Saturday, March 31, 2007

Two for the Show

Two more big rigs we stumbled across. Not sure how current either of these photos might be, but there is no mistaking the Wisconsin trailer, decked out in bold red with huge white lettering. The Texas rig is surprisingly understated, but in fairness the image is not the greatest. If any Longhorn fan has a better one stored in the depths of their computer, we'd be happy to display it.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Harbaugh's Remark Pisses Off Pete

Not a good start for Jim Harbaugh, Stanford's new coach. Harbaugh, left, was quoted this week as saying that USC's Pete Carroll would be gone after this season.

"Perhaps the reason it's been up and down here [at Stanford] is that no one has stayed here 20 years," Harbaugh told Dennis Dodd of CBS Sportsline. "… Charlie Weis is going to do that at Notre Dame. [Jim] Tressel at Ohio State. Pete's doing it. He's only got one more year, though. He'll be there one more year. That's what I've heard. I heard it inside the staff."

Carroll told Gary Klein of the L.A. Times: "If he's going to make statements like that, he ought to get his information right. And if he has any questions about it he should call me."

The teams meet Oct. 6 at the L.A. Coliseum. Thanks to Trent!

Texas Tech's Sweetheart Deal

It turns out that Texas Tech has not one, but two rigs — one for the football team, above, and one for the band, below. How much did this cost? Absolutely nothing.

James Kinsey, owner of a Western Star dealership in Lubbock, loans two brand new trucks each year to Texas Tech. Willis, a former Red Raider player, drives the rigs to road games and provides the fuel, insurance, an additional driver and all of the necessary paperwork and authority needed to haul 40,000 pounds of football equipment and 30,000 pounds of band equipment to road games. All at no cost to the university.

Willis, owner of Willis Moving and Storage in Lubbock, has been driving the gear to games for nearly 10 years. Willis started the practice in a mismatched green cab and black trailer. Then he contacted Kinsey, an avid Texas Tech fan, and he set Willis up with the Western Star trucks with eye-catching graphics and matching trailers.

The inside of the cabs contain top of the line features such as a dinette sleeper seating package, burl Elm wood dash and cabinets, leather seats, a full gauge package and factory-installed CD radios.

Kinsey resells the trucks at season's end, then orders two more. The Texas Tech team and the band keep the trailers.

We would like to thank reader Clint for this.

Join Us Friday Night on the Airwaves

Chuck Culpepper of the Los Angeles Times will be our guest Friday night on "Sports Overnight America" on the Sports Byline USA Radio Network. Chuck is a veteran writer and columnist, with stops at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, the National Sports Daily, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Oregonian and Newsday. Quite a resume. The Virginia graduate is currently living in London and working on a book.

The show starts at 10 p.m. Pacific, and the Wiz joins John Woolard and Fred Wallin at 11:30. Chuck is scheduled to join us in the midnight hour.

You can hear "Sports Overnight America" worldwide over the Internet at Sports Byline. Just click on "Listen Live." The show is also available on the American Forces Network, which can be heard in 177 countries and U.S. territories as well as U.S. Navy ships at sea, or on one of the Sports Byline affiliates.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Keeping an Eye on the Videoboard Race

The latest rage for athletic departments flush with money? Videoboards. Texas' Godzillatron, above, is the current leader at 55 feet tall and 134 feet long and costing $8 million.

On Tuesday, Auburn announced plans for a high-definition unit that will be approximately 30 feet tall and 74 feet wide and costing $2.9 million. Now Oklahoma is set to approve a plan to upgrade its videoboards and sound systems at Memorial Stadium and Lloyd Noble Center. The cost: $10.3 million.

Oklahoma State also plans to go digital, reports George Schroeder of the Oklahoman. Among teams with improved videoboards: Texas A&M's 12th Man TV (54-by-74) and Nebraska's unnamed board (33-by-117). Thanks to Greg! Some registration.

