Monday, June 01, 2009

The Works, awwwwwww!-style

Cuter than baby pygmy jerboas. I'm not the biggest fan of the day-by-day "Only X days to football season!" countdowns that start popping up in the college football bloggitysphere, but Wire Road and Shug is on to something with their Auburn-by-the-jersey-numbers theme--particularly when they start off by reminding us this kind of a bang:

In case you've forgotten--and I had--that's former noseguard Josh Thompson proposing in the wake of Auburn's big 2007 victory over, uh, New Mexico State. Another shot here. Not a bad little moment to be reminded of, huh?

I guess this really is the year 2009. From the most recent edition of Jay Jacobs' irregular "From the Desk Of ..." missives:
Eleven of our 12 football games will be televised beginning with the 2009 football season. The 12th game will be available on pay-per-view.
For the ex-pats among us, this is the kind of news that makes me want to break out the kazoos. With several of those games moving to ESPNU and ESPNU now a staple of Comcast/DirecTV, it's possible I won't even have to order GamePlan this fall. Score! Plus, then ews gets ... well, not better, but it stays good:
(A)n ESPN outlet will now broadcast all men's conference basketball games beginning with the 2009-2010 season, and ESPN on ABC will broadcast the SEC Tournament Semifinals and Finals for the first time in history. Coverage of women's basketball will nearly double, with SEC teams making a minimum of 16 appearances on ESPN and ESPN2 and additional appearances on other ESPN outlets.
After having seen the Auburn men and women a grand total of, oh, seven times or so last season, this is a massive development. Double score! I know our oceans are laden with sewage and the hole in the ozone is going to burn our faces off and one day the people who comment on YouTube will be in charge of running the world or whatever, but if that's the cost of the kind of progress that puts every Auburn football and basketball game on basic cable ... well, sorry, whales, but you're screwed.

Everybody's Under Armour All-American. This is old news, but the current roster for ESPN's high school All-American extravaganza doesn't just feature several Auburn targets (Eric Mack, DeMarco Cobbs, Solomon Patton, etc.). it features an Auburn commitment. Check the first (and thus far, only) kicker named to the roster:

So, hey, there's your reason to watch ... if you know, you can stomach watching a high school All-American game. (I don't know if I can or not, having never tried.) Game's January 2 of next year.

Worlds collide. If you're a long-time reader you know I remain attached to the athletics teams at ye olde undergraduate alma mater, Birmingham-Southern. So from a personal standpoint, this story was a much more awesome piece of news than your typical "Auburn grad assistant moves on to first legitimate coaching gig" tidbit. It's also a nice reminder of what a terrific career DeMarco McNeil had:
As a player at Auburn, McNeil was First-Team All-Southeastern Conference in 2003. He helped the Tigers to the SEC Western Division Co-Championship in 2002, and a win at the Capital One Bowl that year. In 2000, McNeil helped Auburn to the SEC Western Division Championship, and was a Sporting News First-Team Freshman and All-American. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in criminology from Auburn in 2003.
Here's to wishing him the very best of luck on the Hilltop, both from the BSC and the "Auburn boy makes good" perspective.

Follow-ups. In the wake of Friday's post on the SEC's new 28-signees-a-class recruiting cap, Todd at RBR stopped by to offer some more intelligent comments on the impact of the new rule. I'll cosign this ...
This puts far more pressure on the recruits to make sure their grades are in order than it does on the coaches. One of the things Nutt (and to a lesser degree Saban, who's academic cases were all at least on the fence with a fighting chance) is being blasted for is taking kids that have no chance of qualifying. A lot of Nutt's signees were just out and out casualties that weren't getting in ANYWHERE to begin with, but therein lies the beauty of his Mississippi JUCO farm league. They were headed there anyway, at least now he has the inside track to grab them when they do qualify. With this rule, coaches won't risk offering a "sign and place" kid anymore, so now it's up to the recruit to keep his grades in order to make sure he can qualify.
... and add that this is a good thing. I mean, we're not really going to say that rules that encourage kids to make sure they've got their grades on straight are bad are they?

