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Tag:Jerry Hinnen
Posted on: March 1, 2012 5:30 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 7:51 pm
 

LSU AD says Tigers, Gators may end series

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

SEC athletic directors met this week to try and squeeze the league's expansion toothpaste back into the tube of a scheduling rotation that all 14 schools could live with ... and unsurprisingly, they didn't make much headway. But the athletic director at LSU says he and his counterpart at Florida are willing to remove at least one minor hurdle from the deadlock.

Speaking to the Baton Rouge Advocate Thursday, LSU A.D. Joe Alleva said that both his program and Jeremy Foley's in Gainesville are "interested in ending" (to use the Advocate's paraphrase) the Tigers' and Gators' annual cross-division rivalry game. LSU and Florida have met each year since 1971 and were designated as permanent cross-divisional rivals in the SEC's 1992 expansion.

Sources told CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy Thursday, however, that Florida is not currently interested in canceling the series. 

The league is considering doing away with permanent cross-divisional rivalries in an effort to ease scheduling concerns, even though that decision would imperil two of the conference's most storied rivalries in Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee. Alleva, however, said that despite his school's willingness to abandon its annual cross-division game, there was "momentum" among the A.D.'s to preserve those two particular series.

“The only way around that is to try to maintain the old rivalries and come up with a solution for those who don’t have them,” Alleva said. “There’s a fine line to doing that.”

Both Ole Miss's Pete Boone and Vanderbilt's David Williams told the Birmingham News this week that they oppose maintaining permanent cross-divisional games, with Williams labeling as unfair a potential compromise that would see only some teams (namely, Auburn, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee) keep such games.

The leeway of a nine-game league schedule would ease many of those concerns dramatically (while raising others), but Alleva echoed the current prevailing sentiment of SEC A.D.'s and officials in saying he and his fellow A.D.'s prefer sticking with an eight-game schedule--even at the apparent cost of a LSU-Florida series highly valued by many fans on both sides.

Which is why the further A.D. meetings alluded to by SEC spokesman Charles Bloom at the conclusion of this set will no doubt be entirely necessary to iron out the league's scheduling dilemma. The conference continues to face a fundamental scheduling paradox: it wants a six-game divisional round-robin, a permanent cross-division game, and two rotated cross-divisional games (to avoid going a full decade without seeing some opposite-division opponents) ... and still stay at eight games.

Somewhere, push is going to have to come to shove, and it's not a shock a group of 14 men with as many differing agendas as the SEC's A.D.'s would seem to have haven't found where that shove is going to come just yet.

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 1:51 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: LSU

Posted by Jerry Hinnen


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at LSU.

Spring Practice Starts: March 2, or a day after it had been scheduledthat date two days after the start had originally been scheduled. Les Miles has said the delay is due to getting new defensive backs coach Corey Raymond up to speed.

Spring Game: March 31

Returning starters: Seven on offense, five on defense, both specialists.

Three Things To Look For:

1.  Is Zach Mettenberger ready to take over at quarterback? Miles has made no secret of his expectations for the former Georgia and JUCO quarterback, saying he expects the Tigers to immediately take a step forward in the passing game thanks to the big-armed senior--not that with Jordan Jefferson (fresh off his rock-bottom performance at the NFL Draft combine) finally relinquishing the reins, there's really anywhere for that passing game to go but up. But for the Tigers to live up to their preseason No. 1 ranking, Mettenberger will have to live up to his advance hype and then some. Unlike during the days of his Jefferson-Jarrett Lee platoon, Miles won't have many options if he doesn't; none of the other three quarterbacks on the roster (including brother-of-Phillip Stephen Rivers, a redshirt freshman) have taken a college snap or come with much in the way of advance hype. (In retrospect, maybe it's no surprise Miles lost his cool over Gunner Kiel's decision to go to Notre Dame instead.) 

2. Can anyone fill the shoes of Rueben Randle? The Tigers aren't exactly hurting at wide receiver, not with Odell Beckham Jr. looking to build on a highly promising freshman season and the brutally underused Russell Shepard bound to get the attention of his coaching staff one of these years. But both players are more the shifty, undersized type that thrived on Randle opening up coverage underneath than a replacement for Randle's 6'4" downfield presence; Beckham's 11.6 yards per-reception average in 2011 was nearly 6 yards shy of Randle's (outstanding) mark, for instance. And outside of Beckham and Shepard, no other wideout on the team finished in double-digits for receptions in 2011. Mettenberger's deep touch is nice, but it won't do a whole lot for the Tigers if someone -- sophomore Landry Fields, maybe, or junior Kadron Boone -- can't put it to use down the field. 

