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Sprints Is Moving Out of the Whitney and Not Moving to the Mountain West // 08.20.10

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SECRET AGENT MEN

'Move along. Nothing to see here except the mad dash to vacate the premises'
Looks like every South Carolina player who was living at the Whitney Hotel will not be much longer.

"But all of our guys are going to pay their bill and hopefully go live somewhere else," Spurrier said. "That's what we hope happens -- that they pay their bills up and go live somewhere else. That's about all I can say about it."

Spurrier would not say whether players had gone extended periods without paying rent.

Well, I think we can move this one out of the "much ado about nothing" category. On the other hand, the actual impact is still less than crystal clear. The number of players involved? We don't know; de facto defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson references "two or three starters" needing to leave the hotel.

And if the players really are able to pay up, it might be enough to keep them eligible or at least minimize the penalties. But regardless of whether the team ends up losing players for games over this or not, it's still not something you want to be resolving two weeks before the season begins.

Haney is skeptical
Travis Haney, beat writer for the Post and Courier, still isn't convinced that there's anything that might endanger the season.

I've never felt like this Whitney thing was a big deal. I don't believe it'll come to anything -- even restitution.

He quotes a comment Spurrier made to his call-in show talking about "whatever their arrangements were." If you read between the lines, you might be able to see some of the players going to the manager and asking for more time or to pay bills later or whatever. If something like that happened, the question is whether similar policies were in place for other students.

The only good news in AgentGate for South Carolina is that Spurrier expects to know about Weslye Saunders, at least, before the opener.

THE END OF THE WEST

If nothing else, conference realignment brings out the hypocrite in everyone
Karl Benson, who recently spent months trying to destroy the Mountain West by striking a secret deal with BYU, now calls the decisions of Fresno State and Nevada to join the MWC "selfish." And how, sir, would you describe the WAC's plan? An act of sober statesmanship?

Mormons play poker?
Vanquish the Foe sees this as a move by BYU to try to get out of The Mtn. deal. On that count, BYU is more intelligent than anyone else in the MWC.

So they decide to let it leak that they are going independent...the hope is that the MWC realizes that the current 1.3M TV contract will be worth even less with BYU out of the conference (NO ONE is watching a SDSU vs. Colorado State game).

This is true -- no one is watching a SDSU vs. Colorado State game, except maybe hackers, who are writing down all the coaches' names so they can guess the password to the CSU Twitter account.

If BYU is willing to share some of the proceeds from a separate television contract and the Mountain West says no -- again, they have no one to blame but themselves.

And one of newly-independent BYU's first opponents would be ...
Texas, apparently. There doesn't look to be any reason that the plan couldn't go ahead if BYU is forced to rejoin the MWC. But because there's a home-and-home involved, at least one of the games would have the same viewership as the Lifetime Network movie of the week if BYU doesn't leave.

Scott Barnes has a talent for understatement. And might be stupid
The Utah State athletics director writes a letter to Aggies fans. And suddenly it becomes clear how USU has become one of the worst teams in the NCAA.

In a 12-hour period we have gone from looking forward to participating in an expanded WAC with a bright and prosperous future to one of some uncertainty.

Well, yes, Scott, you could phrase it that way. You could also say "World War II was a heck of fisticuff, wasn't it?"

As of Tuesday, BYU was on the verge of joining the WAC in all sports but football. ...

When the possibility of BYU leaving became known, MWC leadership contacted three WAC members inquiring about their interest in joining the MWC. Utah State was the first of these three contacts.

At the point in time when Utah State was contacted by the MWC we had a binding agreement with the WAC and were well positioned with nine members, which included BYU. We were simply committed to uphold our agreement with fellow WAC members. We respectfully declined MWC interest and believed all WAC members would remain committed to our agreement.

He turned them down? Because he trusted that "all WAC members would remain committed to our agreement"?!? Scott, have you even paid attention to what's happened in college football over the last six months? There is no loyalty when it comes to conference realignment. It's stab or be stabbed. Left unsaid -- and the one thing that makes your humble correspondent think this might not be stupid -- is the likelihood that Utah State had already signed the contract, didn't have the $5 million to spend and doesn't want to say that.

Barnes does clear up the timeline here: It's clear that the MWC move was pre-emptive strike against BYU and that the Cougars and the WAC have been completely outmaneuvered by someone who still doesn't realize that The Mtn. will never work. It also casts doubt on the idea that the MWC isn't interested in holding a championship game. (HT: MWConnection)

Did Nevada and / or Fresno State leak the BYU plan?
That's one of several interesting questions from one of several solid Mountain West Connection posts on the WAC vs. MWC Fight to the Death. (Really, if you're interested in this stuff and not following the Connection -- um, why not?)

