Tuesday, July 17, 2007

HEADED TO SABANATION

Posting will likely be nonexistent over the next few days, as C&F heads to the ancestral homeland of Sabanation Alabama.


C&F hopes to avoid scenes like these.

If all goes well, regular blogging will resume Saturday or Sunday.

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PRAYERS FOR DANNY NUTT

Nothing snarky or sarcastic about this story, which is odd for C&F's approach to SEC West rival Arkansas. But you don't joke about anything that has "bleeding" and "brain" in the same sentence. Long story short, Danny Nutt, the Hogs RB coach, co-creator of the Wildcat and -- most important -- a human being, is out at Arkansas because of bleeding from his brain stem.

The university calls the condition "serious," and while C&F is no medical expert, he would tend to agree based on the description.

Godspeed to the Nutt family and friends.


Rival or not, C&F offers prayers for Nutt.

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FIRING AWAY, 07.18.07

A busy day for Gamecock football sees more money for the Head Ball Coach, more word on the punishment for Quintin Richardson and a most accurate portrayal of our starting QB.

--Payday moves for Spurrier. As expected, the board of trustees approved a restructured contract for the Head Ball Coach, making his contract years run January-December instead of July-June (which is how most government years run). Both sides say it just makes sense, and Spurrier plans to end his seven-month-long delay on signing the deal.

As for Spurrier, the 62-year-old said he remains happy at USC and plans to sign the amended contract "in the next day or two."
"It wasn't any big deal," Spurrier said. "I was just trying to get it the right way."

--Quintin's fate with USC policy. Spurrier said Richardson's punishment for a marijuana arrest will follow university policy. In the same link: Eligibility issues might be working themselves out, with LB Curtis Rice out due to injury, things looking good for WR Joseph Hills and LB Melvin Ingram, and DBs Arkee Smith and Akeem Auguste still waiting.

--Robert over at Third Down Draw has the word on NCAA 08. Obviously, the game's makers have studied Blake Mitchell very, very well.

First drive, he goes 4-4, 58yds, 1td. He then proceeds to go 0-12 with FOUR PICKS over the next two and a half quarters. ... My roommate comes home from the bar and so we play Gators-Gamecocks. Blake torches the UF defense for about 295yds, 3tds.


No word on whether he tries to get underage women into bars.

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SPURRIER CASHES IN. AGAIN

HBC's contract is almostfinallyactuallyclosetobeing done. The delay? Giving him more money for time he's already spent as the Gamecocks' coach.


You'd be smiling, too, if you had his contract.

If C&F ever needs an agent, he's getting Spurrier's.

Amid overtures from Miami and Alabama about their coaching vacancies this past December, Spurrier agreed to a $500,000 raise and a one-year contract extension. More than seven months later, Spurrier has yet to sign the deal.
The way it was structured, the amendments to Spurrier's original, $1.25-million annual deal were to take effect July 1. But with USC’s athletic department now in better financial shape, the executive committee of the Board of Trustees is expected to re-structure Spurrier's contract again and make the raise retroactive to Jan. 1.
The executive committee will vote on the matter today. ...
Spurrier's contract after the raise is worth a guaranteed $1.75 million annually and runs through the 2012 season.
It includes incentives that would pay Spurrier as much as $900,000 if the Gamecocks win the SEC and BCS titles and Spurrier is named national coach of the year.

Um, isn't giving HBC a bonus for being "named national coach of the year" almost redundant should he somehow manage to guide South Carolina to the BCS title? Unless the opponent is Temple, C&F has trouble imagining how anyone else could be chosen.

Just pay the man and get the contract signed. Lord, how long does it take?

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NEW YORK POST: PLUS-1 HAS BEEN CONCEIVED

Never trust ESPN, installment No. 546.

Vacationing from his real job, C&F was sitting back and watching ESPN when they announced what appeared to be important news: College football could move to the "plus-1" format for a national championship as soon as 2011, according to a report in New York Post.

