Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Where Saban Goes to Escape the Riff-Raff

Deep South Sports has posted a photo said to be of Nick Saban's getaway on Georgia's Lake Burton. The house is located in Rabun County, which — interestingly enough — provided the backdrop for the 1972 film "Deliverance." Saban, 56, said he plans to retire here. A larger image of the home can be viewed by clicking here.

Leinart's Expensive Love Child?

Former USC quarterback and 2004 Heisman winner Matt Leinart reportedly has been handed a setback. An expensive setback.

Leinart, who saw a dispute over his love child with USC basketball player Brynn Cameron spill into the media and blogosphere, must pay Cameron $15,000 a month in child support, according to TMZ.

If our math skills are correct, that's $180,000 a year. Cameron was asking for around twice that amount.

However, Scott Wolf of the L.A. Daily News writes that the TMZ report is erroneous and that no settlement has been reached. Credit Sports By Brooks for being on top of this story.

Leinart, entering his second season with the Arizona Cardinals, will be back in court Aug. 13 to fight for the right to spend more time with the kid.

Thanks to Joe for this beaut.

The Best Player in College Football

Louisiana State defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey's chances of winning the Heisman are slim and none, but no one will be more feared on the field this fall.

"We tried a dozen different ways to block him last year and we haven't slowed him down yet,'' Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville told John Pruett of the Huntsville Times.

"He's the first guy you look for when you come to the line of scrimmage if you're playing LSU,'' Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge said.

"He's not a guy you want chasing you, believe me,'' Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox said.

So why is Dorsey back in Baton Rouge for his senior season? After all, he could be cashing NFL paychecks.

Two reasons. Dorsey had a shin injury and feared it would impact his draft status. Some reports say he got bad advice and still would have been a top-10 pick had he decided to enter last April's draft.

This could be one player Nick Saban wishes he never signed. Saban was LSU's coach in 2004 when Dorsey decided to become a Tiger. Now he will be on the other side when the teams play Nov. 3 in Tuscaloosa.

How Low Can the ACC Go?

How bad was the Atlantic Coast Conference last season? J.P. Giglio of the Raleigh News & Observer has a post on the paper's blog ACC Now — arguably the best college sports blog by a newspaper — detailing that league teams went a dismal 4-12 against its BCS brethren during the regular season. Percentage wise that puts the ACC sixth out of the six-conference BCS.

Giglio writes that the "ranking doesn't get any better when you consider the ACC's record vs. the rest of I-A in 2006. The league went 17-6, which in terms of percentage points, also ranks sixth."

The Southeastern Conference is at the top of the list, followed by the Big East, the Pacific 10, the Big Ten, the Big 12 and then the ACC.

The post includes the nonconference results from all BCS conferences and has links to the ACC's best and worst nonconference losses in 2006. One of the worst losses was Akron's 20-17 victory over North Carolina State at Carter-Finley Stadium, when the Zips' Dennis Kennedy, above, scored a controversial touchdown on the last play of the game.

All is not lost for the ACC. Giglio looks at 10 games that will determine what the rest of the college football world thinks of the ACC in 2007.

At Kentucky, Brooks Has Them Believing

Rich Brooks turned around Kentucky's fortunes in 2006, and the Wildcats will try to build on the 8-5 season that included a 28-20 victory over Clemson in the Music City Bowl.

Poster schedules: Florida State, Wyoming, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Arkansas, Kent State, Navy, Duke, Purdue, Missouri, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Middle Tennessee, Brigham Young, Syracuse, Louisiana Tech, South Florida, Colorado, Southern Mississippi, Washington State, Houston, Toledo, Iowa State, North Texas, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Clemson, North Carolina State, West Virginia, East Carolina, Nevada, Georgia Tech, Florida, Oklahoma, UCLA, Kansas State, Utah, Stanford, Auburn, Northwestern, Iowa, Texas El Paso, Penn State, Ohio, USC.

Monday, July 30, 2007

This Post Comes 'Out of the Blue'

The Boise State documentary "Out of the Blue" is nearing completion and officials are already accepting orders in preparation for the Aug. 28 release. We're told ESPN2 is planning to show 60 minutes of the 90-minute film later this month, but we beat the four-letter network to it with this three-minute trailer. Ha! Now if you're an Oklahoma fan, you have been warned.

Thanks to Matthew at Statue Left for sending this along. Statue Left, you might recall, sponsored the winning entry in our Great Billboard Competition, one of those things we do to keep entertained during the offseason.
Presumably the final filming for the DVD was done Saturday when Boise State running back Ian Johnson followed through and got hitched to Chrissy Popadics. We wish them well.

Buildup to This Season's Game of Games

Nick Saban has decided to throw a little gasoline on the fire, as if the Alabama and Louisiana State game, set for Nov. 3 in Tuscaloosa, really needed it.

