Saturday, December 23, 2006


I try to keep the Clemmons bashing to a minimum on this blog. Mostly because the Tiggers manage to make themselves look bad enough without my help.

But sometimes ... well, sometimes ...

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Clemson cornerback Duane Coleman apologized to his team Friday for a drug arrest that cost him the chance to play in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl.
Coleman, a senior who started all 12 games, was suspended after his arrest on a marijuana possession charge. ...
When asked by police if there were any drugs or weapons in the car, Coleman responded, "We done smoked it," according to a police incident report. Coleman then allowed police to search the vehicle, the report said.

Parents should be very, very alarmed about the quality of teaching at Clemmons.

But Coleman shouldn't worry. He has a bright future with the Miami Dolphins.

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BOWL PREVIEWS: Motor City Bowl

This bowl is perhaps the one where quality of play matches up nicely with the reputation of its host city, seen as a one-time big city now in decline, where dreams are more likely to die than to live. Unless, of course, you're a misogynistic white kid who knows how to rap.
When this is what your kids aspire to be ... not good.
Ah, the Motor City Bowl, played at Ford Field, which might literally be the cleanest building in the city. And the nicest, if only it didn't look sort of like a car factory. Which might, of course, be the point; who knows?
Bowl: The Motor City Bowl
Location: Detroit, Michigan. Which is only the Motor City if you don't count the outsourcing over the last 10 years.
When: Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Purported reason for existence: To match a MAC team with a Big Ten team.
Real reason for existence: To match a MAC team with whoever is left over. In this case, a Sun Belt co-champion.
Teams: Central Michigan v. Middle Tennessee State
Interest level: Ford Focus. It'll get you where you want to go, but don't go bragging about it.
Useful. And that's about it.
Key player for Central Michigan: QB Dan LeFevour, who has thrown 25 TD passes and run for six more scores. A high-scoring game will likely be a good one for the Chippewas.
Key player for Middle Tennessee: The need to keep this game under control will make defensive lineman Erik Walden -- he of the 9.5 sacks -- all the more important to the Blue Raiders' attempts to keep LeFevour from getting the Central Michigan offense cranked up.
Winner: Central Michigan. I like Rick Stockstill, and think there are good things in MTSU's future with him at the helm. But the Chippewas shouldn't have any trouble putting up enough points to finish off the Blue Raiders.

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BOWL PREVIEW: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl

You gotta love the Hawaii Bowl. Not for anything on the field or for the rampant nepotism of almost always inviting the University of Hawaii even when they're barely bowl eligible, but for it's desperate, gasping attempts at relevance.

"The Hawai'i Bowl continues as the first non-all-star post-season game in Hawai'i since December of 2000 when the Oahu Bowl and the Aloha Bowl were played in Honolulu." Because you will not believe this sentence actually comes from anyone connected to the game, here's a link.

"Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Picked To Be The 3rd Best Game To Watch In The 2006 Bowl Season!" Again, link.

Bowl: The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Or Hawai'i Bowl, if you want to sound native and intellectual. Two things I feel no need to aspire to.
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
When: Dec. 24, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Won't see bowl. But he's a defense guy, anyway.

Purported reason for existence: To pair a WAC team with a Pac-10 team.
Real reason for existence: To ensure that the University of Hawaii plays in a bowl game if eligible to do so.
Teams: Arizona State v. Hawaii
Interest level: Jessica Simpson. Looks great, but not much substance.

Are y'all gonna check me out on DirecTV?

Key player for Arizona State: QB Rudy Carpenter, who's thrown 22 TD strikes despite Dirk Koetter's Hamlet routine in the preseason.
Key player for Hawaii: QB Colt Brennan, a late entrant into the Heisman Trophy race after passing for 15,000 yards and 87 TDs. Okay, so it was actually 4,990 yards and 53 TDs. It's still impressive, even for a Hawaii QB.
Winner: Hawaii. But "win one for the coach" is going for Arizona State. Yeah, that never works. Besides, Arizona State has disappointed at every conceivable point this year.

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BOWL PREVIEW: Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl

NOTE: This is the first post on the "new" Blogger, so if I suddenly start spouting incoherent sentences such as "Ijeakjfzxkcfasf afjadsn,ds cs Rosebud!" it's probably got something to do with that.

Because there's no better way to force yourself onto television nowadays than to wrap yourself in the flag, this weekend brings us the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.

Crowd control at the Armed Forces Bowl.

In fact, the best thing college football fans can hope for is for an actual battle to break out, featuring tanks, rocket attacks and, in the middle of it all, Saddam Hussein yelling, "I am still the president of Iraq!"

I demand justice for the option!

Bowl: Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Location: A secure and undisclosed location. Oh, sorry, that's the Crisco Vice President Bowl. This one's in Ft. Worth, Texas.
When: Dec. 23, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Purported reason for existence: To pair a team from Conference USA with a team from the Mountain West. Or, in 2007 and 2009, the Pac-10. When you're the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, you take what you can get.
Real reason for existence: To ingratiate Bell Helicopter to the Armed Forces in the hopes of winning no-bid contracts.
Teams: Tulsa v. Utah
Interest level: C-SPAN. If it's interesting, it's entirely by accident.