It is no secret that Fresno State and Nevada wanted to be included with Boise State in the invite to the MWC. It is not beyond imagination that Fresno and Nevada, once they saw the BYU plan about to be set in motion, discussed with each other how their fortunes could actually be diminished due to a weakened MWC and an independent BYU.

That would actually go more toward explaining the anger at the Wolf Pack and the Bulldogs than switching conferences.

OTHER NEWS

J. Edgar Hoover probably just wanted to see who was brave enough to sue the Bear
The FBI kept tabs on a desegregation lawsuit against Bear Bryant during the closing days of the Civil Rights Movement, the Associated Press found out. We know that J. Edgar Hoover was aware of the investigation because he developed a way of signaling his interest so crafty that the Soviets would have never figured it out.

"He was the only one in the bureau allowed to use the 'H' initial," Gentry said. "It means he saw it, and he obviously approved it if he didn't do anything to stop it. He didn't personally approve everything, but something like that he certainly would have known about."

This isn't really all that surprising; Hoover had a lot of files on famous people and civil rights leaders, some of who he saw as commie pinko threats to America. Nonetheless, it is an interesting piece of history.

Auburn fans might be happy about this. Alabama fans are unlikely to care
That's because one team would be pleased to be in the conference race until the last game of the year and one expects to be there. In any case, Kirk Herbstreit has dubbed the Iron Bowl THE SEC WESTERN DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.

"I think the Iron Bowl on Nov. 26 is going old-school," Herbstreit said today on a media conference call. "I think it's going to decide the SEC West and who ultimately gets to Atlanta and plays in the SEC Championship Game. I think it's going to be exciting in the state of Alabama this year."

By old-school, Herbstreit means "something that has never happened before," since (as Solomon points out) the Iron Bowl has actually never been the de facto SEC West Championship Game. Sure, divisional play has been around fewer than 20 years, and the odds are it will happen at some point. But "old-school" is a bit odd, unless Herbstreit was describing something other than the consequences.

Herbstreit also made it sound like GameDay would likely head to Tuscaloosa on Sept. 11, though ESPN is also considering Ohio State-Miami and Florida State-Oklahoma as part of its series of games featuring teams that used to be good ten years ago playing teams that still are.

Spurrier also had some fun on the radio
Not all of his call-in show was AgentGate. No, Steve Spurrier spent some time doing what he does so well.

"Golly, times have changed when Tennessee doesn’t want to play North Carolina in football because they’re too good for them," Spurrier said. "That’s kind of amazing right there."

Maybe he does still have that fastball when it comes to one-liners.

Homerism Roundtable up
Optimism abounds. We are South Carolina bloggers.

So much for that recruiting ranking
Florida's 2010 recruiting class is not holding up so well. Jordan Haden has already left and now WR Adrian Coxson is also transferring. I'm not sure that Matt Elam is right in saying that the two moves are "destroying our class," but they do raise some questions about whether these are isolated incidents or a sign something is up in Gainesville.

Meanwhile, Maryland seems like the destination for both of the transfers -- Coxson is reportedly already on his way and Haden is also a candidate to become a turtle.

Nike does traditionalist?
It appears that Nick Saban is downplaying the significance of the Pro Combat uniforms, leading to this unfortunate paragraph from the Birmingham News.

Suffice it to say the Crimson Tide won't be outfitted head to toe in houndstooth.

Why not? I mean, aside from the fact that it would cause a nationwide seizure epidemic.

Reason No. 577 that the NCAA deserves your hatred
How about telling a guy two weeks before the season that he doesn't qualify academically? His high school coach on the objections to computer courses:

It's frustrating that the NCAA can basically take a kid's life and turn it upside down for classes we've taken before (at the school). We've used (computer classes) for years, probably 300 times in my eight years. I can't figure out what's wrong with those classes.

I'm not necessarily going to defend or attack those courses, because I don't know. But the student took one of them during his sophomore year. I realize this is the NCAA, but does it really take that long to make a decision?

Ryan Mallett in chart form
A neat post from the guys at Arkansas Expats and one of their readers.

Percy Harvin Collapsed At Vikings Training Camp, Taken Away In Ambulance
Migraines are scary, serious things. I have a family member who once had a migraine so bad she had to be taken to the emergency room. They are not just really bad headaches -- they are blinding headaches, often with other symptoms like nausea and dizziness. Thoughts, prayers and best wishes to Percy Harvin. Here's hoping that he can get these things under control and still play in the NFL, but mostly hoping he lives a healthy life.