Posted on: September 8, 2010 9:36 am
Edited on: September 8, 2010 10:04 am
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Bryce Brown's father planning to sue UT, Dooley?

Posted by Chip Patterson

Bryce Brown was once one of the most prized recruits in the nation, a running back with explosive speed and power from an athletically impressive family.  But ever since he signed with Tennessee back in the spring of 2009, he has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

After head coach Derek Dooley denied Brown a release from his scholarship with Tennessee, his father began considering legal action.  In an interview with Arthur Brown on Knoxville radio station WNML, the running back's father is planning to hire an attorney and potentially sue Tennessee and coach Derek Dooley for keeping his son from being able to be placed on scholarship at Kansas State.

But WNML reported that Arthur Brown received a registered letter on Tuesday from UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek upholding the decision and is looking for another option to gain a release for his son, which would allow Kansas State to put Bryce Brown on scholarship right away as he sits out a mandated year for transferring.

"Bryce has done nothing wrong," Arthur Brown told the radio station. "I don’t understand."

"If he used that criteria, he should have released Bryce. I think that’s bogus. I’m disappointed in UT’s stance."

That criteria which Brown is referring to is Dooley's criteria for granting release in different transfer cases.  

“As with the other players who have asked for a release, I went through the same process with the same criteria with Bryce,” Dooley told the Knoxville News Sentinel last month. “These are the three key factors - what their personal investment into the program was, did they have their heart into it and did they give it a good, fair shot. No. 2, the harm that their departure creates for the organization. No. 3, how they handle it as a professional.

“I’ve done that with every one of these guys -- with Aaron (Douglas), with Todd Campbell, with Nick Stephens, Nick Lamaison and now Bryce. So now my decision, based on those three factors with Bryce, is not to release him.”

Of course, trouble has followed Brown since he arrived on campus in Knoxville.  First there were the questions about his eligibility before his freshman season.  Then after showing bursts of potential but little production in 2009, Brown disappeared from Tennessee in the spring semester without consulting with new head coach Derek Dooley.  His lack of effort to give the Volunteers a chance makes it no surprise that the university is not jumping at the opportunity to release him from his scholarship.


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Posted on: September 7, 2010 8:07 pm
 

"Player of the Week" award bloat runs rampant

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Generally speaking, conference awards for "player of the week" are a good thing; bringing some extra recognition to the top individual performances from each weekend is certainly in the best interest of the conference, its teams, and their players. Certainly, we can all agree on that.

And yet, the recent proliferation of these awards is a little unsettling. Sure, there's not a ton of value in a conference handing out one award each week to the quarterback who threw the most touchdowns and calling it "offensive player of the week," but the exclusivity of it--one side of the ball, one award, maybe two if both guys are deserving--at least gives the designation a little heft. That's why we were a little disappointed to see so many weekly awards handed out over the past couple days.

For example, the ACC gave the designation to eight different players this week. EIGHT! That includes--deep breath--an offensive back (UNC quarterback T.J. Yates), three co-offensive linemen (FSU's Zebrie Sanders, Georgia Tech's Sean Bedford, and Virginia's Oday Aboushi), a defensive lineman (Maryland's Joe Vellano), a defensive back (Maryland's Kenny Tate), a specialist (Clemson punter Dawson Zimmerman), and a rookie (Miami running back Lamar Miller). Now, as a line play geek, honoring offensive linemen is something near and dear to my heart, so I hesitate to call for an end to such ridiculous practices as this. But... come on. Further, shouldn't the ACC really just honor offensive lines as a whole? They function as units far more than individual blockers, after all, and each of the linemen would have been made to look a lot worse if they weren't on the same page as the linemates next to them.

The ACC's avalanche of awards makes the Big XII's decision to announce co-winners in each of the traditional three categories positively reasonable by comparison, and we barely batted an eye at "MAC West Defensive Player of the Week" when the division elected not to give the award to two other people at the same time.

Look, it's fine to bring recognition to top performers, and we won't stoop to singling out any of these players as specifically being undeserving of the awards given to them. It's just that the more of these that get given out, the closer they come to being glorified participation ribbons, and where's the glory in that?

