Edging Ga. Southern, VIP Status, and more gems

Lots a goodies today!

With just 55 days left until kick-off, on another sweltering hot day in Alabama, I thought I’d share some gems uncovered while trolling around the sports landscape.

Auburn Edged Georgia Southern for player
The first comes from the Anniston Star
, where we get a peek behind the curtain at Auburn incoming freshman, Ladarious Phillips.  He projects to be a super-sized back used in short yardage situations (wonder where Chiznik and Co. saw that?).

“(Phillips) knew if the Tigers offered him, he would take them up on the chance. However, with decision time looming, he still had no offer from the Tigers. Phillips instead had to consider the possibility that he would be unable to realize his dream of playing in the SEC. If that scenario played out, he said he thought Georgia Southern might be where he considered playing.”

So the barn edged Georgia Southern for a player.  Precious.

But who knows; maybe he will turn out.  As the story of the lightly recruited Mt. Cody illustrates, sometimes those stories of diamonds in the rough have happy endings.  More times than not, however, what you see shining up at you is just broken glass.

Volunteering For VIP Status
Next, what everyone is talking about, the brawl up in Knoxville with several Tennessee football players involved.  Cops don’t like to be hit, and when it happens, bad things follow.  Which is yet another dark cloud that continues to hover over the embattled UT football program. Pity.

The best quote of the story I borrow from the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

“Basically, it was a normal Thursday night — Thursday’s our big night,” Morton said. “We had all the UT football players come in. They’re on a first-name basis with my husband (and co-owner), and they get VIP status, which means they pay no cover at the door.”

So UT football players are on a first-name basis with the owner and pay no cover to get in…even get “VIP status”?  Does that sound like an impermissible benefit to anyone?  Might want to button that lip up Mrs. Morton.  Or else your next VIP’s will have opted to play at UTk over Georgia Southern.

Evans sleeping on the sofa
The story of former UGA athletics director Damon Evans is disturbing on so many levels.

You’ve got the DUI factor in the wake of his PSA filmed on the topic, not to mention DUI impacting an athletic department employee days before.

Then you’ve got the red panty factor, with a family being changed forever because he couldn’t keep it zipped up.

Then you’ve got the humiliation factor as it comes out that Evans tried to throw his status around to avoid arrest.

Then you have the financial factor, where his half a million dollar salary just went bye-bye, like a child’s balloon in the park.

Mark Richt had this to say at Macon.com:

“I don’t think this will define Damon Evans,” Richt said. “I think this is certainly a bump in the road without question. He’s a very, very capable man. He’s very intelligent. He’s got an awful lot going for him.”

All kidding aside, who among us hasn’t made some mistakes where only the grace of God has protected us from the consequences?  Looking back at my life I can’t believe some of the decisions I made as a young person where I was pardoned from paying a more hefty tab.

But come on Damon.  To quote Mike Gundy, You’re a man.  You’re 40.

I hope he gets a chance to surface somewhere and display the intelligence Richt speaks of.  But to borrow a quote again, this time from the great Larry Munson, regarding your career Mr. Evans…you just stepped on your own face with a hobnail boot and broke your own nose.

Cleveland the Auburn of pro sports towns
With the announcement of Lebron James heading to South Beach to further his career, is there a more nothing sports town in all the land like Cleveland?

They are kings of having a little flash here and there, but never really doing anything.  But amazingly, their fan base is among the best in professional sports.

I remember watching Browns games on TV as a kid, playing in what looked like a state fair ground arena.  If you would have told me that stadium had been used the day before in a rodeo I wouldn’t have accused you of lying.

But their fans were nuts.  Painted faces.  Rabid.  The original “Dog Pound”.  It was a wild scene.  But their last championship came in 1964, so all of the fanfare is “just because.”

The Indians last championship came in 1948.  They did appear in the World Series twice in the 90’s, but beyond a division title in 2oo7, that’s about it.

Then you have the Cavs.  Close to greatness with possibly the game’s best player on board, but never, ever the best.

So it comes to this: Cleveland is the Auburn of professional sports towns.  Good enough occasionally, but never the best, with a delusional fan base that just keeps taking mediocrity in stride.

But in retrospect, maybe WE’RE the ones that have it all wrong.  Maybe expecting excellence shouldn’t be the goal.  We’ll think on that.

For more on Cleveland’s bizarre sports history, here is a good read.

Finally, if you run with a dog with fleas…
…you’re gonna get fleas.  I remember my high school football coach telling us that after practice what seemed like on a daily basis.  And, it’s true.  The company you keep will largely determine your future.  Make good choices regarding that company and they’ll make you better.  Make bad ones, and you’ll find yourself where USC does today.

First, USC Athletics Director Mike Garrett had to apologize to Alabama, Florida, Oregon, Fresno State and Washington for the fraternity house, juvenilesque claims made by Dillon Baxter that he was approached after their sanctions were handed down.

As sports talkshow host Jim Dunaway spoke on his Thursday “Roundtable” show in Birmingham, the prank wreaks of Lane Kiffin.

To date, four Trojan football players have transferred away from USC in the wake of the sanctions, the latest being fullback D.J. Shoemate to Connecticut. Though we now know differently, at least Franchione came across to his batch of teens as a credible man, able to dupe the Tide players into staying.

Then you have UT turning down USC in a game to open the 2011 season.  It seems not even the Viles want any of Kiffin’s mojo to rub off on them anymore.

USC is radioactive right now, and they could not have hired a more radioactive head coach.  Until either idiot (Mike Garrett or Lane Kiffin) are shown the door, expect more lunacy from the circus that is USC football.  Just don’t expect them back in the Rose Bowl until you have grandchildren.