Week 6 forecast: Will Sparty stop Denard Robinson? Will South Carolina pull the upset?

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 25: Marcus Lattimore  of the South Carolina Gamecocks rushes against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

College football season continues to be awesome. It seems like every week I sit down to write my picks (which also continue to be awesome) there are a handful of games that are can’t miss.

I don’t know if that’s because there’s an increasing number of good teams in college football, or if all the cupcakes teams were feasting on at the beginning of the season beefed up their records artificially. Either way, I like being excited on a Friday night for what I’m about to see the next day, and I’ve been like that for a few weeks now.

This week is no different, in fact, it’s about as big as any weekend of the season. And maybe that’s artificially inflated for myself living in Michigan and seeing about 50% of my Facebook “friends” switch their profile picture to something Michigan or Michigan State related. It’s half exciting and half terribly annoying (example: New friend request from John Doe. Hmm, John Doe doesn’t ring a bell, I wonder what he looks like. Oh, he looks just like Denard Robinson. Strange. Ignore. (Not true, I never ignore. My ego can use all the friends it can get, virtual or not.)).

Enough parentheses, let’s get to the games. Read the rest of this entry »

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What we learned: Dion Lewis needs help; so does USC’s defense

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 26:  Dion Lewis #28 of the Pittsburgh Panthers runs with the ball against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game on December 26, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Now that college football is back and we no longer have to spend our time over-analyzing off-field issues, let’s turn our attention to over-analyzing what we’ve seen in one night the play on the field.

The first night of games was pretty vanilla — outside of Utah’s overtime win over Pittsburgh, as Anthony pointed out earlier — but it did give us a little bit of insight into a few teams, and what we could possibly expect to see from them down the road.

Let’s take a look at three things we learned on Thursday night: Read the rest of this entry »

Lane Kiffin’s life in pictures

Kudos to Kegs ‘N Eggs for an inventive post about Lane Kiffin.

Take a look.

Jeff Fisher criticizes Lane Kiffin for his lack of professionalism

SEATTLE , WA - JANUARY 03: Head Coach Jeff Fisher of the Tennessee Titans a walks the sidelines against the Seattle Seahawks Qwest Field on January 3, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

After Lane Kiffin hired Tennessee running backs coach Kennedy Pola to be his new offensive coordinator at USC, Titans’ head coach Jeff Fisher was a little ticked off that Kiffin didn’t call him first.

From ESPN.com:

“I am very disappointed in Lane Kiffin’s approach to this,” Fisher told The Tennessean on Saturday. “Typically speaking, when coaches are interested in hiring or discussing potential employment from coaches on respective staffs there is a courtesy call made from the head coach or athletic director indicating there is an interest in talking to the assistant.

“So I am very disappointed in the lack of professionalism on behalf of Lane, to call me and leave me a voicemail after Kennedy had informed me he had taken the job. It is just a lack of professionalism.”

Kiffin claims it was all a matter of timing.

“We reached out to Kennedy Pola [on Friday] to gauge whether he had any possible interest in returning to USC before we moved forward with the process,” Kiffin said. “Kennedy said he would think about it and get back to us today. Once Kennedy did call back earlier today, out of my great respect for Coach Fisher I immediately reached out to Coach to make him aware of the situation.

“I have spoken with Coach Fisher and he now has an accurate understanding of the timeline of events.

“We realize the timing of this isn’t perfect for all parties, but this is a great opportunity and promotion for Kennedy.”

This wasn’t the first time Kiffin has pissed off a fellow coach and it probably won’t be the last. If it was a matter of timing and therefore, a misunderstanding, then I’m sure Fisher can let the situation go. Then again, Fisher’s main beef was that Kiffin never contacted him when USC was interested in hiring Pola. Kiffin could have picked up the phone as soon as Pola was a serious candidate and this situation could have been avoided.

Either way, this story is sure to get buried soon. Fisher’s probably more upset that he lost his running backs coach one week before training camp starts than he is about Kiffin’s moral compass. Although I would have loved to hear Fisher drop the line, “Lane Kiffin is a guy that would bend you over and not have the courtesy to give you a reach around.” (I cleaned that line up for the kids viewing at home.)

NCAA looking to ban early scholarship offers

Apr. 01, 2010 - Los Angeles, CA, USA - 01 April 2010: Head coach Lane Kiffin during a USC spring football practice at the Howard Jones/Brian Kennedy Football Practice Field on the campus of USC in Los Angeles, CA.

The NCAA is reviewing whether or not to ban scholarship offers to recruits before July 1 in the summer between their junior and senior years of high school, according to ESPN.com.

The rule would apply to all sports if passed later this year or next. Some coaches are hopeful it could slow an arms-race mentality that has led to earlier and earlier commitments by unproven prospects.

Two years ago, the National Association of Basketball Coaches said it opposed accepting commitments from students who had not yet completed their sophomore seasons in high school. Jim Haney, the group’s executive director, says he understands the reasoning behind the new proposal.

The proposal would also require coaches to receive a high school transcript documenting at least five semesters or seven quarters of academic work for a recruit before offering a scholarship.

Considering Lane Kiffin recruited a 13-year-old quarterback this past February, I’d say it’s about time that the NCAA did something about this. Kids are easily impressionable and even though being offered an athletic scholarship is a great thing, I’m sure some feel pressured to commit early.

Teams that have always recruited well might not like this proposal, but this is a good thing for everyone involved. Schools can take a longer look at a potential recruit without feeling pressured to get a commitment out of him too early, and the recruit can have more time before deciding where to attend. Hopefully the NCAA follows through with this next year.

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