Sports Outside the Beltway

Nevada Wolfpack golf team put on probation

Sounds to me like their coach liked to party. From AP-

The NCAA placed Nevada’s athletic department on probation for three years and fined it $1,500 on Thursday because of an ex-golf coach’s major rules violations but concluded there was no proof he gambled on college games and cleared all other sports of wrongdoing.

The NCAA investigation that began more than two years ago determined that Rich Merritt, former coach of both the men’s and women’s teams at various times, bought athletes beer, paid for meals and lodging, and helped cover travel expenses for one to try to qualify for the U.S. Open.

He also broke the rules by paying one woman Wolf Pack golfer $25 to complete two “crass acts” on a dare, one “involving the regurgitation of food and the other, spitting,” the NCAA said.

Nevada athletic director Cary Groth suspended Merritt for three matches after an internal investigation confirmed the allegations regarding meals and an airline ticket. He resigned in May 2008.

The school will lose a half scholarship for two seasons. Should Nevada be punished at all for the dumb acts of a former coach? Without knowing more, the coach appears to be the one at fault here.


2010 NFL Draft to include record tying 53 non-seniors

The 2008 NFL Draft also saw the same amount of under classmen. In 2009 the total was 46. From AP-

The expected heavy influx of non-seniors applying for this year’s NFL draft did not happen despite looming labor unrest in the league.

Although a record-tying 53 players declared for early entry, that number released Tuesday by the NFL was short of most projections.

“I think that the colleges have really done a good job of telling these young men how it is to their advantage to stay in school,” said NFL draft consultant Gil Brandt, who helped build the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. “I thought there would be more and I was surprised.”

Six All-Americans did apply for the draft: defensive backs Eric Berry of Tennessee and Joe Haden of Florida; defensive end Derrick Morgan of Georgia Tech; tight end Aaron Hernandez of Florida; linebacker Rolando McClain of Alabama; and wide receiver Golden Tate of Notre Dame.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, also declared for April’s draft, along with Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead; Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen; Southern California running back Joe McKnight; Cal running back Jahvid Best; Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap; and Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman.

Fresno State tailback Ryan Mathews, the nation’s leading rusher, applied. So did tackles Bryan Bulaga of Iowa and Anthony Davis of Rutgers, who are projected to go high in the draft.

I remember when Herschel Walker came out of school(U of Georgia) early and all the controversy it caused. A Herschel Walker today wouldn’t risk a potential big payday in the NFL either.

What I don’t get is how some experts expected the total of non-seniors to be around 100 or a 100% increase from last year. Maybe I’ll find an article that list the college players who stuck it out. A free college education should be valued. One day your sports playing days will end and what will you do for money then? Look at Bernie Kosar who left the University of Miami early for the NFL. Right now he is bankruptcy court.

The entire list of college underclassman declaring for this year’s NFL draft is below the fold.


Not paying attention- Nevada Wolfpack LB Andre Davis arrested for shoplifting

The incident occurred a little over 24 hours before his team was supposed to play in the Hawaii Bowl. From AP-

A Nevada linebacker who did not play in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl after he was dismissed by the team had been arrested days earlier on suspicion of shoplifting.

Honolulu police say Andre Davis was detained this week by security at a Waikiki store before he was turned over to authorities.

Nevada coach Chris Ault said Wednesday that Davis had been dismissed from the program for violating team and athletic department policy although he did not disclose the exact violation.

Davis apologized to his team and family in an interview with Hawaii’s KGMB-KHNL news station Wednesday after posting bail.

Whomever the AP hack writer who did this article, gives the distinct impression that the reason for Davis arrest wasn’t known at least to the wire service till Christmas day. That is when this article was originated.

Unless AP’s Honolulu office had no one working since December 23rd, I’m not buying they didn’t know of the arrest of Andre Davis. As the article above states, the player appeared on television on December 24th. During ESPN’s broadcast of the Hawaii Bowl, announcers made at least one mention of Davis’ arrest. That’s how I knew about it. Also the Honolulu Advertiser, one of Oahu’s two major newspapers, had the news no later than Wednesday afternoon.