At last week's Southeastern Conference media days, Saban said that C.C. Thompson, a member of his staff, had the tires slashed on her car when she went back to Baton Rouge to attend a wedding. Thompson worked for Saban at LSU and the Miami Dolphins.

LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette disputed the story, according to Scott Rabalais of the Baton Rouge Advocate. Bonnette called Thompson and "she told him that she initially thought her tires had been slashed but that someone had merely let the air out of them. A serious headache, but not the same degree of vandalism."

Les Miles downplayed the game with Alabama at SEC media days, but when asked about it was careful not mention the words "Alabama" or "Nick Saban."

Back in Baton Rouge, Saban's latest chatter is like a rerun. Writes Carl DuBois of the Advocate: "To Alabama fans, the words are new. The courtship is fresh. The speeches inspire. To ears that heard it all in five years in Baton Rouge, there is something subtle and a bit surprising underneath the familiar phrases.

"They do not have the same gravity, the same cocksure force-of-nature feel to them as when Saban was a rival of the Crimson Tide instead of their coach."

Nov. 3 can't get here soon enough.

Handing the Ball Off to Aunese's Son

In 1987, Colorado started to show the first signs that it would become a national power under Bill McCartney. The Buffaloes' quarterback was Sal Aunese, and he ran McCartney's option game to perfection.

Two years later, Aunese was dead. Stomach cancer took him at age 21.

Now Aunese's son, T.C. McCartney, who was five months old at the time of his father's death, is about to enroll at Louisiana State. Bill McCartney was outside linebackers coach at Michigan when LSU coach Les Miles was a Wolverine player. When McCartney took the Colorado job in 1982, he brought Miles, who stayed five years. The friendship has remained.

In December, a motion picture of Sal Aunese's life will be released. You can view a clip of the film off the Livin' Large Productions site. Thanks to Matt!

Are Better Days Ahead in the Palouse?

They are getting restless at Washington State. After three 10-win seasons in a row, the Cougars have struggled for the past three seasons, putting coach Bill Doba on the hotseat. Turning it around won't be easy. Two of the first four games are at Wisconsin and USC.

Poster schedules: Florida State, Wyoming, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Arkansas, Kent State, Navy, Duke, Purdue, Missouri, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Middle Tennessee, Brigham Young, Syracuse, Louisiana Tech, South Florida, Colorado, Southern Mississippi, Kentucky, Houston, Toledo, Iowa State, North Texas, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Clemson, North Carolina State, West Virginia, East Carolina, Nevada, Georgia Tech, Florida, Oklahoma, UCLA, Kansas State, Utah, Stanford, Auburn, Northwestern, Iowa, Texas El Paso, Penn State, Ohio, USC.

Send your team's official poster schedule to dawizofodds (at) aol.com.

Here's the Team the Big Ten Should Add

Oklahoma State plans to invest another $28 million with alumnus T. Boone Pickens in its effort to expand on the west end of the football stadium that bears the billionaire's name.

The money will be added to $277 million that Oklahoma State had previously invested with BP Capital Management, Pickens' Dallas-based company. Pickens, the most powerful booster in college athletics, has been waiving fees for the university's investments with his fund. How nice of him!

Under BP Capital's management, the fund reportedly gained $37.6 million in the first quarter of 2006.

Pickens' university scored a victory in court last week, when a judge ruled the university had the right under eminent domain to take the last house and land standing in the way of a $316 million athletic village just north of campus.

There has also been discussion about expanding Pickens' controversial "Gift of a Lifetime" program, which will generate over $250 million in life insurance commitments for the athletic department. That plan has caught the attention of a U.S. Senator.

Reporters' Notebooks

Iliana Limón, Albuquerque Tribune: A Brigham Young fan in Phoenix has started a website with a petition urging satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network to add the Mtn., the Mountain West Conference's channel, to their lineups.

Brian Davis, Dallas Morning News: It comes down to this for Baylor coach Guy Morriss. Take the Bears to a bowl game and he gets an extension. Compile another losing season — the fifth in five years — and he's likely out of a job.

Jon Machota and George Sipple, Detroit Free Press: Former Ohio State linebacker turned broadcaster Chris Spielman says Michigan's chances of going undefeated are "as good as they've been in a long time."

Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Former Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez has changed his mind. He now supports a Big Ten title game.

Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman: Looking for a sleeper? Here are 10 teams that could surprise.

Mike Baldwin, Oklahoman: Oklahoma State is negotiating for a two-game series with Washington State, with a 2008 game at Seattle's Qwest Field and a return trip to Stillwater in 2010.

Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle: Notre Dame has discussed playing a game at Houston's Reliant Stadium.

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Press-Register: Rating the coaches in the Southeastern Conference. Steve Spurrier is No. 1, Les Miles is No. 7 and Sylvester Croom is No. 12.