Could it be? Was it true? Was college football finally close to the system that could resemble a playoff without killing the relevance of the regular season?

What was in this magical NY Post story?

The question has changed from, "Will There Ever Be a College Football National Championship Game?" to "How Soon Will It Happen?"

Well, that's promising -- though it falls into the claptrap that there somehow is not currently a national championship game, an esoteric argument that essentially comes down to the opponents of the BCS saying there isn't a championship game because the championship game format we have is not the one they want. College football has a championship game; it might not be a good one, but the winner is acknowledged as a champion by the sport at large. It matters not how you get there, as long as their is a declared champion -- contested or not.

C&F will now step off his soap box and quote more from the NY Post story.

Sources in several conference offices, athletic directors and television networks told The Post that support is steadily growing for a "Plus-1," format in which there will be a national championship game following the playing of two "semifinal games."
The first title game could be played in 2011.

This is the big scoop? "Support is steadily growing for a 'Plus-1,' format"? That's been going on for at least three years. But maybe they're just setting something up here.

"There haven't been any official discussions among conference commissioners, but the overwhelming sense is that that's where we're headed," one conference source said. "There's simply too much money at stake and there's been too much debate with the current system."

Haven't been any official discussions? Then what, exactly, is the news here? That the schools and conferences are finally acknowledging that there is debate outside their clique about the validity of the current BCS?


This just in ... C&F has learned that man has walked on the moon.

Under the new format, the top four teams would be seeded, probably using a voter/computer formula similar to the current BCS system and a sixth major bowl game would be created.
The four top-seeded teams would play in two "semifinal" games, using the existing bowls -- Orange, Sugar, Rose, Fiesta and the current BCS title game on a rotating basis -- with the two winners meeting in a newly created bowl. Theoretically, it would leave less argument over who's No. 1.

Ah, the BCS' answer to every problem: Let's create another bowl! That'll fix it!


BCS:Bowls::George W. Bush:Troops

Meanwhile, the New York Post is "breaking" the news about a playoff format that we've been discussing for years.

This simply reinforces what you already know about ESPN and the NCAA: When it comes to common sense being put into action, believe it only when you see it.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

RICHARDSON: TRULY SORRY

Quintin Richardson has apologized for the whole alleged pot-possession-at-the-same-apartment-complex-I-was-shot-at incident.

"I have made some bad decisions recently. I am truly sorry," Richardson said in a statement released by his attorney, Neal Lourie. "I realize that I have to turn my life around.
"This is not the person I want to be and it is not how I want my community to view me. I have to move forward and concentrate on improving myself, going to school and hopefully playing football."

C&F has no power to do anything about this, since he is not the HBC or in a position to place his "thoughts" on a third-party Web site, but would be inclined to give Richardson the proverbial second chance. As long as he stays away from the apartment complex.


Quintin, a constructive tip: Stay away from this neighborhood.

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SPURRIER ON THE WEB

We-e-e-e-ell, the Head Ball Coach has decided to jump on board with this Interwebnet stuff.

That's right, you can go to SpurrierHBC.com to get a glimpse into one of college football's greatest minds -- for the low, low price of $100 a year.


Doesn't that look like a bargain?

You can only get a little bit of access to site features here and there if you don't have a free trial -- which, of course, is only a way to make sure you don't just do the trial and just keep forking over money to Spurrier and South Carolina athletics department, which is to get "more than half" of the money made.

So how intimate will the access on SpurrierHBC be?

Spurrier won't be his own webmaster or post his own blogs; that responsibility lies on Greenville, S.C.-based Champion Communications, which is charging about $10 a month to read the latest musings and other goodies from one of college football's most opinionated personalities.

It's like being in his head!

But if the sites are all about recruiting, as advocates say, then why charge them to see what's on there? And if you give them free access while everyone else has to pay, is that an illegal benefit?

