November 30, 2011
Making the morning rounds.
• Will the last man out turn off the lights? One day after the coach who recruited them to Florida was introduced as the new boss at Ohio State, once-hyped recruits Joshua Shaw and Lyndren Trail announced plans to transfer from Gainesville, making them the ninth and tenth members of Urban Meyer's 2010 recruiting class to leave the team in less than two years. They're arguably the most disappointing of the refugees, too: Shaw, a lanky cornerback out of Southern California, was a borderline five-star prospect who picked Florida over every major school in the country, and Trail was ranked among the top incoming defensive ends in the nation out of Miami. Both redshirted as true freshmen and played sparingly (Trail didn't see the field at all) this season.
Altogether, of the 85 players signed by Meyer and successor Will Muschamp from 2008-11, only 58 remain on the current roster. Eleven players have left since Muschamp was hired last December. [Gainesville Sun]
• We're still here. UCLA was more or less business as usual Tuesday on the practice field, preparing for Friday's Pac-12 Championship Game at Oregon a day after head coach Rick Neuheisel was given the boot in the wake of a 50-0 debacle at USC that dropped the Bruins to 6-6. The university has confirmed that it will hand the reins to offensive coordinator Mike Johnson as interim coach in case of an upset — UCLA is a 31-point underdog in Eugene — that sends the team to the Rose Bowl as Pac-12 champion, though the timing of Neuheisel's exit is a pretty clear indication that even the administration isn't willing to entertain the possibility.
• Meanwhile, in Wisconsin… More than a few Badger fans are taking the opposite approach, already booking travel packages for Pasadena in anticipation of a win over Michigan State in Saturday's Big Ten Championship Game. At least two travel companies are advertising Rose Bowl packages ranging from $2,195 to $2,445 per person. [Wisconsin State Journal]
• Oh, Toole. Jeff Toole, chief financial officer of Texas A&M's athletic department, admitted Tuesday that he was the anonymous poster who called university president R. Bowen Loftin a "putz" and a "hopelessly underqualified puppet" on a popular Aggie message board. Toole's identity was outed when another poster remembered that the member "UtayAg" — Toole's handle — had identified himself as the CFO of A&M athletics more than a year ago. Toole said he was posting as a "fan and donor."
"I was posting what I thought was an anonymous opinion," Toole told the San Antonio Express News, conceding that he simply forgot he'd revealed his actual identity on the same board. "That slipped my mind." A spokesman said Loftin was "aware" of Toole's posts and has discussed the situation with athletic director Bill Byrne. [San Antonio Express News]
• Let's keep this divorce local. West Virginia is asking the Providence County, R.I., Superior Court to throw out a lawsuit by the Big East intended to halt the Mountaineers' pending exit to the Big 12 for at least two more years, arguing that a) A Rhode Island court has no jurisdiction over a public university in another state; b) The Big East's lawsuit "involves facts and circumstances that are identical to those" in a suit filed by the university against the Big East in a West Virginia court, and shouldn't be rehashed elsewhere; and c) Fighting the Big East's suit in Providence would "unquestionably place substantial, practical, fiscal and administrative burdens" on the university, and therefore on West Virginia taxpayers. [Charleston Gazette]
Quickly… A frustrated bettor finally gets his winning check for the USC-Utah game. … Tauren Poole on the "roller coaster ride" of the last four years at Tennessee. … Jonathan Chait offers a counterproposal for fixing college sports. … Michigan is considering future night games at the Big House, but not against Michigan State. … Suddenly, Chip Kelly and Steve Sarkisian are looking like the deans of the Pac-12. … David Wilson inspired Virginia Tech by getting his rage on after the Hokies' loss to Clemson. … Frank Solich, 67, feels like he's 57. … And after a disaster of a season, an awful lot of people at Maryland really hope this rumor is true.