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Sprints Is Reinstated for the Beginning of the Football Season // 09.03.09

It's football time. The wait is officially over. The football season begins tonight, 7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT, when the South Carolina Gamecocks take on the N.C. State Wolfpack. We'll have previewish stuff coming shortly and an open thread for commentating opening an hour before game time. Hearty endorsements to SB Nation's South Carolina blog, Garnet and Black Attack, and N.C. State blog, Backing the Pack.

We also have blogs for the teams involved in the 10:15 p.m. ET / 9: 15 p.m. CT nightcap -- One Bronco Nation Under God represents for Boise State, while Addicted to Quack is our Oregon site.

Gentle reminder for those who want to participate: Now would be a good time to sign up for the TeamSpeedKills Challenge on Yahoo! Pick'em. Again, the group number is 17710 and the password is secspeed.

PANIC! Early Wednesday, Nick Saban sent shudders up the collective spine of the Tide faithful with his comments on whether Julio Jones and Mark Ingram would play.

"That is up to the NCAA," Saban said. "I don't think it's my decision to do anything.

This was in response, of course, to Crappiegate, the "scandal" touched off by a Gulf Coast fishin' trip by Jones, Ingram and a man with no apparent connections to Alabama football other than residing in the same state.

But there was apparently no reason for Alabama fans to worry -- Jones and Ingram will play.

The NCAA confirmed this evening that the players would be "reinstated" upon making restitution for a violation that included "impermissible food, lodging, transportations and entertainment from an individual with whom one of the student-athletes had become acquainted prior to enrolling in college."

According to the NCAA, "the institution reported the violation." That came after discussions between UA and the NCAA, during which the school acknowledged a violation upon a review of the school's findings.

In any event, Jones and Ingram have made restitution to charity and are eligible to play, a source said.

I almost can't believe I'm saying this, but give the NCAA credit for getting this taken care of in a timely manner. Maybe they were just trying to free up more time to find and neutralize threatening Native American mascots.

Deaderick "probably" out for Virginia Tech game
This does not come as a surprise. In fact, it's more of a blessing that he's alive and walking after being shot. Football will come.

Dr. Saturday on why Georgia-Oklahoma State is so important

So for Oklahoma State, Saturday is the litmus test that validates the hype and separates the chance at a really special season from another Alamo/Holiday Bowl concession prize accompanied by the sinking feeling of a blown opportunity. ...

But even if the trajectory of the entire program isn't on the line, the short-term stakes aren't any lower for Georgia, which opens the year in effectively the same place as the Cowboys in its own conference hierarchy, as an underdog badly in need of a big win to get its feet under it.

In some respects, though, Georgia fans almost have to be waiting for the other shoe to drop -- it seems more likely a question of which of the first five games the Dawgs will lose than whether they will fall. If Georgia can maneuver that first month and a week unscathed -- then we can talk about competing for the SEC.

King, Tripp will probably miss the game for Georgia
The Dawgs are still light-years ahead of the Cowboys in terms of health.

Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson will play
He might be the only one left on the field for the Cowboys by the time we get to kickoff, but he will be there, contrary to Internet rumors.

In response to those reports, Mike Gundy said "That’s why I don’t read the Internet! Because it’s garbage! And the editor who let it come out is garbage!"

I know -- shooting fish in a barrel.

South Carolina DE Clifton Geathers has been cleared to play against N.C. State
Which means he'll get his first start next week against Georgia. It makes sense; trust me.

That's okay
The rest of the defensive line will be sitting on the sidelines with him.

They could always consult Dr. Tebow or Dr. Lou
The Gators are still trying to figure out what to do about Andre Debose.

Kentucky LB Micah Johnson's status not clear
Just what the Wildcats needed -- a defensive starter goes down.

Larry Munson stays in first person

"Can we EVEN SCORE enough points to stay with those guys?"

Did you really ever expect that to change?

A.J. Green could be MUCH BETTER!!!
This is always the problem I have with stories like this -- exactly how much better does anyone expect A.J. Green to be? For example, give him a 1,200-yard, 12-TD season, which would be an incredibly successful year. That's an additional 19.8 yards and 2.3 points a game. My point is not that Green won't be better -- he probably will -- but that statements like this (or such-and-such great player is "finally playing healthy") won't necessarily translate into additional wins.

And, as the original article points out, last year's No. 1 WR Mohamed Massaquoi is gone. Meaning Green will be better -- but he'll be getting even more attention from opposing defenses, which could make the whole thing a wash.

The Quad puts Florida at No. 2
They suggest it's as much a protest as anything else.

So why do I have Florida second? Well, the very idea of ranking the entire 120 teams in the F.B.S. in the preseason is a ridiculous notion (this isn’t the first time I’ve considered this notion), as is predicting which team would defeat the other in a hypothetical title game, but I really like Texas – I gave it away! – to win its second national championship of the decade.

Not really any football analysis there, but let's wait until their Texas pick comes out, I suppose.

LA Times also goes with the Longhorns
Maybe they have a football-related reason for doing so, right?

If you believe in symmetry, karma, cycles, Texas is your team.

Well, with reasoning that sound, you know it's a so-I-can-say-I-told-you-so pick have to agree with their piercing insight.

This is getting just a little bit ridiculous (Link fixed -Ed.)
The NCAA better have the goods on Renardo Sidney. I realize we're only getting one side of the story here, but it is starting to look like a fishing expedition.

Mitch Mustain on not starting this year for the Trojans.
This might be the most mercenary quote I've ever read.

"These are long seasons. People get hurt. Things happen. Last year with Mark is a good example. There were several times I was a couple inches from playing the rest of the season or playing the full game at least."

And Arkansas fans wanted Houston Nutt out because he chased this guy away?

What does Boise State have against people with epilepsy?
Wow. Just wow.