Occasionally stumbling into entertainment. Sorry about that.

Key player for Tulsa: RB Courtney Tennial, who has rushed for 14 TDs and added two more receiving scores.
Key player for Utah: QB Brett Ratliff, who has accounted for almost 3,000 yards of offense between his 2,556 yards passing and more than 400 yards rushing. Ratliff has tossed 22 TDs and rushed for another.
Winner: Utah. In bowl games, you gotta love the gimmick offenses. Plus, ESPN's computer simulations favor Tulsa. And if you've watched the BCS for long enough, you're sure of one thing -- computers know nothing about football.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

TAYLOR BENNETT TO START FOR TECH. Ball (cough cough) can't (cough cough)

Chan Gailey will have Taylor Bennett play QB for Georgia Tech during the Gator Bowl Jan. 1 in Jacksonville.

REGGIE BALL, of course, IS Tech's normal starting quarterback. But Gailey finally decided to think ACADEMICALLY about the choice between Ball and Bennett, and decided to go with the latter. No word on whether this makes Gailey INELIGIBLE for continuing to hold the "Sooper Genius" label.

So, Jackets fans can rejoice in getting what they want: Taylor Bennett will start at QB.

But what's the bright side for him?

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BOWL PREVIEW: The New Mexico Bowl

The New Mexico Bowl is the first of what you might call the two Nepotism Bowls. These bowls are one of the many dirty little secrets of the college postseason. Essentially, a state hosts a bowl that is created to make sure that a certain school has a bowl bid if it is bowl eligible. The New Mexico Bowl -- which could, conceivably, host either New Mexico or New Mexico State -- is probably less egregious than the Hawaii Bowl, which often hosts Hawaii, the state's only Division I-A university.

Rupert Murdoch approves of the NM Bowl lineup.

Bowl: New Mexico Bowl
Location: Albuquerque (If you can't figure out which state the game is in, please apply here.)

Sadly, there is no correct turn at Albuquerque in this case.

When: Dec. 23, 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Purported reason for existence: To pair a team from the Mountain West with a team from the WAC, proving that accomplishment is not necessary to get a bowl invitation.
Real reason for existence: To ensure bowl-eligible teams from New Mexico get to go to a postseason game.
Teams: New Mexico v. San Jose State
Interest level: Gigli. There is no conceivable reason why you should watch this game.

Pay no heed to her siren song. It's not worth it.

Key player for New Mexico: Rodney Ferguson, who ran for more than 1,100 yards and 7 TDs. He also caught 20 balls for 213 yards and two more scores.
Key player for San Jose State: Dwight Lowery, whose nine picks lead the team.
Winner: San Jose State. Because I know what a Spartan is and have only a vague inkling of what a Lobo might be. Besides, nepotism this blatant is deserving of divine punishment.


Finally, after a few games that could be intriguing or mind-numbingly boring, we reach ... matchups that are almost certain to be mind-numbingly boring. But this being bowl season -- and these, ahem, "games" being the only opportunity to view college football for at least 24 hours, I knew where I'm going to be -- and you're going to be.

First up is the Bowl. Yes, that's the Bowl -- because plain old Papa John's isn't hip enough for the youngsters. And because bowls have to have the worst possible name, and throwing the ".com" on there just made it golden.

Next year's new bowl sponsor.

To say this game is about career advancement wouldn't be fair. To say either of these coaches is going to stay put for, say, the duration of incoming freshmen's scholarships? Well, that might be a stretch. Jim Leavitt has done a good job with a fairly new Division I-A team in a nominal BCS conference at the University of South Florida.

And, well, just listen to what one of Skip Holtz's players -- yes, that Skip Holtz -- had to say about rumors of his coach leaving East Carolina University: "All the work he's put into the program, and the Pirate Nation, we knew that he was at least going to be here another four, five years before he goes to some big program or the NFL."

Now, that's commitment for you.

Bowl: Bowl
Location: Birmingham, Alabama. Called the "Pittsburgh of the South" to make you think the city is nicer than it is.
When: Dec. 23, 1 p.m ET, ESPN2
Purported reason for existence: To match a team from the Big East and a team from Conference USA as part of an experiment to see just how dull college football can be.
Real reason for existence: Much like Papa John's itself, the bowl gives you something that's barely edible, but is quick and ready when you need it to satisfy your hunger.

When there's nothing else to eat, it'll do.

Teams: East Carolina v. University of South Florida.
Interest level: Those Michael Jackson trial re-creations on E! You shouldn't watch, but you probably will. And you'll hate yourself when it's over.
Key player for ECU: Kasey Ross, whose four interception returns have gone for 128 yards. Ross also has 3.5 tackles for loss and has broken up seven passes.
Key player for USF: QB Matt Grothe has accounted for more than 3,100 yards of total offenses, though his 1:1 interception-to-TD ratio leaves something to be desired.
Winner: USF. It's not that ECU is coached by a Holtz. Okay, that's part of it. But if you look at the two teams' schedules, Southern Florida has shown more this season. And the always-scurrilous common opponent comparison goes to the Bulls, who beat West Virginia while the Pirates played the 'Eers close but ultimately lost.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


We have seen the enemy and ... his name is pronounced like a salad.

