Hot Reads

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CFS Daily Hot Reads: Monday, April 29

As someone who lost my mother to breast cancer, I wanted to a special thank you to Temple coach Matt Rhule for posting this touching story of his mother Gloria Rhule and her battle with the disease. Good luck to team TUFF on May 12!

Does the SEC adding Texas A&M and Missouri make comparing conference draft picks an unfair fight?

Does the SEC adding Texas A&M and Missouri make comparing conference draft picks an unfair fight?

Much has been made of the SEC dominace in this weekend’s NFL Draft. The league’s 63 players selected were a modern-day draft conference record. Nearly 1 in every 4 players picked played at an SEC school. The 14-team league is so far ahead in talent production that al.com’s Jon Solomon says comparing the SEC as a whole to other conferences is no longer a fair fight. But even when you break it down into divisions, they still fare pretty well — the SEC East’s 32 draft picks were more than any other conference, while the West’s 31 draftees tied the ACC for second.

Speaking of SEC players in the draft

John Pennington of MrSEC.com breaks down the draft production for each of the league’s teams over the past 20 years, and says the balance of talent-producing power has shifted during that time. The biggest winner (LSU) and biggest loser (Tennessee) aren’t huge surprises, but some of the other team’s trends are very interesting.

Former Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson got the biggest phone call of his life while standing in WalMart.

Would you believe that a top-ranked recruit actually stands a better chance of making it to the NFL by signing with Kentucky instead of Alabama? I don’t, but a study — as flawed as it may be — by the Sports Marketing Science Initiative at Emory University’s business school says so.

It wasn’t exactly a stellar draft for the Big Ten, who had 22 players selected. But the BTN’s Tom Dienhart says some pretty good players went undrafted.

Which players are scouts already talking about for next year’s draft? Jeff Reynolds of NFLDraftScout.com has 11 seniors and 10 underclassmen on his 21 to watch in 2014.

In the weekend’s other major news, the Big Ten announced a new East-West division alignment and a change to a nine-game league schedule

The new setup will no doubt create lots of scheduling headaches, but perhaps none bigger than at Michigan State. In addition to their four years on/two years off game against Notre Dame (which is set through 2032), the Spartans have home-and-homes with Alabama, Oregon, Boise State and Miami on the docket in coming years. MSU athletic director Mark Hollis is doing everything he can to save the 2016-17 series vs. Alabama and he thinks the series is “safe,” but there are many questions still left to be answered.

More reaction to the B1G announcement

Minnesota says the West is what’s best for the Gophers, but why was there no respect for the Little Brown Jug?

The Indiana-Purdue split was one of the biggest question marks surrounding the new alignment. In theory, Purdue got the easier road to a conference title by landing in the East, but Indiana coach Kevin Wilson is pumped about his team’s draw and their annual battle was only cross-division game league officials protected. So, maybe they both won?

The biggest sigh of relief for Michigan fans is that they’re in the same division as Ohio State. But there are some other, less obvious positives for Wolverines fans…

The thumbs ups are about equal to the thumbs downs at Wisconsin

The Big Ten scheduling changes affect Notre Dame, too

Not realignment but Big Ten related… Former Buckeyes coach Jim Tresselowned the court” in a charity basketball game over the weekend…

Photo credit: Mary Altaffer / AP

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CFS Daily Hot Reads: Wednesday, April 24

* Larry Fedora likes to have fun at practice… In the video above, it happens to be at the expense of QB Bryn Renner, and he wasn’t happy.

* The Sports Business Journal picks the winners and losers in the ACC’s grant of rights.

* Of all the opinion pieces on the “College Football Playoff” name (and there are a LOT of them out there), I think Mark Schlabach gets it right.

* Sports on Earth’s Tommy Tomlinson delivers far and away the best eulogy of Auburn’s Toomer’s oaks. No need to be an Auburn fan to enjoy this one.

