Making the morning rounds.
• Blazing Irish. Notre Dame tight end Mike Ragone is facing a misdemeanor possession charge after a state trooper found two small bags of marijuana in a female passenger's purse during a traffic stop last Saturday morning. The arrest could cost Ragone his senior season, though how severely may depend on whether the weed is pinned on his friend: The university's Office of Residence Life suspended former Irish basketball player Kyle McAlarney for the spring semester in 2007 when police said they found a lit joint in his car, which he was driving alone; but just a few months later, former quarterback Demetrius Jones got out of a possession charge without a suspension when a judge decided the demon weed belonged to another passenger and dropped the charges. Coach Brian Kelly said Ragone's punishment will be "handled internally." [Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, South Bend Tribune]
• Well, I guess that rules out buying him away. One detail that passed largely unnoticed when Boise State coach Chris Petersen signed a contract extension last month, until it was pointed out Monday by the school paper: Petersen's new deal, off his second undefeated season in four years and the highest final ranking in school history, is actually a small cut in pay from his previous deal, which would have paid him $1.3 million this year with a $250,000 "loyalty bonus" if he was still head coach by next February.
The revised contract reduced Petersen's 2010 salary to $1.28 million with a $200,000 bonus and fixed annual raises amounting to less than he likely would have made with the win-based incentives in the old contract – a minor nick to the whole, maybe, but a bizarre tactic for any organization trying to hold on to one of the most sought-after up-and-comers in the field. Said athletic director Gene Bleymaier: "We needed to restructure the contract into more realistic terms that we could afford. Pete was very understanding and cooperative." Very. [The Arbiter, via Blutarsky]
• Sexy Kiffin Watch, Round Three. Voting is open in the Sweet 16 round of Esquire's "Sexiest Woman Alive" bracket, where unstoppable underdog Lane Kiffin is matched in a shootout with soccer star Heather Mitts. Your duty is clear: Vote early, and vote often. [Esquire]
• RIP. Eastern Oregon linebacker Dylan Steigers, a 21-year-old transfer from Montana, died of a freak brain injury following "an apparently normal play" during Saturday's spring game. Steigers walked off the field after the play, telling a coach "I think I got hit in the head" before vomiting and collapsing on the sideline. Steigers was flown to a hospital in Boise, where he died on Sunday of an acute subdural hematoma. [Associated Press, Missoulian]
Quickly ... Joe Paterno cancels an appearance because of flu. ... Derek Dooley would like to see a few tweaks to spring recruiting rules, but not too many, of course. ... For good measure, the Big Ten itself adds to the pile of denials re: Monday's rogue expansion report. ... Steve Sarkisian would like to think that Washington can compete for a Pac-10 championship. ... And via Swindle, this story is a must-read, if only for the direct quote, "Sometimes he'd come out just from our voices, like if the babies would say 'alligator' he would slowly start to come out."