Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Volunteers Defend the Honor of the SEC

What an incredible game last night between Tennessee and Memphis. I thought both teams played pretty good basketball, but Meimphis' defense against Lofton was amazing. Still, it wasn't enough as the Tigers fell to the Volunteers.

Michael David Smith at Fanhouse saw it as an example of just how tough it is to go undefeated:

Tennessee will be the new No. 1 team in the country, and the old No. 1 isn't undefeated anymore. The Volunteers' 66-62 win at Memphis Saturday night changed the top of the college basketball rankings and showed just how hard it is to make it through a season unbeaten.
Jon at Fulmers' Belly saw this as a team win, no MVP necessary:
Is there an MVP for this game? No. Why? Because this was as big of a team win as there has ever been. What would be an individual performance that you could single out? Lofton’s ice cold free throws to seal the game? Tyler Smith’s multiple baskets and rbounds? JP Prince’s ridiculous second half? JaJuan Smith’s insane first half? Brian Williams or Duke Crews’ presence in the paint? This, was a team win.
I think he is largely right, although I would have given Tyler Smith the MVP if it was up to me. Smith hit the big shot that put UT ahead for good, and Tennessee sealed it with good free throw shooting.

Michael David Smith at Fanhouse also blogs Bruce Pearl's rather physical interview with Erin Andrews, and includes video:
Andrews asked Pearl, "Coach, what has Memphis done to Chris Lofton in the first half?"

Pearl responded, "Hold him. Drape him like this." At that point, Pearl proceeded to put Andrews in a bear hug, and a shocked Andrews said, "OK."
Indeed. Andrews was obviously very surprised and embarassed by the contact, although I thought she handled it quite professionally. Memo to Bruce: Keep your hands of the sportsbabes, dude.

Bobby O'Shea at Vanderbilt Sports Line says the Commodore's upcoming game with Tennessee doesn't get any bigger:
Vanderbilt's game against Tennessee is the biggest regular season game the Commodores have played in a long time...maybe ever. If that seems hyperbolic, trust's not. The Tennessee/Memphis game was one of the best games of the season, and one that most sports fans were watching. That means they'll be watching Tuesday at 9. The "they," in this case, is America. Vanderbilt's "big games" are often limited to regional coverage or ESPN Full Court and Raycom. Not Tuesday. Vanderblit hasn't lost in 30 games at Memorial, they've won 6 straight in conference, and beat the #1 team in America last season at home.
All that is true, but if the Commodores try to beat Tennessee at their own game, like they did in Thompson-Boling, they will be in for another beating. You must slow Tennessee down to have a chance to beat them and minimize the impact of their depth. If you try to run with them, you will lose.

Well done, Volunteers. You are #1 in the land for the first time in history. As a Kentucky fan, I can't say I know what the first time ever feels like, but it has been a while since the Cats were up there, and I know I enjoyed it when they were.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fulmer vs. Adams

The Tennessee blogosphere is abuzz today about Coach Phillip Fulmer's response to this article by John Adams of the Knoxville News-Sentinal. In it, Adams calls for a head coaching change, his reason being:

Two years ago, USA Today did an in-depth story on the off-the-field problems of UT football players in 2005. But the same story would have been as relevant in the mid-1990s.

It would be just as relevant today.

Bottom line: UT has surpassed Miami as the poster team for bad behavior in college football. It's the college equivalent of the Cincinnati Bengals.

That's a stinging accusation, and I think reasonable people would have to say that there is some truth there. I do think the Miami and Cincinnati comparisons are somewhat hyperbolic, since we have not seen the Vols misbehaving on the field like those other two worthies. Still, college football can't be confined just to the field of play and I think the perception, right or wrong, is that Fulmer either places too much weight on what happens on the field or not enough on what happens off it. Either way, the effect is the same.

Adams goes on to cite a list of the most heinous crimes committed by UT players after they left the program. Now, no doubt that does tarnish Tennessee's reputation, but laying that at the feet of Fulmer is, quite frankly, absurd. Adams claims not to be doing that, but if so, why bring it up? Players from every walk of sport who were well-behaved during their college days sometimes become run afoul of the law after graduation -- OJ Simpson, anyone?

