In the last seven days we have seen some of the craziest sports stories of the new year… from Mark McGuire finally admitting to his use of steroids during his chase of the homerun record in ’98, to the coaching carousel in Seattle, Southern California and Knoxville.
Can you believe it? People are still up in arms.
A day after the news broke that Lane Kiffin was indeed leaving the University of Tennessee to become the head football coach at USC, public opinion on the subject was running rampant.
And I’m not just talking about Tennessee fans, or even college football fans, but sports fans in general were weighing in on the blogs and talk radio shows to voice their disdain for Lane Kiffin.
Granted, the way in which he departed was certain to leave a bad taste in people’s mouths… not unlike when you reach into the fridge and take a swig of expired milk straight from the carton. No amount of rinsing and gargling can make that sour taste go away. Only time can do that.
And time is something the University of Tennessee has very little of in the wake of the carpet-bagger’s departure. Signing day is only three weeks away, and in order for the Volunteers to be able to salvage this year’s recruiting class, they in turn must do what was done to them… namely, poach a coach from a lesser program, leaving that school high and dry with even less time until signing day.
Should be interesting to see how everything shakes out over the coming days. But one thing I found very funny was the shot of Urban Meyer at the Florida Basketball game last night. Immediately following Lane’s impromptu news conference, the camera panned to Meyer in the midst of receiving a text message on his phone. By his reaction, I can only assume it had something to do with the exit of his Knoxville nemesis.
That’s not really news, Texas is number one now and everyone knows what happened. What is news is why Kansas got beat. The previously-top-ranked Jayhawks got beaten (soundly) by a team missing four of its top eight scorers and probably its best player, because they don’t understand the concept of a sweet spot. This wouldn’t have happened if the Jayhawks or their coach had bothered to watch a few episodes of “Full House”?
On one episode of “Full House,” one that Kansas coach Bill Self obviously missed, Uncle Jesse plays in a basketball tournament. Of course Uncle Jesse is terrible, until – and this is key – he finds his “sweet spot.” Once he’s got his sweet spot, Uncle Jesse can’t miss. If you’ve seen this episode, you’ll remember that Kareem Abdul Jabar played the ref in the tournament and Uncle Jesse famously complained to him that the defense was “standing on my sweet spot.” This is also key.
The Kansas Jayhawks are obviously a
better more talented team than the Tennessee Volunteers. We all know that. When you are more talented than your opposition the only way they can beat you is if you play lazy defense and allow them to get shots from wherever they want. This can be especially detrimental if you let someone like, oh, let’s say Renaldo Woodridge, who averages 4.8 points per game, shoot from the exact same spot on the floor three times. It hurts even more if he makes all three of them. It hurts that much more if he does it on three consecutive possessions.
Once Kansas coach Bill Self finally told his defense to stand on Woodridge’s sweet spot, he scored a total of two total points the rest of the game.
The dagger for the Jayhawks was letting Skylar McBee, a white, 190-pound freshman, walk-on from Rutledge, Tenn., get to his sweet spot and splash a three to ice the game. I don’t have a scouting report on McBee, but if I see that the Volunteers have a white, 190-pound, freshman, walk-on in the game, call me crazy, but I’m going to defend the three-point shot.
I know Bill Self probably didn’t have a whole lot of film on McBee, Woodridge or any of the other volunteers playing for Bruce Pearl that day (get it?) but he’d been watching the team’s play all day. If you can’t figure out the sweet spots of a team full of walk ons and back-ups, then I’m sorry, but you don’t deserve to be the head coach of a major basketball program.
Betcha Urban Meyer is smiling right about now.
Well, actually, it probably happened sometime earlier today while preparing for his upcoming Sugar Bowl match up against Brian Kelly and the Cincinnati Bearcats… assuming Brian Kelly is still coaching the Bearcats in early January. But I digress…
You see, Urban Meyer is still probably licking his wounds from the beat down Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide put on his Gators last weekend. It was such a bad beat down that Tim Tebow… A.K.A. Super Man… was last seen openly weeping on the sidelines following the game.
But at some point earlier today, while Meyer was probably watching game film or something of that nature, one of his assistants had to run into his office and shout, “The NCAA is crawling up Kiffin’s ass again.”
If you hadn’t heard, the NCAA is indeed crawling up Lane Kiffin’s ass again. Multiple allegations of recruiting violations by the University of Tennessee have surfaced… most notable amongst the allegations is the use of co-eds to lure top recruits into committing to Tennessee.
Big deal, right? Don’t all big schools do the same thing? Probably… these are 17 and 18 year old boys we’re talking about, and what better way to snatch their attention then by dangling pretty girls in front of them. But the kicker is that these hostesses, members of the Orange Pride’s Student Ambassador Program, went off campus to do the dangling. In some instances they went as far as 200 miles off campus, to high school football games in South Carolina!
The University will likely say these Volunteers were taking the initiative and acting on their own. But let’s be serious… there’s no way female college students are going to drive 200 miles to lure recruits to Tennessee without explicit instructions from someone within the University itself.
So, as you can see, when Urban Meyer was told exactly what was going on, he must have had a nice little chuckle.
And after that, he probably made a phone call to reel in the co-eds from the University of Florida’s Gator Getters from doing the same thing.