• Rich Rod on the Counterattack. Rich Rodriguez responded to West Virginia's lawsuit seeking his $4 million buyout Friday with a demand to open WVU's fundraising records and more claims that the school reneged on the promises it made to keep Rodriguez after his 2006 flirtation with Alabama, an argument for which Charleston Gazette columnist Dave Hickman, predictably, has little sympathy:
Cry us a river, Fauntleroy.
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• More than $13 million over seven years, in addition to two luxury cars and 20 season tickets.
• An additional $450,000 for the pool for assistant coaches' salaries over the same period.
• Another $2.2 million to build an academic center and $4 million to remodel his locker rooms.
And then these same people have the unmitigated gall, before committing to anything, to want to research and further consider Rodriguez's demand that his players be allowed to keep and resell their text books.
They likewise demand further study on the issue before allowing him to become Dennis Franchione and begin communicating directly to fans and boosters, in this case through his own Web site.
Without so much as considering his request for more, they draw a line in the sand and decree that the only thing that will be added to the assistant coaches' salary pool is a one-time $100,000 bump and the yearly $50,000 increases written into the contract.
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Mark Schlabach, meanwhile, thinks Rodriguez's first priority should be landing Terrelle Pryor, the jewel that will determine his immediate success or failure at Michigan or something. The Detroit Free Press is well out in front of potential Wolverine disappointment on the Pryor front, ludicrously wondering whether the obsessed-over, headline-grabbing blue chip will be a collegiate bust. Of the last five top-ranked quarterbacks out of high school, the paper notes, only Matt Stafford "has come close to reaching his potential." That includes, uh, Mark Sanchez and Jimmy Clausen, who each have multiple seasons in front of them as starters to shed the prematurely-applied "bust" label, and Rhett Bomar, whose "bust" status was due to rule-flouting behavior, not on-field performance. It also fails to ask "top ranked according to who?" Vince Young (big hit), Brian Brohm (big hit) and Mitch Mustain - who might beat out Sanchez for USC's starting job in the fall - were also ranked as No. 1 quarterbacks by at least one major service in 2002, 2004 and 2005. Eli Manning was No. 1 in 2000, etc. So basically, the Free Press is arguing Terrelle Pryor might be a bust because Kyle Wright struggled through three years as a starter in Miami. Hmmmm.
Also: is Derrick Williams, a three-year starter with a year to go at Penn State, a verifiable "bust" already? Even if he is, three of the last four top-ranked recruits overall (excluding Clausen, for whom "the jury's out"), were judged by the Free Press as a "success." Enough of this nonsense about recruiting rankings, already.
In other top-ranked, heavy breathing recruiting news: No. 1 running back Darrell Scott is reportedly leaning toward Texas over Colorado. Tune in live Wednesday on ESPNU and ESPN.com to hear his final choice in hat wear!
• All Ur Recruitz R Belong to Us. Well, Just This One, For a Change. DeAndre Brown is a huge, five-star, all-American prospect, by nearly every account one of the top four or five receivers in the nation, the kind of kid who can legitimately play anywhere. He's also from my hometown, where I'm close with the football program, and though "Southern Miss" was always there on his list, it was just an assumed technicality. Next to LSU and Ole Miss, the obvious favorites, USM - which I say pretty conclusively has signed zero undisputed five-star recruits in its history - was sort of an afterthought, and even afterthought status depended on the service (Rivals listed the Eagles as a distant possibility, Scout didn't bother). But then...suddenly...no...
w00t bitchez! w00t!
Again, I've watched the kid grow from impossibly skinny freshman track champion into a hulk who could probably slip down to tight end if necessary, and the only reservation I can think of is his grades: word is he still has work to do to ensure eligibility. But make no mistake: Brown is the best-regarded recruit in Southern Miss history, by a mile, and physically, he deserves the distinction.
Recruiting mania is partly an Internet phenomenon and therefore hasn't been around very long at its current pitch, but DeAndre Brown to Southern Miss is on par with the greatest recruiting upsets of the last decade, at least, and is purely the result of the "controversial" coaching change, both in Larry Fedora bringing in a more exciting offense and, moreso, USM hiring Tony Hughes, who recruited Brown for Ole Miss before the staff shakeup in Oxford and who, by all accounts and Brown's own admission is almost solely responsible for this coup. By Rivals' count, USM now has a five star and a pair of four stars, JUCO receiver Freddie Parham and offensive lineman Bo Tillman, along with a running back, Desmond Johnson, who was wanted by Michigan and another, not-very-heralded JUCO kid, Andre Watson, who's from the same high school as Brown and who I couldn't have loved more as an undersized, all-state running back in high school. I don't want to get into comparing stars with the rest of C-USA before a player even hits the field, but it's a terrific start for the Fedora administration.
Cue the jilted LSU spin machine (all free material):
(Please please please be eligible).
Speaking of LSU:
Look out, Les!!!
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Too bad I'll be missing excessively early Mardi Gras this year.
Coming and Going.
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• OMG OMG OMG: Tom Petty, lip syncher? No...the guy was Wilbury, for heaven's sake. A Wilbury! Say it ain't so, Tom!
• The Georgia House of Representatives passed a resolution supporting the formation of a playoff Friday, likely with both feet firmly in the "our constituency feels more strongly about this than any other issue this particular month" camp than the "we think it should be settled on the field" side. Nice to have powerful people on the right side, but I'm with Kyle here: government probably has better things to do, and if not, just go home. Then again, empty, cynical gestures indirectly relating to UGA football are becoming an annual tradition for Georgia politicians. And we all know how important tradition is.
Ole Miss chancellor Robert Khayat thinks Georgia president Michael Adams let his emotions get the better of him when he proposed a playoff last month.
• Arkansas took away a pair of recruits from other schools Sunday, picking up commitments from one-time Arizona verbal Tramaine Thomas and previously Purdue-bound Jerico Nelson. Hey, now, Razorbacks, what's with getting sneaky outside the conference? Revise the schedule - them's fightin' decommitments!
• My first thought when I read the headline in The State, "Tigers put `special' emphasis in recruiting class," was "Is Tommy Bowden reserving a spot for a kid with Down Syndrome?" As it turns out, no - just a long snapper. Of couse, if there was a position a sufficiently huge Down Syndrome patient could play, it would probably be long snapper.
• Tom Lemming reports sought-after Texas defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore has decommitted from Texas A&M in favor of Notre Dame. Lewis-Moore's family says, "Uh, what?"
The Rap Sheet
Crimes, misdemeanors and eligibility-crippling issues legal, academic, institutional and otherwise.
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Suspended, for the first two games in September, 26-year-old walk-on DB Vincent Faison, the fifth Tennessee player to "embarrass himself and his team" in less than a month since the end of the season with a DUI arrest over the weekend. The Vols are settling a startlingly consistent pace for piddling misdeeds - more the result of aggressive policing by campus and Knoxville police than a sudden uptick in piddling misdeeds by the football team, probably - with Faison, an ex-minor league baseball player, following Ahmad Paige's and Gerald Jones' misdemeanor 420 arrest , Darryl Vereen's public intoxication charge and Anthony Parker's shoutin' and cussin' arrest in just a few weeks. Paige, Jones and Parker are highly touted starters who, like Faison, embarrassed themselves and their team with their shocking and brazen substance abuse. Their punishments? Internal and physical, respectively, in the form of extra running. The walk-on's punishment? To the bench with you! That'll teach `em.
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As always, if you have a tip for the Hub, don't be shy: e-mail at sundaymorningqb-at-yah00, etc.