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Long, Slow Descent Into Madness. What does Dennis Franchione's infamous Web impropriety have to do with Rich Rodriguez's acrimonous departure for Michigan? It caused West Virginia officials to drag their feet on implementing a similar revenue-generating site for Rodriguez, one of the many promises the coach felt went unfulfilled by the WVU athletic department almost a year after he spurned the Alabama job, and just one more link in the lengthy chain of inter-department disputes between Rodriguez and agent Mike Brown and A.D. Ed Pastilong that drove Rod into the arms of Michigan last month, according to a report by the Associated Press that relies heavily on a series of e-mails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.


Rod was really out and about with his new friends last year.
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Most of the e-mails are between a member of the department and Brown, who beginning in August expressed his displeasure with the "interference" of Gov. Joe Manchin (a friend of Pastilong's), the departure of Pastilong deputy Whit Babcock to Missouri after Rodriguez had been promised a greater role in the department for Babcock (which Brown blamed on Pastilong), control of a fundraising program Rodriguez started in 2001 to secure private air travel and the hundreds of thousands of dollars therein, the immediate public release of Rodriguez's new contract without making reporters jump through time-consuming FOIA hoops, etc. Brown began mentioning other jobs on Nov. 14, a month before the Toledo meeting with Michigan hit the news:
"Why is this important? There is a projected opening at Texas A&M this year and Florida State next year. Rich's name is being mentioned heavily.

"If presented with any of those opportunities, I believe Rich would have to weigh heavily the progress made in those issues he raised this summer and of revenue stream initiatives; ... I am hearing Texas A&M is going to increase the assistant coach's budget to $2.6M with coordinators making 300k and assistants 250k."
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Michigan, for all its fumbling through the first month of its increasingly doomed-looking search, was apparently a "right time" option - "right place" is yet to be determined, although the Wolverines obviously are nobody's rebound (unlike, say, Bill Stewart, who at least will love West Virginia with all his heart and stand by it forever) - as the match made in Mountaineer heaven fell apart behind the scenes. Not mentioned is the devastating loss to Pitt, which can't be blamed in any way on political bickering but can be viewed as the last straw - without a mythical championship at stake, what else did Rod have to stay for?

There are signs sentiments are beginning to shift in West Virginia: from "Rodriguez's selfish acts may be his downfall" to Whole sordid affair makes WVU look bad" in less than a week. At least they're finding a creative outlet for their pain:

Coming and Going.
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Digging up obscure stories from, like, a month ago, The Wiz has the latest on Florida's looming mini-scandal over the recruitment of Carl Moore and his gymnast girlfriend. Sample quote: "Carl!, I just won the Heisman! Come on down here, and let's win a national championship!"

New, spread-oriented Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin visited coveted running back prospect Enrique Davis Wednesday night to convince him the carries will be there in the new scheme after Davis de-committed from Auburn last week. If it's carries he wants, Davis probably has more to fear from competition than Franklin's scheme - Ben Tate, Brad Lester, Mario Fannin and possibly Tristan Davis will start the fall in front of Enrique no matter what they're running.

Early enrollee Reid McCollum, who threw nine touchdown passes in one game in November, has left South Carolina less than two weeks after starting classes, but the quarterback says he'll be backat USC for summer workouts. Cue your best Spurrier twang: "Reid got homesick and basically thought he'd made a mistake coming in early. He's going to go back and hang out in Summerville a while, and come in with the other freshmen." Yeah, just gotalittlehomesick there.

Outgoing Michigan safety Jamar Adams told the Detroit Free Press "beating Florida was like winning the national championship or something." Really, I only include that as an excuse to pull this picture of Adams against Owen "Runaway Beer Truck" Schmitt in Senior Bowl practice (in shorts, mind you):

First Rod, now the myth of Owen Schmitt's mohawked Herculeanity? Hasn't Michigan taken enough from these people?

Elsewhere in the Free Press, Terrelle Pryor may be likely to commit to Ohio State, but you know how else you know he's so great? Western Pennsylvania roots. That shit runs deep, yo: "Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, George Blanda and Jim Kelly earned Pittsburgh and its environs the nickname the Cradle of Quarterbacks." Hey, what about Dan Kendra? As always, the giants of the leg press get short shrift by the MSM.

Also: that is the slowest collection of quarterbacks that could have possibly emerged from any single region, and Pryor isn't about to be Dan Marino from the pocket. Just saying. Maybe big-armed talent was outsourced like everything else in the Rust Belt. (To where? Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. Look it up).

It's never too early: Southern Cal secured a commitment Wednesday from quarterback Matt Barkley, the first junior to win Gatorade's player of the year nationally, a big (6-3, 220) kid from that other latter-day quarterback machine, Mater Dei High, one-time home of Matt Leinart, his backup Colt Brennan and old school Heisman winner John Huarte. Barkley visited UCLA after the Bruins hired Norm Chow but stayed "on course" - he's only a little over a year now from inking his official letter of intent with the Trojans. Where's your sense of drama, Matt?

Rumor rumor rumor: Jon Tenuta, he of the sack-happy zone blitz mania at Georgia Tech, could be hours from signing on with Washington as Ty Willingham's new defensive guru. An aggressive Tenuta defense opposite a certain-to-be-improved offense (as long as Tebow-esque Jake Locker continues - that is, begins – maturing as a passer) must equal a bowl bid, or very close, or else for Willingham; he's 11-25 in three years.