July 07, 2009
• Mid-July is traditionally the slowest time of the year for college sports. Not only are there no games and no practices, sports journalists are making the most of the last opportunity to vacation before the media machine cranks up again in anticipation of August's fall camps.
With the exception of player arrests and the ever-growing presentation of summer Top [Pick-a-Number] [Best/Worst] [Team/Conference/Game/Position] of [Pick-a-Period] Lists, the only real news comes in the form of recruiting or players leaving a program or arriving on campus for summer session. This school gets a lineman, that school gets a running back. A linebacker's leaving a program while another is recovering from surgery. You know both news and reporters are scarce when even the heaviest of heavies with the biggest budget is doing a four-part series on social media.
So thank goodness for bloggers, who, when there is no news to report or react to, simply take to entertaining themselves: Gate 21 creates a John Ward soundboard to make himself feel better about the fact that it's been ten years since Tennessee fans have heard Ward's golden tones and pregnant pauses over the airwaves for Volunteer football games. Meanwhile, Team Speed Kills uncovers the real reason for Sarah Palin's resignation, and Michigan's 2009 schedule has Wolverine fans eating their fingers. Hey, it's July.
• Former Kansas coach Jack Mitchell succumbed to cancer at the age of 85. Mitchell was known for many things, not the least of which was recruiting Gale Sayers to Kansas. An All-American quarterback at Oklahoma, Mitchell took the KU job after head coaching gigs at Wichita State and Arkansas and was "more or less consumed by the University of Kansas" his entire life. A "terrific-haired" back-slapping cigar-smoking Dean-Martin-esque recruiting machine, Mitchell was responsible for four of Kansas' 12 first-team All-Americans.
Quickly ... Nebraska wide receiver Niles Paul will enter a plea today in connection with an April DUI stop. ... Ex-Ohio State assistant Dennis Fryzell died at 67 after a seven-month battle with renal cancer. ... When is a rivalry that has featured two consecutive beat downs by the same team the most-anticipated game in the SEC's entire 2009 slate? When it involves the unforgiveable Lane Kiffin and the unforgiving Urban Meyer. ... Bobby Bowden will subject himself to ridicule on July 15 when he'll be roasted by Burt Reynolds, Chris Weinke, Mark Richt, Tom Osbourne, Mack Brown, and Tommy Bowden, among others. ... The No. 1 recruit in the nation is from Minnesota? ... Southern Cal (8-1) and Ohio State (9-1) have the best odds on the schools most likely to commit the next major NCAA violation, according to an online sports betting service. ... Frank Ros, captain of Georgia's 1980 national championship team, has been chosen as the 2009 recipient of the Bill Hartman Award.