Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rodriguez Might Get A Shot At Wolverines

Promises, promises. Alledgedly that's what newly hired Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez got from Arizona. The promise was that they would give him a shot to beat his former school, Michigan, by scheduling them in three years. I guess that's how much time Rodriguez will need to get the Wildcats on track.

This comes from Louisiana high school football coach J.T. Curtis.

”My understanding is, in talking to coach Rich Rodriguez, and I was involved in that just a little bit, is that it was a much closer decision than people realize between Tulane and Arizona,” Curtis said. “I know that might not sound right to you but I think Tulane did all they could do to give him an opportunity to come there and a chance to coach, and I think his expression to me was that he felt like he had a better chance to win the national championship at Arizona if he recruited properly. And they promised him they’d put Michigan on the schedule in three years,” Curtis said. “I’m telling you, it was a big deal.”

I don't know if Rodriguez wants that game by then. Brady Hoke has he Wolverines trending upwards so Rodriguez better get some players in a hurry if he wants a shot at Michigan.


UCLA Gets A Bowl Waiver

At 6-6 and going into a conference championship game UCLA has a chance to have a losing record and not make a bowl. At least that's how it usually works out. Except the Bruins applied for a bowl waiver so that they will be able to go bowling with a more than likely 6-7 record. And for some strange reason they were granted the waiver.

Here's the reasoning. Since they fighting Neuheisels are the Pac-12 South champ by default since USC is on probation, the Pac-12 is struggling to fill their allotment of bowl slots. So enter UCLA with their meager 6-6 (or 7) record to help out the situation. The Bruins, the Pac-12 South paper champs, are 31 (and counting) point underdogs to Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game. So they'll probably end up being 6-7 going into their bowl game. Athletic Director Dan Guerrero sounds pleased at the recent turn of events.

“As a program, we appreciate the NCAA approving our petition for a bowl waiver,” said UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero in a release. “We will be able to give our 18 seniors one more chance to represent their university and end their collegiate careers on a high note, regardless of the outcome of this Friday’s Pac-12 Championship Game. We’d like to thank the NCAA for considering the unique situation in which we find ourselves this year and rewarding us with this opportunity.”

And another chance to catch a beatdown. They'll be joining some elite company as North Texas went to the 2001 New Orleans Bowl with a 5-6 record. At least the Mean Green won their conference and aren't a fake champion like UCLA.

Dan Guerrero’s and UCLA’s selfish motivation to bring money into the shcool is a short sighted effort. The embarrassment that playing in the Pac-12 Championship Game, know full well, that they are not qualified to play in that game… then the audacity to petition for a Bowl Game, just to bring in some bucks at the expense of the players, is a joke.

The football team has taken enough grief this season under Neuheisel, but having a 6-6 season, the huge loss to USC (the real Pac-12 South champs), the blow out losses against the other teams, and then to be completely embarrassed on national TV when they play Oregon, as 31.5 pt underdogs, which my money is on Oregon by 50 pts.

Now you want the UCLA players in another potential loss and more embarrassment in a bowl game. Again… Dan Guerrero and the UCLA administration doesn’t show me any style, class nor grace. I guess, if the shoe fits, wear it.

UCLA alumni are furious with this move, Guerrero and Neuheisel. Perhaps Guerrero needs to be fired too.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sumlin Might Want To Stay In Houston

University of Houston head football coach, Kevin Sumlin is a hot commodity right now. He has the Cougars at 12-0 and positioned to get to a BCs bowl game. The offense he runs has put up some video game numbers and have scored a ton of points this season. It's a testament to him and the team that they've been able to focus amid speculation that Sumlin is in line for a higher profile job.

With numerous coaches being shown the ax recently his name is being mentioned for jobs at Arizona State, Illinois, Mississippi, and UCLA. If I'm Sumlin I'd stay put at Houston. For how long it depends. Only of Bob Stoops ever decided to leave Oklahoma would be the only way I'd leave Houston.

Not to say that any of those jobs are bad jobs, but Sumlin would be set up for failure. Maybe Arizona State would be the job I would consider. But with USC still reeling in top tier recruits I would probably steer clear of the Sun Devils job.