Adams continues with this:
When a football program is winning big, virtually everything is forgiven. This just in: UT isn't winning big. It hasn't won an SEC championship since 1998. It hasn't been to a BCS bowl since 1999, nor finished in the top 10 since 2001.
Say what? So this would all be forgiven by Mr. Adams if the team were coming home from a BCS championship instead of just a victory in the Outback Bowl? Seems like Adams is being hypocritical here -- first, his beef is with Fulmer sacrificing discipline on the altar of winning, now we find that it's really all about winning after all.

Coach Fulmer, rather than let that article sit out there unchallenged, responded with this interview at GoVolsExtra. Money graf:
At no time in my tenure has a player's football skill or athletic success been a factor in the way he was disciplined. Never. Our internal discipline is based on one factor alone: the course that is most likely to help that individual young man make amends and get his life straight. We make these decisions after much deliberation and with the input of administration, professional staff, counselors, and when necessary, law enforcement. This is not the easy way to mete out punishment. It requires judgment and leadership to keep the entire team focused and respectful of rules and basic morality, but it is the method that best serves the interest of our young men. In my 15 years, I've undoubtedly made some mistakes, but I try to do what I think is in the best interest for each young man.
OK, so there we have it. The two combatants staking out their claim to righteousness. But it seems to me, at least, that Fulmer gets the better of it, owing to the fact that Adams does not know the UT process, and is drawing conclusions only from the most egregious failures of it. Not only that, Adams fails to give Fulmer credit for a number of things, and given the coach's response, makes Adams look like a man with an axe to grind rather than a case to make. And what are we to make of Adams' suggestion that these discipline problems would be ignored if Tennessee were competing for BCS championships?

I guess the real question is, does Tennessee trust Fulmer's judgment on the matters for which he is responsible? I see no indication, other than fan restlessness for on-field results, that they do not. Adams is certainly within his rights to question Fulmer's results, even though he is, in Fulmer's words, "partially informed." But Fulmer shouldn't and didn't stand still for the suggestion that his discipline is purely based on winning and losing, and I think any coach in his position would take umbrage at that -- Adams draws that conclusion from thin air, and I don't blame Fulmer for being insulted.

Now for some Blogspheric reaction. Jon at Fulmer's Belly has a post up, in which he lowers his "hate rating" of John Adams because he fears it could be the end of him:
This is the type of controlled fury that emanates from the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers that people have come to know and love, and people at the wrong end of it, learned to fear. Not necessarily a fear of being outed to the public of being a no-good hack of a writer, but rather, mortal, bodily fear of possibly being eaten, and introduced first hand, to the namesake of this little website.

Therefore, the John Adams Hate-O-Meter will be rated somewhat lower due to sadness for John Adams’ future to be uncertain, whether or not he’ll continue working for the Knoxville News Sentinel, or Phillip Fulmer’s next meal.
Watch your back, Mr. Adams. Fulmer the Cannibal could be working up a recipe.

VolsToTheWall at Third Saturday In Blogtober also weighs in on the debate. He says that Fulmer was right to defend himself:
Coach Fulmer did the right thing in standing up for himself when Adams’ attacked his character. In fact, he probably should have been even harder on him. John Adams obviously has no respect for Phillip Fulmer, and after this article I have no respect for Adams. I’m happy to have Fulmer as our football coach. Sometimes he has probably been more lenient on some players than most would be, but I trust his judgment.
There is a partial answer to my earlier question about Fulmer's judgment -- I haven't done any polling, but my guess is that this is the majority opinion among Volunteer supporters.

Finally, I have to note that I was less than complimentary of Fulmer's discipline of Colquitt earlier this week, and I still think perhaps he should step back and get some peer input on his discipline process, just as a sanity check. But Fulmer's response to Adams leaves me somewhat chastened in this regard. It's easy to be a critic, but for a fact, we don't have all the information necessary to make informed judgments about the coach's performance in this type of situations. Fortunately, the University does (or should), and that is what matters most.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Commenting on a player who's name I can barely spell

I feel I have to comment a bit on the Ryan Perrilloux situation. It is always a shame when a promising football player goes off the reservation and acts the idiot, but quite frankly, it seems to go with the territory. While we may never understand this young man's motivation, I'm not really sure that we are required to.

Richard Pittman at Geaux Tuscaloosa has this post that, I think, strikes just the right tone:

I've read a lot of very strong opinions on this situation lately, mostly in the vein of "kick him off". People are saying he's a bad kid, a distraction to the team, a potential cancer, etc. This is all well and good, and everyone is entitled to their opinions, but there are some important things to keep in mind.
Pittman goes on to describe several reasons why we should not be so quick to judge Perrilloux or the actions of the LSU coaching staff too harshly. I think that is right.

