Oregon is having an offseason that might put Urban Meyer’s Gators to shame. Since dropping the Rose Bowl, the Ducks have seen over five of their players involved in off-field incidents. In order: running back LaMichael James was arrested for assault, strangulation, and harassment. Kicker Rob Beard was investigated for misdemeanor assault for his role in a street fight that defensive end Matt Simms was investigated for as well. As if that wasn’t enough, fellow kicker Mike Bowlin left the team after his alleged involvement in the same incident. Prior to that, quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and wide receiver Garrett Embry were named as suspects in an alleged theft of laptops. Embry was kicked off the team shortly thereafter. That’s not all. On Friday night/Saturday morning, linebacker Kiko Alonso was picked up for DUI. Teammate Jamere Holland mistakenly thought that meant Kiko was kicked off the team and he produced this rant on his Facebook profile (warning: extremely graphic language):
There’s no doubt that the Pac-10 has the talent and programs to compete with any conference in America across all sports in any given year. The one area where the Pac-10 can’t match other conferences however is TV deals. The Big Ten and Mountain West have their own TV networks. Most other BCS conferences get good TV exposure during the season and the ACC, SEC, and Big 12 already have conference title games. The Pac-10 doesn’t have the money-making game and worse, their games sometimes get lost on Versus, TBS (in the past), or local FSN affiliates where they’re even tape delayed! The Pac-10 is one of the elite conferences in America and needs to start acting like it. That’s exactly why they’ve announced their contemplating expansion.
I think it’s a fine idea to expand and I would make the suggestion for the conference to approach Mountain West powers Utah and BYU to join. The fit would be natural for several reasons. For one, both schools consistently field competitive basketball and football teams while BYU particularly has a strong football tradition. Secondly, the schools are natural rivals as are every other regional couple in the conference. Thirdly, both schools would fit well with the travel model the conference has already established; along with the Norcal, Socal, Oregon, Arizona, and Washington trips, schools would now add in a Utah trip. Lastly, the conference would then have divisions — the Washington, Oregon, and Norcal schools in the Pac-10 North and the Socal, Arizona, and Utah schools in the Pac-10 South. To me, this alignment would be perfect and it would add some nice juice to the conference.
I’ve read that the conference is targeting Utah and Colorado. I prefer BYU over Colorado for several reasons. BYU has been much more competitive in basketball and football recently. BYU and Utah also are natural rivals while Utah and Colorado aren’t; the Pac-10 is based on rivalries. I understand the appeal of Colorado because of the Denver TV market but BYU makes much more sense. That would be my vote for expansion. If the Pac-10 decides to let in the likes of Fresno State, San Diego State, or Boise State, then they will have ignored everything the conference is predicated upon and they will be expanding for the sake of expansion. Let’s hope they do it the right way and in the spirit of the conference.
Lost in the shuffle last week because of Super Bowl hype and the news that Lane Kiffin received a commitment from 13-year-old quarterback David Sills, was another dumb comment by Kiffin. As LBS contributor Botros reminded me, Kiffin had this to say last week about UCLA recruits:
“I watched it over the weekend, just to see if it’s the same, and it’s really still the same,” he said. “I guess we waste time continuing to recruit them. We know within the first 10 minutes whether they’re the type of guys that want to play here or there.”
First of all, when Kiffin was working at USC last time Karl Dorrell was the coach in Westwood and he allowed the Trojans to take their pick of top recruits in So Cal like they were Neil Patrick Harris walking into a brothel. This time around it’s Rick Neuheisel coaching the Bruins — someone who lives for recruiting and has no qualms about stealing your recruit nor your wife. In other words, times are completely different now and Kiffin’s words sound solely like sour grapes coming from a man who saw a few top recruits choose UCLA over USC — not the way it was supposed to be (or used to happen). I’m not about to gloat over UCLA winning a few recruiting battles. Only time will tell if those really were victories for the program because most of player development depends on coaching. Neuheisel and Chow have a pretty good track record of maximizing talent. Pete Carroll was legendary for his abilities. Ed Orgeron was a flop. Lane Kiffin? I have a good reason to believe his results will not match his mouth.
