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Sprints Is Ready for the Season to Begin // 09.01.09

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Let's get started. SEC football cranks up Thursday, ladies and gentlemen, which means Team Speed Kills Now goes full throttle this week. kleph of Roll Bama Roll talks 77-6 and other classic Virginia Tech-Alabama moments; Gamecock Man from Garnet and Black Attack discusses the possibility of offensive competence for either side of the N.C. State-South Carolina match-up; and the Mayor from Dawg Sports stops by to chat about "a MAN!" who is "40!" As always, we get started at 9 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. CT, with the ability to listen here soon after the broadcast ends. And we'll try to get all the podcast/download info straightened out.

Bama's Brandon Deaderick shot

University of Alabama football player Brandon Deaderick was shot late Monday night in an apparent robbery attempt at Rivermont Apartments on Rice Mine Road.

The player suffered one gunshot wound to the forearm, which Anderson said was not life-threatening. The chief was at DCH Regional Medical Center at about 11:30 p.m. Monday night and had spoken with the victim.

The football consequences are clear. Hopefully the real-life consequences will end up being fairly minor.

'It's closer for them, it's farther away for us'? Mark Richt continues to kvetch about the difficulty of Georgia's schedule this year, which includes games at Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech and against Arizona State in Athens.

"One of the biggest issues with it, just living through the Arizona State travel, that’s a tough trip to fly all the way over there and come back and be ready to keep grinding. The travel part is tougher than who you’re playing," Richt said. "If all these teams we wanted to play would always come to Sanford Stadium or even Atlanta for that matter, I think it would be better for us."

Um, Mark, Georgia Tech travels to Sanford every other year and the Cowboys came to Athens in 2007. In return for them coming to your stadium, you go to theirs. It's kind of fair, see?

But Richt and David Hale, the normally solid Georgia beat writer for a couple of papers, aren't done yet.

Richt has made no bones about saying he thinks the scheduling hasn't particularly worked in Georgia's favor, and while its hard to pin too much of the blame on the travel, Georgia did fall behind 31-0 in the first half of its next game after the ASU trip.

Slow down just a minute here, because the casual reader might forget what "its next game after the ASU trip" last year was. That would have been Alabama -- oh, yeah, undefeated in the regular season Alabama. Totally a weeklong case of jet lag there.

But let's take this scenario: If Georgia loses to Florida by 3, but Florida loses to LSU by 10, and both teams win the rest of their games -- including the Bulldogs' season opener against Oklahoma State -- both would have one loss, but the Gators would go to the SEC title game. Do you think there's any chance that Georgia would then play for a national championship over Florida? Hey, beating Oklahoma State in 2007 sure didn't help put the Bulldogs past a two-loss LSU team.

True enough. Of course, 2007 Georgia got slaughtered by a dubious Tennessee team and lost to a South Carolina team that couldn't even beat Vanderbilt, while LSU defeated both Tennessee and South Carolina and lost in triple-overtime to a pair of bowl teams -- but all of that should have been balanced out by Georgia's three-touchdown win against 7-6 Oklahoma State. If only there were some reason to believe LSU had a better resume -- like a 41-point victory over an 11-3 nonconference opponent. Egads! The Mayor:

The LSU Tigers did it in 2007 when they throttled [Virginia Tech]. ...

Admittedly, if you schedule tough, you’re going to lose a few . . . but, if you schedule tough, you also can afford to lose a few, as evidenced by the Bayou Bengals’ ability to capture a national championship with two losses in their ledger.

In other words, Georgia didn't lose out on a chance to play for the national title in 2007 despite scheduling a challenging nonconference opponent -- LSU won the championship berth because the Tigers scheduled a more challenging nonconference opponent. The Mayor also brings the Latin to dismiss Hale's contention that slow performances after intersectional games means playing teams from other regions caused the subpar outings.

Three of those five games were contests against the South Carolina Gamecocks in 2005, 2007, and 2008, each of which was decided by a touchdown or less. ...

Is it truly plausible to suppose that a 56-17 thrashing of a MAC team between the hedges took so much out of the Athenians that they were not up to the task of putting away the Big Chickens one week later?

I would offer another theory: South Carolina played Georgia close in those three games because South Carolina almost always plays Georgia close. ... Hale has fallen victim to the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy by mistaking association for causation, but the Gamecocks’ crowing did not result from the Sun Devils’ rise.

That said, if Georgia wants to get all worn out by the trip to Stillwater and sleepwalk through the game the following week, be my guest.

Revise and extend. Every once in a while, even a blogger like your humble correspondent is well served to take a step back and say a couple of things on a topic he's already covered. Like Practicegate. I would like ot say that, despite my praise of the Freep story on Rich Rodriguez's Junction Boys story yesterday, it appears that there are some valid (and some not-so-valid) complaints from Michigan fans. Maize n Brew Dave has a pretty good anti-story piece here. A few responses as someone who does this journalism thing for a living.

1. Having Rosenberg work on the piece was clearly a mistake. If one of the bylined writers is a columnist, you're opening yourself up for criticism. And it's questionable journalism whether or not you're called on it.
2. Investigative reporting is often more one-sided than a "straight news" piece; that's why much of the best of such reporting is now done by magazines or by newspapers who have a tradition of doing it. It's the nature of the beast, and one of its shortcomings. You are trying to prove a point while being fair. Coincidentally, one of the problems is that we've come to take "fairness" and "objectivity" to mean "everyone gets equal time to give their side of the story." That's not always true. Further, the allegation that Freep didn't put any pro-Michigan reaction is just not true. There were a few quotes at the beginning of the article from Rodriguez and others. The problem with an article like this is akin to a policeman who doesn't call a suspect and tell him what authorities are looking for before executing a search warrant -- the element of surprise prevents a cover-up, thus the late inquiry to Michigan. It probably could have been handled better, but I understand why Freep did it the way they did.
3. Just having six players quoted doesn't mean that the 10 players interviewed didn't all agree with the allegations. Sources who say redundant things often get cut for space.