Ian R. Rapoport, Birmingham News: When it comes to football, Mississippi is a state of decline.

Pete Thamel, New York Times: Rutgers running back Ray Rice and California receiver DeSean Jackson are two players to benefit from Play It Smart, a nonprofit program to help players in inner-city schools with their studies.

Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times: The former Times sports editor expresses his disappointment that there's now a regular gambling column in the sports section.

To bypass registration, go to Bug Me Not.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Yet Another Unflattering Portrait of Saban

The emperor has new clothes.

This was the scene Thursday at the Southeastern Conference media days in Hoover, Ala., moments before the arrival of Nick Saban.

"Loiterers and signature seekers made the lobby of the Wynfrey Hotel look like the infield at Talladega. The only other arrival that would cause this buzz would be the ghosts of Bear Bryant and Dale Earnhardt walking through the revolving door," writes Wendell Barnhouse of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Then the moment arrives: "An escort that would make the Secret Service proud whisked The Next Bear through the fans and past the paparazzi. This is Southern Football, folks. And no fans are more fervent and devoted than Alabama's."

Yes, Saban can draw a crowd. But Barnhouse wonders if Crimson Tide fans aren't setting themselves up for a big fall.

" 'Bama fans are so desperate for their football program to become nationally relevant that I sincerely hope they're not investing their emotions in a false idol. I find Saban to be neither believable nor credible. He's a coach who has been coached on what to say and how to say."

Then Barnhouse asked the $4 million question. "Last December, you were adamant that you would not be Alabama's coach, yet here you are today. Can you explain why or why not integrity should be an issue for recruits and their families considering the events two weeks before you took the Alabama job.

"His answer, basically, was that he sticking to the story that he didn't mislead or lie when he said he wasn't interested in leaving the NFL for a return to college football. Saban ended his 361-word answer with, 'Maybe we could have handled it a better way.

"The word 'integrity' was not addressed in the answer."

Switzer Caught in a Traitorous Act

Yes, that's who you think it is. Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, who made a living recruiting the likes of Billy Sims out of Texas, is caught flashing the famed "Hook 'Em" sign with Longhorn coach Mack Brown.

Southern Mississippi Is Back for More

Here's a poster that would make Brett Farve proud. We smell upset in week 2, when the Golden Eagles will travel to Knoxville and play Tennessee, a week after the Volunteers open at California and a week before they travel to Florida. In week 4, the Golden Eagles have a biggie at Boise State.

Poster schedules: Florida State, Wyoming, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Arkansas, Kent State, Navy, Duke, Purdue, Missouri, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Middle Tennessee, Brigham Young, Syracuse, Louisiana Tech, South Florida, Colorado, Washington State, Kentucky, Houston, Toledo, Iowa State, North Texas, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Clemson, North Carolina State, West Virginia, East Carolina, Nevada, Georgia Tech, Florida, Oklahoma, UCLA, Kansas State, Utah, Stanford, Auburn, Northwestern, Iowa, Texas El Paso, Penn State, Ohio, USC.

Another Insensitive and Offensive Post

It now appears that Florida State isn't the only place where Cavemen prosper. This was sent to us by Timm, who as you might guess, is an Oklahoma fan.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

In Case You Missed the Show

Los Angeles Times reporter Lance Pugmire, who has been working the story involving Tuesday's arrest of UCLA receivers coach Eric Scott, was one of our guests Friday night on "Sports Overnight America" on the Sports Byline USA Radio Network. You can listen to the 14:37 interview, in MP4 format, by clicking here. Christine Daniels of the Los Angeles Times also joined us in the second hour, and we talked NFL and a different kind of futbol that features David Beckham. You can listen to that interview, 31:44 in length, by clicking here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

UCLA in an Unbearable Position With Scott?

UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero is saying there was a misstep in a background check of receivers coach Eric Scott, who was put on paid administrative leave after his arrest on suspicion of felony residential burglary earlier this week.

Guerrero said neither he or coach Karl Dorrell were aware of Scott's criminal background, which included up to four reported arrests, including two misdemeanor convictions resulting in 36 months probation, before he was hired in March.

"It is standard operating procedure for all full-time UCLA employees in the athletic department to have a background check, and we did not know the background for that particular person," Guerrero told the L.A. Daily News.

The L.A. Times reports that the burglary investigation involving Scott has been expanded, with an L.A. County Sheriff's Department official saying a discarded gun was found at the home and "a large quantity of narcotics" was found in the area.

Dorrell acknowledged that he hired Scott knowing some of his past, but when asked whether the university encountered any red flags during the hiring process, he added, "I can't speculate on that."

The Times reported that a university source acknowledged "because Eric Scott had played at UCLA, there was some loyalty."

Attorney Milton Grimes, who represents Scott, maintained that his client was innocent and said the arrest was part of a misunderstanding. He described Scott, who played football for UCLA from 1995 to '97, as "depressed and anxious."