LSU Tigerbait has a number of links to mainstream sports media articles and blog posts that have advice for Miles. For example, Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated:
While there's certainly nothing wrong with giving a guy a second chance, clearly Perrilloux is far beyond that point. LSU fans have become fed up enough to call for the quarterback's head on Tigers fan sites like, where the site's namesake wrote Wednesday that "a good 90 percent of [his] e-mails are in favor of Les Miles dismissing Perrilloux from the team."
Well, that's it, then. We put it to a popular vote among the fans, what a great idea! Not. Pelican State Sports has this:
I think it safest that LSU fans accept the notion that Perrilloux may never take another snap as a Tiger. And truth be told, he probably shouldn’t. He has had numerous chances, and somehow his name keeps coming up in bad situations. I don’t know what he has done this time, but I am going to get ready for the idea that Jarrett Lee will be the Tiger starter next year.
Perrilloux has had numerous chances to get this right, and he has obviously failed. But I'm not sure that abandoning a troubled young man is necessarily the best thing. It may be, depending on the circumstances, but Les Miles apparently isn't ready to give up on him. We do have to remember that Perrilloux is not just a piece of meat that runs fast and can throw a football.

But the bottom line is, Perrilloux is not a first-time offender, and there comes a time at which you just have to let a guy go who hasn't made a good-faith attempt to take advantage of second chances. The "You can lead a horse to water ..." truism comes to mind.

Whatever happens, I feel bad for the young man and hope Tiger fans will give Miles a chance to sort this out. It's too bad, but it is an all too familiar situation in college sports these days.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Something needs to change at Tennessee

After reading most of the blog posts, I think I won't hand out a Best of the SEC bloggers award for today. Instead, I think the Britton Colquitt situation at Tennessee deserves a bit more exposure.

Lawvol at Gate 21 has written a stern and comprehensive critique of Philip Fulmer's "disciplinary" actions. This is a great post which you should read in it's entirety, but here is the crux of the biscuit:

While I have been a pro-Fulmer voice for a very long time, if this sort of trend continues, that voice will change — not due to Fulmer’s performance on the field, but due to his inability to control his players while off the field. I am not willing to have the University of Tennessee and its reputation denigrated by a bunch of young men who apparently feel that the law does not apply to them.

Winning is not that important…

Furthermore, in my opinion, the penalty imposed by Coach Fulmer on Colquitt — while substantial — is not enough. I understand Fulmer’s desire to temper his discipline with mercy, but Colquitt has proven that he does not understand his mistakes. He has already been given more second-chances than anyone should receive. I understand that his family has a long tradition at the University of Tennessee, and that they have been wonderful supporters of the program.

Lawvol is exactly right. It isn't as if Colquitt is a first-time offender, or was just committing a one-off offense that most people were guilty of in college whether or not they were caught. The fact of the matter is that there has to be a point, a line, a barrier -- something -- that defines where behavior becomes so unacceptable that the only fitting punishment is dismissal from the team. Britton Colquitt would seem to have exceeded this threshold by a wide margin with this latest debacle.

Volwalk at Third Saturday in Blogtober is sick and tired of this crap:

Like Ghost, I believe Fulmer is a good, moral man, but where does this crap stop? This just tells me how important Coach Cutcliffe was on and OFF the field. I believe he was THE LAW around the Tennessee football facilities when he was there.

I believe it is time for Phillip Fulmer to go. The man has done great things in Knoxville, and I will always have respect for him and for what he has brought to Knoxville…but it’s time. Time for SEC Championships, time for consistent Top 10 rankings, time for the police blotter to be quiet in Knoxville…and I don’t think Coach Fulmer can bring any of these things anymore. I know there are Tennessee fans who are going to disagree with me, probably some on this blog site will say I am 100% wrong, and if so thats ok with me.

I am not a Tennessee fan, and I am reluctant to agree with his conclusion that Fulmer should be dismissed. But I do think the AD should have a conversation with Fulmer about how much damage the perception of his lack of severe punishment for severe transgressions is doing to the Volunteer football program. And make no mistake, it is. Parents do not want to send their children to programs where scofflaws run amok with only mild consequences. It gives one the feeling that the football program is like an old boys club or a corrupt police department that would rather cover up and make lawbreaking go away than face the reality that too many of the players are simply not held accountable for their lawlessness by the athletic department.

