What can I say, the dead period trudges forward like an Iowa running back in a race against an SEC cornerback. Up in Eugene the penalties on the Oregon Ducks have been levied. Aaron Hernandez is an idiot and his actions have allowed a door to open for a former Buckeye. Meanwhile, over in Youngstown the city mourns the loss of a great local business and sportsman. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
The 27 month investigation into Chip Kelly and Oregon is over. Remember 27 months ago? We were all tied up in the ongoing “tattoo” saga. Jim Tressel was still the head coach at Ohio State, and we all waited to hear what the next turn would be in the debacle that it was.
Before we get into the Oregon sanctions, something funny I wanted to talk about regarding the Oregon scandal. On June 1, 2011, a little twitter account called @ScriptOhio posted an innocent comment reporting what it had been told regarding the school (Oregon) to be the next ones put in the NCAA’s gun sights for investigation. The “tweets heard round Twitter” simply read “Remember the “recruiting scandal” that was about to hit Oregon and got buried when the Tressel story broke in March?” followed by “VERY STRONG source tells me that within a week the Oregon story will break and its going to make Ohio State look like “child’s play”.”
These two tweets were the definition of “viral” for someone as small time as myself, as they were both retweeted well over 100x each. I wrote about it then, I’ll summarize it for you right now: A friend went down and visited his very good friend Jim Tressel in mid May before the resignation/firing. Sitting in the coaches office with JT and a few assistants, they were discussing the impending sanctions etc., like guys do when they sit around and shoot the breeze. Tressel then let out that Oregon was next on the block and the assistants in the room all chimed in in agreement that what they were hearing about the Ducks was way worse. Read More
Lotta stuff rattling around the ol’ brainpan the last couple of days… sometimes it’s good to have a bit of distraction from the harshness of our realities. Here’s the song that’s been stuck in my subconscious…
While National Letter of Intent day is Wednesday, Ohio State received word Monday that Texas athlete Dontre Wilson wasn’t interested in waiting until then, as he verballed to be the latest member of the Buckeyes’ 2013 class.
Wilson, a one time Oregon commit, has been in contact with Coach Meyer and the staff for quite some time. After Oregon coach Chip Kelly left to
flee NCAA sanctions pursue an NFL opportunity with the Eagles, Wilson re-opened his recruiting. Shortly thereafter, he was in Columbus for an official visit where he, in the words of sources from Texas, “fell in love with Ohio State”.
Oregon did not go quietly, however, as their entire coaching staff visited with him following his trip to Columbus. Wilson was also scheduled to have traveled to Stillwater and visit TBPU, but cancelled that trip. Instead, he chose to visit Austin this past weekend, where news of his being a Buckeye lean started to surface. This was the second such “leak” from the Longhorns- they also let it be known that A’Shawn Robinson was headed to Alabama after the star stepped away from his commitment to Texas.
Wilson played at De Soto High School, and was assessed as a four star recruit by most of the national services. He’s a smaller athlete, and is projected to play in the slot at Ohio State, or as it’s being called “the Percy Harvin position”. He makes a great counter punch to Ohio State’s power running game, and may see playing time early on.
He was named the Dallas Area Offensive Player of the Year by the Dallas Morning News following a senior campaign that saw him amass 1,892 yards and 37 touchdowns rushing, while also catching 37 passes for 752 yards and nine TDs as well. You can check out some of his many highlights after the break. Read More
Slight variation in schedule… think of this as TWTW meets Wednesday’s regular SBP. Here’s the tunes behind the guy behind the guy.
2013 started almost the same way that every other year has started since I can remember… with a slate of B1G Ten games, highlighting how many people who live in the midwest want to flee to warmer climes for some semblance of a vacation. I still haven’t figured out how the scheduling geniuses who have an entire slate of games and “bowl week” to work with decide to run four of them at semi-simultaneous time times, though.
You’ll note that I said “almost”… one of the major differences this year was the lack of Buckeye football; in case you hadn’t heard, they had a one year vacation from the post-season. What’s intriguing about that fact is that we seemingly had it shoved down our throats throughout the regular season by the good folks at the four letter network, and yet I can count on one hand the times I heard the words “Ohio State” or “Buckeyes” thus far in the bowl season. Penn State, too, although you’d think that one of the things that would be covered would be how teams playing got their losses this year; the Rose Bowl’s discussion included the review of their overtime losses, but didn’t mention by name two of the teams that handed those to them.