"It'd be a shame if he loses his job at UCLA over some doo-doo like this," Grimes said.

Trying to Turn It Around in Boulder

If Colorado is going to rebound from a 2-10 record in Dan Hawkins' first season in Boulder, it will have to master a challenging nonconference schedule that includes Colorado State, Arizona State, Florida State and Miami (Ohio).

Poster schedules: Florida State, Wyoming, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Arkansas, Kent State, Navy, Duke, Purdue, Missouri, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Middle Tennessee, Brigham Young, Syracuse, Louisiana Tech, South Florida, Southern Mississippi, Washington State, Kentucky, Houston, Toledo, Iowa State, North Texas, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Clemson, North Carolina State, West Virginia, East Carolina, Nevada, Georgia Tech, Florida, Oklahoma, UCLA, Kansas State, Utah, Stanford, Auburn, Northwestern, Iowa, Texas El Paso, Penn State, Ohio, USC.

Hitting Below the Belt

Found floating around on a Florida board. Yet another example of how the Caveman is being discriminated against in this county.

Reporters' Notebooks

Andy Staples, Tampa Tribune: Southeastern Conference official Wally Hough, who was criticized on several blogs — including this one — for his association with a Florida booster club, says his affiliation had no bearing on his job as an official. Hough, who acknowledged being president of the club in the past, said it was incorrectly reported that he president when South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier spoke to the group.

Randy Peterson, Des Moines Register: The Big Ten becoming the Big 12? Conference commissioner Jim Delany, on a barnstorming tour to promote the Big Ten Network, said his league could be looking at adding a team, perhaps Rutgers or Syracuse.

John Helsley, Oklahoman: Oklahoma and Notre Dame have agreed to a two-year series beginning in 2012.

Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press: Michigan athletic director Bill Martin is being sued by radio broadcaster Dave Shand, who alleges Martin used his influence to get Shand fired from WTKA in Ann Arbor.

Roger Clarkson, Athens Banner-Herald: Alabama coach Nick Saban had to navigate a mob of about 100 fans, several sporting Bear Bryant-style houndstooth hats, to get through a hotel lobby and into the conference room to speak with reporters at the SEC media days.

Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Ten years ago, Steve Spurrier made news with a $2 million a year contract at Florida. Now there are five coaches in the SEC making at least that much.

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times: The Pacific 10 Conference is viewed as USC and the Nine Dwarfs (see Les Miles), but this season it can do something about it.

Rick Bozich, Louisville Courier-Journal: Former Michigan State coach John L. Smith has settled in Louisville for now.

Jeff D'Alessio, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: In case you were wondering, here are Erin Andrews' five favorite hangouts in Atlanta.

Christine Daniels Will Be Our Guest

Los Angeles Times sportswriter Christine Daniels will be our guest Friday night/Saturday morning on "Sports Overnight America" on the Sports Byline USA Radio Network. Daniels was a guest in May, shortly after announcing she was a transitioning transsexual, and we are pleased to welcome her back to the show.

Daniels' "Day In L.A." and "Woman In Progress" blogs are among the most popular destinations at Los Angeles Times website, and she will offer her unmatched wit and wisdom on the world of sports. Christine will join us just after the midnight hour on the Pacific coast.

Be sure to listen to "Sports Overnight America" beginning at 10 p.m. on the West Coast. Fred Wallin and John Woolard will get things started. You can hear the broadcast worldwide over the Internet at Sports Byline. Just click on "Listen Live." If you are in the military, check out the American Forces Network, available in 177 countries, U.S. territories and Navy ships at sea. The show is also heard on the Cable Radio Network, or check the list of the Sports Byline affiliates.

Update: Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times will join us around 11:30 p.m. to talk about the situation involving UCLA receivers coach Eric Scott.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Crewcut Charlie: Celebrity Used Against Me

A day after being handed a humbling defeat in a Massachusetts courtroom, Crewcut Charlie Weis issued a statement about the setback, saying he "was still surprised by the verdict."

He said it was time to move on, that he did not plan to appeal and "will make no further comments." Weis also said that he thought the fact he is Notre Dame's coach "was certainly used against me in the trial."

One has to suspect that the carefully written statement was crafted by one of Weis' attorneys. Here is a link to the full statement.

Lindsey Willhite, for one, is not buying any of Weis' post-trial rhetoric. The Arlington Heights Daily Herald writer has a blistering response to Weis' statement, pointing out Weis' many warts that were revealed during the two trials, the first of which ended in mistrial.

Willhite points out that Weis, then an assistant with the New England Patriots, first shared his decision to have gastric bypass surgery in 2002 with quarterback Tom Brady. Only in the final stages before surgery did he divulge his plans to his wife, Maura.

