From the "Talk too much studios," let's go.
George Washington Carver football player Gabriel Wright, right, looks on as his teammate, Isaiah Crowell, holds up a Bulldog puppy to signify he chose the University of Georgia. Wright chose Auburn University. File Photo by Mike Haskey firstname.lastname@example.org
We're just a few days away from signing day, a day I liken to Christmas Day for college football fans. We all wake up in great anticipation of what the day holds. There are the gifts that you know for sure that you'll be getting and there are the surprise gifts that you didn't know you would get.
Then there are the gifts that you thought you would get, but don't, and later find out that your neighbor, Johnny Bama fan, got it. On rare occasions there are the gifts you receive a few days after Christmas, a la Bryce Brown (but let's not even go there).
Signing day is also about extravagant press conferences. 5@10, let's say you're the #1 rated running back in the country and you've waited till signing day to announce your college of choice. What kind of outlandish press conference are you holding? (And don't say you wouldn't add some flair because we all know you're the King of Flash) Do you break out the hats? Do you bring your dog? Whatcha got?
Loved this question. LOVED it.
While the overflow of drama has cooled the 5-at-10's recruiting-itis somewhat, this was still a challenge. We'll start with a shoutout to special moments of the Hat Dance (the ceremony that started as the row of caps on the table and has transformed into the soliloquy of self-indulgence that has few peers):
3) Landon Collins shocks the world — and especially his momma: Earlier this month, Collins, the nation's top-ranked safety picked Alabama over LSU on national TV with his family surrounding him. He made his choice with two words — "Roll Tide" — and put on Bama gloves rather than the cap, which was a nice change of pace. His mother, however, was stunned and countered with two words — "Go Tigers" — and some LSU gloves. On the awkward scale of 1-10 with 10 being that time you asked your sister's friend, "How's your boyfriend?" and she answered, "Not sure since he broke up with me" as she bursts into tears, this announcement was a 12.
2) Isaiah Crowell makes the humane choice: Crowell picked Georgia last year at a ceremony and raised a bulldog puppy up as his choice. Mike Vick was not available for comment.
1) Andre Smith gets clever: This may have been the first chapter in the can-you-top-this journal of the Hat Dance. A lot of folks were using the Hat Dance set up at that time, and arguably the crazies move up until then was the two-step (pick one up, raise it close to head and then go to the other one). Smith, one of the nation's top recruits, lined the traditional caps the pulled out a Houndstooth cap. We thought it was clever, classy and clear — something that seems as dated as sock hops and cell phones the size of a briefcase in today's recruiting world.
That said, if the 5-at-10 is the top-ranked running back, and we needed to make a splash, we'd do one of the following three things:
1) Line-up three hats — more than three is silly — and wait just long enough for Bo Jackson to enter the room and hand us the AU cap. (If you are a UGA fan, fill in the blank with Herschel, and on and on.)
2) Get a host of the nation's other top recruits into the same commitment scene and on national TV pick State U over Piedmont, Ole' Tex and UCC. Wait, that's what Johnny Walker did in "Johnny Be Good" — never mind.
3) This one is a little out there, but here goes. If we're the top-ranked running back in the country, we're pretty ripped, right? So, with the three hats — more than three is silly — on the table, we stand, do the Superman shirt rip move to reveal an orange and blue AU on our chest. Get you some of that. You ask for flash, we bring the flash.
Side note: Most likely we commit early, enroll early and get to work doing work.
Did you see where Tech pulled a scholarship offer from a kid who had been committed for a year? Alabama did the same thing earlier this month to a kid that was injured.
Recruiting is a mess. College coaches pulling scholarship offers from kids? How did it come to this?
That's an extremely fair point — especially the question about how did we get here. And before we go on a diatribe (OK, before we start talking too much), let's clear the first hurdle.
Now that there are hard numbers and limits of signees per class, there's going to schools telling recruits — and commitments — that there's no room for them in a class. It's a simple fact, but before you go and throw stones at Paul Johnson or Nick Saban, it's a two-way street, too. Kids pull back their commitments all the time leaving coaches and schools scrambling to fill spots. Sure, it's easy to feel sorry for the kids that get skipped, but that's the foundation of the system.
In fact, maybe we shouldn't be surprised that recruiting has deteriorated to this point considering it is an entire system built somewhat on deception. Who's looking here, who's a silent commitment, who's trying to flip whom? All of it is built on slight of hand and whispers and winks and nods. So it goes, and that unknown adds to the drama, too, but we can't have it both ways. It can't be secretive and dramatic and then we wonder why it's filled with lies and deceit.
That said, kids getting left in the cold is not what this should be about, so let's add a few new rules to help with the crowds and the confusion among the coaches and the prospects with the new hard numbers of signees. (The hard number of 25 signings is not going any where. In fact, the SEC's tighter restrictions will be adopted sooner rather than later across the country.)
Here's our idea to nip this "pulling scholarship, flip commitments" stuff in the bud — have an early-signing day.
Make it Aug. 1 of the recruit's senior year, that way it can be done before the college and high school programs get going full speed in preseason practice.
Make it so schools can sign no more than 15 in the early-signing period. This way, the schools get a solid foundation of a class and the players get some real knowledge.
If a player committed to a school midway through his junior year, but the school does not want him to sign in the early signing period, then there's a real chance the school is not as interested in that prospect as they once were. If a player, however, does not want to sign in the early signing period, then the school may want to make other plans.
Sure it needs some details ironed out, but that would be a big start.