Alabama's Tim Tebow Bill

Tim Tebow Mania is sweeping the south, including of all places, Alabama. House bill No. 440 — nicknamed the Tim Tebow Bill — is currently working its way through the Alabama legislature.
The bill calls for allowing home-schooled students equal access to sports and extracurricular activities at public schools.

The bill is named after Tebow because he was a home-schooled student who played football at Florida's Nease High. A bill similar to the Alabama measure was passed in Florida in 1996, clearing the way for Tebow and other home-schoolers to play for public high schools.

Tebow Mania doesn't stop there. Andy Staples of the Tampa Tribune reports that a website has been created titled Tim Tebow Facts, "which are essentially an homage to a popular Internet tribute to actor Chuck Norris with Tebow's name substituted for Norris'." Among the facts: "Tim Tebow once got Blackjack with one card."

Big Wheels Keep on Turning

We're not sure where this road is taking us, but with no weigh station in sight, we continue our big rig journey. Erik of Deep South Sports sent shots of the Mississippi rig parked outside of Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium in 2004. Back then, the Rebels were coached by David Cutcliffe, and he was prominently displayed on the rear of the "Rebel Express."

Of note here is that the Mississippi rig has Tennessee plates. What is up with that? And guess where Cutcliffe is coaching these days? Tennessee, of course, where he is Phillip Fulmer's offensive coordinator. Hopefully the rig has gotten a makeover since these photos were taken.

Without question, the Army rig below is among the finest we've seen. It was sent to us by Cadet John, who writes, "The Army football team has had it's ups and downs recently, but to me this truck is as good, if not better, than the others on the site." John, as any true cadet would say, closes with, "Beat Navy!"

Back to our poll. Wednesday saw a stunning turnaround, with Louisiana State surging ahead of Penn State for the best rig. The Nittany Lions were taking it on the chin left and right, including this shot from AOL's NCAA Fanhouse.

Keep the rigs coming. If we get enough images for a second poll, we will have one. Then a runoff to determine the champion.

Reporters' Notebooks

Ray Melick, Birmingham News: Why did Alabama and Auburn raise ticket prices for the coming season? Because they can.

Ferd Lewis, Honolulu Advertiser: The Colt Brennan Factor: Nearly half of Hawaii's games could shown on network cable television, three of them on Fridays.

Randy Peterson, Des Moines Register: Ticket demand is expected to exceed supply for Iowa's opener against Northern Illinois in Chicago's Soldier Field.

Darryl Slater, Daily Press: Virginia receiver Kevin Ogletree is likely out for the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Michael Vega, Boston Globe: Boston College players are having to adjust to the tempo of new coach Jeff Jagodzinski's pro-style practice template.

Jeff Wilson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: A violation of university policy has cost running back Detrick James a spot on the Texas Christian roster.

We Have a New Worldwide Leader

This site might not be around today without the help of Ben Maller. When we started 19 months ago, Maller of Fox Sports Radio was one of the first to give our traffic a healthy boost. His site is one of the best, and last fall Fox incorporated into its Internet lineup. Wise move.

Last week, Nielsen Net Ratings announced that had passed in unique visitors in February. Fox registered 15.2 million unique visitors for the month and ESPN 13.2 million. It ended ESPN's decade-long run of dominance.

It came as no surprise that Maller's site was one of the factors credited with putting Fox Sports in the lead. Having an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into putting a site together, we're elated to see Maller's efforts paying off.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Wheels Keep Rolling

Responses continue to pour in for our truck feature and so do pictures of big rigs. Dan of College Football Tour Guide sent us a picture of the Oregon and Oklahoma trucks at the 2005 Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Gotta love the "Keep On Duckin' " on the side of the Oregon trailer.

Jason of Big Red Network sent us a shot of the Colorado trailer parked outside of Nebraska's Memorial Stadium, and Rory sent us a glimpse of Nevada's rig outside Fresno State's Bulldog Stadium. Unfortunately, we had to disqualify these two images from our poll because we couldn't see enough of the rigs.

