• Arkansans Is Crazy, Take 46: All Arkansas-related stories, always met with relish, from now on are preceded for effect by "Houston's Theme":
Brace yourself, viewers of the Southeast, for a barrage of hacky August recaps of the Hogs' offseason from the likes of CSTV, and for a few slicker, poorly-lit, slow-panning ESPN versions increasing in frequency if Darren McFadden's essential McFaddeness continues to produce a winner despite all. USA Today delivers a lengthy recap of the soap operatic Arkansas saga, but nothing particularly new, other than that infected "Darksiders" have contracted "Freedom-of-Infomania," an insatiable appetite only stoked by their successful hunt of Houston Nutt's cell phone records:
Fans and reporters are not the only ones requesting information. Mustain also submitted an FOI request, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The quarterback asked for phone records for Houston Nutt; Danny Nutt, the running backs coach and head coach's brother; and Broyles.
"It's a feeding frenzy out there," says White, who is trying to conduct a search for an athletics director amid this environment. White is handling the search himself. He says he is putting nothing in writing and is not using his university cellphone.
"Some individuals who have declined interest (in the AD job), they didn't state that (the turmoil) was the reason, but then they'd say, 'By the way, what in the world is going on?' So I'd have to conclude it was on their mind," he says.
What are you trying to hide, John A. White?
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Or, in a tax-paying democracy, is that a good thing? Nutt said he'll be warning his colleagues at this week's SEC meetings in Destin - the same ones already fingered for violations by rival schools' message boards and each other - to be "on guard" against "unprecedented public scrutiny." As if Urban Meyer and Nick Saban haven't felt the unending gaze of the message board, flight-tracking era already, or have time for that shit either way. But, save Bobby Johnson, who might be out committing epic scandal at Vanderbilt for all we know, these are technically public employees, and thereore necessarily subject to intrusive and at times counterproductive public oversight. Once again, college football reality, like so much uncooperative reality in general, foils sound libertarian doctrine.
Along with this story: links to John David Terry's complaint and the university's motion to dismiss, both PDFs and neither any more revelatory than the main article to long-time followers of the offseason's best ongoing story, and a sidebar on "Mitchell" Mustain's new start at USC, which offers this:
"That's interesting," says Mustain's mother, Beck Campbell, an Arkansas graduate, when told of Nutt's comment. "Mitchell would have been a fourth-generation graduate. We did everything in our power to keep him here."
Campbell declined to discuss the details of the difficult times at Arkansas but says when her son told her he was leaving, she cried all day. "He felt he didn't have a choice," she says.
Still sounds to me, as I wrote last week, that Mustain was pressured to accept what he knew were unrealistic expectations out of a sense of loyalty to his state, school and, apparently, his family, and he's had enough of all that. How much is he looking forward to starting over in L.A.? According to this mini-piece, "a ton." And I do not blame him.
• Meet and Greet and Feud: Aside from Bernie Machen's playoff proposal, the "main event" at the SEC meetings is the first face-to-face meeting between Nick Saban and LSU successor Les Miles after an offseason of recruiting showdowns and at least one obscenity-laced declaration of rivalry on Miles' part. He's right that Saban is the "most hated" man in Louisiana, an unenviable position I imagine the coach relishing during sweaty early morning sessions resembling Uma Thurman's wood-punching scenes with Pai Mei in Kill Bill: Vol. 2, but Gannett LSU man Glenn Guilbeau's assessment of Miles as the "nice guy" is more tenuous. More like a loose cannon, bombast to his predecessor's mercenary steel. Saban, after all, has had no time for public reprisal, and once left Miles legal pad notes on every Tiger player when he took over the job, which was a suspiciously accommodating - and no doubt shrewdly calculating - gesture. Yet still Miles is seeing red in his unsettling dreams:
What about Oklahoma, too, which helped facilitate his hiring at LSU by losing two straight to Miles' upstart Oklahoma State teams in 2001 and 2002? I imagine a sudden flash of blood red filling his vision, Marnie-style, and...it's probably wise to keep the man out of a bull ring, is what I'm saying.
Experienced Photoshoppers who share my sudden vision of Saban in full Torero regalia, dodging a charging Miles in front of rabid crimson espectadores, you know your charge.
• Semantics: CBS Sportsline's front page, while barely relevant, has bothered me the last couple days with its main teaser, to Dennis Dodd's awkward video preview of the "wide open" ACC:
According to his video, nobody is capable of winning the league, except his default division picks, Boston College and Virginia Tech. These are not bad picks, and he's definitely right that the race is "wide open." But doesn't that scenario - a "wide open" race, with two completely different favorites selected elsewhere - mean more teams can win the league than can't? If Miami, Clemson and defending champ Wake Forest have a shot in addition to the four early media frontrunners (Wake, a couple dozen returning starters notwithstanding, is probably the longest shot), seven teams reasonably can win the league. Anyway, every conference has a couple elite teams at the top that presumably preclude serious contention from the majority of the rabble, so even if the ACC weren't so wide open, the idea that more teams "can't" win the title than can is irrelevant, because it describes every conference.
On that note, if you need an online copywriter, massive corporate overlord Viacom, I'll e-mail a resume. Just as long as I don't have to appear on camera, because my ability to make fun of writer Dodd's stammering anti-presence on screen would be severely compromised, I'm sure.
• Quickly: Big brother is watching players at Maryland. And by "Big Brother," I'm not being dystopian - I mean Ralph Friedgen ... The Big 12 fights for its TV rights in the still-distant Notre Dame-Baylor series. Good luck with that ... Catching up with running back Josh Davis, who joins his old quarterback, Eric Crouch, with the Toronto Argonauts ... And an old `Nole is back to head FSU's strength and conditioning.