Sweet tsunami of sports news, the last 24 hours have been crazy, huh? NCAA troubles for Georgia Tech. The first round of the British Open was dominated by an alternate returning to his Waterloo and a 20-year-old amateur who was named for Tom Watson, playing with Tom Watson and playing like Tom Watson. The NFL lockout appears to be coming to end - we even heard some sports folks talking about NFL free agents and such. Roger Clemens (AKA Beetlejuice) had his steroids case ruled a mistrial because apparently the prosecution was absent the day they taught law at law school. Baseball opened its second half. The TFP trotted out its list of best high school football games in recent memory HERE. The coaches' all-SEC preseason team was released.
In other words, as Crash Davis told pitching coach Larry Hockett in the made-for-public-TV version of "Bull Durham," - "We're dealing with a lot of stuff here."
But it's Friday, and that means one thing in these parts: Mailbag. And of course candlesticks always make a nice gift. Let's get two.
I can't believe you miss quoted "San Dimas High School football rules." And you call yourself a sports writer?
What do you make of Georgia Tech? Crazy stuff.
I'm not saying I'm surprised smart people cheated; I'm saying I'm surprised the Smarty McSmart Smart Jackets got caught.
What do you think and "John has a long mustache."
You are correct, we dropped the ball last week on the Bill and Ted quote about San Dimas High School football. While San Dimas is out of the TFP coverage area, there are no excuses. We made the error, and we'll pay the price. And there's no way we're making that same mistake again - "John has a long mustache." And "The chair is against the wall."
There were two things from the Georgia Tech stuff yesterday that surprised us. First, it seems like a relatively minor infraction became a major violation because it was not handled properly within the ranks of the GT athletic department. (Sidenote: If GT AD Dan Radakovich had been a candidate for the open UT AD job, well, that went by the boards yesterday. Tennessee will hire someone who is super clean and has a history of being Wally Cleaver in the NCAA's eyes.) That a minor violation became major - stripped 2009 ACC title, four years probation, $100,000 fine - because of improperly handling the situation, well, what does that mean for THE Ohio State, which improperly handled major violations. Here's what GT president G.P. "Bud" Peterson said at Thursday's news conference:
"I believe that we could have been more aggressive in our investigation. Had we known then what we know now, we might have acted differently. But given the information we had at the time, I believe we took reasonable, and appropriate steps to determine a proper course of action regarding the eligibility of the two student-athletes in question, and most importantly we acted in good faith. At no time prior to or since the 20-month long investigation do I believe anyone at Georgia Tech did anything or took any actions with the deliberate intent to hinder or impede this investigation."
Sweet buckets of truth serum, if Peterson's statement is even close to what happen, compare that with what OSU president Gordon Gee (the guy who hoped Jim Tressel wouldn't fire him) said and how OSU mishandled almost all of the steps to this point, and the question becomes, "How will THE Ohio State not get at least twice the penalties that Georgia Tech got?" Wow.
The second thing that jumped out to us was when did the NCAA go covert. This whole thing was done in secret, black-ops style, and that's rarely the case in these types of cases. Strange indeed.
Let's move along because "Right now I've got a few words for some of our brothers and sisters in the occupied zone." (You can never get too much "Red Dawn" folks.)
One of the pre-season football rags predicts both THE UT and UK will go 6-6 and 2-6 SEC this season. If the prediction holds, who will have the warmer seat, THE Derek or THE Joker? Montana, Cincinnati, MTSU and Buffalo? Does THE Buffalo even have a team? I assume it's not the THE Bills.
OK first off, we're leaning strongly to embracing THE in front of a lot more stuff. Thoughts? As for the hot seat question, well, neither THE Derek or THE Joker are on the hot seat unless major scandal finds them or they post an SEC bagel. Too soon for each of them. Next year is a different story of course, but that's for next year.
As for your question, Chasersize, let's just say a majority of THE preseason magazines' accuracy ranks somewhere between undeniable newsletter of the Lightning Staff and Sword of David's Independent Assembly of Christian Soldiers, Welders, Reality TV Stars and Shepards and the National Enquirer. Don't take this as a shot; truthfully those magazines have a lot of folks that work hard and know college football. The Everest-sized speed bump in the room is that those magazine have to be put to press during the spring, and the information gap frequently leaves holes.
As for THE UT and THE UK going 6-6 and 2-6 in the SEC, the 5-at-10 doesn't see it being possible for each of them doing that.
First off, one of UK's nonconference games is against an improving Louisville team, so the we don't see the Wildcats sweeping their nonconference games. Second, UK has a much easier SEC schedule than UT - the Wildcats play Ole Miss and Miss. State from THE SEC West; UT's foes from the West are Alabama, LSU and Arkansas, and each is likely to start the season ranked in the top 10.