A candle light memorial honoring legendary football coach Joe Paterno, who died Sunday morning, Jan. 22, 2012, is held on the lawn in front of Old Main the Penn State University campus Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012 in State College,Pa.Photo by (AP Photo by Gene J. Puskar)
Have been reading for a while and like your column. I agree with you most of the time.
Did you watch the Paterno memorial? You have been pretty harsh on Paterno from the start -- too harsh in my opinion.
I thought Phil Knight said it best that the investigation was the thing to blame not JoePa.
Have you changed your view any after this week?
Thanks for reading and for the question, and feel free to chime in any time.
No we have not changed our view on Joe Pa's role in this nor on how it greatly changes his legacy. We decided to refrain from writing on this because it didn't feel like the right time — the days following his death should be for the folks that knew and loved Joe to recall the reasons they loved the man.
There's no debating that Paterno greatly impacted lives. From the former players to the alumni to the friends and family, and the stories are excellent and tear-worthy and passionate. His role in those people's lives is undeniable.
But so is his role in the cover-up of this entire, sordid, evil mess.
Yes, Nike founder Phil Knight spoke passionately and elegantly about Joe Pa. And yes, there were a lot of folks who delivered poignant speeches about how Paterno's words and deeds affected them for the rest of their lives. And for that, Paterno deserves the praise and accolades.
But what about the boys that were sexually assaulted after 1998 that possibly could have been saved if Paterno had approached Jerry Sandusky's evilness with the same grit and determination and purpose as he did in every other endeavor? Wouldn't their speeches be just as passionate and poignant? Since, yes, Paterno's silence and inaction affected them for the rest of their lives. And for that, Paterno does not get a pass or an excuse.
Staff File Photo by Angela Lewis
Quarterback B.J. Coleman will lead UT-Chattanooga's football squad against Western Carolina at 2 p.m. Saturday at Finley Stadium.
From Jonathan Cook
Hey Jay, I thought I would throw this out for fun to see if the readers would like to play along. Tell me if you like this idea. As everyone knows, after watching BJ shine in the East-West Game*, he pretty much is a lock in the draft. So after talking with [UTC football ace John] Frierson, I came up with this brainchild for a 5 and 10 survey. It's pretty simple, but I'm sure it will generate some interesting reponses: What team should you think BJ ought to be drafted to and why or why not? I'll do my answer right now: Dallas Cowboys (bet you didn't see that coming) Why he should be drafted here: Romo an't getting it done. Period . Why he won't be drafted here: Emperor Jones over at the Death Star in Arlington only wants people who can think inside the box: his. Tell me what you think.
Great question and it will be interesting to see what the responses are. We'll go top five — in fact, let's go old-school 5-in-10 by the 5-at-10.
We'll caveat our response with the following background info. The 5-at-10 has believed that Coleman was a potential NFL starting QB since his junior year at McCallie. He has the size and the arm and the tools, but a lot of guys have that. Coleman sees things differently than almost everyone else on the football field, and he has since his high school days. It's a gift that has to be honed and crafted and Coleman has done that. That alone won't get you in the NFL, either, but coupled with Coleman's gifts, he has a chance for a nice career.
That said, let's not pretend he's a first-rounder, either. At least not now. There will be a big adjustment to the speed of the next level, so there will be a learning process that will take time. Do we believe Coleman will get there? You bet. It just may take a few years.
So with that in mind, Coleman seems like a dream late fourth-round or early fifth-round pick for a team with an established (and aging) starter.
1) Raiders: Coleman has big arm Raiders love; Palmer's protege
2) Miami: Sign Manning and let him groom Coleman for the future
3) Washington: See above
4) New England: Name Brady's back-up? That's what we thought
5) Jacksonville: Coleman could start sooner rather than later there.
Matt Molina, of the Fiesta Bowl Committee Florida, hangs a banner at Florida's practice field at Scottsdale Community College Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Florida will take on Ohio State in the BCS Championship football game on Monday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
I find myself in agreement with bowl-critics that say there are too many bowl games.
How would you feel if a team had to be 7-5 instead of 6-6 to be bowl eligible? It would cut the number of pointless bowl games significantly while also making for better games.
To be clear, we believe there are too many BAD bowl games, which is not the same thing as too many bowl games. Granted, when you get to the mid-30s in the number of postseason matchups, there are going to be some stinkers, so cutting a few from the herd may help.
We love the idea of raising the stakes to get to a bowl game, but that's paramount of saying, "we love the idea of the Gates foundation giving the 5-at-10 $2 million for family-oriented, Interweb-based sports column research." It's just not going to happen in the foreseeable future.
There are a whole of trending ideas and proposals out there — this one, adding an extra game in the regular season, multi-year scholarships and the $2,000 stipend — and they are all part of the "Haze" factor surrounding college football right now.
There's a ton of discussion about an array of topics that power programs, power conferences and the NCAA are using to dodge the "Plus-1" and playoff talk for as long as possible, which is code for "until the current TV deal runs out." The next big change — unless there some more conference expansion explosion before then — will be the Plus-1 and the college football power brokers will sit around, pat each other on the back and enjoy the climate (and the billions) until the next TV deals runs out.
We're on board with making teams win seven games to get to a bowl game — and we're still on board with Mr. Gates cutting us a check — but it won't happen. The SEC alone would have lost three bowl teams from last year with that stipulation, never mind the drama it would have usurped from UT and others.
We have reached a point where every college football proposal, regardless of how much merit, must be viewed through the prism of this question: Does it benefit TV? Yes, it's a sad statement, but a true one, and college football bowl games make for great December programming on the Ocho ("Cotton needs new shorts").
Where's our chest paint?
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...