Weis' statement, which tries to put family before football — certainly not believable if you look at his trustworthiness in Brady over his wife — has Willhite wondering, "Who is the real Weis?" Willhite suggests that Weis' statement is merely an attempt to get in the last word, even in defeat.

As for Weis' surprise at losing, Willhite asks, "Why? Because football coaches always think things should go their way? Here’s another testimonial nugget that reminds everyone why football czars rank among the most controlling people on the planet."Now let's turn to Houston attorney Tom Kirkendall, who along with University of Iowa doctor Gary Gaffney, have provided us with analysis during both trials. Gaffney runs the site Steroid Nation and Kirkendall operates Houston's Clear Thinkers.

We thank each of these gentlemen for their valued contributions. Here is the last word from Tom:

"The rematch of Charlie Weis' lawsuit against the doctors who performed his gastric bypass surgery turned out to be as much of a mismatch as Weis' Notre Dame team endured in losing to LSU, 41-14, in the Sugar Bowl in early January. After spending only about two hours in deliberations (it usually takes that long for jurors just to elect a foreperson and take lunch orders), the jury returned a verdict denying all of Weis' damage claims against the doctors. Thus, it appears that the stronger legal position trumped the politics of the case in this particular trial.

"As noted in my post before the first trial and my post after the mistrial, Weis faced an uphill battle in his legal case against the doctors. The surgery that Weis requested is notoriously risky and subject to complications, so the fact that Weis endured serious post-operation complications obviously was not surprising to the jury. Moreover, Weis' expert witness during the trial — always a key witness for the plaintiff in a medical malpractice trial — was not from the Boston area and was not able to portray the defendant-doctors' actions in performing the surgery or in treating Weis afterward as being beneath the customary standard of care for doctors handling this type of procedure.

"As Dr. Gaffney noted in his blog post on the plaintiff's expert, the expert's testimony appeared to raise merely a reasonable disagreement with the defendant-doctors over the proper course of post-op treatment given the risks that Weis was facing. Reasonable disagreements do not usually prompt a jury to find that the treatment decisions of doctors — particularly ones with reputations as good as those of the doctors in the Weis case — were beneath the customary standard of care.

"Beyond that, the politics of the case during the retrial turned out not to be as favorable for Weis as in the first trial. Media coverage for the re-trial appeared to be much more muted than coverage of the first trial, perhaps because Weis' star celebrity witness from the first trial — Patriots Super Bowl QB Tom Brady — did not testify in person during the retrial. Retrials tend to be more streamlined than the first trial, so that faster pace may have hurt Weis' case by limiting the amount of time that the jury considered evidence of Weis' pain and suffering, which appeared to be one of the stronger elements of Weis' case.

"And although Weis seemed from media reports to do fine as a witness during the trial, it's a tall task to evoke empathy from jurors for someone who is currently doing exactly what he set out to do in electing to have the surgery in the first place.

"But in the end, this case reflects that the civil justice and professional liability insurance systems usually work reasonably well in this type of case. A man who unquestionably endured severe suffering was able to hold two prestigious professionals accountable for their actions in a court of law. Although the amount of unproductive time that all parties must spend in this type of litigation is regrettable, the financial risk that Weis' attorneys took in taking the case on a contingency fee basis, and the financial risk that the insurers took in insuring the doctors, removed any meaningful financial risk that the individuals had to endure in the outcome of the trial.

"Thus, the two interests with the most riding financially on the outcome of trial — Weis' attorneys and the doctors' insurers — were competing investment bankers betting on the result of the trial. In this particular case, the insurers made the better bet."

Previous coverage:
Preview: A legal perspective
Day 1: Battle lines drawn
Day 2: Weis' hired hand returns
Day 3
: Weis takes the stand
Day 4: Team Weis scores a victory
Day 5: Weis' story is questioned
Day 6:
Hodin defends decisions
Day 7:
Weis loses battle of the bulge
The mistrial
: A look back at our coverage of the first trial.

It's a Field of Dreams in Barrow, Alaska

The remarkable story of the Barrow High Whalers continues, with Wayne Drehs, who chronicled the Whalers' first game last year for ESPN, delivering another must-read that centers on Cathy Parker, the Florida woman who spearheaded the move to get a synthetic turf field for the team.

We're happy to report that the turf is on its way, but not without an incredible effort from Parker, whose website Project Alaska Turf served as the centerpiece of her fundraising. Instead of costing $500,000, the venture ended up totaling $800,000. And despite some resistance in Barrow, the field is expected to be in place for the team's Aug. 17 opener.

Parker was a guest on the radio show in May, and you can listen to the interview by clicking here. She plans to be in attendance for Barrow's opener and we hope to have reports from 340 miles north of the Arctic Circle as gameday draws near.

