Sports Outside the Beltway

Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy charged with assault

It is claimed he punched a cabbie and used racial slurs against the man. From AP-

Police arrested Mississippi men’s basketball coach Andy Kennedy early Thursday after a cab driver said the coach punched him while calling him “bin Laden” and other racial insults.

A pretrial hearing has been set for Jan. 16. Kennedy was charged with a first-degree misdemeanor count of assault, which would carry a maximum sentence of six months in jail if he is convicted.

Kennedy denied the allegations and his attorney, Mike Allen, entered a written plea of not guilty in Hamilton County Municipal Court on Thursday.

Kennedy, a former assistant and interim head coach at Cincinnati, was set to coach the Rebels against No. 9 Louisville in the SEC/Big East Invitational later Thursday.


The complaint filed in Municipal Court alleges that Kennedy assaulted Mohamed Moctar Ould Jiddou and “punched victim with a closed fist while shouting racial slurs.”

Truly bizarre. If Kennedy is convicted or cops to a plea deal, Ole Miss would be justified in firing him.


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.


Former Ole Miss QB and NFL punter Eagle Day dead at 75

He was an all SEC QB in the mid-fifties. Quarterbacks who also doubled as punters were quite common when I watched football in the 70′s and 80′s. Dallas Cowboy Danny White, Tom Blanchard who kicked for the Giants, Bucs, and Saints. There were others, including Sammy Baugh back in the 40′s who was one of the leading punters in the NFL. Former NFL QB Dan Marino punted for Pitt his freshman year at the school. Once I remember a local television reporter making fun of a youth who made mention of Marino kicking. The boy was wrong, but the reporter was ignorant too. Marino was the Dolphins emergency punter.

Back to Day, he spent 12 years in the CFL and is fondly remembered by Ole Miss Football fans. RIP.


Houston Nutt Hired at Ole Miss

Houston Nutt has been hired by the University of Mississippi, literally hours after quitting at Arkansas.

Houston Nutt wasn’t out of a job for long: He was hired as Southeastern Conference rival Mississippi’s football coach just hours after resigning at Arkansas.

Nutt agreed to a contract late Monday night, and replaces Ed Orgeron, who was fired Saturday after the Rebels lost to rival Mississippi State to finish 3-9 and winless in the SEC.

The school announced the hiring through a three-paragraph e-mail Tuesday sent out by Athletic Director Pete Boone. The school said a news conference will be held at 1 p.m. ET on campus Wednesday in Oxford. No contract details were made available.

Ole Miss was searching for a proven winner after years of mediocrity. Nutt neatly fits the description.

He is 111-70 in 15 years as a head coach at Arkansas, Boise State and Murray State. And he’s been a winner in the SEC. The Little Rock, Ark., native rebuilt the Arkansas program, going 75-48 since his hiring in 1997 to replace Danny Ford. He was 42-38 in conference with one of his biggest wins coming last week when the Razorbacks beat then-No. 1 LSU 50-48 triple-overtime win.

While Arkansas is likely headed to the Cotton Bowl, Nutt will be going to the homes of recruits attempting to hold together the promising class Orgeron was assembling.

Nutt, 50, said Monday he left Arkansas to help mend a split among fans after off-the-field problems were compounded by a difficult season. The Razorbacks started the year ranked and were expected to contend for the SEC West title against the Tigers.

A source told’s Ivan Maisel that Nutt turned down a two-year extension from Arkansas worth $2.4 million annually after the Razorbacks upset No. 1 ranked LSU last week.

Arkansas lost its first three SEC games and dropped out of the poll in September, fueling fan discontent over last year’s transfer of quarterback Mitch Mustain and the loss of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, who left for Tulsa.

A call to Nutt’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, was not immediately returned.

Nutt takes over a program that has foundered since a 10-win season in 2003 under David Cutcliffe. The Rebels won a share of the SEC West that season with Eli Manning at quarterback.

Since then Ole Miss has had four or fewer wins in four seasons. Boone fired Cutcliffe in 2004 for a lack of effort in recruiting. He had hoped Orgeron, who helped build two national title teams at USC as Pete Carroll’s recruiting coordinator, would bring the kind of energy needed to compete in the nation’s best football conference.

Orgeron finished 10-25 and was routinely the target of fan discontent.

Boone and Chancellor Robert Khayat endorsed Orgeron midway through the season, but decided to go in a new direction after the Rebels lost five of six to end the year.

The Rebels have been looking for a coach who can produce championships since Johnny Vaught retired in 1970. Vaught won three national titles and six SEC championships between 1947-63.

Nutt’s a solid coach and proven recruiter. The SEC is a mighty tough conference to run through, though, for an aspiring champion.


Ramzee Robinson 2007′s ‘Mr. Irrelevant’

NFL Draft Logo 2007 Ramzee Robinson University of Alabama Detroit Lions Photo University of Alabama cornerback Ramzee Robinson has the dubious distinction of being the last player taken in the 2007 NFL Draft, making him the honorary “Mr. Irrelevant.” He was taken with the 45th pick in the 7th round, 255 overall, as a compensatory pick by the Detroit Lions.

That coinage dates from the days when the NFL draft lasted fourteen or more rounds. Ramzee Robinson actually has a decent chance of making an NFL roster if he can contribute at least on special teams. He was a three year starter with the Crimson Tide in the toughest division in college football.


NFL Draft 2007 – Round 1 #11 – San Francisco 49ers – MLB Patrick Willis

The San Francisco 49ers have gone defense with the 11th pick in the draft, taking Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis.

What the Experts Say: Profile:

MLB Patrick Willis Photo An athletic linebacker best defending the run, Willis is a competitive prospect who possesses the skills to start at the next level.

Biography: Two-year starter awarded a variety of All-Conference and All-American honors since his junior campaign. Senior totals were 137/11.5/3 after 128/9.5/3 as a junior. Sophomore numbers were 70/11/5 when he was a reserve.

Pos: Fierce, run-defending linebacker who is best in the box. Fires up the field, plays with great suddenness and flashes on the scene. Plays heads-up football and takes good angles to the play. Possesses a thick, strong build, defeats blocks and easily brings ball carriers down on initial contact. Remains disciplined with assignments.

Neg: Lacks top lateral range, struggles in coverage and does not possess a quick break to the throw.


Most draft analysts worried San Francisco wasn’t interested in Willis because the organization didn’t bring him in for a visit but why bring him in when you know you are going to take him? Willis played for Noland and the 49er staff at the Senior Bowl and they named him team captain that week. Chances are that’s when San Francisco started to lean toward taking him and any doubts they had were likely erased during film studies. Willis needs to work on reading routes and possibly add some bulk to his frame but he has few other weaknesses.

A stout run defender, he takes the shortest path to the ball and wraps up upon contact. Willis can also match up with most backs and tight ends when he drops into coverage. Finally, he is a leader on the field and a hard worker off it. In other words, he is the kind of player defenses are built around and he immediately improves San Francisco’s defense.


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