Sprints is Looking Forward to Football Season // 06.02.09

Football season approaches. Summer "optional" workouts are beginning, Phil Steele is available in places other than the heathen corners of the earth like Tallahassee and baseball? There is baseball being played? Whatever. Gameday arrives in 93 days -- or a bit less, judging by the nifty new countdown clock over on the left-hand side that was not at all created by Joel at Rocky Top Talk or anything. Nope.

Play Ball! Okay, we'll do it.

South Carolina goes down to East Carolina in a 10-inning debacle that makes the 2004 Yankees look positively clutch. You are reading this post because C&F's computer went on the fritz before he could watch the unfolding of the final stages of the disaster, keeping him from putting a blunt object through his monitor.

Louisville eliminates Vanderbilt in a 5-3 game, marking the end of a strong postseason run for the Dores.

Ole Miss fans are handling the Rebels' 4-1 victory over Western Kentucky with a level hea -- "Drew Pomeranz just pitched the greatest game in Ole Miss baseball history" -- as little rationality as possible. (As for the challenge to "Name a better one" -- C&F is not as well versed in great Rebel pitching performances as might be hoped. So you've got me there.)

So your Super Regionals involving SEC teams:

Tallahassee: Florida State vs. Arkansas, Friday - Sunday
Oxford: Ole Miss vs. Virginia, Friday - Sunday
Baton Rouge: LSU vs. Rice, Friday - Sunday
Gainesville: Florida vs. Southern Miss, Saturday - Monday

Format: Two out of three.

Meanwhile, the Mayor continues his search for the bright side of Georgia's "collapse."

Now, we have something. It took several days and ESPN's Andy Katz, but we might finally have something that makes John Calipari look very much like he might not have been involved in the Derrick Rose SAT brouhaha.

According to multiple sources, Rose's camp did tell Memphis that he took the SAT in question. ...

According to a source, Calipari was floored that Rose could have been ineligible as a freshman. So, too, was the university's legal counsel, which is fighting the NCAA over finding out about the "student-athlete's" invalid test score, after the season concluded and after he had been cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse to compete the previous fall.

See, neither I nor the big bad media hate Cal. We just like something more than, you know, he didn't do it cuz we said so.

'Dude! Don't tase me! I'll just run away!' Janoris Jenkins is Claire Bennett in disguise.

Police tasered Jenkins, 20, after he failed to comply with requests to stop fighting with five other people early Saturday morning, according to jail records. ...

The officer applied one taser cycle on Jenkins, who then stood up and ran away, according to the records. He kept running after the officer yelled for him to stop, but he was later arrested about one and a half blocks away, according to the records.

You read that in the right order. Got tased, then ran. For a block and a half.

Every SEC wide receiver is excusing himself from the room right now to find some clean shorts.

Watering down the SEC? Now, that's a crime. Red Cup Rebellion sees trouble in the SEC's new signing-class rule. We will assume for a moment that this has nothing to do with the 82nd Airborne Recruiting Class.

Capping the signees at 28 means that if four don't qualify, you don't have a fifth to swoop in for that free scholarship. ...

More than anything, this means that more players who are academic question marks will be signing with schools like FIU, Southern Miss, etc. ...

I think we're about to see a rise out of some of the smaller southern schools in terms of recruiting classes, and that should yield to an improvement of those schools across the board. but more than that, it translates to a possible weakening of the SEC.

No worries. DawgsOnline is confident that a coach will test the new policy soon enough. ESS! EEE! SEE!!!

Meow! Meow! It's a secondary violation! C&F must admit, he's missing the boat on all the interest in "Big Cat Weekend" at Auburn. Maybe it's just the effects of Hummer Limos and shirtless dances -- you get desensitized to the subtle secondary violation. In any case, The Joe Cribbs Car Wash has you covered.

So for all of that, the piece of evidence I think is most damning is actually the presence of Aubie -- if this really was just a fun, non-gameday-like activity for the visitors "accidentally" crashed by hundreds of nosy fans, what the hell is the official school mascot doing there? Is Aubie not an integral part of Auburn's gameday experience?

What, Aubie just doesn't show up at random parties around campus? What kind of a mascot is that?