Arrest of UCLA Assistant Will Be Hot Topic

No coach will be on the hotseat quite like UCLA's Karl Dorrell on Thursday. It's Pacific 10 media day, and Dorrell have to answer questions about receivers coach Eric Scott, who was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of felony burglary.

Scott and two other men, Jesus DeAlba and Timothy Williams, were arrested after deputies received a 911 call from a neighbor about a possible burglary at a home in Norwalk.

Now this could be one big misunderstanding, according to the L.A. Daily News, which reported that DeAlba's cousin lives at the house. The investigation is moving slowly because a resident of the house could not be located.

Even if Scott is cleared, there appears to be trouble for Dorrell. Scott, it turns out, had been sentenced for three other crimes before being hired in March. And Dorrell acknowledged in a statement that the school knew about Scott's criminal background when it hired him.

"I knew he had some rough spots growing up, coming from his inner-city neighborhood. He lost three brothers to violence, so yes, I knew he had some issues in his background," Dorrell said.

Scott was put on paid administrative leave Wednesday.

You'll be able to lock into a live stream of Dorrell's press conference, scheduled for 11:15 a.m. (Pacific) at the Pac-10 site. The link also provides times for other press conferences by league coaches.

South Florida Does It Right

When we made the rounds requesting team poster schedules, nobody came through quite like South Florida. The Bulls do poster schedules in a big way, and officials sent us five. We're happy to display all of them.

The Bulls travel to Auburn in Week 2, then return for home games against North Carolina and West Virginia. Louisville also comes to Raymond James in November.

Poster schedules: Florida State, Wyoming, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Arkansas, Kent State, Navy, Duke, Purdue, Missouri, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Middle Tennessee, Brigham Young, Syracuse, Louisiana Tech, Colorado, Southern Mississippi, Washington State, Kentucky, Houston, Toledo, Iowa State, North Texas, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Clemson, North Carolina State, West Virginia, East Carolina, Nevada, Georgia Tech, Florida, Oklahoma, UCLA, Kansas State, Utah, Stanford, Auburn, Northwestern, Iowa, Texas El Paso, Penn State, Ohio, USC.

Reporters' Notebooks

Scott Carter, Tampa Tribune: Terry Bowden, in what could be his first step toward a return to coaching, has left his job as a co-host of a radio show and will become an unpaid volunteer assistant coach at Florida State.

Lindsay Jones, Palm Beach Post: Southeastern Conference officials are now openly talking about creating a TV network, but it couldn't become a reality until the 2009 season.

Ray Glier, New York Times: Houston Nutt continues to try and put the Arkansas soap opera in the past, but there are plenty of rubberneckers at the SEC media days.

Des Moines Register: A Texas pastor has been named life skills assistant for the Iowa State football team, prompting some to question whether the university was abiding by its promise to hire someone who would cater to all faiths and wouldn't pressure students to observe a religion.

Wendell Barnhouse, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Notre Dame is expected to play Baylor in the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington in 2012.

Daniel Lyght, Fresno Bee: Fresno State coach Pat Hill, who likes to schedule heavyweights, says he sees no need to alter that approach.

Mike DeArmond, Kansas City Star: Oklahoma State cornerback Martel Van Zant has lived his life in a world of silence. He has been deaf since birth.

Oklahoman: The assistant district attorney in Texarkana who is prosecuting the sexual assault case against Oklahoma State linebacker Chris Collins has resigned.

And here is today's mystery link.

To bypass registration, go to Bug Me Not.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Weis Loses His Battle of the Bulge

In the end, it wasn't even close. Crewcut Charlie Weis' medical malpractice case against two Massachusetts General doctors went to a Suffolk Superior Court jury on Tuesday. About two hours later, the jury returned and announced it had rejected Weis' claims, clearing Charles Ferguson and Richard Hodin.

Weis left the courtroom with a cell phone to his ear. Michael Mone, Weis' attorney, threw a hand up in front of a Boston Herald reporter's face when Weis was asked to comment about the loss.

William Dailey, attorney for Ferguson and Hodin, said the doctors "wished Weis the very best."

The jurors, who barely had enough time to order coffee and donuts before getting down to business, declined to comment.

In football terms, this was a rout.

Mone said later that Weis was "very disappointed" and that there would be no appeal. "There are no issues that came up at the trial that would appear to be the basis for an appeal."

Weis was fighting an uphill battle from the start. In 2005, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that fewer than one in 15 of the more than 750,000 patients who suffer injuries in hospitals each year ever file lawsuits, and only about a quarter of patients who sue ever receive money.
Helping us with coverage of both trials involving Weis have been Houston attorney Tom Kirkendall and University of Iowa doctor Gary Gaffney. Tom, who also runs the site Houston's Clear Thinkers, will provide a legal perspective on Thursday. First we welcome Gary, who also runs the site Steroid Nation, to give us a look from a medical perspective.