It's bad for Tennessee, bad for Fulmer, and bad for the kids. The AD at Tennessee needs to have a "come to Jesus" meeting with Fulmer, and express (hopefully) his dissatisfaction with the perception that Tennessee is a lawless program bereft of even the most rudimentary discipline, and that players must commit major felonies to have any chance at all to be actually dismissed from the team. It's an image that Tennessee needs to begin shedding, and that right soon.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Best of the SEC - Weekend Edition

And the nominees are:

And the winner is MaconDawg at Dawg Sports.

Folks, this is everything a great blog post should be. MaconDawg strikes exactly the right tone in discussing the pros and cons of Dennis Felton's coaching career at Georgia so far. Dennis Felton has done a lot of good things at Georgia, but he can no longer duck the fact that he is responsible for the problems he now has:
Let's get this out of the way right now: Dennis Felton is in fact to blame for the majority of the "bad luck" that has befallen his team this season. I'm a firm believer that you cannot expect a coach to cook dinner unless you let him shop for the groceries. But when a coach routinely whips up cheezewhiz on crackers with shrimp flavored Ramen, he has to take the heat for it. I was willing to give Felton the benefit of the doubt when he was kicking Jim Harrick's players off the team.
He is exactly right. Felton is responsible for bringing in Takais Brown and Mike Mercer. They were his best players, and either they were so badly behaved or he is so stringent that they are off the team, a casualty of discipline that has been the only meaningful hallmark of Felton's tenure so far except for tough defense.

I understand that a coach can only do so much when it comes to evaluating players. Sometimes, they all make mistakes. But I think MaconDawg is right to wonder about what he calls "a rash of reactive discipline." His conclusion:
Today's Tennessee game was a gutsy performance by a team that was outmanned and outgunned but refused to back down. I think that we'll see some more of those performances this season. But we don't go to Stegeman Coliseum to see gutsy losing basketball. And Dennis Felton has yet to show that he can do much other than deliver gutsy losses. 5 years in, the guts are keeping him from getting fired. However "the state of the program" is going to remain a topic of discussion as long as the losses keep coming as part of the package.
Gutsy losses are great for the first year or three of a new coach. But after five years, some hard questions should be asked. I personally like Dennis Felton a lot, and hope he brings Georgia back from this mire of irrelevance in which they are currently entrapped. But sooner rather than later, Felton had better produce some tangible results, or the next giant sucking sound we could be hearing in Athens is Felton's career headed down the drain. Herrick is long gone, and he is out on that limb all by himself, saw in hand.

May this be the last word on the subject

Pete Holiday at Fanhouse has produced this response to the now-protracted debate about Alabama's oversigning of players. As we have noted, this has been a very passionate, and lately, downright nasty debate between Alabama fans and, essentially, Michigan fans lead by Cook. Lots of pixels have been darkened in angry invective, which makes it all the more appropriate that Pete's commentary has a nice, calm, reasoned tone in spite of putting down Cook for his ... uh, rather purple prose.

But once we're past the Fanhouse Baby, Pete gets to the point:

The crux of Brian's argument is that if, come August, a team has more than 85 players who should be getting football scholarships, the overage will need to be unceremoniously dumped to come within the NCAA's limitations. This is an undeniable fact. Brian would have you believe that makes him right and everyone else stupid, but there's more to it than that. First, it's a hypothetical situation which has not yet come to pass and is far from a certainty. Second, there's a lot of room for reasonable people to differ on "who should be getting [a] football scholarship[]."

The responding posts by Alabama bloggers tend to focus how the 86+ scholarshipped class will not come to pass. One factor for which Brian did not originally account was non-athletic scholarships. He attempts to dismiss this by asserting: "Anyone on scholarship and on the football team counts against the 85 limit."

This, of course, is false. Take, for example, Bryant Scholarship players (the Bryant scholarship is given to sons and daughters of his former players), as demonstrated quite clearly by The Capstone Report (whose author continues to butcher my last name) by simply citing the NCAA rule. The gist of it is this: non-athletic scholarships don't count until "the student athlete engages in varsity intercollegiate competition." So, with all due respect to Mr. Cook, he needs to take another read through the NCAA Bylaws.
Pete's essential argument boils down to the same one I made earlier, only fleshed out considerably. I said, "Let's wait and see what happens," and Pete is saying not only that, but, "Here are some of the ways Alabama could get around the problem of having to dismiss qualified players." That makes a lot of sense, and I know at UK we have been able to offer some of our players scholarships in other sports, academic, or hardship scholarships. All of these are perfectly valid and not at all a sign of abuse, scofflaw, or moral or ethical turpitude.

