarrassing incidents involving athletes). While it appears the academic experience for athletes at Auburn falls short, the football team is a big winner, so everybody looks the other way. Gundlach, who plans to retire at the end of next year, said as much when he commented about prominent athletes cutting academic corners. "It was at a point that I figured the corruption runs the full gantlet of the administration," he said. "We were getting sociology majors graduating without taking sociology classes." Auburn officials, by the way, are promising a full investigation (wink, wink).

Not So Fast, Florida!

We couldn't say enough good things about Florida's 2006 poster schedule, but then Florida State's entry arrived on our doorstep (thanks to Chris). The Seminoles may have one-upped their rival with this effort. Florida State's horizontal approach sets the piece apart, and the background is an end zone shot of a packed Doak Campbell Stadium, which adds depth and pulls you in. At the center is the man himself, Bobby Bowden, with his gladiators blended in to each side. A closer inspection lets you know where the Seminoles expect to be at the end of the regular season with the inclusion of the ACC title game on the schedule, a bold proclamation that Florida State means business in 2006. Very nice! A link to our previous entries of Florida, Iowa State and USC, and a reminder that if you have an image of your team's official 2006 poster schedule, we would love to have it!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Florida Swamps the Competition

Florida is celebrating its 100th year of football, and the Gators' 2006 poster schedule combines a mix of old and new titled "The Boys of Old Florida." Up front, we have to say this tasteful montage — truly a work of love — puts the Gators at the top of the class. How much do we think of this beautiful image? If the Wiz were an art connoisseur, the wall space would be rearranged to find a place next to the Picasso for this piece. We must thank reader Sam for this, and if you have an image of your team's official 2006 poster schedule, please send it our way. Previous entries include Iowa State and USC.

Reporters' Notebooks

Brent D. Wistrom, Wichita Eagle: Hizzoner decides to punt. Carlos Mayans, the mayor of Wichita, has agreed to abandon his crusade to bring football back to Wichita State. Our earlier report (and a thank you to reader John for this).

Paul Strelow, Columbia State: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden deflected questions about a potential NCAA violation that surfaced in a tragic accident that killed assistant track and field coach Jarrett Foster.

Wendell Barnhouse, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: The Fort Worth Bowl is expected to announce that it has reached a sponsorship deal with a wireless telephone company.

Matthew Kredell, L.A. Daily News: USC has filed its request to reinstate receiver Dwayne Jarrett, and former Trojan running back Whitney Lewis is expected to transfer to Northern Iowa.

Dan Zeiger, East Valley Tribune: Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller plans to switch his jersey number to honor receiver Angelo Richardson, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a shooting incident in March.

Mike Szvetitz, Opelika-Auburn News: Auburn cornerback Montavis Pitts was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Tuskegee.

Marlon W. Morgan, Commercial Appeal: Mississippi receiver J.D. Lawhorn has decided to leave the team "for personal reasons." (registration).

Associated Press: Tennessee reserve quarterback Jim Bob Cooter's preliminary hearing on a drunken driving charge has been postponed until Aug. 17.

The Mighty MJD: The Federal Communications Commission is asking networks for tapes of sporting events in an attempt to step up enforcement of indecency rules. This could possibly include profanity from players, coaches and fans.

Columnists' Corner

Jim Niyo, Detroit News: With conferences making final preparations for kickoff luncheons, it's time to answer six questions for the '06 season.

Kevin Scarbinsky, Birmingham News: Many high school coaches are getting turned off by pressure tactics college coaches use in an attempt to secure early commitments.

Dave Hickman, Charleston Gazette: It's always the same cast of characters at the top of the preseason polls, a fact of life blue-collar teams such as West Virginia simply have to deal with.

Ron Bellamy, Eugene Register-Guard: Jim Bartko, a key fundraiser who handled major accounts from the likes of Nike co-founder Phil Knight, is leaving Oregon after 17 years to take a job with Pac-10 rival California.

Mike Lucas, Capital Times: Wisconsin's Bret Bielema and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald have a lot in common.