January 27, 2011
Making the morning rounds.
• Tebow Lite. With underclassmen expected to dominate the top half of the NFL Draft, all eyes at this week's Senior Bowl practices in Mobile have been on Washington quarterback Jake Locker, who could go in the top 10 in April or fall into the second round, depending on whether Mel Kiper Jr. sees his shadow that morning. Locker's meh numbers and lack of junior year-to-senior year progress are a sticking point with the scouts, and the surrounding talent at Washington didn't help their cause, or his: "After looking at the film, to be kind about it, Jake was the integral part of their offense," said Locker's draft coach, Ken O'Brien. "In my opinion, they didn't have the talent to do a lot of the things they would've liked to have done schematically, so I think a lot fell on Jake's shoulders to make plays." What that means for the Huskies in 2011: This Montana kid had better be good. [Washington Post]
• "We're committed to keeping checkbooks – er, lines of communication open." Interim University of Connecticut president Philip Austin said Wednesday that he and the chairman of UConn's board of trustees both had a "good" conversation with rogue booster Robert Burton, and both fully support athletic director Jeff Hathaway in the wake of a much-publicized letter in which Burton called Hathaway incompetent, swore off future donations and demanded a return of $3 million donated dollars over the process that led to Paul Pasqualoni being named the Huskies' new coach earlier this month. (Or, more specifically, Burton's lack of involvement in that process.) The university has no plans to cut ties with one of its major donors, although it's not certain whether Burton has had a similar change of heart. [Hartford Courant, Associated Press]
• They see me trollin'. On the same day that ESPN led its college football homepage with a profile of Central Florida as an ascendant power with the Big East in its future, the master troll of the Orlando Sentinel, Mike Bianchi, called for Florida politicians to step in to stop current Big East member South Florida's apparent campaign to keep UCF out of the conference. Bianchi still carries a bit of a grudge of USF's decision to replace the annual game against the Knights with the likes of Wofford and Stony Brook, and envisions a powerhouse local rivalry that benefits the entire state: "Think of the economic impact of UCF and USF in the same BCS conference," Bianchi writes. "Think of the sellout stadiums when the two teams play. Think of the buzz in two of the biggest cities in the state if the two teams are fighting each other for the Big East championship. Think of the exposure in the Northeast and all of that out-of-state tuition from potential students in Boston and New York who decide they want to go to college in Florida after watching UCF-USF battle it out in a Sunshine State sizzler." Has it worked that way since Miami joined Florida State to rule over the ACC? [ESPN, Orlando Sentinel]
• Closing the book on Pantygate. Former Georgia athletic director Damon Evans pled guilty Wednesday to the misdemeanor DUI charge he picked up last spring, when he was pulled over with a 28-year-old woman in the passenger seat and a pair of red panties in his hand, leading to his termination. A first-time offender, he'll avoid jail time, instead serving 12 months probation and 40 hours of community service, in addition to a $750 fine. He'll also participate in a panel for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
• Ex-Hawekeye will be a Sooner, later. Running back Adam Wegher sit out the 2011 season at Oklahoma after transferring from Iowa, where he didn't play at all last year following his unexplained leave of absence from the team in the preseason. He can join the Sooners in 2012 with two years of eligibility remaining. [The Oklahoman]
Quickly… The demographics of college football fans. … Nebraska is breaking off its licensing deal with its starting quarterback's dad. … Oft-injured offensive lineman Sean Sheller is granted a sixth year of eligibility at UCLA. … USC receiver Brice Butler plans to transfer at the end of the semester for more playing time at a I-AA/FCS school. … Will Muschamp's coaching tree has roots in the NFL. … Oscar Robertson joins Ed O'Bannon's lawsuit against EA Sports for the unpaid use of student-athlete likenesses in video games. … Longtime West Virginia coach Don Nehlen reacts to WVU coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen's new contract: "I was born 10 years too early." … Phil Steele breaks down returning starters for every I-A/FBS team in 2011. … Washington picks off a longstanding commitment to Washington State. … Jeff Driskel and Malcolm Brown highlight the most premature Heisman list ever. … And Gene Chizik may not be Knute Rockne, but it worked.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.