I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised, though… you want the games to be celebrations of the teams that are playing, and it’d be a shame to see anything hamper the narrative of next Monday’s “Championship” game; reminding folks of another undefeated team might cast a pall on that sacred moment. However, I don’t seem to remember Southern Cal being erased from the post season even when they were ineligible- their 10-2 record last year was certainly a topic of commentary.
Anywho… Ohio State hasn’t lost a game in over a year, and that can’t be taken away from them or their fans.
So let’s dive into the spectacle that was B1G Tuesday, taking a look at all of the outcomes and then reflecting on what this might “mean” for the conference and college football as a whole. Remember, the results you witnessed might have been different should the two outsider programs be in the mix this season… B1G fans, how are those “you’ve got no bowl game” taunts holding up for you these days?
Well, here we are, at the second biggest shopping day of the holiday and fiscal season. It’s kind of sad, really- all those unwanted or mis- purchased gifts being dragged back to the mall, where “Good Will To Men” is certainly in short supply.
That being said… how hard is it to follow a list? And what part of “bullets” looks like “marbles”… grumble grumble grumble. Given what’s in the theaters beginning yesterday, you’ve got two choices for today’s soundtrack.
We’re going to do things just a little bit differently this week, given all of the amazing news and events that happened this past weekend. So, this will be part Silver Bullet Points, part Monday Morning Commentary, and the usual chunk of random observations from Saturday’s events in the world of college football. Here’s something to listen to while you’re fighting the urge to tl;dr- we’ve certainly got a lot to be Thankful for.
In this year’s edition of the Battle For Los Angeles, the upstart UCLA Bruins jumped out to a quick lead and held on to “upset” the Trojans by ten points on a gray day in Pasadena. While the Bruins obviously have been playing much better football this year, you’ve also got to wonder if the trajectories of the programs have now crossed, particularly given some of the issues that continue to swirl at Southern Cal.
As the team that was picked by many to contend for the national title, the frustration for many SC fans has been swirling since the loss to what we now know is a pretty good Stanford team. That game highlighted the Trojans’ issues with depth; injuries since then have continued to create problems and have certainly didn’t help in their back to back losses to Arizona and Oregon. The defeat by the Ducks made things even more problematic, since SC’s defense was a point of strength for them under current coordinator Monte Kiffin; their being gashed turned up the heat on the current coaching administration. And now, to lose to “little brother” has many wondering if it’s not time to make a change.
Coach Kiffin’s actions certainly haven’t helped this season- cutting media opportunities short, banning reporters outright… it certainly makes sense that he’d not want to leave the Rose Bowl via the obvious entrance on Saturday night. Other controversy swirls around Lane as well; while possibly not related, it’s definitely not helping matters at all. You may remember “inflation-gate” and the termination of a student manager following the revelation that game balls for kickers were under-inflated against Oregon. For those not infatuated with special teams- a “flatter” pigskin has a much larger “sweet spot”; as a great Buckeye Planet poster pointed out, the Trojan’s kicking game has not been anywhere near as efficient ever since they were penalized for this “mistake”.
In addition, earlier this week Tennessee was dinged for recruiting issues that occurred under Kiffin’s one year tenure in Knoxville- issues that involved Chip Kelly’s favorite videographer, Willie Lyles. Given the length of the investigation into Oregon’s program and this new decision at UT involving Lyles, you’ve got to think that there’s more than a few million good reasons for Kelly to take the Pete Carroll route and jump to the NFL ASAP.
What does this mean for Kiffin? At this time, it’s difficult to say, but losing Matt Barkley for the matchup against Notre Dame this weekend, combined with the continuing scholarship losses for the next couple of years would certainly be reason to wonder how warm his office chair will be getting this winter.
Interestingly enough, the other two programs involved in “affair du Lyles” also had difficult weekends. Derek Dooley’s Volunteers lost to cross-state foe Vanderbilt, and it wasn’t even close. The win ensures that UT will have a losing season for the third time in as many years, and was only the second victory for the Commodores in 35 years. Following the game, the inevitable happened… Dooley was fired, effective immediately. If you’re an Ohio State fan, you’ve got to wonder if this might have an impact on current recruits looking at both programs… Vonn Bell is the name that pops up, but there may be others in the 2014 class. This year’s season ending clash between the Vols and ‘Kats will feature both coaches in either interim or lame duck status… it’s going to be a fun coaching carousel for the SEC this season.
