Sprints Is Happy About the All-Star Game and Listening Closely to 'Allen' // 07.14.10

Ladies and gentlemen, Marlon Byrd.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WINS
Yeah, yeah, I know some of you guys aren't crazy about baseball. Skip this item and the next one and see if I care. The National League won the All-Star Game on Tuesday for the first time in 14 years, and I'm one of the few remaining people who cares about the outcome of the All-Star Game for reasons totally unrelated to home-field advantage for the World Series. The American League lost. The National League won. We don't have enough time for me to say that until it gets old. And Marlon Byrd was one of the heroes of the game. This is everything I could ask for short of the Cubs winning the World Series this year -- which seems somewhat remote at this point, to say the least.

RIP, George Steinbrenner
He drove every fan of every other team in the majors crazy. But he rebuilt the Yankees and was one of the most influential owners in the history of sports.

BRAWLUNTEERS

ESPN.com has a damning story about the Vols' involvement in the bar brawl in Knoxville. One thing is clear: Whatever happened in the bar, the players obviously overreacted by a factor of at least 10. However, nothing else is clear. That's because Gary Russell -- one of those involved in the fight and a man who has obviously had better days in his life -- told Chris Low this:

Russell, 20, says he was attacked and beaten by a group of Tennessee football players, including sophomore defensive tackle Montori Hughes and senior receiver Denarius Moore, early last Friday morning at Bar Knoxville, a nightspot near campus. A bar-clearing brawl ensued, leading to one Tennessee player being dismissed, two others being suspended and an off-duty Knoxville Police Department officer being knocked unconscious and sent to the hospital. ...

Russell said Hughes and Moore were the only two players he could identify for sure and that Hughes started the whole thing by pushing him and then punching him in the chest after Russell inadvertently bumped into Hughes on his way back from the bathroom.

Except that's apparently not what Russell told Knoxville's finest the morning after the fight.

Chase Nelson, 22, is accused of starting a fight with 20-year-old bar patron Gary Russell inside Bar Knoxville, 1820 Cumberland Ave., shortly before 2 a.m. Friday, according to Russell's statement to the Knoxville Police Department taken that morning while he was being treated at a hospital.

So were Hughes and Moore the only ones Russell could identify for sure? Or was Nelson also one he identified for sure? Or could he not identify Nelson for sure but decided to throw that name into his interview with police anyway? And did Hughes start the fight? Or did Nelson? Or did Hughes and Nelson jointly start the fight?

Never fear. "Allen" is here to clear things up for us.

On a sports call-in radio show on WNML on Friday, a caller identifying himself as "Allen" and claiming to be a co-owner of Bar Knoxville said he witnessed a UT player start the initial fight with the patron inside, said host Jimmy Hyams. When asked which player it was, the caller only replied "number 97," Hyams said. Nelson's jersey number is 97.

Well, I'm sure that the D.A. is following up on the lead provided by "Allen." As soon as he can figure out who "Allen" is.

So I understand Derek Dooley taking some time to try to figure out what actually happened before starting to suspend players left and right with little more to go on than contradictory witness statements and the words of "Allen."

GEORGIAPOCALYPSE

In the FWIW category ...
The Athens Banner-Herald did what any good newspaper does after a public official resigns -- yes, any good newspaper and, yes, any public official -- and filed a freedom-of-information request for his recent records. (No, Arkansas fans, this is not the same was what happened with Houston Nutt. That was still not normal.)

The records also show that Evans met his passenger, Courtney Fuhrmann, more than five weeks before that night, according to an e-mail the 28-year-old woman sent Evans.

"Wanted to thank you all again for last night," Fuhrmann wrote in a May 21 e-mail to Evans at 11:25 a.m. "We had a great time and it is always refreshing meeting what is the phrase of the night - 'good people.' Hope everyone made it home safe. Look us up next time you are in town if you like. Take care and look forward to a great football season."

That's cryptic enough and can be explained away easily. The rest ...

Evans and Fuhrmann exchanged two text messages in the next two hours, according to cell phone records on a bill dated between May 7 and June 6.

They exchanged a total of 18 messages during this one-month period, including others on the evening of May 26 and the mornings of May 28 and June 3, when Evans was at the Southeastern Conference spring meetings in Destin, Fla. More recent phone records were not yet available.

That's not even close to Nutt-level texting. But it still raises questions about Evans' story -- and Fuhrmann's. Remember, she told police she had been "seeing" Evans for "only a week or so."