Iowa fans are also pounding us with emails about their rig. The photo used in the poll came from the 2005 Iowa-Iowa State game in Ames, but Hawkeye followers — Brady and Matthew among them — said the rig is an impostor. The 18-wheeler pictured on the bottom is said to be the official rig.

There's still time to vote in our poll, but Penn State fans are already proclaiming victory.

Do Synthetic Fields Cause Global Warming?

Synthetic fields are all the rage, but opponents in Massachusetts are lining up against the surfaces in the name of global warming.

Several high schools in the state are considering installing artificial surfaces, but Newton attorney Guive Mirfendereski is critical of synthetic fields, which are made of polyethylene fibers simulating grass stabilized with rubber pellets.

Mirfendereski tells the Boston Globe that the surface gives off much more heat than grass and — if used widely — could contribute to global warming. He also expressed concern that the materials used to make and clean the turf could leach into local water supplies. Mirfendereski also questioned how the turf would be disposed of once it wears out.

"Any one of these on its own poses a danger to the environment and public health," Mirfendereski wrote in a letter last month to the state environmental secretary. Massachusetts officials have yet to take a position on the issue.

Darren Gill, a marketing director for FieldTurf, acknowledged that turf is "a little warmer than grass," but said the surface does not contribute to global warming. He also said runoff from the field is not a concern and likened the products used to clean it to household fabric softener.

"Nothing we put on the field has any harmful materials in it," Gill said.

FieldTurf is most popular in the Mid-American Conference, where eight of the league's members will play on the surface this fall.

Thanks to Gary of Steroid Nation.

Texas El Paso's Helmet Cam

Texas El Paso's Mike Price has turned to technology this spring to help find the successor to quarterback Jordan Palmer. The coach is having a selected quarterback wear a helmet cam during practice, and after only three sessions, it's clear Price is enamored with his new toy.

"I love it," he told Bret Bloomquist of the El Paso Times. "Isn't it just amazing? You look from the stands and say, 'That guy was wide open. What's wrong with that idiot?' You look at it through [the helmet cam] and you understand. And the other quarterbacks are learning from it."

The camera is affixed to the top of the helmet with tape. You can see a picture of it on the El Paso Times site by clicking here. Thanks to Greg for the tip!

Lowering the Bar at T. Boone U.

More developments at Oklahoma State, home of college football's biggest booster, T. Boone Pickens.

A dramatic increase in the number of alternative admissions given to student-athletics at the university has caught the attention of officials.

Oklahoma State's alternative admissions program "allows a certain percentage (currently 8%) of each new freshman class to attend OSU without meeting all the regular admissions requirements, but who meet minimum criteria and show potential for success," according to the university's website.

In 2001-02, athletics accounted for 6.7% of all students enrolled through alternative means. This year, 11.2% of Oklahoma State's alternative admissions were student-athletes, according to university data provided to the Daily O'Collegian.

Although there is no written policy limiting the number of alternative admissions, former president James Halligan decided to keep alternative admissions athletes at about 9%.

"By lowering admissions standards, you enlarge your recruiting pool and have a chance to bring in more skilled players, which in turn generates wins and generates revenues for a team and a school," said Robert Brown, a Cal State San Marcos professor and expert on the economics of college athletes.

Oklahoma State is not alone in lowering the bar. A 2006 study by the Knight Commission revealed that at the University of Georgia, 21 of 119 student-athletes admitted through alternative means for the 1999-2000 academic year had failed out of college or been kicked out within two years.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Welcome to College Football Tour Guide

Meet Dan, who is living every man's dream. Last season, he traveled the Pacific 10 from his home base in L.A., meeting people, eating their food, going to games and slowly draining his bank account. You only live once, right?

Dan also kept a video chronology of his adventures.

