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« Another Unfocused Entry | Main | Friday Morning Question: Bush Housing & Benefits Scandal »
Monday
Jan292007

Monday, Monday

Good morning, good day etc. CFR denizens.

Last week was a bit slow here so I thought I'd dive into those cold waters and shock the system a little this morning.  There's no real central theme I'm working on at the moment so instead we'll have some random topics below.

***
First up: how about recruiting?

There's a little over a week of recruiting left until signing day when recruits can first sign official letters-of-intent to enroll at all our favorite schools.  I suppose I'll have some things to add on signing day, but it's a topic well covered by the major recruiting websites.  National Letter of Intent Day (aka Signing Day) is February 7.

The buzz of late has been Urban Meyer's efforts at "stealing" other schools' verbally committed players.  He's been quite good at it these last few weeks, changing the minds of several top players including an offensive lineman committed to USC and a defensive end committed to Notre Dame among others.  He's also rumored to be close to changing the mind of one of the nation's top receivers towards the Gators and away from LSU.

Anything goes in recruiting and I'm not cynical about those kinds of maneuverings but if you do it enough and to the wrong people you're eventually going to get burned.  Florida has certainly benefited from the championship afterglow but the recruiting coups have certainly angered coaching peers.  As happens so often to teams at the top of the college world, Florida's sunshiney days may lead to darker times.

Look at the bad press that eventually followed recent champions like Oklahoma, like Miami, like Ohio State and USC since they won championships.  There's a public image cost to be paid because I don't know, that's just what happens.  We have this sad habit of tearing down what's successful out of spite or jealousy or whatever and inevitably the same troubles await someone like Florida.  The case of the purloined recruits is yet another temptation to fate.

***
I wrote a great deal about the NFL draft last year but felt a little frustrated by the time of the draft.  One can have every resource in the world available to them and at the end of the day the draft's outcomes can be confounding.  I've taken it much more easy on here this year after learning that lesson.

The lead-up to the draft remains one of the more exciting moments of the offseason, not all too dissimilar from recruiting in that there's a great deal of evaluation, speculation and allocation with great hope and promise.  The worst of it is the sadness of knowing not every college star is NFL material.  The games are simply different, not just in talent but style and not every college superstar can hack it in the NFL.  For someone who likes seeing college stars succeed instead of backing up itinerant nobodies like Mike Furrey, this can be frustrating.

***

Speaking of the draft, the Senior Bowl was held this weekend in nearby Mobile, Al.  The majority of the excitement is during the early week when fans and NFL personnel can observe the full practices (Thursday and Friday practices are walkthroughs and the game isn't the most ideal setting to evaluate), interact with the players, hobnob with all the scouts and GM's and just take in the experience.

I didn't attend any of that, but the other night bumped into a gentleman who made the trip.  Not to further kill the Auburn fans on here, but he's a good friend of former Alabama quarterback Kenny Stabler, helps run some of his organizations and media stuff.  He's also good friends with, well, a lot of people, knew a lot of the business in town here and was equally savvy talking about various college seniors and the NFL coaches looking at them.

So we talked for a while about all that going down in Mobile and about Wade Phillips and Jordan Palmer and the Holy Trinity (Notre Dame/Alabama/USC) and Panthers coach John Fox who I happened to have spoken with once before and is a really good guy.  My mother also ran into several departing players at the airport, sounds like they all had a good time.  She doesn't have every roster memorized but mentioned talking to players from Tennessee, South Carolina and USC.

So that was the excitement and hubbub for this small town this week being less than an hour away from Mobile and all that rush of people.

***
Now, to revisit some topics from last week.

I posted those questions about the Reggie Bush case last week specifically to accomplish two things:

1)To visually sort out the involved parties because I think the public is quite misguided about the situation and who allegedly did what.  For whatever reason I keep hearing people say it's about USC boosters and crazy stuff like that when it has nothing to do with boosters.

2)To test how readers would sort that out.  Nobody really bit and I don't blame any of you.

The lesson is that it's a complicated case.  Most of the information we hear is coming from one side of the story because the other side has simply clammed up.  The other side's entire response to this point has been a combination of 1)not talking about it and 2)claiming extortion.

For all the intriguing accusations against Bush, the government has quietly built a case against his accusers which is where the talk of audio recordings recently came from.  Evidence is being prepared and presented to a grand jury to determine whether or not to push forward with that case.

I think we've hit an interesting point in this story because any advance in determining what Bush and USC did (the NCAA angle) will not happen until that case pushes forward.  The NCAA is clearly unable to gather much evidence to offer fair guidance and so they do their best and hope some evidence falls out of the sky to help them.  Enter the extortion case.

The Los Angeles Times recently published another accusation with the New Era folks now claiming that Bush himself came up with the idea of the marketing company, not them.  This is important (and a complete reversal of their original story which once again calls into question their credibility) because these two new allegations could put them in some deep doo doo.

First of all, there's a law on the books in California that makes it either illegal or legally inadmissable to make recordings without the knowledge of both parties.  It remains unclear whether the rumored recordings were agreed-upon by Bush or his parents.  If not, all that talk is moot.  I don't know the law here but if they're not allowed in court the NCAA may not be allowed to make use of them, either.