Why does no one on the Georgia roster have a driver's license?
I mean, this is a really bizarre situation for a group of college students. Here we have several players who either have a provisional license or a suspended license or, inexplicably, have their license being kept by someone else not in their presence. This does not happen at other SEC -- strike that. This does not happen at any other college of which I am aware. Why Georgia?

Groo places the Georgia offseason in perspective
I don't know that I entirely agree with all of this -- discipline can be an indicator of a coach's control of his program, but isn't necessarily, and distractions still can cause problems for a program even if they don't affect the on-field team per se -- but it's worth a look.

OTHER NEWS

'Tebow shoe' is actually the best part of this
Because it gets oh so much worse.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the shoe is the word "PROMISE" on the left heel with the date "September 27th, 2008" printed below it, marking the day of Tebow's famous postgame speech following a 31-30 loss to Ole Miss that many fans look at as the catalyst behind the Gators making a run to capture the BCS Championship on Jan. 8, 2009. As an added treat, Tebow's speech is printed verbatim on the insole of the shoe.

So anytime you want to quote the PROMISE, you need only look at your shoe.

You say 'fun'; everyone else in the press/blogging corps says 'soul-sapping'
See, this is the difference between the reporters and bloggers covering Florida and those of us who actually care about the other teams in the SEC. Finding out that John Brantley will not be at SEC Media Days, Jeremy Fowler says:

But it would have been fun to chat with John Brantley at this schindig. Brantley would have been a nice talking point considering all the talk last year was about the man he’s replacing, Tim Tebow.

The rest of those headed to Hoover say, "Thank the Lord that John Brantley will not be there and we can maybe only have to listen to 20 Tebow questions instead of 50." The last thing I want is to hear even more discussion about Brantley and "the man he's replacing," though I think we all know the Meyer session is going to be one long retrospective.

How badly did Alabama want to move the Georgia State game?
$35,000 bad. Yes, the story has gone from "Alabama moved a game against a first-year FCS program so it would have more time to recover before playing Auburn" to "Alabama paid $35,000 to move a game against a a first-year FCS program so it would have more time to recover before playing Auburn." They realize how funny 11/12ths of the SEC is going to find it if they lose to Auburn anyway, right?

South Carolina turns down Brandon Golson
The linebacking prospect didn't make it into one of the academically weak schools. It's a good thing he wouldn't try to go to one of those scholarly institutions in the Big Te--

Wilson said S.C. State, Illinois, Maryland and Louisville also are interested in Golson, who had 113 tackles and 30 sacks despite playing less than two seasons for the Saints.

Yes, a Big Ten institution apparently has the same admissions standards as S.C. State and Louisville. So much better academically than the SEC.

Gamecock Man, meanwhile, worries about the impact on the never-tempermental Spurrier.

Spurrier may not appreciate the administration making him look bad there. I can't blame him; I'm not the kind of person that believes that academic reputations are built by athletics programs (at least as long as the program's don't actually compromise academic integrity), and I'll bet Golson would have gotten in at LSU or another powerhouse.

We'll see soon enough.

Greg Nord now officially working for Kentucky
Apparently he was hired for his "juice." Orange juice, perhaps? We don't know.

Billy Gonzales might have ignored NCAA rules, good grammar
The question is whether this is another secondary or not. Again, it's a dumb rule. But this is the NCAA, and if they didn't enforce dumb rules they'd have to cut the budget in half. Nice reporting work by Tomahawk Nation, though the impact remains to be seen.

South Carolina should still pay the man
But The Feathered Warrior points out why deciding how much of a raise to give Ray Tanner isn't as easy as it looks.

Writing for Other People, Part I
We have contributions to Rocky Top Tennessee 2010. Some of them can even be read by non-Vols fans.

Writing for Other People, Part II

By the time you get two-thirds of the way into Bragging Rights: A Season Inside the SEC, College Football’s Toughest Conference, you realize something. (Aside from the fact that the book, by Richard Ernsberger Jr., has a really long title.) You notice that for a book about a football season, it has very little football in it.

Lloyd Carr officially retiring from Michigan administration
If anyone deserves it, it's Carr. The one notable thing here is that the landscape is very different in Michigan than it was when Rich Rodriguez was hired (there's also a new AD), which means that whatever hesitance that there might or might not have been about a certain coach currently living in Baton Rouge might not be there any more. Just sayin'.

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