* The Austin American-Statesman’s Kirk Bohls says it doesn’t matter the College Football Playoff is played… “The commissioners can pick Mars as the location, and Nick Saban’s still going to win the thing.”

* Tampa Bay Bucs’ defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan urged his not to go into coaching. Now, at age 24, Nick Sheridan is South Florida’s passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Dad admits it’s worked out pretty well so far.

* What do Miami and Cincinnati have in common? For a college football coach, a lot more than you think according to Tommy Tuberville.

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CFS Daily Hot Reads: Tuesday, April 16

kelly[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n documents released to media outlets Monday evening, Oregon and the NCAA agree that the Ducks’ football staff committed at least one major recruiting violation from 2008 to 2011. Where they disagree is on the severity of Oregon’s $25,000 payment to Texas-based talent scout Willie Lyles. The Ducks feel the impermissible “oral reports” the staff received from Lyles is a secondary violation, but NCAA enforcement officials think otherwise.

John Infante of the Bylaw Blog says that it’s clear that the NCAA is “not going to turn the $25,000 charge for Lyles’ recruiting service into a payment for a recruit” and that, obviously, is important. The NCAA calls the $25,000 amount was “sensationalized” by the media, but Infante says that, “Even if the $25,000 payment was ‘sensationalized,’ it deserves a more thorough treatment.”

Regardless, it’s significant to note that the NCAA made “no finding of lack of institutional control and no finding of unethical conduct.” Oregon has proposed to self-impose a two-year probation and a reduction of one scholarship for each of the next three seasons. Now, the Ducks will wait to appear before the NCAA’s committee on infractions sometime this year. The COI will have the final ruling on the recruiting violations and penalties. [Just in case you have a few extra hours to kill, you'll find links to all 515 pages of the documents here.]

According to a study conducted by researchers at Clemson University, college athletes respond poorly to verbally aggressive coaches.

Al.com’s Jon Solomon provides a great breakdown of the SEC and ESPN’s new television network.

There’s no time like 4½ months before the first game of the season to spark an argument… Who has the best offense in the Big Ten, Ohio State or Nebraska?

Is Les Miles the Rodney Dangerfield of college coaches? ESPN’s Chris Low asks where’s the respect Miles?

A Middle Tennessee State player helped save a young girl who had a seizure after competing in a Special Olympics event.

Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey were a package deal out of high school. While they have that kind of say in the NFL Draft, the two best friends will be in New York together on draft day.

FCS rivals Southeast Missouri State and Southern Illinois will play the first-ever college football game at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium on Sept. 21.

David Ramsey of the Colorado Springs Gazette says that weeknight games pollute college football.

 

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CFS Daily Hot Reads: Monday, April 15

Frosty Westering's PLU teams won four Division III national championships.

Frosty Westering’s PLU teams won four Division III national championships.

Frosty Westering, the legendary Pacific Lutheran coach, passed away Friday at the age of 85. Westering was a fascinating man – truly one-of-a-kind. Sports on Earth’s Chuck Culpepper has a fantastic look back at Westering, who once had his team sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” during warmups before the 1999 Division III national championship game. (His team went to win the game 42-13.) Culpepper writes: A great man died on Friday. A great man also lived from 1927 until Friday, and while he lived, oh boy, was he alive. Definitely worth a read.

In a 42-page document obtained by CBSSports.com’s Bruce Fowler, the NCAA’s enforcement staff responded to Miami’s claims and criticisms, and they’re certainly not backing down. The NCAA, who is  “offended” by Miami’s insinuations, says that Miami is “grasping at straws” in an attempt to get the case dismissed.

According to Penn State’s Bill O’Brien… Virginia Tech continues to express interest in a series vs. the Nittany Lions. Even though O’Brien says it wouldn’t happen until 2019 at the earliest, it would certainly generate excitement on both sides.

The Austin American-Statesman’s Kirk Bohls takes a good look at new Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, who, he says, may be short on years, but not on expectations.

Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal thinks that too much focus this has been on Wisconsin’s new offense. He says people should be paying more attention to the the defense, which is switching from an “effective yet bland” 4-3 to a 3-4 that new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda says will be, “About as different as you can be.”

Coming off a 12-0 season, expectations are high in Columbus, and after watching Saturday’s spring game, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Bill Miller says they should be. Urban Meyer can see a huge difference between his team this spring vs. last. “It’s night and day in terms of grasping the offense and understanding the concepts.”

Photo credit: Drew Perine / The Tacoma News-Tribune

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CFS Daily Hot Reads: Sunday, April 14

winston

The legend of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is growing… Trent Dilfer’s already said he could be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Last week, he practiced football in the morning and then hopped a plane to Miami for FSU’s baseball game (he’s also a pitcher on the Seminole baseball team), where promptly sat down down all nine batters he faced with a fastball clocked at 97 miles per hour. On the first play of yesterday’s spring game, Winston, a former 5-star recruit out of Hueytown, Ala., dropped back and hit walk-on wide receiver David Tyrell for a 58-yard touchdown. He wound up completing 12-of-15 passes for 205 yards and two TDs. Jimbo Fisher hasn’t yet named Winston the starter, but he certainly has FSU fans abuzz. Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel asks, is Winston FSU’s next Charlie Ward?

Vanderbilt true freshman quarterback Johnny McCrary played Saturday’s Black & Gold game with a heavy heart, but it didn’t slow him down. His father, former NFL tight end Greg McCrary, passed away on Tuesday, but he decided to play anyway. A 4-star recruit by Rivals and December enrollee from Ellenwood, Ga., he completed 6-of-13 passing for 108 yards and a touchdown. McCrary, who also lost his mother when he was 9, was the talk of the game. “No one does understand what that kid obviously went through, and to lose both his parents,” Austyn Carta-Samuels, the Commodores’ starting QB, said. “And to see him come back that quickly and carry himself the way he does, I mean, it’s emotional for me. He always says, ‘Austyn, I look up to you man.’ And I’m like, ‘No dude. I look up to you.’ ”

The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel says even though it’s not official, Blake Bell is Oklahoma’s quarterback.

LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley came by his nickname honestly, and that toughness was one of the reasons that John Chavis’ first request after being hired as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator was to hire his former player.

Johnny Manziel may have made headlines for wrong reasons the past few months, but in Saturday’s spring game, he picked right back up where he left off last fall.

MLive.com’s Kyle Meinke says even though Michigan’s offense didn’t show much in Saturday’s spring game, Devin Garder’s potential is unmistakeable.

Think Kentucky fans are excited about the Mark Stoops era? An estimated crowd of 50,831 showed up for yesterday’s spring game. Consider that the estimate of 4,500 at last year’s game was considered “generous” and a combined 39,815 attended the Cats’ final two home games against Vanderbilt and Samford last fall.

Missouri’s 6-foot-6, 220-pound phenom wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham showed out in the Tigers’ second scrimmage of the spring. Gary Pinkel says, “I think we’re starting to see really how good he can be.”

Even though he was sidelined with a minor neck injury and recovering from a concussion, South Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney scored a “touchdown” in Saturday’s spring game.

Photo credit: Mike Ewen, AP Photo / Tallahassee Democrat

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CFS Daily Hot Reads: Friday, April 12

battle615

Alabama’s new athletic director Bill Battle, the former Tennessee head coach and founder of the College Licensing Company,talks with Al.com’s Don Kausler, Jr. Battle shares some great coaching memories and perspective from his time at Tennessee, before and beyond. He discusses being an innovator (he started using computers to chart plays way back in 1967), competing against Bear Bryant, one a whole lot more. On his switch from coaching to the business world, Battle says:

“When I got out, I wanted to see how other people lived,” he said. “All I had done was coach football. I didn’t think I could be a 65-year-old coach, because the pace was pretty heavy. I’d been raised under the ‘out-work-’em’ (approach). Looking back, the law of diminishing returns, I’d have been better off and my staff would have been better off if I had given them time off to go eat dinner with their families or do other things, but I didn’t. I did it the way I thought I ought to do it.”