As for the overall records, we'll spit ball and take UK at 6-6, 3-3 (with SEC wins at home over Miss. State and Ole Miss and a win at Vandy). THE UT has a huge pendulum - the Vols could win eight games; they could win five. As you pointed out UT's nonconference schedule ranks somewhere between TSSAA Div. II and the MAC (unless of course the NFL labor deal falls through and the Buffalo Bills are bored and decide to show up at Neyland on Oct. 1. Leading into the SEC media days next week, we'll look more into the SEC, but here's a quick view on UT's schedule:
North Texas - win
Cincy - win
at Florida - ???
Buffalo - win
Georgia - win
LSU - loss
at Alabama - loss
South Carolina - ???
MTSU - win
at Arkansas - loss
Vandy - win
at THE UK - win
That leaves two huge swing games - at Florida early in new coach Will Muschamp's first season and at home against a talented South Carolina team. Win those two (and if the 5-at-10 crazy predictions hold) and an 8-4 or 9-3 season is within reach and Derek Dooley is on the short list for national coach of the year.
5 at 10,
I want to thank you for clearing up the concerns I voiced last week regarding MMA. Let's move on.
Nuances become a part of every team in every sport as a season progresses. Sometimes they come from real-life tragedy or maybe from players doing something they hope will change their luck. Most of the time none of it continues past the first day of off-season. However, sometimes an action becomes a part of a team's identity and is made a part of it's ritual. If enough years pass, it becomes a part of it's history.
Indy 500 winners drink milk, pitchers with no-hitters can't find any buddies to sit with in the dugout. Zone was the only thing that worked in the past at Hickory and it's the only thing that's going to work in the future (Sidenote: When Coach Norman Dale took on the cults and installed the man-to-man, all it did was lead to a state championship against the mighty Bears of South Bend Central). These are the things that we expect our athletes to abide by. These are the things they are obligated to respect.
I say all of that to say this. If someone's not shirtless in a sports bra this Sunday following a U.S. World Cup victory, I will never listen to another soccer fan tell me how Americans just won't embrace soccer as an American sport. Play by the rules, soccer. Take the shirt off.
Great question/soliloquy. Let's just move along.
I have been curious for some time about the derivation of the name Moccasins for the Chattanooga sports teams. To the best of my knowledge, there was no Indian tribe called the moccasins, not even a minor tribe. And since it seems pretty silly to name a college's sports teams after a topographical feature of a river, as in Moccasin Bend, then the only other alternative seems to be the snake common to most southern waterways.
I would appreciate any background you may have come across.
Great question and welcome to the show. We have a call into the UTC sports info department, but here's what we have heard.
Up until the mid-1990s, UTC and UC before that was known as the Moccasins. It allegedly started as reference to the snake. It changed later and in the 60s and 70s was the Moccasin the Indian shoe. (and this was not because UTC smelled like feet; the Moccasins were pretty tough back then. Let's move along.)
The Indian-themed Moccasins morphed into, Chief Moccanooga, an overstated Cherokee Indian. In 1996, amid the sweeping sensitivity purge of American Indian nicknames (Syracuse, St. John's and many more schools also changed their nicknames about this time), the Moccasins became the Mocs, short for a mockingbird, which is the state bird of Tennessee. Now, the Moc is a mockingbird, and the mascot's name is "Scrappy" - named for longtime legendary football coach A.C. "Scrappy" Moore, who also is the namesake for the big three awards the TFP hands out at our Best of Preps banquet.
The 5-at-10 hopes that helps; and more importantly, we hope that we didn't mess anything up.
Reports out of Lexington, KY have Lebron James outfitting the Kentucky basketball team for the upcoming year. Everything seems to be going just right for Calipari's Cats. (Oh how, I long for the days of Eddie Sutton.) Cal has made the Kentucky basketball program the most attractive in the nation. Calipari continues to bring in an abundance of talent every year. Which brings me to the subject of William Wesley, or "Worldwide Wes" as he's most commonly known, and his connection to Calipari. It is no secret that Wes, who is an agent, is a fixture on the high school basketball circuit and reportedly has connections from all over. With all the scrutiny surrounding college athletics today and Calipari's past, one would think that the NCAA would find something wrong with this relationship. What are your thoughts?
It seems that the NCAA spotlight has been focused on football since the beginning of last season with USC, Agent-Gate, Auburn and the Newtons, Oregon, THE Ohio State, et al. That said, there would have to be a college football scandal every month for the next six years for it to get where college basketball is. And a big part of that is the characters like Worldwide Wes that surround the game.
The 5-at-10, though, believes the NCAA does not go looking for violations. They react to violations that are self-reported, newspaper/media reported or reported by other schools. There are hundreds of schools playing dozens of sports, and the NCAA has a compliance office of something like 55 (and that includes the satellite office on THE campus of THE Ohio State University - kidding, kidding, sort of).
If the NCAA wants to find something they can find something on any one; that's the reason it's a big, Big, BIG deal when the NCAA comes calling.
But you're right about where Calipari has the Cats right now. That's the hot place to be and they are bringing in talent in waves. But, if history repeats itself, just wait a few years, and none of it will count. So you got that going for you C-Vol, which is like having total consciousness on your death bed, which is nice.