I’ll also point out that AP regularly copies(or someone less critical would rewrites) the work of local reporters and then puts it out as the work of the wire service. Here’s just one example of AP doing just that, and getting the facts wrong in the process. Based on that Associated Press had to know the real reason for Davis’ dismissal by Nevada.


Stampeded- SMU beats Nevada in Hawaii Bowl 45-10

If I were a college football player, if I couldn’t play in the BCS Championship game, I’d be happy with a bowl game in Hawaii. From the Honolulu Advertiser-

Twenty-five years after its last bowl appearance, Southern Methodist made sure that it would be ready for the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl.Hawaii Bowl

Led by an 18-year-old quarterback and a stout defense, the Mustangs cruised to a 45-10 trouncing of Nevada before a crowd of 20,217 at Aloha Stadium yesterday, leaving little doubt that SMU has returned from the dead.


After receiving the “death penalty” from the NCAA in 1986, SMU football — a program that had produced the likes of Doak Walker, Don Meredith and Eric Dickerson — disappeared for the next two seasons. The Mustangs’ fall from grace continued with one losing season after another, until this year.

SMU (8-5), which saw the best turnaround in the NCAA this year from a 1-11 2008, put the cap on a record season with a decisive victory over the Wolf Pack (8-5). The Mustangs’ last bowl prior to last night was the 1984 Aloha Bowl, when they beat Notre Dame, 27-20.

This game was but over very early on. My wife, mother-in-law, and I left for midnight mass(10 p.m. at our parish) at 8:30. As we left the house, SMU was up 14-0 already and they were lining up for a field goal.

Part of the reason for Nevada’s poor performance may be attributable to their defense being without two starters. One player had been arrested in the days leading up to the game.

The comeback of SMU is one of the least noticed college football stories of 2009. We’ll have to see if June Jones can sustain this success.

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Are you ready for some bowling? II

No I’m not talking about some middle aged man propelling a ball at some objects at the end of a lane, but the games that climax every college football season. Bowl season officially starts this afternoon, here are the matchups for all the college football fanatics out there.

Note- I gave the shortened name version of all the upcoming games. Also I listed what broadcast network would be televising the game and what time they would be coming on the air. All times are Eastern Standard.

Dec 19

New Mexico- Fresno State vs. Wyoming 4:30 p.m. ESPN
St. Petersburg- Central Florida vs. Rutgers 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 20

R+L Carriers New Orleans- Southern Miss vs. Middle Tennessee 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Dec 22

MAACO Las Vegas- Oregon State vs. BYU 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 23

Poinsettia- Utah vs. Cal 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 24

Sheraton Hawaii- Nevada vs. SMU 8 p.m. ESPN
Dec 26

Little Caesars- Marshall vs. Ohio 1 p.m. ESPN
Meineke- Pitt vs. North Carolina 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Emerald- Boston College vs. USC 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 27

Music City- Kentucky vs. Clemson 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Dec 28

Independence- Texas A&M vs. Georgia 5 p.m. ESPN2

Dec 29

EagleBank- UCLA vs. Temple 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Champs Sports- Miami vs. Wisconsin 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 30

Humanitarian- Bowling Green vs. Idaho 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Holiday- Arizona vs. Nebraska 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 31

Armed Forces- Houston vs. Air Force Noon ESPN
Sun- Oklahoma vs. Stanford 2 p.m. CBS
Texas- Navy vs. Missouri 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Minnesota vs. Iowa State 6 p.m. NFL Network
Chick-fil-A- Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee 7:30 p.m. ESPN

Jan 1

Outback- Northwestern vs. Auburn 11 a.m. ESPN
Capital One- Penn State vs. LSU 1 p.m. ABC
Gator- West Virginia vs. Florida State 1 p.m. CBS
Rose Bowl- Ohio State vs. Oregon 4:30 p.m. ABC
Sugar- Cincinnati vs. Florida 8:30 p.m. FOX

