Wed Dec 22 07:56am EST
Making the morning rounds…
• Just responding to the market, part one. Going proactive in case of another Ohio State flop against the SEC in New Orleans, long-running Buckeye site theozone.net crunched the numbers and discovered that Sugar Bowl opponent Arkansas has signed 30 more players than Ohio State to letters of intent over the last four years – enough surplus players to field a full starting lineup, including the spread and nickel packages. That's only the most extreme version of the broader trend: In eight bowl games this winter, only one Big Ten team, Wisconsin, has signed more players than its opponent since 2007; the other seven have all signed at least 10 fewer players, for an average deficit of 13.7 over the entire four-year span. (Here are all the numbers for each Big Ten/SEC bowl game.)
On the other hand, eight of ten SEC teams in bowl games have signed at least 10 more players since '07 than their upcoming opponents, including huge margins for Mississippi State (+20 over Michigan), Alabama (+22 over Michigan State) and Auburn (+19 over Oregon). The Bulldogs, Crimson Tide and Tigers have all signed upwards of 110 players in four years, meaning at least 25 of those signees in each case – the equivalent of a full recruiting class – had to wash out in one fashion or another to get those rosters in under the NCAA's 85-scholarship limit this year. [theozone.net via Blutarsky]
• Just responding to the market, part two. At least there's a demand for the Sugar Bowl, which can't be said for almost any other bowl ticket – at least not the overpriced tickets for sale through the school, anyway. Based on a small sampling of local papers alone, West Virginia, Tulsa, Nebraska, Stanford, Florida International, both Iowa and Missouri and UConn are still holding on to a majority of their allotment of tickets, each of which will have to eat the full cost when they go unsold. [Links via The Wiz]
• Just responding to the market, part three. Oregon's Chip Kelly raked in another Coach of the Year award Tuesday, this one from the Associated Press, triggering a contract incentive for an additional $25,000. In all, the bonuses, incentives and future guarantees Kelly has accumulated during Oregon's run to the BCS title game could amount to an extra $4.3 million above his base salary. His assistants are going to make out OK, too. [Associated Press, Eugene Register-Guard, USA Today]
• Cardinal coup. Charlie Strong picked up a big win Tuesday night to seal a winning season in his first year at Louisville, but may have picked up a bigger win on Monday, when he received a verbal commitment from hyped South Florida quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a longtime Miami commit who's apparently backed out of his plan to follow former Northwestern High teammates to The U in the wake of Randy Shannon's departure. Bridgewater is the No. 2 dual threat quarterback in the 2011 class, according to Rivals, well above the grade that usually opts for the Big East. [Miami Herald]
• Godspeed. The supposedly benign tumor doctors removed from Syracuse punter Rob Long's brain last week may have contained some malignant cells, according to pathology tests, which will force Long to undergo further treatment. "This is obviously a difficult time for my family and me," he said in a release. "However, we remain optimistic and positive toward a favorable outcome to this situation." [Syracuse Post-Dispatch]
Quickly… Michigan State will be without starting receiver B.J. Cunningham for the Capital One Bowl, thanks to a foot injury. … Clemson's leading receiver will join the Tiger basketball team after the bowl game. Can you name him? … Auburn Arena is showing the BCS Championship Game for fans who can't get to Arizona. … Brandon Harris says he's coming back to Miami for his senior year. … Colorado needs to replace two 2011 quarterback commitments who backed out after Dan Hawkins was fired. … Jake Locker gets engaged to a former Washington softballer. … And just in case you missed it, here's Austin Davis' one-handed touchdown catch in the Beef 'O'Brady's Bowl.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.