The recruiting game in major college sports isn’t exactly a process that is riddled in integrity. Let’s not pretend it’s a clean ordeal. One of the most sought after recruits in the country is five star DB Patrick Surtain Jr. of American Heritage in south Florida. His father is former Miami Dolphin and current American Heritage head coach Patrick Surtain. Well Surtain apparently has just be interviewed to join Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama. If this isn’t a tad shady I don’t know what is.
“I met with all the people in the office, I met with Coach Saban and his staff. It was actually a great experience for him to even consider me,” Surtain told BamaInsider.com. “To be a DB coach at Alabama would be a tremendous honor. Eventually it may happen, but I guess it wasn’t the right time.”
“That was the first thing I mentioned to Coach Saban,” the older Surtain said. “I told him I didn’t want it contingent on where Pat [Surtain Jr.] comes there or not. That wouldn’t be fair to him. [Saban] assured me that it wasn’t. He interviewed me because he thought I’d be a great defensive backs coach.”
Now you have to give Surtain credit for this as he wasn’t the one looking for a quid quo pro. Knowing the recruiting game in college football, Saban has to be looking for a quid quo pro. Not saying Surtain isn’t a strong DB coach, it just so happens he interviews the year his son is one of the top recruits in the country. You have to be born last night to believe Saban isn’t looking for something here.
This hire would have everything do with Surtain Jr. American Heritage has become a football powerhouse and getting a south Florida pipeline via Surtain would be a nice little get for Saban.
None of this is illegal of course, but it points to a larger issue with major college recruiting and it’s a heck of a loophole. It is against NCAA regulations to provide jobs for parents of star athletes. However offering jobs on the staff is allowed.
At the end of the day, this is about the adults gaming the system under the fraud that is amateur athletics. Saban is just trying to use all the advantages he can find to keep being a dominant force in the sport. Let me clear this speaks more on system itself and it’s exploitive nature than it does say anything bad about Surtain the senior.
Right now he’s a successful high school football coach with an insanely talented son. Really, he’s just a pawn, but it just shows the shadiness of the whole ordeal.
No, Paul Finebaum isn’t going to the Big Ten Network
We are still a couple of months away from the drama of SEC football. And, that would include whether the Gators under new boss, Dan Mullen, can get their act together in 2018.
But this week there is word that one of the premier “talking heads” of SEC Football, and there are many, is having trouble getting his deal renewed with ESPN/SEC Network. And, there is definitely some fascinating drama around Paul Finebaum’s status.
Some quick background, Finebaum is former long time newspaper writer and columnist covering Alabama, Auburn and the SEC in that state. He hosted a successful state wide afternoon radio show for years in Alabama. And, as the popularity of SEC Football rocketed with both Bama and Auburn enjoying fantastic success in the 2000’s, Finebaum made the evolving transition to television.
So, when the SEC Network debuted three years ago, Finebaum was a natural to anchor the weekday lineup of “TV talk” and his television/radio simulcast is tremendously popular.
And that brings us to the current negotiations between Finebaum, his agent and ESPN.
First, in about two weeks hundreds of SEC media will gather in the new home of SEC Media Days (four of them) in it’s new home, Atlanta.
Coaches, players, former players, and prominent media from all 14 schools are there revving up everyone for September and the SEC.
And for the SEC Network this is known as, “offseason gold.”
And, don’t think for a second that Paul Finebaum and his representation aren’t looking to capitalize on that deadline in his contract talks.
That’s when, the first “warning shot” from Finebaum’s camp was leaked to fellow SEC national radio host and “talking TV head,” Clay Travis and he wrote about it last week:
— Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) June 28, 2018
Now, there’s no doubt that Finebaum was/is exerting leverage on ESPN with that leaked threat.
Well, then things went five levels higher on the absurdity of the negotiations, when again, Finebaum and his agent, let it be known that he might be interested in ……. jumping to the Big Ten Network?!?
Yes, that’s the latest in the “rumor mill”from Sporting News earlier this week:
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) July 4, 2018
First, we at F.F.I. would love to know if Finebaum can name the 14 Big Ten Stadiums that the schools play in, much less, if he has even been in half of them to cover/watch a game.
And, we’d be further impressed, if without looking at anything, including Google on his phone, if Finebaum could name half of the Big Ten’s current football coaches, too.
So, the stratosphere level of silliness that he would seriously consider leaving the fan bases, teams, coaches, legacies, etc. of the SEC just doesn’t make any sense.
It again, wreaks of his trying to leverage ESPN anyway possible to get a better deal.
Now, for example, if Finebaum were to seriously talk to CBS and CBS Sports Network, which has been TV home to the SEC Game of the Week for over 20 years now, that would be logical and make some sense. Finebaum would bring serious credibility and audience to their cable channel, and more with his five day a week show.
And maybe, that is actually happening on a quieter level of discussion. We don’t know.
The best guess is that Finebaum re-ups with ESPN/SEC Network,
But if he doesn’t?
He’s not going to a conference/channel to broadcast, where he doesn’t know a Boilermaker from a salt shaker.