"We discussed the four points of a medical negligence case in our first post last week. Apparently this jury did not feel that the Weis team completely proved the four criteria in their argument (duty to patient, failure to carry out duty, injury proximal to the negligent act, permanent disability).

"I felt that the Weis team scored by pointing out that the bowel ruptured secondary to bleeding. That rupture led to Weis' coma. A perforated bowel and coma are serious complications, not usually expected even with gastric bypass surgery.

"The quandary of infusing a blood thinner to prevent pulmonary embolism, which likely prevented blood clotting, was one of those 'between a rock and a hard place' decisions. If the surgeons justified their actions in medical notes — making decisions based on data as it was ascertained — then no malpractice existed there. However, I would not have been surprised if the jury found in favor of Weis, giving him a few hundred thousand dollars for excessive loss of time.

"Even though the surgeons contend that Weis was not the most compliant patient, I didn't see that as much of a factor. A surgeon can refuse to complete the surgery if he feels the patient presents too much risk, or may be noncompliant.

"I recently served on a jury trial. Although we applied the 'facts' of the case to elements of the law, I can see where subjective impressions may play a role in a jury's verdict. Did Weis not look like a victim, but rather a successful and rich college football coach? Did the doctors appear to be honest and empathetic? We may never know.

"People may talk about the added expense of such malpractice litigation. While it is true that this trial adds to the financial burden of health care, and that the trial likely ate up several weeks of time where the physicians could have been performing surgery on other patients, it is important to allow patients who feel wronged to have their due process in an impartial way. It doesn't hurt to hold professionals accountable for their actions, even if inconvenient to everyone's schedule."

Previous coverage:
Preview: A legal perspective
Day 1: Battle lines drawn
Day 2: Weis' hired hand returns
Day 3
: Weis takes the stand
Day 4: Team Weis scores a victory
Day 5: Weis' story is questioned
Day 6:
Hodin defends decisions
The mistrial
: A look back at our coverage of the first trial.

Nobody Is Perfect

Once again we venture into the murky world of online wagering to see what the betting public believes will happen this season. The site Bodog has posted odds for number of victories for several teams. Louisiana State leads the list with an over/under number set at 10.5 regular season victories.

Nick Saban's plan to put Alabama back in the national title picture will have to wait, it appears. The Crimson Tide's over/under is 8.5. And they might be in for a bit of a letdown at Notre Dame, which is listed at 7.5 at the time of this posting.

The second set of numbers come us from the Las Vegas Hilton and were sent to us by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. That group of numbers list the odds for winning the conference title games in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12 and Southeastern conferences.

Regular season victories
(Team must play all regular season games for action. Bowl and conference championship games do not count.)

Louisiana State
Louisville, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas
California, Florida, Florida State, Penn State
Auburn, Georgia, Nebraska, Ohio State, Tennessee, UCLA
Alabama, Iowa, Miami,
Arkansas, Clemson, Texas Tech
Kansas State, Notre Dame, Texas A&M
Arizona, Georgia Tech, Oregon, South Carolina

Odds to win conference title games
(Las Vegas Hilton, current as of 7-16)

Atlantic Coast Conference
Virginia Tech even; Florida State 5-2; Miami 7-2; Clemson 12-1; Georgia Tech 12-1; Wake Forest 25-1; Boston College 25-1; North Carolina State 25-1; Virginia 25-1; Maryland 40-1; North Carolina 100-1; Duke 1000-1.

Big 12
Oklahoma 8-5; Texas 8-5; Nebraska 4-1; Missouri 7-1; Texas A&M 10-1; Kansas State 15-1; Colorado 18-1; Oklahoma State 40-1; Texas Tech 100-1; Kansas 100-1; Baylor 500-1; Iowa State 500-1.

Louisiana State even; Florida 5-2; Georgia 6-1; Tennessee 6-1; Auburn 12-1; Arkansas 12-1; Alabama 12-1; South Carolina 40-1; Kentucky 100-1; Vanderbilt 500-1; Mississippi 500-1; Mississippi State 500-1.

'A Colt Following' Now Online

The Colt Brennan for Heisman campaign is underway. Hawaii has made the 43-minute DVD of the quarterback titled "A Colt Following" available online. You can watch it by clicking here.

The DVD, centerpiece of the campaign, cost the athletic department approximately $25,000 to produce. Warrior officials plan to send 1,000 DVDs to media outlets and voters for postseason awards and polls.

And what good is a Heisman campaign without a website? Hawaii has put a Herculean effort into Brennan's site, and it will contain highlights of each of the Warrior games.

Reporters' Notebooks

Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: John Duffy, a sports announcer and weekend news anchor for ESPN Radio 1250, was arrested last week on child pornography charges. Ward, 46, is the press box announcer for University of Pittsburgh games at Heinz Field. Thanks to Kevin of We Are Penn State.

