Friday, May 15, 2009

Big Ten News of the Week

Yeah so not much in way of news for Gophers, the Big Ten, or college football. Welcome to May, where college football news of substance is harder to find than the NHL playoffs on your TV. Zing!! Seriously is anyone more out of touch with reality than Gary Bettman and the NHL? The Phoenix Coyotes are huge into debt, a guy from Southern Ontario with a TON of cash offers to buy them and relocate them to Southern Ontario- which is only the biggest hockey market in the world- and the NHL says no thanks, we'll keep losing money here and in other non-hockey-markets like the entire state of Florida (which let's face it, is a state that should not be allowed one pro sports franchise. Not one- go ahead, name me ONE pro sports franchise in that state that is well supported. You can't find one. Not one. But hey, let's keep teams there and continue losing money just so the pro sports leagues don't have to admit they're wrong), Atlanta (also not a pro sports town), Nashville (ditto), and Carolina (are you noticing a trend here?). Actually, this is not just an NHL problem? Why do we keep putting pro sports teams south of the Mason Dixon line? These states only care about college and high school sports, and they support them rabidly, but can't we just admit they don't care for pro sports and leave it at that? Would it be too hard? Apparently.

ANYWAY, sorry a definite non-Gophers/Big Ten/college football tangent there, but then again, that's kind of the point- for the next two months, there's going to be NOTHING new to talk about for your Golden Gophers and the Big Ten. Comments? Suggestions? Discussion topics? We'll figure something out to try and keep you entertained in this space (which is of course making a large assumption that we've entertained you at all up until now), so in the meantime here's a very scant few college football news stories from around the country...

Former Dukie PG Greg Paulus has decided to play QB at Syracuse. I think this we all figured this is where he'd end up, as it made the most sense- well, as much sense as a guy starting at quarterback who has never played college football and who hasn't taken a snap of any kind in four years can make. Whatever. The publicity this has gotten certainly won't hurt a Syracuse program that has disappeared faster than David Ortiz' power, but considering he's only there for a year, I'm not sure how much this helps them either. Of course, Gopher fans will find out for sure Saturday, September 5th when the Gophs open the season against the Orange.

Former Miami QB Robert Marve is now considering walking on at Tennessee. As the story says, the Hurricanes won't release the former high school star to the Vols, Florida or LSU because they think those schools made contact with him illegally before officially leaving the Miami team. At first glance it seem like Marve would be crazy to pass up a full-ride and an almost guaranteed starting spot at Purdue in 2010, but Tennessee needs QB help in the worst way, and he'd only have to pay for school in 2009 before being eligible again for a scholarship in 2010. His parents are apparently rich if they're fine with him having to pay a ton in out-of-state tuition, or maybe they're "banking" on his transfer there making him NFL millions (oh snap! Come, on that was a good one). While Marve isn't a guaranteed college star, he would have been a HUGE get for Purdue for 2010 in their quest to get back to being relevant in the Big 10, but as of right now, I'd be surprised if he doesn't spurn the Boilermakers for the Vols. He's supposed to decide today or next week. Or next month. What is he, Brett Favre?'s Andy Staples, who is pinch-hitting for Stewart Mandell during the college football offseason, had a couple of good nuggets in his column this week. One is ACC commissioners continuing to push the idea of an early high school recruit signing day in December. The idea was shot down by NCAA schools as a whole, but it seems to slowly be gaining momentum. It seems like college coaches are becoming more and more in favor of it, while AD's are not, which is puzzling to me. Why would AD's be against getting talented recruits locked in earlier?

Also from the column is a story about Auburn assistant coaches making recruiting visits to Alabama high schools in a stretch Hummer limo. No seriously, they are, complete with Auburn decals and flags. They've been getting flack from some people
because in these tough economic times it IS ridiculous to be out and about in a stretch Hummer limo. But as Staples points, as does the article from, it's gotten Auburn exactly what it wanted, which was exposure and attention, not only away from rival Alabama, but from other SEC schools. As you can see from the pics, the idea has been a big hit with the schools they've visited, and have people down there talking Auburn football. I don't expect to see other schools follow this idea (can you see Coach Brewster and his assistants rolling around Minnesota in a stretch Gophers Hummer), but you've got to give credit to the Tigers' assistants for thinking outside the box here.

In other yeah, that's about all I've gotten. As I hope you know, does a great job of covering college football with their full-time PAID bloggers, and they've got some good stuff up with spring recaps for every conference. In looking at how the spring went around the country, it looks like the teams who we thought would be at the top of the polls really did nothing to disuade that thinking. Florida should dominate the SEC East again, believe it or not Ole Miss looks loaded in the SEC West (that should be the best division race in the country as Alabama and LSU still have a ton of talent, Arkansas finally has a QB, and Auburn is always good), Oklahoma and Texas slot right in behind Florida for preseason #1, and how bout USC? They lose a QB and pretty much their entire defense from last year? Hey no worries. QB Aaron Corp apparently looked awesome (and he doesn't work then super frosh Matt Barkley will step in and if he doesn't former super frosh Mitch Mustain is there and if he doesn't... well you get the idea), they have like 19 former high school All-American RB's (the scary thing is I'm only slightly exaggerating there), the line is good and Damian Williams, who might be the best WR in college this year, anchors a deep receiving corps. And replacing the defense? Like at all those positions on offense, the Trojans just plug in former high school All-Americans to replace the vacating college All-Americans. Ho hum. I think USC waxes Ohio State by at least 3 TD's when they meet in September. Again.

Finally, the Big Ten looks to be in better shape than I thought at QB heading into the fall. You're probably sick of hearing how craptastic the position was as a whole last year, but that's because it's true- it was craptastically crappy. But this year? The Big 12 is miles ahead of everyone else to start the year, but you could make a case for the Big Ten having the second best group. I mean, other than the Big 12, who else boasts a better top 3 than Terrelle Pryor, Daryll Clark, and Juice Williams? And if Ricky Stanzi and Adam Weber improve on solid performances last year (or if MarQueis Gray just outplays him), that's five really, really good QB's right there. Things are definitely looking up for the conference for 2009- now if only the season wasn't still four months away!!

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