I think Pete is exactly right in his analysis. Brian is correct in asserting that this is a situation where abuse and unethical behavior are certainly a possibility, but he seems to be saying that there is no ethical way out of this situation. That seems patently false to me, and surely Brian is smart enough to know better. If he isn't, well, at least Holiday is attempting to enlighten him.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Alabama grabs a generous mittenful of the Deadly Yellow Snow ...

Great googly-moogly! This Brian Cook vs. the Alabama Blogger Universe has truly reached the point of a genuine throwdown. There are so many posts on this subject that I simply must look at as many as possible before my fingers fall off.

By the way, the "Best of the Day" will be back tomorrow. I'm running low on time today.

OK, into the breach. First, we have His Blognificance, Orson Swindle at EDSBS noting the dustup for the second time this week, and linking to OutsideTheSidelines post at RBR:

Roll Bama Roll responds to Brian Cook’s slam of Alabama’s 4732 scholarship class this year. Many insults are paid to Brian’s hair, but as someone with an NHL-worthy playoff beard right now, we can’t say shit other than Brian is oversimplifying the case a bit (Alabama skoolz, represent!), but he’s not totally wrong here.
What is the whole hair thing about, anyway? So Brian looks like I did in 1975 -- at least he still has hair, unlike yours truly.

So, perhaps understandably, Brian Cook responds from his own blog, MgoBlog, rather than Fanhouse where he started the dustup. He decides, for whatever reason, to expand his scorn to the entire SEC rather than just Alabama:
There are two separate issues here.

Issue #1. Alabama is unlikely to actually have the nation's top recruiting class because a large chunk of it isn't going to get to campus. This is an irritation I have with the guru rating services and not an issue with Alabama per se. The best example of this phenomenon was Auburn's class last year, thirty-strong and top-ten on signing day but reduced by a third by the time fall practice rolled around and decidedly not top-ten.

This is indisputable. We even looked up the numbers last year. SEC teams often sign guys with little or no chance to qualify, and their swollen classes end up looking better than they actually are. The average SEC team experiences an attrition rate double that of the average Big Ten team, but this is not accounted for.
Does this remind anyone of the famous Jim Delaney letter to Big Ten fans? That's where Delaney essentially suggests that Big Ten schools were simply too good for many of the recruits that wind up in the SEC:
I love speed and the SEC has great speed, especially on the defensive line, but there are appropriate balances when mixing academics and athletics. Each school, as well as each conference, simply must do what fits their mission regardless of what a recruiting service recommends. I wish we had six teams among the top 10 recruiting classes every year, but winning our way requires some discipline and restraint with the recruitment process. Not every athlete fits athletically, academically or socially at every university. Fortunately, we have been able to balance our athletic and academic mission so that we can compete successfully and keep faith with our academic standards.
Brian Cook took up that cause in this post, and Senator Blutarsky at Get the Picture had some fun with what Brian had to say:

The rest of Brian’s post, which purports to be an examination of the “ethical obligations” schools have with regard to educating their recruits, reminds me of that famous quote from Bismarck about sausages: “To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.” Anyone who wants to watch college football without being consumed by doubt over the academic standing of the kids suiting up needs to become a fan of the Ivy League, fast.

For the rest of us, the issue isn’t (or shouldn’t be) whether some kids are admitted to college with lesser academic credentials, or that somehow these same kids are able to progress towards a degree once in school. We know that happens at all D-1 schools, and for a variety of reasons, like legacies, financial contributions, affirmative action, athletics, etc.

Uh huh. The current debate is essentially a belated and expanded continuation of the one started by Delaney's letter, with Cook and MGoBlog carrying the water for him. Not that Cook's original Fanhouse post pointed this out, because that was all about Saban and Alabama, but with his recent comments Cook has now expanded it to include the earlier debate.