C&F plans to wait for the inevitable quoting on ESPN, in The State, et al to see if the site is worth the price of admission. Best guess? Spurrier's "thoughts" -- or the ones created for him by Champion -- will be sanitized and less off-the-cuff than what will be heard in his press conferences and Gamecock Club speeches.

Though the site does deliver one poke in the eye. The available episode of the Steve Spurrier Show is the 2006 Clemson game.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

FALL FASHION IN TUSCALOOSA: STRAW HATS

I want to make it clear that the next sentence should not insult the overwhelming majority of Alabama fans.

But a segment of the Bama fan base is crazy. Not passionate. Not irrationally exuberant.

Crazy. Whacked. Nutso. Not in frequent communication with the planet Earth.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- The popularity of the houndstooth hats like what Paul "Bear" Bryant wore may soon be surpassed by a new hat in town: The Nick Saban straw hat.
Ever since the University of Alabama head football coach was first seen wearing the straw golf hat during football practice, UA bookstores began stocking them.
They quickly began flying off the shelves.
"I had someone call in yesterday and wanted the exact hat and the exact brand that Saban wears," said Whitney Foster, a sales associate at the University of Alabama Supply Store on Thursday. ...
He wanted the supply store to put in a special order. ...
University of Alabama specialty tags also have increased in sales by 15.1 percent during the first quarter of 2007 compared with the same period last year.
Last month, UA tags sold out at the Tuscaloosa County license commissioner's office. It's the first time that has ever happened, said License Commissioner Jeff Brown. ...
As football season looms, the Saban rage is expected to grow, Burdette said. ...
Students can even buy banners with Saban's sayings. One of them, available at the UA Supply Store, reads, "What I would like every football team to do that we play is to sit there and say I hate playing against these guys." [EMPHASIS IS C&F'S]

I wonder if they have a banner with one of Saban's most heartfelt declarations: "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."


Come on, boys. We'll get our frigging license tags!

In any case, I feel compelled to point out that I know Alabama fans -- and had some bizarre interactions with them during the "there's a jet headed from Augusta to Columbia to New York to Minnesota to Tuscaloosa...SPURRIER'S COMING TO BAMA" period -- and some of them are just not right.

This is not a problem unique to Alabama among SEC schools. Much of the UGA fan base is incredibly obnoxious -- though alums will swear up and down that these people did not actually attend the university -- and the Gamecocks fan base does have a few people that already foresee a 14-0 campaign for the SEC and national title next year, despite the fact that our quarterback could very well take a shot at breaking Chris Leak's Wonderlic score if he wants to.

But Bama's fundamentalist fan base -- I call them Bammers -- seem to be even more neurotically inclined than even the other diehard SEC homers.

I've estimated Bammers constitute 5 percent or so of the actual fan base, but roughly 96 percent of the online fan base. (I'm focusing mostly on the message boards here; most of the Bama blogs I've interacted with have been no more or less crazy than most of us bloggers.) These are the people that were posting messages in forums with titles like: "Spurrier's first NC at Bama: Year 1 or Year 2?" and are probably, at this very moment, planning a "John Parker Wilson for Heisman" campaign.

Maybe they can sell straw hats to raise money for it.

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SIDNEY RICE NOW NO. 18; CAN WE HAVE HIM BACK?

The Herald-Journal runs a soft piece on Sidney Rice going to the NFL.

"The game is a lot faster. You got to know what you're doing out there," Rice said. "You got to know the plays." [C&F: One would think that would hold true in college, too.] ...
In the workouts so far, he said the biggest difference is speed.
"(The players) are just faster, not so much a lot bigger … just faster," Rice said. "I'm working on the same things as everybody else. I'm just trying to get on the field."
After wearing No. 4 for the Gamecocks, Rice chose No. 18 with Minnesota because "he liked it the best of all the numbers available."

The piece also notes that, as of yet, Rice has not signed a contract. Does the agent thing still screw up his eligibility?


Come back, Sidney. Come back.

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