Alright, it's back! Pundit Roundup time.
---ESPN's Ivan Maisel finds a few coaching friends on the road recruiting. It's the car and airport life for them as they head down the stretch towards National Letter of Intent Day.
Coaches have said in recent years that recruiting is not as hectic as it used to be. Early commitments have allowed some staffs to finish up their work well before signing day. That may be true. But as I called coaches around the country this week, I found a lot more of them in their cars far away from their campuses than I did in their offices.
Maisel also has a brief writeup about Army coach Bobby Ross' departure, saying the program is three years in remission from its cancerous pre-Ross state.
---Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel takes a stab at cracking the fog surrounding the enigma that is uber-recruit Noel Devine.
The hype around him is legitimate but as all who have inquired about him have found out, there's a lot of waiting and patience involved with ever seeing him play. Poor grades, the likely trip to prep school, a rough background where he has yet to find a lasting home. All of this makes him the enigma many paint him as.
His recruit videos are breathtaking. He's a faster, more skilled open-field runner than Reggie Bush but in a smaller body - sort of a Maurice Drew in stature but without the whole round/stocky thing going on.
Anyway, he's a great football player, phenomenal at this stage of his life. Hopefully things can come together for him.
---SI's Cory McCartney says Steve Spurrier is set to bring in a nationally-ranked recruiting class to South Carolina this year.
The whispers were that Steve Spurrier couldn't recruit the kind of talent to enable South Carolina to compete in the SEC. But with his third recruiting class, the Ol' Ball Coach is debunking that misconception.
"Anyone who thought Steve Spurrier couldn't recruit, I think they're sadly mistaken," Rivals.com recruiting analyst J.C. Shurburtt said.
I think the whispers were actually that he was a lazy recruiter. It wasn't that he couldn't recruit, it was that he liked to spend his spare time golfing and let his system take care of whatever the available talent couldn't.
McCartney also details the smooth transition from the Petrino regime to new coach Steve Kragthorpe at Louisville. Think recruiting and a different approach to handling human resources.
---CBS Sportsline's Dennis Dodd also tries to unravel the Devine mystery. He's talking burger flipping time at McDonald's. Ouch.
Dodd also looks at Florida State's 2002 recruiting class and the program's decline. A verrrry interesting read, particularly Lorenzo Booker's feelings about where the program is and the whole talent vs. coaching argument that finally gave way this winter.
---Yahoo!'s Terry Bowden talks about a specific "negative" recruiting incident back in his days at Auburn. There's a great twist at the end.
---The Sporting News' Matt Hayes does a little roundup of his own, addressing coaching defections at Arizona, the pay raises for Florida State's coaching staff, some questionable recruit signings at Louisville (Willie Williams!), the buzz about Bobby Ross' departure at Army and a pay raise for Boise State coach Chris Petersen.
---The Sporting News' Tom Dienhart ranks all the new BCS conference coaching hires. Apparently Boston College is cheap. Very cheap.
---The Mobile Register's Paul Finebaum is throwing fire and flames at LSU and its fans. It's a reminder to SEC honks that LSU wasn't always so powerful. Not a member of the permanent underclass but not a national player either. With enough erosion the same sadness may eventually set in.
[LSU coach Les] Miles has profited from [Saban's unprecedented success at LSU] and seems to be doing well in the aftermath. He's done well considering he inherited from Saban one of the top five teams in America. It's also worth remembering that Larry Coker coached in two consecutive national championship games after he inherited a fully stocked cupboard from Butch Davis. He's currently unemployed.
Eventually, Miles will either cash in his chips (mostly house money left by Saban) and flee the premises (to his alma mater at Michigan) or slowly watch the erosion of the program.
To read articles and blog entries from many other college football writers, be sure and visit CFR's "The Punditry" links. You can either bookmark that link or find it via CFR's College Football Links section on the menu at left.