"I did the Pac-10 this season because it was the easiest to do geographically from L.A., and also because it seems like the Pac-10 isn’t as represented as it probably should be, as far as gameday atmosphere is concerned," he writes on his website, College Football Tour

"That said, what I really want to do is film a southern tour of schools and hit the Big Ten. While the West Coast is better than I would’ve imagined, I’m pretty sure some good footage would come out of the South, where it is, by all accounts, insane."

The video we feature is a compilation of his journeys, but here are links to each of his seven trips: Arizona State, California, USC, Arizona, UCLA, Oregon and Stanford.

NCAA Gets Tough on Combines

The NCAA crackdown on scouting combines has started. No longer will Division I coaches be allowed to attend combines, which have become increasingly popular and serve as a means for players to showcase their skills to coaches in an attempt to land a scholarship.

The governing body added bylaw to the Division I manual, and it prohibits college coaches from attending any activity devoted to "agility, flexibility, speed or strength test for prospective student athletes."

In a strange twist to the rule, coaches from Division II and Division III teams will be allowed to attend combines. Their banned Division I counterparts will be given a handout of combine results.

Combines have come under fire because they often charge players a fee to participate despite the fact many of the combines are sponsored by major shoe companies. There has been speculation the NCAA wanted to limit the profits of Internet recruiting services, but Hampton University coach Joe Taylor, a member of the Football Issues Committee, told Jami Frankenberry of the Virginian-Pilot that simply was not the case.

"This was a way to take the pressure off of forcing coaches to go" to combines, Taylor said. "If you were asked to work the combine, and this is your vacation time, you felt compelled to do so because you didn't want your competition to get the upper hand."

Hanging Out on the Internet Street Corner

A spokesman for the Drake Group, a collection of academicians who help faculty and staff defend academic integrity in the face of the burgeoning college sport industry, has criticized the decision by the University of Iowa to purchase seven domain names that could be used to criticize athletic department officials.

"This situation at Iowa is, in my opinion, farcical and tells me the Iowa A.D. must spend way too much time monitoring these sites," Richard Southall, Assistant Professor, Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Memphis, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"They must protect their power and will do just about anything to control messages. Staying on message and controlling the dialogue is widespread in college sport.

"Iowa's A.D. and the athletic department figure that if you prevent rabble-rousers from hanging out on the Internet street corner, they won't be able to build any critical mass. Messages, as any marketer will tell you, have the potential to change people's behaviors and affect their buying decisions. Evidently, they must think it's safer to just throw some money at the problem and it'll go away."

Some registration. Thanks to Marty of

Monday, March 26, 2007

Best Show on the Road

Carrying gear from stadium to stadium is a dirty job. Looking good when you're doing it is half the battle. Two weeks ago, we asked readers to send images of equipment trucks and now it's time to vote. Below are the 11 rigs, in alphabetical order. (Alabama was left out because we could not get a suitable image.) Which rig would you take on the road?

Free polls from
Best big rig:
California Iowa LSU Michigan Nebraska N.C. State Ohio State Oklahoma Penn State Texas A&M Texas Tech

Louisiana State
North Carolina State
Ohio State
OklahomaPenn StateTexas A&M
Texas TechPrevious polls:
Classless Acts of the 2006 Season
Cheapest Shots of the Year
And remember to check out the rest of the site.

How Pickens Came Up With His Plan

More details on Oklahoma State's controversial "Gift of a Lifetime" program that will generate an estimated $250 million for the athletic department.

T. Boone Pickens, the most powerful booster in college athletics, came up with the idea about three years ago after a doctor judged him to be young and healthy enough to qualify for additional life insurance. Pickens later learned that some churches were generating revenue from life insurance policies that had been purchased for aging members, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Pickens, 77, floated the idea to Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder and the plan took about a year to put together.