Meanwhile, Roll Bama Roll isn't quite done yet. Todd at RBR decides he needs a crack at Brian Cook to go along with OTS's earlier remarks:
I won't bother with Issue #1 since it's a personal beef between Cook and the recruiting services, and I couldn't care less about how or why he thinks Alabama shouldn't be considered the #1 recruiting class in the nation until the fall. But Issue #2? Fuck you. He can blather on and on about OTS's "voodoo math" and moronic points since OTS called him out on his haircut (and in this very post I've already referred to him as a "dick") and therefor name calling is fair game, but this is where he's a gigantic ass that should shut his whore mouth:
I could do without all the gratuitous profanity from both bloggers, and the whole "hair" thing as well. Personally, I think #1 is kind of important, and there was a lot more there for my interests that perhaps for Todd's. I reject the condescending argument that essentially boils down to "The SEC is better because it sets low academic standards so they can sign better athletes." That is wrong on so many levels. First of all, if the Big Ten places their academic standards so as to exclude more people from joining it's hallowed halls and getting an education, I'm not sure that's something to be particularly proud of. Second, the Big Ten may think of itself as the Ivy League, but it isn't. What this boils down to is just more excuse-making for a brand of football who's time has largely come and gone.

But on his second point, Brian Cook and I are in far more agreement than disagreement:
The fucking point is that fucking Alabama is going to kick kids off the fucking team for no fucking reason. The point is not that violating the NCAA's made-up limit is evil. The NCAA limit is there because the NCAA would like you to not kick kids off the fucking team, but for various reasons the rule's pretty easy to skate around. The issue is not 32 > 25. The issue is that 70 + 32 > 85.
I'm not sure he's right about the reasoning for the rule, but I agree that kids should not be kicked off the team if they are offered a scholarship, accept it and qualify for it. We have had this discussion around UK circles (albeit for the basketball team -- we never have to worry about a surfeit of talent in football), and I am firmly on Cook's side of the argument. If Alabama does wind up withdrawing scholarships from qualified players just to bring on a better player, that is a real problem, and they should be ashamed.

But before we get into all this bitterness and foul language, shouldn't we wait for that nefarious event to happen? Bobby Petrino did just this very thing a player a few years back, only he did it before the player actually made it to campus. In other words, he just blithely broke his word to another young man who had committed to a scholarship offer because he found someone better. That is just plain unethical.

Moving right along, Third Saturday in Blogtober has a few words for Brian, and the most relevant point he makes is this:
But what I do want to hit on is the fact that Brian is guilty of the same thing he’s often called out members of the MSM for over at MGoBlog. Knowing not of which he speaks. Brian has no clue how many players Bama signed aren’t going to qualify, no matter how many hacks he references. Even if he did know, he makes it out like it would be the school’s fault for the player not having the grades.
This is a fair point, and one, I think, Brian Cook would have done well to consider. If Alabama engages in unethical conduct by getting rid of players who came in good faith, fully qualified, then he has a right to scream to high heaven. But the truth of the matter is, attrition due to grades, injury, lawbreaking, etc. are unfortunately routine and the high probability is that at least 15%-25% of not only Alabama's class, but of other large classes all around the USA, will wind up not qualifying for one reason or another completely unrelated to how well they play.

Why take on this issue now? The only reason I can figure is that he wants to make a partisan case, an excuse, really, for the fact that the Big Ten has failed so miserably against the SEC, and continues to look like maybe the third or fourth best football conference in the land. I could be wrong. He'd probably tell me I'm wrong. I don't care. That's what I think, this is my damn blog, and ... there you go!

Finally, the Tide Druid weighs in and says it's all about getting licks in on Saban, and basically says that Cook is no better than the World Wide Leader in that regard:
When you’ve been fed the ESPN spin that Saban is worse than Bobby Knight himself, it is probably a natural urge to take a pot shot at Saban to make your new coach look better. Of course, it could just be due to the fact that Saban used to coach at Michigan State.
I don't know, I suppose he could be right. Who knows what loathing lurks in the hearts of bitter rivals, and sometimes a coach that you hated at your rival carries the burden of that hatred with him forever and ever, amen. Still, if Cook is just trying to gig Saban, why is he whacking on the whole SEC at the same time?

Finally, Nico at Roll Bama Roll decides it's time for everyone to chill:
Okay everybody. Calm down. Bama fans calm down. Michigan fans calm down. This has turned into a parade of ridiculousness on both sides. I don't have time to fully address this right now since I'm about to go out of town for the rest of the day, but suffice it to say that I think both sides have escalated this well beyond where it should be. It's okay to disagree but I don't like the personal attacks and I don't like the generalizations about people because of their place of origin. This has all gone way too far.
I think he's right. When the ugly language comes out, it's time to pull ourselves back in to rational debate, not wild invective. It befits neither side of the argument to descend into complete emotional chaos over this, and cooler heads need to prevail.