Knoxville News Sentinel: Put out those Marlboros, Tennessee fans. Neyland Stadium is now smoke-free, to comply with the “Non-Smoker Protection Act” passed by the state legislature this year.

Ray Melick, Birmingham News: An official with knowledge of the infractions process says Alabama coach Nick Saban's name has turned up more than any other coach's in other teams' allegations of secondary NCAA rules violations.

Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press: The Federal Communications Commission may get involved with negotiations between Echostar Communications and the Big Ten Network. A ruling in favor of Echostar would be a damaging blow to the Big Ten Network.

Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman: Boise State running back Ian Johnson, who will marry Chrissy Popadics on Saturday, has had to hire security for the ceremony after racist threats.

Ed McGranahan, Greenville News: Atlantic Coast Conference officials say they have conducted background checks of officials for the past two years.

Jake Schaller, Colorado Springs Gazette: Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson the league has conducted random background checks on the officials in all 19 of its sports for the past two-plus years.

Susan Miller Degnan, Miami Herald: Miami coach Randy Shannon has ordered the names removed from the back of player jerseys. The move is an effort to promote a "team-first" attitude.

J. Brady McCollough, Kansas City Star: Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins said that coach Mark Mangino has done what they've asked him to do thus far, but that another 6-6 campaign would not cut it this year.

Tony Barnhardt, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Florida State could be playing a nonconference game at the Georgia Dome in 2008 against an opponent to be determined.

Jim Kleinpeter, Times-Picayune: Louisiana State running back Alley Broussard, unable to overcome a knee injury that caused him to miss the 2005 season, has left the team.

Marcus Nelson, Palm Beach Post: Coaches in the Sun Belt Conference are among the lowest paid in Division I-A.

Louisiana Tech: Bark of a New Generation

Derek Dooley, the son of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, was hired in December to replace Jack Bicknell at Louisiana Tech. He's a former attorney turned coach who spent the past seven years as an assistant to Nick Saban. Dooley scored points Monday during the Western Athletic Conference media day in San Jose with several entertaining quotes. Among them:

On Louisiana Tech's difficult travel schedule in the WAC: "I think it's an excuse. 'It's not fair we had to travel.' ... That's ludicrous. These guys are 18 years old, 20 years old, they stay out until 3 in the morning anyway. These guys don't even know what morning and night is. And you're telling me they're tired? I don't buy it."

On Louisiana Tech's need to play "money" games against big-time opponents: "Nick [Saban] always told me it's not about the money. It's about the amount."

Poster schedules: Florida State, Wyoming, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Arkansas, Kent State, Navy, Duke, Purdue, Missouri, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Middle Tennessee, Brigham Young, Syracuse, South Florida, Colorado, Southern Mississippi, Washington State, Kentucky, Houston, Toledo, Iowa State, North Texas, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Clemson, North Carolina State, West Virginia, East Carolina, Nevada, Georgia Tech, Florida, Oklahoma, UCLA, Kansas State, Utah, Stanford, Auburn, Northwestern, Iowa, Texas El Paso, Penn State, Ohio, USC.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Booty Is the Man to Beat in Heisman Chase

USC quarterback John David Booty, left, is the frontrunner to win the Heisman, according to odds listed on the Internet.

Three of the past five Heismans have gone to players from USC, including quarterbacks Carson Palmer in 2002 and Matt Leinart in 2004. Reggie Bush won the award in 2005.

Chris Huston, who runs the site Heisman Pundit, outlined several reasons why Booty was considered the frontrunner when he was a guest on the radio show last weekend. You can listen to that interview by clicking here.

Huston also mentioned several darkhorse candidates, including Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller, who was not singled out on Bodog's list. Keller falls under field (all other players) and his chances are 7-1.

Unlike Booty, Keller's campaign is unique. His chances are not as strongly tied to Nebraska's record, much like Booty's are to USC, and he will have the opportunity to put up monster games against some questionable secondaries in the Big 12.

The Los Angeles Times, using odds from Vegas Insider, listed Booty (5-1) as the favorite along with West Virginia's Steve Slaton (5-1) and ahead of Arkansas' Darren McFadden (6-1), Louisville's Brian Brohm (6.5-1) and Hawaii's Colt Brennan (8-1) Below are Heisman odds according to Bodog:
Brian Brohm, Louisville
John David Booty, USC
Steve Slaton, West Virginia
Darren McFadden, Arkansas
Colt Brennan, Hawaii; Ray Rice, Rutgers
Mike Hart, Michigan
Tim Tebow, Florida
Pat White, West Virginia
Chad Henne, Michigan; C.J. Spiller, Clemson
Colt McCoy, Texas
Chase Daniel, Missouri; Percy Harvin, Florida
C.J. Gable, USC
Jonathan Stewart, Oregon
Anthony Morelli, Penn State
Matthew Stafford, Georgia