SEC coaches ranked on entertainment value? Sure, why not

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It’s late in the offseason, so that means it’s time for newspapers and blogs alike to stir up some manure and/or feces ahead of the start of a new season.

The latest example? The Montgomery Advertiser‘s Josh Moon.

Ahead of the start of SEC Media Days this coming week, Moon posted a ranking of the coaches in that conference based on what’s described as “entertainment value.” His No. 1? South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier.

Based on any metric you could possibly devise, Moon is absolutely correct. Spurrier is easily the most entertaining head coach in the SEC — and (ever-so-slightly) ahead of Mike Leach in the whole of college football. In fact, he’s so far ahead of the rest of the conference pack, at least No. 2 and possibly No. 3 should’ve been left blank in deference to the Ol’ Ball Coach’s intrinsic ability to entertain fans and foes alike.

For the most part, Moon’s list is what it is: a lot of fun and really well done. I will, though, for the sake of argument (and a weekend post on a slooow day) take exception to the slotting of two of the coaches.

First, Nick Saban is at No. 8 in the 14-team league. Here’s Moon’s rationale:

“Whine if you want, Bama fans, but you know it’s true. Watching Alabama football games is slightly less boring than C-SPAN’s coverage of a Congressional hearing on interest rates. I’d rather watch soccer. There’s more scoring.

And then Saban strolls to the mic for interviews and acts as if he’s working towards solving world hunger. Other than the occasional news conference tantrum and two watchable games per year, it’s dreadful. It’s like “Boardwalk Empire”: all the pieces are there, and they usually work OK, but it’s so boring your eyes bleed.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I love just about everything about Tuscaloosa Saban. Love watching Saban’s Tide football team play on the field, love listening to Saban any time off of it, love the ofttimes condescending nature of Saban’s tone with the media.  His views on fast-paced offenses are self-serving, but nobody’s perfect.

To me, Nick Saban is THE most fascinating person/personality in all of college football — yes, above Spurrier, Leach, Delany, Slive and the whole lot of them. Does that equate to entertaining? No, especially not if compared to the OBC or The Pirate. With all due respect to the esteemed Mr. Moon, though, No. 8 is just way too low for my tastes.

Even more “indefensible?” Les Miles at No. 4.

“The guy eats grass, wears a hat that’s a minimum two sizes too small, makes funny videos of himself, once invited me to ride along to the airport with him so we could finish an impromptu interview and routinely says some of the craziest nonsense you’ve ever heard. He also wins. His teams can be a tad boring at times, even a bit Bama-ish. But Les … oh, Les is never boring.”

OK, this slotting shouldn’t and won’t stand without some (lighthearted) push back.

Behind Spurrier? Absolutely; every other current head coach in the country stands in line behind the OBC. Behind Auburn’s Gus Malzahn (Moon’s No. 2) and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin (No. 3)? Nope.

Les Miles rappelling down a building… Les Miles butt-tweeting… Les Miles making out with a pig… Les Miles exalting and basking in swatting away the basketball dreams of a child… Les Miles clapping like a seal that got kicked out of the rookery for said clapping… Les Miles just being Les Miles is infinitely more entertaining than anything anyone not named Spurrier could ever hope of putting on the table.

A solid offseason list and good fodder for discussion, but Miles at No. 4?  C’mon now Mr. Moon.

(Writer’s note: excellent work, good stuff.  Just having a little weekend fun.)

BYU wearing special patch in honor of LaVell Edwards

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BYU got the summer media day fun started on Friday with their football media day. BYU tends to pull out all the stops on its media day with coach and player interviews, alumni returning, and a handful of announcements about the future of the program. In addition to news about their relationship with ESPN, BYU also announced the football team will be sporting a patch this season in honor of the late LaVell Edwards.

In addition to players wearing the patch on their jerseys, BYU coaches will also wear the patch on their sleeves.

