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Sprints is Waiting for James Franklin to Move to Vanderbilt and Mark Cuban to Shut Up // 12.17.10

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Vanderbilt about to hire James Franklin, Take 55
Now it's The Tennessean saying that the hiring is expected to come Friday -- it's always the day after the story is written -- with a member of the board of trust saying the school is "about to have this all wrapped up." Franklin is being more measured.

I don’t know where you could have gotten that information. I hope to meet you at some point, but I have nothing to confirm for you at this point.

Um, the hoping to meet part is kind of a give away, no?

Now David Williams is clamming up?
Apparently so.

"I'm getting close," Williams told The Associated Press on Thursday night. "I'm not at liberty to say with who."

Oh, how coy of you, Mr. Williams. Maybe there's a mystery candidate out there that no one has heard of. THEY'RE GOING TO GET PHIL FULMER, FOLKS; BOOK IT.

Nick Saban is angry that no one is calling him
Well, at least no one writing reports about his assistant coaches leaving -- because Nick Saban has always tried to make reporters feel at home talking to him. Oh, and he doesn't think Kirby Smart is going anywhere.

"Kirby has done nothing but indicate to me that he wants to stay at the University of Alabama and be here," Saban said. "I trust that's what he'll do. He's done a great job for us. He's one of the best assistant coaches in the country. Every year, he's closer and closer to being ready to be a head coach himself."

That might be a way of saying what Saban is telling Smart behind the scenes: There's no reason to make a lateral move right now. Which is a fair point. Smart is already a defensive coordinator at a high-profile school that doesn't look like it's about to undergo major reconstructive surgery on the offensive side of the ball; why leave now?

Minter, Pardue officially coaches at Kentucky
This is not really a surprise, but apparently they weren't really temps.


The LSU investigation of recruiting is over
You remember, there was that assistant coach that was fired for that stuff -- yeah, I'm sketchy on the details, too. But the investigation is over, and LSU has self-imposed penalties.

The self-imposed restrictions include a reduction in official visits for the 2010-11 academic year, a reduction of initial scholarship recipients by two for the 2011-12 incoming class, a reduction of the overall scholarship counters by two for the 2011-12 academic year and a reduction of the total number of National Letter of Intent/SEC scholarship papers that can be offered to prospective student-athletes by two for the February 2011 signing date.

(It was D.J. McCarthy, he actually "resigned" and it was for impermissible benefits for a JUCO player. The investigation also found some other issues.)

LSU is one of those schools that probably doesn't have to worry too much about losing two scholarships for a year, particularly if the NCAA doesn't decide to go with additional sanctions. Given the current mood in Indianapolis, which would probably strike even Pat Dye as too forgiving, there shouldn't be much concern about the NCAA making things tougher.

It's still not clear who will coach Pitt against Kentucky
This is getting a little ridiculous here. Michael Haywood was introduced Thursday at Pitt, but don't expect him to coach during the bowl game. At this point, a parakeet might be drafted for the job.

Pederson made it clear that although Haywood has been hired, the Panthers are Wannstedt's team until after the BBVA Compass Bowl Jan. 8. Wannstedt, forced to resign last week, has yet to decide whether he will coach the Panthers in that game.

Wannstedt has every right to be bitter about being fired by Pitt after being relatively successful there, but he really doesn't have a right to keep the program in limbo leading up to the bowl game. Not that Kentucky is complaining.

Florida State quarterback plans on playing against South Carolina
Christian Ponder plans to play for now. That might not be the best news for the Gamecocks' secondary.

Mark Cuban doesn't understand college football
He thinks that the problem in getting a playoff -- which your humble correspondent still thinks is a bad idea -- is money.

"Put $500 million in the bank and go to all the schools and pay them money as an option," Cuban was quoted by as saying. "Say, ‘Look, I’m going to give you X amount every five years. In exchange, you say if you’re picked for the playoff system, you’ll go."’

Okay, Mark, let me explain something to you. Every person imaginable has tried to sell college football presidents on the idea that a playoff would make more money. For whatever reason, they either don't buy it, or don't want to give up whatever advantages they see in the current system in return for that extra money. It doesn't matter if that extra money comes from ESPN, from Mark Cuban or from the fans who would go to those games. You're not going to be able to buy a playoff system.

And one would hope that those supporters of a playoff system that complain about the role of money flowing to the big colleges in propping up the BCS would either distance themselves from Cuban or stop whining. You can't root for money to change things only when your side has it. It's ironic to hear those who have complained about a cartel picking a championship system they don't like now rallying around a single man choosing a set-up he likes just because they agree with him and he has the money to think he can make it happen.

'You will never succeed at our goals. Welcome back'
Athletics director Oliver Luck on why he decided to ask Bill Stewart to step aside after this season.

"I didn't believe we had an opportunity to win a national championship with the direction of the program," Luck said. "At the end of the day, results matter. And we weren't getting the results."

Wait, he asked Stewart to step aside after next season? So I guess nobody should expect a national championship from West Virginia in 2011 -- after all, the school's athletics director clearly does not.

Of course, why you would keep a coach you don't think can win a national championship if a national championship is your goal is a bit confusing. But West Virginia became the banana republic of college football a long time ago, so the Stewart presidency is coming to a close, but the junta will give him one more victory lap for old time's sake.