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Stanford, Northwestern, Penn State, and BC stand alone

We beg your pardon for starting the day with an article that even mentions NCAA violations.  It’s not our style.

At least there is a positive side to this story…if you are one of four major conference athletic departments in the country.

According to the NCAA, only four athletic programs from major conferences have not been in violation of any major rules since 1953.

Congratulations to Boston College, Northwestern, Penn State, and Stanford.

Yes, you are being singled today by the Wall Street Journal, the single largest newspaper in the United States, for doing what is expected.

You do have an advantage, however.  As the WSJ points out, “Three of the four innocents from major conferences (Boston College, Northwestern and Stanford) have a built-in advantage: As private schools, they're not required to comply with the Freedom of Information Act—a tool reporters have used to uncover wrongdoing at some public institutions.”

So congratulations to Penn State, the one major athletic department including a high profile football program that complies with the Freedom of Information Act, yet has still found a way to not get caught red handed.




Oklahoma State to build $16 million indoor practice facility

Oklahoma State will begin construction on an indoor practice facility on August 1, 2011.

Thanks in part to the help from booster Sherman Smith, upon completion the Cowboys will have the premier indoor facility in the Big Twelve and one of the tops in the country.

The structure will be over 90,000 square feet.

There will be no air conditioning or heating units, but a number of retractable garage type doors on each side of the structure.

Baseball and softball will be able to take infield practice inside and there will be a 100-yard track on one side of the facility.

The estimated cost for the facility is $16 million.  You can see renderings of the facility, right here.

Sherman Smith passed away on June 6, 2011.  He originally gave the university a large amount of money as part of the endowment, but his family has since agreed to fund the IPF project.




The only video you need to watch today

We could explain, but you really just need to watch...Les Miles.




West Virginia settles with Bill Stewart for a pretty penny

Bill Stewart is getting a pretty penny for his resignation.  $1.65 million to be exact.

Details of the settlement emerged today.

West Virginia will pay Stewart $1.65 million, coupling what would have been his 2011 salary, his buyout money as if he were dismissed following the 2010 season, and what would have been his salary for the 30 months following his coaching stint when Stewart was expected to remain with the university in a non-coaching role.

In the settlement however, Stewart no longer will serve in any non-coaching role.  Most believe that Stewart would have helped with fundraising and / or university relations.

In other words, Stewart basically said he’s going to get his.

Athletic director Oliver Luck basically said, “Holla, homey.”

Neither party is allowed to speak poorly of the other or divudge any known or unknown information about the nasty separation.  

 




6 offensive line coaches in tough positions

According to Phil Steele, Arizona's projected starting offensive line has combined for 1 career start.  SMU's projected offensive line starters have combined for 158 starts, while Northwestern has combined for 137 starts.

Here's a list of six offensive line coaches that have their work cut off for them during August camp.  

Brandon Jones (East Carolina): The Pirates are expected to start three sophomores, a junior, and a senior that have combined for only 27 career starts.  That’s not exciting considering the schedule begins with South Carolina, Virginia Tech, UAB, and North Carolina.  Sophomore left tackle Jordan Davis will have his hands full with South Carolina’s Devin Thomas out of the gate.

Robert Anae (Arizona): Former BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae will likely start two red-shirt freshmen, a sophomore, and two juniors.  The group has a combined 1 career start.  After hosting Northern Arizona, you’ll see Arizona’s offensive line on Thursday night primetime at Oklahoma State.  Then the Wildcats get Stanford, Oregon, and travel to USC.

Louisville (Dave Borbley): In his second season at Louisville, Borbley has his work cut out for him.  The projected starters have a combined 25 career starts.  The early season schedule begins with Murray State, FIU, at Kentucky, and Marshall.  The Cardinals will also have a new quarterback, potentially a true freshman in Teddy Bridgewater.

Bob Connelly (UTEP): The Miners are expected to start four juniors and a red-shirt freshman.  The group has combined for 7 career starts.  UTEP opens against Stony Brook, at SMU, at New Mexico State.

Jeff Grimes (Auburn): Grimes decided to remain at Auburn despite talking with Texas head coach Mack Brown in the off-season about the Longhorn’s offensive line job.  He returns only one starter from a year ago.  Auburn hosts Utah State and Mississippi State, then travels to Clemson.

Ron Hudson (New Mexico): Former UL-Lafayette offensive coordinator Ron Hudson joined the New Mexico staff in the off-season.  He is expected to start three sophomores, a junior, and a senior.  The group has a combined 20 career starts.  The Lobos open against Colorado State, at Arkansas, and against Texas Tech.

