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.)

Texas JUCO reported landing spot for former four-star Auburn DT

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A little over a month after leaving The Plains, Antwuan Jackson has reportedly settled on a new college football home.

Citing multiple sources familiar with the situation, 247Sports.com is reporting that Jackson has signed with Blinn Community College in Texas.  The defensive tackle will play for the JUCO this season, with his eyes set on a return to the FBS level, perhaps as early as December.

On his Twitter account earlier Monday, Jackson hinted at an unspecified development regarding his football future.

In mid-May, Jackson announced his decision to transfer from Auburn. AU blocked him from transferring to a handful of schools he had requested, including Ohio State. It’s believed the Buckeyes have emerged as the favorites to land the lineman when he jumps back to the FBS level.

Jackson was a four-star member of AU’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 7 defensive tackle in the country; the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 49 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Only three players in the Tigers’ class that year were rated higher.

As a true freshman last season, Jackson took a redshirt.

Nova, Auburn’s live eagle mascot, grounded for 2017 season

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Auburn will be forced to go to a backup when it comes to its famed pregame mascot flights.

The university announced Monday that’s live eagle mascot, War Eagle VII, has ben grounded for the entire 2017 season.  The university stated that its College of Veterinary Medicine faculty diagnosed the 18-year-old golden eagle with cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart.

The diagnosis was made following what was described as a routine checkup.

Below are the comments of the veterinarians in charge of the care of an eagle who has been a part of gamedays on The Plains since 2004.

Nova has been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, indicated by an enlarged left ventricle, decreased systolic function and supraventricular premature complexes (arrhythmia),” said Dr. Seth Oster, an avian veterinarian at the raptor center and the college’s Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital.

“These areas of constriction can increase the systolic pressure of the heart so that Nova’s heart has to pump harder to move blood around his body,” said Oster. “This type of problem could have multiple causes, the most common of which in birds is atherosclerosis.”

“Vessels that are constricted, like those that are seen in Nova’s scan, can have dangerous complications when put under increased stress from exercise,” said Dr. Seung-Woo Jung, an assistant professor of cardiology in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine. “This includes aneurysm or clot formation that could lead to vascular rupture, stroke, aortic thromboembolism or heart attack.

The release added that due to “the risk of severe medical complications, veterinary medical staff decided that Nova should not be placed in situations that cause his heart to work harder than usual, including flying in the stadium before each game.”

With War Eagle VII sidelined, pregame duties will fall to Spirit.

Spirit is the only bald eagle that has ever flown in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Her first game flight was in 2002, and she is recognizable by her bright white head and tail feathers. In 1995, Spirit was discovered as an injured fledgling in Florida. She came to Auburn in 1998 and joined the educational collection at the Southeastern Raptor Center. Her damaged beak makes her non-releasable.

Report: Baylor set to release information on sexual assault reports

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Apparently, transparency is no longer such a four-letter word in Waco.  Somewhat.

Citing a brief filed in court Friday by attorneys representing Baylor, the Waco Tribune is reporting that “[g]eneral information behind every alleged sexual assault reported to Baylor University since 2003 will soon be released by the school.” The university is currently in the process of putting together spreadsheets that will shed light on the incidents over the last decade and a half.

Per the Tribune, below are the parameters of the information that will be included in the spreadsheets.

  • Date of alleged assault
  • Date alleged assault was reported to Baylor employee
  • Whether alleged victim was Baylor student
  • Gender of alleged victim
  • Gender of alleged assailant
  • Whether Baylor knew the identity of alleged victim
  • Whether Baylor knew the identity of alleged assailant
  • Whether alleged victim asked Baylor to keep the alleged assailant’s identity confidential
  • Location of alleged assault
  • How Baylor learned of alleged assault
  • Specific offices or type of Baylor personnel who were made aware of alleged assault
  • Disposition of complaint

Information that appears will be noticeably absent?  Whether or not the assailants were Bears football players at the time..

In mid-May of this year, BU was served notice that it is being sued by a former BU volleyball player, only identified as “Jane Doe,” who claims that she was gang-raped by as many as eight then-Bears football players in 2012.  That was at least the seventh Federal Title IX lawsuit filed in connection to the sexual assault scandal that rocked the university and cost several high-profile officials their jobs, including head football coach Art Briles, nearly a year ago.

That latest filing came a little over two months after the Texas Rangers confirmed that it had commenced a preliminary investigation centered on how the university, the football program and campus police handled allegations of sexual assault made against student-athletes, most notably members of the football team.  The confirmation of that probe came a little over a month after details in one of the handful of federal lawsuits the university is facing emerged, with that suit alleging 31 Bears football players had committed 52 acts of rape over a period of four years beginning in 2011; in late March, BU sought to have that suit dismissed.

Outside of the federal lawsuits and Department of Education Title IX investigation, two former Bears football players have been convicted of sexual assault that were committed while they were members of the football team.  Several other players were accused of committing either sexual assault or violence — or both — while playing for Briles.

None of Briles’ assistants were dismissed along with the head coach as a result of the scandal even as an independent review into the football program’s handling of sexual assault accusations showed that “members of the Baylor coaching staff chose not to report incidents of sexual violence involving football players, [instead] meeting directly with those filing complaints of sexual abuse and handling their own investigations outside of university policy to discredit the complainants, thus denying them the right to a fair investigation by the university.”

In early February of this year, the Big 12 announced that it will withhold 25 percent of future revenue payments to BU, only releasing the monies “pending the outcome of third-party verification review of required changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its intercollegiate athletics programs, among other matters.”

In the same brief filed late last week, the university again confirmed that it is the subject of “an ongoing, pending investigation” by the NCAA.

Florida makes signings of ex-Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire, former Clemson OL Jake Fruhmorgen official

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Two Power Five transfer players are officially Florida Gators.

Monday, the Gators confirmed that offensive lineman Jake Fruhmorgen and quarterback Malik Zaire have enrolled in classes at the university.  Zaire was given his unconditional release from Notre Dame in late November and, after awaiting the SEC’s tweaking of its graduate transfer policy, confirmed his move to UF earlier this month, while Fruhmorgen left Clemson in mid-January before two months later revealing that Gainesville would serve as his next college football home.

As Zaire is coming to the Gators as a grad transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017 and is looked upon as a potential, or even likely starter under center.  Fruhmorgen will have to sit out the 2017 season, but will then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.

Zaire started three games during his time with the Fighting Irish — the first in the Music City Bowl win over LSU following the 2014 season then the first two games of the 2015 season before an ankle injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year.  He played in eight games last season as the backup to DeShone Kizer.

Fruhmorgen didn’t play another game last season after suffering a shoulder injury in late October. While the injury kept him out of a couple of games, he missed the latter quarter of the regular season, as well as the postseason, dealing with unspecified personal issues that kept him away from the team.

Prior to all of that, the true sophomore had started the first eight games of the 2016 season at right tackle.

A four-star 2015 signee, Fruhmorgen was rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 8 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 20 player at any position in the state of Florida. As a true freshman, the 6-5, 290-pound lineman played in 11 games, starting one of those contests.