September 21, 2010
Making the morning rounds.
• Hello?! You play to represent very well in the game. To the surprise of no one, Mark Richt is playing a lot of defense after Georgia's 0-2 start in the SEC, beginning with the first caller to Richt's weekly radio show on Monday night, who asked the coach to "sell me" on Georgia football, "not just for this year but 2-3 years down the road." Richt's response:
The bottom line is if you're a true fan, in my opinion, you're going to support your team no matter what. I don't think you’re going to just love the boys when they win and hate on them when they lose, you know. ... Our league is one that is a very, very tough league, and we’re not always going to win. We find ourselves 0-2 for the first time in 10 years, and it's not a comfortable spot. It’s not a spot we want to be in. But it's not like we got shellacked and run off the field. We actually, I thought, represented very well, even though we lost.
The bottom line, of course, is the win. But the way the guys fought ... there was a lot of courage; there was a lot of blood, sweat and tears. ... If you just watch the spirit of these young men and how they fought and how the coaches fought, I think that is admirable. And I would say you certainly should continue to support for those reasons.
In even less inspiring news, a Georgia opponent has come in for official praise after ripping through the Bulldogs' revamped defense. This time safety Shawn Williams is taking full responsibility for that. [Atlanta Journal Constitution, Athens Banner Herald]
• Hit 'em where they live. The NCAA sent out letters to "20-30 agents" in late August in connection to its ongoing probes at North Carolina and elsewhere, which ominously informed the agents that "Your full cooperation with our inquiry is expected by the NFLPA." Nick Saban, leading anti-agent crusader, predictably supported the pressure from the pros, and somehow resisted the urge to rhetorically ask his slick-haired nemeses, "Who's the pimp now?" [Sports Business Journal, Tuscaloosa News]
• Once again, backspace is your friend. Chris Rainey's lawyer believes the felony aggravated stalking charges that earned his client an indefinite suspension from Florida last week will be lowered or dismissed because his 35-year-old, on-and-off girlfriend – to whom Rainey has admitted texting "Time to Die Bitch u and ur???" when she wouldn't let him in her apartment – never really felt threatened: "[The felony charge] doesn't fit the elements of the crime. This kid was never going to hurt her. She knew he wasn't going to hurt her. The fact that he misspoke in the text is not something to crucify this kid for." Some resolution is expected on the charges by the end of the week. [Palm Beach Post]
• We gotta get outta this place. The Colorado Board of Regents is meeting today in Denver to discuss the particulars of leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-10/12 next year – and possibly vote on it – a year earlier than expected given the larger buyout for leaving in 2011 rather than 2012 and the university's perilous financial situation. The move is expected to cost between $9 million and $14.5 million in conference payouts from the Big 12, steep enough in CU's case for the Pac-10 to offer to defray some of the costs with an up-front loan, to be paid back with smaller payouts from the new Pac-12 after the Buffs have completed the transition. [Boulder Daily Camera]
• Aldon on ice. Rangy Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith, an All-Big 12 pick in 2009 with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss as a redshirt freshman, will miss at least one game after breaking a "non-weight-bearing bone" in his foot against San Diego State. He'll be out Saturday against Miami (Ohio), but could be back in time for the Tigers' Big 12 opener against Colorado on Oct. 9 following a bye week. [Associated Press]
• RIP. Kenny McKinley, the rarely spectacular but always reliable wideout who emerged from Sidney Rice's shadow to leave as South Carolina's all-time leading receiver in 2008, was found dead in his home Monday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Compared to highlight-grabbers like Rice, Sterling Sharpe and Troy Williamson before him, McKinley was underrated nationally, and even within the SEC, despite coming in for first-team all-conference honors as the conference's leading receiver in 2007. But more than a few Gamecocks considered him Carolina's best ever. There is no sense to be found in his demise. [The State]
Quickly... Someone dug up the actual racist tweets to Jacory Harris. ... The attrition-wracked WAC will hear presentations from Texas State and UT-San Antonio next week about moving on up to the FBS. ... Remembering the "Route 66" blowout that more or less initiated the Mack Brown era at Texas. ... Chip Kelly turns up the heat on Oregon. ... Urban Meyer reaches out to Mark Dantonio. ... Former Michigan transfer Anthony LaLota lands at Rutgers. ... Derek Dooley dogs Tennessee's pass rush. ... Terrence McCoy admits Texas A&M wasn't taking Florida International seriously, as if we couldn't tell before the Aggies' 21-point rally from 20-6 down in the fourth quarter. ... And have no fear over that 1-2 start, Brian Kelly: Notre Dame fans are here.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.