3. How will the Tigers react to their BCS debacle? Even without the likes of Jefferson, Randle, or Morris Claiborne, there's still no roster in the FBS more fully stocked with talent than this one. (It won't surprise anyone if the Tigers' entire starting defensive line -- Barkevious Mingo, Anthony Johnson, Bennie Logan, and Sam Montgomery -- ends up starting in the NFL as well.) Miles has been a master motivator in the past, and if he turns his team's faceplant in the Superdome into a rallying point and driving force, there's no reason they can't run the regular season table again. But if it instead becomes a black cloud that hangs over their spring drills and results in half-hearted efforts from player and coach alike, the Tigers don't have to look any further than the previous team to lose a national title game to Alabama -- Mack Brown's Texas, still struggling to recover from their loss in Pasadena -- to see how damaging the consequences can be.

To check in on the rest of the SEC and other BCS conferences, check out the Spring Practice Schedule

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 2:11 pm
 

'12 College Football Hall of Fame ballot released

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The National Football Foundation has released the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame ballot, the pool of 76 former players and eight coaches that will make up the 2012 Hall of Fame class. And not surprisingly, there's several names on the ballot that even a cursory glance would force a That guy isn't in yet? double-take. 

Here's eight of them from our perspective, acknowledging that the Eye on CFB team are too young to have gotten a first-hand look at greats like Notre Dame tight end Dave Casper or Michigan State wide receiver-turned-baseball legend Kirk Gibson. With that disclaimer out of the way, the first eight names we'd tick off on our ballot, in alphabetical order:

Trev Alberts, LB, NebraskaA pulverizing force off the edge for the Huskers in the early '90s, Alberts won the 1993 Butkus and Big 8 Defensive Player of the Year Honors. 

Tommy Frazier, QB, NebraskaJust the best option quarterback we've ever seen who just so happened to lead the Huskers to back-to-back national championships. We wouldn't bother to rank all 76 players 1-76, but if we did, we feel comfortable saying we'd put Frazier at No. 1.

Raghib Ismail, WR/KR, Notre DameOne of the game's true superstars in the late '80s and 1990, "The Rocket"'s highlight-reel returns helped the Irish to the 1990 national title and earned him two-time All-American honors, the Walter Camp Award, and a runner-up finish in the '90 Heisman balloting.

Jimmy Johnson, head coach, Miami, Oklahoma State: Howard Schnellenberger put the Hurricanes on the map, but it was Johnson who made Miami Miami--arguably the most influential college football program in Division I from Johnson's hire in 1984 through their 2001 upset loss to Ohio State in the BCA championship.

Jonathan Ogden, OT, UCLAWon the 1995 Outland, but awards and numbers don't illustrate how Ogden became -- along with the next entry on this list -- the sport's prototype offensive tackle.

Orlando Pace, OT, Ohio StateIt actually makes sense that Pace hasn't been elected yet -- this is his first year on the ballot -- but that really shouldn't remain the case long for the game's only two-time Lombardi Trophy winner.

Vinny Testaverde, QB, MiamiYes, he was an NFL bust, and yes, he flopped in the de facto 1987 national title game vs. Penn State. But that shouldn't overshadow an explosive, thrilling career for the 'Canes that saw him throw for 6,058 yards and win the 1987 Heisman. 

Derrick Thomas, LB, AlabamaHow the FBS's all-time record-holder for sacks in a season -- Thomas had a mind-blowing 27 in 1988, the year he won the Butkus Award -- still isn't in the Hall is a mystery worthy of that Sherlock Holmes guy.

Who else should get a nod? Let us know in the comments or our Facebook page. For a look at the 2011 class -- which, remember, did not include Frazier, Alberts, Thomas, Ismail, or Ogden -- click here.

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Saban says Tide will offer four-year scholarships

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Alabama was one of 30 BCS conference schools to recently vote against NCAA legislation that would allow -- though not mandate -- schools to offer multiple-year scholarships over the previous system of annual scholarship renewals. And the Tide football program had declined to offer them this past February, with Nick Saban citing lawsuits issued during the previous era of multiple-year scholarships as reason for the program's opposition.

Despite that stance, Saban told the Tuscaloosa News in a Tuesday story that the Tide would join Auburn and Florida (and, with the legislation's survival of the override vote, likely the rest of the SEC) in offering four-year scholarships starting with the 2013 class.

"We're going to offer four-year scholarships," Saban said. "Our whole conference is going to do it, all the schools, I think. And we're happy to do it."

Though we're skeptical a program truly "happy" to offer four-year scholarships would instead vote to prevent anyone from offering those scholarships, themselves included, Saban again referred to the legal ramifications when explaining the opposition of "some of the schools."

"We had the (four-year) rule years ago, and there were legal challenges to it," Saban said. "So we changed to the one-year scholarship then. I think that was why some of the schools had concerns." 

A four-year scholarship would conceivably make it more difficult for Saban to oversign in February and then "cut" players afterwards -- the Tide have seen widespread departures between spring practice and the start of fall camp each of the last several years under Saban -- but he forcefully denied either cutting players or that the new scholarships would have any impact on that issue at any school.

