Not SEC, but important enough to lead with anyway
You've heard by now about the fact that Southern Cal will soon learn what will happen in the NCAA inquiry into Reggie Bush, O.J. Mayo, et al. I disagree with Year2 on how big an issue this is; despite the seriousness of the Florida State case, there is a critical difference in that it didn't involve money changing hands in a significant breach of the amateurism wall that the NCAA sees as one of its higest priorities. Academic fraud undermines a part of the student-athlete equation; pay-to-play undermines the entire system.
Dr. Saturday also suggests this could be more serious than recent cases.
No major program has been hit with that kind of hammer in years – California endured the last bowl ban against a BCS conference team in 2003 – but none have faced the potential charges against which USC has had to defend itself in the Bush/O.J. Mayo Affair, and certainly none have presented such a high-profile target for the NCAA to reverse its image as a big softy content with symbolic, retroactive measures like "vacating" wins.
In another forum, I suggested that the NCAA might also see striking against Lane Kiffin as a bonus -- and was called out for hinting that might affect the decision. The other person was probably right. But you can't say that there's going to be any sadness in Indianapolis over the fact that Kiffin is the man who will have to deal with what happens, after he spent his entire tenure in Knoxville essentially daring the Association to do something about his secondary violations.
For its part, Conquest Chronicles (SBN's fine Southern Cal blog) suggests that more practical considerations could save the Trojans.
USC is THE football program on the west coast and the NCAA doesn’t want to lose their drawing power in regards to $$$$.
This might be the first time I've ever seen a fan arguing that the NCAA is part of a conspiracy to go easy on their team. But there you have it.
Because it's never too early (even though it really is)
The SEC has six players among Mel Kiper's hair's first take on the opening round of the 2011 NFL Draft. That's not unusual -- what perhaps is, at least in your humble correspondent's opinion, is that only two of them are defensive players (Alabama DE Marcel Dareus and LSU CB Patrick Peterson).
Spurrier could play [backup's name here] in the coming season
It's banquet time, so Steve Spurrier is talking about playing his backup -- in this case Connor Shaw instead of Stephen Garcia.
"Connor's one of these guys that tries to learn everything there is to learn. He's ready to play right now, and he's only been here three or four months," Spurrier said. "Some of our guys have been here two years and don't know anything."
This is a head game Spurrier often plays with his South Carolina quarterbacks; before 2008, he floated the idea of giving starts to Aramis Hillary, who has since transferred. So make of this what you will.
SEC Pythagorean Wins
War Blog Eagle brings you the newest edition. The numbers say Tennessee will be the eighth seed in the tournament, Florida might be the favorite in the East and Auburn has the best shot in the West. Of course, they also say Ole Miss is the No. 7 team in the league.
Maybe he could ask Nick Saban for some advice
Billy Donovan has one too many players on scholarship, a welcome change from the last few seasons.
But it is a problem nonetheless, and Donovan will have to find a way to shed one scholarship, if not two if Wilbekin, a junior guard from The Rock School in Gainesville, successfully graduates early this summer and enrolls at UF.
Where's the outrage?