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Chizik and Auburn receive championship rings

Auburn rewarded their players and staff with championship rings on Sunday night.  It appears there are three separate rings including a BCS National Championship ring, a national championship ring, and SEC championship ring.

According to NCAA bylaws, Auburn University is allowed to spend a maximum of $415 per national championship ring.

Any ring that represents a conference championship is capped at $325 per ring.

Auburn defeated South Carolina in the SEC championship game 56-17, then captured the BCS national championship with a 22-19 win over Oregon.

Auburn has also launched a new billboard campaign across the state.

See for yourself.  The message is pretty clear.

billboard

rings




Nick Saban's 2003 defensive backs vs. 2011 defensive backs

When Nick Saban led LSU to the national championship in 2003, his defensive back starters heading into the season had combined for only 10 career starts.

Junior corner Travis Daniels and true freshman free safety LaRon Landry had never started a college game.  Junior corner Corey Webster and senior strong safety Jack Hunt had each started 5 games in their careers.

The Tigers went on the win the national championship and lead the nation in total defense (252 ypg).  LSU finished sixth in the country with 21 interceptions.  On the snap, LaRon Landry often blitzed from depth and quite frankly, scared opponent quarterbacks.

This season, Saban’s starters in the secondary will be sophomore Dee Milliner, juniors Dre Kirkpatrick and Robert Lester, and senior Mark Barron.  The four players have combined for 62 career starts, that’s 52 more than LSU’s suffocating unit in 2003.

Kirkpatrick, Lester, and Barron are each projected first-round draft selections in various 2012 mock drafts.  Basically, you wouldn’t say there is a lack of talent problem in Tuscaloosa.

LSU’s dominant unit of 2003 played against quarterbacks Eli Manning, David Greene, Jason Campbell, Chris Leak, Brodie Croyle, and Heisman Trophy winner Jason White.  This year, the Crimson Tide won’t see as impressive group of quarterbacks.  In fact, the three quarterbacks that stand out are Tyler Wilson, John Brantley, and Tyler Bray.  Alabama does not play against Aaron Murray or Stephen Garcia.

Since Saban has been the head coach of the Crimson Tide, four defensive backs have been drafted. Kareem Jackson (Round 1, 20 overall), Javier Arenas (Round 2), Marquis Johnson (Round 7), and Rashad Johnson (Round 3) all learned from Kirby Smart and Saban.

Jackson started all 16 games for the Houston Texans as a rookie.  Arenas and Rashad Johnson have each started two games in their young NFL careers.

Here is the list of defensive back signees since Saban arrived at Alabama:

2007: Tarence Farmer (Houston, TX), Kareem Jackson (Fork Union, VA), Chris Lett (Pensacola, FL), Michael Ricks (Booneville, MS)

2008: Mark Barron (Mobile, AL), Robby Green (River Ridge, LA), Alonzo Lawrence (Lucedale, MS), Robert Lester (Foley, AL), Wesley Neighbors (Huntsville, AL)

2009: Dre Kirkpatrick (Gadsden, AL), Rod Woodson (Olive Branch, MS)

2010: Deion Belue (Tuscumbia, AL), John Fulton (Manning, SC), Dequan Menzie (Wesson, MS), DeMarcus Milliner (Millbrook, AL), Nick Perry (Prattville, AL), Jarrick Williams (Eight Mile, AL)

2011: Hasean Clinton-Dix (Orlando, FL), Chris Jones (Adamsville, AL)




Alert your boss about the 2011-12 bowl schedule

The entire 2011-12 bowl schedule was finally released today and once again the BCS National Championship game will be played on January 9, just a meager 37 days after the SEC Championship game.

New Orleans will host the Sugar Bowl on January 3th and then turn around to host the BCS National Championship game on January 9th.

There are no January 1 bowl games this year since the date falls on a Sunday, an obvious NFL day.  If the NFL season is canceled, Roger Goodell could ask the Texas High School Athletic Association to play the 5A state championship game on this particular Sunday, so at least everyone gets to see some solid football.

Boy, don’t you know a lot of work is going to get done at your office on Monday, January 2nd.  Be sure to make your boss aware this coming Monday that you will not be attending work on that particular day due to contractual obligations to watch the Capital One, Outback, Gator, and Rose Bowls.

You do get the Rose (2nd), Sugar (3rd), Orange (4th), Fiesta (5th), and Cotton Bowl (6th).  Of course, all that leads us to the main event, the BCVA Compass Bowl on the 7th.  Get your tickets while they last.