Also, if USC were to somehow be punished for this situation there's apparently a statute in California law that allows them to sue the New Era guys.  That's why I think they are now claiming Bush started this entire process, that it was his idea because if they are shown to have been that spark in the ignition they not only face the San Diego District Attorney's office but also the full force of USC's lawyers.  Defending oneself against separate cases is mighty expensive methinks, especially when you're an ex-con.

Like I said, verrrry complicated and I don't see a resolution to this anytime soon.  Until then we'll continue to have these well timed accusations from the New Era partners and whatever else can be made public by the DA's office.

Any lawyers out there who would like to add anything or correct any errors of mine?

***

Finally, Saurian Sagacity left a comment for me last week to take a look at their analysis of Rule 3-2-5-e.

Their conclusion:

We've been had

Heh.

Read the entire thing, but here's a meatier summary:

In summary, it appears that rule change shaved one minute off of each Gator game (on average) while decreasing the number of plays run by 8. The minutes per play increased by almost 5 seconds. Since we know that the each game has 60 minutes of actual playing time, and the elapsed times of the games was slightly shorter, and the number of plays played was less, we can only assume that commercial messages swallowed up most of what would have been saved time.

The amount of commercial spots that the networks were able to milk out of each game in 2006 increased from 17 to 20 (14 to 19 for CBS games) after the analysis was tweaked. We were had worse than I thought.

Sleight of hand.

Give us our four hour games or give us death!  But seriously...  give us our game back.  More possessions, more plays, that is what college football is about.  If we wanted neatly packaged three hour games, D-I college football would have been relegated to the dust bin of history after being swallowed whole by the NFL.  But that's not what we want now is it?

***

Update: One more about the clock rules over at Blutarsky's blog Get The Picture.  Data found at the Oklahoma Sooners and NFL blog.

Relevant data:

The number of teams averaging 400+ yards of offense was halved from the previous five year trend, teams averaging over 30 points/game went from 36 to 20, teams allowing fewer than 300 yards/game on defense went from 9 to 26 (!), number of teams allowing fewer than 14 points/game on defense went from 2 to 7 and the number of teams averaging over 200 yards/game rushing went from 21 to 8 (!).

That rushing number in particular suggests that formerly balanced running teams freaked out a little and cast their lot with the passing game to make up yards for the time loss.  This isn't good. 

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Reader Comments (20)

CFR, Henry's post on the subject is well done.

Another blogger has some interesting results from the rule change; I referenced both in this post:
http://blutarsky.wordpress.com/2007/01/29/the-usual-suspects/
January 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSenator Blutarsky
How can one dis Urban Meyer when last year Urban had at least 4 recruits that committed to him on TV and later went to other schools (patrick Robinson and McDaniel went to FSU, Ben Cleveland and Derrick Williams went to Arkansas). Urban learned last year that no recruit is off limits.
January 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterManUtd
1. Your comments about Meyer pissing other coaches off - come on. How many recruits have the Gators (and every other good team) lost to each other over the years? Until an LOI is signed (or a recruit stops taking phone calls, text messages or visits) it's open recruitment...just like until the contract is signed a professional athlete is a free agent or a homeowner still owns the property. Are you trying to say that the honorable Coach Weis or Carroll haven't called either of those recruits (or any of our others) since they verbally committed? Meyer just happens to be the guy with a lot of leverage right now. I'm sure these other coaches will play hands off with our recruits should this tide of good fortune ebb down the road.

2. As for the USC/Bush issue. I'm not saying Carroll couriered the money to Bush, but everyone knows he's run a somewhat lax program for years. Too many stars and Hollywood power players have too much sideline and locker room access. That lack of control leads to problems. If these accusations are true (and there is a lot of smoke), USC and Pete Carroll are somewhat to blame. I don't buy it that you don't see something. Tressel had to know that a certain player was driving a number of vehicles that didn't belong to him. Does it happen at other programs? Sure. Do they put themselves at risk for turning a blind eye? You're damn right they do. Even Pete "Wonderboy" Carroll. Perhaps Carroll and the USC admin should think twice before letting "ex cons" on the sideline and in the locker room.
January 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterG8rGuilf
I'm a little more interested in actual arguments/factual discussion supporting this idea gaining interweb traction related to UF and Meyer setting themselves up for some sort of Karmic retribution for doing things coaches have always done.
I guess that upsetting other coaches in such a public way could likely implore those coaches to pay closer attention to your program, making them more likely to turn you in upon any evidence of any minor transgression that comes their way (see Roy Williams at KU "retribution" [read: assertions of NCAA infractions for which Donovan was completely exonerated] for Donovan's out recruitment of Mike Miller)- as such, the burden will be on Meyer to run a clean ship. Other than leaving a bad taste in the opposing fans' mouths, what's the issue here?
January 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLtrain
Florida fans, don't take it personally. That's just the price of success is all I'm saying and this well publicized series of decommits is something that people won't necessarily take quietly seeing as how the Gators just won the title.

