Special thanks to Steve Spencer of The Columbus Dispatch for use of his "Mount Buckmore" artwork.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Didn't this happen in Fast Times at Ridgemont High?

Kind of, only it was a Camaro that U.C.L.A. gave Charles Jefferson (Forrest Whitaker).

Two Fast Times references in the same week?

Homeboys over at Zombie Nation (PSU) and the venerable MGoBlog (you know who) have unearthed this non-story.

Al-leg-ed-ly, Tress and some staff were caught doing some shady dealings with a one Ted Sarniak, a playboy-type out of Terrelle Pryor's hometown, Jeannette, PA. Evidently, the Sarniak name is often paired with "loose morals" and, occasionally, "bribed a police officer."

Read the blogs and take from them what you will. Keep in mind that Tressel was in fact on the recruiting trail last weekend.

Don't, however, expect this to go away by tomorrow, as this story seems to be building steam by the moment. Photo-ops like this don't help, though it's clearly an old(er) picture.

No need to file this one under "Oh, shit" until you spot T.P. on 315 North, switching lanes at 90 mph.

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Recruiting Guru Lemming: A Notre Dame homer?

Say all you want about Notre Dame's fall from grace, but there's no denying it's brand strength. An unmatched TV deal with NBC, claim to a national fan-base and, now, a stranglehold on the Army All American Bowl?

The guys over at Every Day Should be Saturday seem to think so.

This article presents a pretty strong argument for a conspicuous Tom Lemming Notre Dame bias (and hints to a possible OSU leaning). Lemming, who is to college football recruiting as Mel Kiper is to the NFL Draft, has a hand or two in the Army game selection process. As EDSBS documents, this year's roster boasted an onslaught on future Irish talent, so much so that it elicits a serious look at both the game's and Lemming's credibility.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Yes, you can watch football this weekend too

Anyone who has ever watched the awkward coda to the college football season, known as the Senior Bowl, knows it's nothing more than a glorified mini-combine and schedule-filler for the pre-Super Bowl downtime.

Much like the Army All-American Bowl, the Senior Bowl boasts large rosters and promises to constantly rotate players onto the field. It is a jersey scrimmage in Mobile, Alabama that is less privilege than necessity for many below-the-radar seniors who are looking to work their way up the draft board.

This year's Senior Bowl, however, is being crashed by q
uite a few big name players. Of note:


  • Kirk Barton, OL (OSU)
  • Sam Baker, OL (USC)
  • John David Booty, QB (USC)
  • Dan Connor, LB (PSU)
  • Sedrick Ellis, LB (USC)
  • Chauncey Washington, RB (USC)
  • Chad Henne, QB (Mich.)
  • Erik Ainge, QB (Tenn.)
  • Colt Brennan, QB (Hawaii)
  • Early Doucet, WR (LSU)
  • Ali Highsmith, LB (LSU)
  • Limas Sweed, WR (Texas)
  • Andre Woodson, QB (UK)
And more. Now, although future day one green-roomers like Matt Ryan have politely declined their invitation, showing up to the Senior Bowl is nothing to be ashamed of. Only 32 of the hundreds with Sunday dreams earn the title of "first-rounder."

It is, at the very least, interesting to see on the roster:
  • two former Heisman front-runners (Woodson, Booty)
  • a handful of guys who helped beat OSU in the title game
  • an even larger handful of guys leaving USC. Will 'o8 finally be a rebuilding year?
  • the holder of more than 30 NCAA D-1 records (Brennan)
  • Tom Zbikowski of Notre Dame. I mean, wasn't he, like, 30 and boxing alligators when we played the Irish in the Fiesta Bowl?
  • Limas Sweed. Good riddance.
The Senior Bowl will be played on Saturday and broadcast on NFL Network @4:00PM.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pryor spends a weekend in hell

RichRod employs the old "hand-size game" when his skills as a conversationalist fail him. A similar technique is used to distract infants.

Mini-celeberty and reigning pimp of recruiting service editors everywhere, Terrelle Pryor, made his official visit to Michigan this past weekend.

The boy wonder brought his traveling circus with him, which now includes obscure NFL-er, Charlie Batch, who rode Pryor's coat-tails all the way to a Wolverines basketball ticket. Yes, UM charges fans to sit through these games. My "source" at Crisler Arena, however, said that the Michigan-Iowa game took second billing to Pryor's cameo.

"Source" also confirmed this "WE WANT PRYOR" chant, which needed to be pretty loud to cut through the wall of media documenting the blue chipper's every move.

RichRod appears to have been in good spirits, in spite of this article by Mitch Albom-- currently the most credible guy in Michigan. What's more, I can't say I approve of this 'cousin' character who seems to be acting as Pryor's host. Doesn't OSU have ties to some estranged middle school teacher of T.P.'s that it can dig up?

LSU is next on the world tour. What second-rate event will they have in store for the nation's top recruit?


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The Weekend Read

What's $15 million between friends?

Our traveling reporter friend, Paul, tipped me off to
this the day Jenkins and Robo announced their return, but on Thursday The Dispatch picked up on this great story. The OSU juniors collectively decided to come back for a senior season ("juniors" meaning a smaller group considering red/gray shirts and I'm assuming non-starters like Jamario O'Neal were planning on sticking around regardless.)

This is a great read for any Buckeye fan but I have to recommend watching the audio slide show as well. I'll get to the meat of the post in a minute, but I can't stress enough how key it was that not once did any of the players mention anything about coming back to beat Michigan or, god forbid, win a National Championship. After the failed, albeit bad ass, "Take Home Talk" video, the last thing we needed to kick-off the 2008 campaign was a publicly mentioned mission statement (a la the boys up north.)


In my opinion, this article an example of one, if maybe the largest, reason that college football will always be a more "pure" form of the game. NCAA football has its fair share of unscrupulous goings ons year in and out (Google: RichRod, Reggie Bush, Dennis Franchione) and lets not even touch on the college football profit machine, but it's the intangibles like character and loyalty that resonate the loudest.

Perhaps it's too harsh to rag on the NFL as a whole, since The League hasn't yet managed to corrupt OSU (modern) legends like A.J. Hawk, who evidently delivered a powerful senior season endorsement to protege James Laurinaitis. Though
the specifics of the conversation weren't touched on, Laurinaitis and the others made it clear that pros like Hawk and Bobby Carpenter (whose perks include tagging along on Tony Romo's pre-playoff game retreats) harped on the invaluable college experience and their shaggy-haired memories of Fast Times at The 'Shoe.

Though I can't quite sympathize with the "rough" life that D-I scholarship athletes Boone, Freeman and the rest will have to "endure" next year, it's truly impressive when you consider that , as Jenkins more or less mentions, most of those kids flat-out turned down a multi-million dollar paycheck. In a few months they will watch the NFL Draft from their campus apartments and see former teammate Vernon Gholston's (where was he during this shower meeting?) name appear in the first two hours. And then they will go to class, work out, grab a burrito and read about how good USC is.

Will the money still be there in the '09 Draft? Absolutely. Barring any tragic injury, the juniors all (with the possible exception of Laurinaitis) guaranteed themselves a higher pick and more of that green. But don't let take away from the significance of last week's decisions. In a culture where "get rich" is always proceeded by "quick" and picking a suitcase with only $300,000 on Deal Or No Deal is reason for disappointment, a 21-year-old postponing his fortune to be with his friends is news worthy of The Enquirer.

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