As of now Sumlin is having none of the speculation talk and says he's working on an extension with Athletic Director Mack Rhoades.

“I’ve talked to Mack a couple of times, we’ve had a couple different discussions about a lot of things,” Sumlin said. “I’ve got a really strong relationship with him, an open relationship. Our administration understands that we’re trying to win a championship, and things that detract from that, I’m not really interested in doing.”

“Nobody has talked to me all year,” Sumlin said. “No one has contacted me from anywhere in the country about a coaching job anywhere. Even if they tried, at this point, I wouldn’t even talk to them. We’re in the middle of the season.”

With new facilities being put in place and Houston moving to the Big East things might be looking up for the Cougars as far as being relevant nationally again. Of course that all depends on the Big East keepin their AQ status in the BCS. It looks like Sumlin might be in Houston for the long haul.


Clippers To Pursue Dwight Howard?

The NBA lockout still has to undergo some minor details (vote and ratify) before it's officially over. The news has started to pick up regarding who'll get released, traded, or signing elsewhere.

Orlando Magic big man Dwight Howard has been dodging questions about his future whereabouts, but that won't stop the rumor mill from ramping up. Reports say that the Los Angeles Clippers will possibly make a push for Howard. Interesting since Donald Sterling does own the Clippers. But I guess the possibility of playing with Blake Griffin might trump Sterling's incompetence. Think about the tandem of Howard and Griffin playing side by side. That might actually get some players to think about playing in Clipperland.

Of course the Clippers will have some heavy competition for Howard and Howard most of this, especially since the tentative labor agreement permits extend-and-trade deals and also allows sign-and-trade deals for all taxpaying teams during the first two seasons of the CBA.

I don't think it'll happen, but the Clippers might have the most attractive young trade chips to pull it off. 


Sunday, November 27, 2011

UCLA's Travis Wear Injured While Snorkeling

UCLA's basketball season is just five games old and they're already enduring a trying season. They've lost to Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee State, had a bad showing in Maui, and are 1-4 with their lone win coming against Chaminade.

Before the season started the coach Ben Howland has had to deal with the Jerime Anderson arrest, Reeves Nelson's insubordination, and now Travis Wear's injury.

This season could go from bad to worse if the Bruins can't pull it together and go on a hot streak and win some games.

UNLV Stuns North Carolina

Even though preseason rankings in college sports, more so in basketball than football, intrigue me they don't mean anything. I said that a few years ago, and I'm gonna say it again. They don't mean a thing.

There have been a rash of early season upsets so far. Cleveland State over Vanderbilt, Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee State over UCLA, and Pittsburgh being taken down by Long Beach State. Now the number one team, the stacked and talented North Carolina Tar Heels were stunned by UNLV, 90-80.

These may all turn out to be fluky early season wins, but the Tar Heels are expected to contend for the national title this year. It's only one game so I won't make too much out of it since everyone has a bad night. I'm not making excuses for the Heels, but it was practically a road game for them. It was played at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Eventually the road catches up with you.

I won't pencil the Tar Heels in for a championship, but I won't be surprised if they win it all. But for now let things play out early in the season before handing out rankings like Halloween candy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rodriguez Gets Frustrated Watching Michigan

Former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez found a landing spot in Tucson, coaching the Arizona Wildcats. That doesn't mean that he still doesn't have feelings about Michigan. Why, I don't know, but Rodriguez admitted that it's frustrating watching Michigan win at his press conference.

“It’s frustrating to watch them, I don’t mind telling you,” Rodriguez said, “because those are all my guys. But I’m proud of them because they’re doing so well.”

Rodriguez believed that the Wolverines would turn the corner this year so it comes as no surprise to him that they are 9-2 heading into the Ohio State game this week. I still think they had ways to go. Truth is Rodriguez never had a chance at Michigan. He had the knives in his back as soon as he hit Ann Arbor. Wins would've cured the ills but he didn't win enough. Another thing that killed Rodriguez was defense. If he really gave a damn about defense he might still be at Michigan.

