Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Works, Wormtongue-style

Classic. I wasn't planning on offering Schmaul Schmineschmaum's latest stinking pile of rhino dung the dignity of a comment in this space, but then Holly Anderson did this:

and tore the column-in-question into tiny, quivering bald shreds over at DocSat's place. The column itself I do not recommend reading; Holly's work (and Will's appreciation) I mostly certainly do.

You cannot possibly be serious. Via Blutarsky, who's as flummoxed as I am, comes this Orlando Sentinel "debate" about the value of preseason polls. The argument in favor goes something like this:
Remember Auburn in 2004?

Sorry, Tigers fans, I know, but it’s the best example of how preseason polls are important.

Tommy Tuberville’s Auburn team started the season ranked 17th in the preseason poll and finished undefeated — along with Oklahoma and USC — only to have the Big Blue computers at the BCS put the Sooners and Trojans in the title game.

Preseason polls can help make a difference to non-BCS schools looking to make an impact. Utah started last season unranked, and it probably made a difference in the final outcome.

The Utes finished 13-0 but again had to watch as Florida and Oklahoma played for the BCS title.
In other words, we need preseason polls so that undefeated teams can go on being unjustly screwed. I mean, we have to screw them, and preseason polls are a quick, efficient way of doing just that, so what's the problem? (The actual problem, of course, is a newspaper editor screaming PUT SOMETHING UP ON THE BLOG NOW and two poor hacks who have to start churning out this kind of blithering idiocy they'd never actual cop to believing in in a hundred years because they have to or they get yelled at some more.)

We'll call it the Sabykins Rule. The big news out of T-Town today is of course the word that sanctions will be handed down tomorrow, but I figure we can handle the ramifications of that development when it happens. For now, I'm just as interested in this under-the-radar piece of news from SI's Andy Staples:
Last month, SEC coaches asked their athletic directors to consider adding two more on-field graduate assistants to alleviate worries about who could offer football instruction and who couldn't. Saban, who supported the proposal, said the move would offer more opportunities for minority coaches to enter the field. "Personally, I'd like to see us be allowed to have more GAs on the field to be able to develop coaches," Saban said. "I think we should be doing more to develop minority coaches, and I think that's one of the ways you could do it. ... We seem to take no responsibility for that in the NCAA. We're much more about restricting size."

SEC athletic directors and presidents disagreed. They shot down the proposal to add graduate assistants and suggested forwarding legislation to the NCAA to close what they consider a loophole that allows experienced coaches to accept graduate assistant jobs. Under the SEC's proposed rule, aspiring coaches would be able to serve as a graduate assistant for seven years after receiving their first bachelor's degree or exhausting their NCAA eligibility. (Emphasis added--ed.)
You go with your bad selves, SEC presidents and athletic directors. As you'll recall, the loophole under fire is the one that's allowed Kiffykins and the coachbot to pass over deserving young coaches who desperately need those GA slots for high-profile, veteran coaches who just happen to be drawing a paycheck from their previous stop ... so it's no wonder that it's Tennessee's AD and King Crimson himself who are speaking out about it in the article. Staples (and perhaps Mike Slive) seem skeptical the regulation will pass legal muster, but at least they're trying, and quietly trying to expose this travashamockery of these schools' academics for what it is.

Speaking of Kiffykins ... it's only fair to point out that the Sultan of Self-Reporting, the Virtuoso of the Violation, that Avatar of the Apology isn't the only one who's kept his compliance staff on their toes. Maybe after Big Cat it's not surprising that Auburn's coaches have had to report something minor, but in this case it's something totally unrelated, as Bruce Feldman reports:
Auburn recently was turned in for a secondary violation stemming from a Facebook post that recruiting coordinator Curtis Luper allegedly left on the page of a top recruit that read, " ... lost my cell, so call me on this number 405-***-**** asap please!" If Luper had sent this message via e-mail, it would have been within the NCAA rules.
Of course, as Feldman notes, this is as hair-splitting as the NCAA regulations get, and is very much of the unintentional/understandable variety, as opposed to Kiffykins' peculiar combination of dumbassery and general disregard for the rulebook.

