Friday, November 6, 2009

Catching up: Spikes suspends himself

* After the media lost its collective shit over Urban Meyer giving Brandon Spikes only a half-game suspension for his eye-gouging incident against Georgia, Spikes did the right thing on his own Thursday and announced that he'll sit out the entire game Saturday against Vanderbilt. I won't go as far as Pat Forde and claim that "nothing, not even thuggish behavior, will be allowed to substantively interfere with Florida's pursuit of a repeat national title," but I do think Spikes deserved at least a full game. Reaching through a guy's facemask to jab at his eyes is obviously dangerous and is often cited by players as one of the dirtiest under-the-pile transgressions. It does happen more than people realize, but that doesn't mean it isn't cheap and stupid. Spikes should just feel fortunate that Washaun Ealey didn't suffer any sort of gruesome eye injury; imagine the sort of "distraction" that would have created.

* I took notice about a month ago when I saw Syracuse's Mike Williams near the top of the NCAA receiving categories, partially because it showed what a difference a quarterback (Greg Paulus) can make and partially because I just didn't realize what a great season Williams had been having. That season ended in shocking fashion on Monday, though, when Williams abruptly quit the team with four games left. No reason has been given publicly, but Williams was suspended for all of last season due to "academic dishonesty" (cheating), and the rumor-mill consensus is that he was most likely struggling in the classroom to the extent that he would have been declared ineligible. Syracuse isn't going anywhere this year, but it's unfortunate for everyone that the Orange lost their best offensive player -- a junior who could have had a big impact again next season -- and college football lost one of its best receivers because the guy wouldn't put his brain to use. It seems extremely likely that Williams will end up entering April's draft.

* Also entering the draft: Dez Bryant, who lost his final eligibility appeal to the NCAA on Thursday and told ESPN immediately afterward that he's headed to the NFL. It's hard to blame him -- this year was obviously a disaster, but first-round money is first-round money (and a guy with Bryant's talent who has never been considered a troublemaker will go in the first round). As for Oklahoma State, the offense will take a big hit next year minus Bryant and senior Zac Robinson, but talented running back Kendall Hunter -- a sophomore who has missed most of the season with a sprained ankle -- should finally be healthy and able to shoulder most of the load.

* Ohio State announced Wednesday that it will honor the school's 1954 national championship team by wearing throwback uniforms that will be unveiled against Michigan -- in Ann Arbor -- on November 21. I'm not really sure what to think about this; a lot of schools (Georgia, Notre Dame, etc.) have worn alternate jerseys recently in rivalry games, but it seems weird for Ohio State to pull out a one-time Nike marketing ploy (the announcement reads like a freakin' Nike press release) for the Michigan game. Against Purdue or Minnesota, sure. But against Michigan? In Ann Arbor? And who celebrates the 55th anniversary of a championship team? The whole thing just seems strange on a number of levels. Maybe it's one of those "get everybody fired up" ideas like Georgia's all-black uniforms, but I doubt Jim Tressel needs a whole lot of motivational help for The Game.

* Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews officially announced Wednesday that he'll step down after the season. His impending retirement had been rumored all season and wasn't a surprise, but this part was:
Bobby Bowden didn’t mince his words when asked on the ACC weekly teleconference who will name Mickey Andrews' replacement. The Florida State head football coach said he will have the final word.
Nobody knows whether Bowden plans to stick around for another year, but either way, Jimbo Fisher will be taking over at some point in the next 14 months and should have the authority to decide the future of the FSU coaching staff. Why should Bowden get to pick the next defensive coordinator when he might never even coach with the guy?

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