That's what happened to the SEC when Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany recently posted an open letter on the Big Ten Web site defending his conference's football success and admissions policies.
Delaney's ire rose after the Chicago Sun-Times published a story
under the headline "Big Ten needs to find new talent pool – fast." The story
pointed out how the SEC dominated the Big Ten in recruiting this year, in part
because Big Ten schools struggled to sign players out of the South, particularly
Delany responded by pointing out
the Big Ten's 8-6 record against the SEC in bowl games over the past five years
as well as the Big Ten's five Heisman Trophy winners to the SEC's one over the
past 15 years. Of course, he failed to point out the lack of competitive balance
in a conference that barely compares to the SEC top to bottom. He also
conveniently ignored the beating
Delany didn't stop there, writing,
"It seems premature for us to lower our admission standards or give up on the
tremendous talent pool in the
Then Delaney seemed to stop just short of blatant racism by writing, "I love speed, and the SEC has great speed, especially on the defensive line, but there are appropriate balances when mixing academics and athletics. Each school, as well as each conference, simply must do what fits their mission, regardless of what a recruiting service recommends. I wish we had six teams among the top-10 recruiting classes every year, but winning our way requires some discipline and restraint with the recruitment process."
Let it be known that of the 48 defensive linemen who started the final game of the 2006 season for their respective teams, 42 of those are African-American.
It would have been easy for SEC commissioner Mike Slive to point that out to Delany, but Slive wisely took the high road in public. Of course, it's easy to do that when you're on top.
In an e-mail to the Chicago Tribune, Slive wrote, "I can appreciate why the Big Ten wants to compare itself to the Southeastern Conference. This is a comparison we welcome in the spirit of wholesome intercollegiate athletic competition."
As for the Big Ten's superior academic standards, Slive wrote, "While academic missions may vary from institution to institution, there is one common goal that all conferences and institutions share ... for student-athletes to get a quality education, earn their degree, enjoy a positive athletic experience and become contributing members to society."
While the Big Ten searches for ways
to catch up to the SEC, three SEC schools will be searching for new athletic
directors in the next year. LSU's Skip Bertman and
That gives all three institutions
plenty of time to make critical hires. It also makes for a potentially awkward
And what about
Those questions just add further complications to the already complex situations that exist every day in every SEC athletic program.
If the NCAA follows up on the recommendation of the NCAA Football Rules Committee to reverse last year's unpopular changes in the clock rule, SEC coaches will be among the first to applaud that reversal.
While Division I-A games ended up being 14 minutes shorter than in 2005, the games also included 14 fewer plays than the previous season. In the big picture, is 14 minutes an even trade for 14 plays?
Think about it: Jack Bauer needs an
entire 24 hours to save the world. Gil Grissom and his team need most of an hour
to solve a murder or two in
"We never dreamed it would affect
the number of plays that it did," said
In a statement released through the
In addition to reversing the clock rules that came into effect last fall, the rules committee proposed the following changes:
-- Kicking off from the 30-yard line instead of the 35 to reduce touchbacks and raise the potential for big plays in the kicking game
-- Limiting the play clock to 15 seconds following television timeouts
-- Reducing team timeouts by 30 seconds
-- Placing a two-minute time limit on instant-replay reviews.
Instead of actually limiting the game itself, Tuberville said the new rule proposals should help to eliminate "a lot of standing-around time" during games. A good example is the proposal to give the teams 15 seconds to snap the ball after a television timeout.
"The teams have been standing out there for almost three minutes during a TV timeout," Tuberville said. "They don't need 25 more seconds to get to the line and run a play."
Instead, Mustain is considering his
options and recently visited USC. Mustain's former high school and
Both Mustain and Williams played as
true freshmen at
Consider this: If Mustain ends up at USC, that will give the Trojans the past four Parade Magazine All-America Players of the Year – quarterback Mark Sanchez, offensive lineman Jeff Byers, Mustain, and tailback Joe McKnight (who shared the award with Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen).
Instead, Spurrier tossed out an accusation of his own.
"Someone in the Upstate is lying," Spurrier said.
This is how it supposedly went
In that same conversation, Nix said
Rumph also asked about
While Spurrier did talk to Clemson
offensive line coach and former South Carolina head coach Brad Scott about
returning to the Gamecocks two years ago, Spurrier contends the only Clemson
coach he ever offered a job to was running backs coach Burton Burns.
"Somebody up there has got their facts all wrong, or is purposefully trying to make it look like some Clemson coach is actually trying to stay there instead of getting out," Spurrier said. I didn't talk to Rumph. I didn't tell anybody to talk to Rumph. ...
"Somebody up there is trying to give a perception that we're trying to hire their guys and they'd rather be at Clemson. That's far from the truth."
Spurrier filled the opening by
signing Shane Beamer away from
It appears more and more likely
that tight end Brandon Warren will leave
The Tallahassee Democrat recently
reported that FSU is unlikely to release
Richard Scott is a Birmingham-based sports writer, author and featured columnist in Tiger Rag. Reach him at email@example.com.