The action on the football field has quelled but the drama off the field has been quite entertaining over the past week. We learned of Gus Malzahn’s return to Auburn and a stunning move in Arkansas plucking Bret Bielema away from Wisconsin. We all know about Malzahn and his exploits through the high school ranks and as offensive coordinator at several locations but most notably on the Plains. Malzahn fired the entire staff there and made a splash bringing in veteran defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson. As you all know, Johnson has been successful all over the ACC and SEC on the defensive side of the football. Bielema was a shock to all because (A) he appeared to have a good thing goind in Madison and (B) he is very much a B1G guy—and has no experience as a player or coach in the South. We’ll see how effective he is recruiting and dealing with better talent in the SEC. Tennessee went outside of the box, hiring Cincinnati’s Butch Jones. I’ll admit that I know little about Jones other than he wasn’t UT’s first choice, he and Peyton Manning fire off text messages to each other, and he has a lot of work in front of him in Knoxville. Jones, like Bielema, has little experience in the South.
Tubberville leaving Texas Tech for Cincinnati got my attention last night. I understand that Tubbs was not pleased to land there in the first place, but the freaking 'Natti? I understand Lubbock isn't a little slice of heaven but it has to be better than Cincitucky. I mean, I guess you inherit a program that has won recently but you are stuck in the Big East
until unless the ACC decides it needs them. It could be better than losing 5-7 Big 12 games a year. If I were Tubbs, I would make hay there and try and parley beating bad Big East schools into something else ASAP. Fortunately for him, the Bearcat program appears to be a simple layover for bigger and better things. So Tubbs should relax and enjoy his time in Cincitucky.
Of course here we’ll keep talking Clemson football—assessing some of the items that we saw throughout the regular season and looking forward to the Peach Bowl. I have seen a lot of the national media and Clemson fans pointing to this game as one of the better bowl matchups of the season. If you look solely at the rankings, they appear to be correct and I hope that is how it plays out. Still, I am very concerned with the physical nature of the LSU football team and how we will respond to such a team. On the flip side, discussion of the LSU team will be fun because they are a meat and potatoes team that has the wild card Les Miles at the helm. I know he flirted with the Arkansas job to leverage his deal down in the Bayou—but really, who thinks Les will ever leave Baton Rouge for another job? He would be foolish to give up the program down there along with all the talent the state of Louisiana (and their adjoining states) give this man to work with each year.
The Clemson basketball team looked bipolar last night against a good Arizona team. 'Noza came out and whipped Clemson's ass to begin the game, Clemson fought back to keep it close at half and maintained a lead throughout the second half before the Wildcats went on a run to finish off our Tigers. Milton Jennings is finally back and that should help this squad. It is, however, very apparent that this team has a long way to go before facing off with Duke or NCST. I'll be interested to see the progression of this team under Brownell from now to March.
Like I said, there is little to discuss in the college game so I’ll swing the conversation to the pro ranks. I read earlier this week that the NFL is considering removing kickoffs from the game via a variety of "safer options." While I do advocate player safety, surely there has to be a better option than doing away with one core items of the game. Maybe Roger is taking a page from the XFL book and will have some sort of sprint/battle royale to determine who gets the football. One can only hope that Roger will cut some sick promo yelling and screaming something like this:
Then feature quality crap like this:
In other NFL news, allegedly some players in the league are turning to performance enhancing drugs to "step their game up." No, we are not talking HGH or steroids this time, we are talking Viagra. Freaking Viagra? Yeah, the comment s for this one could get out of control—so I’ll defer for the time being. I am just curious what yahoo thought, "You know what, I am gonna pop the little blue pill and then lace them up for some hard hitting action." If Roger goes with the cutting edge promos discussed earlier, I wonder if this could turn into some sort of Val Venis angle for the league.
On the field, the league is quite interesting this season. The Dirty Birds are ripping it up and, hopefully, finally setting themselves up for a nice little playoff run. Who is the NFL player of the year, Peyton Manning or Adrian Peterson? Both are coming off of ridiculous injuries and both have flat out killed it this season. Peterson has over 1400 yards on the ground and Manning is, well, just being Peyton Manning. Along the lines of injuries, how ridiculous is it that Ray Lewis will likely be back on the field next weekend. Everyone thought the Ravens were nuts to say he’d be back by the Super Bowl. Instead, Ray Ray could be back by the middle of December.
That's all I got--have a good week.