"We don't cut players," Saban said. "I don't know anyone who does. So I don't think that's an issue ... The player will still have to be academically eligible. He will still have to obey team rules and regulations. And the player is still going to have the same rights and the same appeals process that he has now."

Saban is entirely correct that just because School X has committed its four-year promise in writing doesn't mean Player Y is going to be able to skate through four years of school without worrying about the consequences. (He's also right that this could conceivably lead to some legal appeals here and there.) But given the ease with which schools have dismissed players on one-year scholarships in the past -- it's surprising to hear Saban say he "doesn't know anyone" who cuts players, given that SEC West rival Bobby Petrino declined to renew the scholarships of five different players just last year -- we disagree that nothing has changed.

Even if having a promise of four years' worth of education in writing is still just a promise, that's more commitment from their new schools than those players have gotten before.

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 2:06 pm
 

Tuberville named in $1.7M fraud lawsuit

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Texas Tech is in the middle of its third spring practice under Tommy Tuberville. But no matter how well the Red Raiders may be doing on the Lubbock practice fields, it's been a tough month for Tuberville away from football.

A police investigation into Tuberville's wife, Suzanne Tuberville, following the death of an 87-year-old man who was injured in a November accident in which Suzanne was involved only reportedly closed Monday. Tuberville's legal stress isn't going away anytime soon, though: the Huntsville (Ala.) Times reported Tuesday that Tuberville is near the center of a lawsuit alleging more than $1.7 million worth of fraud on the part of Tuberville and his investment partners at the hedge fund TS Capital Partners.

The suit was filed by a collection of seven plaintiffs in U.S. District Court in Montgomery (Ala.) Friday. The Times details some of the allegations against Tuberville and TS Capital co-founder John David Stroud:

The 32-page suit alleges that Tuberville and Stroud mixed their clients' assets with their own, failed to file tax returns, falsified client statements, falsified fund performance reports and "generally disregarded and violated customary practices and procedures followed in the hedge fund and security investments industry."

Several plaintiffs, including at least one former employee of TS Capital, have demanded their money be returned, yet, according to the complaint, none of the money invested has been accounted for. The suit also states that investors listed "have reason to believe that most, and possibly all, of their invested funds have been misappropriated, improperly converted and/or squandered."

The suit lists 16 complaints against Tuberville and Stroud, including "negligence or wantonness," "fraudulent misrepresentation" and "fraudulent suppression."
Tuberville was the subject of a 2009 Birmingham News story which touted him as an "amateur stock guru" and detailed his role within the Auburn-based TS Capital, where he maintained an office between his departure from the Auburn head coaching position and his hire at Tech.

Whatever the results of the suit, it won't keep Tuberville from performing his duties with the Red Raiders, and won't prevent his team from rebounding from their disappointing 5-7 2011 season. But that mark showed how much work there is to be done in Lubbock, and anything that might blur their head coach's focus -- and you would think a $1.7 million lawsuit would do it -- certainly won't be welcome news either for Tuberville or his program.

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 5:08 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 5:10 pm
 

30 BCS schools vote against scholarship proposal

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The new NCAA legislation allowing schools to offer multiple-year scholarships to athletes only narrowly survived its recent override vote, with only two of the 330 votes cast needing to have swung the other way to have nixed the legislation, despite the support of NCAA president Mark Emmert. The overwhelming majority of support for the override came -- as expected -- from non-BCS or mid-major schools worried over the potential increase in costs.

But a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education shows that a healthy portion of BCS conference schools also voted for the override. According to this NCAA document obtained by the Chronicle, 30 different current and future BCS members supported the override, including the entire Big 12. The Big 12 was also the only BCS conference that exercised its institutional vote in favor of the override.

The Big Ten was the conference most solidly in opposition to the override, with only Wisconsin voting in favor. Among the other high-profile programs voting against multiple-year scholarships were Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M and USC. After the Big 12, the conference with the most votes in favor of the overrides was the ACC, with five. (The Big East did have six override votes if future members Boise State, Navy and San Diego State are included.)

As for that 30 vote tally, the opinion here is that that's only slightly fewer than 30 too many. It's one thing for cash-strapped mid-majors or even BCS schools on a notably tight budget -- say, Rutgers or Colorado, both of whom supported to override -- to oppose a measure they would struggle to afford, giving more cash-flush schools an instant recruiting advantage. It's another for programs like the Longhorns, Bayou Bengals, Volunteers and Sooners -- all of whom the Chronicle names as four of the 10 wealthiest athletics departments in the country -- to attempt to vote it down when they have the kinds of budgets that will barely flinch under the new scholarship burden. The motivation in Austin, Baton Rouge, Knoxville and Norman isn't that they can't hand out four-year scholarships, it's that they simply don't want to. 

