Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A quick note while watching Morning Joe

I've spent the past evening monitoring what was going on with the election, so there weren't a lot of things that came across my radar screen with regards to sports today. With this fascinating battle now settled and the college football regular season's end only a month away, I'm going to have a lot of time on my hands soon. Here are a few items that did get my attention, though.

The Jacques Rickerson domestic battery allegations that broke during the day Tuesday are disgraceful. Urban Meyer responded the right way by booting him from the Florida team. Rickerson has some talent, but has been a problem from the second he stepped onto campus. He's been a pain for them to deal with on the academic side and now has multiple incidents off the field as well. The one thing you wonder about here is what effect if any this has on his half brother Brandon James, but presumably he understands Meyer's rules and knows Rickerson has made his own bed.

Michigan State football typically has underachieved for the past two decades. The reason it has failed so often is because East Lansing has been a haven for talented kids who are undisciplined personally and/or extreme academic risks. Guys like Plaxico Burress couldn't get into Florida and settled for being Spartans instead. When you get lots of immature guys with suspect character together, they don't tend to handle adversity well. When a moment like this happened, the Spartans would fold under the pressure and then tank the rest of the season. This year things are different, and Mark Dantonio's coaching is the reason why. He benched his starting left guard against Wisconsin. Why? Because he didn't wear a tie with the suit Dantonio requires for the pregame walk. It may seem silly, but that attention to detail is making a difference. Just something to keep in mind as schools like Tennessee and Clemson look for a head coach - a guy like Urban Meyer or Dantonio can come in and change a program's sloppy culture very quickly.

Covering sports, I have heard of many different injuries over the years. Colt McCoy's most severe ailment from the Texas loss was a new one to me, though. How's a torn upper labial frenulum grab you? Any idea what that is? It turns out to be the piece of skin between the gums and lip above your front teeth. McCoy had to have his cut out after the game. That sounds quite unpleasant, but I've officially learned something new.

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