SEC Around the World. Nick Calathes is already on his way to Greece to watch a thrilling basketball championship, we're sure. At least he won't to have to listen to hours of commentary about whether Lebron James should have shaken someone's hand and whether that Yankees cap means he's going to the Knicks.

Billy D. says Calathes won't be the only college basketball player to leave for other markets.

Here's the thing: our sport is totally different than any other sport that's being played. There is more opportunity to make money in the game of basketball around the world. You can have kids go to Japan, they can go to Greece, they can go to the Philippines, they can go to Russia. You can go anywhere in the world and you can play and make a living. And I think for a lot of these kids, they are getting a chance to do something they love.

In other words, there's not a lot of money to be made in the Armenian Football League. But those Armenians love their hoops!

Tennessee's Tyler Smith steps up to prove Donovan's point, even if his endorsement -- "I don’t necessarily want to, but if the money’s there I’ll explore it" -- is less than enthusiastic.

This is right after Erik Ainge is inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Somewhere between Eric Berry finishing second in the Heism@n balloting and the third sub-.500 season blamed on Phil Fulmer is Tennessee's "most realistic scenario" for 2009 and beyond.

Two 8-4 seasons would be acceptable to begin, but keep in mind it was going 8-4 that got Fulmer in trouble to begin with. By 2011, Tennessee fans are going to be hungry for more, and Kiffin will have two full recruiting classes of his players under his system. If this happens, then realistically 2011 becomes the year where Kiffin has to do more than be average. Tennessee has three years to get back to the nation's elite under Kiffin, or else the tipping point will swing to the negative.

No pressure, Boy Wonder.

Actually, Boy Wonder has more pressing problems to deal with right now. Namely, how to fire his strength coach without forking over $300K. This is why you don't give gold-plated contracts to everyone from the intern to the head coach.

N.C. State and South Carolina will "shape the 2009 college football season"? Lord help us. This is over in the FanShots as well, but I wanted to highlight it because FSUncensored does the rare thing: Carefully studies a team in another conference before making predictions. What? Why is everyone looking at C&F like he doesn't do that?

Garnet and Black Attack also looks at the game and finds more cause for optimism for the Gamecocks -- as long as they win.

I really don't want to think about what happens if we lose this game. The early stretch my be just as difficult as the late-season Orange Crush this year, and if we're going to have any chance at getting to the magical eight-win mark, we need to get out of the first four with at most one loss.

Or it's back to a bowl named after a restaurant or an American value with you.

That would seem to be the general thrust of Phil Steele's thoughts on the Gamecocks, though he has one bright ray of light.

The Gamecocks threw more interceptions (27) than any team in the country in ’08 and wound up at minus-11 in turnover margin. If I understand Steele’s logic, I think his premise is that odds are against USC quarterbacks throwing that many picks again.

Well, yes. That would be a very difficult feat to repeat. Unless, of course, they want to see the explosion of Steve Spurrier's head.

The price of cupcakes is going up. UGA will pay $975,000 to play North Texas in 2013, a fact so embarrassing the AJC had to file an open-records request to pry the information loose. But Dawg fans should have no fear about the perception.

"The thing we’ve stayed away from is, we have not hit the million-dollar mark [in buying such games]," Evans said. "975,000 looks better than a million."

Yes. It looks so, so much better.

Offered without comment. Because of my day job, I can say nothing. But feel free to have fun in the comments: Corrine Brown might run for Senate. "Gradulate the Gators"? You remember now, right?

Ever heard of crossword puzzles? In Mississippi, there is apparently nothing better to do than figure out whether Ole Miss or State has more cars. "There are 14,334 State tags and 13,578 Ole Miss tags as of January of this year." You and I both know that 14,334 is more points than Sylvester Croom's offense would haved scored in either of our lifetimes.

Wind Sprints. The possibility of actual offense excites the people of Starkville ... Georgia vs. Oklahoma State gets national billing ... It looks like Mark Herzlich is done with football ... Unless the offensive line can carry the ball, I'm not sure how much Coach Searels can help ... Ryan Mallett's finger is broken, but there's nothing to worry about. No, really, Bobby Petrino was not talking to anyone in South Bend ... Have we really gotten to the point with the NCAA where it's news every time a college football player visits an NBA game? Do I really have to ask?

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