13-year-old David Sills committed to play quarterback for Lane Kiffin at USC. Of course when you hear such a story and read about a prodigy, naturally you want to see what the kid looks like. Well thankfully we live in a day ripe with YouTube and self-promotion, so there is no shortage of video on David Sills. This vid shows Sills making pretty much all the throws and I’m not even embarrassed to say he has a stronger arm than I do. Here it is:
Sure, the kid looked pretty sharp in that video but let’s be real here — he’s only 13-years-old! Think about how far off he is from playing with actual competition! How can you actually judge a guy until you see him play at a higher level against some real players? This stuff is unbelievable. Dare I say we now have another Bryce Harper overhype publicity story on our hands? Sadly, yes.
I thought it was crazy two years ago when Kentucky basketball got an 8th grader, Michael Avery, to commit to their school. At least that was basketball where you can have an idea at an early age of someone’s potential dominance. Football however, is an entirely different story where physical growth is crucial. Still, that didn’t stop USC newcomer Lane Kiffin to offer a 13-year-old quarterback prospect from Delaware a scholarship. And the kid, David Sills, accepted. From the News Journal in Delaware:
I’m very excited but I was very, very nervous,” Sills said tonight about talking to Kiffin over the phone. “It was very cool [to talk to Kiffin] but my heart was beating so fast, and I was scared. But after it was over, I was so excited and pumped.”
I’ve always imagined in my dreams going to USC,” he said. “But I never really detailed it to the phone call. All I imagined was playing in the Coliseum. But this is so crazy and out of nowhere.”
Yes, this is the same kid that won’t be able to sign a letter of intent until 2015. Good luck with that. USC can’t even lock up Seantrel Henderson who verbally committed to them but they’re trying to lock up an 8th grader. Lane Kiffin must also be doing some serious ass-kissing here if you’re wondering how he came about his decision. Kiffin apparently made the offer after being swayed by renowned quarterback coach, Steve Clarkson, who trains Matt Leinart and Matt Barkley amongst others. I guess Lane is trying to keep it all in the family. Or maybe he needs a new QB coach.
Also check out Dennis Dodd’s feature on Sills and young QBs that was written a year ago.
I used to think that a Ryan Leaf Colts jersey was the greatest sports collectible around. I may have to change my mind. If there’s something that I’d love to have in my memorabilia collection, it might be this pair of Joe Paterno’s horned rims up for sale. Joe Pa donated his coke bottles for a charity auction that supports Penn State Public Broadcasting.
I’m not sure what that would fetch but I’m guessing the LBS minions could put together enough scraps to gobble that thing up. I’d probably put it next to my autographed Red Auerbach cigar, in between the Paul Bryant hat and Jim Tressel sweater vest in the memorabilia room. I’m pretty surprised that the glasses aren’t thicker — I’m calling it a phony.
We already knew that Tennessee fans did not take Lane Kiffin’s impromptu exit from Knoxville too easily but we figured they were over it once the riots settled. While there’s plenty of scrutiny to go around now that Derek Dooley’s been hired, some Vols fans are still uneasy about Lane’s exit and one in particular is trying to exact his revenge. As LBS contributor Botros shared with us, Tennessee fan Drew McElroy is getting creative:
Knoxville attorney Drew McElroy has filed paperwork with the Knoxville City Council’s Public Properties and Facilities Naming Committee to rename a waste water treatment plant the “Lane Kiffin Sewage Center.”
“It dawned on me–Lane Kiffin told us that he hoped the fans would understand. I thought ‘Well, naming the wastewater plant for him would let him know, I think very clearly, we do understand,’” McElroy, an off-and-on season ticket holder said. “We want to memorialize his stay here, and I think this would be doing it appropriately.”
Ouch. I’m hoping this story will break through Lane’s shield of selfishness and embarrass a slight amount of integrity and loyalty into his body. Or not. Kiffin now has his dream job so who cares about anything else, right? In his misguided thinking he probably figures it’s just sour grapes from a scorned fan base. I hope the name gets approved.