• Mustain a Trojan Man! The L.A. Times says USC's embarrassment of blue chip backfield riches will continue with the commitment of Mitch Mustain to play for the Trojans. The paper got neither Mustain nor Pete Carroll on the record, or anyone else aside from "a source" who goes unnamed and unquoted. Unless a denial or open letter decrying malicious lies to the public immediately follows - who could be surprised if it did? Nothing with Mustain is as it seems - he'll be the third top-ranked quarterback recruit in four years to sign with SC (J.D. Booty and Mark Sanchez both precede him with that distinction), following a mere Heisman Trophy winner and two-time finalist with a pair of national championships. Yawn. He will also, however, be a redshirt sophomore when he comes back in 2008, Sanchez's junior year, which only leaves Mustain with one year to play if he can't wrest the job. That will be a hell of a battle for one of the nation's plummest, guaranteed-to-succeed positions next offseason.
• Pork Rind Jimmy In Line For Nonprofit Job! Something known as the NCAA Division I management council elected Wednesday to put the kibosh on coaches' ability to text message recruits, prefering Ron Zook spend 19 hours a day generating illicit smoke signals and writing in the condensation on blue chips' bedroom windows at 4 a.m. Management councilperson Kate Hickey thinks "student-athletes wanted to see this eliminated for their own sanity," a sentiment allegedly echoed by the Student Athlete Advisory Council, but Kate clearly has never wanted a five-star VHT - I mean really wanted him, so much that you already lose your mind having text rather than hear his mumbling monotone on the phone during designated no-call periods, much less see his raw physical presence in the flesh. Why is the NCAA trying to keep apart two people who people who were obviously meant to be together? Why can't it understand?
The issue goes up to the Association's Board of Directors for thumbs up/down on April 26, but, as one council member said, that's "just going through the motions." Texting's good as banned. OMG ROTFL hilarity from in-touch Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls? Not banned.
• No New Bowls! Because there's so likely to be no new teams eligible to fill more than the 64 existing postseason slots, the bowl gluttony temporarily holds this year at 32 games. The thoroughly named NCAA Postseason Football Licensing Subcommittee met in San Francisco this week to review and renew applications and licenses for the same lineup, including the somewhat embattled Papajohns.com Bowl.
• Castille Shocked at Own Mental Capacity! With the new defensive playbook bulging to phone book proportions, Alabama's new "star" cornerback, Simeon Castille, admits his doubts about mastering the scheme: "Surprisingly, I was just able to study our stuff and learn it pretty well." Study! Brilliant! Simeon's success is an inspiration to us all.
Optimism, via Tide Sports
- - -
Whatever the potentially hilarious defensive confusion Saturday, it could unfold in front of the largest crowd in history for a Spring game, at least some of whom participated to date in "Today's Poll" by the Tuscaloosa News, to the right. Which is more surprising: that well over 80 percent of Alabama fans represented here expect to bring home not only the SEC championship, of which the program has but one since 1992, but also a national championship within the next four years, or that more people actually concede Nick Saban may never earn his second mythical title with the Tide than believe the event could happen as soon as this year. What's with the bad vibes?
• Syracuse Backs Drop Like Flies! Greg Robinson was already troubled about how to replace the production of his leading rusher, Delone Carter, who will miss all of his sophomore season with a dislocated hip, and now must deal with torn cartilage in the knee of Curtis Brinkley, who was only a few yards behind Carter last season. Brinkley will have surgery next week but at least is expected to return as the number one option by August.
• Boilermakers Revamped! Purdue will unveil a new logo at Saturday's Black and Gold Game, along with a marketing emphasis on the phrase, "Boiler Up!" SMQ's suggestion for the new Boilermaker brand, complete with mascot:
St. Martin: Boiler Up! (Courtesy Modern Drunkard)
- - -
I can't think of any reason this might present a problem.
• tOSU Embraces Quarterback Symmetry! Ohio State backup quarterbacks Rob Schoenhoft and Antonio Henton will each alternate on both the Scarlet and Gray teams Saturday. So even though career clipboard guard Todd Boeckman won't be named the official starter until the fall, but he gets the silent vote of confidence by only being assigned to one team - just part of the perks when you're "old and smart."
One of the other perks of having a Spring game? Celebrity coaches who know jack about the subtleties and specifics of any of the schemes you're so trying to get down to achieve your dream of becoming a starter. This year, that means freshman point guard Mike Conley, tournament star, who sums his coaching credentials and strategy for the AP: "I play my share of video games. I like to get up and down the field with the passing game. I'll mix in some run plays here and there as well." That's always worked for me, too, Mike! We should organize a clinic - I hear those things are rackets.
Vince Williams imagines his future in Tallahassee.
- - -
• Williams Set to Destroy! Defensive recruits are "rushing to Florida State, says the Tallahassee Democrat, which reports FSU picked up its fifth 2008 commitment this week Wednesday, linebacker Vincent Williams. "I want to be a part of winning championships," Williams said, optimistically, before taking a dark, sinister turn. "I'm ready to crush people."
• Quickly: For the first time in decades, something in Arkansas' athletic department actually older than Frank Broyles; Ever wonder what the '3' refers to in Michigan State's newly implemented 4-3 defense? The Lansing State Journal explains; Receivers need to "step up" at Oregon and Cincinnati; A Penn State student urges fans to wear Virginia Tech maroon and orange to PSU's Blue-White Game; Joey Johnston of the Tampa Tribune is bored enough since the end of South Florida's practices to provide a 2007 Fall primer that includes serious Heisman candidate...Matt Grothe?; And Florida Baseball: stealing from Urban Meyer's playbook? (Student article forgiven for return-happy, paragraph-forsaking style, since so many pros do pretty much the same thing).
The Rap Sheet
Crimes, misdemeanors and eligibility-crippling issues legal, academic, institutional and otherwise.
- - -
• Dropped, for now, the federal bribery charges against Toledo running back Scooter McDougle, who had been charged earlier this month with accepting a car, cash and "other merchandise" in a point shaving racket headed by the mysterious "Gary." Earlier stories indicated more Rockets and possibly other MAC teams could be implicated by the time the feds were done with the investigative dirty work, but the government's first public act since that round is a step backward. Why then, given the seriousness of point shaving and the subsequent publicity of the charge, isn't this worth a bigger stir to clear McDougle? He's not cleared, or even close:
"This is just a procedural matter," said Gina Balaya, spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy III. "The investigation continues."