Mark Mallady of Collegiate Financial Services expects the plan to spread to other universities. "Their thinking is that 'we've got donors giving us millions of dollars each year,' " Mallady told the Times. "But what happens when the donors die? Is there a plan or a policy to replace what they've been giving?"

Said Pickens: "You will see other [similar] deals in the near future" at other nonprofit organizations.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Crewcut Says New Trial to Begin July 16

Another indication a settlement is unlikely in Crewcut Charlie Weis' medical malpractice lawsuit against Massachusetts General physicians Charles Ferguson and Richard Hodin, accused of botching Weis' gastric-bypass operation in 2002.

Weis told Michael Rothstein of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on Saturday that the new trial is scheduled to begin July 16, just weeks before the Notre Dame coach gathers his troops for fall drills.

"It just had to be on my vacation," Weis said. "So it wouldn't be disruptive."

Reporters' Notebooks

John Heuser, Ann Arbor News: Michigan has dismissed three players from the team. Coach Lloyd Carr did not address the status of receiver Adrian Arrington.

Sam Ross Jr. Tribune-Review: Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany talks about possible adjustments that would be required to increase the number of conference games.

Kevin Gorman, Tribune-Review: Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt is trying to restore order in his program.

Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times: USC athletic director Mike Garrett says he honored a request by the NCAA to deny a sideline pass to Reggie Bush for the Rose Bowl.

Ian R. Rapoport, Birmingham News: Nick Saban's first practice at Alabama: No nonsense, no messing around, no wasting time on factors he can't control. Just football.

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Press-Register: Alabama fans were so easy on former coach Mike Shula it was embarrassing.

Alex Abrams, Morning News: Arkansas coach Houston Nutt is still deciding how to punish defensive end Antwain Robinson, who was arrested for shoplifting.

How the Tigers Prowl the Roadways

Check out the Louisiana State big rig. Reader Amit send along this image of the 18-wheeler parked in front of Tiger Stadium. We especially like the tiger graphic that adorns the trailer. Certainly no mistaking this rig when you see it rolling down the road.

Previous featured rigs: Oklahoma, North Carolina State, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Alabama, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Penn State, Michigan, Iowa and California.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Alabama Couple Names Son Saban

It's 161 days until Alabama coach Nick Saban's troops play host to Western Carolina in a packed Bryant-Denny Stadium, but the big news this week occurred off the field.

In a sign that Sabanmania is completely out of control, a couple in Hartselle, Ala., has marked the birth of their second son by naming him Saban. Tim and Hannah Witt welcomed Saban Hardin Witt into the world Tuesday. Their first son, now 23 months old, is named Tyde Timothy Witt.

Saban and Tyde. We kid you not.

Hannah said she thought her husband "was crazy in the beginning. I told some people. They said it was unique and it grew on me." So what happens if Nick Saban doesn't succeed as Alabama coach? "We'll tell our son he was named after one of the highest-paid coaches in college football," Tim said.

And what if Saban Witt becomes an Auburn fan? "We'll put him up for adoption," the father said.

Coach Saban's team begins spring practice Saturday, but the team will be without receiver Tyrone Prothro, whose playing days might be over. If Prothro is finished, he will always be remembered for his sensational catch against Southern Mississippi in 2005. You can see video of the catch on the Prothro website.

Thanks to EDSBS.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Nebraska's Keller Disturbing the Peace?

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller, pictured during better times at Arizona State, was cited Thursday for disturbing the peace during an incident on campus.

The paper reports that "Keller was allegedly trying to park his car in a public parking stall near Memorial Stadium at approximately 11:30 a.m. when someone else reached the spot ahead of him. According to the woman who filed the complaint, Keller allegedly got out of his car, yelled profanities and threw a plastic cup at the victim’s car."

Keller reportedly left the area only to be hunted down later by police. He was cited for disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor punishable by up to three months in jail and a $500 fine. Keller will appear in court April 26.