This appears to be a distinction lost on Clay Travis, who sees the breathless coverage of Kiffin's various missteps as an insidious plot by ESPN to build up the value of their shiny new SEC coverage rather than simple public demand to see college football's newest clown clownin' it up. Travis's willingness to ignore the legitimate reasons Kiffin's antics have made regular headlines sort of spoils his perfectly legitimate point--that ESPN may start force-feeding its SEC coverage the same way it has with its NASCAR and Arena League properties in the past. But the WWL's coverage of Kiffin and John Calipari aren't decisive evidence just yet.

And hey, still speaking of secondary violations ... Gene Chizik got positively bristly last night when asked about them:
Some have said you take a cavalier approach toward recruiting rules and that you push the envelope. Is that true?
"I'm not at liberty to talk about recruiting or things of that nature. (NOTE: He's talking about possible secondary violations.) We're trying to recruit and do things the right way. We do things a little bit outside the box, if you will. That's what we're trying to do. We'll continue to do that. As far as being cavalier, I don't see that at all. We're just trying to do our job and work hard."

Do you feel like a renegade?
"Absolutely not. That's not who we are."
Not that the response isn't expected, but still, it's nice to see that Chizik does seem to be somewhat genuinely bothered that his program is being painted with the "rules-benders" brush. (Of course, as I've said, the best way to avoid that particular smear is to not hand those who would do the smearing a can of Big Cat brand paint and a public pep rally brush.)

Draftin'. Auburn could have gotten better news out of the MLB draft: signee Nick Franklin (who even PPL didn't have a heads-up on) went in the first round to the Mariners and is almost certainly long gone. Catching prospect Luke Bailey went fourth round, JUCO pitcher Drew Madrigal seventh. Both will be risks to sign with their major league clubs, as will football signee Brandon Jacobs, who went in the 10th round to the Red Sox. It'll be interesting to see what Jacobs does: he was a Tubby commit and despite the positive things the new staff has had to say, he didn't pick up any major recruiting hype despite playing in Metro Atlanta, is a thick-cut bruiser who may be a bad fit for the Spread Eagle 2.0, and is looking at one seriously crowded depth chart even before guys like Seastrunk and Lattimore potentially join up. I'd be happy if he came to Auburn, but I'm sure not going to blame him if he takes the Sox's money and runs.

Well, yeah. As every Auburn blog under the sun has made note of over the last 24 hours or so, Auburn was named one of the top 10 places to live in the U.S. according to U.S. News and World Report. Like, duh.

Yes, this is awesome. You read so many "Such-and-such kid is such a humble, classy kid it's remarkable how humble and classy he is" pieces of fluff it's easy to be jaded about how humble and classy the subjects of those pieces actually are ... but it's hard to think that after writing something like this:
It's past time for a journalistic out of bounds. I can't think of a better reason to shed objectivity than Auburn receiver commitment Jeremy Richardson ... That's why I was a sucker for what Richardson did last Friday. I hope he catches 30 touchdowns this fall at Springville and turns out better than Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens think they are. I hope he turns out to be the greatest receiver in Auburn history.

It's because class shines brighter than any stars.
B'ham News prep writer Jeff Sentell really doesn't think the world of Richardson. And hey, there really isn't any cynical arguing with Richardson's decision to make his commitment announcement alongside his ailing grandfather as a tribute to "the only real family member he has left," right? Nope.

Etc. Blutarsky compiles and responds to a number of different recent examinations of the dying art of scheduling a big nonconference game, all with the usual GTP clarity ... I've read this Grotus post three or four times and still don't know exactly what he's trying to say, but I'm intrigued for part 2 or for where this analysis might go during the season ... and for you nerds out there, Futurama's been renewed. (And a p.s. for you serious nerds out there: one of the commenters there wrote "I was so excited, first i bounced 3 meters in the air, then i bounced 1.8 meters in the air, then i bounced 4 meters in the air!", which is the sort of awesomeness I know you want to know about. 'Cause I would want to know about it.)

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