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Monday Hub Is Feeling Metropolitan

Joe McKnight, Cosmopolitan: LSU fans will never, ever forgive USC for being good enough to win the Associated Press' mythical national championship the one year in the last four decades the Tigers happened to also have a stake at the top - and will never, ever admit how wrong they are about their sole claim to that championship - and it seems the L.A. Times may be just getting how serious this business is in the South. The catalyst for venom this time: the Trojan poaching of Joe McKnight:

J.T. Curtis, football coach at the John Curtis Christian School, and son of the man who founded the private school in 1962, was supposed to deliver the goods to Louisiana State.

"For Joe to go to LSU, I'm the hero, but that wasn't what Joe wanted to do," Curtis barked from behind his desk. "I was not disloyal to my state. I was loyal to my player."

The backlash has been, in the finest Southern football tradition, unkind.

"Some said I didn't have any state pride by not staying home," McKnight said. "Some would say that I'll go out there [to USC] and sit on the bench for three years."

And the ultimate insult: "Some said I was scared to play in the SEC."

Louisiana has not taken this well.

While performing in this year's Mardi Gras parade, the Curtis School's marching band got jeered.

A member of the band came back and informed J.T.: "You're marching in the next one! They want to kill you and Joe."

Curtis has been told he is "the most hated guy in the LSU community."

Per this final line, the most hated guy in the "LSU community," clearly - and, dare I say, ironically - is Nick Saban, but Pete Carroll would not be far behind, and the friend of my enemy is my enemy, et cetera.


USC has much to offer...like, er, the Annenberg school, yes. Of course. Annenberg.
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Now, why would a talented young man with his choice of schools and a specific ambition beyond football - sports broadcasting - choose Los Angeles over Baton Rouge? The Times cites three reasons:

• Heisman Trophies, i.e. "The best players go there."
• A "contrarian streak"
• USC's well-regarded Annenberg School of Communication

LSU's reasons: he's scared to play in the SEC. Of course, the frou frou, academic-minded nancy. Go provincialism! (To be fair, if I had a chance for a guy nearby with these stats, I'd be threateningly possessive about him, too)

We Are Going to Suck. Really. Why Won't You Believe Us? Dave Heller in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, via Wisconsin blog Real and Fake Sports Musings, takes a quick look at Wisconsin's expectations vs. Wisconsin's performance:

Year Preseason Final Rank Year Preseason Final Rank
2006 Unranked 7 1999 10 Unranked
2005 Unranked 15 1998 20 6
2004 21 17 1997 24 Unranked
2003 21 Unranked 1996 Unranked Unranked
2002 25 Unranked 1995 20 Unranked
2001 22 Unranked 1994 10 Unranked
2000 4 23 1993 Unranked 6

That's a pretty consistent trend, imperceptibly bucked by the 2004 team and nowhere else: the higher the expectation, the harder the fall. ESPN's early read on the '07 Badgers: Big Ten favorite.

Quickly: Better things to do with your money than give $2,500 to make it to the Tire Bowl? Where are Virginia fans' priorities? ... Urban Meyer would like to personally thank Kirk Herbstreit ... Snubbed 6-6 teams of Conference USA, the Texas Bowl wants you ... Defensive line depth and a quarterback capable of walking off the field under his own power: the pleasures are small at Mississippi State ... Brett Schaeffer's starting days are numbered at Ole Miss ... Football as therapy for the family of Robert Marve ... Syvelle Newton moves North and wonders what might have been ... The ACC is keeping an eye on the Big Ten's TV network ... Missouri turns its recruiting attention to Quarterback Plan B ... Donnie Webb covers the shooting of "The Express" in Syracuse ... And a little scheduling breakdown in the Orlando Sentinel: the Big 12 plays eight I-AA opponents, the Pac Ten only two. And what's with the road-phobia in the SEC?


The Rap Sheet
Crimes, misdemeanors and eligibility-crippling issues legal, academic, institutional and otherwise.
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Fired, last week, Montana State coach Mike Kramer, after yet another ex-Bobcat was arrested for, and I quote, "using his athletic scholarship money to traffic cocaine from California in the Bozeman area." That's enterprising, at least, but also the last straw for A.D. Peter Fields.

This arrest - of former all-Big Sky receiver Rick Gatewood and his brother, Randy - might be a footnote to those zany Championship Subdivision kids, if it weren't the sixth in the last year of one-time MSU athletes for drugs and/or murder in an apparent "drug-dealing cartel":

An affidavit alleges Gatewood and his brother were part of a drug-dealing cartel, consisting of former MSU athletes, who were known as the main suppliers of cocaine in Bozeman and sold the drug to MSU and Bozeman High School students.

The group was also trafficking cocaine in Billings, Kalispell, Helena and Missoula, court records stated.

"Several kilograms or pounds" of the drug was shipped to Bozeman in the mail each week over the two-year period, according to the affidavit. The cocaine was often mailed inside a can of peanut butter to mask the smell of the drugs from police dogs, or developed inside a DVD player, court records stated.

I've used Montana State before as a warning: beware the ruralite, and beware especially the city-slicker turned ruralite, who feels free from civilized constraints in the open spaces - the Gatewoods, like apparent accomplices Derrick Davis and Andre Fuller, are native Californians corrupting the values of the plain folk of the rugged prairie. But, grisly on-campus body-dumping notwithstanding, there's much worse going on in those woods. Dark things, best left unspoken, where even coke-slinging beach bunnies fear to tread.

Unless, of course, it's all the NCAA's fault for perpetuating the downtrodden. Either way.


Where no one can hear you scream.
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