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Headlinin’: ‘Pony Express’ duo adds to the postseason awards circuit

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

Making the morning rounds.

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The only award that instantly evokes the most notorious scandal in the history of the sport! Former SMU teammates Eric Dickerson and Craig James, the legendary 1-2 punch that formed the "Pony Express" backfield on the excellent (and later notorious) Mustang teams in the early 1980s, announced via press release Tuesday the existence of a new postseason award for the nation's best tandem. The initial watch list for the Pony Express Award includes 48 sets of teammates on both sides of the ball — including multiple tandems from Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Stanford and Washington — one of which will take home the award "at a gala dinner" in December.

"Eric and I were able to complement each other on the field in such a way that together we formed a much more potent weapon than even our individual talents would have suggested," James said in the statement. "We have remained life-long friends, and each season we have always had fun talking about the great tandems that were making an imprint on the game that season. We decided someone should recognize these great combinations, and that really became the genesis of the Pony Express Award." If either of these successful and well-respected gentlemen should happen to have any tapes of those reminiscences about the old college days just, you know, lying around in a drawer or something, then I would really love to hear them. [NFL Draft Bible]

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As the couch burns. With his succession plan for easing head coach Bill Stewart out the door beginning to crumble amid allegations that Stewart has attempted to actively undermine his appointed successor in the press, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck issued a brief statement Tuesday pledging to keep the university's internal investigation behind closed doors. "I want to make it clear that I consider these to be personnel matters," Luck wrote, "and while I take them very seriously, I am dealing with them internally and privately — and I will not discuss them publicly." In other words: Don't ask me about this again.

As for West Virginia players? Hey man, they just work here. [MSNSportsNet, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Recommended reading. Elsewhere, the upcoming (June 13) issue of Sports Illustrated features a lengthy profile of Luck's son, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, focusing mainly on the future No. 1 draft pick's obsession with … architecture, the first love that brought him back to Stanford to finish his degree in architectural engineering instead of entering the NFL Draft earlier this year. Young Andrew was particularly interested in stadiums, and gives high marks to the design of Safeco Field in Seattle. Others, not so much: "Historically, it's very interesting," he says of Notre Dame Stadium. Yes, but what of its design? "It's a bowl." [Sports Illustrated]{YSP:MORE}

A tale of two Trojans. A day after a gushing look at the leadership of USC quarterback Matt Barkley "in times of crisis," Orange County Register beat writer Michael Lev came down hard Tuesday on running back Marc Tyler, whose move into the spotlight as a fifth-year senior hit a wall last week with Tyler's appearance in front of the university's Office of Student Judicial Affairs for allegedly spitting on a female student while intoxicated and inappropriately touching another woman while at a bar.

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"What happens to Tyler next remains to be seen. He could be disciplined by the school. He almost certainly will be disciplined by USC coach Lane Kiffin," Lev writes, noting that Tyler was banged up and overweight for most of spring practice. "It's one thing for a newly arrived freshman to make poor decisions; it's another for a fifth-year senior who, at least in theory, ought to know better. This should be the time for Tyler to seize a golden opportunity." [Orange County Register]

Comings and goings, part one. Another day, another Alabama transfer: This time it's backup running back Corey Grant, one of the top "all-purpose backs" in the incoming class of 2010, whose former high school coach confirmed Tuesday that Grant doesn't plan to return to Tuscaloosa this fall. "I think it's a situation where he committed early, the summer before his senior year, and he just felt like he went to the wrong place," said Opelika High coach Brian Blackmon, who suggested Grant is considering a move to the hometown school, Auburn. "I only saw him for a few minutes, so he didn't get too much into the details, but he said he wasn't going to be back." [Tide Sports]

Comings and goings, part two. Texas wide receiver Greg Timmons, another fairly hyped recruit out of Houston who sported a fine high-rise box cut in 2009, has decided to transfer from Austin. Timmons battled injuries for most of his two-year stint as a Longhorn and had fallen behind on the depth chart; early rumors suggest he may land at Grambling. [Orangebloods.com]

Quickly… Auburn has an afternoon date in the White House. … Writers from around the South take their final shots at Mike Hamilton. … UCLA hires a former Bruin great to raise money for athletic scholarships. … Colt McCoy's wife calls a radio show to inform them that the sky is blue. … And if you only read one "Could Rich Rodriguez return to West Virginia?" offering today, make it this one.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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