Lyle’s third “partner” in all of this felt the sting of their first loss on Saturday, at home, to a Stanford team that should be in the conversation about the top programs in the nation. Remember, they’re a botched call from extending overtime in South Bend and possibly ending the Irish Nightmare that we are currently facing. I was most impressed with The Cardinal’s defense on Saturday- disciplined, aggressive, and never seemed to give up the big play to an offense that most often looks like throwing kerosene on a bonfire… one blink, and it’s over. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Ahem.
The loss can easily be attributed to a lot of things- Oregon being too confident, and this being the Duck’s annual brain fart game; Questionable officiating, A “trap” game, with the resurgent Beavers looming Thanksgiving week… But all of these would not do a service to the great work that the coaches at Stanford, starting with Jim Harbaugh, have done in building a program that can certainly play with anyone in the country. It’s also why I think that Alabama, if given the usual bowl prep to face Oregon, would beat them- I believe that the Tide’s defense is more athletic and much more disruptive than Stanford’s… and the template we’ve seen in the Ducks’ losses over the past four years is now pretty well known. You just need to have the horses to pull it off; Stanford did on Saturday, and now control their PAC12 destiny. They’ll need to beat UCLA twice in two weeks to do so, but doing so may have the Oregon Ducks on the outside of the BCS championship game AND the automatic Rose Bowl berth… along with USC. It’s been that kind of year.
Oh, and on Saturday Northwestern, Stanford, and Vanderbilt all won. Nerds, y’all.
Commentary: Polls and Playoffs Read More
Can you imagine being in the stands of Candlestick Park on that fateful day in October, 1989? I remember watching the World Series and seeing the picture go out. I remember the change in the quality of the audio as Al Michaels remained calm and tried to explain what was happening to the rest of the world. The World Series was delayed due to a term we call force majeure.
One thing I know was that the reading on the Richter Scale was less than 10.1. Any college football fan is scratching his head while just reading that number. Does it sound familiar? Well it should. Two of the top programs face the NCAA Committee on Infractions because of violations of NCAA’s “10.1 Violation”. Loosely translated, this is when a college program fails to notify its compliance office when the coach of the program suspects a violation of NCAA laws.
Call this College Football’s “earthquake”. The head coaches of The Ohio State University and University of Oregon are on the way to see the “dean” so to speak because they either committed a violation that needed to be reported or failed to report a violation, which itself is a violation. Now let’s take a peek at the cast of “Liar Liar 2″.
So I’m “on assignment” here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, trying to get away from all the scandal and stuff that we’ve been covering so far this off-season. Little did I know that I was walking into Mordor… Sorry ’bout that, Duck fans.
Following their story that Ohio State was working with the NCAA regarding Jim Tressel’s need for a Gmail account, the guys at Yahoo said that they were working on two other stories this summer… one a “7″ and one a “10″ (with OSU being an 8). So, we knew the “summer of love” would continue… and wow, has it delivered.
Yahoo today released the results of their “wide-ranging, multi-day interview” with the man at the center of the storm, “Scouting Guru” Will Lyles. Their documentation is pretty concerning if you love your ducks, and it’s joined by several other media outlets.
(Although, it should be noted that ESPN was late to cover this story- Please try to harness your surprise.)
The article starts with a pretty damning charge, and holds that Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s relationship with Lyles was more than just someone who provided scouting services. Rather, Kelly seemed to be paying Lyles to broker relationships and conversations with student athletes, particularly those in Texas-
Embattled scouting service owner Will Lyles told Yahoo! Sports that University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly personally approved a controversial $25,000 fee that sparked an ongoing NCAA investigation and was in constant contact as Lyles provided the Ducks with recruiting assistance that may have violated NCAA rules.
In a wide-ranging, multi-day interview, Lyles said Kelly “scrambled” in late February and asked Lyles to submit retroactive player profiles to justify the $25,000 payment to his company, just days before the transaction was revealed in a March 3 Yahoo! Sports report.
(Lyles) now says Oregon did not pay him for his work as a traditional scout, but for his influence with top recruits and their families and his ability to usher prospects through the signing and eligibility process. That dual role as mentor to prospects and paid contractor to Oregon is believed to be a focus of the NCAA probe.