Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First They Had No Mascot, Now They Have No QB

Late this afternoon, the NCAA denied Jermiah Masoli's petition to transfer to Ole Miss without sitting out a season.

First, read Mellencamp's entirely-too-hilarious-to-skip take.

Second, while I've got no regard to speak of for Houston Nutt or any team he happens to be coaching at the moment, this is another good example of the NCAA's institutional lack of reliability.  Was the grad-student transfer rule intended to facilitate playing time for guys who get kicked out of a program one week and jump to a different one the next?  Of course not.

Does that make it okay for the Mandarins of Indianapolis to apply that rule selectively, just because they think Nutt is a sleaze?  Nope.  Not even if Nutt is a sleaze (which he is).

Nutt, who got himself into this mess, deserves what he's getting; Ole Miss, which hired him, deserves it by extension.  But that still doesn't make it all either okey or dokey.   If the NCAA didn't want the rule to apply to booted-out program jumpers, they should have written it to say so--and not having done that, they should have followed the letter of the rule today, instead of following their subjective inclinations and denying Masoli's request.

UPDATE:  Tony Barnhart agrees.  Neal McCready REALLY agrees.

Double Shot Of PFD

Who says Pat Dye is congenitally conservative?  At age 70 (and pushing 71), he's starting on a new career as a columnist this year, with plans to pen three columns a week for the online edition of Inside The Auburn Tigers

Auburn long-timers will no doubt remember "The Dye-gest," a Dye column that ran in the front of the pre-internet, dead-tree version of ITAT from Dye's first season in 1981 until the NCAA nixed coaches writing in single-team-oriented publications in the late 80's.  I always figured either ITAT honcho Mark Murphy or then-Auburn SID David Housel did the actual writing back then, but that was pure speculation on my part.

At any rate, here's Dye's first column of the 21st Century, plus a related interview with Doug Segrest of the Birmingham News.  Both are particularly entertaining for Dye's (accurate) descriptions of Houston Nutt and Les Miles as "squirrely."

The Road Ahead

As most of you noticed a couple of months back, I've signed back on as a columnist with Rivals' AuburnSports.com site for this season. Part of the Rivals deal is for the Monday-morning post-game columns that originally started over there in 2001, and then moved here to From The Bleachers in 2004. If anybody's curious, that happened because the then-coaching staff didn't react well to being called out their multiple '03 screw-ups, and threatened to shut the Rivals guys out of the Auburn athletic department if they didn't drop my column.

But that's all water well under the bridge at this point, and I was happy to accept new AuburnSports honcho Jeffery Lee's invitation to return as a columnist this year. The downside of that for all of you is, my Monday columns will only be appearing at the subscriber-only side at Rivals.

However, Jeffery is offering a free first month's subscription (their usual intro deal is just a week) to any new subscriber who comes over from FTB. If you're interested, just head over to the Auburn Rivals site, sign up for a subscription, and forward a copy of your receipt email to mail -at- fromthebleachers.net. I'll touch base with Rivals from there, and you'll get your first month credited back.

Besides the Rivals gig, I'll also be participating in al.com's weekly Blogger Roundtable, and all of that content will be linked from here, and should remain free. For the first couple of bits I wrote for al.com, I've sent them considerably more traffic than they're sending me, so many thanks to all of you for tuning in and clicking over.

That's it for reading the bulletin this season. Now on to the fun part...

Monday, August 30, 2010

... And There Was Much Rejoicing

The M-Zone, where blogger Yost covered all things Michigan, went quietly into hibernation a couple of years ago. I was among the saddened legions when Yost hung up his keyboard, as M-Zone was far-and-away my favorite non-SEC blog.

But behold, the aggregation of asininity and failure known as Jim Delaney has at last succeeded at something: his proposal to move the Ohio State-Michigan game from the season-ender to October brought Yost back out of retirement, and the results are not pretty--at least not for Delaney.

Fair warning: this one has more f-bombs than Cee-Lo's new single.