Keller, you may recall, left Arizona State under bizarre circumstances. He had been named the Sun Devils' starter last fall, then two days later coach Dirk Koetter announced he had changed his mind and replaced Keller with Rudy Carpenter. Keller then stormed off to Lincoln and became a Cornhusker.

Koetter said his switcheroo had nothing to do with what happened on the practice field, leading to speculation that Keller was having too much fun late at night. One thing is clear: Keller was not a popular teammate. Arizona Republic columnist Paola Boivin described the scene when Carpenter was being interviewed moments after being named the starter. "Several teammates walked by and shot their fists in the air as a show of support."

Thanks to Sports By Brooks for the photo.

Crewcut Charlie's Retrial Scheduled for July

The Boston Herald reports that Crewcut Charlie Weis' medical malpractice lawsuit against Massachusetts General Hospital physicians Charles Ferguson and Richard Hodin has been scheduled for retrial July 13 — if the sides don't settle before then.

The wildly colorful first trial — Weis claimed Ferguson and Hodin had botched his gastric-bypass operation in 2002 — had a bizarre ending when juror Tony Perry collapsed while listening to testimony. Ferguson and Hodin rushed to Perry's aid.

After Perry was taken by ambulance to Massachusetts General, Weis attorney Michael Mone filed a motion for a mistrial. Defense attorney William Dailey argued unsuccessfully against a mistrial and expressed afterward that his side was winning. "We thought the case was going very well for the doctors and we were confident," Dailey said.

What are the chances of a settlement? Our legal expert for the case, Houston attorney Tom Kirkendall, called it a "who knows" proposition.

"Weis' attorneys are almost certainly working on a contingency fee, so Weis doesn't have much financial risk in teeing it up for another trial.

"From the defense perspective, the insurers for the doctors — who are probably the ones calling the shots in regard to settlement from the defense side — will be analyzing the probable spread between Weis' current settlement demand and the amount of damages that they think they can limit Weis to during a retrial. If that spread gets too large, then the insurers have a financial incentive to give it another go."

We're hopeful of getting a comment from Weis in the next couple of days. Word is that Weis was not asked about a possible retrial during his press conference Wednesday.

As for juror Perry, if anybody has an update, please let us know. His daughter told Boston TV station WHDH shortly after her father's hospitalization that Perry had taken his jury duty seriously and regretted what happened.

Thanks to Steroid Nation for the Weis update. Here are links to our complete coverage of the first trial.

The Weis Trial:
Day 5: Mistrial of the Century
Day 4: Brady's Hail Mary
Day 3: Weis' hired hand
Day 2: Weis testifies
Day 1: Opening statements
Preview: A legal perspective
The Story: Weis' chronic obesity

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

We have a big Friday night/Saturday morning planned on "Sports Overnight America" on the fine Sports Byline USA Network. Joining us at 11:40 p.m. (Pacific) will be Michael Rand of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. How in the world did Minnesota land Tubby Smith as its new basketball coach? Michael will give us the scoop. And be sure to check out RandBall, his excellent blog.

Shortly after midnight, Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette will be our guest. Iowa lost basketball coach Steve Alford to New Mexico, and university officials are stuck with, one of the domain names Iowa owns that we first told you about on Monday. We just checked, and was still redirecting you to, the main site of Iowa athletics. Now that Alford has taken the URL's advice and split, is it fair for Iowa to send fans to Doesn't seem right to us.

Mike is also into the blogging business. He's asking Hawkeye fans to help secure the next coach at The Hlog. And if you're into politics, check out A Year in Iowa, which chronicles the run-up to the first in the nation presidential caucus.

You can hear "Sports Overnight America" worldwide over the Internet at Sports Byline. Just click on "Listen Live." The show is also available on the American Forces Network, which can be heard in 177 countries and U.S. territories as well as U.S. Navy ships at sea, or on one of the Sports Byline affiliates.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Crewcut: 'Tradition Never Graduates'

Year Three of the Crewcut Charlie Weis experience kicked off Wednesday in South Bend, and the No. 1 question facing the big guy was the health of quarterback Jimmy Clausen.