Big Ten Network.
ESPN releases days-times for bowl games including College Football Playoff
It’s never too soon to start thinking college football season, and specifically, the bowl games. Or at least, ESPN thinks that way. The cable television network that basically controls the televising of the sport’s game days and times throughout each season, has released the pertinent bowl info on Wednesday afternoon.
News: ESPN's College Football Bowl Schedule Released –
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) May 2, 2018
And there are some interesting aspects for the bowl games played in our state this December and January and of course, for the most important games, the College Football Playoff semi-finals and championship early next year.
First, on the bowl games in December:
ESPN will have a quadruple-header of games starting on Saturday December 15th, but none are in the state of Florida.
The first of those from the Sunshine State will be the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl to be played on Tuesday night December 18th on FAU’s campus at 7 p.m. The Owls are the defending champs.
Next up is the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl in St. Petersburg to be played two nights later on Thursday December 20th at 8 p.m. Temple defeated FIU a year ago in the game.
Continuing, the Camping World Bowl will be played in Orlando on Friday afternoon December 28th at 5:15 p.m. Oklahoma State is the defending champion in that game.
And, then, because of the rotation of the “New Year’s Six” bowl games and where the days and NFL schedule falls, Saturday December 29th will be the day/night for the previously mentioned, College Football Playoff semi-final games.
The Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl in Dallas will await the CFP and ESPN’s decision on which match-up will go into which slot.
The game times are set for 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on that Saturday with the winners advancing to play in the CFP Title Game the following Monday (9 days later) at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.
On New Year’s Eve (Monday) the Taxslayer Gator Bowl will be played in prime time at TIAA Bank Stadium in Jacksonville. Mississippi State won last year’s game.
Then, on New Year’s Day, the Outback Bowl will kickoff as the first football game of the new year at noon at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. South Carolina is the defending champs.
And, the Citrus Bowl in Orlando will start an hour later at 1 p.m. with Notre Dame as last year’s winner.
The New Year’s Six bowls resume with the Fiesta Bowl at 1 p.m. in Glendale Arizona, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, in it’s traditional 5:30 p.m. slot, and then the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans in it’s traditional New Year’s night prime time slot of 8:45 p.m., round it out.
Again, the College Football Playoff will hold it’s championship game on Monday night January 7th at 8 p.m. Alabama beat Georgia in an overtime thriller for the championship in January.
All of those games will be televised on one or multiple of ESPN’s networks.
Willie Taggart and Dan Mullen have revived Florida’s top two programs
Granted it was only a Spring Saturday in both Tallahassee and Gainesville, but for the Seminoles and the Gators fan bases, they needed it.
Willie Taggart came from his one season at Oregon (and previously USF) promising to put some “pep back in the step” of everything associated with FSU, particularly after 2017 petered out with a 7-6 year.
And so far, his biggest accomplishment over his first five months is that he has rallied everyone from alumni, to students, to a mass of former players to get back involved with the program.
Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium was proof.
First, in comparison to last April and around 10,000 Noles fans that came to Jimbo Fisher’s final Spring Game, FSU announced that they not only sold over 40,000 tickets, but with students (who were free) included, Saturday had over 53,000 in the house.
Take a look at what “revival” looks like:
— Karen (@TroeUwaii) April 15, 2018
Further, and this is equally impressive, Taggart lobbied and worked hard to get former players to embrace the Seminoles efforts, again. And that, too was a rousing success, as a turnout of over 300 strong of former Noles jammed the sidelines and the end zones to be close to it all Saturday.
Here’s an interesting perspective from FSU radio broadcaster Tom Block:
I've been to every FSU spring game, or most anyway, since '89. Nothing like yesterday has ever happened. There was plenty of buzz in '13 for Jameis, but that was for 1 player. This is for the whole enchilada.
— Tom Block (@_TomBlock) April 15, 2018
Meanwhile in Gainesville, Dan Mullen’s attempt to bring Gator fans back around the program was also successful on Saturday. Their “Pack the Swamp” movement has been ongoing for the last month, and as we wrote, Mullen even took two going personally to fraternities and sororities over the past couple of weeks recruiting students to come back to the games.
The first indication that his campaigning was having a positive effect came prior to the spring game from one of the Gators long time beat writers:
Huge Gator Walk crowd today outside The Swamp. Bigger than during the regular season last fall.
— Robbie Andreu (@RobbieAndreu) April 14, 2018
Then once the crowd began to pour into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium it was obvious that there was a spark back, even, again, in a Spring game situation.
The Gators also announced over 50,000 at their game Saturday and this look at the Swamp verifies that the Orange and Blue faithful are embracing what the former Mississippi State head coach (and Florida offensive coordinator) is trying to instill:
— Florida Gators (@FloridaGators) April 14, 2018
So while the results on the field Saturday aren’t significant themselves, no one can deny the two programs that have won a combined four national championships this century demonstrated that they have rejuvenated most of their fan bases.
And that’s good for the state and the sport of college football.
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