He might have a chance at Arizona where the offenses in the Pac-12 put up video game numbers weekly. Everyone knows that offense is Rodriguez's specialty. If he can get the Wildcats to play some defense they could be formidable in the Pac-12. It might be a mirage, but Rodriguez might be able to succeed in the desert.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jay-Z Has To Reject NBA Players From The VIP

Because of the NBA lockout owners or coaches can't communicate with the players. It makes for a pretty dicey situation. No communication, fraternizing, etc. If you do, you risk a fine that could run $500,000.

New Jersey Nets part owner Jay-Z knew this so at a recent GQ party in Los Angeles, Jay had to turn away a posse of NBA players wanting to chat with him in the VIP party room. Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, Russell Westbrook, JaVale McGee and Shannon Brown, among others were turned down from the VIP by Mr. Carter (Jay-Z).

“So all the athletes were clamoring to talk to Jay-Z in his private section, even Melo, but because of the lockout, Jay had to turn them all down. He refused to let any of them thru, and also warned his security to watch out because of his NBA ownership, he wasn’t allowed to fraternize with them,” said our source.

Smart move Jay, now just don't go out giving ridiculous contracts to overrated players.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lions Trying To Right The Ship, Have An R-Rated Chant To Haters

After losing three of their last four, the Detroit Lions are trying to get their season back.

Wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson set the tone for a recent practice by gathering the players at midfield and chanted "F--- Them".

Go ahead and fill in the blanks on that one. That wasn't directed to anyone in particular, but they're trying to get the swagger back after being beatdown by the Chicago Bears last week. I suspect it probably had more to do with various media memebers calling them a dirty team and some saying that they'll flop and miss the playoffs after a 5-0 start.

Hopefully it'll translate to something positive for the team.

Syracuse Assistant Investigated For Molesting Ball Boy

On the heels of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal comes another bombshell. Longtime Syracuse basketball assistant Bernie Fine is at the center of a police investigation for molesting a ball boy for more than a dozen years in the 1980s.

Police stressed to Outside The Lines they are in the early stages of the investigation.

The alleged victim, Bobby Davis, now 39, told Outside the Lines that Fine molested him beginning in 1983 shortly before Davis entered the seventh grade. Davis, the team's ball boy for six years beginning in 1984, said the abuse occurred at Fine's home, at the Syracuse basketball facilities, and on road trips, including the 1987 Final Four.

In addition, a second man -- a relative of Davis -- told OTL that he was also molested by Fine around the same time as the first boy.

Davis reported the crimes to the police in 2003 but was told that the statute of limitations had run out. davis also said that it was possible that other boys were molested.

Davis said that Fine molested him at Fine's home, at the basketball facilities at Syracuse, on recruiting road trips and even at the 1987 Final Four. Davis said he was Fine's constant companion at all those places. He said that Boeheim would come into Fine's room, and see Davis lying on the Fine's bed, but never asked him any questions.

Davis said he was molested by Fine until he was around 27 years old. Through the years, he said he has felt bitter emotions over the molestation as sex scandals have emerged in the Catholic Church and lately with former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Davis said he reported the abuse to Syracuse police in 2003, but that a detective told him that the statute of limitations had run out. Davis said the detective told him that if he knew of boys being molested by Fine at the time, that Syracuse police would investigate those allegations. Davis said he told the detective that he thought other boys were being molested but that he had only direct knowledge of Fine molesting him.

At the time, the Syracuse police chief was Dennis Duval, a former Syracuse basketball player for Boeheim. Duval, who retired in 2004, could not be reached for comment. He played at Syracuse from 1971 to 1974, and started with the Syracuse Police Department in 1978.

Outside the Lines investigated Davis's story in 2003 but decided not to run the story because there were no other victims who would talk, and no independent evidence to corroborate the boy's story. In recent days, a second man contacted Outside the Lines with information alleging that Fine had also molested him. That man said he was inspired to finally talk after seeing news coverage of the Sandusky case.

This is just sick. This is slightly different from the Penn State case only because there is no evidence of a cover up.