Coaches: If you only have time to read one article today, this should be it.

One a much lighter note… The Daily Show takes a hilarious look at the NCAA:

 

How deep does the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry go? Deep enough that Wolverine players won’t wear red — even for non-contact jerseys. When backup Russell Bellomy suffered an ACL injury earlier this spring, Michigan was left with no healthy scholarship quarterbacks behind Devin Gardner. That means hitting Gardner and the other QBs is off limits in Saturday’s spring game, putting the Wolverines’ equipment staff in a pinch. “We’re not wearing red, for obvious reasons,” Gardner told reporters last week. “This is Michigan. Orange is the only other color that stands out.” Coaches ordered a custom made orange jersey, but they wouldn’t’ be ready in time for the game. Thankfully, Oregon State came to the rescue, and Garder will be sporting a Beavers’ #12 jersey Saturday.

Speaking of Ohio State… The Buckeyes received rings commemorating their 12-0 season and unofficial Big Ten Leaders Division title. (The team also received the traditional gold pants pin celebrating the win over Michigan.) Naturally, some are up in arms about the rings, including ESPN’s Mark May, who called on his trusty “integrity meter” in passing judgement.

Like many others, the focus for new LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron this spring has been on speeding up the pace. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger says, so far, everybody is adjusting pretty well.

How serious is Kirk Ferentz about fixing Iowa’s special teams play? For the first time in 15 years, he’s given a coach the special teams coordinator title.

Bill Belicheck was in South Bend yesterday to visit his golfing buddy Brian Kelly.

Increased booster fees have some Florida Gator fans up in arms… and giving up their seats. The article does point out that, according UF spokesman Steve McClain, overall ticket sales are actually “slightly ahead of last year’s pace.” He says the jump in booster fees is largely the result of tuition increases, which have increased cost of athletic scholarships by $3 million since 2008.

Photo credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum

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CFS Daily Hot Reads: Thursday, April 11

Mark Richt apologized for looking "like a bum" at a recent alumni meeting.

Mark Richt apologized for looking “like a bum” at a recent alumni meeting.

What a difference a year makes. Or, in Mark Richt’s case, a year and a half. Coming off a 6-7 record in 2010, the Dawgs went 0-2 to start 2011 and Richt’s seat couldn’t have been much hotter without catching fire. Since then, he’s won 22 of his next 26 games and came within an eyelash of an appearance in the BCS national title game. Naturally, his position as Georgia’s head coach has gotten much more comfortable. Speaking to an alumni group in Columbus, Ga. yesterday, he came to the event straight from practice and didn’t feel the need to clean up. “I look like a bum, I apologize,” Richt told the crowd. “I had some clothes to change into, but I decided not to.” He’s a pretty laid back guy, but it’s chances are he’d have opted to put on the clean duds if this happened before the 2011 season. Richt, who called last Saturday’s spring game “awesome,” is obviously happy with his new-found job security, and he likes the increased expectations in Athens. “I think you can tell everybody’s excited about Georgia and we are too,” he said.

Bob Stoops doesn’t think players should receive stipends – he thinks they get plenty already. His message to players — “You’re not the first one to spend a hungry Sunday without any money” — hasn’t exactly been popular. John Infante of the Bylaw Blog says Stoops’ reasoning is off, while the Twitterverse, naturally, was less diplomatic in voicing their disagreement.

Cal has new logos and uniforms.

Tulane could be getting four new helmets.

If there were any lingering doubts about Denard Robinson’s arm strength, they’ve been answered.

Photo credit: Joe Paulll / Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

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