Jan 2

International- South Florida vs. Northern Illinois Noon ESPN2 South Carolina vs. UConn 2 p.m. ESPN
Cotton- Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss 2 p.m. FOX
Liberty- Arkansas vs. East Carolina 5:30 p.m. ESPN
Valero Alamo- Michigan State vs. Texas Tech 9 p.m. ESPN

Jan 4

Fiesta- Boise State vs. TCU 8 p.m. FOX

Jan 5

FedEx Orange- Iowa vs. Georgia Tech 8 p.m. FOX

Jan 6th

GMAC- Central Michigan vs. Troy 7 p.m. ESPN

Jan 7th

BCS National Championship Game- Texas vs. Alabama Jan. 7 8 p.m.

Some random notes on the above 34 games

*- 19 of the 34 games are not scheduled till Dec. 31st or later. I guess college football fanatics are expected to flip channels very quickly on those 3 days(Dec 31-Jan 2) when 15 games are being aired.
*- What a downer must it be for Oregon State players and fans. A few weeks ago they were one win from a Rose Bowl trip. Instead they lost to Oregon and are playing in a minor bowl before Christmas.
*- The NFL network televises a college football game. I guess that’s the cable sports equivalent of the Sci-Fi channel showing wrestling….
*- The bowls are now set where now certain conference finishers are locked into the same bowl games every year. I understand why the current system is done, but I prefer the day when bowl games would have greater variance from year to year. The Peach bowl would usually invite a ACC or SEC school but they could be creative, like when they invited Army and Illinois. Wouldn’t a SEC team against BYU or Wyoming be nice for a change?
*- Bobby Bowden’s farewell game is against the same school(West Virginia) that he left before coming to Florida State. I do know FSU and WV have played at least twice previously in bowls during the Bowden-Florida State era.


Sweet 600- North Carolina beats Nevada 80-73

For the second consecutive day, some NCAA Basketball coaching history was made. From AP-

Roy Williams’ milestone victories are starting to blend together for North Carolina

The Tar Heels gave their Hall of Fame coach his 600th career win Sunday night, an 80-73 triumph over pesky Nevada behind a career-high 23 points from Deon Thompson.

Ed Davis added 16 points, a personal-best 15 rebounds and a pair of momentum-changing blocked shots late for the Tar Heels (6-1).

Williams became the 33rd coach to reach this milestone, and the 3rd quickest. As I noted yesterday, the ever lengthening College Basketball season is the root cause of this.


Nevada coach Chris Ault notches his 200th career win

The Wolfpack defeated Louisiana Tech last night. From AP-

Chris Ault never dreamed when he was Nevada’s quarterback four decades ago that he’d end up coaching the Wolf Pack to 200 victories.

He became only the sixth active coach in the NCAA’s Football Subdivision to accomplish the feat Friday night when Colin Kaepernick passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more to lead Nevada past Louisiana Tech, 37-14.

“The special thing to me is that it was done all at one university and it represents every single player who has put on the silver and blue. That’s pretty special,” said the 62-year-old Ault, Nevada’s quarterback from 1965-67 who has a record of 200-94-1 in 25 seasons as the coach.

Kaepernick finished with 166 yards passing and 89 yards rushing — including a 67-yard TD run — and Vai Taua added 107 yards on the ground for Nevada (2-3, 1-0 Western Athletic Conference) in its fifth straight victory over the Bulldogs (2-3, 1-1).

Ault becomes the 54th NCAA football coach to get to 200 career victories. He ranks 6th among active coaches. Honestly, I never knew of Ault before today. Nevada football rarely gets mentioned here in South Florida.


Are you ready for some bowling?

No I’m not talking about some middle aged man propelling a ball at some objects at the end of a lane, but the games that climax every college football season. Bowl season officially starts this Saturday, here are the matchups for all the college football fanatics out there.

