NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 08: A young fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide cheers at the Allstate Fan Fest on January 8, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
After the Super Bowl in February, two economists, Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier, wrote an article called "What Would The End Of Football Look Like?" and if you can get through the pre-apocalyptic stridency and the snarky academic glee of reaching a sports-audience instead of the usual dozen or so readers of dry academic journals, their argument makes enough sense to be worth reading. The twin threats that they perceive, in a nutshell, are massive crippling liability judgments for concussion-related illnesses and industries and a gradual refusal of more and more parents (and school systems) to allow children to play football in the first place. Their argument tends to ignore (or belittle) the cultural relevance of football - they are economists, after all - and doesn't address what must be similar crises in boxing (obviously) and ice hockey, to name two other sports with an element of the knockout. And the fact is, football without collisions is not football. If it is merely a game of positioning your players more strategically than the other team, it is simply human-scale chess.
At times like these, I always think about Von Gammon and the small exhibit about him that's housed on the fourth floor of the Georgia State Capitol. In addition to the galleries for each of the legislative chambers and a few committee rooms and offices, the fourth floor is home to a sort of mini-museum, where some of the more significant moments in Georgia legislative and political history -- and things like a two-headed calf -- are on display. As a college football fan, though, I was always most interested in the Von Gammon exhibit. There was no doubt about what killed the 17-year-old player for Georgia, no question whether football had anything to do with it, because Von Gammon (full name: Richard Vonalbade Gammon) died one day after suffering a severe concussion in a football game. In the outrage that followed, Georgia politicians lept into action and passed, on a 122-7 margin, a ban on football. As the bill made its way to Gov. William Atkinson, Rosalind Gammon made a simple but eloquent request of the governor considering a bill sparked by her son's death. She asked him to veto it.
We'll start things off with the quarterbacks, and unlike 2011, this year's crop has a little bit more experience and name power. That's because hardly any starters departed, so that means the race to be crowned the SEC's top signal caller is up for grabs in 2012. Here's a look at the top statistical quarterback returning this season, and the others who finished 2011 in the top 10 statistically:
Bateman visited both Alabama and Auburn in April and has the two among his top five choices along with LSU, Florida and Washington. In an interview with 247Sports, Bateman said he is close to making a final decision on where he'll attend college and may make the call shortly after a scheduled trip to Tuscaloosa. "I want to decide pretty soon if possible," Bateman said. "There is no clear school on top for me right now, but I'm looking at those five programs. I'm weighing the pros and cons of each school and evaluating the football aspect and comfort level of each program."
1.] Justin Hunter, Tennessee 2011 season: Sustained season-ending ACL injury in week three. Hauled in 17 passes for 314 yards (18.5 yards per catch) and two touchdowns in two-plus games prior to going down in Vols' loss at Florida. Why he's on the list: Even if the junior isn't all the way back from a speed standpoint (and I'm guessing he'll be close), his large frame (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) makes him a tough matchup for smaller corners. And in Tyler Bray, Hunter has a quarterback who will get him the football. Did you know?: Nine of Hunter's 33 career receptions have gone for touchdowns.
The Alabama softball team was tripped up in its final regular season contest of the year as it fell to Fordham, 8-5, Monday night at Murphy Field. After the loss the Crimson Tide moves to 47-7 while the Rams improve to 31-24. Despite outhitting Fordham, 12-7, Alabama was unable to retake the lead in a back-and-forth game, bringing the tying run to the plate in the seventh inning. The win for Fordham was its first over a ranked opponent on its home field in school history.
Mark Richt's premature commenting on Josh Harvey-Clemons on signing day cost the Georgia head coach two weeks of telephone priviledges. Back on Feb. 1, Harvey-Clemons announcement his commitment to Georgia. It was the day's major signing for Georgia - except Harvey-Clemons didn't sign until the next day, as his grandfather wavered on signing the letter-of-intent. In the meantime, however, Richt had talked about the defensive standout from Valdosta during an interview on ESPNU.
The NCAA and Major League Baseball are in active discussions to develop a broad partnership that could result in a boom to the game at the collegiate level, according to a report obtained by CBSSports.com. The partnership is aimed at expanding the importance of college baseball and is expected to result a significant investment by MLB that could include funding scholarships across the sport. The NCAA Board of Directors was briefed on the matter last week at their annual meeting. "It's very early," a source said. "But we're hopeful something meaningful will come out of the talks."
Derek Dooley was too busy with final preparations for the Orange & White Game a couple of weeks ago to notice, but he got some bad news. At a meeting of the University of Tennessee Athletics Board on the morning of the Vols’ spring game, it was announced that season ticket sales were down for the third straight year and the football budget was taking a hit. When it rains, it pours. While Dooley is worried about the Vols’ transition to a 3-4 defense among other things, he also is painfully aware that an athletics program facing uncommon financial pressure puts an extra burden on the football coach.
Three football players at the University of Texas at Austin were arrested early Monday after a disturbance at a downtown night spot. A former player was also arrested in the same incident. Players Alex Okafor, Kenneth Vaccaro, Barrett Matthews and former player Eryon Barnet were charged with failure to obey a lawful order, a misdemeanor charge. Barnet was also charged with failure to identify himself. He is in Travis County jail.
I put Leach in a little cameo in Friday Night Lights and I started to become friends with him, and then he got fired. I really studied that entire situation—his getting fired and the accusations made against him by Adam James, and the pressure that his father, Craig James, put on Leach, using his ESPN bully pulpit. Craig James is a f*cking scumbag, helicopter dad—and everything wrong with the culture I observed in Texas. Mike Leach never put that kid in a closet. The kid admitted it. It was a total lie. Now Mike Leach has the Washington State University job and he's got carte blanche. It's a great comeback story.
Big 12 presidents have verbally agreed to a lucrative new media rights agreement, a source told CBSSports.com. The deal is expected to be the one reported by CBSSports.com on March 13 worth a combined $2.6 billion with ESPN and Fox. The 13-year deal is projected to be worth $200 million annually to the conference (an average of $20 million per school) through 2025. For the moment, the Big 12 enters the stratosphere of the Pac-12, SEC and Big Ten, all of which are near or above the $200 million per year mark.
Running back Michael Dyer is unlikely to play for Arkansas State in 2012. "As of right now he’ll have to sit out a year," Malzahn said. "And that’s what it will probably end up."