Here we go...
UGA reports secondary violation
The University of Georgia self-reported a secondary violation for simulating game-day activities in the Bulldogs' recruitment of star running back Isaiah Crowell.
The University of Georgia previously self-reported a secondary violation in the Bulldogs' recruitment of star defensive end Ray Drew.
It's understandable that this is met with a shrug of indifference, even though Georgia committed NCAA violations to land its two biggest in-state recruits since maybe Reggie Brown or Andre Hastings.
A year or so ago, this would have been cause for some possible hand-wringing and even some less-than-good-natured ribbing from other fanbases that lost out on the five-star Georgia recruits. Remember the uproar of then-UT coach Lane Kiffin mentioning Bryce Brown's name on the radio? That seems like small potatoes now, huh?
In the last year, with Jim Tressel's cover-up and with the recruiting services ordeal at Oregon and with the fact that college football fans everywhere link "pay for play scheme" to Cecil Newton and with Reggie Bush's forfeited Heisman, well, our NCAA-violation meter has been pegged to "serious" for a while. In fact, by comparison the term "secondary" may be too prominent a name for violations that include too many text messages or having former players show up at a scholarship signing or putting a recruit in at tailback in an offensive formation.
And that's hidden fallout to the very real and serious NCAA violations that seem to be happening all over the college football landscape. As more and more college football programs are accused of things that could be viewed as NCAA felonies, the NCAA misdemeanors look understandably harmless.
That said, when the little things in recruiting start getting ignored and/or overlooked, look out. If the secondary rules become meaningless, in a sense, all the rules become meaningless.
Maybe they already are.
Lady Vols get No. 1 seed
The four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA women's basketball tournament are hardly strangers to the spotlight. Baylor, Stanford, UConn and Tennessee have won 18 combined national championships (eight for UT and seven for UConn). Stanford ended UConn's record-setting 90-game winning streak this season, and Baylor spent a big chunk of the season ranked No. 1 and features center Brittney Griner, who is like 12-feet tall and punches people. (Of those two, only the height is exaggerated. Seriously. Check it out HERE.)
But all that drama is on hold for now.
The ultimate winner in this year's NCAA women's tournament could be the sport of women's basketball. And the fans.
If the cards fall right, Tennessee and UConn could meet in the semifinals, setting up a Final Four showdown between feuding titans that the sport of college basketball has not seen since maybe UCLA against Houston and Elvin Hayes in 1968.
Unless you live under a rock that's under a rock that's buried pretty deep, you know about the Pat Summitt-Geno Auriemma feud. Let's call it the Cold Shoulder War.
In 2007, Summitt abruptly ended the annual UT-UConn series that featured the sport's top two programs and the hard feelings are well-known even if the true cause of the rift is not.
A UT-UConn semifinal showdown would be awesome, Awesome, AWESOME. This must happen. Somebody get Charlie Sheen on the phone and get this moving.
Speaking of Charlie, the Overrated/Underrated challenge is adding star power
The 5-at-10 introduced our first annual Bracket Over/Under on Monday. Here's the pitch: In a sports world that is desperate to rate everything - he's great or he's terrible, great pick or awful pick, five stars or three stars, etc. - let's break it down to two teams: The most overrated and underrated teams in the Dance.
Overrated = The first No. 1 seed to go home.
Underrated = The last team seeded No. 9-through-16 to still be playing.
Rules: Pick two teams, the No. 1 seed that you think is the most overrated and a team seeded 9 through 16 that you think is the most underrated. Maximum number of points is seven in the underrated category - one point each for the possible number of wins for teams that play in the play-in games - and it's six for the overrated picks - a point for each empty step at which step the No. 1 seed falls (first-round would be six, second round is five, Sweet 16 is three, Elite Eight is two, Final Four is one). Perfect score is 13. Good luck.
Stakes: The cost to you is nothing; possible prizes could be announced later, but know that the pride of winning the first annual 5-at-10 Bracket Over/Under is unmatched this side of Nobel and/or Pulitzer prizes (that may be a touch of a stretch, but still).
Word is spreading and at least two friends of the show have replied rather quickly (actually, what happened was their people reached out to our people through some mutual friends that used to be people for one of the Jonas Brothers - no the other one).
From pretend Al Davis: "Overrated/underrated, that idea stinks. You stink. What is this overrated/underrated stuff any way?