Victims of these type of crimes need to speak up. It's a shame that these men use their power and influence to prey on impressionable young children. I don't care how long it's been, if this is indeed true, Fine needs to be locked up immediately. You would've thought that Boeheim might've asked questions if he saw some kid laying on his bed.

Boeheim might not be as culpable as Joe Paterno, but he needs to ask questions if something looks amiss.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Davie Looks To Revive His Coaching Career

It took awhile for former Notre Dame football coach Bob Davie to get another job, but he finally found one. No I'm not talking about Davie leaving ESPN for another TV gig, but he'll be taking over the New Mexico football program.

First of all I thought that Mike Leach would take over this reclamation project. With the high powered offenses he's constructed in the past he would've sold some tickets. Davie is a name, but not one who comes with a lot of sizzle that will move people to buy tickets.

Secondly, why would Davie want this job? I know that he probably had an itch to get back into coaching, but taking the New Mexico job might ruin him for life. No one has won there and the Lobos have back to back 1-11 seasons which got Mike Locksley canned among other things.

I guess it could be a no lose situation for Davie. If he wins five games a year he might be revered in Albuquerque. Hell, they might even put a statue up of him if he gets them to a couple of bowl games. Nonetheless, Davie has a major job in making New Mexico football matter.

Monday, November 14, 2011

TCU Makes A Celebratory T-Shirt

After ending any slight hope that Boise State had at a national title shot, TCU has a t-shirt celebrating their win. I'm sure the players or coach didn't have anything to do with it, but it's out there.

This was more of a slap in the face to Boise State and the Mountain West conference after they felt slighted since the MWC decided to move the game to Boise State after TCU announced they were moving to the Big East. The Horned Frogs won the game and will be going to the Big 12 and not the Big East. Also Boise State will be moving to the Big East.

It looks like the Horned Frogs got the last laugh on Boise and the MWC in the end.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Barry Switzer's Insight On The Penn State Scandal

Once he saw the footage of the Penn State coach standing on his lawn, talking to reporters and admitting to the world that he should've done more, the former Oklahoma coach realized his fate was sealed. He would be forced out. He would be fired.

“I knew that it would come to this,” Switzer said.

“They did the right thing at the university,” he said. “The university had to do this, and it was the right thing to do.”

He paused and sighed.

“It's a tragic, sad story. There are no winners here.”

He paused again.

“There are no winners at all.”

“Having been in this profession a long time and knowing how close coaching staffs are, I knew that this was a secret that was kept secret,” Switzer said. “Everyone on that staff had to have known, the ones that had been around a long time.”

“You think that a 13-year assistant … hasn't told someone else?” Switzer said. “His wife? His father? People knew. The community knew.”

“There are more people culpable than just Joe Paterno and the athletic director,” Switzer said via telephone while traveling in Texas. “There are so many other people that have thought, ‘I could've done something about this, too' that didn't come forward. That's the tragedy of it.”

That is the tragedy. The adults who had the power to protect kids from a monster. The adults who passed the buck and expected someone else to take care of the problem. The adults who could've saved at least eight little boys from carrying the scars of sexual abuse for the rest of their lives.

“There's no university immune to this,” Switzer said. “No one is immune to what happened at Penn State or what happened at Oklahoma. It happened years ago, and it'll happen years in the future.

“People make poor decisions, poor choices, and this is what can occur.”

“I'll tell you how it happens — it's the American sports phenomenon,” Switzer said. “I've seen it happen all my life; we've made coaches and players and athletes more than what we are. It's what happens in American sports. Because of that, they've gotten away with more than they should have.

“These students the other night, I watched ‘em occupy State College, and I thought, ‘They don't understand.' If they stopped and thought about … how many people were involved and knew this and did nothing, they just haven't lived long enough.

“And what they've done is try to support somebody the university can't support.”

Words from former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer. And you know what, he's dead on.

Switzer presided over the Oklahoma crime spree that ended up with quarterback Charles Thompson on the cover of Sports Illustrated being led away in handcuffs in an orange prison jumpsuit for conspiracy to traffic cocaine. The wild west days of Norman. Switzer knew it was best for him to walk away from the school he loved so much.