One other thing I should have noted in the Friday piece is that the SEC is now only the second conference to enact thus kind of legislation, with only the Big 10 having previously put signing restrictions into place. In your allegedly academically superior face, Pac-10!

There's also one minor point I didn't get to in this morning's Big Cat post--whether the weekend was truly an effort of, as Philip Marshall put it in a not-totally-over-the-top fashion at all, "unprecedented imagination." My thought: it's not like it takes a Wile E. Coyote-level super genius to think "hey, what if instead of giving these guys a boring campus tour and asking them to do drills they're going to do a thousand times between now and next February, we just have them hang out, have fun, and get to know each other and the coaches?" Why, just this past weekend, a bunch of recruits got together right down the street from my place for the "Barbecue at the Big House." So making it as big and as comprehensive an event as Auburn did might be a new development, but I don't think it's worth pretending like Luper and Co. just reinvented the wheel, either. That they did a great job putting it on and boosted their hopes with the recruits involved is enough, isn't it?

Speaking of P-Marsh (sort of), he confirms that it wasn't Trooper Taylor barking out recruit's names at Toomer's. He also throws some cold water on the "OMG VIOLATORS!!" hyperventilating from certain corners.

Luper. Jay Tate offers up his impressions of the man and makes some interesting observations:
Luper is among the brightest coaches I have met. He speaks carefully, though it's not because he's worried about potential repercussions. He wants to make sure he uses the correct words to explain his point. He's precise.

Luper often holds deep conversations that span well beyond football. That's not exactly universal among people in his profession...

He has much bigger projects ahead. I expect his stay at Auburn to be short because he has the skills to flourish as an offensive coordinator or head coach.

As a fervent believer that Auburn has to work smarter rather than harder, having two different guys on the offensive staff who might get the "brainiac" tag is music to the proverbial ears.

Is this Les Miles? Surely not:

but I'd love for someone to convince me otherwise. UPDATE: Comment Jonathan kinda does just that: "Notice the massive trophy/ring on the right hand of the alleged Les Miles. How many random dudes have a ridiculous LSU mode of transportation AND what appears to be a national championship ring? Just food for thought."

Seriously, if Les Miles is riding around on that motorcycle, I mean, I might cry from the awesome.

Pluggin'. It's hard for me to imagine a Tide fan who reads this blog but not RBR, but on the off-chance there's one out there or if you have a Tide-lovin' friend you'd like to buy a gift for, uh, Flag Day, you should know that a) Todd and Nico's Maple Street Press Alabama preview magazine is now available b) yours truly was responsible for an article therein. Purchase accordingly. (The article is a breakdown of current recruiting trends in the SEC and is ruthlessly rational about what the Coachbot's accomplished the last two seasons. It is NOT recommended for Auburn fans. I had to shower for two days after I'd completed it. And that was after the 40 lashes of penance or whatever.)

Etc. An Auburn fan really, really shouldn't laugh at another SEC baseball team's misfortune, but I can't help but notice that the Ohio St. team that eliminated Georgia turned around and lost their next game 37-6. Yes, 37-6 ... Andrew Gribble previews Ball St. ... for any mid-major hoops fans--or just fans of rather incredible human interest stories--Manhattan has signed a one-armed player ... Braves and Birds explains in hysterical detail why the Atlanta Thrashers are doomed ... Dude, Auburn's 4x100 relay actually has a guy named "Fly" on it.


Jonathan said...

Notice the massive trophy/ring on the right hand of the alleged Les Miles. How many random dudes have a ridiculous LSU mode of transportation AND what appears to be a national championship ring? Just food for thought.

David said...

I followed the link, and it seems to me that it is indeed the Hat, but he's sitting on a fan's bike.

Todd Jones said...

I'll just go ahead and admit it, and you can call me fruity all you want. When I saw the proposal picture, the first thing I thought was "ooo, cute dress." I hate myself sometimes.