Posted on: September 7, 2010 6:12 pm
 

Heisman Trust denies Bush story, issues statement

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the statement just released by the Heisman Trust in response to the day's earlier reports (emphasis ours):

The status of the USC / Bush matter remains unchanged. Any reports to the contrary are inaccurate. Please refer to July 2010 statement below.

The Heisman Trophy Trust, is a 501(c)(3) charitable trust, which each year contributes significant monies to the underserved of our country.

The Trust will be considering the issues raised in the USC/Reggie Bush matter, and after reaching a decision will publish it, but due to the complex issues involved and the Trust’s desire to reach an appropriate decision, no definitive timetable has been established. Until the matter has been fully considered and a decision is reached, the Trust has no further comment."

William J. Dockery
President
Heisman Trophy Trust

That, of course, stands in direct contrast to Yahoo! Sports' report that the Trust had, in fact, decided to rescind Bush's trophy. How that would work, logistically, is unclear without knowing what (if any) the contractual obligations are between a Heisman recipient and the Trust. If Bush is the rightful owner, after all, what would the Trust actually have to do to get the trophy back?

But fortunately for Bush, that question's still in the realm of the hypothetical--for now.

Posted on: September 7, 2010 4:56 pm
 

Quick Hits: LSU, Nebraska, Georgia

Posted by Chip Patterson

- LSU has some healing to do after nearly giving away a lead to North Carolina in the Georgia Dome on Saturday.  Unfortunately for starting right guard Will Blackwell, that will take at least six weeks.  
"I think Will will be lost for a significant amount of time," LSU coach Les Miles said at his press luncheon on Monday. "We will have T-Bob (Hebert) in there, or another of those backup offensive linemen who will step in and play well."  Blackwell is a fourth-year junior who finally got his first start against the Tar Heels.  Miles may be forced to shuffle his line up in his absence, using different combinations at guard and center.  The line played well against the Tar Heels, not allowing a single sack and leading the way for 178 team rushing yards.



- Nebraska head coach Bo Pellini looked pretty smart on Saturday for deciding to start redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez at quarterback over Zac Lee and Cody Green.  Martinez picked apart Western Kentucky on the ground for 127 yards and three touchdowns to compliment his 136 passing yards.  But following a review of the game tape, offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said what impressed him most about Martinez's play won't be found in the box score.

"Your first start in front of 86,000 fans can be an interesting adventure, and I thought Taylor was exceptionally poised and played a very competitive game -- which is how we know him," Watson said. "He's always been that way with us, but you never know how they're going to respond in a true situation and I thought he was awesome."

- Georgia head coach Mark Richt has been forced to prepare for games without knowing whether wide receiver A.J. Green as he waits for an official clearance from the NCAA regarding agent-related allegations.  Green sat out of Georgia's home opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, and is not listed as the starting receiver on the team's depth chart this week.  His official status is "TBD," but Richt seems to believe that his status could be determined before the team travels to Columbia to face South Carolina.
“I’d be highly disappointed if we don’t hear something this week,” Richt said today. “I would think we will.”Green has been practicing with the team as usual until the university receives word from the NCAA.  South Carolina also suspended players last week due to NCAA investigations.  There has been no word yet on a return date for them. 

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Posted on: September 7, 2010 3:23 pm
 

VIDEO: Brock Mealer walks out of Michigan tunnel

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the most inspirational stories of last week--and, in all likelihood, this entire season--is the recovery of Brock Mealer, the brother of Michigan lineman Elliott Mealer. Brock was a freshman lineman two years ago when he, Elliott, their father, and Eliott's girlfriend were involved in a brutal car wreck. Their father and Elliott's girlfriend died, and Brock was paralyzed. Before putting 20 pins in his spine, doctors told Brock he had a 1% chance of walking again.

Fast-forward to last Saturday. For Michigan's season opener at the newly renovated Big House, Brock sat in his wheelchair, wearing a "1%" shirt, in front of Elliott and the rest of the Michigan team. What happened next left scant few eyes dry in the stadium, and set an inspirational tone for the day:

Yes, seeing Brock Mealer walk is amazing, and every update he posts on Twitter points to him recovering far beyond his doctors' best hopes. Maybe one day he'll even run. It would be a beautiful sight.

