October 21, 2011
Making the morning rounds.
• I'm still here? Rick Neuheisel made it off the field with his job after Thursday night's 48-12 debacle at Arizona, and there are no reports of him being fired overnight. (Quite the opposite, in fact.) But there was no mistaking the diagnosis after UCLA's nationally televised death rattle: With a golden opportunity to keep pace in the Pac-12 South and take another step toward a bowl game, against a lame-duck outfit that had just fired its head coach on the heels of its tenth consecutive loss at the hands of FBS competition, the Bruins came out flat as pancakes and had to scraped off the field with a spatula.
Over the course of its five-game losing streak, Arizona had been outscored 146 to 37 in the first half and trailed at the half in all five; against UCLA, the Wildcats scored touchdowns on six straight possessions to open the game and led at the half, 42-7. They came into the night ranked 119th out of 120 teams in rushing offense at 71.8 yards per game; against UCLA, they surpassed that number in the first quarter and finished with 254 yards on the ground for the game. They came into the night ranked dead last in the Pac-12 in every major defensive category, and near the bottom nationally; against UCLA, they yielded a single touchdown and at one point forced the Bruin offense to go three-and-out on five straight possessions. In the words of Bruins Nation, "To call that game embarrassing is embarrassing to the word embarrassing."
Mathematically, the Bruins are still alive to win the South Division and/or go to a bowl game. Realistically, they're crashing toward their third losing record in four years and Neuheisel's hourglass has officially run out of sand. [Bruins Nation, Los Angeles Times]
• And since the streaker ref stole the show… Here's crowd video of the streaker's entire run — possibly shot by his friends — following him from the moment he leaves the stands to the moment he's led away in handcuffs by security. WARNING: Bro doesn't get completely naked here, but he's only a pair of underoos and a form tackle away:
The best part? Our man being slowly paraded in his skivvies in front of the halftime entertainment decked out in full 19th Century Mexican regalia. That's what I call fun for the whole family. [lankowlllyk]
• That's not a brawl. This is a brawl. The Southwestern Athletic Conference has suspended a whopping 41 players from last Saturday's wild postgame brawl between Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, eight of them for two games for using "excessive force" in the melee. Among the suspendees: Arkansas-Pine Bluff's top pass rusher, three of Southern's four leading tacklers and both teams' leading receivers. [Associated Press]
• Don't get too comfortable. Ohio State and interim head coach Luke Fickell have agreed on a restructured contract that will pay Fickell $775,000 this year, but also makes clear he's not guaranteed anything after the contract expires on Jan. 31, 2012. "This agreement is renewable solely upon an offer from Ohio State and an acceptance by coach," the contract stipulates in section 2.0 under Term, according to the Associated Press. "This agreement in no way grants coach a claim to tenure in employment." Fickell is widely expected to be on his way out at the end of the year in favor of a bigger name, depending on the severity of pending NCAA sanctions in the meantime. [Associated Press, Columbus Dispatch]
• I are serious Congressman. This is serious letter. Add another politician to the ranks of BCS haters in Washington: Michigan Rep. John Conyers, who sent a letter to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday urging the committee to hold panels on antitrust claims against the BCS and a "combination of issues and challenges facing intercollegiate sports," including conference realignment and use of athletes' images in video games. "…[M]odern-day college athletics is a massive business, with widespread economic impact on athletes, their families, broadcasters, and fans as well as universities and colleges all over the country," Conyers wrote. "Today, I believe, the time is ripe for our committee to again take the lead when no other entity appears to have the authority or standing to act to protect the interests of athletes, their families, smaller colleges, and [historical black colleges]." [USA Today, National Journal]
Quickly… Banged-up USC running back Marc Tyler says he can go Saturday at Notre Dame. … Texas reportedly pays $400,000 to settle a sexual harassment suit against Mack Brown's former right hand man. … Death to the BCS! … And Mike Gundy says Oklahoma State spends 4.5 hours on the practice field per week. Per week.