Monday, January 19, 2009

The Works, blame where blame belongs-style

"Suspicions confirmed." That was the all-too-appropriate subject line in the e-mail from reader Bedford concerning this gentleman:

and this tidbit from the New York Times, in which we learn that notorious bilker of millions and scourge of humanity Bernie Madoff began his college education at none other than--you get one guess--the University of Alabama. Using the following airtight process of logical deduction:

1. Madoff was one of the worst financial criminals in world history
2. Madoff was a fraternity brother at the University of Alabama

we can conclude that freshmen (particularly fraternity brothers) at the University of Alabama are likely to become some of the worst financial criminals in world history and that the institution itself bears a large deal of responsibility for its role in corrupting the young Madoff. As a result, they deserve to lose at football.

Rollin'. Even a freaking triple-double from Arkansas's Ceira Rickett wasn't enough to soil the Auburn women's hoops team's perfect start, now up to 18 games after a 70-61 win in Fayetteville. The game played out in the typical fashion of an undermanned, lesser team taking on a high-profile team at home: emotion and sharp play took the Hogs into a 34-34 tie just after halftime, and to 44-41 with 13 minutes left in the game. Then because Auburn has players like DeWanna Bonner (19 and 14) and Whitney Boddie (12 and 10 assists) and Rickett seems like pretty much everything the Hogs had, Auburn scored 20 of the next 29 points to lead by 14 with four minutes remaining, and that was that.

So how high up the bracketing ladder have the Tigers climbed? There's not a lot of women's bracketology being done out there, unfortunately, but ESPN says Auburn's currently the final 2-seed on the S-Curve. By this time next week, though, the Tigers could move up a slot. Beating Tennessee--who come to Beard-Eaves next Sunday for what will be the biggest game of basketball played on the Auburn campus in a long, long time--would probably do the trick, if Auburn doesn't stumble at home against Alabama this Thursday. To say "big week" is not come close to doing it justice.

Fortnerquotes available here.

Study of contrasts. The men's game didn't sell out, even being on a Saturday with the Tide in town. Which, of course, is what happens when a game doesn't have anything at stake beyond "Auburn vs. Alabama," which cuts it in football but not so much on the hardcourt, sad to say. I would argue the stakes aren't going to change until both programs make a change in the head coach, but surprise surprise, apparently that position isn't universally held. Who knew?

[/obvs]. You may have noticed high-profile lineman recruit Brandon Moore's, um, interesting comments after his visit to the Plains:
Auburn was alright.
Translation from recruitese: I'm not coming here. Not a chance.
If my parents are comfortable ... then I'm comfortable and then everybody's comfortable.
Translation: Well, they like it. But I don't, so it doesn't really matter.
You really can't compare Alabama and Florida with Auburn. They're rebuilding. They don't even have their whole coaching staff, so I can't really get comfortable with people who don't have a whole coaching staff.
Translation: um, I think this translation pretty well is "You really can't compare Alabama and Florida with Auburn. They're rebuilding. They don't even have their whole coaching staff, so I can't really get comfortable with people who don't have a whole coaching staff." So, yeah, not so surprising when he told Doug Segrest later yesterday that he was down to Alabama and Florida.

Most of the reactions Jay Tate collected, however, were substantially more positive. Nothing to make us more hopeful about the "big prizes" as designated by guru approval/high-profile offers (i.e. Moore, Tana Patrick, the ex-LSU prep receiver who never even made it to campus) but this weekend was never about those guys*: it was about reaffirming Auburn's previous commitments (Dee Ford) and making an impression on guys like Nosa Eguae, Dequinta Jones, Demond Washington, or Emory Blake--especially a four-star Texas Tech-and-Oregon-offered wideouts like Emory Blake--who Auburn's got a serious shot at. On that front--particularly with Eguae, who's been reported as now seeing Auburn as the "team to beat"--the weekend went just about as well as could be expected.

I guess. It's still just recruiting, as I keep trying to remind myself. And for anyone in a similar frame of mind ...

Read this, i.e. the Red Solo Cup tearing apart two very different misguided approaches to recruiting with their usual flair:
Most two star linebackers aren't Patrick Willis. It just doesn't happen much anymore, as recruiting experts find that there is more and more money in this game, and the bulk of it goes to whomever can find the best information the fastest. So stop acting like every Ole Miss two star is a diamond in the rough. If you haven't noticed, we have our fair share of backup players on the team who will never play a significant down. We'll have some of those guys in this class and every class from here on. There are only 22 starters, and only a handful of star players amongst them. Prospects are all, to some degree, limited by physical potential, so quit getting excited over 6 foot quarterbacks that aren't fast, doughy looking, 6'3" offensive tackles, and cornerbacks with offers from Ole Miss and Idaho. Those guys aren't going to be good, almost certainly.
"Almost certainly" strikes me as a little strong--every kid's got a shot--but yeah, otherwise, RSC's call for balance between "stars are as accurate as they are in NCAA 2009" and "stars mean nothing because of example X" is one I think fans by-and-large should heed.

Balance doesn't mean I'm not going to throw even more recruiting links at you. Honestly? It would be kind of funny that an article that begins "It’s down to UGA and Oklahoma for wide receiver Cameron Kenney" later cites Kenney as an Auburn commit--which he was when the article appeared--in only the very briefest terms, at least if Auburn wasn't the team he was decommitting from and if wideout wasn't possibly the position of sorest need on the entire roster. As is, it's not especially funny.

Give Auburn's recruiters this: they appear to be tenacious, what with Malzahn telling Clint Moseley that if he can't get the country's No. 1 recruit to come to Auburn, dammit, they're going to go visit him. (At least Blake is apparently also going to be due a visit.) In other exercises in futility, Malzhn told Moseley he'd need to be around Jan. 30 to help recruit Kendall Kelly and *cough*, uh, Bryce Brown. Go get 'em, Clint! Shoot for the moon, and even if you miss, you'll be amongst the stars, or at least that's what six different girls' senior quotes in my 1996 DHS yearbook tell me.

Stupid judges, grumble grumble. The Auburn gym team took another tough, razor-thin loss over the weekend, losing to top-ranked Florida by .250. Nonetheless, losses by a quarter of a point--essentially, the margin of one or two routines--to the No. 1 team in the nation are still a good sign for the future. This team is good.

Etc. Josh Briscoe says some unsurprising things about the Clawfense, as a reminder to us all about why the alleged simplicity of the Malzahn offense will be a plus ... you wouldn't think any newspaper writer not already in the unemployment line would be so monumentally vapid as to praise Bob Stoops for being more gracious at Sam Bradford's announcement that he would return to school than Pete Carroll was at his QB's decision to leave USC, and yet, somehow, you'd be wrong.

*Hey, I'm not going to lie, I wish those guys were in play for Auburn. But after a sudden offseason coaching change following a hideous 5-7 season? Not so much, I don't think. I do mean this, though, as far as the recruiting game goes: wait 'til next year.


TideDruid said...

Using your logic, one could assume that all Auburn basketball players run redlights in order to recieve a "lap kiss". Just saying ;-)

jd said...