Dec 20
Eaglebank Bowl- Wake Forest vs Navy
New Mexico Bowl- Colorado State vs Fresno St
MAGICJACK ST. PETERSBURG BOWL- Memphis vs. South Florida
PIONEER LAS VEGAS BOWL- Brigham Young vs Arizona
Dec 21
Dec 23
Dec 24
SHERATON HAWAII BOWL- Hawaii vs Notre Dame
Dec 26
MOTOR CITY BOWL- Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan
Saturday, December 27
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL- West Virginia vs. North Carolina
Champs Sports Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Florida State
Emerald Bowl- Miami (FL) vs. California
December 28
Independence Bowl- Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech
PAPAJOHNS.COM BOWL- North Carolina State vs. Rutgers
Valero Alamo Bowl- Missouri vs. No. 23 Northwestern
Tuesday, December 30
PACIFIC LIFE HOLIDAY BOWL- Oklahoma State vs. No. 17 Oregon
Texas Bowl- Western Michigan vs. Rice
Wednesday, December 31
Sun Bowl- Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh
GAYLORD HOTELS MUSIC CITY BOWL- Boston College vs. Vanderbilt
Insight Bowl- Kansas vs. Minnesota
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL- LSU vs. Georgia Tech
Thursday, January 1
OUTBACK BOWL- South Carolina vs. Iowa
CAPITAL ONE BOWL- Georgia vs. Michigan State
Gator Bowl- Nebraska vs. Clemson
Rose Bowl- Penn State vs. USC
Fedex Orange Bowl- Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Friday, January 2
Cotton Bowl- Mississippi vs. Texas Tech
AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL- Kentucky vs. East Carolina
January 3
INTERNATIONAL BOWL- Buffalo vs. Connecticut
January 5
TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL- Ohio State vs. Texas
January 6
GMAC Bowl- Ball State vs. Tulsa*
January 8

That’s 34 games, 68 schools spread over a period of 20 days for those of you keeping score at home. An ample supply of college football for any fanatics out there.

A few notes

*- There are a few bowl games remaining without corporate names in their title. Gator, Sun, Texas, Independence. Were these games unable to find sponsors?
*- Will Oklahoma St. and Oregon combine for 70 pts or more in the Holiday Bowl? This annually has been of the most high scoring affairs.
*- Oh how has the Orange Bowl dropped. A game that featured early triumphs of Joe Paterno led Penn State, Nebraska and Oklahoma in their glory days, the first major bowl appearance of Florida State, and the all time classic 84 battle between Nebraska and Miami, has Cincinnati and Virginia Tech playing this year. I’m sure they are talented football teams, but how many people are drooling to see them play in a prime-time network slot?
*- Arizona and BYU meet in a bowl 30 years after the former left the WAC conference for the higher profile Pac Eight(Now Ten, Arizona State joined also)
*- Vanderbilt makes a rare bowl appearance. Congratulations to Commodore fans, but this is a sign of how bowls are grown way out of proportion. 6-6 college teams get bids. When I was growing up I could remember Florida State going without a bowl in 1978 even though they finished the season 8-3.

It is my humble opinion that bowl season has gotten out of hand. Someone may say what’s the big deal? If someone wants to start a bowl game and there are two schools willing to play in it, does their records matter. A good football isn’t only a contest between stars at big name schools.

All true, but how much public money is spent on these affairs? Many of the teams are state universities who get funded by taxpayers. Then there is the game itself where police have to be taken from other tasks to work the day or night of the game or paid over-time.

With the economic downturn right now, you have to wonder if there will be less bowls in the near future. That would depend on how long a deal a corporate sponsor signed on for. I wonder how many fans of some schools plan to make a bowl trip. Are there 1,000 or more FAU Owls willing to journey from Florida to Michigan in December to watch the team play? Even if I were a Owl fan and had money, I’d stay home.

Enjoy the games.


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

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