You want underrated? Ditka, he's in the Hall of Fame and he's still underrated. What? Basketball? Who gives two flips about basketball? Give me that bracket. Hhhhhmmmmmmm...
Pittsburgh is a No. 1 seed. I hate those guys they're overrated in everything. OK what's next you Wise Acorn? Underrated, hhhhhmmmmmmm....
Oakland is a No. 13 seed? What? Who did this? Who said OAKLAND was a No. 13 seed? I want answers. I want to know who's skull I need to crack."
From Charlie S. (the 5-at-10 will not confirm nor deny that this e-mail was sent from a rep that may/may not have been at a chemical dependancy clinic): "Stick it. Winning."
Well, OK, let's pick a couple for Mr. S since he has some bigger issues with which to deal. We know his love for Tiger Blood, so Charlie S. will take the Princeton Tigers as the underrated. We also know about his love for winning, so which No. 1 seed is overrated - the one with the fewest wins of course.
OK here's the board to date (overrated/underrated):
scole023 - Pitt/Tennessee
EC - Pitt/Georgia
Bigbearzzz - Pitt/Georgia
PDavi - Ohio State/Tennessee
BIspy4 - Pitt/Utah State
BeachBum - Duke/Utah State
OTWatcher - Pitt/Old Dominion
Pretend Al Davis - Pitt/Oakland
Charlie S. - Pitt/Princeton
Atlanta Braves report, Volume 1, Chapter 2
We talked briefly Monday about the rotation, and the 5-at-10 was fully prepared to break that down more today, especially since Mike Minor looked awesome again Monday in his attempt to nail down the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
That was before a strange stat jumped out at the 5-at-10. And this was not some WHiP ratio number or the times that managers make double-switches in pressure situations in away games.
Sweet Roland Office, the Braves are 12-5 so far in spring training. There are no trophies or champagne celebrations for capturing a Grapefruit League title, but with a team this young and a new manager winning is way, Way, WAY more important this spring.
Winning can become a habit and for special teams an expectation. This bodes well Johnny Braves Fan.
The 5-at-10 knows what OPS and the rest of the acronyms stand for that the matrix-ese modern baseball stats gurus study. Here's one for you - the Braves have outscored foes 93-52 this spring. Without taking into account the run production against left-handed pitching teams get from the seventh inning on from the top half of their lineups on odd-numbered dates in which the wind is blowing more than 10 mph... Anyhoo, where were we - yes, the Braves outscoring teams by more than two runs a game is good regardless of lineups, pitchers, dates, wind, innings or any other matrix.
More on the rotation Wednesday - that's a definite maybe.
NFL labor talks take turn
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank wrote this letter to fans to keep them update on the labor situation. Here's the hammer paragraph from Blank's letter:
The most important thing you should know is that we remain committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to both sides and does not disrupt the 2011 season. We negotiated in good faith with the NFLPA, and we are prepared to re-enter negotiations at any time. A letter from Commissioner Goodell, also posted on our web site, provides more details in this regard.
Wire reports paint a grim picture: The outcome of the league's first work stoppage since 1987 could be decided in court; the first hearing on the players' request for an injunction to block the owners' lockout was scheduled for April 6. In the meantime, there probably will be more of the same as Monday, when Kevin Mawae -- president of the NFL Players Association, the now-dissolved union -- accused the league of spreading "complete falsehoods and complete lies."
Drew Brees said this of the owners' final proposal: "I think it was all a show, with no real intent to get a deal done, other than just to say they made a proposal -- that was no different than anything else that they proposed over the last couple years, couple months, couple weeks."
The apparent positive momentum from last week's extension looks dead in its tracks right now.
Plus, ESPN reported that some officials for the Union Formerly Known as the NFL Players' Association (or UFKNFLPA - is that the longest acronym of all-time?) have approached some of the top draft prospects in an effort to get them to boycott the draft proceedings.
Three quick thoughts:
- The 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this. If the UFKNFLPA somehow stops the draft, well, somebody's going to have some 'splainin to do.
- Regardless how much Arthur Blank and the owners have spent on the folks to write those letters, it was money well spent.
- Didn't it feel like say five days ago, the players had a lot of momentum? Now, it feels like a solution is a long way off, huh? There will be few winners if this thing drags into the summer, but there will be tens of millions of losers - NFL fans everywhere.