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We're headed into Week Five with some big (Clemson-Virginia Tech, Nebraska-Wisconsin) match-ups as conference play starts up across the country. Before the weekend gets underway, let's get caught up on some recent headlines.
* Coyote Ugly: New Mexico released head coach Mike Locksley after the Lobos lost another game last Saturday, bringing the UNM season record to 0-4. Locksley leaves behind a less than illustrious record (2-26) during his tenure and a history of deplorable behavior off the field. Less than six months into the job, an assistant in Locksley's office filed a sexual harassment suit against him. (Locksley was eventually cleared of the charges.)
Later in his first year, Locksley received a reprimand from the university after allegedly punching receivers coach JB Gerald coach in the face.
The other shoe(s) dropped last weekend after the loss to I-AA Sam Houston State - and the arrest for DWI earlier that evening of an underage family friend who was at the wheel of a car registered to the Locksley family.
Tags: gettin' tipsy, Hawk Harrelson
* The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves: A number of teams have gotten off to a rough start this season, and not just those from the Creampuff Conferences: Arizona (1-3), Boston College (1-3), Indiana (1-3) and almost all of the Sun Belt (Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Monroe, Middle Tennessee, North Texas and Western Kentucky, a combined 2-15) are taking it on the ear.
Then again, teams from the Big Six conferences pony up financial guarantees in the high six figures to visiting creampuffs. So they've got that going for them, which is nice. And as Sam Houston State proved, not all creampuffs prove accommodating guests.
Tags: Cinderella story, creampuffs
* Pada Who Now? A reporter dropped a Star Wars reference into a question to Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp about the upcoming game against his former boss, Nick Saban and Alabama. Muschamp didn't get it. He stopped at Empire. And really, if you were going to watch any two of the series, Parts Four and Five (or the first and second movie, for those of us old enough to remember them as such) are the way to go. Also, he doesn't speak "French."
Tags: evil empire, geek humor
* Yeah, What He Said: SEC commissioner Mike Slive pooh-poohed the idea of further expansion for the 2012-13 season in a conference call on Tuesday. When asked about expanding the Southeastern Conference beyond 13 teams, Slive said that no teams "are currently under speculation."
Apparently Tennessee athletic director Mike Hart didn't get the memo; two days later he told USA Today that "at some point 13 will not be the number."
What's standing in the way of an even number? As Hart put it, a "multitude of components." That's it, just a bunch of components, some accessories, maybe a few extra cables and possibly a universal remote.
Tags: super conferences, who's on first
Live From The Situation Room: In a post last week in the New York Times blog "The Quad" statistician Nate Silver broke down conference realignment by examining the geographical dispersal of college football fans nationwide.
By looking at the size of various television markets and associating the survey results from the CommonCensus Sports Map, Silver shed some light on the allure of teams like Texas A&M.
As Silver explains in his post, courting A&M "becomes easier to understand once you recognize that the Aggies have among the largest fan bases in the country." In fact, at approximately 2 million, Texas A&M fan base ranks sixth in the nation. The math looks a bit like this: more fans = more television screens = more leverage, specifically, in negotiating broadcast fees with the networks.
The article is well suited to the New York Times but treating realignment so dispassionately (although we understand that was the whole idea) seems to miss the emotional reaction most fans have to the issue.
Further, most football fans aren't inclined to read columns filled with words, numbers, charts and tables. Know your audience, Nate! Us college football fans read your article and saw "blah blah blah market share blah regional variances blah blah geographic coordinates blah . . . " You need an enormous touch-screen map! We can only understand if you stand in front of a gigantic flat screen and wildly point and drag a bunch of shapes and highlight with pretty colors. Who reads any more?
NOTE: The College Football Reportress has an enormous nerd crush (as do her Hyde Park cronies) on Mr. Silver, recently exacerbated by discovering that both use the same tailor. We hope she gets this far (she is a fervent supporter but not a devoted reader) in the Report to spot our reference to Silver's article. God knows he puts the realignment chaos in rational terms. Whereas, when asked, we froth at the mouth, hyperventilate and collapse in convulsions.
Tags: fellow (much more prominent) bloggers, mo money mo problems, network dirtbags,
West F###### Virginia: Earlier this season, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck issued an open letter to Mountaineer fans to "reconsider their choice of attire."
Specifically, Luck points out a certain t-shirt popular among Mounties. In the opening game against Marshall, the ESPN cameras panned across two fans sporting the team colors [read: expletive] in the stands. Not exactly the image the administration wants to promote to the nation, but then again, nearly everyone who attends West Virginia is from West Virginia, so who fucking cares?
NOTE: The model displaying the t-shirt is not an accurate depiction of your average West Virginia fan.
BONUS: The young man on the left, presumably a student, represents the 4.2% population of African-Americans among WVU's total enrollment. In other words, one out of approximately 1,094. He must feel good about beating the odds to make the picture, regardless of apparel.
Tags: Deadspin, Henry Cho
Chug It, Granny!: By comparison, LSU fans are the epitome of the class.
Tags: keg stands, tailgating
Seal vs. Chicken
The Sports Seal comes into Week Five in the black (6-3-1) against the number while the mysterious methods of the Free Range Chicken have produced middling (3-3) results. Let's see what plays the animal kingdom likes this weekend.
The Sports Seal's Picks, Week Five
Saturday, September 31
Kentucky @ LSU (-30), 11:20AM Central
Buffalo @ Tennessee (-28.5), 11:30AM Central
Nebraska @ Wisconsin (-10), 7:00PM Central
The Free Range Chicken's Picks, Week Five
Saturday, September 31
Kent State @ Ohio (-16.5), 2:00PM Central; Kent State by 40
San Jose State @ Colorado State (-3.5), 3:00PM Central; Colorado State by 2
North Texas @ Tulsa (-23), 7:00PM Central; Tulsa by 32
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