And yet, Mealer's doctors gave him a 1% chance of walking again for a reason; it wasn't just a motivational ploy. For 99% of people who are injured as severely as Mealer was, they're in wheelchairs for life, and that's it. So for all people with spinal cord injuries, even incremental advances in nerve recovery make huge differences in quality of life. And without getting too political, it would be nice to live in a country where the government actively encouraged research in this field to a large degree. There's no such thing as "too fast" for progress on this front, and considering that a young man of superlative athleticism barely walking without assistance is at the 99th percentile of recovery, we have got miles of progress to go. 

 

(Hat tip: Maize N Brew)

 

Posted on: September 7, 2010 1:19 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2010 1:26 pm
 

Saban: Ingram's status still unknown for Saturday

Posted by Chip Patterson

Alabama didn't need the services of their Heisman Trophy winning running back Mark Ingram in the 48-3 route of San Jose State.  They didn't even need more than two quarters out of his backup, Trent Richardson.  

The running back duties were split in the second half between Eddie Lacey and Demetrius Goode, and the pair were able to combine for 177 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  It's fair to say that the Tide are deep at the running back position, but they cannot expect that kind of production against teams all season long.  

Ingram, who is rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery on his knee, watched the game from the sideline but did not dress out.  His official status is week-to-week, but head coach Nick Saban will not make a prediction as to whether he will return for Alabama's game against Penn State on Saturday.

"I don't know if he'll be able to play in this game. It depends on how he reacts to every day, and nobody really knows how that's going to be," Saban said. "It would probably be a little bit of a stretch for everything to go perfectly, but that's where it is. That's all anybody knows right now so that's all anybody can say. I'm not making any predictions on any hypothetical situations."
Doesn't sound like Saban has all that much faith that Ingram will return against the Nittany Lions.  Ingram could potentially have the opportunity to give his knee another week to rehab if he were to sit out a third week when Alabama travels to play at Duke.  That way Ingram could try to be 100% when the Tide begin their grueling conference schedule that begins September 25 at Arkansas.  (AP Photo/Dave Martin)   


Posted on: September 7, 2010 10:17 am
Edited on: September 7, 2010 6:14 pm
 

Sources: Heisman Trust to strip Bush of trophy

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE (6:15 ET) - The Heisman Trophy Trust has issued a statement calling the Yahoo! report inaccurate.

UPDATE (3:30 ET) - Heisman spokesman Tim Henning told the LA Times, "The Heisman Trophy Trust has yet to make a decision, and until such time they do we have no further comment."

UPDATE (NOON ET)- ESPN's Chris Fowler just called into SportsCenter to claim that the Yahoo! report "is completely false."  We will continue to update this story as it develops.

USC
athletic director Pat Haden publicly demanded that it be given back, but it is beginning to sound like Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush will have to give back one  of his most valuable pieces of hardware.

Tuesday morning, a Yahoo! report detailed reports from sources that indicate that the Heisman Trophy Trust is expected to strip Bush of college football's most prestigious individual award by the end of September.

Two sources close to the Heisman trust said the body’s investigation is coming to a close, and will ultimately concur with the NCAA's determination that Bush was ineligible during his Heisman-winning season in 2005. Because of that independent conclusion, sources said the trust will relieve Bush of the award and leave the honor for that season vacant.

The sources said Bush met with Heisman representatives last month at the New York law offices of Emmet, Marvin & Martin. The sources would not reveal details of that meeting.

The report continues to detail the investigation process, which was done internally by the Trust and took place over the last three months.  It also reports that Bush was given an opportunity to "impact the decision."

The NCAA has already ordered USC to remove all references to Bush from its sporting venues and promotional materials, as well as erase any statistics from games when he was ineligible.  The school has given back its copy of the award, but Bush has yet to speak up except for a brief apology to the school through Haden.

If the sources are correct, the ruling from the Trust would eliminate any possibility of the award being given to the runner-up, former Texas quarterback Vince Young.  Awarding Young the trophy was a suggestion that was supported by many, particularly Longhorns head coach Mack Brown.

Keep it here with the College Football Blog for more updates on this story throughout the day.

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Posted on: September 7, 2010 9:17 am
Edited on: September 7, 2010 3:37 pm
 

Looking ahead to Week 2

Posted by Chip Patterson

Well, that was fun.