If Florida hadn't maybe it's a different story, that's what I'm saying.

There's always a cost to winning titles, ask all the other winners of late.

Don't forget I'm a fan of Meyer's. His pro-SEC rants are annoying but the guy can coach.
January 29, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
You're just bashing Florida cause you're anti-Auburn and pro-Bammer. I can smell the stench of a bammer from here, you dirty dirty bammer!
January 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMark
Heh, riiight.
January 29, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
This "stealing" issue wouldn't cause such a stir if it wasn't USC and ND involved. What everybody seems to forget is that Meyer was recruiting these guys from the beginning. Wilson is a friend and high school teammate of Tim Tebow. Florida's NC and ND defensive change prompted Trattou to take a second look and call Meyer for a visit. No one in the national media or else where seem to be bashing Saban, Les Miles, Saint Booby, etc for recruiting guys already committed to other programs. The list is endless when it comes to guys "committed" to UF who were "stolen" by Free Shoes U. Without a doubt, it's good to be king, but there is no such thing as stealing a recruit. That's why NSD is the first Wednesday of February and not when they "commit". Most kids get caught up in the moment when they commit months in advance and don't take time to evaluate other programs.
January 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMilGator
hehe...


anyway..there is an article aon al.com about saban visiting any recruit that will listen..verbally binding or not...lemme find a link...
January 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterpatrick
here is another one...sorry cfr..it isn't abount florida..it is about bamma...

http://www.al.com/search/index.ssf?/base/sports/116989322352500.xml?birminghamnews?csdsegrest&coll=2
January 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterpatrick
interesting fact for what it is worth..

the SEC has..
5 of the top 10 recruiting classes on Scout
6 of the top 10 recruiting classes on Rivals
January 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterpatrick
Nothing taken personally (although you are obviously a Nole homer), and the subject has been brought up in other forums... I think there's probably some meat of an interesting discussion here, I'm just trying to draw it out - I've cited one basketball instance of where recruiting success directly led to a backlash, but I'm not certain what the point is (whether CFR's or anyone else's that I've seen) in regard to other recently successful programs - did Miami, USC, Oklahoma hit snags as a consequence of their championships or as a consequence of some perceived recruiting aggressiveness that was not well taken? Or from a general Karma point of view, do Meyer's attempts to compound recent success make it likely that the inevitable down cycle will be similarly compounded?
January 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLtrain
BTW thank you Senator, just added a link.
January 29, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
Patrick,

It's been that way for years, nobody disputes the SEC's talent.
January 29, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
Ltrain,

My only point is to say that Florida will inevitably be hit with something, that's just how it goes.

When I started hearing about all these decommits I thought to myself, maybe this will be the wedge for others' jealousies/hatred. If you don't want bad attention it's better to lay in the weeds, right? Well Meyer's out in the open having already won a title, just struck me as something to be concerned about.

I don't think this is going to be the issue that really gets the Gators, obviously, but it is something for people to pick at.

Think about USC for a moment. If Reggie Bush was all they had it'd be one thing, but people use Rey Maualuga's arrest or this or that event to make a bigger picture out of it.

Same thing Ohio State. If it was just Maurice Clarett it's one thing but there's Troy Smith's cash grab, there's Louis Irizzary's transfer, lots of things that blow the story up.

The recruit thing is that extra snowball for people to throw later on.

The root of all this is success, if you want the best answer. For whatever reason a lot of people get jealous (particularly in this very regional, frictiony college football world) of success and try to tear things down. It's not enough to enjoy someone else's success and wish that upon yourself, many have to seek anothers' demise.

Every recent champ has been hit with something, Florida's next, just the nature of the game. That was my point.
January 29, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
hey florida isn't the only team that still recruits players that have verballed to other schools. Last year UF lost 2 recruits to Ark and 2 more to FSU in the last few days leading up to signing day. Plus with the amount of currently committed UF players looking at other schools Meyer is not going to let that happen again and instead is looking for other players instead and if that happens to be a player that is committed elsewhere so be it...all's fair
January 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterillinoisgator
Why not just forget the verbal commitment thing anyway? It seems like the recruits are just as capable of ignoring it as are the coaches. Just wait until signing day. The rumors are fun and all, but I don't think verbals mean anything significant to anyone. Sort of like coaches contracts -- neither side of the deal has any problems with walking away from them.
January 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBurrill
And wait -- "illinoisgator"? Ron Zook, is that you?
January 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBurrill
karma doesn't exist....what ar you some sort of muslim?

Seriously, All programs keep recruitng guys that have committed elsewhere. Since the bama probation the SEC coaches got together and promised not to tell on each other any more since all the programs have shady boosters and telling on each other is like using WMD...it is a net loss for the conference. The SEC set up some sort of secret SEC tattling system that keeps the NCAA from getting involved but still allows the coaches to bitch to someone....now if USC and Notre Dame start bitching I'm sre they'd go straight to their friends at the NCAA since they have such a nice relationship.
January 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commentergabe

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