Of course, the legislation doesn't mean any school -- BCS, mid-major, or otherwise -- is required to offer multiple-year scholarships. But since that might put the schools that don't at a recruiting disadvantage against schools that do, the Texases (and USCs, and Alabamas) have tried to prevent anyone from offering them.

In short: because these schools don't want to promise their athletes a full four-year college education, they've decided the athletes at other schools shouldn't have the benefit of that promise, either. 

A full BCS conference-by-conference breakdown of votes in favor of the override:

ACC: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia

Big East: Boise State, Cincinnati, Louisville, Navy, Rutgers, San Diego State

Big 12: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU, Texas, West Virginia

Big Ten: Wisconsin

Pac-12: Arizona, Cal, Colorado, USC

SEC: Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Texas A&M

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 3:12 pm
 

Garcia hoping "honesty" helps him to shot in NFL

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Stephen Garcia is hopeful for a shot with the NFL despite his mistake-plagued, alcohol-hampered past. And part of earning that shot may be accepting that the responsibility for that past falls entirely on himself.

"I've learned how immature I really was," Garcia told Scout.com NFL reporter Aaron Wilson in a lengthy, detailed interview. "I just didn't know exactly how important everything was until after I made all of those mistakes. I was trying to be like every other college kid, but you can't do that as a starting quarterback for an SEC team. Looking back, it sucks. I have nobody to blame but myself."

A native of Lutz, Florida, Garcia recently played in the "Battle of Florida" all-star game and said he spoke to scouts from multiple NFL teams there, including one from the Atlanta Falcons. Garcia said he was as up front as possible with the scout about his time at South Carolina.

"I went down the list and he said he appreciated the honesty," Garcia said. "He told me to stay on that track, and I will. I just wish I had changed earlier. I didn't fully understand until it was too late. I'm doing everything I can to do things the right way."

Garcia's trying to impress the pros with more than his candor, though. He said he's been working out with former Arena League quarterback John Kaleo in preparation for the Gamecocks' pro day, sharpening his mechanics and improving his accuracy.

But Garcia still faces an uphill battle to be drafted -- CBSSports.com's draft ratings call him the No. 26 QB in his class, and expect him to have to sign as a free agent -- and any prospect who admits he will have to "prove that I'm not an alcoholic" isn't going to be one teams will beat down the doors to take a flyer on.

"It's kind of stressful because I don't know where the hell I'm going to be," Garcia said. "Hopefully, I'm playing in the NFL in the fall. Nothing's guaranteed. It's a waiting game. Nobody likes waiting around, but it is what it is. My head is clear. I'm more focused, and I'm ready to take on this next step in my life."

That step may or may not prove to be the step Garcia wants it to be. But if the remorse and maturation he expresses throughout the interview is genuine, that might be a bigger step than a chance at professional football would be anyway.

For more of Garcia's comments -- on Steve Spurrier, fatherhood, his insistence that he doesn't have "a drinking problem" -- read the full Taylor interview. It's well worth your time. 

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 12:44 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 1:36 pm
 

Man in accident with Tommy Tuberville's wife dies

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

An 87-year-old man who sustained injuries in a Nov. 1 car accident involving Tommy Tuberville's wife, Suzanne Tuberville, died in an assisted living facility Friday, the Lubbock-Avalance Journal reported.

Sgt. Jonathan Stewart with the Lubbock Police Department told the Avalanche-Journal in November that Suzanne Tuberville had run a red light while driving in Lubbock and struck the vehicle driven by Nelda Purdy, 73. Her husband, Ira Purdy, was a passenger in the vehicle and sustained "a significant head injury, a broken leg, [and] broken ribs," according to Purdy family attorney Bradley Pettit. 

Ira spent time both at the local Covenant Medical Center and a rehab facility before being transferred to the assisted living facility.

No charges have been filed in the case and Stewart said no citations have been issued. But Stewart did say that the investigation into the case remains ongoing. UPDATE, Feb. 28: Stewarthas now said that the investigation has been closed, with no charges yet filed.  

Both Pettit and a source speaking to Texas Tech student newspaper the Daily Toreador said that a citation had been issued to Suzanne Tuberville some time after the crash.

A Texas Tech spokesman said the Tubervilles had no comment other than to wish the Purdy family their condolences.

The Lubbock Medical Examiner's office has been asked to determine Ira Purdy's cause of death, Pettit said. Stewart confirmed the autopsy but did not say when its results might be released.

“The medical examiner was called in, they’re reviewing the case and we’re waiting for their findings," Pettit said. "We’re very confident they will find that he died as a result of the injuries from the Nov. 1 accident."

Tommy Tuberville's Red Raiders recently began spring practice and are gearing up for their spring game on March 24. But it seems unlikely Tuberville is entirely focused on football right at this moment.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com