That said, this adds a little bit of credence to the initial report. Which brings me to the other problem I have with the Michigan response: Michigan didn't do anything wrong, but even if they did, everyone else does it. But we totally think Michigan should be punished if they did something wrong. That argument rapidly approaches incoherence, assuming it doesn't just zoom by it at 100 mph.

mgoblog, though, breaks down why "everyone does it" gets a little bit of traction here.

I will explain: "everyone does it" is not an attempt to excuse Michigan for misdeeds -- because again we are talking about football players playing football. It's a way of evaluating the truth behind the implication that this is a Big Huge Deal that is Ed Martin For Football; if the NCAA average time spent is 45 hours a week, then it is totally plausible Michigan is asking that much out of its players without tripping over NCAA boundaries. Because everyone is.

The problem comes not from Michigan's conduct, per se, but from the fact that the NCAA has set up such a murky set of rules that they are asking for quasi-violations and accusations. Here's an idea: Raise the cap on hours and do away with the hard-to-prove distinction between "mandatory" and "voluntary." If we all agree that "voluntary" is a charade -- and it pretty much is -- then get rid of what creates the Kabuki theater to begin with. Players can take part in 30 or 40 or whatever hours of football-related activities. Any attempt by coaches to encourage or guide or require work outside that window is a major violation. No questions asked.

Yes, that means the summer practices can be mandatory. But there's a hard cap on the number of hours and possibly how many of these things can be held and when.

Meanwhile, rival camps are taking self-interested sides. West Virginia fans are almost giddy at the prospect of "The Patented Rich Rodriguez Meltdown" in Ann Arbor, while LSU fans' cheer him on because they particularly they're worried Les Miles is still interested and Bill Martin won't be on his dinghy this time.

The other 'back named Cox in Georgia's big game
That would be Perrish Cox, important secondary piece for Oklahoma State and one who allegedly thinks driving with a suspended license is a good way to kill an evening.

Depth Charts released. Mississippi State; Kentucky; and Alabama, fresh from Ft. Knox.

Florida looks to have a running back
It's ... Jeff Demps. Really, don't everyone gasp all at once. It sucks the oxygen out of the room.

This might be more comforting for Gators fans if he had a line to run behind
How many offensive linemen do you have to have before "you got none"?

The first step is admitting you have a problem is the first step to fixing it
A Sea of Blue on the pending beginning of the football season:

The greatest thing about football season for Kentucky fans is that it means basketball season is only about six weeks away. To football fans in the SEC, that may seem like blasphemy, but to most of us here in the Commonwealth, it is bliss.


It's all part of the plan ... wait a minute, that's the other guys
Vanderbilt Sports Line worries about the lack of word from the Dores' preseason camp.

I'm less concerned about the predictions than the fact that we haven't heard much lately about the progress being made in executing the no-huddle spread.

I hear it's been smooth sailing. In fact, if Vandy played Duke this year, they might score 10 points instead of seven.

At least they like Larry Smith as the starter

While we wonder why it took so long, we are happy this question has been answered early in the week.

It's not looking good for Andre Debose
This season will likely be a lost one.

Freshman WR Andre Debose and his parents will meet with the Florida staff in Gainesville late Tuesday afternoon to evaluate whether Debose’s damaged hamstring tendon requires surgery, according to Morrell Debose, Andre’s father.

The good news is that Urban Meyer says the injury is "certainly not career ending from what they've told me."

'You see, I was born in 58 B.C.'
Bob Winn, associate athletics director at Memphis, apologizes for the "Bust a Nutt" T-shirt that the Tigers planned to use for the Ole Miss game.

I can honestly tell you as an older individual who has been with the university since I graduated in the early 1970s, I had no idea of the slang, street-lingo meaning of the phrase. ...

I can only say that I am incredibly embarrassed by the situation and will make absolutely sure in the future that I check the if I do not know the meaning of some modern day phrase or term.

Ya couldn't figure that one out on your own? The phrase didn't sound a little bit risque to begin with? Just goes to show you that what I learned in copy-editing is still useful: When writing a headline, always look for the double entendre.

Meyer will 'cherish' Tebow's last year at Florida
No comment.

No more comparing Joe Cox to D.J. Shockley
Now Georgia fans are going with David Greene. Really, kid -- no pressure.

There are drugs for that
T. Boone Pickens -- um -- would wet his pants if Oklahoma State made it to the BCS. He said it, not me.

Death of a Moose
Former LSU center Marvin Stewart, 97.

SEC football and the Civil War
Really, what more does a Southerner need?

Erin Andrews talks creep with Oprah Winfrey
I've mostly stayed away from this story for the reason that it seemed unseemly to try to get the hits boost from it, but since she'll be on the South Carolina-N.C. State telecast tomorrow and she's opened up to a national TV audience about it, EA will be talking with Oprah about ... well, you know.

Winfrey's interview with Andrews will air Friday, Sept. 11, as part of a "Summer Headlines" show that previews the 24th season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Andrews also tells Winfrey she "opened up the computer [and] could feel my heart pounding."

What's possibly even creepier than the video itself?

(Entertainment Tonight was denied credentials to cover her return.)

Really, they just wanted to work on a story about the chemistry between EA and Fowler and the guys. Okay, so maybe chemistry isn't the right word. The relationship. No, that doesn't really work either ...