Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Catching up: Ouch

* In the category of Most Bizarre and Painful-Sounding Injuries, the award goes to ... USC running back Stafon Johnson, who dropped a bar on his neck while lifting weights Monday night and had to be rushed into emergency surgery, which lasted for seven hours and involved rebuilding his larynx. Yikes. Doctors now say that they expect a full recovery, which is awesome, but he's not expected to play against this year. I'm also guessing that he'll have a slight aversion to lifting weights in the future. As for USC, running back is probably the one position at which they could afford to lose a good player. Joe McKnight has received the bulk of the carries so far this year, and former top recruits C.J. Gable, Allen Bradford and Marc Tyler are waiting in the wings.

* Texas Tech tackle Brandon Carter, a preseason All-American, has been suspended indefinitely by Mike Leach and stripped of his captaincy for a violation of team rules. No specifics were given by either party, only this tweet from Carter:
I am not a captain anymore and will not be playing this week. Good luck red raiders ill still be cheering on my family from the stands!!:)
Whatever he did, I'll give him credit for staying supportive. Linebacker Marlon Williams, on the other hand, used his Twitter account the same day to bash Leach for showing up late to a meeting. Carter and Williams then both tweeted their frustration about the Raiders' consecutive losses, at which point Leach banned Twitter entirely. These are the stupid controversies that crop up when you get off to a disappointing 2-2 start.

* Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin, probably the fastest QB in the country (his only real competition is Michigan's Denard Robinson), is done for the year after tearing his ACL. This is devastating news for a Baylor team with a legitimate shot at the school's first bowl game in about 100 years (1994 was actually the last one); coach Art Briles' quote says it all:
When asked after Saturday night's game to rate on a scale of 1-to-10 his level of concern when Griffin remained on the ground, Briles responded, "We're stopping at 10? ... I like winning football games."
Fortunately for everyone who enjoys watching ridiculously athletic quarterbacks, Griffin is only a sophomore, so we should have two more years to watch him run circles around people.

* The Big Ten has selected Ohio State safety Kurt Coleman as the recipient of its weekly one-game suspension due to a helmet-to-helmet to hit on Illinois QB Eddie McGee. I don't think Coleman was aiming for McGee's head -- he just sort of launched himself into a pile that was falling forward -- but that's irrelevant to the Big Ten when it comes to suspensions. Jim Tressel made his feelings on the issue pretty clear:
"The decision to suspend [Coleman] points to the conference office's feeling as if there was poor judgment by the game officials for their decision not to eject at the time," the response said. "In our estimation, the final 'poor judgment' is in levying a one-game suspension."
Excellent. How much would he be fined if he was talking about NFL officials? $100,000? As for Coleman, his suspension should have little to no effect on the OSU defense against Indiana. The Hoosiers offense isn't terrible, but there's no way a team that's pitched two straight shutouts will be seriously challenged by guys like Ben Chappell and Darius Willis.

* Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond is out for the season with a knee injury. Thurmond is Oregon's top corner, but given the state of the Pac-10's passing offenses, his loss might not be as painful as you'd think. The only two Pac-10 teams in the top 60 nationally in passing yards per game are Oregon State (35th) and Washington (38th), and while USC and Cal have the weapons to end up quite a bit higher, Oregon's already taken care of one of those two.

* Yankee Stadium -- yes, the one in New York -- will host the Yankee Bowl starting in 2010, with the Big East's No. 4 team playing the Big 12's No. 7 team. Considering the glut of crappy bowl games in places like Charlotte and Mobile, I've never understood why there couldn't be a couple outdoor bowl games in cold-weather locales. The Yankees apparently thought the same thing ... or they just saw the opportunity for some extra money. Whatever. There's obviously no need for a 35th bowl game, but as long as the NCAA keeps adding them -- and you know they will as long as enough cash can be rounded up -- there's no better spot than New York.

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