Kevin Kolb -- that's pronounced Cobb, which makes so much sense -- is apparently a pretty good quarterback. He's thrown 27 TDs this year, against (gulp) three INTs.

Tossing salad.

Person recounts the legend of Cobb Kobb Kolb.

The only thing missing from Kolb's NFL-ready resume is a bowl win, which the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder will seek when Houston (10-3) faces USC (7-5) in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 29. ...
As Briles predicted, he has not had to worry about the quarterback position since Kolb arrived. His 49 consecutive starts rank fourth all time among Division I quarterbacks, behind some familiar names: Georgia's David Greene (52), Rivers (51) and Marshall's Chad Pennington (51).
Kolb is the C-USA career leader in total offense with 13,424 yards, good for fourth on the NCAA all-time list. After throwing 15 interceptions last season, Kolb has thrown for 27 touchdowns with three picks for the NCAA's second-best touchdown-to-interception ratio. ...
Kolb, who is pictured six times on the cover of Houston's media guide, said someday he plans to look back on what he has accomplished.

The starts thing ... eh, that doesn't impress me too much. Rivers, Greene and Pennington were all good players, but it's not like they won Heismans or anything. But a career leader on offense in any league -- especially when it puts you fourth on the all-time national list -- that I'll officially label impressive.

Having your mug on the media guide six times? That I'll officially label excessive.

In other news, Sidney is making NFL noises. Don't go Troy Williamson/Ko Simpson on us, Sidney. Don't do it.

Monday, December 18, 2006

LINKERATION: Head coaching moves

The coaching search season is heating up, with some appointments, a resignation and a raise. Let's play Linkeration!

--Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Jim Mora says he would "absolutely" take the job at his alma mater. The only problem is that Mora's alma mater is the University of Washington, which very much still has a head coach by the name of Tyrone Willingham. I think I speak for many Falcons fans when I say to U-Dub: "Take our head coach. Please."

Could take classes full of blue-chip recruits to consecutive 6-6 seasons.

--Louisiana Tech has found its man, an NFL assistant who also happens to be the son of a famous coach. "From the very first time I met Derek Dooley when we went to Miami, I was super impressed," Louisiana Tech president Dan Reneau said. La Tech: The home of "super-impressive" coaches.

Best hiring of a famous coach's son since ... this guy.

--Jim Harbaugh will take the job at Stanford. Hint on job security: Fill up the new stadium. Even if it takes talented seals and a fireworks show.
--Jeff Jagodzinski, who is apparently the offensive coordinator in name only at Green Bay, will take the job at Boston College. Get rid of Jeff Samadrzjigagad at Notre Dame, and I get this guy whose name i might have to spell for ... Wait a minute; it's Boston College. When am I going to have to write about them?


A few things I didn't get time to see or comment on over the weekend because of the lack of Internet.

--It took him a while, but Spurrier finally got his poke in after Tommy Bowden (stupidly) decided that now was the time to start a war on words with Spurrier. Who, for the record, declines to take jabs at opponents until he's beaten them.

"It's amazing how this thing works," Bowden said, "because here I'm at a place where seven (wins) gets you fired. He's at a place where seven (wins) gets you a raise.
"I should have won seven instead of eight." ...
"If Tommy Bowden wants a raise, he should just ask his AD and president if he thinks he's as good a coach as Mark Richt and me and Fulmer and Tuberville and those guys," Spurrier said. "That's the only reason I got a raise. They think I'm that good a coach. So if he wants a raise, he ought to go and say, 'Am I as good a coach as all them guys?'"

I would set the over/under on the length of administration laughter at seven minutes. Any takers?

--Cade Thompson, the forgotten man on USC's depth chart at QB, is apparently setting off for greener pastures. Thompson, who was once seen as heir apparent to Mitchell, would probably start 2007 no better than third (behind Mitchell and Chris Smelley, in some order) and could have found himself behind THE SAVIOR OF THE PROGRAM, Stephen Garcia. Stanley Doughty is also rumbling off into the distance. That should make the next item all the easier for USC's structural engineers to handle.

No longer a problem for opposing RBs. Or USC's engineering crew.

--The new academics center will be named after ... Delores E. Anderson. This is supposed to be a draw for recruits. "Yes, after hours of practicing and sweating half of your body's water content through extreme physical exertion, you get to go study at the Delores E. Anderson Academics Center." Let's hope this doesn't result in any sexual harassment lawsuits.

In the meantime, I'm now raising money to build the Cock & Fire Weight Room, which will probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000. I'm guessing. Potential donors should write laughin 98 -at- hotmail -dot- com.