The first weekend of the college football season wrapped up Monday night with an instant classic between Boise State and Virginia Tech, and now we will have just enough time to catch our breath before running it all back in Week 2.  The slate of games promises an entire Saturday of elite football, including Top 25 non-conference challenges for Alabama and Ohio State, and a renewed rivalry between Michigan and Notre Dame.  

If this past weekend has shown us anything it's that these high profile non-conference games are great for college football.  Teams are not taking these games lightly.  The games are an opportunity for a team to prove itself on the national stage, and for conferences to get an idea of how they are stacking up against each other heading into the season.  

Especially now, with strength of schedule quickly becoming the most prominent phrase in the sport, everyone has a vested interest in these marquee matchups.  Let's take a quick look at some of the best games on next weekend's schedule.

Saturday, September 11
12:00 ET - Georgia @ South Carolina - The Gamecocks certainly made a statement in their 41-13 rout of Southern Miss.  QB Stephen Garcia was 16 of 23 for 193 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns while freshman running back Marcus Lattimore added 53 yards and two touchdowns of his own.  Georgia took care of business against Louisiana-Lafayette 55-7, with true freshman QB Aaron Murray impressing Bulldog fans with three touchdown passes despite missing wide receiver A.J. Green.  But Murray will be facing a very different defense and atmosphere when the Bulldogs travel to Columbia to face the Gamecocks.

12:21 ET - South Florida @ Florida - Florida head coach Urban Meyer has some serious work to do with the Gators offense this week before hosting the South Florida Bulls on Saturday.  The Gators needed some outstanding defense, including four interceptions, to defeat the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks 34-12 in the swamp.  The Florida offense gave up three turnovers, and dealt with more than a half dozen fumbles and bad snaps.  The offense looked uncharacteristic, including only 26 total yards heading into the fourth quarter.  South Florida, led by new head coach Skip Holtz, is more than capable of stealing this game if the Gators perform the way they did in Week 1.

3:30 ET - Florida State @ Oklahoma - The Sooners were another team that struggled more than most expected to win their first game of the season.  They needed every single one of running back DeMarco Murray's 218 yards rushing in order to hold on for a 31-24 win against Utah State.  The Sooners defense gave up 340 yards passing to the Aggies, something it cannot afford to do against Florida State and Heisman candidate Christian Ponder.  Head coach Jimbo Fisher knows a win in Norman could set the tone for the season, as the Seminoles are seeking to return to their former resting place atop the ACC.

3:30 ET - Michigan @ Notre Dame - The showdown between these two storied programs might have been a snore in the last couple of years, but some fresh faces have given a new meaning to Saturday's game.  Notre Dame has been rejuvenated by new head coach Brian Kelly, and coming fresh off the 23-12 victory over Purdue, the Irish will look to continue when the Wolverines come to town.  Michigan has new life as well, on the "shoelaces" of sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson, who threw for 186 yards and ran for 197 in its 30-10 win over Connecticut.

3:40 ET - Miami @ Ohio State - Both of these teams teased their Week 2 matchup by hanging 45 points each on their Week 1 opponents.  Stud quarterbacks Terrell Pryor and Jacory Harris also threw three touchdowns apiece.  Both teams have rock solid defenses and showed it in their openers.  Ohio State held to one first-quarter touchdown while Miami shut out Florida A&M.  While this game is a rematch of the 2003 National Championship game, this is a brand new chapter in the rivalry.  There are very few remaining pieces from that 2003 title game.  Oh yeah, except the championship ring on head coach Jim Tressel's finger.

7:00 ET - Penn State @ Alabama - The defending national champions will get their first big test of the season when the Nittany Lions come to town for the primetime match up in Bryant-Denny Stadium.  Penn State's squad is led by true freshman quarterback Robert Bolden, who looked comfortable in his debut (20/29 239 yards 2 TD's 1 INT), but that was against Youngstown State.  Alabama did not need Mark Ingram (knee) or Marcell Darius (suspension) in its 48-3 trouncing of San Jose State.  Darius' suspension will continue through Week 2 and Ingram's status has not been determined for the game.  Thankfully for Alabama fans, back up running back Trent Richardson (with his 66 yards and 2 TD's in just two quarters of play) will work just fine.
 


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com