November 27, 2009
Making the morning rounds.
• This pity date has gotten way out of hand. There's an old episode of The Simpsons wherein dim loser Ralph Wiggum takes a token valentine from Lisa way too far, eventually humiliating her with unexpected and unwanted expressions of his love on live television. For some reason, I kept thinking of that episode every time ESPN showed this couple Thursday night ...
... which was plenty of times given Texas' stunning defensive collapse against A&M, which included busted coverages, busted tackles and a busted ego for a unit that came into the game ranked in the top 10 nationally in yards and points allowed. This morning, the Austin-American Statesman tries to get to the root of the trouble, without much luck, and the New York Times' Pete Thamel wonders how such an effort -- especially if it's replicated in any meaningful way next week by Nebraska -- might fuel the critics of the Longhorns' virtually assured trip to Pasadena. (Longhorn fans have their own questions, such as: Why on earth didn't Mack Brown offer Christine Michael a scholarship?
• Mass exodus. (Get it? Mass? Cuz ... ah, never mind.) Whatever his own fate, Charlie Weis can still have an impact on Notre Dame's immediate depending on what he says this week when he meets with Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate about the juniors' prospects for entering the draft in April. Weis called the 5'11" Tate a "clone" of longtime Panthers star Steve Smith, but at that height, he'll have to turn in a blazing speed in workouts to have a shot at the first round. [Associated Press]
• Say it's so, Joe. On the other side of the Irish-Trojan rivalry, USC's Joe McKnight looks like he's leaning toward staying in L.A. for his senior season despite the best individual season for a Trojan back (he should go over 1,000 yards rushing Saturday against UCLA, on more than six yards per carry for the season) since Reggie Bush and LenDale White exited the premises four years ago. If McKnight is back in '10, prepare for the Heisman hype, an interesting development for a guy who's been considered a slight underachiever compared to his outsized recruiting hype. [Orange County Register]
• Your campus statue will just be you, if that's alright. In the more immediate reaches of Heisman hype, for those of you who care about such trivialities, it's been a good week for Alabama running back Mark Ingram, who landed Sports Illustrated's annual Heisman-hyping cover and gets the full-on treatment today from the hometown Tuscaloosa News:
Pending another big effort today in the Iron Bowl, I'd say we've got an official frontrunner for the stretch. [Tuscaloosa News]
Quickly ... Starting linebacker A.J. Jones will miss Florida's games with Florida State and Alabama with an injured knee. ... Dan Hawkins' surprising removal from the hot seat Thursday mean that, for the first the first time in years, there's not a pall hanging over one of the coaches when Nebraska and Colorado get together in Boulder. ... Even in one of Auburn's strongholds in the state, only a couple Mobile Press-Register staffers have the guts to pick the Tigers to upset Alabama. ... Just one more way that Paul Johnson has completely flipped the script in the Georgia-Georgia Tech series. ... A view of C.J.'s Pub in South Bend, where Jimmy Clausen was allegedly punched in the face last weekend. ... And can Tennessee fans still begrudge Charles Woodson his Heisman after he donated $2 million to a children's hospital? Don't answer that.