Edwards passed away in December at the age of 86. The BYU coaching legend spent 29 seasons on the sidelines in Provo and accumulated 257 wins along the way. Among those was a national championship season in 1984, which remains the most recent national championship to be claimed by a program not currently in a power conference. Edwards took 22 BYU teams to a bowl game.

Now if we can just keep getting BYU to stick to that lighter shade of blue as their main home uniform, we’ll be in great shape.

Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks found guilty of rape

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Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks was convicted by a jury on Friday for rape of a female Vanderbilt student. Following 15 hours of jury deliberations, the verdict of guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated sexual battery was in.

”He’s shocked but understands that this is only the first part of this process, there’s a lot more to do from here on,” Banks’ lawyer, Mark Scruggs, said after the verdict. ”We have some really good issues to raise.”

Part of Banks’ defense was built on succumbing to peer pressure, suggesting he feared he may be beaten up by teammates if he did not participate in the scandalous activity. The jury, having reviewed videos and photos from the incident, some of which were shot by Banks, determined that was not a viable defense.

”Making fun of another person is not right, but we know it happens,” Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore said in closing arguments, according to the Associated Press. ”But it doesn’t give you a legal defense to commit a crime, particularly not an aggravated rape, an aggravated sexual battery. I mean if that’s the case, then we’d have the ‘football team defense.”’

Banks will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison. One count of aggravated rape has a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Other former Vanderbilt players had previously been convicted for their roles in the 2013 rape. Cory Batey was found guilty of aggravated rape and sentenced to 15-25 years in prison in April 2016. Brandon Vandenbeurg was found guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

California’s state-funded travel ban to discriminating states raises mild football scheduling concerns

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The state of California is banning state-funded travel to the states of Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Dakota. Those states are added to the previous state-funded travel bans that included Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee due to what California lawmakers say are laws that allow for discrimination against gay and transgender people.

So what does this have to do with college football? My colleague, Bryan, notes this latest decision from the state means scheduling any potential road games for a handful of schools just got a tad trickier.

This development poses a couple of issues for some California schools to address moving forward.

San Jose State is the school affected by this latest news right off the bat. San Jose State has a road game scheduled at Texas on September 9 this season. San Jose State may have to rely on some of that guaranteed money from Texas to cover the expenses, which would put a dent in the total takeaway from playing the game in the first place.

Cal is also scheduled to play at North Carolina on September 2. Cal also plays at TCU in 2021 and at Auburn in 2024. If the ban is still in operation at those times, then Cal will have to budget ahead of time to tackle the expenses. UCLA will play at Memphis on September 19.

The state-funded travel ban to these states may not be an issue for the postseason, as bowl game expenses tend to be carried by the conference and their revenue shares.

Fresno State has a road game at Texas A&M scheduled in 2020. San Diego State has no future scheduling hassles to worry about for the time being.

When ‘physically, mentally ready,’ door wide open for Keyshawn Johnson Jr.’s return to Nebraska

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Keyshawn Johnson Jr. has yet to play a down for Nebraska, but, if it’s up to Mike Riley, he will at some point down the road.

Earlier this month, the son of former USC great Keyshawn Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  This past week, the younger Johnson decided to take a leave of absence, with his father stating that his son needed some time to “mature” and will not play for the Cornhuskers in 2017.

Left open at the time was the question of whether Johnson Jr. would ever play for the ‘Huskers, period.  Friday, Riley left the door wide open for a return.

“We’re disappointed that he’s not here with us right now today,” the head coach said according to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “I think there’s kind of a wellness factor for Keyshawn going home. We talked to him about the possibility of maybe enrolling part time and taking care of his progress toward his degree, and also getting in great shape.

“And we opened the door for return, which is just kind of left open that we’ll deal with at the time that he is physically and mentally ready to do that.”

A three-star 2017 signee who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, the younger Johnson had been expected to be an immediate contributor for the Cornhuskers this season.