Sprints doesn't have enough experience for Phil Steele // 06.04.09

Some Experience Required. Phil Steele's reliance on the experience factor is starting to cause a bit of debate withing the blogosphere. Jerry at The Joe Cribbs Car Wash differs with C&F's take on Steele's experience factor, particularly with regards to the Gamecocks.

Uh-oh: he also believes them to have the nation's toughest schedule. Don't add 2 and 2 together, Cock fans ... especially if you really believe the expectations are "eight wins or bust." Cocknfire says that SC won't miss their group of departed underachieving draft picks, but I think that only sort of underscores the point: if Spurrier couldn't get the most out of a team with multiple NFL-quality players on it, won't he get even less out of a team with even less talent?

Solid points, though for context, Steele ranked the Gamecocks' slate 5th in 2008. It's not like the Gamecocks are dealing with less experience and a much more difficult schedule; they're dealing with less experience but about the same strength of schedule. Really, the problems of the 2008 Gamecocks are too tangled and twisted to get into here, but there's a reason Kenny McKinely, Jared Cook and Jasper Brinkley are the only players Gamecocks fans will really miss. (Oh, and Steele himself suggests in the magazine that South Carolina could surprise in part because they underachieved the past couple of years.)

Orson attacks the question of experience and starters lost a bit differently than did your humble correspondent, but still comes up with largely the same conclusion: Grain of salt.

Take a look at last year’s stats and you’ll see how random this really is. Florida had a substantial number of losses at 25, Clemson returned plenty of starts at 101st, Syracuse was even better in terms of seasoned experience at 118…it’s spotty correlation that begs for a bit of scatterplotting. It also highlights coaching aptitude: if a team like Syracuse returns that many starts and still fails to compete, the better question is "What kind of experience has your team had?"

Of course, experience is preferable, particularly at the quarterback and offensive line positions. But it isn't everything.

And I was all ready to go easy on Cal. Does this kind of change things? Yeah.

[S]ources told CBSSports.com that Rose's former teammate, Robert Dozier, only played for the Tigers because Georgia declined to enroll the in-state product over concerns that he might've similarly had someone take his SAT.

According to a source, Dozier took the SAT once before trying to enroll at Georgia, but that score was flagged after the school received a tip that the score might be "fishy."

(HT: DawgsOnline)

Like the UMass issues, this is significant because it seems to establish a pattern. One Derrick Rose can be a case of the player allegedly breaking the rules. If the Dozier allegations are substantial, and to be fair there's little substance here, two suspicious SAT scores begin to look like something else. At best, it looks like a willingness to look the other way.

The offseason is soapbox time. As part of his ongoing drive to put Auburn at the end of Georgia's schedule, the Mayor suggests putting all out-of-conference football games at the beginning of the season, like That Conference Up Nawth does.

Why not go ahead and get the non-conference slate out of the way first and build up to all-important S.E.C. play? If you wanted to follow Bill Snyder’s philosophy of "stair-stepping into your season," you could start with a Division I-AA team, then play a Sun Belt team, then play a lower-tier B.C.S. conference team, then play an up-and-coming mid-major or a legitimate B.C.S. conference opponent before beginning S.E.C. play.

Although the league boasts many heavyweights, the conference is not without its bottom-dwellers, so there are some soft spots in the S.E.C. slate; it isn’t as though running a gauntlet of eight straight conference outings would be tantamount to visiting Baton Rouge or Gainesville every Saturday.

Two points on this. First, as a former Auburn fan, I think the Mayor's quest is doomed. Alabama and Auburn enjoy building up a year's worth of animosity before playing each other. Auburn will have Alabama as the last opponent on their schedule, one way or the other. It is not a matter of history, but a matter of hate that has them playing last -- and it won't change. Second: Good luck getting South Carolina to move Clemson from the last week or getting Florida to change the FSU game spot at the end of the year. Those are long-standing traditions that have survived changing conference affiliations and aren't going to stop.

Besides, who wants fewer weeks of SEC football?

'No Big Deal.' That's And The Valley Shook's assessment of the SEC's new limit on letters of intent.

A little understood fact about recruiting is that a recruit need never sign a letter of intent.  He can hold back and hold back and hold back and then just report for the first day of classes if he wants.  If the school has a scholarship free, because several of the 28 who signed LOIs didn't make it, they can give one to him.

That's the exception that destroys the rule, of course. A wink and a nod, and you can gamble the same way. The difference of course, is that some athletes are going to want a scholarship agreement in hand before going to school, but some borderline kids might be willing to go for it.

Was Jenkins alone? The lawyer for Gators CB Janoris Jenkins, he of the invulnerability to tasers, says other Florida players were involved in the weekend fight that created a legend. Jenkins was trying to break up a fight, the lawyer says, though "by no means was it a riot." That's comforting to the Florida coaching staff, I'm sure.

Ditch and diss. New Gator-turned-Vol John Brown might very well already be Boy Wonder's most treasured RECRUIT.

"I love the fact we play Florida every year," Brown told InsideTennessee.com, a website that covers UT. "Hopefully I can have a big homecoming game there." ...

"I want to get to the league; Tennessee is the best way for me to get there," Brown was quoted as saying. "I'm going to have to learn how to sing 'Rocky Top,' because we will be singing it a lot over the next couple of years."

Urban just tacked on another touchdown and another last-minute timeout.

Work work work. The supposed culprit in Ryan Mallett mysterious finger injury: Weights. "That's right, coach, I was lifting weights when it happened."

Wind Sprints. LSU is back to No. 1 in the baseball polls, though it will soon be a moot point ... Scott Bittle not pitching in the Super Regionals. No surprise there ... South Carolina looks for special teams to be as good as last year. For a Gamecock fan, saying that is a relief after pre-2008 seasons ...

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