Just like how Penn State had to rid themselves of Joe Paterno after the child sexual abuse scandal involving long time assistant Jerry Sandusky. And it's not over by a longshot. There is another layer or two to this story that has yet to come out.

There was no way that Paterno could survive this assault of mounting evidence of a possible cover up for Sandusky. The best thing for Penn State to do was to fire Paterno. Paterno said he would resign at the end of the season, but I think that was nothing more than to keep the wolves at bay. If Paterno wouldnt've felt any heat from this scandal, he'd be defiant about retiring and would be talking about coming back next year. I'm not here to blast Paterno, but this was for the greater good of the university and bigger than football.

I kind of feel sorry for Paterno. After all the years of loyalty to Penn State he goes out under a dark cloud. And it wasn't like the players being paid or an academic scandal that forced him out.

I know Paterno thought he was doing the right thing by following a chain of command and going through typical university protocol. But once he realized something was amiss he should've checked in with the athletic director again and then went to the authorities. It's not like they wouldnt've doubted him. He's Joe Paterno, the lord of State College, Pennsylvania.

He once said that he wouldn't retire to leave the game to the Barry Switzers and Jackie Sherrills of the world. At least they went out cheating the game or on their own terms, rather than trying to cover up a crime against children.    

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Leach Linked To The Ole Miss Opening?

Another job opening, another Mike Leach rumor. After being metioned for the Tulane opening last week, Leach is being linked to the Ole Miss job after the Rebels canned Houston Nutt.

Let's see here, there have been Leach rumors of him going to Arizona, both of the New Mexico schools, Tulane, Florida International, even UCLA and they still have Rick Neuheisel at the helm, and now Ole Miss.

Leach sounds as if he's interested in the job if the Rebels will have him.

“I haven’t heard from anybody, but I’m not too hard to find,” Leach said. “It’s a great job. I’m sure the (Ole Miss) administration has a certain individual it is looking for, and I’m sure they’ll find the right guy.”

No one knows if Leach will actually be a candidate for the job. There is the matter of the pending lawsuit against Texas Tech, which probably means he won't be coaching anywhere.

Leach is one of the brighter offensive minds in the college game and would be a great hire. I do think he brings a lot to the table when it comes to exciting football. I think he will end up at some sort of middle of the road BCS team and Ole Miss could be it. No coach that is thinking of winning a national championship is going to Ole Miss, but Leach clearly would. They should make the call.


Monday, November 7, 2011

The M In Missouri Will Stand For Mediocrity

Missouri will be leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. When you look at the bottom line (money) I'm sure it stands to be a good move, except from a travel standpoint where moving to the Big Ten would've made more sense for both parties.

The problem I have is from a sports point of view, especially football. I think Missouri will be able to compete in basketball. They have a traditionally strong program and will be able to hang with most of the teams in the SEC, Kentucky and Florida are the exceptions. The Tigers will strengthen the SEC as a basketball league. They should be able to bring in their share of high profile recruits and finish in the upper division.

Football is a different story. The Tigers have had some recent success in the Big 12 and have gained a reasonable foothold recruiting the talent rich state of Texas. They've also been successful in keeping the best in-state kids at home. There is Texas and Oklahoma in the Big 12, but I think it's easier to recruit against those schools than it will be against LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and the list goes on. And that's just off the field. I guess it's time to adopt the SEC style of recruiting. And no I don't want to hear how (insert school here) is clean and does it right.

On the field I don't see the Tigers consistently competing with the top tier SEC teams. They can be a dangerous opponent but I just don't see them beating a loaded Alabama team. Or Florida. Or LSU. It is possible that they could pull off a shocker here and there, but that's it. Other than that, they just went from being one of the Big 12's top four teams to being a Texas Tech like program. Someone that will rise up from time to time but will never be a threat to win it all. I know it will piss off Missouri fans, but I see the football team sinking into mediocrity and could ultimately cost Gary Pinkel his job.