H/T: Mellencamp.

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's Official: I Am The Light Bringer

Well, at least according to al.com, which kindly describes me as a "college football luminary" in plugging my contribution to their new Blogger Roundtable feature. I'll be answering a question or two there a week this season; here's a preview of the first edition:
Question No. 1: "We know Alabama fans are supposed to be worried about their special teams and non-Mark Barron safeties, Auburn fans about Cam Newton's accuracy and the depth in the front seven. But what unit or aspect of your team that's widely accepted as a-OK--or even above-average or excellent--has you secretly worried?"

Answer: I'm parting with Jerry pretty dramatically here, but I'm afraid the iron-spiked bowling ball known as Ben Tate will be a lot harder to replace than anybody thinks...
Click through for the rest.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

So, All That Happened

Chaste Chadd sums up the last ten years of the SEC via Facebook (which, er, wasn't launched until 2004, but work with him, people).

It's good.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel had a few choice tweets this week regarding Ticketgate at UAT:

# Tix director was a Roads Scholar RT @ClayTravisBGID: Alabama misspells Mississippi on tickets

# In wake of spelling error, admission standards at Alabama to be raised. You now need a 23 on your alphabet

# To curb agent activity Nick Saban has banned runners, NFL scouts and the alphabet from campus

# Alabama thanks Penn State for sparing them full spelling of Pennsylvania; confused to discover San Jose earned statehood

Thursday, August 05, 2010

An Unabashed Plug

It occurred to me this morning that I ought to post a modification of the rant just below regarding the poor state of sports coverage in the local papers.  Specifically, that occurred to me while reading Andy Bitter's account of Auburn's first fall practice of 2010.  As far the AU beat writers are concerned, if you ask me, there's Bitter (at the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer), and then a long, long way farther down, there's everybody else.  He's head, shoulders, elbows, knees and feet above the rest.

If you haven't bookmarked or blogrolled Bitter's War Eagle Extra blog, do yourself a favor and grab it now.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Q & A at AL.com

Here's a brief email interview that Charlie Roberts of al.com's Tiger's Corner blog conducted with Yours Truly. I appreciated Charlie's request, but have to note that my full response to the last question was cut out of the published interview.  Here's the unedited version:

TC: Getting away from Auburn: Why is most mainstream college football coverage so mediocre (to be charitable)? What can we do to fix it?

There's a lot of blandness and sameness in today's media coverage.  You read pretty much the same things no matter where you look, and that goes for the major media websites as well as the newspapers.  Part of that is not your--the media's--fault; access is so controlled these days that it's difficult for anybody to get quotes or stories that everybody else doesn't also have.  But I have to say that the quality of both the analysis and writing is not what it ought to be, and it appears to me that there's a lot of fear of bucking convention and the popular view of the moment.  Newspapers are in a terrible business situation, and I suspect there's a reluctance to irritate the subscribers they still have left.

I don't expect every newspaper sports writer to be a modern Clyde Bolton, but I have less interest in reading newspaper stories or columns than I've ever had in the past.  One reason is that almost all of the material is written by guys who went to journalism school andhave followed pretty much the same career paths as every other newspaper employee over the past fifty years.  There's a we've-always-done-it-this-way guild mentality, and I think that model is just worn out.

[Deleted section] To put it bluntly, why should I slog through the same old beat writer reports when I can read Jerry Hinnen at War Blog Eagle? Why spend time reading the umpteenth pseudo-Paul-Finebaum opinion column when I can read Orson Spencer Swindle Hall Mellencamp at Every Day Should Be Saturday? Why bother with by-the-numbers analysis when there's Matt Hinton at Dr. Saturday, who's not only a better analyst, but also a better writer than anybody in the local paper?

I can certainly understand al.com choosing to edit out criticism of its affiliated newspaper writers, but I also think they're proving my point by doing so.  I'm also sorry that the links to War Blog Eagle, EDSBS and Dr. Saturday didn't get passed on to their readers.