B1G yawn at Rutgers’ Mike Rice mess?

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or been in a coma underneath a rock, for the past few days, you’re aware of the videos that went viral of Mike Rice going Neanderthal on his Rutgers basketball players.  The shocking clips of Rice hurling both basketballs and homosexual slurs at his players led to the coach’s dismissal and the same fate for athletic director Tim Pernetti, who laughably decided in December a three-game suspension and five-figure fine befitted the crime.

With a move from the American Athletic Conference (née Big East) to the Big Ten looming in July of 2014, some have asked what if any impact the controversy will have on the Scarlet Knights’ jump to the money-green pastures of the Midwestern conference.  The short and equally obvious answer?  None.  Zero.  Zip.  Zilch.

As Rutgers is not yet an official member of the Big Ten, that conference will not comment on the current mess that is the New Jersey school’s athletic department.  Off the record, and while they would obviously prefer this situation wasn’t an issue and do find it troublesome, the conference stands firmly behind a school that, along with Maryland, will become the league’s 13th and 14th members next year.

Simply put, the Big Ten didn’t add Rutgers because it was an athletic powerhouse in general or a football juggernaut specifically.  Rather, Rutgers was plucked in one of myriad rounds of expansion musical chairs because of the potential television market it brings to the Big Ten Network — and the millions upon millions of additional dollars annually for its membership — and for its membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities — and the multi-millions upon multi-millions of research dollars that brings.

Did the Mike Rice imbroglio and bungled and misguided coverup change either of those two factors?  Not in the least, which means the Big Ten will be more than willing to weather whatever type of residual storm may come its way over the next year and a half.

Now, should this fiasco give the Big Ten second thoughts or a minute’s pause?  Possibly, but remember, this is also the conference of Bobby Knight and Woody Hayes; it’s used to negative press on the coaching end and riding out the PR storm.

It’s a long time between now and July 1, 2014.  A lot of time to make the Mike Rice embarrassment smaller and smaller in the rear-view.  Right or wrong, that’s precisely how the Big Ten will allow this to play out.

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts uses photo of Clemson celebrating title win as motivational phone background

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Nick Saban said last week that the loss to Clemson in the the national championship game earlier this year is one that he’ll never get over, although he didn’t go so far as to compare it to a death in the family. One playing member of Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide team is taking to steps to ensure that he never forgets, either.

Jalen Hurts was the Tide’s talented true freshman starting quarterback who helped lead ‘Bama into the title game and, with a 30-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes left, gave his team a 31-28 lead. That lead was short-lived, however, as Deshaun Watson led his Tigers on an epic 88-yard drive that was capped by his two-yard touchdown pass with just one tick left on the clock for the 35-31 win.

The stunning last-second loss is something that Hurts makes a conscious effort to remind himself of daily as the rising sophomore, as the background on his smartphone, has a picture of Clemson players celebrating their win.

“We’re obviously all on our phones all the time,” Hurts said according to al.com after this past weekend’s spring game. “Every time I unlock it, it’s kind of a reminder. It kind of humbles me and keeps me motivated. …

“It’s not a grudge at all. It’s just something that keeps it on the back of your shoulder like, yeah, it’s still there. Remember why you’re doing it because at the end of the day, the goal for this team is to win the national championship.

Father of former Florida State WR Travis Rudolph killed in accidental shooting

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The father of Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph was killed Friday in an accidental shooting, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Monday.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Darryl Rudolph was working on repairs inside a West Palm Beach, Fla., when a gun accidentally fired in an adjacent room, hitting him in the back/neck area. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 55 years old.

The younger Rudolph was Florida State’s leading receiver over the past two seasons before becoming an early-entrant into this week’s NFL Draft. He gained viral notoriety after a photo snapped of him sitting at lunch with an autistic elementary school student hit Facebook.

“When I used to coach and help other kids with football, basketball and sports, Travis was small but he used to pay attention to what I was doing,” the elder Rudolph said in an interview with ESPN last year. “I told them get your education. You can be the best athlete in the world, but without an education, you’re not going very far. That’s what Travis followed through on.”

LSU QB Danny Etling undergoes back surgery

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LSU quarterback Danny Etling has undergone surgery to relieve back pain, the program announced Monday.

“Danny had a minor back procedure this morning and everything went alright,” head coach Ed Orgeron said in a statement (and not in an Arrested Development way).

Etling has played through back pain for months, according to Ross Dellenger from The Advocate, and this procedure should remove that pain.

In a possibly related story, Etling went 4-of-11 for 53 yards in LSU’s spring game.

A transfer from Purdue, Etling appeared in 11 games for the Tigers last season, completing 160-of-269 passes (59.5 percent) for 2,123 yards (7.9 yards per attempt) with 11 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Etling’s recovery from Monday’s procedure is expected to be a short one.

Willie Taggart defends Oregon’s offseason workouts in interview

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Things got off to a rocky start for new Oregon head coach Willie Taggart. Among the issues Taggart was forced to deal with soon after accepting the job of head coach at Oregon was players falling ill during and after offseason workouts.

Three Ducks were hospitalized in January to treat symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, a product of overworking leading to soft tissue and possible kidney damage. Oregon suspended strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde following the hospital treatments to players, and questions about his certification were thrust under a microscope. Despite the unfortunate situation in Eugene, Taggart has defended his program’s workout routine in an interview with Stewart Mandel of FOXSports.com.

“We know we didn’t do anything to try to hurt our kids. We’d done [the same program] everywhere we’ve been and never had a problem,” Taggart explained in the interview. “I think our guys just overworked themselves and didn’t hydrate. … They were trying to impress the new coaches.”

It seems Taggart has been trying to raise the bar at Oregon and find a way to make his new players tougher overall. That is a common strategy for a new coach in a new program, so Taggart’s mission is not unique in that sense.

Maybe it was just a tough physical transition in the approach to workouts after years of Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich running the show. Will this all pay off in the end? Taggart sure hopes so.