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Sprints Wants to Go Undefeated in 2009 // 08.07.09

'We talkin' 'bout practice' (VI). The Mississippi Rebels become the final SEC team to report to camp, with freshmen showing up tomorrow and the rest of the players due Sunday. But can they meet expectations that they'll compete in the deep SEC West?

So much for 'one game at a time.' Florida LB Brandon Spikes obliterates the party line about the team's hopes of an undefeated season.

"Man, it’s a big goal. It’s something I think about every day," said Spikes, who increased his weight to 258 this summer but is now trying to get back down to 240. "That’s one of the reasons I decided to come back for my senior year. I just wanted to re-write history."

And, with those words, months of trying to keep the undefeated season talk from dominating Florida's preseason went up in smoke. (By the way, is this a serious question?)

Urban Meyer decides to blame not Spikes but the First Amendment.

I look forward to the when [the players] are off limits. That may be sooner than you think. We just have to take care of our business and practice hard. That's what counts. Not what people say. Not what reporters say. Not what kids say. Kids need to focus on the next practice.

Of course, he's not had the best experiences with the media lately.

He means it this time
When Urban Meyer said Notre Dame was his dream job? He didn't really mean anything by it. Now that he says this --

I've got peace of mind. This is my dream job. Three years ago, I couldn't say that. When I came here, I talked about how great Gainesville was, but I didn't know.

-- he totally means every word of it.

This is what you call 'running for office'
Holtz's denial that he's thinking about making a bid for Congress sounds suspiciously like a statement you would expect from something thinking about making a bid for Congress.

"I'm working for ESPN. I don't want to run for Congress," Holtz told WNDU-TV of South Bend on Wednesday at a golf outing in nearby Bridgman, Mich. "All I'm going to do is fulfill the commitment to ESPN. I'm prepared for it and then we'll go from there."

The overwhelming acceptance of that statement by sports writers as the end of this story is a line in the difference between them and political writers. I see this as keeping the door open because of what Holtz didn't say.

What's missing in that statement? "Won't."

Condolences on what used to be the most exciting time of your life
Nobody should have to go through this. Thoughts and prayers to Alabama's Kerry Murphy and his family.

Ben Axon and the mission of higher education
When I hear a story like this, even about someone who's made a (relatively minor) mistake like South Carolina's Ben Axon has made, I can't help thinking that this is exactly why we should have college sports.


To those who want to do away with college sports, which granted probably don't make up a detectable portion of this blog's readership: How does it hurt to let this guy try to play football and maybe get a solid education to boot? There are worse ways his life could have gone.

Making a molehill out of Mount Cody?
Terrence Cody is trying to drop pounds. Lots of them.

The roster lists Cody at 6-foot-5, 354 pounds, and he said he's right at that weight after playing last season in the 367-pound-range.

By the time the Crimson Tide play Virginia Tech on Sept. 5 in the Georgia Dome, Cody plans to be down to 345. ..

"It's a gut-check," Cody said. "I've got to show them I'm not tired and can keep going."[para] Coming out of Gulf Coast College, Cody weighed more than 400. Mobility wasn't his strength, and rushing the quarterback wasn't much of an option.

Gut check? Really? That's like manna from Heaven.

Georgia fans, that creeping sensation is called 'deja vu'
Fortunately, the practice injury to safety Reshad Jones doesn't seem likely to affect him during the season.

And if we go back to October 2007, South Carolina was a national title contender
Track Em Tigers finds hope in the fact that Gene Chizik didn't struggle as a head coach until he became a head coach.

Just two years ago, he was arguably the top assistant coach in America. He starts 2009 as the most maligned coach in all of football. Through the first nine months on the job Chizik has shown the qualities that made him the nation's top young coach.

The problem with the premise here is that some assistant coaches just don't make good head coaches. It's that simple. Not saying Gene Chizik is one of those coaches -- there's no way to know -- but the fact that he was a highly-touted assistant coach doesn't balance out the evidence we have suggesting he's not a very good head coach.

So I'm cruising through the Mayor's latest post on "Why the SEC Should Scrap the Outback to Get the Gator Back on Board," and it's the kind of interesting, well-thought-out case you would expect until I hit a couple of road bumps.

Although the ‘Dawgs played in that initial Hall of Fame Bowl, and although the Tampa-based postseason tilt welcomed an SEC team in each of the contest’s first four games, that destination has never been anything other than a disappointment for any squad in the league not named the Kentucky Wildcats.

I guess that would include the 2005 Florida Gators, who hit No. 12 after winning the Outback Bowl, the 2004 Georgia Bulldogs, ranked No. 7 after a win in Tampa, and the 2001 South Carolina Gamecocks, who finished one of the best seasons in school history ranked No. 13 after a victory. I'm not saying the Outback Bowl is a step down from the BCS, but it ain't a terrible bowl.

Lose the Big Ten tie-ins with which neither league is pleased and get us back into the business of playing teams with which we share some history.

Come again? I would like to play the Big Ten more, not less -- if for no other reason than to prove a point. Especially if the alternative is the Athletically Challenged Conference. Personally, I prefer to play teams from other parts of the country during bowl season. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is nice and all, but it comes about a month after no fewer than three SEC teams play ACC opponents.

Who's left?
Paul Gattis notes the lack of hot seats in the SEC. But with Sylvester Croom out at Mississippi State, Phil Fulmer booted from Knoxville and even the solid Tommy Tuberville gone from Auburn, who could possibly be fired? Steve Spurrier might decide to retire after the season, and Bobby Petrino's eyes might once again wander, but there's nobody who either has performed poorly enough to warrant getting axed after one bad year or has worked long enough at a trigger-happy school to start looking over his shoulder.

The latest -- last? -- edition of Dicky's World
Dicky Lyons Jr. takes us through his brief NFL career, which was almost as long as Bobby Petrino's stint in the League. For those of you who can't tell, your humble correspondent is a huge fan of Lyons. Wish him well.

It's not like they enjoyed it
The state of Hawaii ends an investigation into the trip to the 2008 Sugar Bowl and what would have been the most poorly chosen time to violate ethics laws in the history of the nation.

Daniel Mollway, executive director of the state Ethics Commission, had said the panel wanted to determine if people with no official function traveled at the state's expense to watch the Warriors play Georgia.

Even if there had been evidence of wrongdoing, watching the game would have been punishment enough.

Because there was somewhere on television he hadn't appeared
Peyton Manning -- and that other Super Bowl-winning Manning guy -- will appear on The Simpsons this season. in animated form, one would imagine.

Attorney general, judge: NCAA must follow the law
Lawyers and jurists tend to be sticklers for that kind of thing.