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune reported that Weis interrupted a questioner to say Clausen is "full go, too, contrary to recent reports. ... By the way, just so we can clear that one up, the only one who will answer for the health of our players will be me. So next time, we can just keep it that way."

Reporters later headed to the Loftus Sports Center to catch a glimpse of practice. Michael Rothstein of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported that "when the media was allowed in, most flocked right to where Clausen was standing and began snapping photographs and filming. That didn't even happen when Brady Quinn was still around."

How did Clausen look throwing the ball? According to the Chicago Sun-Times' Vaughn McClure, who reported that Clausen has an injured throwing arm, the quarterback only threw briefly during 20 minutes of light drills that were open to the press. Clausen will not be made available to the media during spring practice.

Weis did little to lower expectations in South Bend, reported Pete DiPrimio of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, even though the Fighting Irish return only three starters on offense. "Tradition never graduates," Weis said.

Added Weis: "It's easy for everyone to say, 'This is a transition year. This is a rebuilding year.' You can't ever think like that. I can’t think like that. Players won’t think like that. Not happening."

Oklahoma Takes Pride in the Ride

Take a look at Sooner One, a 53-foot big rig that holds up to 60,000 pounds of Oklahoma gear. Readers Rob and Keith each contacted the Wiz about this 18-wheeler, which was first put to the test in 2003.

The trailer's backside features a crisp graphic of Sooner players holding helmets aloft. The rig was prominently featured in a 2004 piece by ESPN's Wayne Drehs.

You can see more images of Sooner One, including a look at the interior, by going to Sooner Sports.

At the conclusion of this feature, we plan to conduct a poll to decide the best rig of the bunch. If you want your team represented, send us a link or photo.

Previous featured rigs: North Carolina State, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Alabama, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Penn State, Michigan, Iowa and California.

Reporters' Notebooks

Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger: Rutgers coach Greg Schiano matter-of-factly announced a handful of unexpected coaching changes.

Anthony Gimino, Tucson Citizen: Arizona, which finished 115th in offense last season, is installing the spread offense.

Ryan Callahan, Tennessean: Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge's knee surgery turned out better than expected, and he will miss only three-to-six weeks.

Andrew Logue, Des Moines Register: New Iowa State coach Gene Chizik on spring drills: "There's going to be a lot of contact."

Ryan Thorburn, Boulder Daily Camera: Count Colorado coach Dan Hawkins among those who are celebrating the return of the "old" clock rules.

Scott Carter, Tampa Tribune: This spring is unlike any other for Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, who dismantled his coaching staff in the offseason.

Ed Miller, Virginian-Pilot: Virginia's Jameel Sewell, expected to be the starting quarterback this fall, is recovering from wrist surgery to his throwing arm and his status remains uncertain.

Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News: The playing futures of several Michigan players are in limbo because of legal issues.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Damaged Goods?

Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame's can't-miss quarterback recruit, might be missing Wednesday when the Fighting Irish start spring drills.

Clausen, who graduated from high school early and enrolled at Notre Dame in January, has an undisclosed injury to his right (throwing) arm, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. An earlier report in the Miami Herald said Clausen has bone spurs in the elbow, but Notre Dame coach Crewcut Charlie Weis, no stranger to the world of doctors (and lawyers), dismissed the claim in February.

Still, officials aren't saying exactly what is wrong with Clausen and Weis kept Clausen from throwing during winter drills.

Clausen's father, Jim Sr., said his son completed his final year of high school ball with the injury and that "at the end of the season, he started to lose some velocity."

"I'm not a doctor, so I can't really tell you much about it. But it's going to be monitored,'' he said.

The younger Clausen also has a website that you can view by clicking here. Thanks to Kevin of We Are Penn State.